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I am going to fish Birch Lake (near Babbitt) for opener. I have next to no experience with the lake. Does anyone have any pointers? Are there any nasty hazards out there that aren't marked? Are there people on here at 4 a.m. when they can't sleep like me?

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Birch is a big lake with lots of options. It has good walleye, northern and crapppie fishing. it is a stained lake system, so color choices are important. What part of the lake are you staying on and I may be able to point you in the right direction.

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Now you are talking about my favorite Minnesota walleye lake!

This has been a wierd spring with a fast warmup and early ice out followed by a long series of cold fronts and cold rain and wind. I expect good fishing, and Birch has produced well around opener for me the last couple of years.

Generally I look for a few things to start.

Number one, and I repeat number one is wind direction. Look for areas where wind is blowing in toward the shore, with islands or narrows that will compress the wind and incoming water. The areas that are best have tapering flats and shelves rising from the main basin. The wind creates currents where water is being pushed in to narrows between islands and into shallow bays. The walleyes will follow.

Pay attention to the type of shoreline you are orienting to, gravel is generally better than bare rock, tapering flats are better than abrupt depth changes. Look for islands and shorelines that have some exposed gravel

Don't be afraid to try all depths. Last year I caught fish in 6 feet and in 23 feet, and nearly all depths between.

Birch is a big lake and can be intimidating. Break it down into smaller areas and look for the areas I described and your success rate will improve.

I prefer jig and minnow fishing, bright colors seem to be better (chartreuse, orange, yellow, white, and glow colors.

Slower presentations are best this time of year. Expect light bites, set the hook if you feel anything, jigs are cheap.

I have fished Birch for a long time and have only recently begun to feel I have an understanding of the lake.

If you want to contact me I can offer more specifics at:

richert at richert dot us (no spaces).

I can also recommend a good guide that can help you eliminate a lot of unproductive water.

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My Dad grew up in Babbitt, MN and my grandparents still live there along with my aunt and uncle, so I have fished the lake a few times. I have fished opener only once though, but did do quite well. We were not very successful in the morning when we went, but went in for lunch and came out later in the afternoon. We caught and get probably half a dozen good fish between the four of us, with quite a few smaller fish and a lot of missed fish. The lake is a pretty simple lake to fish early in the spring. Depending on the lake and the rivers that flow into it, some parts of the lake are out of commission for fishing because they do not let you fish these areas because of spawning fish. The fish are just stacked up in these areaas and are sitting ducks for fisherman. This year, that may not be the case with the warmer temps early in the spring. Some of the best fishing I have had is where the Stoney river comes in, fishing around Moose point, and then there is a good shoreline around Madela's(sp) resort. Hopefully that helps.

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During low water periods (might not be bad this opener) there are rocks and points that are not marked. Keep an eye on your depth when drifting and backtrolling. Study your map. All the above info is good advice especially wind direction and of course the amount of chop you fish in. Have a good opener!

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Some buddies and I have fished Birch the last several openers and have always done well. Bait of choice seems to be minnows and bright color jigs. We've found walleye, northern and smallies on this lake, but never crappies. Anyone want to offer a hint on crappies? Where they hang out and what they are hitting. We have targeted the area across from the Superior National Forest campground (there are some islands to work) but not any luck. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks to all and have a great opener!

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One of the secrets to catching crappies in Birch is to find the sunken brush piles that must have "accidently" fallen from boats wink.gif.

If you cruise around some of the points you will find them with your depth finder, crappies will be near.

I won't give up any of the locations I've found, it has taken a long time to stumble upon the several I have found.

The crappies in Birch can be very nice.

Find sunken wood in deeper water, you will find crappies.

A side note, last spring we were catching some jumbo perch. first time that has happened for me.

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Thank you everyone for all of the pointers. Moose Track I live in Babbitt so I will be going out of the landing just east of town. I have a decent sized boat and motor so I can cover any amout of water on the lake. I will go where ever it takes to catch fish. I have been out on the lake checking out what there is for structure. I am dissapointed with the map I have. I have found what I thought would be obvious structure but the map doesn't show any of it. Does any one know of any good maps available for the lake?

Thanks a lot again for all the info and tips.

Chunky are you still sleeping with the map of Burntside above your bed?

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Try the s-p-o-r-t-s-m-a-n-s c-o-n-n-e-c-t-i-o-n-s books of maps. The one for St. Louis County has Birch in it, and the maps are pretty good. Birch takes up four pages in the book, three for lake maps and one for fishing info and tips.

They run $20 to $25, and the St. Louis County one has more than 170 lakes outside the Bdub.

Of course, if that's the one you are referring too, you can disregard this post. There are better maps around of some of the lakes in this series of books, but the small one-page hard plastic ones generally are inferior to these. Only ones I've seen consistently better are the PDFs off the DNR's lake finder site and the f-i-s-h-i-n-g h-o-t s-p-o-t-s maps.

Good luck.

P.S. -- I've downloaded and printed out the DNR lake finder PDFs, and in some cases they work just great.

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Frank W,

Before I moved to Minnesota from Rock Ridge on the advice of my great uncle Gabby, I always dreamed of the famous MN Walleye.

Going after Crappies in the early spring is fine but what do your buddies think of the idea? You say you have good success on Walleyes, why change your team strategy? You could spend countless hours with no success. I suggest you talk with your group before abandoning what could become a great Saturday night meal.

Good luck

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I have not seen a decent map of Birch yet.

There is much structure that isn't even hinted on the maps I have looked at. The USGS 7.5' series of maps that cover Birch are about as good as I 've seen, the islands and shoreline are highly accurate and at least a few major structures are shown. I have to feel a little sorry for someone who is not familiar with the lake, the available maps don't help much.

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GT(Johnson) is right! I would always consult your fishing team before abandoning a sure-fire strategy on opener walleyes. Tautgy (Johnson) agrees that crapies are tasty, but notices that the DNR netting in recent years are small. A nice Saturday meal of Walleye is always welcomed when our SADDLES are cold and our boat engines are BLAZING!

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stfcatfish, that map in the st. louis county lakes map book is the one I am referring to. You are right though, for the money that book is great.

My search for a good map of birch continues. I haven't had any success finding a fishing oppisite of cold spots map of the lake. I bought the new mmc card for my lcx 15mt. No such luck on that either. It has the islands, hazards and Blueberry Island Reef on it but no contours. The map for Vermillion is awesome though. It is 3-foot contours. Winnie, Leech and Mile Lacs are all 1-foot contours. I think Minnetonka is too but I don't see myself fising that too much. Extremely impressive. The detail to the map on it is awesome. It has an unbelievable amount of roads on it.

Anyways. I am starting to feel like I am just going to have to get to know Birch really well to figure out the structure out there. Oh darn, I will have to put a lot of time in on the water then I guess.

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Give the DNR lake finder a try. I downloaded a PDF map of Trout Lake off Vermilion a couple years back before I started hiking in there in winter to fish lakers. I had to print a bunch of 8.5x11 pages in a process called "tiling" on my home printer because the map was so big. But I laid them out on the dining room table, taped the seams front and back after matching them up and had a map about 2 feet by about 4 feet that I rolled up and still have today.

I just went on the site and downloaded and opened the PDF of Birch, and it's 24 by 36 inches at full size. If you can get that printed, it will be better than the map book we've mentioned.

You can print it small, but you need it bigger because the lines are too close together on a lot of maps and the numbers too small at that smaller scale. If you don't have a printer that can do the job, download the PDF, burn it on a CD and take it to any print shop. They can print a map for you (cost?).

The opposite of the cold spot maps are great maps. Just wish they had them for more lakes. I'd snatch one up for Basswood, Burntside and Birch just as fast as they produced them. So would a bunch of other people, I'm sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The opener and subsequent days were tough out on Birch. We picked up a few fish but they seemed pretty lethargic. We got fish on minnows but they seemed a little more apt to hit a crawler.

I am amazed at how much structure is out there. We fished in the bay near where the Stoney River enters the lake. Amazing structure in there. The only thing one of the maps I have says about it is that there is an 8' Channel.

I am hoping that the weather forecast I saw earlier will stay true to this weekend and that I will be putting in some quality time on the lake.

It seems to me the lake may kind of be a sleeper since it is surrounde by other lakes such as Vermillion, Shag, Burntside and all of the BW. I know the weather was less than pleasant for opener but I didn't see as many boats as I would have expected. That is alright by me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking for an update on Birch. Just wanted to know if anyone has been out and what the bite has been like?

I will be up on Tuesday and will be fishing the west end of the lake. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

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Best way to get a good report, if no one here has been on B lately, is to call Blomberg's C store in Babbitt. It's likely where you'd be buying your bait anyway, and they'll help you out. They're in the phone book, or information will have the number. Not sure I can post business phone numbers here.

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I was up on birch at timber bay lodge for memorial weekend. We caught some eaters but had to work hard for them. Live bait rigs with a 3 foot leader worked best, colored hooks. Most fish came from 9 - 14 feet of water. Minnows worked best but got some hits on crawlers too.

We fished off islands and shoreline structures, our best fishing was right in front of timber bay. There is a spring there and seemed to attract males eyes, or they spawned there and they stuck around. The worse the weather, the better the fishing. Fish as slow as you can while still covering water. Painstaking but seemed to work best. Good luck and report back. I'm heading up to burntside for the 4th but might hit birch again if there is action.

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Spent Thurs. through Sunday camping w/ the family on Birch. 7 year old daughter had her first Birch Lake walleye 20 minutes after starting. Kept 11 Friday, 8 on Saturday and didn't scare up even a bite in three hours Sunday before leaving. Many 12-13 inchers released. Biggest 18. No spawn or milt noted. Bellys were full of minnows and in one fish a bunch of crayfish. Fish were caught primarily in 15-19 off Mattila Island, the buoy just NW of there and the point just West of the landing. Watched many fishing shallower without as much success. Usually this time of year I focus on the 9-14 as well. While we did catch Wally's in as shallow as 10, they seemed to be thicker deeper. Used Fl. Orange and multi colored glow 1/8 oz. jigs tipped with rainbows. One other note: many of the traditional early season spots such as Moose Pt. and the North Shore there, Deer Island Buoy, and the buoy just to the east of it didn't result in much. All were fished from 8 ft. down to 22. Good Luck. One of my favorite places to camp and fish in the state.

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BIG TOM, good to hear you and daughter did well, the reason I'm replying to your post is about an hour ago my family was invited to camp on birch over the 4th of july, details still blurry but am going anyway 5y.o. daughter is as crazy about fishing as I am. any pointers on where to get bait and where to go on the lake this time of year? we hunt for walleye,crappies,bluegills. thanks in advance

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Tom,

Blomberg's in Babbitt can take care of your bait. As far as Walleyes, start with the buoy areas at 10 feet and work down until you find the fish. The area where the Stoney hits the main lake has been good for me that time of year. As to crappies and sunfish, you may still find some around the reeds in North Bay.

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Big Tom, thanks for the info, that ought to keep me busy for awhile,will be there 1st thru the 4th, if you see a guy in a 14 ft alumacraft with a little blonde girl(that would be my daughter showing daddy how to fish) sitting on one of your spots motor over and say hi. will be staying at birch lake campground supposedly right on the water, wink.gif

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Well, 5 days of vacation shot!

Every day except Thursday it was raining. You're just not going to get Mom and Dad in a boat if it's raining. Thursday was a day you live for, sunny skies and a bite. We were able to boat a few fish, keeping 3 for dinner. On a positive note, my fiancee' landed her first fish ever. A 3+lb northern that scared the heck out her!

Kind of suprised me that Bloomberg's didn't really have an idea about Birch. They must not of had much information to go on. Had to get leeches and fatheads as they were out of rainbows. Didn't have any luck with the leeches, all the fish were caught with minnows using a lindy rig set up.

I will be back up in August, I sure hope the rain has stopped by then... I spent way too much time at Tanks.

Dave

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I found some info on the exploreminnesota web site, call birch lake rv park camp ground 800-570-5889 see what they know.

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COntacted Birch lake RV, but was little help. THe person I spoke with was not sure about overnight parking. Anyone out there parked their trailer overnight at a Birch lake launch?

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  • 3 months later...

I started this post way back on May 1st so I figured I would keep it going.

Has anyone been out on the lake lately? Has anyone had any luck? Any reports?

For those of you that fished it this season, how was the season out there?

It was pretty slow for me. A few early on. I got skunked when I went out later in the season.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am keeping this thread alive.

I fished Birch yesterday. I swear it is the Rock Bass Capital of the World. I fished anywhere from 12 to 29 feet and thought I would pick up some walleyes. NOPE. Caught a dozen big, plump rock bass. One of the fish I could see the antenae from a crayfish sticking out of its throat.

The water temp was still at 55 degrees. I would assume that would indicate the lake hasn't turned over yet.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • SkunkedAgain
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