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Walleye fishing picking up, rain pushes water levels higher

So you’ve got your Rapala trailing behind your boat, hoping to hook another walleye to fill out the stringer. Then, WHAM, a monster muskie grabs that lure and decides to take you for a ride around the lake. This was Jerry Palmer’s tale of landing a 45-inch muskie that had an 18.5-inch girth and tore apart a small Rapala.Fishing with his son on Lake Vermilion, the two were trolling along when one pole bent in a hurry. “You got a big walleye,” said his son.“That ain’t a walleye,” said Jerry.With the motor turned off, the muskie pulled the boat around the bay, stopping to surface and look back it what it was towing around.“It would surface just like an alligator and you could see its eyes sticking up,” said Palmer.It would take 15 minutes before the fish tired out and could be brought up alongside the boat. They tried to use a rubber landing net to bring the muskie into the boat but the fish was way too big for that to happen.Finally by grabbing at the tail and sliding a hand underneath the belly, the lunker was brought in and flopped on the bottom of the boat.“He wanted some piece of us,” said Palmer. “His head was moving around and he kept opening his mouth.”The ornery fish was unhooked and lowered back into the lake. “He’s back in for somebody else to catch,” said Palmer. An avid fisherman, Palmer swears by Spider Wire, a high-tech fishing line that has virtually no stretch in it.Palmer also reports good fishing at the very end of the day, often between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.“If you go too early you’re just out there for a boat ride,” said Palmer. If you do go for the late bite, make sure your boat is rigged with the proper lighting. You never know when you’ll pull into the landing and find the game warden waiting to greet you. We’ve also heard a report of a muskie caught in Shagawa Lake, but no entry has come in on that one.We did like the story of the guy fishing out of a canoe when he reached into a net to remove his catch.His hand came out dripping blood with one very angry muskrat taking a good bite before going back in the water. Reports of beaver and loons being caught or more likely snagged on hooks have been reported, but a muskrat is a rare one. And reaching into the net to get it? Not something you want to do on a regular basis.Area resorts report walleye fishing has really picked up and regular Basswood fishermen report the same. But with the weather regularly pouring rain across the area, the number of boats on the water has not been as high as normal.What is very abnormal for this time of year are high water levels. With the amount of rain we have received, some lakes are well over a foot higher than normal. Top fish entered into the contest this week was a 13 lb. 12 oz. northern pike caught on a sucker minnow by Thom White of West Chicago, IL. Fishing on Burntside, White brought his catch into Skube’s Bait and Tackle to have his photo taken.Shane Jarvi of Ely checked in a 9 lb. 8 oz. pike at Voyageur North Outfitters. The fish was caught in Moose Lake on a rainbow chub. Bass action has been picking up around the area as well. We had a number of nice smallmouth bass checked in this week. Leading the way was a 4 lb. 4 oz. smallmouth caught by Lonnie Pace of Camden-ton, MO using a spinner bait in Burntside Lake. The 21-incher was registered at Skube’s Bait and Tackle.

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