Tom shares how to ice fish for eelpout and tullibee in Grand Rapids, MN in late season. Tom owns a professional fishing guide service called MN Fishing Connections. Special thanks to Lyle Unger, Grand Rapids Guide Service, for providing pictures of a recent ice fishing trip with clients and friends.
Another great species to angle for in the winter is the eelpout “burbot”. They are a fun fish to catch but they are very weary and sometimes difficult to catch. Many anglers that fish for eelpout go out after dark because it seems that is the time of day when they are most active. Years ago, as being somewhat trash, but they are some of the cleanest fish you catch and eat also. Most of the time when you are fishing eelpout 20-40’ the best locations to try to catch them. They are not real picky about what they eat, so the style of bait doesn’t seem to matter. Sometimes two shiners on a hook can entice eelpout into biting. Just remember they are not the best-looking fish. What they trade off in looks is their fighting ability.
Once you catch one you will be a strong believer in catching another one. A very challenging fish. Don’t look at them like a rough fish. They are other species of fish have a place in the eco system. Many of their food sources are occupants of the bottom of the lake, to include sculpin, other species of minnows, and young of the year crayfish. They most often like softer tissue forage for eelpout do not have teeth, such as other species like northern pike and walleyes. Most often when angling for eelpout you can get by using the same tackle that you would use to go walleye fishing. Recommended line test is 8-10 pound, either mono filament or braid. If you use braided line add a length of approximately 4’ of 10-pound flora carbon. Anyone of your favorite walleye spoons or jigs containing a live bait will work fine to attract eelpout. They are not a real movement-oriented fish; so you need to tone down your jigging presentation and be real subtle. If you want to include a second line, many times a sucker minor or a chub right on the bottom can also trigger a bite. These two methods have worked for anglers chasing eelpout and both methods will work for you. Ice fish for eelpout and tullibee in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area in the late ice fishing season is fun.
While you are waiting for the evening bite of eelpout, during the day tullibee fishing can be an extra effort on your part. Many times, they are in the same general location; leaning towards the 40’ depth. Always remember to have your electronics with you; you will spot the suspended schools of tullibee. This will give you a good idea of exactly what depth to catch them at. Tullibee should be caught with 4’ test line mono filament and lighter spoons and jigs. What you want to add to them is 1-2 wax worms for scent or 4–5-euro larva. Any lakes in the Grand Rapids area that have tullibee will also have ell pout. Some lakes to consider are Big Winnibigoshish, Little Bass, Pokegama, Deer Lake, and Loon Lake.