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The Opener was cold and snowy but fishing heating up in Ely now

The 2005 fishing opener was typical by Minnesota standards: cold, windy, rain and some snow and sleet thrown in for good measure. But that didn’t slow the Governor or thousands of anglers from taking to the lakes last Saturday. Governor Tim Pawlenty and his wife Mary landed 12 walleyes on Lake Vermilion by noon. With the guv putting eight in the net, he was beat out for top honors by Lt. Governor Carol Molnau who caught nine. Pawlenty announced he will be traveling a little farther north next year to International Falls and Rainy Lake for the 2006 Governor’ Fishing Opener event.Reports from around the Ely varied, although the number of boats out on the water was below normal opener levels. The west side of Basswood was productive, with walleyes being taken from areas where there was current. The east side, however, was slower with fishermen really having to work hard to catch shore lunch.Most anglers had loaded up on minnows, a traditional bait on opener but at least one group was filling a stringer by using leeches.This boat was anchored in moving water on Birch Lake and by using spinners with leeches the group was able to boat a number of nice walleyes. Snow and sleet chased a number of boats off the lake by midday although many people reported the walleyes and smallmouth bass were hitting in deeper water. The main complaint was cold fingers and wet clothing, not fishing action. A number of five pound smallies were landed by walleye fishermen and is traditionally the case, those fish were returned to the waters.Randy Smuk of Brooklyn Park brought in a nice 5 lb. 2 oz. smallmouth bass caught in Shagawa Lake on the opener. The fish was 19.5 inches in length with a 16 inch girth. Smuk was fishing with a shiner minnow and registered his catch at the Great Outdoors.Six year-old Auggie Richter caught a 22-inch smallmouth bass on Shagawa Lake that weighed in at 4 lb. 13 oz. Richter was fishing with a rainbow minnow. He brought his catch into Skube’s Bait and Tackle to have his picture taken. David Shober, age 13, of Ely was jigging in White Iron Lake when he landed a 20 inch smallmouth that weighed 3 lb. 12 oz. He brought his smallie into Skube’s Bait and Tackle to enter it into the North Country Angler fishing contest.Some nice trout were caught on Ely’s top laker lakes, Burntside and Snowbank. Mason Burd of Ely brought home a 10 lb. lake trout out of Burntside Lake. Fishing with a Rapala, Burd brought his fish into Voyageur North Outfitters.From Snowbank came a 7 lb. 9 oz. lake trout caught by Gene Bobick of St. Paul. Using a Rapala as well, Bobick registered his fish at Smitty’s on Snowbank.A 7 lb. 1 oz. laker was registered at Smitty’s by Wes Stocks of New Richmond, WI. The fish was caught on a Rapala in Snowbank Lake. With the weather warming up over the week, look for the walleyes to start hitting and moving toward some of the shallower waters. And don’t forget to register your catch at one of the Angler Check-In stations listed in this issue. Good luck!

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