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Rookie Question - Northerns

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Hi folks. I live in Mound, and my son and I have been out a few times on Cooks Bay and Phelps Bay. We're beginners, and have caught some panfish on Phelps, but nothing yet on Cooks. We just park at the public beaches and go out from there.

We have not yet caught a fish or even had a nibble on our tip ups. I've been using meduim sized suckers for bait hoping to catch a northern. I've been fishing in about 20 feet of water, right near the bottom. I'm not asking for your secrets, but I'd appreciate any tips on how to catch northerns on tip ups. Thanks!!

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I usually use shiners and get a mix bag with them. Northerns and walleyes mostly... I let it sit about three feet off the bottom with just a red hook. No sinkers, just a leader. Good luck.

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My brother and I start the year tip up fishing with medium suckers on a similar setup. You can get a tipup harness at fleetfarm for two bucks. I believe the harness is considered a lure because they attach a small blade on one of them. As far as finding the northern action, we look for pretty good break lines and turns adjacent to shallow water. The weeds are still kicking at this time of year so they will draw the bait fish. Example: We have a smaller lake that averages 4-6 feet deep but has a hole that drops to 15feet. If we set up in 5, 7 and 9 feet of water we see flags. Make sure you do not set all of the tipups at the same depth. If no bites change depths, if still no bites, move shallower or deeper. If still no bites, brake out the football and enjoy the peace and quiet with your son.

Oh- not sure if you have electronics or not but that speeds up the "hunt" but we used to use the sinker and arm pull depth finding method.- Merry Christmas and good luck!

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Hey BlackDog,

A buddy an I have fished that spot, with no luck, but I have heard good things and this is what was told to me: Shiners work well. If you are on the south side of Cooks bay near the channel, you can catch nice sized walleye and northern. The channel has all of the weeds carved out going under the bridge and set up about 100yds into the bay from the channel and about 5-10 ft off the weed edge (very abrupt edge). Set out at a variety of depths and start about 3 ft off the bottom and go up. Most importantly, report back any success.

Good luck,



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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Rick
      The Great Lakes Compact Council and the Great Lakes Regional Body are seeking public feedback on draft updates to the procedures for reviewing requests to divert water from the Great Lakes Basin. The compact is federal law that governs the use of water in the Great Lakes watershed. The compact council and regional body are accepting comments through June 21, at 4:30 p.m.  Under the compact, diversions of water out of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin are generally prohibited. However, the compact identifies limited circumstances under which diversion may be allowed. In some instances, before a diversion proposal can be approved, it must undergo review by the regional body and may require approval by the compact council. The draft updates are strictly procedural and would not modify the compact’s basic terms. The compact council is composed of the governors of the eight states that border the Great Lakes. The regional body includes the eight governors on the council plus the premiers of Ontario and Quebec. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is Gov. Mark Dayton’s delegate to both groups and provides data and water management expertise to assist implementing the compact. The effort to refine the procedures under the compact follows the states’ and provinces’ first experience reviewing a diversion request under the agreement. Reflecting on that experience and feedback from stakeholder groups, the states and provinces concluded that some aspects of the procedures should be clarified or refined. Following discussions with key stakeholders and tribal interests, the states and provinces developed the draft updates that were released for public review May 22. The updates include these changes: Expands opportunities for the public to participate at hearings and public meetings. Acknowledges the special status of First Nations and federally recognized Tribes through separate meetings with them and granting standing to contest compact council decisions. Identifies circumstances under which an additional public comment period would be offered between issuance of the regional body’s declaration of finding and the compact council’s final decision. Essentially, if the compact council views the regional body’s modifications to the applicant’s diversion proposal as substantial, the council would take public comment prior to making its final decision. The existing public comment opportunity prior to the regional body’s deliberations would remain. After considering public input received by June 21, the regional body will revise the draft procedural updates this summer. The compact council will then consider the updates and decide whether some or all of them should be adopted through rulemaking. The draft updates are available at www.glslcompactcouncil.org/PUT-DraftUpdates.aspx. This website includes instructions for sharing feedback. The public input process includes an in-person opportunity to share feedback in Duluth on June 21 at Fitger’s Inn at 10:30 a.m. Documents are also available on the regional body website. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
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