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JBMasterAngler

Ely Trout In Spring

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JBMasterAngler

So I'm having a heck of a time finding a place to take my vacation in may. The problem is, I am mostly a bass fisherman, and obviously the season isn't open yet (except for this neck of the woods). I'm guessing the bass aren't too active yet right after opener? So my question is...how is the laker fishing in may? I've caught them fairly shallow in june in the grand marais area...are they even shallower and more active in may?

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Steve Foss

It's great in May. After spending a couple years in a buddy's boat trolling shallow water with planer boards with no success, I just switched to the usual trolling over deeper water structure that produces later in summer when the surface water warms. When I did that I immediately starting hooking up with fish.

I found that if you can get a bit deeper than the surface your odds go up. Even though surface temps are cold in May, it's best to get down closer to the trout. If you have downriggers you're set, but if you don't you can use a dispy diver to get down, or you can use deep-diving cranks. Even trolling 15 feet down will put you on fish better in May than just using standard cranks.

I'd expect to long-line if you're just dragging deep cranks, though, because they don't go deep enough to keep the lakers from being shy of the boat, in my experience, so that's usually a superbraid exercise to avoid long-line line stretch. When I want to troll spoons in those conditions, I've also put a couple/three ounces of lead sinker on the main line above a ball-bearing swivel and then run a 7-foot fluoro leader to the spoon. Depending on speed, you can get down to 15-20 feet doing that, and there are some days the trout tell you spoons are what they want instead of minnowbaits.

My May success now is every bit as good as later in the summer using these methods.

You can also do well on Miners Lake in Ely (old mine pit) for brookies and rainbows by casting weighted slip bobbers with a small jig/crawler chunk out as far as you can, set to about 15 feet down. There's a fishing pier, or you can cast off the public access. Early morning/late evening is best.

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fishwater

I know when we go up to Canada in early May at ice out we are trolling HJ's and floaters on the surface and nail them.

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deadeye

I was nailing them out on trout lake (by vermillion) last June. It was a pretty cool start to the year and the water was really cold still. I think in a normal year, May would be the best time for them.

I was hammering them in 15-25 fow with typical walleye stuff. I wasnt even originally targeting them, it was more of a suprise at first. I thought I had one heck of a walleye on and my jaw dropped when a 34" laker came up. After that we proceded to catch a bunch more. I couldnt find the walleyes on that trip but the lakers more than made up for it.

I would say the colder the water, the better the easier they will be to catch. If its pretty warm then they will head deep. Like Steve says, if you go a little deeper you will start hooking up.

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Far-I

I can echo what stfcatfish says about miner's pit that time of year. Off the fishing pier, late may/early june, my son caught a 21 in rainbow 2 years ago. We always do really well righ there.

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Steve Foss

I should add that I have no doubt there are lakers in shallow water on Bside in all the seasons that the shallower areas are cold enough to suit them, just that I had no luck pursuing them there in spring, while I've had many excellent May and early June days trolling over deeper water. smilesmile

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delcecchi

I recall the time I thought I had a world record smallie in Quetico. came out from under a fallen spruce laying in about 2 feet of water on a shoreline. Turned out to be a nice laker.

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Great Outdoors

Burntside would be a good bet for you.

The fishing season opens the 9th this year, so anytime for the next few weeks should work

I catch lakers that time of year in 7-10 FOW trolling for a real fish, the walleye.

You can also latch onto some decent size bass using the same method.

Keep every Bass you catch and help clean the lake out of those hideous creatures. grin

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JBMasterAngler

What about jigging?

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Steve Foss

If you're targeting only lakers, jigging works best when you've marked fish on the electronics (suspended hooks with smelt clouds nearby usually will be lakers in Bside). I say this only because you don't know the lake that well (I'm assuming), and just jigging off good looking but random structure may not be a productive method.

There are a few folks who vertical jig for open water Bside lakers a lot, and they do well.

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Great Outdoors

I catch them long lining, using a 1/8th oz jig and minnow.

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deadeye

When I was slamming them on Trout Lake I was slooowly dragging a green 1/4oz jig tipped with a rainbow. We were drifing over a small hump and over points with a drift sock. I also got a few lindy rigging it.

I would venture a guess if you were to troll some deep cranks, way behind the boat, you could get into them too. Maybe cover a bit more water that way.

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JBMasterAngler

I've only physically seen burntside once in my life, and aside from a few casts from the dock I have no experience fishing it. I'm used to fishing lakes where cisco is the main forage, do smelt put the lakers in different water columns/locations? Thanks for all the info so far. Figures after I ask all these questions, the MRS is telling me to make a july vacation instead of in may. So we'll see what happens.

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deadeye

I always just found the schools of smelt and hit the edges of it. I don't think fishing them at b-side is any different than anywhere else. If anything, I found on B-Side that I had the best luck on smaller stuff and the color green. I cant comment on where the smelt will be at any given time, but If you find some decent drop offs and reefs you will get on them. As long as you got a good locator, you will run into them eventually.

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Steve Foss

JB, I don't think it's much different. The only meaningful experience I have fishing cicso/laker lakes is Trout Lake off Vermilion. I found the fish there on the same type of structure as Burntside lakers.

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