Late Season Fishing by Tom Neustrom
This week’s Grand Rapids Fishing Report highlights late season fishing for panfish and walleyes in Grand Rapids, MN. Sometimes there is something about animal life that tells us that a seasonal happening is coming soon. Being on the water or just noticing what is going on around you will tell you change is coming. The hummingbirds have been crazy active and feeding heavily for their long migration. Young geese are practicing daily flights, loons are starting to assemble in groups getting ready for the long journey to the south. It’s quite a time of the year to see all these things happening around us and just for a moment, stop and take notice. It’s natures way sounding the bell.
Under the water, fish species are also telling us changes are coming as fall approaches. Panfish especially are telling me that fall is coming and they too have a way of telling us that they sense a change is coming. Most of the entire summer season bluegills and crappies will occupy weed beds throughout the lakes and in the past few weeks they are starting to move off into deeper water. Not to their winter locations quite yet, but just on the deeper outside edges. Casting a slip bobber with a chunk of crawler or small leech on a plain hook or small jig will entice even the fussiest bluegill into striking. There most often a bonus crappie or two in the mix and the action can be fast. Once you locate good schools of panfish either anchor or spot lock on them with your bow mount electric motor and “its game on”. Fan cast the area with just a light jig and either a plastic tail or a small minnow will call out the crappies that are also in these locations. With an ultra lite rod and 4# test line, these little bruisers will give a great account of themselves. Grand Rapids is rich in waters with panfish and some of the better ones to try are Bass Lake in Cohasset, Big Rice, Pokegama, Little Moose, Big Ole, and Little Turtle north of Deer River. Even some of the small lakes located right in the middle of town can be gems for good panfish opportunities.
Walleyes too are making a move and on many lakes their locations are changing also. On the shallower sand type lakes the shoreline bite has started to heat up. On the deeper lakes there is a good bite on edges of bars and points associated with deep water especially early and late in the day. Pitching jigs and minnows or plastics can be very effective as the water starts to cool. Temperatures have dropped anywhere from 3-6 degrees on area lakes and that will signal changes are going to take place soon. On shallower lakes target clumps of isolated weed beds, gravel beds, rock piles and points. Again casting, drifting, or slow trolling these areas will reap benefits for walleyes. Some of the best lakes in the area to try late summer-early fall walleyes are Big Winnibigoshish (Big Winnie), Big Splithand, Jessie, Bowstring, Round, and Trout Lake in Coleraine. There are great bait shops in the area to get up to the minute information on where the best opportunities to catch walleyes and other species. Contact Thousand Lakes Sports in Grand Rapids, River Rat Bait in Cohasset, Hollywood Bait in Bovey, Fred’s Bait in Deer River, and Winnie One Stop north of Deer River. They all have great information, good bait and everything you need for a day on the water.
Change is coming and you can sense it every day. The early morning smell of freshness in the air is a tell tale hint that fall is coming, but not just yet. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and be safe.