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Over the years I have had a number of experiences where I was unable to get bait in Ely on a weekend while passing through. Last month, I tried going up there at 7AM before hitting Burntside. The two bait shops I know of (that stay open year round) were closed, and Lucky 7 was out of minnows until Wednesday...perfect! This past Saturday, at 2PM, I tried to find smelt or ciscoes in town. Again, the bait shops were closed, and Lucky 7 had live minnows but apparently no smelt or ciscoes.

After many experiences like this, I guess I will continue to do my bait/tackle shopping in Duluth or on the way up in places with normal operating hours and conveniences.

What seems to be the best or most consistent place where someone can get decent live and frozen bait in Ely during the winter?

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The BP in Babbitt always seems to have their act together. I have been able to get whatever I want when I stop in there.

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I just get my stuff either at the Bait Box when I leave home, Fishermans Corner in Pike Lake on the way or in Virginia. I have had that happen before as well and it wont happen again.

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Jim Maki also runs a bait/tackle store on Sheridan Street next to Mike's Liquors. He's open in the winter.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

yep the wonderful baits stores of ely. when i was going to college there i had a big tub that we kept minnows so we always had bait and more often then not we sold a few minnows for beer. If you had a bait store in that town that was open normal hours for fisher man you would put the other nice places out of business.

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Both Lucky 7 and Skube's are great bait setups. I just wish you could depend on them being open (in Skube's case) and stocked (in Lucky 7's case.) I bought ciscos at Lucky 7 on Friday and they had 16 packs left. They must have gone fast to be out Saturday afternoon.

At least you Duluth guys can get guaranteed bait on the way out of town if you're headed up here. In Ely, if the store is out of bait, you're out of LUCK!

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Good to know that Lucky 7 generally stocks ciscoes. And I agree, Skube's is a fine operation when open.

Actually, I've got about 200 dozen Burntside Lake smelt from this April--which were forgotten in the freezer at home. Maybe I need to setup a roadside smelt stand in Ely, or at Van Vac access, what profits I could reap!

Cashcrews

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I haven't really had any problems in ely but I usually get my bait at the gas station in Tower on the way up there.

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Somewhat off topic but did the bait shop on the west side of town by the water tower ever sell? I was up for the Winterfest and it was closed but I didn't see the 'for sale' sign.

Finns.

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Finns, that's Babe's Bait and Tackle. I don't think it has sold yet. It's not open in the winter anyway, just spring, summer and early fall.

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Babes hasn't sold. They'll be open again in the spring. I must say the last few times I've gone for bait, Mackie has had the best and seems to be open more often now.

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"Do you have shiners?"

"Yup."

(show up, no shiners)

"I thought you had shiners?"

"We do, but we are all out"

(Actual conversation I had a lucky seven over the phone and in person. I called from a gas station near duluth debating whether or not to buy bait sooner or later, shouldnt have waited!)

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I like Voy North for summer bait but had a similar conversation with them>

'Any word on the Lakers?' Says I

'There a basketball team in LA' says them...

BTW there were several ( 12? ) packs of ciscos at the 7 on BBash morning at 8am. They keep 'em in the frozen foods cooler, not near the bait shop area.

Later.

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You need to talk to someone that's not a college student at VNO, then you'll get some laker talk, like Andy. As for the winter, they have ciscos in a freezer as well, but you need to call before hand to make sure someone will be there. They did have live bait during two winters but it wasn't worth it.

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I've always had good luck with the Tower 66 station, especially in the fall when the Ely stores are closed. Don't forget the Lucky 7 in Virginia, run by fisher folk unlike the Ely store. Good counts and nice variety. Also the "Y" store (formerly "the Ledge", formerly the "Y" store) seems to be getting there act together as a one stop shop.

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If you live in town, Maki's is the place because you can check when he's open, which is seldom(in the winter). Otherwise plan to buy bait on the way up. If he is open, stop in and get some of his frozen cyscos. Hands down. he has the best bait in town.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

I have better odds winning at the casino then hitting makis when he is open

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Ely is supposed to be an ice fishing destination.

It is, and fishing is great, especially this year.

However, the bait stores in Ely are terrible.

CaseyMCQ is right! Babbit (Blombergs Amoco) has the best bait around the area. I drive from ely to blombergs just to get my bait.

2 weeks ago when I was in Ely Lucky sevens bait was all dead.Somone put soap in the water and killed all the bait.

Skube is always sleeping.

Anyway... enough of me (Contact US Regarding This Word).

Voyageur North in Ely has the best tackle and bait in town in the summer. They also have good people running the place!

One tip that I will add, be careful if you buy bait tackle at the last outfitter in town on the East side.

They will try to screw you! This is from a personal experience.

Anyways.... Buy your bait in babbit!

Good luck fishing everyone.

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Dont talk to a college kid at VNO?

If you were smart, you would talk to one.

There the ones out there fishing all the time, and know the current fishing information.

At least I did when I went to college/worked in Ely.

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Well, at least I don't feel that I was "off base" with my comments regarding Ely bait shops. It is very disappointing that a town with so much of a fishing legacy has such poor representation from the bait shops (at least in the winter.)

Cashcrews

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Lucky 7 has been the most reliable winter bait store for me, hands down. There are a few times in the winter when they run low on bait, with an occasional time they're out of the specific bait I need (I mean they may have been out of just what I was after twice or three times in the three winters since I've lived here, but then I just got rainbows instead of the golden shiners I wanted). The store is not managed by a hot-and-heavy angler, but they are open long and regular hours, do a better job than a lot of bait stores even though bait is only one of their departments, and some of the people who work there are anglers.

For my money, the best combination of bait and service anywhere around here is Blomberg's C store in Babbitt. Theresa is a nuts angler, and she's in charge of the bait. She'll sell you good bait in good measure and tell you where they're biting. The store also is open long and regular hours. Babbitt's just a bit out of the way unless you're fishing Birch Lake. Wish she'd move to Ely and start selling bait at the Ely Blomberg store. That'd make the other winter bait stores in Ely stand up and take notice! grin.gif

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Maybe you and/or your lovely wife should open up a winter bait store. You know what needs to be stocked and when ...

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Hmmmm, Finn Hill Bait? Overlooking lovely Miner's Lake on one side and scenic Shagawa Lake on the other. Hmmmmm. grin.gif

Of course, if I did that, I'd either have to give up fishing because I'd have to man the store or get my lovely wife to staff the store. The latter's more likely. She's not into the hardwater fishing like she is in summer. grin.gif

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"You need to talk to someone that's not a college student at VNO, then you'll get some LAKER talk, like Andy."

Yes, they fish constantly when not on the clock, but I haven't known any of them in the last 7 years to fish lakers. They do know how to fish everything else. cool.gif

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Yes, one needs a certain level of maturity to pursue the mythical beast with flair and elan. You have to be young enough to still have spunk, but old enough to have gained respect for the primordial. Guys like deadeye and Bruledrifter, as college punks, are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Man, that sounds like bullshnit even to me! crazy.gif

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Aw come on. You need a wheeler anyway right? TAX RIGHTOFF! I'd just have to keep your boat in tune during open water....while you're sucking ciscoes from some godforsaken pond in the middle of nowhere getting eatin' alive by bugs, Hmmmm. sounds kind of good to me. How big is that thar Merc?

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