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Houston's fishing report: Give night trolling a try

Jarrid Houston

This time of year the water temperatures are high, and the lakes are busy with boat traffic. I like to concentrate my efforts on either off-the-grid waters in the boondocks or by picking times of day that are less busy. The least-busy part of the day for all waters is after hours.

Fish don't just go to sleep when daylight turns to dark. Rather, they can become very active. Over the years we have dialed in nighttime trolling bites. The technique is no different than daytime trolling. There are no special tips except to be prepared for some bugs and bring a headlamp. Trolling long rods right off the side of the boat is the way to go. We prefer to long-line crankbaits. Colors are not always that important, but noise can be. We prefer to utilize a crank with buckshot in it.

Lake Superior anglers are staying consistent with downrigging on the North Shore for lake trout and the occasional salmon or walleye. Most success is being found offshore in 100-plus feet of water. Plugs and flashers continue to be the way to go. The South Shore is seeing more boat traffic as walleyes are starting to show up more frequently. Trolling with planer boards and mid-size crankbaits is showing the most success. Some are even catching fish pulling worm harness setups.

The St. Louis River has had a consistent bite as well. We are now starting to see a few big walleyes show up. Best bet is speed-trolling cranks off of breaks. There is a jig bite, but anglers were putting in long hours for little success. Shore anglers continue to catch good catfish, suckers and the occasional carp. River muskie angling is picking up, according to muskie anglers.

The inland bite has been very good. The reservoirs north of Duluth are giving up good pike and walleye. Trolling has been best, but we are also seeing lots of success jigging. Muskie anglers are also finding some success, especially after dark. Chucking big spinner baits near vegetation has been good for follows. Bass fishing has been dynamite on shallow vegetation areas using topwater baits. Panfish continue to be an easy target using floats over worm chunks in deeper drop-offs.

Stream fishing is starting to ramp up with the return of some brown trout entering the tributaries.