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I am a first time message poster and Ensign Lake camper, so please bear with me.
I'm headed to Ensign Lake to set up base camp May 15 with 6 guys, a couple of which are novice BWCA'ers and fisherman (not that I'm going to win a tourney anytime soon). Any recommendations for eyes on Ensign or nearby day trip locations of Vera, Trident, or Ashigan? I guarantee an e-mail/posting on results after our return.

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Addiehunts...Ensign is a great opener lake! Forget about going into Ashigan, mostly bass! Vera is good walleye fishing, but you should not have to leave ensign Lake. I fish splash lake on the way into ensign and also fish the upstream current as you first get into ensign. What I've noticed over the years on Ensign is the walleyes hang really close to shore and almost every campsite I've stayed at in the past I have caught walleyes from shore. There are a couple of very good reefs you need to know about. One in the Northwest part of the lake and the other two in the East part. The first thing to do is find a campsite on the East end of the lake or the big part of the lake. Opener can be very hard to find a campsite because of the people, but if you can get in there a couple of days early you should be fine. Jigs and minnows and slip bobbers from camp is all you need. Bring at least two dozen minnows per person, trust me you will go through them fast on Pike and walleyes. I like to paddle the shorlines and cast with a lead head and minnow and also work the reefs. You will have a blast fishing there, I'm yet to see a bad opener!

[email protected]

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Walleyes hang in the currents at the beginning of the fishing season. I'd definately try Splash lake, fishing on top of the water flow. You'll see a lot of boats fishing on the Moose lake side too.

You may want to give the reefs a try, but if it's walleyes your going after...then I'd put a lot of effort into the currents.

[email protected]

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Thanks for the great advice! I'll be sure to reply on how it turns out.

Minnows sound to be the bait of choice. Last fall when we went up on the East side to Vista Lake we'd purchased some odd assortment of minnows from a shop up north. This year, we're heading up late and would like to buy bait before leaving the cities. Will regular fat heads work just as well?

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Addiehunts...Hey if you can find Northern Redbelly Dace..the ones with bright orange and yellow breeding colors, they work very well and they are usually lively as hell. Most bait stores just refer to them as Rainbow chubs. Otherwise regular fathead chubs work too.

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The rainbow chubs will definitely work better than the regular fathead chubs at that time.

We have always found them to be a lot longer lasting, for some reason they are 'tougher'.

Bring a few crawlers just in case your minnows run out or die off. Also bring some Rapalas that will look like the rainbow chubs. The Husky Jerk ones and the new Tail Dancers should work great.

John and Lynn O'Kane
Voyageur North Outfitters
Ely, Mn 55731

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Thanks again for all the recommendations.

Now if that ice just gets off the lakes up there we should be set. I noticed from the DNR website it is still showing ice in BWCA country, though it appears historical averages for the ice outs is about now so I'm not concerned yet.

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