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Trout Opener: A tale of two lakes

Photos by Parker Loew

by Parker Loew

The ice fishing opener for trout (outside of the BWCA) was either feast or famine Saturday, depending on where you went and what you were fishing for.

At Miners Lake, the rainbow trout were biting. One family caught around 15 rainbows in about five hours of fishing on the south side of the lake.

When the family was asked why they chose to come to Miners instead of Burntside or other neighboring lakes, Rich Evenstad, a patriarch of the family from Babbitt, said “We’ve called it the food shelf for the last 40 years because we come out here and get food. And if you’re not catching them, you are seeing them swim by.”

Evenstad started fishing Miners Lake while going to Minnesota North Vermilion and has been fishing it religiously since he graduated.

The family was using jig heads with waxworms and catching the rainbows anywhere from six to 20 feet deep.

Evenstad said he planned on smoking the fish but took back the statement after some mean looks from the rest of his family.

On Burntside Lake, people weren’t having as much luck.

Dan Demuth, a native of Esko, MN and a student at UW-Eau Claire, said he had marked a few fish, but none were interested.

Earlier, he fished Tofte Lake and said he did well, catching six splakes and a few rainbows. Demuth said he wasn’t a big laker fisherman but figured he would give it a shot.

Konner Doble, who moved to the Ely area around two years ago and plans on being an ice fishing guide soon, was also struggling.

Doble said that he had a few bites but couldn’t get a hook into any. He was the only person interviewed who had any action.

“It’s been a slow day,” Doble said. When told about all the fish people were catching at Miners Lake, he said “I wouldn’t have minded that today. I’m trying to smoke some trout. I want something to eat.”

Most people were using a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head to target the lakers.

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