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So as the subject of this post suggests, I'm pretty much a noob when it comes to laker fishing, especially through the ice. I've done a bit of trolling in the BWCA in the summer, but nothing through the ice. I'm heading up to Gunflint Lake in a couple weeks and would like to give it a shot. I've been reading up on old posts and picked up a few jigs and lures and put together a nice rod setup but just have a few questions.

Obviously not looking for anyones GPS coordinates, but where is a good spot to start looking for fish? What types of depths/structure should I be targeting. I was planning on fishing Gunflint since we're staying there but are there any other lakes nearby that might be easier to fish for a rookie?

Thanks for the help!!

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What do you have to travel the other lakes with? Not many others with Lakers you can drive on with a truck. Walk in Sled or wheeler maybe.

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Only mode of transportation I have besides my truck is the two legs beneath me. Not afraid of hiking a bit if it's worth it, I can definitely travel light.

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If I were you and only had a few days to fish. I would just hang out on Gunflint and put in the time there. I think the resort plows or use too a road out to a nice little hump to the left of the resort. But Gunflint is just as good as any to spend the time on. Good Luck.

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Access with a truck is usually pretty good on gunflint. There's usually a well traveled path at the public access. Lakers can be pretty nomadic, so you can drill a few holes and wait them out for awhile before moving somewhere else. I'd maybe use a tip up (or dead stick) with frozen cisco and set it on the bottom and see if you can't pick up a scavenger trout. Then cover various water columns while jigging and see if one happens by. I've caught them anywhere from 14 ft to 90 ft and every depth inbetween. Get some rattle traps, those are good to bring them in.

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Thanks for the advice guys. Sounds like it's not a bad idea just to stay on Gunflint.

JB, for the tip up, would you just put a circle hook on that or would you rig it up with a treble with the appropriate spinner to make it legal?

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

What resort are you staying at? You really won't have to travel far on Gunflint.

Just a matter of walking out from the cabin and drilling plenty of holes to hop around to.

As far as truck travel. Some years depending on ice and snow conditions I've seen a road out from the landing and to the NW toward the island. Other then that you won't see any other ice roads. Fact is it is rare to see trucks on Gunflint. This year is not the norm with lack of snow you might see more travel and of coarse later on as the ice thickens and lack of snow, truck travel will become more. Note that as a rule the lake does have pressure ridges and for that reason I always bring a sled and plan on using it to travel.

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You don't have to add a spinner to a treble hook rig to be legal anymore. You can even go multiple hook rigs as long as the rig doesn't exceed 9 inches.

You only need a 2/0 plain single hook anyway. I use a thin wire Gamakatsu straight worm hook in 2/0 based on my experiences with Aberdeen hooks in the past. Some don't care for the long shank but I don't mind since it's a thin hook and sets with just a light tug. The Gammy's have less of a tendancy to straighten in case of too much pressure than a standard bronze Aberdeen.

Lakers gulp in the bait so there's no need to let them run on a tip up even with a single hook rig. By the time you get to the flag they've usually had it plenty long enough.

Look for the same types of structure you'd look for to find walleyes but only deeper. We like to focus on the changes that occur in 40-60 fow for the most consistent action. We've also caught lakers in 15-70 fow but the bread and butter spots seem to be around that 50 foot range.

I'd stick to Gunflint also if you're not taking a sled or wheeler.

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Lot's of great advice, thanks!! We'll be staying at Gunflint lodge so it looks like it will be as easy as just walking out the front door of the cabin.

Sounds like the best bet will be just to drill a bunch of holes and cover some ground. I'll make sure I have some sharp blades and plenty of gas!!

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Just ask at the lodge, too. Directing anglers to fish is part of their customer service, and they'll steer you right. Structure is good! smile

I rig my bait rigs as Wanderer does, though I use a Gamakatsu 2/0 wide gap hook. Lots of hooking room on the wide gaps whether using a 3 inch rainbow or an 8 inch cisco. Different strokes and all. wink

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Well with the last 3 posts all you need now is Mike Stark and you will have received advice from the top 4 laker guys out there! wink

Good luck!

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On gunflint we have had good luck with jigging raps and a gulp smelt on a jig as well as slender spoons. Start out big and agressive and work your way down to smaller and slower if the fish turn away from your offerings. Keep a deadstick or tip up within 15' of your jigging hole and see if they hit a bait just dangling there for them.

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Well with the last 3 posts all you need now is Mike Stark and you will have received advice from the top 4 laker guys out there! wink

Good luck!

And Northlander makes 5. I'm still a student though comparitively speaking. smile

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Thanks for that Wanderer. Your one good laker guy too, dont sell yourself short. Its all about putting in the time and I know you have put in your share.

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Yeah, as far as the tip up and frozen cisco goes, I just used my standard treble hook with leader that I would always use for pike.

While your staying at the gunflint lodge, I highly recommend the walleye chowder. MMMMM it's good!

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Well thanks for the votes of confidence guys. smile

This student didn't cover all his bases on opener though and wound up fishless on Sunday with the passing of the front. We were more concerned about our frozen gear and lake travel to seriously consider getting a few rainbows for bait. Thought about it but as a stubborn jigger I thought I could get by without.

Six chasers by the end of the day told me not to be so cocky or lazy. smirk I figured a good compromise would be jigging with a rainbow so I picked up a couple 1/4 oz Slick Jigs for that purpose. We'll see.

I 'spose I coulda just hunted down Foss and stole a couple minners. grin

By the way, a good firm cisco hooked in front of the dorsal fin for balance and jigged seductively has some pretty nice action. Another option realized late in the day for sluggish lakers. Just gotta keep your head in the game.

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By the way, a good firm cisco hooked in front of the dorsal fin for balance and jigged seductively has some pretty nice action.
Hey, I don't remember you showing me any of that "seductive" jigging action stuff! frown

You must keep that trick to yourself when your fishing alone? grin

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Well thanks for the votes of confidence guys. smile

This student didn't cover all his bases on opener though and wound up fishless on Sunday with the passing of the front. We were more concerned about our frozen gear and lake travel to seriously consider getting a few rainbows for bait. Thought about it but as a stubborn jigger I thought I could get by without.

Six chasers by the end of the day told me not to be so cocky or lazy. smirk I figured a good compromise would be jigging with a rainbow so I picked up a couple 1/4 oz Slick Jigs for that purpose. We'll see.

I 'spose I coulda just hunted down Foss and stole a couple minners. grin

By the way, a good firm cisco hooked in front of the dorsal fin for balance and jigged seductively has some pretty nice action. Another option realized late in the day for sluggish lakers. Just gotta keep your head in the game.

You know we all get the odor of skunk sooner or later. You got it Sunday. I didn't. But the next day it might have been my turn.

So many people overthink lakers. If they are on, they'll hit whatever you throw down there. If they are off, their lips are locked.

There are some excellent techniques to trigger neutral/ negative lakers, however. wink

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Well with the last 3 posts all you need now is Mike Stark and you will have received advice from the top 4 laker guys out there! wink

Good luck!

Well it sounds like I have advice from the best in the business so I just have to put the time in now. Thanks for the help. I'll post a report and pictures if I'm lucky enough to ice anything.

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spent a few days on Gunflint last week, did well along the shoreline in 40ft just east of Gunflint lodge in front of their cabins. One day gulp 3 inch minnows on 1/4 oz lindy flyer, next day would only look at them and slammed no 7 jigging raps, would only look at pimples and buckshots. Ice was treacherous for walking, 3rd day my wife and fishing partner slipped pulling a shack and broke her arm in two places..staff at the lodge was fantastic, EMT on staff splinted the arm, they even went out and helped get the gear off the ice...staying on Gunflint Lodge puts you right on the fish.

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Sorry to hear about the wife Bob, not the best way to spend your vacation. Was the issue just lack of snow and glare ice? I'll make sure everyone has their ice cleats with, I've been wearing mine all season.

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Just a little light snow the day she fell, otherwise no snow on the ice, I think they have had snow since, yeah one day in the Grand Marais ER, then a long ride home the next day.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Welcome to HSO Bob.

Thanks for the report and sorry to hear about the broken arm.

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Hey Guys, mind if I ask a few questions while we have your attention.

A buddy and I are going to try a stream trout lake in the arrowhead region this weekend and was not completely clear on the rules. The lake has Rainbows and Splake.

-You can only fish 1 line correct?

-Can you use buckshot rattlers or whistler jigs?

-Are euro larva legal?

-Do we have to purchase frozen or freeze dried bait or can we used dead fatheads(just the head on a jigging spoon)?

Thanks!

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Minnows have to be preserved. I salt them at home.

You'll need a trout stamp.

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Page 28-29 in the regs will give you all the info you need. Dried, frozen, or pickled (brined) minnows are legal. So salting is not neccesary but dead unfroze minnows will get you a ticket. Streamers through the ice are a blast. Good Luck

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