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Down riggers in Voyageurs


Fully Kraeusened

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Hey guys. I’m new to this site. I’ll be visiting the park early June. While I have made several trips up there I’ll be bringing a friend who never has. He is a very experienced angler, but has yet to catch a walleye. A lot of his experience comes from using down riggers on Lake Michigan. He was asking about using them on a vacation this year and I had no answer for him. I can’t recall ever seeing anyone using that method in Voyageurs. Does anyone have a thought on this? I’d appreciate any advice. Want my buddy to have a great trip! 

Tight lines!

Fully Kraeusened

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I've tried them up there for the heck of it and caught walleye. You can catch large suspended pike that are hanging with the tulibee over deep water also. Wouldn't be my main method though.

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Hey  Pro-V. Thanks for responding. My first thought was no way, but I’m trying to be more open minded. I feel sometimes I get locked in on certain methods or locations and a lack of flexibility costs me fish. Maybe we will give it a whirl for a bit if the usual methods are slow. June seems like a lifetime away, but I’ll report back if we do. 

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10-4. They are tricky to use if the depth varies alot. But I kicked myself one time for not bringing them when the fish hung out suspended like I mentioned and the shore and reef bite was tough.

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I personally have never down rigged in voyaguers. From time 2 time I've seen ppl down rigging on namakan n sand point but I don't notice them having success/catching fish. With that said my family only jigs, bobbers, n casts with a split shot plain hook/float jig. If u do bring up down gear it may not be a bad idea laker fishing in david if u have a spare day.

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Hi Sushilicious. Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know what you mean by “David”. 

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Thank you sir. The farthest east I’ve ever been is just north of the Namakan Narrows. How is it getting back there? 

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Sounds like u have only put in at Kab. The drive from Kab 2 sand point logde isn't an issue. Sand point lodge is the only place that sells license and has live bait on sand, sand point lodge is in canada. The drive from sand point lodge 2 David has a channel with some random rocks and I would recommend taking it slow

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That’s sounds like a fun day. May look into that. I usually stay on the Ash River. Spend most of my time on Namakan. Does Sand Point see a lot of pressure?

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In early June there is absolutely no need for downriggers. the only time I ever used them was to target lake trout in the adjacent waters to Voyaguer. We had a cabin in Grassy Bay for 27 years until the park took it. I'd suggest the following.

Remember, David lake is in Canada, you will need to have all of your documentation in order and visit customs prior to entry. If you choose to do that, stopping at Sand Point lodge on the way in might be a good place to get bait and some current info.

day time - Walleyes - look for points, saddles, humps in between islands. A jig and minnow was usually what we went with. Also trolling crank baits along rocky shores works as well.

Pike- cast mepps spinners or rattle traps to weeds or rocky islands. You'll know how to find weed beds on shore by looking at the trees. If there are big aspens down by the shore, almost inevitably there will be a weed bed. It may not be big, but it will hold fish. Conversely by casting those same lures you will catch small mouth.

Bass- the last hour or so before dark. find 3-4 nice rock piles (the one's with buoys are usually awesome) and cast floating rapalas. (let em sit and twitch them back.) trust me, you will enjoy this experience.

also casting mepps, rapalas, jig/twister or rattle traps to rocky shores, island, rock piles will produce bass and the occasional walleye.

Night (if you have the energy) find a rocky point, break and sit with lighted slip bobbers to catch walleyes.

good luck.

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If your trip to VNP is in early June and your staying in the Ash River  I personally would try just hook and line methods , either jig minnow or jig leech combinations , or lindy rigs with the same baits. I would stick to either Kabetogama or Namakin lakes in search of Walleye at this time of year , from ultra shallow to maybe 20 feet or so . At these depths and with structure variations , and the proximity to more of a shoreline bite at the dates you will be vacationing there , it could be a very tough way to try down rigging ,vs a more mid summer , July-August scenario of were the Walleye typically tend to be found on more mid lake reefs and flats , then I would think that the down rigging scenario would possibly be a better time of the season to take that type of approach if you so choose...   You didn't say what size boat and motor you will be using ,  but the earlier mentioned David lake that's accessible through Sandpoint lake into Canadian waters is a long haul by water to make with a smaller set up . I would say though , if you choose to make that journey from Ash River to David Lake , it surely would be a beautiful and scenic boat ride ... whatever you choose to do I hope the weather holds for you and you enjoy your stay up there as VNP is a great place to be ...

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Wow!!! Unbelievable amount of information. Wish I could buy you guys a beer! I was only curious about the down rigging because my friend who is coming for the first time is very experienced in it. I have been to Voyageurs several times and feel pretty confident with the methods you suggested. My biggest problem always is, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone, is catching walleyes small enough to keep. We have hired guide Wade Watson(Kab Kid)the first day of our trip. That should set us up for a solid week. I really appreciate everyone’s feedback. The boat I’ll be bringing is actually more of a pleasure craft. 20’ bow rider with a 350 in it. So in order to even try to down rig we would also have to drag something to slow us down. It idles at about 4-5 mph. Based on these responses doesn’t sound like we should go through all the trouble. I’ve usually rented a boat but I’ve finally mounted a trolling motor on mine so I’ll be bringing it with me for the first time. On the plus side I’ll be able to cover a ton of water now and think I might check out Sand Point and Crane. Here’s some pics of how I convert my pleasure boat to a fishing boat. Please don’t laugh. Lol

1DE9D052-B0CC-4BF3-BAC6-E5CC54492196.jpeg

B278FCD4-6B45-410E-96B3-53044FF09852.jpeg

918261E9-35B0-4D17-8872-A841DDD87D22.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Fully Kraeusened said:

 

 

 

918261E9-35B0-4D17-8872-A841DDD87D22.jpeg

Wow, how did you get the wife to OK putting that on the Ski boat? :D

On a side note. How do you have that front seat support base bolted down? If it's just sitting there that could be a bad deal if it tips over in rough water or a buddy hitting the gas to hard! :(

Edited by leech~~
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Shhhh don’t tell her. :DJust kidding. Best part is I can change it back in about 10 minutes. I remove the cushions and set it down in there. It fits in pretty snug. Between that and how much it weighs it doesn’t move(battery is up there to). I’ve already had it out on 3-4 footers. All good! 

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2 hours ago, Fully Kraeusened said:

Shhhh don’t tell her. :DJust kidding. Best part is I can change it back in about 10 minutes. I remove the cushions and set it down in there. It fits in pretty snug. Between that and how much it weighs it doesn’t move(battery is up there to). I’ve already had it out on 3-4 footers. All good!

Please make sure no one rides there when your under way. Some girl died a year or so back when the front seat ripped loose and she hit her head or something. :(

I would even keep an eye on that battery flying up in heavy waves.  Sorry for being a Buzz kill. ;)

Op, one more. Where did you put your Bow Light with the trolling motor there. No evening or night fishing planed? :confused:

Edited by leech~~
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Trolling motor was relocated just a bit since that pic. Bow light is present. Seat is bolted to 3/4” plywood with six 3/8” bolts. It’s not going anywhere. That being said I wouldn’t let anyone sit up there while traveling. I think it might even be illegal where I live. Battery is also secured down. It’s pretty neat. 

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I Agree with others that your plywood sub floor holding your seat pedestal would best be anchored somehow , and not just fitted into the tight fitting area and being somewhat weighted down by your battery on that plywood... I do think that most sensible people would not ever think of riding in this seat while the boat is attempting to plane out , or in a cruising manner . .. you also stated that the battery is secure and you have been in 3-4 footers . There is a big difference between non propelling, or idling, or trolling/drifting in 3-4 footers , vs cruising down lake at 20-30 or more mph and slamming into some good rollers , I too would  be afraid of throwing that battery loose up there by some heavy jarring...  And yup bow lights are definitely part of legally boating at twilight in Mn . , for your own safety , and for the safety of all others out on the lake when you are ... I personally spend a lot of time up VNP way and do agree that hiring the Kab kid is a smart move on that lake for your guiding , he will definitely get you on fish that day , but remember if you catch fish all day long with your guide , at a certain spot , and the very next day the wind comes up from a different direction , be prepared for a plan B attack on those Walleye that day , as the fish I'm sure won't be stacked in that same spot again that day with that wind change . I mean don't think your good to go for that week  by hiring that guide for the one day . That's it , I'm done , good luck up there.

7 hours ago, Fully Kraeusened said:

Glad I found this forum!

 

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I really appreciate your guys concern but I promise, you and everyone else on the lake will be safe. I’ve owned a boat for 21 years and been on the water all my life. That set up isn’t going anywhere. I don’t think a sensible person would ride on an elevated bow mounted pedestal seat on any boat while cruising.  The picture I posted was not the finished project. I never said I was idling, trolling or drifting in 3-4 footers. That was at a cruising speed.  I also don’t anticipate spending the whole week at one spot. I’ve fished with Wade one time before and it was a great time. He really takes the time to teach you. Which is what I’m hoping to use the rest of the week. 

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11 hours ago, Barbelboy said:

In early June there is absolutely no need for downriggers. the only time I ever used them was to target lake trout in the adjacent waters to Voyaguer. We had a cabin in Grassy Bay for 27 years until the park took it. I'd suggest the following.

Remember, David lake is in Canada, you will need to have all of your documentation in order and visit customs prior to entry. If you choose to do that, stopping at Sand Point lodge on the way in might be a good place to get bait and some current info.

day time - Walleyes - look for points, saddles, humps in between islands. A jig and minnow was usually what we went with. Also trolling crank baits along rocky shores works as well.

Pike- cast mepps spinners or rattle traps to weeds or rocky islands. You'll know how to find weed beds on shore by looking at the trees. If there are big aspens down by the shore, almost inevitably there will be a weed bed. It may not be big, but it will hold fish. Conversely by casting those same lures you will catch small mouth.

Bass- the last hour or so before dark. find 3-4 nice rock piles (the one's with buoys are usually awesome) and cast floating rapalas. (let em sit and twitch them back.) trust me, you will enjoy this experience.

also casting mepps, rapalas, jig/twister or rattle traps to rocky shores, island, rock piles will produce bass and the occasional walleye.

Night (if you have the energy) find a rocky point, break and sit with lighted slip bobbers to catch walleyes.

good luck.

That’s great information Barbelboy. One thing that really caught my attention that I’ve never heard before, how do the aspen trees relate to weed beds?

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I was actually thinking about riding in that seat the whole time. Best get me a seatbelt, Mr. Kraeusened. 

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Those aspen trees indicate that there is some earth rather than just rock going down into the water. It's a good clue to finding out of the way weed beds!  (Barbelboy is my son!)

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+1 on what Quicksteel said.

Aspen trees instead of pine trees mean soft soil. Which obviously weeds need to grow instead of rocks! Usually located in little (tiny bays) or even indents along main lake shore lines which can mean just a small pocket of weeds. And sometimes those little untouched spots can be gems. You might only get a fish or two off of it, but add it up to 10-12 little spots and you start to have a pretty good day.

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That’s makes a ton of sense. Thanks guys! Wish I just asked right away. I wasted an hour on google. :crazy: I know way too much about aspen trees now. 

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I maybe stating the obvious but make sure u pay attention 2 the wind report. There have been plenty of times where we have driven from crane to namakan and not been able to fish the main part of namakan.

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Yes sir. Nothing wrong with stating the obvious if you intent is to keep people safe. I’ve been beaten up quite a few times by Namakan. When I first started visiting vnp in the late 80’s my dad only had a 14’ Alumacraft with a 25 hp Merc. I was 10 and I was fishing with my dad so it seemed like the Titanic to me. We would take that boat from the Ash River all the way to Pat Smith. Took a little over an hour. Maybe I’m remembering wrong but I feel like more people had smaller boats back then. 

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7 hours ago, Fully Kraeusened said:

 Maybe I’m remembering wrong but I feel like more people had smaller boats back then. 

Oh, no; you’re not remembering wrong. :whistle:

A 16 foot boat was considered big when I was growing up too!

I’ve enjoyed reading this thread.  I hope you have a great time in VNP.

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47 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

Oh, no; you’re not remembering wrong. :whistle:

A 16 foot boat was considered big when I was growing up too!

I’ve enjoyed reading this thread.  I hope you have a great time in VNP.

Thanks man. Worst trip I ever had to vnp was outstanding. 

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