Brainerd Area Lakes Have Turned Over and the Fishing Remains Excellent
What I really enjoy about this time of the year is the fish generally do the same thing each year. If you have a waypoint from years past, it doesn’t matter what the species is, the fish will be there. You can truly fish by memory and succeed, especially on the smaller lakes.
After a quick filming trip to South Dakota, on Thursday I was joined in the boat by a good friend for a couple of hours on Gull Lake. The water had finally turned over and we found walleyes, including a 28 inch giant in 14-17 feet of water. Once again creek chubs outdid the red tails. The key was a long snell on the live bait rigs and a little slower movement at 0.4 mph. We boated 4 eater sized fish as well as a 26 1/2, 26, 25 and two 21 inch fish to go along with the big 28.
On windy Friday, I was joined in the boat with a group from Wisconsin on one of the smaller lakes for some smallmouth, largemouth and walleye action. It wasn’t fast and furious but we did manage 14 smallmouths and 5 walleyes in 4 hours. The walleyes were staging right with the bronze backs in 20 to 35 feet of water.
On Saturday the boys from Wisconsin and I headed to Gull Lake In search of walleyes but mother nature had a different plan in mind. The windy conditions made it fairly difficult to keep three lines in position so after two hours with 3 eater sized walleyes hitting the live well we changed gears to crappies. We found them staging in the typical late fall spots of the basin holes. A quarter ounce jig head with a red and white tube jig body was the ticket. In 45 minutes the boys had their limits of 9-11 inch crappies. The guys even boated a few good sized bluegills.
After a quick bite to eat at Ernie’s, we headed back out for the afternoon in search of pike and they didn’t disappoint. We long lined 1/4 ounce jig heads with large creek chubs in 10 to 14 feet of water moving at 0.8 mph. Between the largemouth and pike action, the guys had an awesome afternoon.
On Sunday I was joined in the boat by a good friend and we headed west of Brainerd for some smallmouth and walleye action. We found a mixture of fish staging in the 25 to 40 foot areas adjacent to rock reefs. We lost count of how many fish we caught but we went through five dozen chubs. Often, we were catching more than one fish per minnow.
Don’t let the cold weather that is coming in to the Brainerd Lakes area scare you. Often that first nasty cold front is what pushes the really big fish into feeding position. Some of my largest walleyes have come the day of or the day after these cold fronts. One of the big things that I’ve noticed that people do is fish too deep after the turnover. Last year for example I never went below 20 feet.
We still have some very solid fishing coming up in the next couple weeks in the Brainerd Lakes area. Don’t winterize your boat yet!
Nate Berg Fishing Guides