Fishing in the Ely area has remained strong through the month of May! Despite some warm, sunny, windless days, anglers have still been able to fill stringers and dinner plates with fish! With the current conditions, fisherman should have a rod rigged up for any species, as they are all biting!
The walleye bite quickly progressed from the slow lethargic tail bitters to fish that are hammering bait. Water temps on Fall Lake quickly rose from the 50’s to the high 60’s and into the 70’s in just a week’s time. Fish are still stacking up and biting at the power dam, but are also spreading out over the flats. Walleyes are still biting on minnows, but due to the minnow’s sensitivity to warming water temps, anglers are beginning to trade in the minnows for leeches and crawlers, which walleyes are also biting. Folks crossing the portages into Basswood have had great luck on walleyes. From Pipestone Falls to Jackfish Bay and everywhere in between, anglers are finding fish. A quote from one angler I spoke with, “the greater the current, the bigger the fish”.
The pike bite is really starting to heat up! Large fish are beginning to present themselves with more aggression as the water temps rise. The bait anglers seem to be having the best luck with is large sucker minnows, presented on a large jig, or slip bobber rig. Back Bay of Basswood Lake produced a 41” lunker of a fish for one of Packsack’s guests, and Pipestone Falls produced 21 pike over 30” for another guest. The above picture features a 41 & ½” monster for Nicole Berning while fishing with her Dad Bill and fishing guide Todd Larson on Pipestone Bay.
The bass bite is also coming on strong at the moment. With water temps pushing through their spawning temps, it seems like monster smallies are biting everywhere and on just about anything. Several big 20 plus inch fish have already been caught and released this year on Fall Lake and Basswood. Now is the time of year to be looking for that top water action, so bring out that fly gear and your poppers!
Pan Fish seem to be setting up to spawn or have begun the spawn depending on the lake and its temps. If you’re a crappie fisherman, keep your eyes open for these spawning beds and be ready with that lightweight tackle.
The paddle season is open and reports of some great fishing trips in the wilderness are coming in. Destination lakes like Ensign, Crooked Lake, Agnes Lake, and Lake Insula are being reported as “lakes filled with hungry fish”. Leeches or crawlers are the most effective and easiest baits to pack in and out when fishing the Boundary Waters, but of course lightweight artificial works too!
The fishing will continue to remain strong through the next few weeks as fish fill their post spawn bellies, and spread out to their summer patterns. If you’re fishing the Ely area this coming week, be sure to be set up with a presentation for all species of fish, you never know what’s going to be biting the best.
Be safe and keep your line wet.