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Blue skies? You betcha! Anglers releasing big fish

You can stop building that ark now, it appears the rains have subsided for a while and now we can finally go out in the boat without having to put on rain gear first. After a series of storms and rain showers that has area lakes at levels higher than after spring run-off, the sun reappeared and summer-like weather made it into the weather forecast.Entries into the North Country Angler show the drop in people out fishing, but a number of very nice Catch and Release entries were received. Leading the way was a massive 44-inch northern pike caught in Basswood Lake on a sucker minnow by Jerry Flaherty of Sebring, FL and entered at Timber Trail Lodge. Mark Liebich of Joliet, IL entered a 40-inch northern caught and released in White Iron Lake on a rainbow chub. Liebich entered the release at Skube’s Bait and Tackle and reported the fish weighed in at 19 lbs. 13 oz. Farm Lake is still the home of a 38.5-inch northern pike that hit a sucker minnow on the end of Jerry Kniefel’s line. The Rosemount, MN native reported the fish went 18 lbs. at Timber Trail Lodge. Jack Coombe of Gilbert released a 7 lb. 6 oz. walleye that measured 27.5 inches out of Lake Vermilion. Caught on a leech, the release was reported to Vermilion Fuel and Food. Using a jig and a rainbow minnow on White Iron Lake, Jeff Helget caught the biggest walleye in his 30 years of fishing, a 26-inch, six-pounder that he reported to Timber Trail Lodge. In the catch and eat category, Jon S. Schaecher of Milan, IL used a crank bait to nail a 13 lb. 8 oz. northern pike in Snowbank Lake. He entered the fish in the contest at Smitty’s on Snowbank. Fishing with a Little Joe’s spinner and a minnow in Twin Lakes, Dan Kirkman of Virginia caught a 6 lb. walleye that he registered at Voyageur North Outfitters in Ely. Another spinner winner was David Rippon of Novato, CA as he landed a 4 lb. walleye in Burntside Lake and brought the fish into Skube’s Bait and Tackle to enter the contest. Bass are really starting to turn on in area lakes as well, ripping at surface plugs and inhaling live bait as well.In addition to the nice walleye he entered, Jack Coombe also landed a monster smallmouth bass. Weighing in at 5 lb. 9 oz. out of Lake Vermilion, Coombe checked the smallie in at Vermilion Fuel and Food in Tower.Bill Fester of Melrose Park, IL used a leech and a jig to harvest a 3 lb. 8 oz. smallmouth bass out of Fall Lake. He brought the fish to Voyageur North Outfitters. Marlene Appleberry of Ely doesn’t have to go far to catch fish, living within casting distance of Shagawa Lake and she must have used that local knowledge to land an 18-inch 3 lb. smallmouth bass on a minnow and a hook. The entry came in from Voyageur North Outfitters.A shiner minnow was the right bait for Mary Ann Anderson of Gilbert as she hooked a 3 lb. 4 oz. largemouth bass in Lake Vermilion and entered the contest at Vermilion Fuel and Food. We’re big fans of panfish and Bailey Drechsler caught a nice one, a 1 lb. 3 oz. crappie caught in Miner’s Lake. The Great Outdoors entered the fish into the contest. This week marks the end of the first of the three sections of the North Country Angler fishing contest. Check out the winners inside, who will receive a check for $25 for the top fish. Section two starts now so grab your pole and tackle box and head out to the lake. This sunshine is bound to be followed by more rain, so enjoy it while it lasts.Good luck!

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