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PikePatroller

Prior vs. Spring Lake Ice fishing

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PikePatroller

I worked at an area bait shop and have heard both sides of this arguement and just curious to hear some more. If i want to catch a couple walleyes which one should i venture out on?

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AceintheHole

You would have a good chase on both lakes. You just need to know were to fish.

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walleyeJoe

spring if you can find them cus they are big fish, i caught numerous walleyes over 18 inches in that lake this summer.. and have recently caugt 2 over 18 this winter. and none one prior.... way to much angling pressure on prior its a joke... on spring the lake is yours right now.

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dfricke1010

Joe when are you gonna bring me out there?

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walleyeJoe

never the bite is horrible

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dougger222

One evening on Spring got 8 eye's between 2-4 lbs then the next three nights couldn't catch one to save our life fishing the exact same holes. This was 4 Winters ago and haven't fished it much since.

3 Winters ago on Prior slammed the eye's until the vehicles started driving out. First three nights got 10 eye's per night. Same spot next two years not much.

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bigfish24

what area are you in on spring was out there last sunday by the creek and got skunked. confused.gif

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SnipeZilla

Prior carries a better habitat for walleyes than pea soup Spring. Your best bet is to laugh at the people trying to catch them on either of these lakes and go to a real walleye lake. Just my opinion though.

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shooter_mcgavin

I don't think anyone was claiming that either spring or prior were "walleye" lakes. I'm not sure any lake in the metro would classify as that type of lake. But the DNR stocks them, so we may as well go out and catch the fish that we have already paid for. smirk.gif

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Swanny2

Fished both through the ice quite a few times. My target is crappies but have "accidently" hooked a few eyes on each. Certainly more "accidents" on Spring than Prior. Especially as the season wears on. . .

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AceintheHole

I've caught just as may walleyes out of spring as I have out off Prior. I remember opener of 2005 I caught so may walleyes on Spring 14"-25" then I could handle. Thought I was in canada for a while. I have also had the the same fishing on Prior spring, summer, fall and winter. I did get a 9 1/2 lbs walleye out of Prior last winter. You just have to know were to look for them. I've had times on the big pond were the only thing you could catch was a buzz (Mille Lacs). They both are quality lakes, just on guys opinion. Good Fishin!!!!

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krawdad

I'm a little disappointed in all of your guys' grammar. A. both lakes are fished like the twin cities needs a suburb. B. Have you seen the boats out there? Or should I ask been on the water in the summer? You may as well drink from the toilet. A buddy of mine calls that "his" lake, of course, he has herpes. just my fyi.

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walleyeJoe

that has nothing to do with what fish are in the lake, or hpw they are biting krawdad...as for walleye bites the two points on spring are the best. the creek isnt so good. and also there is a nice trench in the middle of the lake that runs about 100 yards that is fun trolling over. as for prior how cares because once someone sees your catching fish, you have 30 guys lightin up there 40 year old eardrum shattering augers so everythings gone.... the best way to fish out there is to fine your own water and structure, that lake was made for walleyes, there is way to much structure and deep breaks and flats to think that prior is anythign less than a walleye lake, the reason its so bad is because you get the guys who get so eager to catch a walleye that they keep the 12 to 13 inch walleyes and think its a once in a lifetime fish out there. people have yet to realize that we live in minnneeeesoootaaah THE WALLEYE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!!!! the dnr doesnt just stock walleyes for there health boys.

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SnipeZilla

listen to joe, you might learn something. Although I wouldn't consider prior a "walleye lake" they are in there. But throwing the same stuff at for the last 15 years isn't going to catch them anymore. i find prior a good testing ground lake for new tactics that are a little, shall we say, out of the box. And yes, please don't keep twiggy walleyes from prior. Those things are so jacked full of pcbs, mercury, and other contaminants by the time they get to about 13 inches, in just aint worth it.

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walleyeJoe

sooooo true

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shooter_mcgavin

So your advice is to not keep any walleye on prior due to contamination? The DNR report would suggest otherwise.

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walleyeJoe

look at all the crap people leave on it in the winter?

i have seen a lot of stuff down there with my aqua view, and its nasty. beer bottles... trash.... propane tank.... i mean its a grimy lake. they all are around the metro...

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shooter_mcgavin

I cooked up some crappies from prior last year and I'm still kickin! I noticed that you know a lot about catching unedible walleyes in that grimy lake, so you must be strictly catch and release.

I tend to think that most of the trash you described comes from the hardwater season.....which is too bad. I can't believe the shanty towns that pop up on that lake. It only takes a few seconds to do a quick sweep when you pack up to make sure you didn't leave crap laying around.

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SnipeZilla

Shooter, I'm saying what joe was saying about people taking 12-13 inchers that are needed to maintain a good population. And, seeing as the walleye is a top predator in prior, it would be full of contaminants. Levels of contaimination get multiplied at each level in the food chain. Also, the last DNR report of Prior was in 2004. 4 years is a pretty long time for contaiminents to build up. Especially since pcbs, mercury, etc can jump in a week or two.

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SnipeZilla

Crappies aren't as big of a deal considering they are a low level predator. I've had my fair share of prior lake crappies, dont get me wrong. I rarely target walleyes in prior, it's just logical thinking in my opinion. You'd be fine eating crappie all day as long as you avoid the belly fat.

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shooter_mcgavin

I'm all about selective harvest; I threw back a couple of 12-13" walleyes on prior this winter already. In fact I've been out a few times and kept just a few crappies once; enough for dinner. So I do agree with you there. I just think you're overstating the contamination of the lake by calling the walleyes inedible.

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AceintheHole

Think off all the crap thats on the bottom of Mille Lacs with 5000+ houses out there ever year.

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SnipeZilla

I'm not saying they're totally inediable, I'd just rather not eat them. I know tons of people eat them from there all the time. Its kinda like one cigarette isnt going to kill you, but 2 packs a day might. I agree with your ethics shooter, just trying to explain my opinion.

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shooter_mcgavin

Just sharing my opinion as well.....

Back to the topic at hand. I'm starting to lean towards Prior as the lake of choice for fishing, considering the horrible bite I've experienced on Spring lately. If only it wasn't everyone elses' favorite lake...... crazy.gif

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SnipeZilla

Two years ago spring was the ticket, last year it was no good (for me), and this year has yet to tell. I think prior is more consistent as far as pannies go. It's just such a convenient lake that people just flock!

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    • delcecchi
      starft you off.... https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/lake.html?id=69066000 http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/data/lakemaps/b0537011.pdf Status of the Fishery Ely Lake is located approximately 2 miles SE of the city of Eveleth. This popular lake is highly developed with homes and cabins. There is a small seaplane base and two public swimming beaches also located there. Water clarity is good and large amounts of aquatic vegetation can be found throughout the lake. 

      There is a concrete planked boat ramp and dock located near the NE end of the lake off Cedar Island Drive (CR629) for public access. The parking space is somewhat limited near the ramp. Several private accesses are also present. 

      Thirteen species of fish were sampled during the 2017 survey on Ely Lake. Gill nets, trap nets and night electrofishing were all used to sample the fish community. Small bluegill were common in the gill net catch (34%) and abundant in the trap net catch (57%). Other panfish species including hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed, green sunfish and black crappie were also sampled in good numbers. Largemouth bass outnumbered smallmouth bass in the 2017 sample. Walleye (16%) contributed to the gill net catch and several were sampled in the trap nets. Yellow perch are present in average amounts and some good sized pike were again sampled during the 2017 survey. 

      Bluegill numbers in 2017 (72.1/trap net) were much higher than the long term average (31.6/trap net) on Ely Lake and greatly above average (7.9/trap net) compared to other similar lakes in the area. The average bluegill sampled was 5.6 inches long and about 6 years old. Approximately 66% of the bluegill sampled with the trap nets were under 6 inches with a maximum size recorded of 8.0 inches. Bluegill sampled with the gill nets had a similar size structure. Approximately 7% of the hybrid sunfish sampled in the trap nets were 8 inches or larger. Several pumpkinseeds were also in this size range. 

      Largemouth bass (92%) and smallmouth bass (8%) were sampled during the night electrofishing effort. The average largemouth sampled was 10.9 inches which is similar to the historic average of 10.6 inches. The biggest largemouth sampled was 18.5 inches. Approximately 33% of the largemouth sampled were 12 inches or larger. The average smallmouth sampled was 9.8 inches which is slightly larger than the historic average (8.4 inches). The largest smallmouth sampled was 16.8 inches long. Approximately 32% of the smallmouth sampled were 12 inches or larger. Largemouth bass were also sampled from the gill nets and trap nets in numbers above average. 

      Walleye numbers in 2017 (6.2/gill net) were similar to the historic average (6.1/gill net) on Ely Lake and slightly above average (5.0/gill net) when compared to other similar area lakes with walleye. The average walleye sampled was 15.5 inches and about 4 years old. Approximately 34% of the walleye sampled were 15 inches or larger up to a maximum of nearly 29 inches. Walleye fingerlings are currently being stocked during even-numbered years and in 2017 approximately 62% of the walleye aged came from years where stocking occurred. 

      Northern pike numbers in 2017 (1.1/gill net) were similar to the historic average (1.3/gill net) and below average (3.2/gill net) compared to other similar area lakes with pike. The average pike sampled was 26.8 inches which is similar to the historic average length of 26.3 inches. The largest pike sampled in 2017 was 35.2 inches long and sampled with a trap net. 
    • gizmoguy
      Yes they do. Many resorts are set up for summer usage. Understand you can't use your FH in the storage lots. Only in a summer use lot. You have to pay for it. The cost is in addition to your winter fees. Usually more $ but the season is longer. The county requires the resorts to have bathroom facilities within a certain distance. Mac's Twin Bay has summer lots as do many others. Hunter's Point is another. Doubt Brandt's is set up for summer.
    • DRAGFOOT
      Sweet! Heading back up tonight through the weekend. Bringing the wife and little one this time instead of my buddies, hopefully the weather cooperates.
    • Neutz68
      Heading up Sat morning and will be looking for Shiners. Anyone know if the Gateway and/or Kab Outdoors have them in stock??    Thanks for the input.
    • crappieslapper
      Hi Guys & Gals, My brother in law recently purchased a property on Ely Lake. All the boys are invited up this year on Memorial. Unfortunately nobody in the family has been on the lake before. I thought I would reach out to the pros here on the forum to see if anyone would be willing to give us a few tips on fishing this lake. Thanks in advance, Dan
    • crappieslapper
      Hey Forum, My brother in law just purchased on Ely Lake. Memorial weekend will be the first time on lake. Wondering if anyone has some experience/tips they would be willing to offer the Ely lake rookies. Thanks so much. Dan
    • huntnfish
      I made it out last Sunday and did some searching for walleye. The search didn't produce any walleyes, just northerns and smallies. The water temp on the main lake was 58-59 with the bays being about 5 degrees warmer. The people I have talked to have had similar issues finding the eyes. We missed some fish that left the shiner all chewed up. Most of the fish marked were out in that 18-21 foot range which seemed pretty deep for this early. It could have been Saturday's cold front that pushed them a little deeper though. 
    • Hoey
      SRJ - Thanks for the report.  I heard the bite was very-good to excellent, off the rocks/reefs, in the mud/sand.  I will be at the lake fishing this weekend.  
    • srj
      What a couple perfect days for LOW on Monday-Tuesday. Fish seemed to be biting well from shallow to deep and from the south side to up north.  Caught fish from 7 - 28 feet in good numbers and sized from small to large. There seemed to be a lot more fish on sand and mud than rocks. Quite a few males caught near rocks were full of milt. Biggest an 28 1/4. Most on jig and minnow but some on crankbaits. Sure a big pack of charters hanging around the Knight Island shoal. Warm, calm and no bugs!! Hope Memorial weekend winds stay light. My new to me Ipilot Link Bluetooth remote somehow changed to German, Dutch or some other language on the display. Anybody ever have that happen? Good luck this weekend.
    • Mitch K
      Nah it was maybe 6-7 inch, maybe it'll be a keeper next year.