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Crappies starting to heat up, smallies still hitting strong

The idea of fishing for crappies when the temperature was over 90 degrees didn’t sound too appealing. But for those who went out and got sunburned, it was worth the trip.Instead of milling through Whiteside Park last weekend, a number of area anglers took to the lakes and some found success while chasing panfish.Fishing at mid-day in 15 to 18 feet of water, the preferred bait was a tiny crappie minnow on a gypsy jig, most often used ice fishing. The results were impressive with a number of larger crappies hitting the bait and nearly steady action. If crappies don’t turn your crank, then you might want to try fishing for smallmouth bass on a hot day. This week’s entries in the North Country Angler fishing contest included three smallie over four pounds, a nice-sized catch for our area.Leading the way was a 5 lb. 4 oz. smallmouth reportedly caught in Lucky Boy Lake, behind the Ely Golf Course. The 20-incher hit a Daredevle for Jeremy Engen of Ely who brought the fish into Spirit of the Wilderness.A 20.5-inch smallmouth that weighed 4 lb. 8 oz. was taken from White Iron Lake by John Brunner of London, KY and entered at Skube’s Bait and Tackle. Lake Vermilion gave up a 4 lb. 6 oz. smallmouth bass to Sharon Moore of Alborn, MN. She used a Rapala to hook the 18-incher and entered the contest at Vermilion Fuel and Food. A skinnier 20-incher that weighed 3 lb. 8 oz. was fished out of Basswood Lake on a leech at the end of David Bragg’s line. Bragg, of Villa Grove, IL, brought the smallmouth into Skube’s Bait and Tackle for the entry. And we want to mention A.J. Lorenz of Elk Grove, IL. The seven year-old's first fish was an 18-inch smallie out of White Iron Lake that bit on a jig and a leech. The registration came in from Skube’s Bait and Tackle. If you know how to go after lake trout, then Snowbank Lake is a good place to go. Dan Mallie of New Boston, IL registered three beauties out at Smitty’s on Snowbank. Using ciscoes, Mallie reeled up a 12 lb. laker, an 11 lb. 8 oz. fish and a 6 lb. beauty. Each registration was courtesy of Smitty’s on Snowbank. Bill Dziadosz of Sun Park, WI caught twin lake trout in Snowbank and entered the pair of 6 lb. trout at Smitty’s on Snowbank. Each fish bit on a Smitty’s Special.Still swimming around in Snowbank is an 18 lb. 3 oz. silver pike that was caught and released by Charlie Koch of Eagan, MN. Using a leech and a spinner, Koch was able to reel in the 40-inch fish. Smitty’s on Snowbank was the entry station for that nice release. Kevin Rubsam of Newton, IL was fishing with a cicadia lure when he hooked up with a 36-inch northern pike on Crooked lake. The pike was released back into the waters that flow over Curtain Falls and on through Iron, Bottle and Lac la Croix. But if you’d like to try your luck at picking up a stringer of crappies, pick up some little crappie minnows, buy a couple of gypsy jigs and head out on to the water.You never know, today might be your lucky day.

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