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Hi.

New to this forum.

I'm heading up the 3rd week in May to do some Smallmouth fishing. First time to the lake. I just bought a topo map of the lake(s)

Was hoping some you could share some good spots to try.

Thanks in advance !

JW

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JW,

I see you're located in Missoula. I grew up North of Missoula in Kalispell. Stop in the store when you come up, I'm sure people will give you lots of information on this forum, you may want to check through some of the previous threads.

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Hey supermono,

Welcome to the FM/HSO forums.. great to have you.. I am not a self proclaimed expert on the bass but have put my time in over the years.. I tend to look for boulder shorlines that time of year (early season).. find some smooth round rocky areas with rocks the size of grapefruit.. should be a good starting point.. my personal favorite is the largemouth bite in Dago bay in May.. I'm sure others will chime in and help you out a little bit but anyways Welcome to the site...

Casey

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JW,

Where are you staying?

I like the rocky shores on the east end of Niles bay, south from where the channel goes into wolf bay along the east shoreline all the way over to the north channel of Oak narrows. I've had better luck hitting uninhabited rocky shores than I have near docks and man made structure. I can only assume this is because of the great number of fishermen who cast around docks/cribs/boathouses, etc.

Good luck,

Steve

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JW,

I've had better luck hitting uninhabited rocky shores than I have near docks and man made structure. I can only assume this is because of the great number of fishermen who cast around docks/cribs/boathouses, etc.

This is very true.. I have found that the man made stuff turns on after the spawn.. Mid-Late June or so and beyond.. I don't know the reason either but I would bet against the fishing pressure.. what do you think Ace? I guess I never put much thought into this..

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I never paid attention either until I started sitting on the dock watching the kids on the beach. Boat after boat would come by hitting the dock and boat lift areas with lures. I didn't see a single fish caught all day.

Steve

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I’ll be staying at the Vermilion Dam Lodge.

I plan on fishing saddles between rock islands and rock humps . A lot depends on water temps and if they are post spawn yet. . I rarely fish for smallmouth around docks.

Looking at the Topo Map, It looks like submerged rock humps and Islands everywhere. I’ll try the area you mentioned between Niles Bay and the narrows. Steve. ……and I’ll e sure to stop by your shop, Dave.

Thanks for the feedback.

JW

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I do not chase bass very often but Ace certainly would be able to put you on them!

Cliff

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I doubt there will be any fish post spawn in May. Water temps will be in the high 40's, low 50's at best, even late in May. The spawn up here is in the middle part of June unless we have a reall warm spring.

You may be able to find a few beds, however they will have a lot of small males on them. The first break, the end of long mainlake points, with rocks and boulders on them are good areas to start. Inshore humps and rockpiles, close to spawning areas. Points and islands, ajacent to the mouths of some of the small back bays

with reeds and gravel are also good locations for pre-spawn Smallies.

I rarely use plastics in the spring time, unless I have to.

Horizontal presenations should produce for you. Spinnerbaits and jerkbaits are my faves, but you can also get them on topwaters and crankbaits and in some cases, rattlebaits will produce as well. Unless they are all up on the beds, you're going to contact more fish just covering water than trying to fish slow with a soft bait.

I would definately expect them to be Pre-spawn in May. Unless we get some 80 degree weather in the next few weeks, and I don't think that's going to happen. smile

You will also find much better Smallmouth fishing by going east of the Dam. Fraiser Bay and Black duck bay, have some of the best Smallmouth fishing on the entire lake, east or west. The north side of Pine island is also very good. It's not that far of a run from the dam.

"Ace"

Beautiful Lake Vermilion.

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Bigguyone,

You need to e-mail me!

"Ace"

.

Beautiful Lake Vermilion.

[Please read the forum policy before posting again]

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Supermono,

If you want a couple spots to try on the west end, try the area about 3/4 of a mile to the southwest when coming out of the west channnel of Oak Narrows. Several small islands/humps and it's outstanding for smallies, plus some bonus largemouth.

Another good spot is the area from Norwegian Point out to Merry Go Round and Turtle Island. The saddle and shoreline area around Taylor Island and to the southwest is also good.

On the east end, the big reef area to the south of Arrowhead Point/Grubens Bridge, and any of the islands, points, and saddle areas in Big Bay. You could fish nothing but Big Bay for a long time, and still never cover all the smallie opportunities out there!

Look at your map and put a big circle around the area from Comet, east to Indian Point, southeast to Birch and Dog, across the north side of Ely, and northwest past Potato back to Comet. If you want saddles, islands, points, and humps...

Paul.

Paul.

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Hey guys am i missin something here or what? I thought there was a season on bass, smallies and largemouth,thought it opens in june sometime right ? That goes for muskie to doesnt it? please opine on this.

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If you do find a school of bass on those deep structures it's tough to beat a dropshot rig, or a small jig tipped with a grub, or some other small soft plastic concoction.

I think you should be able to find all the fish you can stand, fairly shallow in late May. It's always good to be prepared for any possibility at any time however. smile

"Ace"

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Bass season opens May 23rd, regardless of location in the state, unless I'm reading the regs incorrectly.

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Skunked,

The season is May 23rd unless you are North and East of Hwy 53 from Duluth to the Falls, then it is the same as the walleye opener (May 9th this year). Also it is only catch and release for Smallmouth after September 14th.

So you can fish on Vermilion for smallmouth on the 9th.

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What is the point of that rule about the opener? Wouldn't it be more important for the bass in NE minnesota to be protected by a later start to the season?

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Back in the day when this was first put into law there just wasn't a lot of lakes up here with Largemouth bass in them.

Smallmouth bass this far north don't spawn in large numbers until mid June. Therefor the early season opener doesn't really effect them very much.

Most are in early pre-spawn at the time the seson opens, and not to many local anglers are targeting them in May anyway.

Even if it were changed to the Memorial day weekend opener we have to the south. It wouldn't help or protect spawning bass this far north. Most Smallies are just begining to get up on the beds the first week of June and some years when it's cold, the spawn doen't start until late June, in many areas of the northland.

"Ace"

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • redlabguy
      Mark, Glad your crew had another great outing. It’s always good to read your reports. Just wish there were more of them like the old days. Sorry you hit the storm. One of the worst in our 14 years. We’ll be dealing with dock issues for a long time but nothing like the good folks in Cook have.  The fishing has come around a little since the storm. Definitely nightcrawler now. I don’t get far out of Frazer but the reefs are where the action is. Looking forward to hearing from you in September.  My best to you and Linda, RLG p.s. Our good old red lab, Ole, cashed it in last summer, but we have a 6 month old lab now who is learning the ropes up here (and teaching us we’re older than we think we are!)
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    • Rivergroup
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    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
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      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
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