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phishhead

Snowbank or Burntside?

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phishhead

We have a family 4 dayer coming up in the middle of Feb. My one brother-in-law and myself would like to try for some lakers. My other bro-in-law likes to chase the walleyes and perch. I was just wondering if anyone knew of a good lake that had lake trout and walleyes and or perch or even two lakes that are close to eachother? I really doubt that Canada is an option for everyone so any advice for northern MN would be great! If you know of any resort or cabin that sponsors F.M. please post it otherwise please email it to me at robgroth@comcast.net

Thanks!

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Steve Foss

First off, let me say that in Feb. the winter walleye bite will have tapered off, though the perch will keep going.

Burntside is the better laker lake. No travel restrictions, a lot more water, and numbers of caught fish seem to be bigger, as well as top size.

Snowbank is a better walleye lake. I don't mean it has more walleyes, simply that they seem to be more catchable in Snowbank, as well as the fact that the resorts there with fish houses focus on both species and have a long history of knowing their walleye locations. There are no businesses on Bside that target winter walleyes or even offer fish house rentals.

If double duty on the same lake is what you're after, Snowbank is the ticket. If you want to stay on Snowbank and fish walleyes there and drive over to Burntside for lakers, however, then that's a real option too. It'll take about 30-40 minutes to get from Snowbank to Burntside.

Another option is to HQ on Shagawa, which has better walleye/perch than Snowbank, and hit Bside a couple times. Travel is a consideration. If you're hoping to drive pickups on the ice, I'd forget that. Too much snow/slush to consider it safely. If you're mobile with sleds/wheelers, that's much better. The staked snowmobile trails from Shagawa to Burntside are well marked, and there are free snowmobile maps all over Ely. The trails across Shag and Little Long (en route to Bside) have already been staked, and the Bside trail probably will be staked this weekend. There's very nice laker water withing two minutes sledding once you cross the portage from Little Long to Bside.

And anywhere you buy bait in Ely will give you some spots to fish Shag for eyes/perch. Or at least they better. A bait shop is expected to put out some info in exchange for the business. It's how they get repeat business.

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phishhead

Thanks Stfcatfish-

I was hoping we could drive on whatever lake we fish on with our trucks. We have one 4 wheeler and one sled between the 6 of us so that might be a little tough. I am leaning towards Burntside myself but it would be nice if there was a perch lake nearby. So, does anyone plow out on Burntside at all or do we pretty much need a sled or 4 wheeler?

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Steve Foss

There usually is a road plowed out of the Van Vac Public Landing for contractors to access shoreline and island construction sites, and that road drives right through excellent laker water. It's generally wide enough that you can travel it and then punch through the berm to the side or at least park FAR over and pull your flipover 100 yards to fish.

But this last snow may have screwed that up. It's too soon to tell about that. We only had about 8 inches of good ice off the Van Vac landing before last weekend's dump of snow, and whether or not there's a contractor road plowed in Feb is an open question. If I had to guess, I'd say there will be one, but it's not a certainty.

And if it is there, it's not an open invitation. Those guys keep that road open so they can make their living driving to and from their work. Anyone using that road better make sure they pull WAY over to the side and don't drill any holes within at least 100 yards of the road. Water and slush migrate, so I HIGHLY recommend respecting those working men and women and walking a significant distance from the road to fish.

Anyway, laker opener is only a couple weeks away, and we'll get a better read on Bside ice/roads then, and the Burntside Bash is the end of January, before you're coming up, and we'll have an even better sense of things by then.

Because of this last snow, it's a possibility there will be little or no Bside truck traffic most of the winter. Stay tuned.

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