Fishing Report by Captain Russ

As another walleye/pike season draws to a close, most dedicated anglers will turn their attention to trout fishing. There are a good number of folks who have been reaping the reward of great trout encounters all winter long, and this couldn’t be a better time to get your share. Though ice conditions aren’t the greatest, there are still a wide array of lakes with fishable ice.
Whether it be stream trout, or lake trout, the Ely area has you covered. While we can’t mention all the lakes, some of the most popular and productive ones are within a twenty mile radius of Ely. Burntside, Snowbank and Basswood are the three of the most productive lakes for lake trout in Northeast Minnesota.
Basswood Lake provides trout anglers an experience of a lifetime. Access may be difficult for some as it lies in the Boundary Waters which prohibits any mechanized travel, but on foot, with snowshoes, skis or a dogsled team, you can access some of the most productive areas this part of the country has to offer.
There are stream trout lakes scattered throughout the area and many are stocked lakes with rainbows, splake, brown and brook trout. Miners Pit, Tofte, Glacier Ponds and High and Dry lakes have an abundance of trout fishing and catching opportunities. Rainbows tend to have a flurry of activity at daybreak, but the bite can occur anytime of the day.
Splake and brook trout seem to do well in the afternoons lately. Small jigs, and spoons worked throughout the water column some tipped with wax worms, or salted minnows either whole or part add to the smell and taste of your offering. Keep in mind that no live minnows are allowed on designated trout lakes.
The crappie bite is now under way and should just gain momentum for the next month or so as ice conditions allow. Fall, Birch, One Pine, Johnson and East Twin have always been able to produce crappies and sunnies of keeper size.
Some big slabs come from Birch each year but this season requires extra caution when trying to travel there. Vehicular travel is NOT recommended as even four wheelers have slipped beneath the ice in areas of current or springs. There are however a few good access points for foot travel at the Highway 1 bridge, the campground and the public accesses near the town of Babbitt.
The weather has been so mild, there’s really no excuse to not get out there and spend at least a few hours on the ice, and it can be a great source of entertainment for both young and old alike. Kids love just being out and playing on the ice, and if you can bring home dinner, so much the better. Get out and enjoy this resource, before the ice just melts away.