Douglas Pirila

Doug Pirila is a local tournament angler and fishing expert near Duluth.

Posts about Recreation

New Years Day Crappies

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: January 2, 2011 - 4:43 PM

Well we went for a crappies on New Years Day, and they are biting.  If you get a chance to get out.  First pick a lake you know has good crappies, in size, numbers, etc.  If it is a big or small lake, I think any lake with a small deep section concentrates crappies this time of year.  Check the depth maps to know the lake, then pay attention to where all the ice houses are.  
We picked a big local lake with a long deep water trench.  There are several key areas along the deep water.  We setup in a group of local ice shacks over 22-24 ft of water.  After getting the holes drilled and house setup, we used our Vexilar flashers to get a feel for what was moving and where the fish were.  There was a lot of bait from 12-17 ft down, with an occasional big mark.  We've seen this many times before and dropped a small ice jig tipped with waxies to it.  That put a nice crappie on the ice in under a minute.  We set our second lines with bobbers and minnows at this depth as well.  
In a little over 2 hours we caught plenty of crappies on both the jigging rods and the bobbers with minnows.  It was a great evening and the crappies were once again an evening bite on this lake.  Each lake has a time that the fish are most active.  Some it's morning and evening low light times; others the last 2 hours of the day into the dark 1/2 to 1 hour; still others mid day, after dark, etc.  If you have to pick a time, evening is the easiest for most people.  I have found you can catch crappies all day, if you keep mobile and drill lots of holes and search for the schools of fish.  When you find them, drop a small bait and work them to see their mood.  Once you find them, then setup the shack and have a great time.  
I'll get the kids out for more crappies and we'll certainly have a few crappie dinners.  Now if you are catching lots, please release any you aren't going to eat within a day or two.  But do enjoy a crappie dinner, there's nothing like a fresh crappie from the ice to your frying pan..  Yum..
Good luck and keep warm.
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Bass fishing report

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 24, 2010 - 12:15 AM

Finally got out for a day of bass fishing.  Wow they were ready for it and so was I.  I had over a hundred bass, many over 3 pounds.  The water temp was 66 degrees and weeds have grown nicely.  It was cloudy and raining on and off all day, finishing with lots of rain, thunder and lightning, so with the mosguitos, I called it a day. 
The bass were biting most anything, but it was watching for the signals they gave you that got you the most fish.  Most of the day the water was still and no fish action happening, I slowed down and put a jig and plastic right on em.  They took it very good, so they are eating.  When some were high in the water and pushing the water around, I went to a top water and they crushed it.  It was awesome. 
I saw many small pike putting their noses out of the water, many had marks on their backs, yeah I saw them by the marks.  And the panfish were feeding, when the pike weren't after them.  Lots of bluegills, crappies and pike active.  But the bass took center stage and they made all the rain worth it.  Besides the rain was warm and felt nice. 
I hope everyone is getting out fishing, it's time. 
Minnesota Fishing Guide. com

Great Crappie and Bluegill Fishing is Starting

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 7, 2010 - 11:46 PM

We've been out testing out the boat, sonar, and getting a feel for the lakes.  When doing that panfishing helps keep you going.  And if you are out there pay attention to the activity of all the fish.  
Right now the pan fish are starting to turn on pretty good in the shallows.  We have been catching lots of crappies and Sunnies.  Watch the weather, if it is warm for a few days in a row, the panfish move to the shallows preparing to spawn.  They will be in as shallow as 2-3 ft of water.  When they start spawning look for the pattern of spawning beds that look like a honeycomb.  Remember these spots, they will be around these areas all year round.  
Try pitching a jig with a minnow, piece of worm or plastic tail.  Take kids and use a bobber, just putting the hook or jig with bait a foot below itand toss it to the weed edges works great.   When they are spooky or negative, try a plain hook (maybe try a red one) with a little minnow and let it do the work.

If you have a hard time finding them in the shallows, look a little deeper, right in front of the shallows you had been seeing them.  
This bite will just get better and the fish will get into even bigger schools as they move to the shallows getting ready to spawn.  You'll find them easy, watch for the action on the surface.  
Remember to get the kids out, this is a perfect bite for kids and easy fishing.  
We also have a great Lake Superior Charter that's still got some openings, so if you want the best chance you can at some salmon and lake trout, now's the time to get on the books.  I am definitely going to get in on some of that big Lake Trout.

Good fishing. 
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Open water is coming soon. Are you ready?

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: March 15, 2010 - 8:03 PM

With the fishing season approaching are you ready to go?  Are you planning to fish more or repeat the saying "I'll fish more next year" and next year never comes?  Well here's how I do it and fish over 120 days a year.  
First get your gear ready.  We won't start into all the details, just what to consider.  If you're planning to fish at ice out, whether on the trout streams, crappies, suckers, or when the walleye, pike, bass and muskie seasons approach, make a checklist the rods, reels, tackle, waders, whatever you will need.  Double check it and start now.  
If you're going to be using your boat, start now.  Check the motor, replace the spark plugs, is the prop good (I have two needing repairs) and any thing needing replacement or maintenance.  Clean it out, organize your gear so it's easy and keeps the fishing time to fishing, not fixing things or looking for it.  If you don't have a good pair of polarized sunglasses, find some and put them in your boat.  I know I am getting another pair. 
If you want to change your routine and break the "I'll fish more next year" trend, then think about a regular date fishing with the buddies, your spouse, kids, whoever will help get you outside and enjoying your summer and fishing more.  If it's tough and too easy to avoid getting out regularly, and you just keep talking yourself into getting one more thing done, then make it a little more structured by joining a club or league fishing at the level of competition you want to fish at.  If you join a club or league, you're sure to meet others that love to fish, have fun doing it, make friends, and learn more so you catch more fish, each and every time out.  It's a great deal, I do it every year now.   
There are lots of organized fishing opportunities out there.  Search online and you'll find many.  For example if you like to bass fish there are bass clubs ranging all the way from just showing and fishing, and others competing for the chance to fish a state, then regional and national championship tournaments.  Some good spots to look online are:  MN BASS Federation, and fishing leagues at and many more online. 
There are clubs fishing for bass only, walleyes only, big fish, multispecies, most anything you want, OR start your own.  You'll find clubs in all styles, like alone in a boat, some where you can fish as boater - non boater, or teams.  Pick the one that works best for you.  If you need help finding a club, contact me and send what you are looking for, I'll try to find some near you to check out. 
If you plan now for the fishing season it'll make things smoothly and be much more enjoyable.  That's how it should be.  
Good fishing.  
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Ice Fishing Report Jan. 31, 2010 - Crappies Iced

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: February 5, 2010 - 5:01 PM

I keep hearing that the ice fishing has slowed down, but several anglers are still getting into the fish.  We went out to a lake to test the crappie bite and found them cruising the deep water.  
First drill many holes just off the shallows over the deepest water on the lake.  Then check each out for any signs of fish.  If you see any, in our case they were suspended 10-15 feet off the bottom in 40 ft of water, you drop a small jig with waxie, a Swedish Pimple with a minnow head, or a minnow rig to them.  If they don't just take it, we use our Vexilars to hold the bait in their face.  We will slowly pull it away from them, the further they follow it up the stronger the hit.  
We found that the fish were agressive when they went by and we'ld land 1-2 each time they went by.  Within 5 hours we had seen lots of nice crappies. 
Good luck and watch the ice, it's still very slushy on lots of lakes, but most are safe.  No ice is ever safe, you need to know your lake and all the springs and locations with current.  I won't drive on it first, and I won't be the last one either.  Pay attention to where the safe roads are on the ice.  
Anyone looking to get into a BASS Club and have a chance to qualify for the TOC, Tournament of Champions, this is the time of year to be getting signed up for a club.  
I recommend fishing in a fishing league, if you have one nearby, if you want an excuse to get out fishing, to learn more about fishing or just to meet other anglers and network.  It's a blast.  
Good fishing,
Minnesota Fishing Guide


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