Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing Report: June 12, 2017
Summer Patterns are Here in the Brainerd Lakes Area
The last week of fishing has been fantastic in the Brainerd Lakes area. We found water temps anywhere from 66.8 to 75.5 depending on the size of the lake. Weeds have really grown up and most good cabbage areas are holding lots of fish in a wide range of species.
Last Wednesday I was on the Whitefish Chain on a multi species trip. We found bass transitioning from their spawning areas to their deepwater haunts. Whacky worms and topwater lures were the best choice. The key was making long casts to get away from the boat. The fish were spooky and scattered but if you could get far enough away from the boat, the fish were aggressive. The biggest part of this pattern was finding clumps of cabbage in the 6-12 foot of water range. If it was any other type of weed or the water was deeper, the success dropped off drastically. We also found some nice largemouth under docks. Skipping swim jigs and whacky worms produced well.
We found a surprising amount of smallmouth on the rocky areas of upper whitefish while searching docks. The fish were cruising the shallows and were fairly easy to catch. Black hair jigs, 4 inch whacky worms and 4 inch sickle tail worms on a jig all produced fish. In a 500 yard stretch 25-30 smallies hit the boat with fish up to 19 inches.
We found walleyes in Cross Lake in the 30-38 foot areas off of shoreline breaks that were remotely close to a rocky bottom. The fish were schooled up on any change in the bottom. The sharper the breaks the better. We live-bait rigged with leeches, crawlers pumped with air and shiners. Long snells at least 7 feet in length increased the odds.
My buddy Craig Klimek and myself only fish one day together to fish and that is during the Crosslake/Ideal multi species tournament. We had an awesome day despite all of our fish moving.
One of the biggest mistakes a fisherman can make is saying, "I caught them here before so they must be here.” That isn't true 90% of the time. In fact it can change weekly, daily or even hourly and today's tourney was no different.
We hit a few of our spots and after about 45 minutes we knew we needed a change. All of our fish had moved so we went on the hunt. We found our pike on deep points trolling big musky lures at 3.0 to 4.5 mph. Our bass were found on flat windblown weedy flats own 6-8 feet of water. We had a valuable lesson and that is not to entirely rely on memory when fishing. Fish patterns can and do change weekly, daily and even sometimes hourly. Where I had walleyes and bass found on Friday, they were gone on Saturday. Its all about adaptation. Study fish movements, study their behaviors, know that each lake can and will be different than the previous lake you fished. Take notes, make a journal, take photos, record water temps, etc. The more data you have the more you can pattern fish. Always, ALWAYS learn something on every trip whether it's what not to do or what to do. Either way you are one step farther in the right direction. Once you can start narrowing it down, you will start producing more fish on each waterway you visit, even if it's a lake you only visit a few times a year.
Sunday and Monday (this morning) I had a group of multi species anglers from Eau Claire, WI and fished a few smaller lakes near Brainerd. On Sunday, we found bluegills on spawn beds, bass under docks and walleyes buried in the weeds. For the walleyes, the ticket was using a perch colored #4 Colorado blade with a crawler trolling at 1.0 mph right where the heaviest weeds drop off into the deeper water. Doing this technique, you are going to want to use a good braid like Fireline and a bullet weight in front of your swivel. I prefer having a 17 pound fluorocarbon leader and two #4 octopus hooks for the harness. Many times like today, a half of a crawler works better than a full one.
Monday we headed out to Gull Lake in search of pike and walleyes and the lake didn't disappoint. We found walleyes trolling gold #5 hammered blades trolling at 1.4 mph in 6-9 feet of water with a 1/16 oz bullet weight. It is a bit of a challenge because of the amount of weeds but when your blade gets caught on a weed, give it a snap and many times it the change in speed that will cause the strike. We found the fish on several of the big weed flats. Once again, cabbage was the key. Both pike and walleyes were found in the same areas. Knowing the difference in the strike and a weed can be tough for the beginner, especially traveling at that speed. What I tell everyone is the weeds will feel sort of dull and the fish will feel electric. We did have to allow the fish to eat the leech for a few seconds.
What I really enjoy about the weed bite for walleyes is time of day doesn’t really matter as long as there is a little bit of a chop on the water. These patterns should hold up for quite some time.
Nate Berg Fishing Guides