Fishing report: Slow near Duluth, good early on Lake Vermilion
Anglers on the St. Louis River in Duluth found few walleyes Saturday during the Minnesota fishing opener due to high-water conditions from recent rains, angler Dave Nelson of Duluth said at mid-afternoon. He was still out fishing at the time.
“Upriver is like a chocolate milkshake with trees floating down,” said Nelson, who had been on the river all day and hadn’t caught a fish.
His brother, fishing guide Charlie Nelson of Duluth, had caught one walleye, Dave Nelson said.
“I talked to a whole bunch of guys who had caught a whole bunch of nothing,” Nelson said. “The river is still cold, and the walleyes that are spawning are into the ‘I don’t want to eat’ mode. The river is extremely dirty and full of debris.”
But boat traffic was heavy on the river, Nelson said. As is typical on the opener, vehicles and boat trailers were parked all the way from Boy Scout Landing up to Minnesota Highway 23 in Gary-New Duluth.
“The river needs to calm down a little bit,” he said.
On Lake Vermilion, the best action was early, said fishing guide Dave Schaeffer of Tower.
“Fishing was good if you got out early,” Schaeffer said. “By 9 o’clock, it was largely shut down.”
Schaeffer said he saw a 25-inch and a 28-inch walleye. His party caught a 19½-inch walleye and three keepers under 18 inches. Jigs and minnows were more productive than trolling minnow imitations, Schaeffer said.
With ice remaining on much of the main body of Lake Vermilion, most anglers were on Pike Bay, where Schaeffer fished.
“In general, it’s very crowded in Pike Bay,” said Jerilynn Bruce at the Y-Store near the lake. “We’ve had a few reports. Generally, it’s slow. But it’s a beautiful day, and everybody is happy about that.”
Anglers apparently welcomed the forecast for Saturday’s nice weather and turned out in good numbers. Island Lake near Duluth was busy, said John Chalstrom of Chalstrom’s Bait and Tackle north of Duluth.
“I haven’t seen any fish,” Chalstrom said, “but I think everybody and his brother went out fishing. It’s one of the best openers I’ve ever seen. At Island Lake, it’s a full-on party. Fish Lake, maybe less because of the restrictions (reduced walleye limits aimed at protecting the walleye population). I talked to a guy who said at the Island Lake bridge there are tons of people fishing from the bridge and out in boats.”
Ice remained on some lakes across Northeastern Minnesota, including Rainy Lake and on larger lakes such as Saganaga Lake and Gunflint Lake along the Gunflint Trail.