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Tower / Ely / Northeast Vermillion ice fishing tips - New to ice fishing the area


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DangerDanTheFlyMan

Hi Everyone, this is my first post here.

 

I am looking for some tips or tricks to break down some of the water in the Northeast part of Vermilion for ice fishing opportunities. We will be up in that area for a week at the start of January and I have no idea how to know what the ice conditions typically are that time of year. We are debating on bringing snowmobiles or an ATV, but I'm not even sure what works better up there this time of year.

 

For people who fish up in this area often:

  • Do you seem to have better luck trying the big lakes, or breaking down smaller bodies of water?
  • Is it worth the trip to try and snowmobile / hike / dogsled your gear up into any of the BWCA lakes?
  • If you were brand new to this area, where would you try first for the safest ice, and best chance at some fun fishing early Janurary? Or are most lakes "safe" by then?
  • Are typical walleye / Crappie presentations good in this area? Any go to baits or hooks?

 

I'm not looking for honey holes or specific GPS locations (unless you're willing to share), but I'm more interested in how to break down some of the smaller bays and channels in Vermilion for Walleye and Crappie. Part of the fun for me is finding them on my own by putting together information.

 

Any tips are much appreciated, and I'll share any knowledge I learn on our trip with you all.

Dan

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chucker1101

Haven't done much ice fishing recently, but want to welcome you to the forum and congratulate you for catapulting to first place for best forum name! I'm thinking the rest of us are now all tied for last.

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monstermoose78

I have fish that area but the Ely mostly and I liked the smaller lakes because could fish the lake in a day to find fish. For crappies plastics in white on a 4or 5 mm jig. Walleyes I rattle jigging spoon with a minnow head and a set line with a shiner. If you need ideas where to go message me.

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SkunkedAgain

Welcome aboard.

 

In terms of transportation it depends on what the snow conditions are like on the lake, how much weight you need to pull. I tend to go with the snowmobile unless there is no snow on the lake.

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DangerDanTheFlyMan
On 12/10/2020 at 2:15 PM, SkunkedAgain said:

Welcome aboard.

 

In terms of transportation it depends on what the snow conditions are like on the lake, how much weight you need to pull. I tend to go with the snowmobile unless there is no snow on the lake.

That was my thoughts as well.

How common is thin ice on Vermilion? Is it something to be concerned with early January, or is snow and slush more of a concern?

 

Thanks

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JerkinLips

With the light snow cover and cold weather over the next couple of weeks, ATV and snowmobile travel should be quite safe on Vermilion in January.  As always be very careful in narrows, especially Oak Narrows between the two sections of the lake and the narrows on the east end of Pine Island.  I also recommend never traveling in the dark over areas you have not traveled previously.  Good luck and be cautious.

Edited by JerkinLips
Correct spelling and add January.
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DangerDanTheFlyMan
40 minutes ago, JerkinLips said:

With the light snow cover and cold weather over the next couple of weeks, ATV and snowmobile travel should be quite safe on Vermilion.  As always be very careful in narrows, especially Oak Narrows between the two sections of the lake and the narrows on the east end of Pine Island.  I also recommend never traveling in the dark over areas you have not traveled previously.  Good look and be cautious.

Thank you for the tips!

 

Looks like we have some snow in the forecast, so I am leaning more towards bringing up my snowmobile to haul the sled.

 

Thinking if we are going to try and fish vermilion I'll rely on the local bait shops for advice as it seems people are pretty tight lipped. 

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SkunkedAgain

As JerkinLips mentioned, thin ice is generally only a concern in the spots that he mentioned. Slush can be an issue in some of the bays but it all depends on how the winter goes in terms of early or heavy snowfalls. This year has set up well, but a heavy snowload could change things.

 

I don't have any fishing advice, as I'm on the other end of the lake and only get out fishing on the ice once or twice per season. However, there are several threads in this Vermilion forum that span back a decade or longer with fishing advice. My best advice is to spend some time going back and reading old posts. There is a TON of good information from both guides and regular fishermen that will get you dialed in. You could literally write a book with all of the info here. It's all out there waiting for you to discover.

 

Good luck.

Edited by SkunkedAgain
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BWpineisland

I would agree 100% with Skunked again. Read the old blogs. I’m in the middle of the lake and I struggle to catch fish in the winter. Have caught a couple of nice muskies through the ice but other than that mostly some small eyes. I’d love to offer some tips, but I’m in the same fish house as you——-always looking for tips!!😀

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I use EZfishusa.com to get on fish. Seems quite reasonable and cuts down on the search . They are almost always sold out but if you call the customer service number sometimes they’ll just give you an area right over the phone. I think Vermilion has the half dozen guides or so. So they are updated quite often..I mainly search for pigs so I guess I’m not to schooled on the numbers on Vermilion.This 32 inch 12 pounder came from a EZfish spot. I was having a hard time getting folks to help me out with fishing on Lake Vermilion also.Extremely tight lips. Good luck out there

D4E30D66-6BE5-4768-A4B1-683CE900CEBF.jpeg

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Dan,

The snowmobile trails should be staked by then on the lake. There are trails all over the East end. Use caution in narrows and other areas that are unmarked.

I am on the West end and of no help with Ice fishing. I can only catch 4 inch perch.

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DangerDanTheFlyMan
On 12/16/2020 at 4:03 PM, Sorgy said:

Dan,

The snowmobile trails should be staked by then on the lake. There are trails all over the East end. Use caution in narrows and other areas that are unmarked.

I am on the West end and of no help with Ice fishing. I can only catch 4 inch perch.

 

4" perch are better than 0' perch in my opinion!

 

Thank you for the advice on the snowmobile trails. I'm brand new to lake snowmobiling so any other tips are much appreciated!

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SkunkedAgain

Do some thumb calisthenics in the morning, then go pinch the throttle hard and have fun. It's a big lake. Be sure to check out the water skips on the north side of pine island on the weekends, assuming that still happens. I haven't gone in over a decade.

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StateofHockey

Alas the DNR cracked down on the Vermilion water skips at the Trout river entrance N of Pine island a couple years back so no longer a happening on the lake for weekends in March. Was fun while it lasted.

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used to ride the harleys over to Wis.  tutle lake area maybe??  and enjoys sled racing on the lake there..  some of those sleds would go for ever it seemed!!  

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SkunkedAgain

Shows how current that I am on things! I do remember hearing how bad the garbage was every weekend.

 

Hopefully everyone made it through the slush okay.

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