Douglas Pirila

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

Ice Fishing Report Jan. 31, 2010 - Crappies Iced

Posted by: Douglas Pirila under Recreation, Fishing 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

Early Ice Crappie Fishing

Posted by: Douglas Pirila under Recreation, Fishing Updated: December 18, 2009 - 2:04 AM

Well we were out crappie fishing on early ice, on Big Sandy Lake, near McGregor.  I was out with CK and friends from  It was their first get together of the ice fishing season and it was fun.  Otter Outdoors and Wilcraft were there and the ice was perfect with nearly 7 inches of ice and crappies averaging 10-11 inches, with the biggest crappie topping 12 inches.  
After a week of sub zero weather the ice is building and was safe, we were lucky and the weather warmed up just in time for this outing.  Perfect cold to build great ice and then mild weather for fishing.  You can't ask for more than that.
The top bait was a jig, actually The J.I.G.  CK lives by it and definitely had the most crappies going and the biggest crappie of the day, for most of the day too.  We fished it without bait, for real, the tiny jigs bounce around with any movement and the fish take them.  You need to have a spring bobber on your ice rod, but that's a great addition to any ice angler's gear.  It will let you know whenever the fish pick it up. 
Lots of people were out and it looked like a small fishing village on the ice.  If you can make one, I suggest you check it out.  If you're new to ice fishing, don't worry, they will share how to do it and show you how.  And if you need, drill you some holes to get you going. 
Well off to prepare for more fishing.  Take care and be careful, especially on the ice. 
Minnesota Fishing

Suckering in November Muskies

Posted by: Douglas Pirila under Fishing Updated: November 25, 2009 - 12:13 AM

What a beautiful fall and November to be fishing.  Mid to upper 40 temperatures and mild for weeks.  So we decided to get in more muskie fishing.  This time I went out with a fishing buddy that's a true muskie nut and pro.  So we went to a clear water muskie lake in Central Minnesota near Brainerd.  Todays assignment was to sucker the muskies onto a hook and my fishing partner loves to do that.
We used big suckers on rigs with a rubber band thru the nose, and the hooks safety pinned to the back near the dorsal area.  We slowly trolled along the weed edges along the deepest water.   We left the reels in free spool with the clicker on.  If a muskie hit, we'ld hear the clicker and pick up the rod and get on top of the fish to see it, before setting the hook.  If the muskie had the sucker in it's mouth, we'ld wait for a good angle to set the hook.  
After a short day in wonderful weather, we ended up catching muskies measuring 45", 47" and 48".  That was an awesome day fishing.  Lots of film and photos too. 
I hope you are still getting out and enjoying this extra open water and go for some fish too.  Walleyes and crappies and many big fish are out there and this is the right time of year to get a trophy.  Good luck.
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Hunting for fish in November.

Posted by: Douglas Pirila under Fishing, Bait, Fishing Techniques, Muskie, Northerns, Walleye 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

Halloween Fishing - Fall Walleyes

Posted by: Douglas Pirila under Fishing, Bait, Fishing Techniques, Walleye Updated: November 1, 2009 - 2:27 PM
Well, another Halloween day of fishing.  I believe this is year 3 that my buddy Steve and I went fishing on Halloween and caught fish.  Today it was 32 degrees, snow in the air, 15-25 mph winds WSW, and the water temps were 39.4 degrees.  It rained steady over night and was 53 degrees yesterday.  
Today we hit a bigger lake near Duluth, and worked the deep breaks.  It was slow, the cold front that went through over night, dropped the temps 20 degrees.  The fish definitely didn't like it.  But if you were paying attention to the fishing and started close to the right stuff, you could get into the fish. 
The walleyes were at the bottom of the deepest breaks and points.  Just drag a jig and minnow, the fish would just grab it, pulling the skin off the minnow.  A lindy rig worked alright, but adding a stinger hook to a jig worked best.  We experimented with both and how long to give them with the bait before they committed.  After adding the stingers, we started converting more hits into fish on the line.  
We were using 3 inch chubs for the minnow today, the minnow had to be bigger than a crappie minnow, but we just got the sucker minnows back chewed up.  A big minnow is normally the ticket.  Another adjustment to what was needed to connect with the fish. 
Before adding the stingers we had a couple walleyes and pike for about 12 hits, then we added the stinger hooks to our jigs and caught as many fish as we missed, but they were still able to hit the jig and stinger without hooking up, amazing.  That's a tough bite but we handled it.  
Normally the fish are more agressive and feeding up for winter at this time of year, but this weather made it challenging.  Should have been there yesterday when they were feeding hard.  Maybe next week.
Minnesota Fishing Guide .com


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