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Annual Grand Marais Report


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Just got back from our annual june Grand Marais Vacation. Fishing wise, it was by far the worst trip ever! Only caught a total of about 120 fish for 10 days. In years past we've caught twice that amount in 1 day! shocked Fished elbow, clearwater, two island, crescent, loon, sea gull, saganaga, devil track, and greenwood lakes, Caught 2 small lakers out of loon, a few healthy little walleyes on some of the other lakes, and devil track and sag produced some nice smallies. Marked a lot of lakers on clearwater and greenwood, but they wouldn't bite anything. For the 2nd year in a row we were plagued by a mayfly hatch.

Also, for the 1st time ever in june up there (we've been going for 30 years now), we didn't see a single moose frown so that was a bummer. Didn't even see that many deer. Lot's of grouse, fox, and snowshoe hares though.

But there was still lot's of fun to be had. The kids had a blast, and my wife was able to get out on the last day and catch a couple fish on her favorite lake. Our trip up there is already booked for next year, mayfly's are NOT invited!

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Impressive list of lakes to fish. Yeah you can count on the 3rd week in June to land on the mayfly hatch in that area. I used to make an annual trip just fly fish the trout lakes.

How were you going about it for the lake trout?

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Yep the mayfly hatch was on in full force for us as well. Small leech, hook with a bead on a slipbobber beat all artificials.

Surface Tension- Do you fish a hex pattern with success on Trout lakes this time of year?

I have always been a worm dunker on the Trout lakes but would love to try the old fly rod I used to use on creeks. Any specifics?

4 days up by Grand Marais recharges the soul like nothing else. I can't wait to get my full week up there in August.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Yes that is why its been an annual trip. smile

Its a nuthouse come evening. Hundreds or thousands or hex flies emerging and thousands of fish gorging with all caution thrown to the wind. Whatever weight flyrod you have match that with weight line. Because of the air resistance from the larger flies, use a floating-weight forward flyline.

An ideal set up would be a #4 weight graphite fly rod. I've used my #8 before and it works fine too but you'll appreciate the smaller weight more. In case of an emergency and that being on a trout lake during a hex hatch without a fly rod, use a bobber to cast out a floating hex.

Normally I troll crawler harnesses tied with small bladed spinners.

When the bite dies down like it will on a Brookie lake I'll slow drag a crawler with no hardware other then a couple split shot. That is what you'll do during the day while you wait for the big show to start.

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On loon I was trolling about 30 ft down. I don't remember what colors I started with, but when I switched to a bigger purple cleo, I hooked into one within 30 seconds. Caught the 2nd just casting out and letting the spoon (gold/maroon cleo) sink for about 20 seconds. I was pretty much doing that on every lake with various colors and sizes, occasionally using rapalas. I even did some jigging with buck tails and night crawlers (had no minnows). 32 to 40 down seemed to be the normal depths the trout were in on all the lakes.

I'm thinking about trying loon for the winter opener. I probably marked more trout on the vex this year than I had in my last 5 trips combined, plus the chance at a big pike is very appealing at all. Anyone ever try clearwater in the winter?

This was the 1st time I was on sag in almost 20 years, and got to cover a lot of water. So I got some good scouting in for next year. They were few, but I was very impressed with the average size of smallies on sag (and sea gull).

As mentioned already, no moose sightings this year. But if your a small game hunter, there were grouse and hares everywhere! Should be a good fall. I'll be too busy fishing the trout lakes up there come october. I got to briefly fish kimball and pine trestle while I was up there, but only got a small rainbow and splake to show for it. I did get a mystery minnow out of pine though, I think it was a silver chub. Looked online and in books, but couldn't find a definite match.

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Yes that is why its been an annual trip. smile

Its a nuthouse come evening. Hundreds or thousands or hex flies emerging and thousands of fish gorging with all caution thrown to the wind. Whatever weight flyrod you have match that with weight line. Because of the air resistance from the larger flies, use a floating-weight forward flyline.

An ideal set up would be a #4 weight graphite fly rod. I've used my #8 before and it works fine too but you'll appreciate the smaller weight more. In case of an emergency and that being on a trout lake during a hex hatch without a fly rod, use a bobber to cast out a floating hex.

Normally I troll crawler harnesses tied with small bladed spinners.

When the bite dies down like it will on a Brookie lake I'll slow drag a crawler with no hardware other then a couple split shot. That is what you'll do during the day while you wait for the big show to start.

Thanks for sharing the stratagey and pattern Frank. I have just the fly rod set up you speak of that I used to use on SE MN streams before I had kids. Going to have to dust it off and bring it up there next year.

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That sounds like a fun trip. Where is a good place to stay for a fishing trip up there? Any of the places let you bring dogs?

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Are you looking for camping or cabin? Hungry Jack Lodge allows pets if your camping, I'm not quite sure if they're allowed in cabins. Otherwise, any of the state or national forest campgrounds are good to go for pets. Hungry Jack Lake...which I didn't get to fish this year frown is a great lake though. Good size bass, walleye, and pike, and pretty much the only lake up there with a good population of sunnies.

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you can have pets there but it's 30 bucks extra a night or 180 bucks a week [inside the cabin]. great place and we caught walleyes right off our dock from the cabin we rented early am and late in the day. slip bobber and leeches. ate walleye for breakfast every morning. good luck.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • travis_td
      Hi there, I am making sure that this is the location that folks will be posting updates for Ice Fishing on Lake Vermilion this winter (2022).  I think so but want to make sure as I plan on trying to get out next weekend, December 8-11.
    • smurfy
      thanks wanderer.......even reports from lakes like leech gives me a pretty good idea of what the lakes i want to fish will be like. lot of past experience helps, and no doubt wheelers will be used soon.    we had a retiree.holiday union party last night. buddy said that his kid was on little Winnie with about 5 inches of ice and there moving all around the lake!!
    • Wanderer
      Leech lake has been 100% capped for about a week, I think.  Before you say that’s not a small, underfished lake, it’s just an example that you could prolly drive wheelers on your kind of lakes by now. 😉   I’ve been seeing a lot of 5-7 inch reports going into the weekend.  Sadly I haven’t cut a hole yet.  Still working on repairs and updates on our houses.
    • leech~~
      Here's some throw back for yea. Lets your candy azzz E-cutter battery do this!  🤣    
    • Tom Sawyer
      Oh I didn't say I don't own several versions of Teslas, just that until this hell frozen over state changes I'll always find a use for the ice diggin' anchor. Will be a great post hole digger in it's next life use too
    • leech~~
      Yep no puzzy Tesla auger for me until they pry it from my dead hands!  😆
    • Tom Sawyer
      Still waiting for global warming to ditch my Lazer Mag, always in the truck for thick, virgin ice.    Don't know if it's possible, or advisable, but thought I would throw a 8" K drill bit on it to lighten it up. Should be an adapter for such a conversion. Careful what you wish for, probably rip my arm off with a shredding combo like that 😂    
    • rundrave
      Leech I still have my old jiffy gas auger mainly for sentimental reasons. I haven’t used it for 3 years now. The only time I start it up is in the garage just to hear that pop pop pop sound lol   I will never go back and have no regrets going electric. Huge weight saver and with an extension will go through any thickness of ice. Starts first pull every time lol    we were fishing 2 weeks ago Swiss cheesing a slough here in SD on 4” of ice when someone else tried to fire up their gas auger and my buddies and I looked at each other almost in disbelief that someone was still using a gas auger.   pros and cons for sure but I think electric has more pros than cons with advancements lately     
    • smurfy
      any ice thickness reports..........especially on smaller not heavily fished lakes???????   chances are i wont be up till after christmas anyway, but............
    • leech~~
      Let me know when you go again.  I'll being my crossbow and take out the Deer when you kick them up!  😁
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