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Heading up to the BWCA for a Gunflint loop of Caribou, Pine, West Pike, and Clearwater lakes on September 19th. We're thinking of trying for some lake trout on the trip but we're all walleye anglers so we need some help. Is it worth the effort on these lakes and what type of rigging would you recommend?

I've also just recently dipped my toe into the world of fly-fishing. Any stimulating reasons to bring up my rod to the BWCA?

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If you look back in the posts, I posted a similar question and the responses were very helpful to me, for technique and gear suggestions.

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big musk411

I fished with a guide a couple years ago. We did real well with spinners tipped with fatheads[dead ones]. Basically you get a small spinner blade in front of a single hook with about 1.5" stinger trebel hook. Use about a 2-3' leader with a swivel. Above the swivel, use a bullet wieght to get the bait down. Expariment with deffereint sized wieghts untill you find the right depth. Also spoons and cranks can work too.

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Early Riser

I have fished those lakes for trout and the numbers are there. Clearwater and Pine hold some big ones. West Pike has good numbers of nice sized fish. Most the fish we have caught there have been 3-5 pounds. I am not as familar with Caribou lake. I don't think it has trout.

Through the end of May/early June the trout are near the top and can be caught trolling spoons near the surface just about anywhere on the lake, from over the relatively shallow water column, to over the deepest holes in the lake.

Around the 19th of September, the trout could be relatively deep near their spawning reefs that top off in 30-40' of water, but that would just be my best guess. I would start by locating some of those areas with your maps and sonar. They you could try something to get at suspended fish. The fish that you might find close to the bottom may be willing to hit jigs with white plastic and/or tipped with some minnow meat. We used to also use the Dr. Juice scent on our jigs which really seemed to help. I wonder if that stuff is even made anymore.

I don't know when the bass season closes, but if it is open when you are there you could find some great action on West Pike and Pine. Clearwater has a lot of bass, but most are really small.

Pine can be great for Walleye, but for me they have been only hit or miss after the first part of August on that lake.

Another thing to consider would be to take a side trip into the smaller brook trout lakes off of Pine and West Pike. They might be going pretty good when you are there.

I can give you some more specific information if you want me to email you.

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Caribou has some walleye and a decent number of northerns. However, I have never fished it that late in the year. I would think casting/jigging at the falls if it has a good flow may be a good way to kill an evening. There are a few points/reefs that could be inspected as well.

Early Riser-shoot me an email on those brookie lakes if you see fit and we can compare notes on lakers as well.

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Thanks very much for the great information. Early Riser, shoot me an email at I'd love to get more info on the side lakes off of Pine and West Pike. Thanks.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Fathom
      Set up deeper on rock reef for the rest of the weekend and only managed one fish (26" eye), missed a couple others. We wanted to stay deeper due to all the traffic on the lake. We did enjoy a good time at Fishing for Ducks, we saw a nice walleye pulled through the ice but it only measured 27.5". Talk about a bummer for that guy!
    • Jarrid Houston
      Roads to the islands always need to be taken very cautious and I would encourage going with someone who knows the area..  I believe they were shutting down the highway H extension due to this recent weather we just got?  Plenty of fish and opportune situtations in the bay.
    • cookie129
      Another crazy busy weekend is in the books. I really enjoy giving out my fishing/what's happening on the lake reports but finding the time has been tough. To say its a grind is a understatement.
       I can tell you again as the season winds down I'm never ready for it to end, as I truly love being out there in my trucks, moving houses, plowing the  hillmen highway, giving advise, helping other fishermen when they do something silly, Driving into a snow bank, dropping there gun down a hole or any other important object like there keys. Every year all the workers seem to get a little grumpy as fighting mother nature, going from sun up to sunset takes a toll physically and mentally. It also seems I ruffle a few feathers every year and its never my intent  so I have to chalk it up as a long season. If I stepped on anyone's toes it sure was not planned or intended as all most every day plan a turns to plan b and c. Mother nature dictates where I go sometimes as well as any plowed roads that can make our job easier. The cookie shuffle worked very well this year as I tell everyone that gets lost in my maze of trails. I'm not a road engineer.
       Man did we get overwhelmed with wheel house's this past weekend, any fish coming from southwest had to go threw a gauntlet of hooks to find my fishermen.
       I had two wheel house's  that I set up at the end of the hillmens highway and was surprised how bad they did. I guess I should of went south not east? The nw road has gotten to much to maintain, there's one lone house out that way that will need a new trail made .
       Its all started Thursday as jonnny boy and I prepped for the weekend with Joe, Zack, Adam and   his crew arriving fro florida. Zacks birthday wish was fishing red lake, they had a blast. They went to westwind where they enjoyed a fish fry, plus they took home a few fish with a couple even getting a ride in florida fish house as we moved a small distance to put it on fresh ice for there last night sunday. Last year when they came we landed on the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie mother load? I think  they had dreams for a year of repeating that. Every year is different and again this year was no exception.
       Ben who proposed in old Minnesota to Shawna 8 years ago were in old Minnesota with there two adorable kids. Louie the fishing machine and his little sister Willa plus there friend Nelli.
       They had a blast also with Shawna getting a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie to boot. They also managed to take home a nice batch of upper red lake walleyes.
       Hunter and his two buddies were in north Dakota. It was slow but they also managed to take home a batch of fish.
       Charlie and Rizzo were in montana , They were very serious about there fishing and went home with there 8.
      Jeromy and his gal were in north Carolina Saturday, sunday . They also managed to get there 8.
       Sunday was a very tough day as we had all 5 houses re rented. I was planning on moving all of them so we battled mother nature the whole time as a ne wind with 2 inches of snow made it impossible to see. At one point I was getting sea sick as I struggled to see, With the sky, horizon and the lake all the same color. wow what a struggle.
       It took us  7 1/2 hours but we got every thing cleaned, moved.
       Mother nature has given us another bout of snow so tomorrow I will let every one know how the houses did the last two days as its time to check the fluids and fire up the fleet
    • nickeleye
      Figured I should report back... I fished prime time on Saturday morning and Saturday evening. No action. It didn't help that I forgot to grab the vexilar on the first outing, but it didn't help to have it on the second outing either! ha! Marked a few but couldn't get them to bite. Used a GPS chip to punch some holes over structure, but when I came back with the vexilar, they weren't quite as deep as I hoped. Thanks for the pointers BrianF
    • LucasLongCaster
      Around this time last year this thread was started by @Royal_Dutchman. I got my trip planned for April but by the look of the extended forecast it's not looking to promising, especially compared to where it was at last year on Feb 23rd. 
    • osok
      Been a brutal hard water season for me as well, figured it was a continuation of my fall fishing luck. 
    • Wanderer
      Thanks guys.  I checked out Modis for ice coverage and Navionics to help understand how things are laid out.  Knowing what areas certain fish prefer and those typical depths is a big plus.
    • urbaniceteam
      My wife and I are hoping to get up to Mille Lacs this Saturday and spend the night on the ice.  Does anyone have any last minute availability?  All the resorts I've contacted are booked. Thanks!
    • Borch
      Lots of nice fish!  Central Mn is cranking out some nice panfish.
    • eyeguy 54
      I did till about 2 then just had to go for a bit. LOL 
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