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Whitefish in May


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Will be on Whitefish from middle to end of May, and can't wait. Got booked today and got the group together today and set the wheels in motion. We had a great trip last October, the colors were brilliant and the fishing was prety good too. The only thing we didn't really locate were pannies, so I am looking forward to bumping into 'em this May.

Bringing a boat up, and have a 14' there, but 14' needs motor & trolling...need a place to rent a motor and trolling motor? May even need to look into additional boat rental to accomodate everyone in the group.

Also, any info and areas/depths/presentations recommended during that time frame of year would be greatly appreciated. It will be our first spring on the chain. Info on trout, crappies, sunnies-perch, and smallies? Upper Whitefish was pretty good to us for eyes this fall, but we want to explore more of the chain, like Rush and Cross, Island, Loon, and Big Trout. Have the map, so general areas would be cool.

Thanks in advance...

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Hi Caster, Give us a call. We can probably help you out with the boats and outboards situation. We have a 16 foot fishing boat/20 hp honda and, 8 hp outboards for rent. As far as a small trolling motor you may be better off just buying an inexpensive one for your trip. Rental trolling motors are tough to find.

Whitefish in May is a great choice if you want to get into the big crappies. There are tons of great looking little bays and canals. In the spring it is all about the timing and the weather pattern. Arrowhead is a nice lake for some slab crappies and bluegills. Try small white spinnerbaits for the pike in the bays or on the shalow weedlines. The walleyes early in the season on Whitefish tend to be a little tough. The area around the mouth of the Pine River is one of the favorites. Also try any neckdown channel areas between lakes. Warmer water is the key to spring fishing. Jigs or Lindy rigs and spot-tail shiners will work best for the walleyes. Let us know if we can help you out.

Jason Erlandson

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thanks Jason, will give you a call to arange the boat/motor situation. And thanks for the crappie info too. When you say mouth of the Pine River, do you refer to Upper Whitefish or Cross lake, or both? Any smallie areas?

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I think that he means on upper whitefish, the river is a major spawning area. I was up there last May and had the best luck trolling cranks. This year I am going to get a planner board mast set-up to hopefully put a few more fish in the boat. My "wifes" family has a cabin right by the pine river entrance, The panfishing was pretty decent in the bay there as the water is warmer. I haven't caught or really tried for Smallmouth, but Big trout lake had some decent looking spots. The only problem with that is in may it is probably the coldest water in the system.

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thanks bigmusk for the clarification. We did pretty well in that area of upper late in the fall. Our hope is that the weather is condusive to a warming water trend in mid May while we are there.

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I would try Crosslake for smallmouth either by the campground or on the south end of the lake there is some nice structure for smallies. Good luck!!

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Thanks fishblind. On our fall trip, we did not make it to Cross, but wanted to. Also want to hit Rush this spring, so we plan on hitting them this May on our 10 day trip. Rush looks to have a number of small islands and other structure, and Cross looks to have some nice structure & humps too. With the River on that end of the chain too, I would think that Cross would hold some eyes. What about perch..where on the chain?

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I have only caught one or two perch on the chain worth keeping but there is a lot of small ones out there. A good spot for walleye during this time of year on cross is right where the channel comes out of Rush but it is a night bite.

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fishblind, I heard the same remark about that area for eyes while there last fall, so we plan on working it a little.

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We were out last year on opener and the bite was very tough... Walleyes for few and far between but we did manage two in a row off of the main break that seperates middle and lower... As far as Crappies, is opener too late or too early to catch some real slabs in the smaller bays, have they moved out by than or is there a chance at some still

? Will be out there again for this opener, so best of luck to all and lets see if we can change that tough early bite on the chain!

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Opener won't be too late for crappies in the bays, and it usually gets better towards the end of may. Walleyes always seem to be tough on the chain early in the season. Don't overlook fishing for lakers in trout lake. The trout will still be roaming the shallower water this time of year and you won't need any special gear to catch'em. A great presentation is a flutter spoon with about a 6' leader attached to a one ounce or so in-line weight or egg sinker ahead of a barrel swivel. Crankbaits also work well especially ones with a long slender profile that matches a cisco. Troll the shoreline breaks and you should pick up a mixed bag, hopefully. crazy.gif

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Igotem: Very interested in the lakers in big trout during middle-end of May, so thanks for the presentation info. Any particular depths?

Thanks in advance

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Igoteam, thanks alot for another option this opener!! I appreciate your help with the crappies, I cant pull myself from completely neglecting them 'eyes no matter how hard they are to catch, but its nice to have a couple back-up plans in case they dont work with me!!

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Another good tactic for early season eyes is pulling small spinner rigs and nightcrawlers around the mouth of the Pine River on Upper Whitefish. The fish at that time seem real scattered. So it might be worth covering some ground. You may not find any active females but there could be some smaller males hanging around that area and feeding.

Jason Erlandson

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How's the nite bite near or around the mouth of the Pine on Upper Jason - or anyone who may have input? I've had some really good nights on other lakes in the past during river migrations in early Spring.

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I fished that area last may and caught my fish on crankbaits right before and slighly after dark. I need to work on a daytime presentation for this spring.

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Quote:

Igotem: Very interested in the lakers in big trout during middle-end of May, so thanks for the presentation info. Any particular depths?


I would start out trolling along the breaklines in around 20 - 30 FOW. Your lure depth isn't as important as the trout will come up/down to your bait. If you get your bait down 15' to 20' that should be sufficient. You can get crankbaits that will dive that deep on their own and you'll need to add weight to spoons or shallow diving cranks as mentioned earlier. Laker's prefer water temps in the upper 40's to lower 50's, so depending on our spring you should still find the trout at these depths at that time of year. If it's a mild/warm spring and early ice-out, the laker's may be out in the deeper areas of the lake where they would be found in the summer. If this is the case, you'll have to change your tactics a bit. You'll need a way to get your baits down if you want to troll for them, or you can locate them with your electronics and jig for them. The jigging option is the best way to go IMO. I like at least an ounce or more jigging spoon or jig. You have to adjust weight depending on wind. You want to keep your line as vertical as possible.

A couple other things, I will usually troll all spoons or all cranks - assuming more than 1 person in the boat. Typically you will have to troll spoons slower than cranks. Check the action on your spoons before you let out your line. You don't want your spoons doing circles, nice side to side action is what you want. Also another tactic you could try is anchoring and casting out a smelt or cisco and let it sit on the bottom. I've never fished for trout this way, but it does work. My parents neighbor does this every year off his dock (different lake but will work anywhere) on fishing opener and he seems to always catch'em. His dock is on a nice break near the end of a point so I'm sure that helps his success, but you can put your boat on any good looking piece of structure and try this. I would use a circle hook or quick strike rig on a 12" to 24" or so leader with a swivel and 1/2 ounce or so slip-type sinker.

The nice thing about lakers is they are active during the day. You can fish for walleyes during low light times and fish for the lakers mid-day.

I hope you catch a bunch! smile.gif Let us know how you do.

igotem

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I know you weren't answering a specific question of mine, but I just wanted to thank you for the helpful information on this challenging chain of lakes... It'll be nice going into this opener with a little more confidence... It sounds like you know the lake very well, but I don't want to take and not give, so as far as my results last year, I caught a couple walleyes off of the main hump dividing middle and lower whitefish, and towards early june I caught three in a row on the far end of Bertha in about 20' of water... Just pullin a lindy up the break... Hope this helps and I'd love to hear how your fishing ventures go out on the chain this year and I'll post back and let you know how my opener went.. Thanks again!

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Thanks Igotem, we'll give it a healthy shot, and I echo the gratitude offered by Moses. I know it is a ways to go to get to May, but it makes the time go by when you can have an opportunity to connect with and learn from those closer to the source. Plus, one can never plan ahead too far I guess.

When I was in college, spent more time on the Central MN waters, well after studying of course. Now, life is different, family things and work & distance, time is limited, so this all helps to make the best of it. The forums have helped me learn a lot and how to apply it in many different scenarios. I think it would make things all the more valuable to have opportunities to hook-up with meet or connect with FM'ers. I know there are events for that, but it seems they are usually scheduled when I happen to be the busiest.

Any predictions on Ice-Out coming into play yet?

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Yeah I'm in college right now and you're exactly right, looking ahead to fishing the chain after school is out next spring is definitly whats getting me thru the homework and classes!!

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Well it looks like schools not going to let me get out of here until after opener, so unfortunaltly I'm only going to wish any and all of you that get out there on opener the best of luck!! As far as my situation, I will be spending a week up there the end of May and the beginning of June... Will some of the patterns that produce walleyes on opener be alright to try later in May and early June? Thanks for any suggestions!

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  • 1 month later...

moses,

let me know what you come up with presentation wise, but I would figure that the same opener presentations will work end of May too. give a shout when you got your dates, maybe we can all hook-up one day near the end of May.

Starting to get excited...trees and bushes are starting to bud. Let the countdown begin smile.gif

caster

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      kettle....have you chased around any sunfish lately???? kinda wondering if there done spawning???? the last time i was up the sunfish we did clean that had eggs in it didnt even look close to spawning. although i know they seem to carry eggs around most of the summer it seems!!!!!!
    • SkunkedAgain
      Maybe the bamboozler will end up being like every fish story, some old timers holding their hands out as wide as possible to demonstrate to a youngster just how big it was....
    • smurfy
      kettle, when are you going to fish for something decent to eat????🤔🤣🤣   nice batch of fish!!!!!!!!!
    • muskie-mike
      My wife agrees about the pizza...was the best...  
    • Kettle
      Fished a bigger lake, fish or at least the eaters are on the mid lake humps. Water Temps 68 degrees, freezer now has 6 total as I've been eating fish often. Tomorrow we chase the 30" walleye for catch and release.  
    • LUCIFER
      Stuntz Bay Boathouse Historic District - Wikipedia   They have some info.  
    • smurfy
      👍that can be arranged!!!
    • MarkB
      I just returned home today from 4 wonderful days of fishing my favorite lake. We arrived late Saturday and was able to fish a bit that evening. Our group was comprised of my cousin, one of our very close friends and myself. On Saturday evening we managed to catch 16 walleyes on crawlers, leeches, and minnows. In spite of less than perfect weather conditions(95 degree heat and high to near hurricane force winds) we ended up with 103 walleyes boated and perhaps that many missed and lost during retrieval through Wednesday early afternoon. Minnows worked best one day, leeches worked great one day, and crawlers were the ticket Wednesday with our biggest fish of the trip coming that day. The bites ranged from very light to jerk the rod out of your hand. Our terminal gear consisted of jig/minnow, Lindy rig, to my old standby 4 ft leader, 1oz bouncer, 2 red beads, and a Gamakatsu size 8 orange hook. The bouncer rig outfished the rest by a wide margin. Speed was a huge factor and .4-.6mph was the speed that worked best. The high winds made boat control/speed a real challenge. We caught all of our fish from 8ft to 24ft with the optimun depth ~14ft give or take. When we got to the lake the water temp was 64.5 degrees and yesterday afternnon when we quit, it was 68.5 degrees. We did not see any significant amounts of mayflies except in the water columns in a few areas of the lake. The fish we cleaned went from stuffed with mayflies, full of crawdads, to full of perch minnows. We found the fish in the rocks and on mud flats. I looked for the fish with sonar and only fished where I found fish. I found our fish in the east end of Big Bay, Daisy Bay, Armstrong Bay, Portage Bay, and Bystrom Bay. We caught fish at every place we stopped. Wind dictated where we fished on any given day. On Monday, I had to cross the east end of Fraser Bay and in over 60 years, I have never seen it that rough.  We found the cheapest gas at Shamrock Marina($6.29/gal) and the best bait at the Y store. We have eaten pizza at the Vermilion Club for more years than I can count and, to put it bluntly, we were very disappointed this year. To us, it was definitely not the same quality of pizza we have become accustomed to. Suffice it to say, we will be ordering something different from the menu in the future. All in all, Lake Vermilion provided us with another lasting memory. Great fishing on the greatest lake in Minnesota. We will return in mid-September and we are already anxious. Pictured below is my cousin with two nice walleyes caught 10 minutes apart. They were caught on crawlers.   Good Fishing MarkB🙂    
    • Wanderer
      Maybe pay him in smoked pike so he can taste some fish instead just crunching down on walleyes all the time! 😉
    • smurfy
      Hey stay outta it.😫🤭🙄 😊   Thanks kettle I may take you up on that sometime.
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