This past week has been simply an incredible week for fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area. We covered so many lakes including several new lakes and revisited a few from the past that we haven’t been to this year. One thing was for sure, the fishing was nothing short of excellent everywhere and for everything we fished!
I must eat a little humble pie however. Just like the weather this year, the bluegill spawn was a weird one. We hit a couple of very small lakes and found big bulls still nesting. Whats crazy is, nearly 3 weeks ago we had fish bedding on lakes in similar size. The bigger lakes have been done for nearly a week and a half so to find big gills on beds was a bit shocking but it was a pleasantly fun surprise!
During the past week, I have personally hit five different bodies of water. Four of which are under 1000 acres and my policy is never to list smaller lakes due to the fact that increased pressure can be bad for these smaller lakes. With that said, a great way to find some of these smaller gems is to do some research online using the Minnesota DNR lake finder website at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.html.
Brainerd Area Fishing
Gull Lake is still popping out good numbers of walleyes. The bites we are finding are in or very near weeds. During high sun, the fish are burying in the weeds and a big #5 blade with crawlers or leeches will pull them out of their haunts. Some fish have been hitting by ripping natural colored plastics through the weeds. As the light decreases, the fish move out of the weeds and Jigging’ Raps, Rippin’ Raps and live bait rigs with chubs or crawlers have been working well. The largemouth bass have moved off of the deep points and can be found in 15-20 feet of water. Pike are very heavy on the weed edges and the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish. Crappies are being found during dusk hours just off of weeded points and on heavy cabbage inside turns. The bluegills are plentiful and are easy to find off of weeds by simply anchoring and they find you, especially on sunny days.
The smaller lakes are really starting to produce weed orientated fish of all species. Find beds of cabbage or coon tail. I really prefer covering water with crawler harnesses to find the active schools of walleyes and then slowing down and either jig fishing with a crawler or leech, rip jigging plastics or bobber fishing with a leech.
Largemouth on the smaller lakes are in their mid summer patterns. I have been doing very well using a Clam Drop Tg jig with a 6 inch culprit ribbon tail. A drop shot rig with a small 4 to 6 inch straight tail worm has been deadly as well. I try to stick with purple or red shades at this time of the year. Lots of big bass are being found under docks as well.
The lakes that have smallies are starting to produce on the deep rocks although there are some fish left on the shoreline breaks. Top waters are working great during low light periods and as the day progresses, the pattern gets deeper to the point where a slip bobber and a leech will produce nicely. What I love about using a leech at this stage of the game is the possibility of getting into a school of walleyes that will roam the same areas as the smallies.
Crappie and bluegill action all depends on the lake. Some lakes are still in the middle of a bluegill spawn and I actually witnessed a crappie on a bed earlier this week. Other lakes, the fish have moved off the weed edges and started their summer patterns. Bluegills can be taken at any point of the day and crappies have become low light biters.
Crosslake Area Fishing
The chain is still producing some good walleyes. The bite has started to transition from a leech to a crawler bite although some fish are still being taken on redtail chubs. The depth really depends on the spot. If the wind is blowing in, the fish are relating to the weeds. If it is not, the fish are considerably deeper.
I got word from a customer that some crappies were being found on weed areas on the Whitefish Chain. Humps and points are the go to spots with small plastics.
The smaller lakes are really starting to produce very well for every species that swims.
In many lakes, you can catch every species in the lake on any given spot. Look for mid lake weed structure or deep inside turns or points off of the shoreline breaks. Largemouth have a feed bag going so if you want to have some fun with some serious areal action, use a whacky worm or a sickle tail worm hooked through he tip of the worm on a drop shot. Drop shots have been out producing pretty much everything as of late.
Walleyes on the smaller lakes are also relating to the same areas. During low light periods, put a leech below a slip bobber about 3 feet above the bottom. The walleyes are burying themselves in the weeds during the high sun periods and when they pop out they have the feed bag on and absolutely crushing the leech. This bite continues after the sun sets. I have been finding the fish in the 12-18 foot areas outside of the heaviest weed areas of the humps or points. Mark them during high sun periods and hit them as the sun drops near the tree line. The best bite has been from about a hour before sunset to 11 pm.
Bluegills shocked me this week and were just getting on beds in some small lakes in the 300 acre range. I also found fish on an 800 acre lake as well. With that said, another small 500 acre lake, the beds were empty and we found the big gills back in their summer haunts. If you find bedding gills, just remember to use some selective harvest.
The best fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area is just starting to happen. As a multi species kind of guy, the summer months are something special and we may be in the best area of the world for an excellent multi species bite. On Sunday, we had one of those magical days on a short trip. We had 183 fish in 7 different species from some very big largemouth to some 3/4 pound bluegills.
Give us a call, we would love to put you on some serious fish!
Nate Berg Fishing Guides