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My family and I will be staying at a friend’s cabin on Deer Lake (just north of Grand Rapids) from the 28th to the 5th. We have been there one time before and I broke out every bag of tricks I could think of with little luck. Leeches and crawlers only caught rock bass and lots of them. I was not able to spend much time night fishing which was my first mistake I think.

This time I will spend more time looking for fish and then fishing. I do have GPS and a map chip so I hopefully I can keep the boat off the rocks and over fish. After finding fish I am planning on some open water trolling with boards and rigging some deeper locations with leeches/shiners. At least that is the plan in my head.

I am not asking for any ones “honey hole” just trying to get an idea if I am on the right track. There is a lot of good structure on the map but the clear water is tough. I realize there are other lakes that are probably easier to fish locally, but I really want to figure this lake out. I know there are nice fish to be caught there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. For the most part I am catch and release only, but a few smaller fish for the frying pan would be nice. Thanks

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If you don't mind trolling put on a #7 perch' baitfish or silver shadraps in 12-14' of water and troll the shoreline at sunset and you should be able to find a few takers. It will be some tough trolling because of the structure but if you can keep your lure in the right depth you will catch fish. If you or your family are not up to trolling find a good spot with decent structure and cast jigs with leechs up to 4-6' of water and work them back to 14-16'. As far as color I would try white then glow/black and then green and you will never go wrong with yellow. If you want to try minnows and you think you will be able to keep them alive go for shiners and spottails if they have them. Good luck and remember you do have to pay your dues to the lake if you are going to get rewarded and you will never catch a fish sitting in the cabin. The amount of time you spend on the water will show up on the camera grin

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Good luck and remember you do have to pay your dues to the lake if you are going to get rewarded and you will never catch a fish sitting in the cabin. The amount of time you spend on the water will show up on the camera grin

Absolutely!! I have been researching fishing clear water lakes basically nonstop for about two years now. But nothing teaches better than time on the water!(and getting good advice from the good people that fish the lake).

Trolling I think is my best bet. I can cover more water and if I find them I can maybe come back and finnesse a few more out with jigs. I am stocked with about everything you mentioned and will definately give that some time.

This is a whole lot different than fishing the Mississippi! Pool 16 mostly. Which is basically ruined till at least mid summer. Man you guys have it nice!

I can't thank you enough for the confidence boosting advice!! If you happen to be out there when I am look for the black Lund tiller with umbrellas on the seats. Feel free to give me a shout. And if you are a beer drinker I will be more than happy to offer you a few of some of my homebrews. Off the water of course!

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Fishing at night can be good. You can anchor up to any of the midlake humps and use lighted slip bobbers. We just use a little jig and mostly leeches. Sometimes they like night crawlers.

I have been told rapelas for walleyes during the day can be effective.

During the day we ussually fish the shorelines for bass using larger minnows.

If you get into a lot of rock bass I would try a different spot.

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pout2-1.jpg

If you are really sweet to the lake you might even be lucky enough to catch one of these local favorites grin

I just had to throw that in there. The method that I forgot to tell you about was to have the person on the shore side use a #7 and the person on the lake side use a #8 shad rap if the water starts to warm and if you find a productive piece of shoreline just turn around and swap rods or swap lures. I always used 8# test just because you never know when you will get a muskie on. I got a 39" in the boat but we have had a 50" to the boat before he realized he was hooked and then he was gone with the lure. If it warms up the humps in the middle of the lake will produce but the water needs to warm up fast for that to happen in your time frame. The pout was a 32" from last weekend but there are bigger one's in the lake- we have released a 36" that might have pushed the state record but we did not know what record was so in the lake it went to swim another day. Also on the same spot we released a 37" muskie.

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Very Nice! I have only seen one of those in person in my life. Me and the guys from work took an ice fishing adventure to Mille Lacs and pulled one through the ice about the right size to use as bait for your trophy.

Speaking of Musky, on our last adventure to Deer my older brother had a very nice Musky on for a minute or two, jigging with 6lb and a leach. Then of course it spit up the rock bass that he had actually caught. Instant depression! But what a fun few minutes he had.

I cannot wait!! Even if I strike out, it's still an amazing lake. I think we will do all right though. My wife and kids (15 and 3) have never been to Deer and will absolutely love it. First boat ride and first fish are coming real quick for the 3yr old. (Would have been sooner but these darn floods!!) Then it's Dad's turn!!

Good luck to you guys, maybe we will trade waves out there....

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I always like to take newbies to the lake for a high speed ride thru hole-in-wall just because it is so cool and for the most part they will keep seeing bottom but it is really 12' deep just looks like 2'. If you are catching walleye's and the rock bass start hitting it is time to move.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for all the advice! Just thought I would let you know how we did. If I could figure out how to post a picture I would. We did not hook up with many walleye but the ones we did were hogs. We ended up with two 22's,a 28, and the largest walleye I have seen in person a 30".

MONSTERS! The big ones are still swimming! the 22 and 30 were taken on a Berkley Frenzy in the Shad pattern (which is red yellow and white?) in about 8-12ft over cabbage. And the 28 was in 10ft off a jig and shiner in cabbage. leaving a perch shad rap pulled over cabbage for the last 22". The "Frenzy", which I normally would not have thrown or pulled performed much better than the raps in my opinion, they definately pulled right through the weeds where the Rapalas seemed to collect them. ANd the fish loved it. I have been converted!

Other than that the wife and kids caught a ton of rock bass and bluegill. which they loved.

And of course on day 4 I had a giant musky follow a crank all the way in. Good times had by all and I hope to be back next year. Thanks!!!

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riverunt,

Glad to see you had a good trip to Deer. My daughter and I were out there last Sunday and lindy rigged w/o success. We tried slip bobbering w/ leeches near dark and caught a 25.50" and a 26.75". I'm wondering if you were trolling or just casting the cranks when you were catching fish in the cabbage beds?

Thanks,

Brian

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The 30" was caught casting over a mid-lake hump full of cabbage at about 1:30 AM.(can't remeber the name of it but it was across from xmas point. The other two were trolled in and out of weedlines along shore. When casting the hump we would bump weeds then stop for a second letting the crank rise off the weeds and repeat untill you were weeded or back to the boat. Like I said, the "Frenzy" was the champ at doing that. Pulled and casted great. And that color drove the rock bass crazy during the day.

One of the 22's and the 28 were caught at dusk with only one walleye caught at mid day.

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Riverunt it was good to here that the lake finally rewarded you for paying your dues with some nice fish. Sounds like the big one bite on variety bar.The lake can be tough but if you are persistent enough good things will happen. My personal best was a 30.5" that I caught casting jigs with a leech but I have caught a 28" while muskie fishing with a swim whiz that was 8" long. My friends wife had a 50"+ muskie chase her leech back to the boat when she was reeling up and she thought it was a log till it took off so you never know what will bite and what they want to eat. Did you get into any of the nice smallies the lake has ? They are a little slow this year but I did manage to get a 20" but the smallie fishing will only get better with the warming temps.

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We did troll up a few small smallies doing figure 8's around the humps off bear island at mid day. No trophies but still fun to catch. I sure wish I had more than a week to fish there. Just when things started coming together we had to leave. I can see how Musky fisherman get addicted. what a rush watching a log follow your lure to the boat. I am hoping I get to visit again next year. And may have to try the Musky seen a little more. So little time and so many fish!!! At least the Mississippi is back in its banks. I can at least hunt for some walleyes here in the meantime.

And on a side note, my son's rod broke for no other reason than it was old and cheap. So I run to Gods Country for a replacement and picked out a Shimano Compre 5'10" Med action casting for $60 after taxes. Perfect fit with a Zebco 303 for the boy. Not bad for a rod that Cabelas gets $89 for. You locals may want to check there selection. It's no St.Croix or Loomis but a very nice liftime waranteed rod. Not sure if they were all clearance priced or just the one I grabbed but could be worth looking into.

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Thanks for the heads up at Gods Country. I forgot to tell you how to post your pictures of your catch. What you will want to do is start a account at Photobucket or a site like them and upload your photos to a size of 800x600 or to fit a 17" screen. You will then copy the direct link by right click and copy and then you will start a post and at the top you will have all the square box's you will want to pick the 4th from the left and when you open it there will be a spot to paste but first get rid of the HTTP: and then right click and paste your pictures. If you pick the first (insert a non-floating image)your pics will be stacked on top of each other which is the I post mine most of the time. I like to have 2 browsers open when I copy pictures cause it just works better. Now there is no excuse to post pictures grin

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IMG_4162-1.jpg

0703082304.jpg

The top image is the 28" and the very poor quality bottom image is off of my cell phone of the 30. That was easy enough.

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Thanks for sharing and next time you better keep the good camera in the boat with fresh batteries so you never miss a chance at getting that perfect shot cause the big ones always bite when the camera is in the truck cry

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