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finnbay

As we speak.....

Looked out my office window within the last half an hour onto the lake and here's what I saw:

Birch-Lake-Wolf-1.jpg

Birch-Lake-Wolf-2.jpg

When I first spotted them the first one was at about 200 yards. By the time I grabbed the camera on got out onto the deck, both were visable and out about a quarter of a mile.

By the way jonny, we've come close to crossing paths a lot of times! grin

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Lee Lane

I hunt wherever I think I have a crack at a big buck fishaulic....wolf lake road has produced some dandy sightings for me. that being said If theres a good deer population the wolves will be there. no different than fishing ...follow the food. I think one reason for my many sightings is my flawless scent control routine and my master calling tactics..lol..anyway them timbers sure do love the primos can call but ive had them come into rattling sequences and snort wheeze calls enough times also. The best adrenline rush ive ever had was having 6 come within feet of my ground blind. They bolted when they figured out the deal, other times though that hasnt been the case. Wich leads to my next point, some of the wolf population has obviously migrated possibly a great distance from canada atleast thats my opinion....ive seen probably 100 wolves and they all averaged out at about 80 to 100 lbs the ones I seen In the north of nashwauk area were well over 100 lbs , Id say closer to 150lbs infact the first thing that startled me about them was their size . Believe it or not I know what I saw.

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Lee Lane

I also think alot of people mistake coyotes for timber wolves and they are only about 30 or 40 lbs but when you do see one there will be no mistaking it.

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fishuhalik

The first one I saw was about 30 yards off and it scared the tar outta me. I was grouse hunting and it came flying outta the woods and just stopped in the middle of the trail and looked at me. I'd always been told they were like a big german shephard. Yeah, I 'spose that's true, if a big german shephard's head comes up to my shoulders. (and I'm 6'2") smile

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Lee Lane

I agree fishaulik......then last year day after gun season I was going to move a treestand that I couldnt bowhunt cuz of the blaze orange sea and had a 6 or small 8 pt buck jump the skidder trail in front of me......Little did I know it was being chased....no sooner did it disappear from sight and 3 huge timbers that had snouts about 10 inches long jumped on the trail from the thick tag alders about 20 yrds in front of me. I WAS SHOOK!! and to make matters worse, all I had for protection was a bowsaw and a small pair of pruners I use for shooting lanes. the Biggest one stood there and looked me straight in the eyes "wich in my opinion is a sign of dominance" the other two circled back behind and around to my other side, then as if on cue they all bounded odd in the direction of the buck pausing every 20 yrds to smell the ground. For about 15 minutes I just stood there trying to gather myself and figure out what had just happened. Then figureing I was just being a sissy and thinking I was In no immeidiate danger I trodded onward toward the spruce Island that contained my portable treestand. No sooner did I get to the pennennsula of of spruce bog that contained my treestand that I started hearing cracking and snapping of branches caused By 3 more huge timber wolves cominng straight toward me,to investagate wat I assume was the sound I was making from walking thru the thick brush. Now I was really freaked Out !!! I climbed a tree and stayed there. For about 15 minutes I could see glimpses of mottled grey and black fur as they zig-zaged thru the brush like a bird dog trying to jump a grouse. None of you will ever know how much courage it took to walk the 3/4 mile hike across a beaver dam and skidder trail back to my truck in the waning november daylight. Up to that point I had never really been scared of wolves because Id had quite a few encounters and as soon as they knew I was there , they were GONE!! Atleast up until that point. Ive had a few more encounters like that though not as dramatic but still they werent scared and they didnt leave for awhile and thats kind of startling. I just wasnt scared because I was perched in a treestand and I had my bow. This all took place the day after firearms season 2 falls ago on november 20th about 15 to 20 miles north of nashwauk and to this day I aint bowhunted that spot since......I still drive and scout the area constantly and last fall I seen fresh wolf tracks coming out of that skidder trail almost every day. At first It was what must have been a mother and smaller juvenile , then around thanksgiving it was a whole pack of around 8 or 10. Driving to a different spot about a mile down the road atleast 3 mornings a week Id watch their tracks in the snow. They would always come out of that skidder trail and run about a half to three quarters of a mile down the road then head back into the swamp always on the same side of the road. Oh yea , and onece in awhile id see their tracks where I park and change into my scentlok In the morning Like they were loitering and sniffing around the area where do my scent control routine from the day before.

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fishuhalik

Geez, I woulda soiled myself! Good call on getting up in the tree, it sounds like they were legitimately stocking you. Pretty creepy story, Lee!!

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Lee Lane

The thought of hiking back into that spot in the dark at 5am was creepy to me thats why I aint ever went back. I do have another spot down the road about 3/4 of a mile where I see plenty of wolf sign but ive never seen them in there so it makes me feel kinda better about a pre light hike to a treestand. As for the wolves I dont know if they were stalking me or just " being " wolves but it did freak me out. I have considered that going through diligent scent control routine and my scentlok that many claim dont work could have thrown them off cuz they couldnt smell me or atleast made it so they couldnt smell me as well and were curious. that being said....about the same time I got more serious about scent control and wearing 5million dollars worth of carbon suits was about the same time my deer and timber wolf sightings increased.

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Steve Foss

Great stories and perspectives, everyone. I've enjoyed reading this thread a lot more than most wolf threads on HSO/FM. As Ken said, nicely balanced.

There was a female mountain lion with kits reported near Ely a couple years back, and there have been too many other sightings in the state for me to think they're all just animals traveling through.

As a nature photographer I'm in the woods up here a lot, and have had a few close encounters with wolves, including one last fall with finnbay. One of his pics is from that encounter, in which the wolf came within 20 feet before I held up my hand and told it to stop and get off the road. Well, we'd had plenty of pics of the wolf trotting toward us down the road and I wanted a few of him in the woods. He promptly stopped and walked off into the woods and posed nicely. After I turned around, it was clear he wasn't interested in us, but in the little dog yapping inside the car that had pulled up behind us. It was quite an experience.

I can tell you that I'm a lot jumpier if I think there's a lion around than I am in the company of wolves.

I used to put on the winter camo and use the dying rabbitt predator call to try to get fox, coyote and wolf coming in to the camera, but I quit it pretty quickly after we started getting those mountain lion reports.

Heeeeeeere, kitty kitty kitty. Not! shockedshocked

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Lee Lane

Thanks Steve, I dont want to come across as someone who wants to wipe wolves from the face of the planet but rather share my expieriences and read other peoples....In all reality what happened in my story like I said could have been wolves that were curious because they couldnt smell me as well but looked to me different.....Ill never know but in either case its an interesting subject for me.

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Steve Foss

Lee, you don't come across that way at all. No worries.

I've been fascinated with wolves since I was a boy and have made it a point to keep studying what's been written about them. They are a big reason I moved to Ely in the first place.

No doubt the wolves in your stories could simply have been curious, but I do agree with many that wolves over time have been losing their fear of man because man isn't as much of a risk for them as he used to be. That, of course, may change if any type of hunting/trapping season is allowed.

I've had a couple wolves in close (within about 30-40 feet), which I've photographed, that gave me that head-down assessment stare, which is one way they evaluate whether you are prey or not. It didn't help, probably, that I'd gone down low so my photographs would be on the same level as the wolves. In both cases, they watched me for several seconds and then trotted off.

In one case, I know for a fact that the wolf was part of a pack that often gets fed from someone's back yard in the woods near Ely.

I have a 2002 study compiled by the Alaska DNR that details 80 incidents from Alaska, Canada and Minnesota of wolf/human close encounters, including some attacks. Interestingly, wolves that attacked or were aggressive toward people sometimes were diseased, but the research showed that many of the undiseased aggressive wolves had been fed by people and had both lost their fear of people and been conditioned to expect food from people. So when they were close to people who didn't feet them, they got aggressive. And investigators determined that the wolves that killed and ate that guy in Canada a few years back likely were habituated to being fed by people.

If you Google: "A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada" you'll go right to a site where you can download and read/print the study. It's definitely worth reading for anyone who's interested in wolf/human interactions.

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bmc

A friend of mine lives near the Spring Lake store, north Deer River. A few years ago he was in his yard with his Rotweiler and Irish Elkhound. He was in the garden doing some work and got an eerie feeling he was being watched. He looked behind him and about 50 yds away on the edge of his yard sat a timberwolf watching him. He said he made a loud snarling sound at the wolf and not to be out done, the wolf gave him a meaner snarl back. It then got up and walked off like "This is my turf." I'd say that one wasn't afraid of humans.

Brian

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glenn57

hey brian, whos your friend? the spring lake store is real close to the cabin, and we frequent the store often. noticed a lot of wolf sign during bear baiting and hunting, not so much this winter though.

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kkahmann

Wolves are trapped hereabouts and shot on site by most everyone in the bush. I average 2 a year and see them about a dozen times per year. I have several baits out and have called a few in with a predator caller.

I personally think the wolf population has remained stable in this area over the last 30 years. It fluctuates some up and down but not with the same wild swings you see with moose and deer.

Wolves are by far the most inteligent animals in the bush.

I would be the last person to think wolves should be annilated--I love them. I've learned more by tracking wolves than by observing any other animal in the bush.

In the boreal forest, wolves will never be in any danger of extinction. They tried to kill them from airplanes all thru the 30's thru the 60's and the old timers tell me they shot a lot of them but didn't seem to hurt the population any.

Any trapper that can harvest 10 or 12 a year is one [PoorWordUsage] of a trapper.

Used to be you could take all you wanted on a small game liscense--not so anymore. Seperate liscense and only 2 per year Season closed from April to September.

I've observed wolves in both Minnesota and Wisconsin--I actually saw a wolf kill a hound in Wisconsin. Your wolves are all habituated to people and are fearless. In my opionon only a matter of time before somebody gets bitten.

I have a local pack that comes thru my yard every 6 to 10 days. I pay attention but only rarely see them.

I've hunted cats in both Utah and Idaho. Mountain lions are big pussy's not even in the same class as wolves. I've had my hounds kill a bear on the ground and I've had my hounds kill a mountain lion on the ground. I've never had a dog more than cut by a cat. I've never had a dog hurt a wolf but I have had several hounds and a house dog killed by wolves.

Just some random thoughts.

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fishuhalik

Good words, kkahmann. BTW, is that a laker in your avatar!?

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kkahmann

40lb Laker, a nice one but not my best.

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Lee Lane

I just wish I could get out for the last day of hard water laker fishing.... poor weather and a crabby woman didnt help my ambition much......looks like its crappie fishing from here on out.

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Holy Canvas

I live a few miles south of Togo, and saw a Mountain Lion cross 551 (Thistledew Road) right in front of my truck at about 11:00 at night. This was 2 1/2 years ago in the fall, a couple weeks before deer season. HUGE tail and disappeared right away. As for the wolf rug comment, if I ever actually finished my basement, I think a full body wolf mount in the corner would look pretty sweet!

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straydog

Last summer my wife was on her way to work between Marcell bigfork and she swears she saw a large animal with a huge tail also, she thought it was a couger or mountain lion, I kept telling her that her eyes played tricks on her in the dark and it was probably a deer. Maybe not?

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Lee Lane

cant say Ive ever seen a lion in minnesota but I sure hear enough reports from other people that claim they do...another thing whats up with all the people that claim they seen a black mountain lion?? sounds kinda fishy but then again enough people from all over the place are making these claims...there must be sumthin too it otherwise alot of people made up the same exact lie...."doubtful" I think maybe they seen a mountain lion and it was mature or sumthing kinda like how a big swamp buck looks black and dark in general and not brown. as for the timber wolves here....been patroling the area quite a bit and aint even seen a track....lots of coyotes here tho , they been yelpin every nite. the wolves I seen must have moved on I aint even seen a track crossing the road within a 5 mile radious. wish they would do that disappearing act in a few of my hunting areas.

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Lee Lane

I did see a huge buck on the thistledew road a few yrs ago....too bad it was in the game refuge>:(

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Lee Lane

My final thoughts for the night....I totally agree that the deer numbers are lower than what they were 2 years ago because of wolves....however while browsing something on timber wolves in the leech lake back on page 4 or 5 I saw way too many people complaining that all they get is spike bucks and have very few sightings and want to blame that on timber wolves. Sounds to me like maybe they should spend more time scouting and hanging stands or taking the time to educate themselves more on what the best natural food sources in their hunting area currently ...I deal with these blaze orange experts on big bucks every year in the areas I hunt. Sometimes I see them grinning and gawking when they see me carrying my bow into the woods during firearms season...and twice in4 yrs I wiped their smiles off when they seen me hauling out my big racked trophy for a ride in the pickup truck. The buck I seen 2 times this last fall in a wolf infested area was so big had I put an arrow in to its ribcage I would have brought it to the bar and bought it a round. Id also bet my deer hunting soul on charles alshimers moon chart ..last fall calling for a later than normal rut because the second full moon after the autum equinox wasnt until around nov 10th I dont remember the exact date. It was right on for me...didnt see many deer at all but on november 2Oth I seen my first action ....wich was pretty late, usually I see action right around halloween or sometime the first week in november. By the time I started seeing bucks showing up at food sources at dark to check does or bucks cruising with their nose to the ground Most serious hunters I know were complaining "the RUTS OVER" on contrere it was just beginning and most of the experts I seen complaining on that forum were already back in the cities wimpering about wolves eating their deer. Most gun hunters I know dont even make it the full season bfore they are done and back drinking an old Milwaukee at the deer camp.... any serious bowhunter spends atleast 40 or 50 days in the woods and scouting the entire season therefore gaining the knowledge it would take a gun hunter 4 years to learn the same material because they spend 2 weeks of driving their 4 wheeler to their stand because they are afraid of the dark. When a mature northern minnesota whitetail gets the scent of the first doe going in to heat the rut begins and nothing is going to stop it from cruising at all hours giving plenty of hunters opportunity and not even wolves are going to stop it from searching for does.

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JeffB

I have seen a few wolves deer hunting at my cabin neer Upper Red lake. The first time I saw a wolf while sitting in my stand I couldn't wait to tell someone about it. That night we went into Kelliher and made the mistake of telling one of the locals in the bar about my experience. Pretty soon half the bar was pizzed off at me for for not shooting it. I have met a lot of great people up there, but have learned to watch what I say about enjoying seeing a wolf in the woods. By the way nice pics I wish I would have had a camera.

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Lee Lane

I mean come ON!!!!! northern MN is pretty much the edge of the expansive canidian borieal forest and even with the increased logging activities these areas SIMPLY CANNOT support large numbers of whitetail deer....there just isnt enough food!

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Lee Lane

lots of wolves up there....most of them clowns have never seen them or they probably would have shot them.

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Lee Lane

I aint tryin to pick on anyone....my point is that I see people .....mostly gun hunters from the city drive their 4 wheelers to their stands ....smoke ciggerettes in their stands ....no scent control .....no scouting just build a stand wherever then throw down a corn pile that aint even legal ...acting like they then own the surrounding 400 acres of state land , sometimes even posting no treaspassing signs ....and then are angry when they dont get an easy ticket to a large racked buck.......IT JUST AINT GOING TO HAPPEN!! ITs when most big buck "EXPERTS" realize that they got to put some work in that they give up. IF they were easy and you seen them everyday what fun would it be??>?? I would not be dreaming of the big one that I just caught glimpses of right at dark weaving thru the brush because I could see another one tomorrow.

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Leaddog

Lee,

You're right, from another avid archer. I firmly believe if mature bucks made up a 3rd of the deer population, the average hunter still would NEVER see one! They lack the skill and patience so shoot the first deer they see. Hunting isn't about shooting or bragging. It's about the total experience. Long rifle shots aren't impressive, getting that animal up close, IS! Arrowed an 11 ptr from the ground at 15' Oct 4. Lastly, elk hunting (archery) in wolf ctry, the wolves den in and stay home while the elk are nomadic so you just move to the next ridge. Wolves in general: I respect a predator that catches and kills its own food whether that be a hawk, wolf or Lake Trout. Egg eaters are another story...

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ozzie

straydog- we hunt in marcell talmoon area and we saw a big long black cat with a long tail cross our headlights just south of marcell about 6 years ago. We didn't believe what we saw then we mentioned it to the local bar keep and they said that they have had a few reports of seeing the same described animal in the same area...so who knows what walks in those big woods.....

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HeviShot

Hey Lee Lane, did that buck on the thistledew road have a drop tine on its right side. I saw a deer off that road last fall when I was out bear baiting that I swear would score over 200"

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Lee Lane

I couldnt tell ....It was In the road after dark obviously cruising for one last doe it was the day after thanksgiving......all I can tell ya is it was a booner...Its beams went out past its nose and its g-2's had to have been 13 or 14 inches.....all I got was a side view of it from about 50 yrds in the headlights then it was gone. I also seen a huge bear right on the thistledew road and hwy 65 after dark that would have went 350lbs probably the biggest wild black bear ive ever seen. Im not dazzled by very many muskie photos these days but thats an IMPRESSIVE lookin fish in that photo!

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Leaddog

Finnbay, Great pics. I see alot of great things but never will a camera handy.

Lee, read your encounter and can see why you'd be nervous. When I've see wolves it's usually with a dozen Siberians in front of me or at least picketed close. Except when bow hunting out West. In ID I've crossed cougar, wolf, deer, elk bear tracks all in a couple hundred yards. The only time I was nervous was after a light snow and found myself between fresh sow and cub tracks. The elk hardly seem to be bothered. Probably because there were many more much less dangerous to kill deer running all over the low lands. And the elk just move to the next drainage.

I'd advise in your situation to talk out loud in a deep firm tone to establish yourself as a human. In my kennel are two hybrids each about 1/4 t-wolf (genetics doesn't work that nicely.) They are both what I'd call Hyper-sensitive. Or you might say, "They go to 11." When one was about 6 mo. he chewed the flap on a dog door of the main doghouse. I threw it at him not landing within 10'. It still took him days to get over it. Now he's a 100 lb teddy bear.

One more...my team lives communally - all loose in a huge kennel. The pack mentality really shows, unfortunately when I observe I effect their behavior.

By the way, most of my Sibs are rescues, basically the same story for the Hybrids, too. There's no prestige or bragging involved here.

Good conversation!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      well...........i'll be up for round #2 wed morning!!!!!!!! look out fish. last time was mainly work. did get a bit of fishing in but i was limited.
    • Roseypike19
      Hi Squirt,    The previous tips are all good regarding pike on Vermilion.  Find some shallow reeds/weeds and you will find some nice sized pike (Average = 20-30" with a bigger fish at times).    What is your definition of a "big" pike? The shallow program is fun and that's how I do most of my pike fishing, but overall that is not how you will find the biggest pike on Vermilion.  I'm talking East Vermilion as that's the basin I fish.  By now many of the biggest pike are suspended and feeding on ciscoes in deep water.  They will make occasional forays into the shallows to follow food (think windy days), but they spend much of their time suspended over the depths.     Several really good areas very near you have this potential: 1. The narrows between Moccasin Point and Pine Island.  You can't miss this area on a map.  There is BIG pike potential here.  2. The deep water break on the east side of Isle of Pines.  I have literally seen giant pike chasing ciscoes out of the water here (also a fantastic muskie spot).     Those two areas are a literal stones throw from your place.     How do you fish the deep water?  IDK!  Like I said, I'm a shallow pike program guy.  The few times I've done the deep suspended thing we found the bait and big hooks on sonar and then jigged 1 oz hair jigs and/or 1 oz lead heads with a white fluke.  It worked, but it was technical and tough.  If I ever do it again (maybe later this summer), I'll troll big plugs at the depth just above the fish.     Last week we had a lot of fun catching many nice pike in the shallow weeds, but our two biggest fish (including a 40"er), came on a very windy, cloudy day while fishing shallow rocky points adjacent to deep water.   Coincidence?  I think not.  So definitely take advantage of those windy, cloudy days if you expect to find a giant.  In my experience, those conditions provide your best shot a true trophy pike from shallow water.  (Of course there are some exceptions and any cast on Vermilion could land a big pike!)   Otherwise, ply the suspended depths and report back what you find.    Good luck.    
    • Roseypike19
      Hope I'm not too late on this report.  We were up last week (23rd-30th), and overall we had fantastic smallie fishing.  We had to adjust a bit as they were definitely more in spawn mode than most Memorial day weeks, but that just meant moving from points and secondary points towards the spawning bays and banks.  I really enjoy pre-spawn smallie fishing because they are often schooled up on the points leading into spawning areas, they are fat as heck, and they are very active - and while we had some action in this regard - we had more overall action on the banks and in the bays and saw a lot of spawned out females compared to previous years.  So I'd say about a 1/3 of our fish were pre-spawn, a 1/3 were spawn (males on beds), and a 1/3 were post spawn.  T'was all fun.     The whole month of June = awesome shallow smallie fishing, so whoever is up, good luck!  
    • Raven77
      I have one that I would sell you.  I'm on Richie Bay.
    • gimruis
      This is how my boat is.  The bow eye fits snuck right up the roller with the latch below.
    • ozzie
      Wish I had some information for you rayguy but from what I have been hearing the shallow bite in a few popular bays is non-existent this year.  Tough panfish bite...but the sunfish should start biting in the next few days as the water temp on the main lake (Cross) was 60-62 this weekend.  Good Luck and keep us posted!! 
    • bfisherman11
      That looks good. Keep posting! Enjoying the pictures of my favorite lake.   Bill
    • 97procraft
      Spent all last week on the lake.  We fished on the east end all week.  We found the water temps on the east side, Armstrong Bay, was in the low 70's and on the west side, Daisy bay, was in the low 60's.  Kind of a wide range.  We found walleye shallow, even caught quite a few of the dock, 5'-9'  We found pike in the weeds, perch outside the weeds in the bays.  Pike would hit a swimbait or fluke worked through the weeds.  We caught the perch on a small 1/8 oz spinnerbait.  The smallmouth were making beds in the warmer water and staging in the cooler water.  The fish on beds are easy to catch, the staging fish would hit a medium size red squarebill crankbait.  It did help if there were rock present, volleyball size or bigger.  Pike and smallmouth fishing should only get better in the weeks to come.  We did see a dozen or more musky cruising the shallows.  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...  A very successful week for Lake of the Woods anglers.  Great walleye fishing continues with best success in 17-28 feet of water, with walleyes also being caught shallower.  A number of areas along the south shore from Pine Island, Morris Point, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point are producing.  Knight / Bridges Island area also still holds good numbers and size of fish.  Anchored up and vertical jigging, drifting crawler harnesses and pulling crankbaits all working.  Gold / pink  / orange / glow all working well.  A nice mix of eaters, slot fish to be released between 19.5" and 28" and a good number of trophies over 28".  As last week, big pike and jumbo in the mix.   On the Rainy River...   Most walleyes are being targeted and caught in the lake.  There is always a population of resident walleyes that live in the river.  Best depth is 12-24'.  Jigs and minnows working the best however trolling a crankbait and covering water is also effective.  Smallmouth bass near rocky structure.   Good pike hanging in and adjacent to bays.  The sturgeon season is closed until July 1st when the season re-opens. Up at the NW Angle...  Until the US / Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake and stay in MN waters.  Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.   Fishing continues to be excellent.  Walleyes being caught on 5-7' flats with snelled spinners and crankbaits as well as jigging rocky points in 10 - 20 feet of water.  Walleyes being caught in many different areas on the Minnesota side.  Pike in bays and creek mouths.  Water temps 55-57 degrees. 
    • 97procraft
      I was just there last week.  Pike were a little slow, but they should be getting better.  Find the weeds.  Throw unweighted swimbaits or flukes close to the bank and work them out through the weeds.  Stop working them at the edge of the weeds and let them sink.  If you don't get hit in the weeds, there is a good chance they will hit it on the fall at the edge. 
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