Douglas Pirila

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

Posts about Fishing

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

Early Ice Crappie Fishing

Posted by: Douglas Pirila 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 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


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