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Jarrid Houston column: Stable weather pattern, warming water should heat up fishing

Salmon and trout were biting, but a big east wind blew anglers off Lake Superior midweek.

Jarrid Houston
Jarrid Houston

Fishing pressure remains very steady post-fishing opener.

True to nature, some days we are getting them and some days we are not. It does not help when the weather patterns change swiftly as they have been — that usually puts a halt to productive bites. It has certainly been an interesting week as I lost my wallet in a rush to get to my Tuesday guide trip.

So, if you find a wallet somewhere between Marine General and Fish Lake, I would love to have it back. I am not holding my breath. Worse, it had cash from the previous guide trip. OK, thanks for letting me vent, back to fishing chatter.

Water temperatures have been slowly rising and some spawning routines continue to take place. In the shallow waters, we are certainly starting to see some crappies darken up. I had a client say," They are putting on their tuxedos." Thanks, Jameson, good one.

A few sunfish are also reaching for shallower spots. In some muskie waters, we are catching word that the big fish have started courting in the shallows as well. Bass will be making beds soon. Now, with some stable weather on the horizon, we totally expect the bite to pick up. So, get out there!


Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation allowing two lines during open water season on Minnesota River downstream of the Granite Falls dam to Pool 2 in the Mississippi River.
Durham, 46, of Park Rapids, Minnesota, just wrapped up his 22nd year as a kindergarten teacher in his hometown of Nevis, Minnesota. This is his 32nd year of guiding.
Walleyes are hitting jigs with minnows or worms on the St. Louis River Estuary, but try crankbaits, too.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 30, 2023.
Send us your big fish photos by email to outdoors@duluthnews.com.
Event included a catfish excursion on the Red River with volunteer guides from the Red River Catfish Club and a morning shooting clay targets at the Dakota Sporting Clays range west of Grand Forks.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 22.
The in-person contest is June 3, or fish anywhere and submit entries on an app.
The goal on this opening day was to catch enough keeper-size walleyes for an evening fish fry that night at Ballard’s Resort, our base for the weekend.
Lake Superior coho have been biting near port entries and river mouths.

Here’s this week’s report:

Lake Superior charter captains are reporting some good catches of lake trout and salmon on most trips and a few big brown trout have been handled. Best depths targeted remain on the shallower side and it helps to have a little surface breakup with light winds.

Unfortunately, that is not how Lake Superior rolls. As of this report, it is next to impossible to fish the Gitch because of the big blow out of the northeast. Stick-bait fishing remains strong with no snap weights or riggers required. Also, now that smelt runs are ending, the bigger fish will be looking for new sources of food.

Over in the Chequamegon Bay and Apostle Islands areas, fishing has been good as well. Same tactics for the most part.

Near Ashland and select spots around Washburn, smallmouth enthusiasts are flirting with some big pre-spawn fish. Stream fishing has mostly gone on the quiet for steelhead, although a few fish still remain in for some lucky anglers.

The St. Louis River Estuary has started to see fish slide down to lower sections.

The Twin Ports Walleye Association Berg Cup tournament was last weekend with all fish released after being measured and photographed. Congrats to all the successful winners and glad to hear of the conservation efforts this tournament continues to pride itself on.

Slow-trolling crank baits and worm harness rigs has been a constant in the estuary. However, some anglers are getting fish "jig-trolling" and pitching.


Retired teacher Larry Weber, of Barnum, is the author of “Butterflies of the North Woods" and “Spiders of the North Woods," among other books. Reach him via Katie Rohman at krohman@duluthnews.com.
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Sunshine and light winds will make for a great first weekend of June.
Editor’s note: Some events may have been canceled after the time of publication. Please check with local organizers. Email events to outdoors@duluthnews.com.
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The 2012 graduate of Red River High School spent parts of four summers from 2019 through 2022 researching the impact of beaver activity on amphibians and invertebrates in Voyageurs National Park.
Deal will add shoreline, wooded acres to Brule River State Forest.
Bicycling is a low-cost way to meet up and exercise at the same time. With trails available throughout west central Minnesota, and several biking events slated for June through August, you can take a ride in your neighborhood, join a group or raise money for a cause.
Believe what you want about acupuncture, Paul Colson says, but it worked for him in his battle against alpha-gal syndrome. He’s back to eating venison and other red meat without any issues.
The Glacial Lakes Recreation Trail provides plenty of opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities across Kandiyohi County’s prairie lakes region.

With the river constantly changing due to heavy flows recently, fishing has certainly changed, so some new learning curves are in session. River fishing should continue to hold steady and be busy for the next several weeks. Walleyes are being caught from all the way up top to the lower bay areas.

Inland lake fishing has been best and will be best for action. Most walleyes have slipped away from spawning grounds, but a few have remained. So don't overlook fishing typical "opener" spots just yet.

Slip bobbers, Lindy rigging and jig fishing has been best. Shallow water is certainly still a good place to target active fish, but some are slipping down into the 15- to 20-foot range as well. If you're looking for bigger fish, this is likely where they will be lurking. With live bait rigs, subtle, quick twitches are important to entice the less-active fish. High-pressure areas can definitely show many fish on electronics but fewer that will bite. Fishing less-pressured areas is always a better option.

Pike fishing continues to be a good bet near fresh minnow hatches as well as over deeper basin cuts. Electronics will certainly help find some fish. As any avid angler knows, small pike are very aggressive feeders and if you can spot and stalk one, chances are you can catch it.

Bass and panfish have been rolling in early vegetative areas.

For the crappies, brush piles and downed lumber are making suitable spots for the early stages of the spawn which will likely be full-go this week. Be cautious when targeting such vulnerable fish.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

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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