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Jarrid Houston column: Bass bite is hot on inland lakes, lake trout on Superior

Rain should help bring more fish into tributary streams.

Jarrid Houston
Jarrid Houston
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DULUTH — We are now in the last days of technical summer season — autumn officially starts Sunday — which means a lot of changes are again about to take place on lakes and rivers. Water temperatures continue to slowly drop and daylight hours are on the decrease. Fishing this past week has been fair to good. I believe the fish take a stall to readapt to the changing conditions, just like us humans. With that said, the upcoming fall bite should be spectacular. Especially if we get a little bit of rain to help cool the waters.

One thing is for sure, we will be out to see what happens. Let’s dive into this week’s report:

Lake Superior continues to have a dominant lake trout bite. Most anglers are fishing shiny spoons in and around depths of 90-150 feet of water. Best colors have been anything with chrome, orange and pinks. Downriggers are still catching fish but really aren’t needed in many instances if you have lead-core line or Dipsey Diver gear. As we crawl toward season's end, some anglers are starting to catch some lake trout by jigging over deep bumps off the North Shore.

The South Shore has had a very hit-and-miss walleye bite, but a few fish are being caught. Best bet is to keep working the 20-35 foot contours with brighter colored deep diving crank baits pulled with boards. Best speeds are best at 2-3.5 mph, but as usual, this can change day to day. Some good smallmouth action is picking up in Chequamegon Bay, and we are looking forward to this bite getting even better as we move closer to “Rocktober.” The stream fishing has been OK, but could still use some rain to help pick this bite up. The forecast calls for rain late this week.

The St. Louis River estuary is showing great signs of life for a mix of pike, walleyes, smallies and perch. Of course we are still tangling with channel cats and drum as well. We are getting a few fish with live bait rigs, but No. 5 or No. 7 size cranks have been a go-to. Muskie angling has been hit or miss, but time is on our side for late season fish.


Inland lakes have been putting out great pannies over deep weed edges with small soft plastic rigging. A great tactic often used for bass, but just as productive for panfish, is drop-shotting (look it up). For walleyes, continue to work the mid-lake humps with big chubs or smaller sized sucker minnows. This will also turn some good pike and a few deep roaming smallies as well. Speaking of smallmouth (as well as largemouth) the bass fishing is great. Best bet is to continue to target the vegetation, wood, canopy coverage areas and just about any areas that hold structure.

Fish on anglers!

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.
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Carpenter Thomas Spence's side job is capturing the essence of the wild along the North Shore of Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest.