Temperatures continue to fall as most anglers are throwing in the towel for open-water 2019 fishing adventures. We have not winterized our boat yet in hopes to get out a couple more times.
Surface temperatures are now into the 40s for most waters around this side of Lake Superior. Fishing continues to be challenging, but mostly on account of the cold temperatures that have set in. Some areas even saw the first ice forming on small ponds. I truly believe we will be ice fishing by Thanksgiving this year, if not earlier. Until then, we still do have some open water fishing to get done.
I do want to take a moment to remind anglers that it is very important to drain all water from motors with the below-freezing temperatures. I like to load the boat and trim the motor all the way down and after about five minutes, I usually turn the key for a dry start. This blows out any remaining water out of the engine. Now to the fishing report:
Lake Superior is seeing a few boats around Ashland. Smallmouth bass and walleyes continue to come boat side. Dragging sucker rigs over 8-25 feet of water is turning some nice fish. The North Shore remains mostly abandoned as most marinas now have boats pulled from the water. The stream anglers that are getting out reported some success last week. Float indicators and hardware seem to be the best and most popular tactics for some nice brown trout, steelhead and a few salmon.
The St. Louis River is still healing up from the rain storms of October. As we move into November, you can bet we will continue to see a fresh influx of Lake Superior walleyes. Muskie anglers and duck hunters are the majority of the boats you will find in the upper sections of the river this time of year. We are hoping to get out a few more times before it is time to put the boat to bed for the year. Our plan of attack will be to try live rigging minnows over the channel edges.
Inland waters will be the best bet for anyone still getting out. Crappies are going good with crappie minnows under floats over deeper transitional holes. Don't be surprised to run into a walleye or pike while targeting panfish. For the predator fish, I recommend utilizing bigger chubs or sucker minnows.
The specific time of day is not a major factor this time of year, but anglers should note, we are now into the "fall behind" daylight saving mode, meaning the daylight hours to fish are very limited now. Remember to wear your life jacket if you get out and dress warm.
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.