Hot temps, still days, and a Mayfly hatch has plagued Ely area fishing the last few weeks. Most Anglers willing to brave the heat and high sun were not rewarded as handsomely as was deserved. However, after an early week storm front passed through, fishing has greatly improved!
Walleye are biting leeches and crawlers presented with either a jig or harness, and concentrated in 15’-20’ of water. Basswood Lake has been the hot spot to find not just numbers but size as well. A group of Packsack Anglers have been having a hard time finding enough walleyes under 20” to keep, not a bad problem to have! Fall Lake walleye fishing has also greatly improved. Finding off shore humps, rock piles, and sand bars should equate to finding fish this time of year.
Smallmouth Bass are beginning to move from the shallows to the deeper rock piles, especially during the warmer parts of day. A slip bobber tipped with a night crawler or leech is a great way to fish smallies this time of year, but using crankbaits and tube jigs is always a productive method as well. On still evenings and mornings, break out your top water for some crushing action from the bronze back monsters lurking below.
Northern pike have remained consistent in their summer patterns, larger pike tend to seek cooler water in some of the deeper parts of the lake. However, keep your eye on the weather because northern pike will return to shallower water during cold fronts. Deep diving crankbaits and heavy jigs tipped with sucker minnows are a fun way to go after these toothy critters!
Certain Boundary Waters lakes are also being very productive. Folks fishing Insula, Wood Lake, Ensign, and Lake Agnes have all been great lakes for walleye and bass! Packing in live bait can be a cumbersome task on the portage, but very productive to fish with. Crawlers might be the easiest bait to manage in the BWCA, but leeches can work well too. Using a Nalgene bottle is a good way to store leeches in your pack while on the portages. You can always put them in your leech container once at camp.
With an influx of new anglers fishing the BWCAW and Ely area, many folks are unaware of the “Leave No Trace” rules. Keep in mind, you must pack out what you pack in. There are no trash cans at BWCAW campsites, or entry points. Cans and bottles are not allowed, and defacing or damaging the forest is never accepted. If you are new to the area and are wondering what the rules are, be sure to watch the Forest Services Leave No Trace video part 3 before heading out.
Best of luck fishing, and keep your line wet!