Fishing with the Guides by George Langley. Week of 7/21 to 7/28.
Oh, how summer is flashing by. We have midsummer conditions in the area, with higher water temps. There is a lot of traffic on the water in the summer period, so anglers are sometimes better off fishing early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid this boating traffic. Weed growth is now “normal” for our waters, so those weeds are holding fish using the weeds as cover. Almost all types of fish can be found at some time, in the weeds. One youngster caught a 27” walleye in two feet of water on the Chain last week. Daily patterns are inconsistent this year, with a lot of changing time periods out there. Evening fishing can be great, but sometimes noon can be equally good. This has been a weird year right from the start with that cold spring.
Walleye fishing has been good for smaller fish, but there haven't been a lot of reports of big fish. On the Eagle River Chain, these fish are often in mid-lake areas over mud. This is getting them away from the heavy boat traffic an into cooler water. A few patient anglers have done well on some decent fish by merely drifting over the center of the lake with half crawlers right on the bottom. Try the weeds for walleye, especially in the late evenings and early mornings. Again, half crawlers can be quite effective under slip bobber in those weeds.
On the bigger lakes, the fish are in deeper weeds and off the weeds in deeper water during the daytime. You can have success in fishing the weeds from 8' to 13' with either minnows or crawlers. Those drop-offs can be quite good at this time of year on lakes like North Twin.
Bass fishing remains very good this year, especially for largemouth. Right now all bait types work very well for these fish. Plastics, fished wacky worm-style have been especially effective in the weeds. If you can, try some of the smaller lakes that don't get a lot of pressure for some great largemouth fishing.
Smallies have been hitting well, but deeper than the largemouth. These guys feed mainly on crayfish, so any imitation of them will work well for you. Look for harder bottom areas and rocks to hold these fish. “Banging” crankbaits off rocks in the 10' range can get you some nice fish on lakes like Butternut and Big Portage.
Northern fishing is good, as usual. These fish are in the weeds, and you can have some great action over the deeper grass beds on many clear lakes. Either larger minnows or artificial baits work very well for these fish. They are daytime feeders, so you can target them during the day.
Musky action is improving the further we get away from this cold spring. We're now getting some nice reports of good action on the Chain with bucktails and surface baits. Mostly, it's shoreline fishing on the Chain with concentration on the weed areas. Night fishing is in full action for the trophy hunters. Again, North Twin is one of the best night lakes. Buckatabon and Star lakes can give you some big fish along with all of the clear, deep lakes.
Panfish action is good, with the crappie bite in the weeds being notable. Small plastics like Mini Mites or small Twisters catching fish on a daily basis in those weeds. Bluegills are also in the weeds and will hit on worms every day. Perch are generally in the deeper parts of the weed beds and will hit both worms and minnows.
Get out and enjoy the comfort of evening fishing while it lasts!
Good luck and good fishin’!
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