Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing Report: July 26th 2017
Multi Species Fishing Remains Excellent in the Brainerd Lakes Area
Mid summer patterns are still locked into place in the Brainerd area. In the past week, we have caught about everything that swims in the area and it has been a real treat.
Warm water and warm temperatures doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go deep to find fish, in fact I prefer to do just the opposite. The fish that I go after are generally under the 20 foot mark and most times under the 15 foot mark all the way up to 5 feet. Walleyes in particular love weeds. To me, the best part of fishing these shallow weed walleyes is the fact that your rod will often times be bent over from other species. Crawler harnesses, slip bobbers with a leech or crawler, jigs with live bait or artificial can all be very good this time of the year.
When I go out, I love to have an assortment of rods rigged up ready for whatever situation I find myself in. All depending on the day, a bite can change from one technique to another. In fact, these changes can happen within a day to even hourly, especially during these summer months so be prepared!
This past week was a very special one in the BLA. Everything that swims was biting and biting well. On Tuesday evening, I headed out to a small crappie filled lake in search of some slabs and it did not disappoint. I found them feeding off of the tip of a weeded point in roughly 8-10 feet of water. The key was to make long casts with a 1/32 oz plain lead jig with a red and white tube jig. I would slowly let the jig fall through he water column and wait for the bite. After about a 5 second fall I would work the lure in a pop, pop, pop, fall method, reeling in any slack line as the lure falls. After about a 3 second fall, start the pop, pop, pop, fall process. Doing this technique a long 7 foot plus light to ultralight rod teamed up with 1 pound diameter no stretch line is a necessity to allow for long casting. The no stretch also plays another important roll, it allows you to snap off weeds if your lure gets caught up where the stretch in mono will many times cause you to hook the weed. Also, the no stretch will cut the weeds if you get a fish on. I tip my no stretch with a 6 pound fluorocarbon leader. The leader isn’t always necessary but on tough bite days, it sure can be the difference. I use an Albright knot but there are literally dozens of knots that will do the trick.
Thursday, I did a little prefishing for my upcoming weekend guide trip and headed to the Mississippi for some bluegills and the action was fast. The gills have transitioned to the rice feeding on the rice worms. The closer you can get to the rice, the better off you will be. I used the same set up as the crappies, minus the tube and I put a bobber on at about 6 feet. I tipped my jig with a 1/3 of a night crawler. If you were on a school of fish, the instant the jig got down to the depths, the fish would bite. I used my bow mount trolling motor skirting the edges of the rice, making short casts until I caught a fish. I would then work that area and if I popped another, I would anchor.
On Friday, I headed to Lake Alexander to fish a few lakes in search of some walleyes. I found walleyes staging in 8-14 feet just off the densest weeds. I used a 1/4 bullet weight in front of a crawler harness with a #6 gold and purple blade with a half a crawler pulling it at 1.1 mph. I hit 7 spots on the lake and each produced walleyes. The fish really seemed to be concentrated in 2 locations on the break, right on the tip of the points and deep in the inside corners. I did pull out a slip bobber and a leech but it turned into which small bass could get to the leech the fastest. It was fun, but the mission was to find walleyes. In the 3 hours I was on the lake, I boated 7 walleyes up to 23 inches.
After a good week of prefishing, I was pretty confident that I had some wonderful fishing ready to go for my special guest, Jaelynn Parenteau. Jaelynn and her family were my special guests for the weekend through the Minnesota Outdoor Adventure Foundation. This is a great cause that benefits children with life threatening illnesses as well as wounded warriors. Jaelynn had just had her port removed from the over 2 year battle with leukemia. I left all the fishing choices up to her.
Saturday morning after the thunderstorm rolled through, she wanted to go try for some smallmouth bass so we headed to the Crosby area and started the day off right. Joining Jaelynn and myself in the boat was her dad John and brother Jack and it sure didn’t take long for the bass to start taking the slip bobbers down. We found bass staging on mid lake humps that were anywhere from 8-17 feet deep. The key was to find the rocky parts of the humps. If we found rocks, we found fish. The morning was cut a little short due to Jaelynn needing to get out of the sun but in the 2 1/2 hour trip we boated a mixed bag of 25 bass up to 2 1/2 pounds, a couple of pike, a walleye and lots of perch and small bluegills.
After a good clean up of the boat and a rest and swim for Jaelynn, by her request, we headed out for round 2 of the day and headed to the Mississippi for some bluegill action. As the evening progressed, it was pretty obvious that the thunderstorm had put a damper on the fishing. We produced a few here and there but it just wasn’t what it should be. We kept moving, trying different techniques and depths with the same results. Once the clock hit the 730 mark, the bite was on. We found the fish sitting right on the edge of a current protected point in the rice. If we got the bobber within a 5 foot radius, we had a fish on about immediately. Outside of this spot and the bobber wouldn’t move. As the night progressed and the light got lower, the channel catfish began to feed as well. Jaelynn really enjoyed the fight of the cats. She ended up catching 9, her dad caught 1 and they kept 8 for the frying pan. They also kept 30 nice bluegills and 3 crappies as well. It sure was a great time seeing the smiles in the boat!
On Sunday, we had a short 2 1/2 hour morning of fishing so we headed out to Lake Edwards for some walleye and pike action. It sure didn’t take long for us to start producing using #5 gold and black blades on our harnesses pulled at 1.0 mph. We had a mixed bag of fish that consisted of walleyes, pike, bass, perch and several types of sunfish.
For a shortened version of a trip, we sure had a great time catching several fish that the Brainerd Lakes has to offer. The fish are very active and multi species days are a great time.
I would like to thank the nothing but first class Arrowwood Lodge for donating a room for the Parenteau family. They truly enjoyed their stay and the kids loved the water park. I would also like to thank the Minnesota Outdoor Adventure Foundation for hooking me up with the Parenteau family. We definitely got to show them what the Brainerd Lakes Area is all about!
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