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Chris mo

Hi everyone, it's been a long time since I have been on this website

but if you could please give me a little help I would really appreciate it.

I'm planning a week long fishing trip in September with my wife and we

love Pike fishing. We don't have them down here in missouri. Could you

let me know what the best lakes are for numbers with the possibility of some

bigger fish (up to 40 inches) , I was thinking about upper Red Lake or maybe Rainy,

LOTW or the Rainy River. I'm having a hard time finding current information on the

top rated Pike lakes in Minnesota.

Thank you,

chrismo

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gimruis

You're on the right track Chris.  Bigger lakes have bigger pike.  Not that small lakes don't, but there's a better chance of hooking into a gator on a bigger lake.  Remember that there are very specific regulations on pike in Minnesota too - its divided into 3 separate zones and there's restrictions on which ones you can keep (if you plan to keep any).

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Wanderer

Gimruis is spot on.  I see you don’t have Mille Lacs on the list though.  You’ll see more angling pressure there but it’s pretty loaded with pike.

 

Winnebigosh (Winnie) is another possibility.

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Kettle

Red, LOTW, Rainy, Mille Lacs as well as winnie are all good. If you are looking to keep more than just 2-3 southern MN has more liberal pike regs but often smaller fish. Red or LOTW would be my top pics and that time of year should be great!!!!!

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Chris mo

Thank you for your help gimruis, Wanderer and Kettle. We do catch and release only, we bag up a lot of crappie here in the spring for our fish meals. and I wasn't sure about mille lacs. We tried Leech a couple of years ago and we hit a week of wind, it wasn't really strong winds if I remember, nothing over 15 mph but the waves were incredible! It was pretty tough with my alumacraft 175. I figured mille lacs could be just as bad. Upper Red looks like it might be bad with a wind also. Winnie sounds interesting, do you have an opinion on Crane or Namaken?

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Wanderer

Yes, you can lose a day or two at times on the big lakes due to wind.  You can always have a plan B though and fish a smaller lake near one of the bigger lakes if needed.  Pike are in most every lake we have.

 

Crane and Namakan have some good sized pike but those are “Shield” lakes which are typically deeper and rocky.  Pike like weeds and usually do better in shallower lakes that have more gradual breaks and flats.  People go to Crane and Namakan for walleyes mostly.

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gimruis

Ya unfortunately those big lakes are going to get rough when the wind starts blowing.  Not a whole lot you can do about it other than try to get out there when there's less wind...or get a bigger boat!

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Chris mo

I wish I could get a bigger boat, I think I have to make do with the one I have for now haha 😀

Since you have all been so kind and helpful I'm going to push the envelope and ask..... your top 2 lakes of these four, upper red, lotw, mille lacs or Winnie?? 

I know kettle's top 2 and I like them both. Thanks again for your help,

Chris

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Chris mo

Thank you Wanderer, I like that. It's always a good idea to have a plan B.

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paceman

Like most lakes in Minnesota, Pike are quite abundant. Up here in the Detroit Lakes area a few lakes have had experimental slots that protected Pike. Lakes like Sallie and Melissa fall into that category. There are some dandy pike in them now, and they are small enough that they can be fished when the weather is rough.

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Kettle

Upper red lake puts you within about an hour drive of both LOTW and Winnie so it would be easy to day trip either. I've always had a smaller tiller boat so on Red I typically could fish it as long as the wind wasn't out of the west since there are landings on the three sides, winnie has cut foot souix off of it too which is more protected than the main lake. LOTW can be wind swept at times and with it's size and being a border lake trailering around it can take a lot of time. Red has a great population of walleye but the panfish can be difficult to find. Haven't panfished winnie but many do for perch and crappie

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Wanderer

If I were on a die hard pike trip for numbers with a chance for a big, I would probably deal with the pressure on Mille Lacs.  The limit is 10, with size restrictions.  There are several “smaller” lakes nearby that have plenty of pike in case of wind.  Bay Lake to the NW comes to mind.  I live within an hour of it so that also has to do with the #1 rank.

 

My second choice would be Winni and only because of the travel.  From Winni you could reach Red but you also have Cutfoot Sioux, as mentioned, but Cass to the west and still near Leech if you wanted a do-over.  Boy, Woman, Ten Mile... the list goes on.

 

You might even tie into a muskie or two.

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Chris mo

Wow! Thank you everyone, that is a lot of very helpful information and now my

lake list has grown quite a bit. I think I need to see if I can talk my wife into

2 trips a year, spring and fall 😁 

Spring fishing ha, that probably just added a few more lakes haha

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gimruis
15 hours ago, Wanderer said:

The limit is 10, with size restrictions.

 

Actually, the bag limit on Mille Lacs is 5, not 10, and the size restrictions are different too.  10 is the state bag limit and specific lake limits over ride state regs.

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ANYFISH2

If you could somehow find your way into a day use or overnight permit to Basswood Lake in the Boundary waters, that would be my first choice!

25 hp limit and some work at portages, but the fishing for Pike in Sept and Oct is well worth it.  Good numbers and a real chance at 40"+ plus fish.

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Wanderer
9 hours ago, gimruis said:

 

Actually, the bag limit on Mille Lacs is 5, not 10, and the size restrictions are different too.  10 is the state bag limit and specific lake limits over ride state regs.

 

Hmmm, didn’t remember that change.  ML went to 10 before the zones were established.  Was it changed to 5 when they were established?

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Chris mo

Thanks anyfish2, I have heard of basswood and how good the Pike fishing is.

Would I be able to use my boat and just not use the big motor? Would that be

practical? I imagine not if it is of any size.

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Chris mo

Thanks wanderer, I looked at a map of mille lacs. it looks basically like a bowl without a lot of coves (bays), points, or structure.

how would I go about fishing it? how do i tell one good spot from another? i'm used to fishing lakes with points, coves/bays and some of the big lakes up there, like upper red, mille lacs and even winnie for example don't have anything that I am used to fishing as far as coves and such. do i pick a spot and just start casting. (by the way, we love casting and don't really do any trolling) I'm really not trying to make it difficult for anyone that is trying to help me😀😀.

thanks again, chris

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Wanderer

@Chris mo

 

Basswood is a 25 hp max on the boat, period.  Doesn’t matter if you just use a kicker on a bigger boat or not.  It’s 14-16 foot boat country with a 25.  Light weight is a key term to remember going there.

 

Red is a shallow bowl.  You learn to fish the aunties of 1-2 depth changes, patches of cover and bottom content changes.

 

Mille Lacs and Winnie moreso have a TON  of structure.  Look beneath the surface for your points, coves and pockets.  Just cuz you can’t see them on the surface doesn’t mean they’re not there.  Put Navionics on your phone if you haven’t yet and see what I mean.  Yes, this does mean you’ll fish quite a bit by electronics, especially if you have some wind and cloud cover.

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gimruis
On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 5:51 PM, Wanderer said:

 

Hmmm, didn’t remember that change.  ML went to 10 before the zones were established.  Was it changed to 5 when they were established?

 

I believe it was changed several years ago when they started allowing winter spearing on the lake again.  I just looked up the regs for it: bag limit 5, 30-40 inches mandatory release, may keep 1 over 40.  So ya, I think based on those regs there's a much higher chance of hooking into a large pike there than most of the smaller lakes in the area.

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Chris mo

so i booked my first trip to mille lacs for a week on the southern portion in september for my pike fishing trip with my wife and dog. we agreed that we would try smaller lakes in the future and we actually went bigger!! 😀🙄

man that's a big (almost) round lake. i'm not asking for secret spots, but a push in the right direction please.

i will look at my navionics this week and see how it looks but do i just go out and find some points or maybe work the backs of the bays? shallow or deep in mid september? i would think that first i would need to find some weeds. i always think weeds and pike. from looking at satellite pics it's hard for me to tell weeds or any other type of structure. any of your suggestions would really be helpful.  i know it's not rocket science to catch pike but any time that I could save looking would be a great help. you have all been really kind. thank you all!

chris

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Rick

@Chris mo you should book your stay at Appledoorns and talk to Paul Waldowski. He knows the lake well.

That lake is loaded with bays and points, rock reefs, sand bars, mud flats, and islands. Rockier on the southeast transitioning to sand on the north side plenty of pike and musky there as well as numerous other areas on the lake. 

 

Vineland is a well known pike hang out as are the Garrison area spots.

 

It's very big lake and you can almost always find a sheltered from the wind spot,  if you're willing to travel around the lake. 

 

What looks like a small point on any map is usually very large. The South side along and up the east side past big point has plenty of big bays.  If it's calmer don't be afraid to get out to the islands or long spiny rock reefs and chase walleyes, pike are out there as well.

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Chris mo

Thank you Rick, it's very nice of you to help us, and even kinder to give

me some areas to check out. I will let you know how we do.

Chris

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