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Smallmouth fishing

  • Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963328

    I am heading up to Voyageurs in two weeks and am looking for some info on smallmouth fishing. Is there a better lake than others? I will be on the Namakan side. Areas that are better, baits that work better. I see a lot of posts about walleye fishing, which is awesome but I would like the get into some smallies. Are there any houseboat sites where you can catch them from shore?

    Thanks any help would be greatly appreciated.

    grubson
    Participant
    Harris, Somewhere in VNP
    Posts: 742
    #1963335

    You’ll find fish in either lake. Essentially they’re the same lake anyways.
    I would say you stand a real good chance of catching a couple bass anywhere you try. They are pretty widespread throughout the lakes. Any shoreline with loose rock and/ or boulders is holding fish right now, if you add a weedline in there it’s even better.
    I was up three weeks ago and at that point you couldn’t beat a topwater. I used a whopper Plopper and an Rapala X- rap popper.
    Other lures that I use up there are husky jerks, X-raps, paddle tail plastics, small spinner baits, or anything small that imitates a crayfish.
    If you find schooling fish busting bait on the surface you’re in for a good time. There is usually a lot of active fish in those areas. Early and late in the day is usually when I find them schooling.
    The bass feed on two things mainly. Crayfish and ciscoe species. Some areas they’ll only bite crayfish imitations, some areas only minnow imitations will work. The last time I was up it was all about the minnow imitation type lures.
    The best areas for me recently were rock piles and points that topped out in less than 10ft and were surrounded by relatively shallow sand bottom. Areas surrounded by deep water weren’t as productive for me.
    It’s an intimidating body of water to search for fish being it all looks the same. There is fishy structure everywhere you look. I recommend staying extremely mobile. If you don’t catch a fish in a few casts keep moving. The fish will find you if you’re in the right area.

    ThunderLund78
    Participant
    Posts: 1092
    #1963341

    Good Luck Dave,
    I will be up there the same time as you, also camping on the Namakan side. Mainly targeting Walleye but only have 2-1/2 days to fish, so if we can’t find them, we’ll definitely be bending the rods with Smallmouth and Pike.

    Hope you find a bunch!

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963346

    Thanks for the info grubson! I’m just going to be up there enjoying the nature and wildlife. If I find a handful of fish that will be a bonus.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963347

    Good luck to you as well. I’ll post a report when I get back. Hopefully we have nice weather.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1963350

    Thanks for the info grubson! I’m just going to be up there enjoying the nature and wildlife. If I find a handful of fish that will be a bonus.

    You said you are house boating. Are you bringing a boat or are you limited to the houseboat sites?

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963356

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Dave Schudda wrote:</div>
    Thanks for the info grubson! I’m just going to be up there enjoying the nature and wildlife. If I find a handful of fish that will be a bonus.

    You said you are house boating. Are you bringing a boat or are you limited to the houseboat sites?

    I have a fishing that we will towing behind.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1963379

    Moose Bay, Moose River, Namakan Island, Kohler Bay. I’ve caught SM in all those places. Then of course you can try and pick them off the reefs.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1963381

    There are guys who have been coming up here twice or three times a year from Tennessee. They tow their Bass boats up and fish hard for a week or two at a time.

    They set a slip bobber at around 4′ and hang a leech on. They will throw to the shoreline count to 10 and if they don’t have a bite crank in and repeat. All day long.

    Ron
    Participant
    Victoria, mn
    Posts: 686
    #1963393

    Some of my favorite spots are around hazard markers. They’re easy to find. smile Slip bobber and leech. Often there will be weed patches in these spots, toss that bobber at them. A little chop helps.

    Mike W
    Participant
    MN/Anoka/Ham lake
    Posts: 12429
    #1963419

    If you like top water fishing smallies try a Berkley Wakebull. Nice crank that runs the surface and the beads in it are more of a knocker than rattle. Even at the slowest speeds it still knocks back and forth. One down side to the lure is the bill could be stronger. Doesn’t hold up to well to being bounced off rocks. Still a solid top water lure.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963459

    Thanks for all the great info. I have a few skitter pops that I’m going to try along with leeches and slip bobbers. Has anyone used Skitter pops up there and will I be able to get leeches up there or should I bring some with me?

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1963486

    If you like top water fishing smallies try a Berkley Wakebull. Nice crank that runs the surface and the beads in it are more of a knocker than rattle. Even at the slowest speeds it still knocks back and forth. One down side to the lure is the bill could be stronger. Doesn’t hold up to well to being bounced off rocks. Still a solid top water lure. [/quote

    Mike, do you have a favorite color and size? They do look pretty cool.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1964956

    There are guys who have been coming up here twice or three times a year from Tennessee. They tow their <em class=”ido-tag-em”>Bass boats up and fish hard for a week or two at a time.

    They set a slip bobber at around 4′ and hang a leech on. They will throw to the shoreline count to 10 and if they don’t have a bite crank in and repeat. All day long.

    Is there anywhere up there to get leeches? I’ll be put in on Crane Lake in one week.

    Thanks for the help.

    Dusty Gesinger
    Participant
    Minnetrista, Minnesota
    Posts: 2413
    #1964962

    Getting to be the time of year they can be tricky to find.

    munchy
    Participant
    NULL
    Posts: 4629
    #1964967

    Is there anywhere up there to get leeches? I’ll be put in on Crane Lake in one week.

    The best place I have seen in the area is the deer zoo (I believe its called Cold Spring???) I’ve heard thats where all the baitshops in the area get their bait. Unfortunately its a bit out of the way if you’re going to Crane.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1964968

    I can order some small leeches. How do think they will work?

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1964972

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Dave Schudda wrote:</div>
    Is there anywhere up there to get leeches? I’ll be put in on Crane Lake in one week.

    The best place I have seen in the area is the deer zoo (I believe its called Cold Spring???) I’ve heard thats where all the baitshops in the area get their bait. Unfortunately its a bit out of the way if you’re going to Crane.

    I believe they are closed to the public this year. Val & Marilyn are both in their 80’s and have had some health problems so with the virus I think they just shut down.

    Their son runs the wholesale bait business. If you want to call & ask 218-757-3191

    Otherwise call Normans in Orr and ask about bait. They are right where you are turning to go to Crane.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1964977

    Thanks guys! I’ll try Norman’s, if they don’t have them I’ll try and find them further South. Does anyone know weather or not it’s even worth trying to get them this time of year.

    munchy
    Participant
    NULL
    Posts: 4629
    #1964979

    I believe they are closed to the public this year. Val & Marilyn are both in their 80’s and have had some health problems so with the virus I think they just shut down.

    That’s good to know. Never thought of that.

    Mike W
    Participant
    MN/Anoka/Ham lake
    Posts: 12429
    #1964982

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Mike W wrote:</div>

    If you like top water fishing smallies try a Berkley Wakebull. Nice crank that runs the surface and the beads in it are more of a knocker than rattle. Even at the slowest speeds it still knocks back and forth. One down side to the lure is the bill could be stronger. Doesn’t hold up to well to being bounced off rocks. Still a solid top water lure. [/quote

    Mike, do you have a favorite color and size? They do look pretty cool.

    I do not. Tend to stick with the bigger ones. For colors its been what I can find in stock.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1964983

    Thanks guys! I’ll try Norman’s, if they don’t have them I’ll try and find them further South. Does anyone know weather or not it’s even worth trying to get them this time of year.

    Can’t hurt but minnows will likely do as well, or crawlers. I’m heading up again tomorrow so i’ll see what the Bass guys have to say.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1965085

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Dave Schudda wrote:</div>
    Thanks guys! I’ll try Norman’s, if they don’t have them I’ll try and find them further South. Does anyone know weather or not it’s even worth trying to get them this time of year.

    Can’t hurt but minnows will likely do as well, or crawlers. I’m heading up again tomorrow so i’ll see what the Bass guys have to say.

    Thanks Dutch boy. Much appreciated.

    Bass-n-Eyes
    Participant
    Maplewood & Crane Lake, MN
    Posts: 177
    #1965195

    I have a place on Crane and usually spend a lot of time chasing smallies. I typically fish the Canadian side mostly which is loaded with big bass but since that’s not an option this year I’ve fished the US side of Namakan and Sand Point a few times (not recently)and had no trouble finding big numbers of smaller fish but anything over 3 lbs was hard to come by. Not sure if its me or if there just are more big ones in Canada. Late August and September are the best times to chase smallies, I don’t use live bait but cover water with swimbaits, cranks etc then switch to finesse techniques like neds and drop shots when I locate a bunch. Wind blown rocks will usually have fish on them and this time of the year the midlake humps where you find walleyes will usually have smallies too. Typically they will be shallower on the structure than the walleyes. Top water baits on calm mornings and evenings will produce well too. Side imaging is your friend if you have it, look for boulders or chunk rock in 5-20 feet of water. If you don’t have side imaging look for the same thing on shore and you can usually assume that it extends into the water.

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1965211

    I have a place on Crane and usually spend a lot of time chasing smallies. I typically fish the Canadian side mostly which is loaded with big bass but since that’s not an option this year I’ve fished the US side of Namakan and Sand Point a few times (not recently)and had no trouble finding big numbers of smaller fish but anything over 3 lbs was hard to come by. Not sure if its me or if there just are more big ones in Canada. Late August and September are the best times to chase smallies, I don’t use live bait but cover water with swimbaits, cranks etc then switch to finesse techniques like neds and drop shots when I locate a bunch. Wind blown rocks will usually have fish on them and this time of the year the midlake humps where you find walleyes will usually have smallies too. Typically they will be shallower on the structure than the walleyes. Top water baits on calm mornings and evenings will produce well too. Side imaging is your friend if you have it, look for boulders or chunk rock in 5-20 feet of water. If you don’t have side imaging look for the same thing on shore and you can usually assume that it extends into the water.

    Thanks for the info! I do have SI so that’s a plus. From all the helpful info I’ve been getting it should be a great trip.

    Thanks

    Bass-n-Eyes
    Participant
    Maplewood & Crane Lake, MN
    Posts: 177
    #1965217

    I’ll probably be up there next weekend too, if you see a grey Ranger with red & black stripes, Yamahas and a red talon stop by and we can compare notes.

    Joe

    Dave Schudda
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    #1965228

    I’ll probably be up there next weekend too, if you see a grey Ranger with red & black stripes, Yamahas and a red talon stop by and we can compare notes.

    Joe
    [/quote

    I’ll look for you. You do the same. I’ll be in a blue and gray Smoker Craft. We are taking a houseboat so I’ll be pulling the fishing boat some of the time.

    Dave

    ThunderLund78
    Participant
    Posts: 1092
    #1965266

    We’ll be up on the 20th on Namakan. I’ll be in either a 2015 Black Crestliner/Merc 150 with 3 other guys or in a Mid 2000s Lund with a big Suzuki 2-stroke with one other guy. My buddy with the Lund is having last minute boat issues which may cause 4 of us to fish out of one rig. Should be interesting! But we’ll have fun regardless. Good luck everyone.

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