Fishing Prep in Full Swing
If you do plan to get out, best to research and make sure the area you plan to visit is open to visitors.
By: Jarrid Houston | April 15, 2020
This last week has been dedicated to doing our part of social distancing and getting ready for "full-blown-open-water" angling. We finally found time to wet our new 2020 Lund Impact in a lake to the south of us. If your wondering, no, the docks are not in yet. Matter of fact, I am not sure what the plan is for public access dock installments amongst the continued stay at home orders. I do know that several areas of the northland have shutdown boat launches and beaches. If you do plan to get out, best to research and make sure the area you plan to visit is open to visitors. More on that below. As far as fishing prep, our team has been busy restocking inventory and making sure all the gear is checking out. Nothing worse than having a failure of gear when the moment matters. Believe me, I probably speak for a lot of us when I say "we have learned from our mistakes". Actual fishing has been minimal lately with all the other chores taking priority, but don't think for one minute, we have lost touch with what's happening, or have stopped fishing. When you do get out to your local water(s), bring along a couple of garbage bags and help clean up left over winter litter.
Lake Superior continues to see some traffic in the form of both shorelanders and boaters. Weather has not been great with brisk winds and moderate rough seas, but nonetheless "doable". Most are still trolling the coasts of the mainland in as shallow as 10 feet of water to depths beyond 150'. This time of year, you never know where you can pick up a fish. That is why you see a lot of shore casters this time of year. Water is still cold (like liquid ice), so casting from shore can be productive. Not to mention that smelt are starting to stage for the river spawn. Best tactics continue to be flashy, bright colored baits. EM Tackle, Jims Flashbacks, or any other custom lures long lined is our preferred method this time of year.
Smelting is still in it's very early stages, mostly due to the cold weather and water, however, things should pick up in the next few weeks. Just a side note, given the new rules from each respected state, we are not suppose to gather during the smelt run. In Duluth and Superior, it is my understanding that only locals are allowed to partake. Also, it is our understanding that NO smelting is to be done in Ashland, WI. As public beaches, docks or piers are closed now through May 5th. Not sure about other popular areas, so please do your research before heading out.
Stream fishing continues to be on the slower side as waters are still trying to get back to "normal flow". If you do get out, best tactics are swinging egg patterns with drift indicators and a small sinker to get the baits down. Color selection should be neon bright colors. I, myself prefer a spinning rod and a #3 spinner bait or flat fish, there is nothing wrong with that.
St. Louis River angling continues to be mostly silent, but again this week we have seen/heard of a few lucky anglers getting out and finding some success. Sturgeon have been reported up top, but should not be targeted as they are now closed to angling until June 16th (catch and release only). Anglers can still get out and try for several other rough fish or pan fish. Side note, as usual, the area above highway 23 is now closed to angling until later May.
Inland waters are opening up ice free more and more each day. Lots of open water lakes a short drive to the south. Pan-fish have not really got going yet as water temperatures are still in the high 30's and lower 40's. However, they are starting to get antsy cruising shallower transitions. Best tactic, if you do get out would be small ice jigs under a float with a small piece of worm. As water temperatures continue to rise, things will get better. I hope by this time next week we are into a nice panfish bite. Stay safe and healthy!
Tight Lines & GoOd FiShN,
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