Douglas Pirila

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

Posts about Northerns

Hunting for fish in November.

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: November 8, 2009 - 9:36 PM

Late fall, the first weekend of firearms deer hunting and we are still fishing and catching fish. 

Saturday we were off for walleyes.  It was a nice November day with temps in the mid 50's, with some wind and cloudy.  We went to check out a deep hole in a river below a dam.  At this time of year walleyes and other fish like to be near and in the deepest holes especially the first one below a dam.  Lots of food being washed in and a good spot to ride out the winter. 
We worked jigs and minnows, just like in spring time.  It was a slow day but we caught a limit of good eater walleyes and many northern pike upto 5 pounds.  Not bad for a few hours in early November from shore. 
One thing to keep in mind is all the hunters are out, so if going in the woods, be sure to wear orange and dress warm. 
Sunday's fishing mission:  Muskies.  We worked deep water and quick breaks for muskies.  My favorite method has to be trolling big stickbaits over the deep water beside the quickest breaks from shore with lots of bait fish.  We found lots of fish on the sonar in 18 to 30 feet of water along a quick break on a rubble shoreline and started trolling along it.  We varied our trolling speeds and eventually connected on a nice 36+ muskie.  No monster but still what we were hunting for. 
Another good day fishing in late, late fall in Northern Minnesota. 
If you can get out fishing, the fish are still there.  Over two days of fishing, we caught walleyes, crappies, pike and even a muskie.  That's a good weekend. 
If you're deer hunting or still hunting for fish.  GOOD LUCK and Keep warm and safe.
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Fall fishing is going strong.

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: October 19, 2009 - 9:33 AM
I have had a few calls from people asking if you can still catch fish now.  Absolutely, and it can be the best fishing of the year for quality fish.  We have fished several bass tournaments lately and there are still more planned.  We can connect you to that if you want.  But if you are going fishing then here are a few things to try.
If you are after bass, start looking for the last weeds and the general rule for all fall fishing is to be near the deep water.  Try a jig and pig, rattle baits and cranks have a couple of awesome weeks on all waters.  And bulk up the baits, the fish are feeding up for the winter.  Experiment with what baits you are comfortable and confident with and keep moving until you find the fish.  You can't put together a pattern without first catching some.  
The walleyes are also moving deeper and you can catch them with a jig and minnow, cold water like spring and fall, gets the walleyes back on minnows.  But you can go with a bigger minnow now.  Rattle baits can be a great way to find them and get some nice ones.  
Pike love cold water so don't forget them.  They like the big baits as well and will probably take any bait that they see.  
It's a beautiful time of year to be outside and watch the seasons change.  Or turn on the radio and listen to a Vikings game while trolling for the big muskie of the year.  
If you aren't much into winter and want to make it go faster and have some fun, consider ice fishing and an ice fishing league or club.  It's fun, you talk fishing and meet new friends.  Just plan to keep warm and safe. 
Go Vikes..

June 20 Duluth Area fishing report

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: June 20, 2009 - 10:40 PM

Well the weather is heating up and so is the fishing.  We had a great week.  My fishing team won the multispecies event.  Crappies were hitting and we did well on them, our bass and bluegills.
The crappies were in 4-6 feet of water and not overly agressive.  You had to slip bobber them, with plain hooks and crappie minnows.  We were missing fish when hooking the minnows thru the lips, but a good trick to use, that worked for us again, is to hook them thru the dorsal fin or tail.  Crappies love em and if they are not staying on the hook, it's up to you to figure out how to improve the odds.  We did and connected with solid hooksets after that little adjustment. 
The bluegills are spawning and using the bass beds when they can get them.  The bass are done spawning and putting the feed bags on.  Bass can be caught most any place now and are interested in biting most anything too.  Try plastics on docks, weed edges, mostly shallow, but they are moving to the mid depths already. 

The bluegills and warmouths are spawning in the shallow, 1-2 feet of water on sand and will bite anything near them.  You can get some nice ones right now.  But we released everything to keep the fishing at good levels.
Pike have been slower than expected on and off.  But they are still taking spoons and spinners trolled and pitched to good weeds, so don't forget them, that's some awesome fishing. 
Good fishing and hope to see ya on the water.
Minnesota Fishing

June 4 Take a Kid Fishing Event - Duluth MN

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: June 6, 2009 - 12:57 AM

The cold nights lowered the water temps on this small area lake to 59-62 degrees and made the pike bite tough.  We picked this lake for the nice average pike and good odds to get each kid a nice fish to wrestle with and get a photo.  It didn't disappoint.
Our first 1-1.5 hours was spent figuring out what the fish were willing to bite.  We had 4 anglers and boats, we worked spoons, heavy spinnerbaits, shallow to deep cranks, and finally started to produce a couple fish.  Eventually we found the right combination of baits, boat speeds, location, and started seeing good 5 pound plus northern pike.  
We each kept working what we felt most comfortable with.  I worked spinnerbaits in the new cabbage just below the surface.  I ran it at 2-3 mph and the pike would hit it hard.  
I like to run this on medium action rods that vibrate with the lure action, that way when it picks up a weed the vibration stops and you reel it in and remove the weeds.  Another great advantage with these lighter rods is that the pike put a great bend in it and the kids and parents love it.  
Everyone had a great time and the kids, teachers and parents were all screaming and excited for the fish caught.  We got a bunch of photos and it sounds like this will be an ongoing event.  

It's important to share our fishing with everyone and to introduce others to why we love it.  I am sure we got that across to a lot of kids today.  Thanks to the other guys that helped out. 
Minnesota Fishing

Island Lake Reservoir fishing report and tournament results.

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 27, 2009 - 1:07 AM
Well second multispecies event out of the way and we won this one. It was a tough night, but the key was to fish the wind blown sides of the lake. We had a limit of pike, a limit of perch, a couple walleye and a couple smallmouth bass.

The trick seemed to be fish for bass, catch the bass, but whenever you had a tap tap on the line, pitch in a tiny jig with a piece of worm on it and work it back to the boat. We caught the perch, jumbos this way.

We caught the pike on spinnerbaits, pretty normal for this time of year and most of the year. Trolling or pitching spinnerbaits are awesome for pike and something they just can't ignore. Look for the wind blown weeds and work the windy section.

The smallmouth were on rocky points and docks, but biting slow.

Walleyes are biting on slip bobbers and leeches. They need a 10 count after the bobber is down to make sure they have it good. Quite a few were caught today. Good job.

See ya on the water, or call me and we can get out fishing.

Minnesota Fishing


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