Douglas Pirila

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

Posts about Northerns

Duluth Area Fishing Report - May 24

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 25, 2009 - 12:12 AM

Another day fishing, Sunday, May 24 and this time on a big Duluth area lake.  We were scouting out new areas while pitching spinnerbaits to shallow weeds and found small pike and had a big muskie follow right to the boat.  Water temps were in the 57-65 degree range, depending on what bay you were in.  Big shallow bays were warmer and reeds held pike. 
Some smallies were caught and biting, but it's not a fast bite and they were in their normal locations for spring on shallow wood and rocks.  Pitching right into stumps, trees and rocks was the ticket and you needed to use plastic worms to get them.   
The weeds are just starting to grow.  Many people were on their docks and even out fishing walleyes off points and sunken humps.  Jigs and minnows were the number one lures for walleyes.  
Yesterday, Saturday, May 23rd, I was out fishing with some great folks yesterday on another area lake.  
We found that the crappies had moved into 5-6 feet of water and on spawn in 62 degree water.  The males are very black now, so the spawn's on.  You could pitch or pull jigs and minnows behind the boat with the trolling motor and catch crappies, but over night the wind turned around completely, from out of the SE to out of the North at about 10mph. 
We had cloud cover early that turned into a clear sunny day.  A few walleyes were coming out of 10 feet of water with jigs and minnows or leeches, early and late in the day.  The crappies were slow today, except one here and there on wood.  We saw lots of bluegills, crappies, pike and bass moving in the shallows, along with the painted and snapping turtles. 
We pulled many bass including one 4 plus pounds.  So a jig and pig was a great goto bait. 
Pike were easily taken with spinnerbaits trolled at 2.5 mph, this bite will just get better. 
The bluegills are in full spawn and another boat beat me to the hot corner with loads of them in it, for a second day in a row.  Hey guys, my turn next time?  
Remember to get kids out fishing and I'll see you on the water.  

Duluth area fishing report

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 13, 2009 - 12:01 AM

Monday, May 11, 2009 Duluth area fishing report.  Well fishing is going great.  Lots of crappies and bluegills moving into the shallows.  Bass near spawn and heavy, but taking baits offerred in the correct spots.  Walleyes are hitting regularly on the St. Louis River, with lots of big eyes being taken. 
For the crappies look for the warmest water, start in shallow bays with lots of protection and sunlight.  They will be near structure, namely wood or reeds, at this time and very shallow.  You'll most likely see them high in the water column catching some sun to warm up.  Try small jigs, and use the lightest you can.  I like to start with 1/32nd ounce crappie jigs and pitch them and walk them over and through the wood and weeds, to search for crappies.  When you find them you can switch to light bobbers with hooks or tiny jigs tipped with minnows to stay on them. 
For bluegills do the same as crappies but tip with a piece of worm.  It's the same with all panfish and you'll find them all together or near one another at this time of year, just warming up and looking for the first bugs and minnows for food.  Food and shelter, that's what brings them to the shallows and wood. 
Now not all wood is equal, look for the aged wood, that will have the most food in it.  Some new trees are fine, but some will turn to slime and no fish likes that. 
Pike are easy with slow baits, or even trolled with spinnerbaits.  They are cold blooded and very aggressive, most anything works now, but they are also in the shallows 3-10 feet looking for food. 
The bass are getting going.  My bass fishing buddy, is a wiz with reading bass water and has already boated several over 5 pounds.  We've already boated over 100 bass, most over 14 inches.  They vary from lake to lake and spawning is coming soon.  You'll need to work to find them, but they are there and they are eating anything within their sight for long enough.  Slow baits are working best, but there are times you need to trigger and provoke a bite. 
Walleyes have been caught with jigs and minnows, spinners and bouncers, rapalas, and many other typical spring walleye patterns.  I have heard for fishing buddies of many over 8 pound walleyes already.  That's a great start and means that they are still running and spawning, meaning the big walleyes can be caught without going onto the big Lake Superior.  That's awesome and hasn't been the case for years.  That also means that we have a couple of great weeks of fishing before the majority of them leave the river system. 
That's it for today.  
Minnesota Fishing 

Minnesota Fishing Opener and Taking Kids Fishing

Posted by: Douglas Pirila Updated: May 9, 2009 - 9:51 PM

Today was the Minnesota fishing opener, it was a normal, cold and wet, opener.  At least no snow and not too much wind.  
My son asked to go fishing and nothing is better than sharing our love for fishing with kids.  So my son, his buddy and I headed out fishing on a small area lake.  I picked a spot with plenty of panfish and pike, hoping to get them a lot of fish and some great action.  

On the way to the lake, we stopped for bait and munchies.  You can't get kids to sit in a boat for hours without food, so plan for it and make the entire time and trip fun. 
After getting to the lake, we started by checking the shallows for crappies and bluegills and only landed one perch.  We tried pitching spinnerbaits for pike, but only caught a couple and several bass.  We then moved on to see if the pike were interested in biting something trolled.  We started to catch pike within minutes.  So off to trolling we went.  
Since the pike were shallow, in 5-9 feet of water on the best and only thick weeds, we started with spinnerbaits.  This allowed me to vary the speed of the boat and get the spinners just above and in the tops of the only weeds in the lake and draw the pike out to strike our baits.  
With pike I always start with at least some white on one and run several combinations.  I think they just love spinnerbaits, whites, yellows, and reds get their attention.  It worked great and we caught over 30 decent pike, the longest being over 30 inches long, and several couples.  
Since it's still cold and early in the year, we trolled slower than other times, going from 1.9 to 2.4 mph and zig zagging.  Keep track of the rod the fish hit, if it's on the inside of the turn, it's going slower, if on the outside it's faster.  If you see a pattern where all the bites are on the slower line, then slow down.  If it's even between the two lines, then you are at the right speed.   
By the end of the day, the kids had had a blast and we ended well before dark to keep it fun.  
Note that when you take kids fishing, we plan for it to be fun for them from start to finish.  We started by making sure we had food to eat and pop to drink, we planned for a good bite and caught fish, then ended before they got bored.  With kids you need to make it all about them having fun.  So we had a successful day.
I hope you all had a great day fishing and please plan to get at least one kid out fishing this year.  We need to pass on our love of fishing and the outdoors onto the next generation.  
Good fishing and see ya on the water.

Minnesota Fishing Guide .com


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