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BRULEDRIFTER

Here's my $.02 on line....

I do a lot of steelheadin' and use 8# mono for that. I've tusseled with some bruisers and only have lost them to bad knots or they find the sharpest rocks or tangles in the river. I have lost a few to their sheer power, but let's not talk about that right now..... wink

So, I guess I don't really see a need to go any bigger then 8#- 10# tops for lakers. 9 times outta 10 you're fighting it in deep water with no snags or obstructions to break off.

I've hauled in some nice lakers in my short "career" of fishing them and have never had one snap me off. I've had plenty shake the hook, but never a clean snap.

Last year I pulled in my biggest through the ice, 30.5 with a small #3 perch Chubby Darter on 8# test, no problems!

n668453989_1370424_76601.jpg

*not a B-Side fish*

In fact, my best day was in open water and in about 3 hrs time I pulled in 3 fish 2-29's and a 30.5, all fat pigs and I had on 8 lb fireline with a 6# floro-leader. (I've since up'd my leaders to #8 just to be a little safer wink ).

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Wanted to provide a follow-up report for all interested. In a word...tough. Got to the campground on Friday with a huge wind coming off the lake from the SW. Got set-up just before the rains came.

We had an incredible trip last year in the BWCA. Smallmouth action was the best I've seen it. The best that time of year were poppers, jerk baits, and wacky worms. Here's a video I put together of the

Ive got 2 50inch plus muskies on 6 lb test ....never snapped me off but my arm was sore by the time I got them in the net! One was on a river with current "winnie dam" while jigging for eyeballs and the other was on vermilion fishing smallies. Not my choice for muskie fishing just pointing out that If you fight the fish out and dont horse it in it can be done. On the other hand If I was using a bigger heavier jig tipped with a big hunk of smelt id probably go with the bigger diameter line.

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Ive been tinkering with avitar pics and they are all blurry and hurtin lookin ...can anyone help me out?

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BRULEDRIFTER

The one you're sporting now looks pretty sweet!

I've got some good open water laker pics, but my ice ones are not so good. Always seem to forget the camera or alone and want to get it back in the drink.

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If you don't mind driving east you could always hit Ojibway. Its not as productive as Burntside in some people's eyes but it can be decent. I like it because Im usually the only one there. Its a very short walk to good fishing too.

There is kind of a triangle of trout lakes in that area with each having a different variety of fish. Its fun to hit all 3 in a day and see what is biting. All of them in that area are small too so walking isn't really a problem.

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Im the opposite lol...come june Im a muskie junkie but I dont mind jigging lakers around opener when you dont have to use a 5 lb jig or downrigger. I bring a camera set up on a tripod when Im alone so I can snap a few quick pics b4 I release my fish it works great just gotta do a few practice pics before you start fishing.

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I just watched the full moon rise. Like the new moon of opener weekend, you guys should be having a rip-snortin' good time this weekend. Save some for me! I may sneak out there over the next couple days if I'm lucky. Otherwise, got a Saganaga trip planned that needs some attention! gringringrin

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leech~~

I just watched the full moon rise. Like the new moon of opener weekend, you guys should be having a rip-snortin' good time this weekend. Save some for me! I may sneak out there over the next couple days if I'm lucky. Otherwise, got a Saganaga trip planned that needs some attention! gringringrin

Steve, see how you are! On my other post about which lake has the largest lakers.

I asked what about Sag? Not a word! whistle

Now it looks like your off that way! frown

Good luck up there! winklaugh

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Now, have some of those big red bands that haven't hit been monsters that would have hit if I'd had light line on? Anything's possible, but you'd really have to convince me it's a line issue.

For me there are many factors I consider and all put together I hope It might land me a big fish or more fish. In no way am I saying using lighter line will bring giant fish or magical days!

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Mike Stark

does your leader line need to be heavier than your main line? say i had 12lb mono on my reel and 8lb fluoro as a leader

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say i had 12lb mono on my reel and 8lb fluoro as a leader

The only reason, IMO, to use a leader of a different line/weight than your main line is to make things more "invisible" from the swivel down to the lure. But there's no way to know what is and is not visible to a fish, because we are not fish, and the way things look to us underwater may have no relation to what a fish sees/understands.

All we have to go on is inference (and the occasional piece of scientific research), and I believe that our obsession with invisible line as anglers is based on the idea that because we can't see the line, we believe the fish can't see the line. Who really knows? And if a fish can see a line, how often does it matter? More with some species and less with others, but our "knowledge" is not exact.

I quit using a fluoro leader last year. Just used the same mono between swivel and snap/lure as the main line. Didn't slow my catch rate down at all. Then, with 15/4 braid, I quit using a mono/fluoro leader and just used a length of the same 15/4. Didn't slow my catch rate down at all.

The danger I see in using a leader with a significantly lighter test strength than the main line is the likelihood of breakage. Even when an angler KNOWS the leader is weaker than the main line, it's hard to fish the whole rig that light during the fight. Can it be done? You betcha. Just gotta keep remembering the whole time that your drag has to be set to the leader, not the main line. In the heat of battle, that's not as easy as it sounds.

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Interesting!!!!!your only strong as your weakest link and to me thats your knot from your swivel and the knot tied to your bait.

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leech~~

Look closer. I mentioned Sag. smilesmile

Sag is one good option. Large, very deep, good average size, from the reports/pics I've seen. Frankly, I don't think either Burntside or Gunflint holds the largest laker in inland Minnesota waters. There are too many other good laker lakes, some well known and many not so widely talked about or pressured (especially in the BWCAW).

Yep, missed it. You are an honest man, Sir. Enjoy you trip up there. smile

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sounds like you have knot tying issues Lee.

Thats right casey all my big lakers jump up my hole after my line breaks due to knot failure!! All I was saying is the knot is your weakest link not the line itself!!

[Note from admin: Please read forum rules before posting again. Thank you.]

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Interesting!!!!!your only strong as your weakest link and to me thats your knot from your swivel and the knot tied to your bait.

Exactly. The weaker your line, the weaker your knot test strength will be, so unless the knot tyer is good at his/her job, that 6 lb leader might actually have a 5 lb break strength because of the knots. smilesmile

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Jim Almquist

It is amazing how weak a knot can get from jigging a heavier lure like a jigging rap or a large airplane jig. One really needs to retie every couple of hours just to be safe rather then sorry.

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As an FYI, if you become an HSO Club/premium member (very top forum on the main directory list of forums), you can win a free guided Bside laker trip. There's also more detailed fishing information from many locations (including Burntside lakers) on that forum. You can click on the second line in that forum header to find out how to sign up.

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NorthlandProCrow

First attempt at Bside, going off of VanVac Rd. Very used to Gunflint area, working on Ely area....

What are a few good bait shops?

What's good for live or dead bait on Bside? g. shiners, cisco, smelt..

Any other recent activity info?

Thanks very much.

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NPC, smelt or cisco are equally good for your tip-ups if you are a deadbait fan. Suckers, rainbows and golden shiners seem to work equally well if you like live bait.

It's been a very good first couple weeks of the season, and you'll see that if you tune into the Burntside Fishing Reports thread stickied to the top of this forum.

All four Ely bait shops I'm going to mention are on the main drag (Sheridan/Hwy169/1). Babe's Bait is on your left immediately as you come into town (assuming you are coming through Tower.) Blomberg's Cstore is on your right a few blocks past Babe's. Great Outdoos is about mid-way through town on your left. Lucky 7 is a Cstore that also sells bait, and is on the right side about half way through town. If you are coming in really early or really late, try either Blomberg's or Lucky 7, as they have much longer hours. For tackle, all but Blomberg's have pretty full selections.

If you have your heart set on live golden shiners, as of today Lucky 7 is the only local bait outlet that has them (although Babe's may have some in a day or two). But bigger rainbow chubs work well for live tip-up bait, too, and you can find rainbows and small sucker minnows at most/all the stores mentioned.

If you have your heart set on smelt, no one I know of in town sells them. Last winter, Vermilion Fuel and Food in Tower had them, so you might check there on your way to Ely. VFF is on the right side mid-way through Tower, and they have the full gamut of bait and tackle. While millions of mostly stunted smelt are the primary forage of Burntside lakers (the smelt have extirpated the ciscos in the last 30+ years), cisco is just as good a deadbait for icing lakers.

If you are coming into town from the east (up from Two Harbors or Silver Bay), just reverse the order of these stores and which side of the street they are on.

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DaveSorensen

I have smelt and ciscos at the store and I have had them all year long. I have had shiners all year long although I can get cleaned out with one group, so if they are gone on a day that you come through don't assume that I don't have them it just means that I will be getting some the next day. Our hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day of the year.

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Anyone fished out of Smitty's houses on Snowbank for lakers lately? I'm thinking about going up the Feb.7-9 but don't have a sled so I need to drive out or walk with my portable. Any other lakes I can drive on or pull my portable out on for lakers??

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Along with Moose Track's report of slushy spots yesterday up the North Arm on Burntside, I just got off the cell phone with Wanderer, who along with Neighbor Guy has spent the day up the North Arm today.

Wanderer reported quite a bit of slush, particularly in the bays, and up to a foot of water/slush where they are fishing at the mouth of one of those bays. He said pickup tracks up the Arm showed were a pickup had come as far as where the arm widens out into the largest bay and apparently turned around and headed back out.

Wanderer just returned from a reconnoiter almost all the way up to the tip of the Arm with the sled (minus his flipover shelter) and said there were plenty of dark places on the snow where the slush/water had worked its way up to the surface. So between Moose Track and Wanderer's reports, it's plain slush is now definitely a problem, at least up the North Arm, and Wanderer did not recommend any vehicle traffic up there.

Whether there's that big a problem across the main portions of the lake I don't know yet. The Arm always seems to have the worst slush on the lake, and Wanderer said they didn't notice any slush coming across Van Vac Bay and passing west of Brownell Island. One thing worth mentioning is that the ice everywhere on the Arm I've fished this season has been several inches thinner than my other spots, so that could mean less slush elsewhere. He did report that the plowed roads coming across the ice from Van Vac seemed in good shape, and since there are so many permies scattered all over the lake this winter, I'd bet it won't be a big problem getting to lots of different areas, as those folks will be keeping roads plowed open. Note: If you are using plowed roads to get from one spot to another, please DO NOT drill holes on or close to those roads.

On the bright side, slush/water that's worked its way all the way up to the surface of the snow tightens up faster than it does when there's a foot of snow over top of it. But then, I've always been an optimist! gringrin

BTW, Wanderer said he'd landed a 3 and an 8, with a third fish getting off the tip-up, before the fish shut off over noon hour.

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leech~~

Along with Moose Track's report of slushy spots yesterday up the North Arm on Burntside, I just got off the cell phone with Wanderer, who along with Neighbor Guy has spent the day up the North Arm today.

Wanderer reported quite a bit of slush, particularly in the bays, and up to a foot of water/slush where they are fishing at the mouth of one of those bays. He said pickup tracks up the Arm showed were a pickup had come as far as where the arm widens out into the largest bay and apparently turned around and headed back out.

Wanderer just returned from a reconnoiter almost all the way up to the tip of the Arm with the sled (minus his flipover shelter) and said there were plenty of dark places on the snow where the slush/water had worked its way up to the surface. So between Moose Track and Wanderer's reports, it's plain slush is now definitely a problem, at least up the North Arm, and Wanderer did not recommend any vehicle traffic up there.

Whether there's that big a problem across the main portions of the lake I don't know yet. The Arm always seems to have the worst slush on the lake, and Wanderer said they didn't notice any slush coming across Van Vac Bay and passing west of Brownell Island. One thing worth mentioning is that the ice everywhere on the Arm I've fished this season has been several inches thinner than my other spots, so that could mean less slush elsewhere. He did report that the plowed roads coming across the ice from Van Vac seemed in good shape, and since there are so many permies scattered all over the lake this winter, I'd bet it won't be a big problem getting to lots of different areas, as those folks will be keeping roads plowed open. Note: If you are using plowed roads to get from one spot to another, please DO NOT drill holes on or close to those roads.

On the bright side, slush/water that's worked its way all the way up to the surface of the snow tightens up faster than it does when there's a foot of snow over top of it. But then, I've always been an optimist! gringrin

BTW, Wanderer said he'd landed a 3 and an 8, with a third fish getting off the tip-up, before the fish shut off over noon hour.

Just a side note: Wanderer has a deep paddle, long track rmk sled, so if he is having issue without pulling his porty. If you don't have a long track or deep paddle sled you may want to think about heading up the N arm. Good slush report Steve. wink

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Casey Sunsdahl

Hey LEE I was just ribbin' ya! grin.. you obviously know what your doing you catch some nice trout and muskies!

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Casey Sunsdahl

lots of cool lake trout jigs and takle specific to inland fishing at fuel and food this year too.... some pretty sweet airlanes in stock and both sizes of tubes etc....

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fishnhuntnboy

I did notice some slush west of burnt island. While driving to a spot i could feel the truck breaking through the crusts a few times. When I left I saw water in my tracks and was splashing all over when drove back through. Not sure how deep the water was. ALSO bring a shovel if you are going of the beatin path! I got stuck and had to shovel out a little bit to get going when i was at a dead stop when i left the fishing hole.

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fishhuntboy, thanks for the report! Was this today? What type of vehicle do you drive? And did you get stuck because of snow or because of slush? Those pieces of info can help folks decide on what to drive (or what not to drive). smilesmile

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      Here's the current survey report from the DNR. 2020 Lake Vermilion Lake Survey Report.pdf 2020 Discussion Appendix A.pdf
    • CigarGuy
      Funny guy🙂. Got skunked again 🙂 tonight. Might need to try your idea. Lots of boats heading to Black Bay this evening. Saw the new barge service heading that way. Wonder how long before the local barge service will be down here?
    • SkunkedAgain
      I hear that to catch suspended crappies, it is best for the fisherman to be suspended as well. I suggest crawling out to the end of yours!
    • SkunkedAgain
      True - although the DNR tries to make us all feel better by saying that the number of fry that survive is higher due to their re-introduction back into Vermilion. In theory that means that we will not have as good of a 2020 walleye class, but as we know there are so many other factors that go into it.   As you said, it's an experiment - a very uncontrolled experiment
    • CigarGuy
      My dock is still up in the air🙂
    • leech~~
      Maybe you have to switch to your dock? 😄
    • CigarGuy
      Been fishing the neighbors dock in Partridge River the last 3 evenings and have only caught 2 crappies. Don't have the boat in the water yet.
    • JerkinLips
      Since most of the hatchery fry are sent to other lakes, the skipped year shouldn't have too much of an effect on the Vermilion population.  From the numbers I recall, the fry put back into Vermilion from the hatchery is slightly higher than their PREDICTED natural hatch would be (which all stay in Vermilion).  Will be interesting to see what the results of this "experiment" will be.  Maybe they will have to increase the percentage of hatchery fry going back into Vermilion to match the actual natural hatch (which may be better than they estimate).
    • BigVTim
      I'm headed up this weekend to dust off the camper. Is it worth bringing the boat for Crappies? Any one heard any reports? I'm assuming they are still deep but maybe with the early ice out they are already up in black bay. Cheers! I'll be nice just to smell the cold north air again.
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