Days are certainly getting shorter and overnight temperatures continue to drop. We are getting really close to a full colorful display of brilliant fall colors on shorelines. Usually when this happens, fish really put on the feed bag.
This time of year, we are usually getting back to those same fishing tactics we used in early May, except with less people. It's nice to once again, for the most part, have many fishing areas to ourselves. Before you know it, cabin owners will start pulling docks and the lakes around our area of the world will once again become ghost towns. The next two months, in my opinion, are arguably the best fishing months of the year. Buckle up!
Lake Superior continues to put out some great fishing opportunities, especially with the drop in angling pressure. On most days, you will not see the big crowds on the water we saw in the peak summer weeks. Both the North Shore and the South Shore have produced fish lately, although anglers are reporting a more mixed bag of fish on the Wisconsin side.
According to our good friend, Cory LeeJoice of Cory's Reel-axation Guide Service, some good coho salmon and brown trout are coming topside trolling spoons. Lemonade has been a hard color to beat, but some similar colors are taking a few fish as well. Dipsy divers have been best in waters of 40-60 feet deep. Peanut-fly systems are occasionally taking fish as well, so don't be afraid to mix in other techniques. Also, this time of year, lots of fish are making headway toward the tributaries, so it pays to concentrate your efforts around river mouths.
Speaking of river mouths, tributaries like the famous Bois Brule river are starting to swell up with good numbers of fish. With that, more and more anglers are also making their way to test luck for a fall steelhead, brown, brookie or salmon. Drifting flies with center-pin techniques has been a good producer. Some anglers are also getting good fish using No. 3 or 4 size spinners. Low light periods have been best lately, but it doesn't hurt to invest a good chunk of the day for better success.
The St. Louis River has been improving with lots of fish coming off channel edges. The flats of the lower sections have been producing decent enough walleyes for consistent action. Drift jigging Tika or Puppet minnows in lime green have been a good recipe as well as the common jig and minnow. I prefer a big chub.
Water temperatures have remained fairly stable in the mid-60s to lower 70s. Best areas have been corners and gradual drops from shorelines. Make sure to stay in deeper water and pitch up toward land areas. In areas around Boy Scout Landing, we are seeing a few crappies show up in similar areas. Best bet has been working a crappie minnow on a smaller 1/16-ounce orange or green jig.
Muskie anglers have been either speed trolling or slow rolling sucker minnows along river edges with mixed success. Water levels are still down, so be careful, especially in areas you are unfamiliar with.
Inland lakes have been putting out some great bass casting and retrieving shadraps or simple spinner baits. Wind driven shorelines and depths of 5-13 feet of water have been best. As usual, don't be surprised to tangle with a slimer (pike) when concentrating on these areas. Crappies are also starting to heat up on midlake rock or wood structure. Walleyes have been in the same areas. Best tactics have been simple slip bobber and live bait or jig n’ minnow. I prefer a monofilament in 6-pound test to help with stretch.
The fish we have been hooking up with seem to be in shallower water of 8-12 feet. If you're looking for constant action, panfishing cabbage, beach or docking areas is still working. Worm chunks, Mr. Twisters or other types of small plastics will catch some fish.
Similar to the river, it's best to stay deeper and work your baits toward the shorelines. Inland muskie hunts are also gaining traction, although we have not heard of a ton of fish being caught yet. Look for muskie fishing to be in full swing in the coming weeks. Usually, when the trees start dropping their leaves and the forest becomes naked, this is the time you want to be on the water.
Be safe and we will see you out there!
Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.