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Fishing is Simply Incredible in the Brainerd Lakes Area

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It was a fairly slow start to the 2019 open water season but in the past 3 weeks, fishing has turned into maybe the best summer walleye pattern that I can remember.  The fish are staying shallow and they are actively feeding during the daylight hours.  Simply find green weeds in the 7-10 foot mark and you are going to find actively feeding walleyes. Just make sure you bring enough bait along because you are not only going to catch walleyes, but bluegills, crappies, bass, pike, perch and about as many rock bass as you can stand.  It isn’t just Gull Lake where this pattern is working, its every lake in the area.  The only change is the technique used to get the fish to go.

Leeches below a bobber suspended 2 feet above the bottom has been the ticket on Gull Lake.

Gull Lake is about as good as it can be with many big fish hitting the boat. In the past week, our biggest problem has been catching eater fish.  Most days we are catching more fish over 25 inches than under 20.  The best technique is fishing a leech with a plain hook about 2 feet off the bottom.  If you can find live cabbage with the tips going all the way to the surface you are going to find walleyes.  To find the best locations, watch the weather.  Wind seems to really dictate where the fish are actively feeding.  Find inside turns or points where the wind has been pounding and they will be there.   My other suggestion is not to stick too long in the same spot.  You can wait them out and pick off a walleye or 2 every hour but generally speaking, the first half hour on a spot is when you will catch the most fish.  With that said, after a break of an hour or 2, do not be afraid to go back to hit spots that have produced again because they will load up.  

Salmo’s Rattlin Sting has been my number 1 evening trolling lure the past couple of weeks.

The night trolling bite for walleyes is still incredible on most lakes in the area with the weeds staying down.  I expect with he warmer temps in the forecast for this week to have that change some.  We have had the best luck trolling on North Long for the 1/2 hour before sunset until about 11 pm however there is a constant bite lasting all night.

Pike on Gull are going nuts.  Try trolling or casting big musky lures close to break lines going into the basin areas.  Keep in mind, if you are going to keep pike, our lakes have a protected slot of 22-26 inches that must be immediately released.  You can keep 10 total pike with only 2 of the 10 can be over 26 inches.

My niece Caiden did a great job helping me do a little exploring. Fish were stacked in green and brown cabbage.

The lakes over by Motley have a great bite as well.  The fish are also very weed orientated.  The best technique has been trolling spinners with crawlers or leeches at 1.1 mph.  If you are not ticking the weeds, you are not getting bit.  Blue blades as well as gold/black have been the best.  This is also the same bite with the smaller lakes around Brainerd that have walleyes in them.  Simply troll the weed edge and you are going to pick up active fish.  The best part about trolling harnesses is the fact that you are going to pick up everything that swims in the lake, not just walleyes.

The Whitefish chain is starting to produce good numbers of eaters just off the weed line in Upper Whitefish as well as scattered spots in the smaller lakes of the chain.  Leeches on long smelled live bait rigs have been the best bet.  Some fish are being taken on minnow style jigging baits by either casting them or vertically jigging them.  Pike, bass and whitefish are all very active as well.

Caiden wanted to catch a fish she never caught before so we went after smallies. This one fell victim to a Clam Pro Tackle Drop Tg tipped with a leech hooked wacky style.

Largemouth in the area have transitioned into their summer patterns.  We have been picking up largemouth and smallmouth in several ways with the best using square bill crank baits and whacky worms.  Both species are near fresh cabbage or rock in 6-10 feet.  Long casts have been increasing our luck.  

Bluegill action is hot and heavy.  The spawn is happening on most lakes.  Its a great time to get the kids out there and see some fish as well as catch about as many as you care to take off the hook.  It is also a great time to teach your kids about selective harvest.  Taking the big males off the beds can be detrimental to the lake.  Its the big males that protect the nests, fan the beds to get the eggs to hatch as well as protect the fry from predators.

Crappie action has been spotty at best.  The fish are very nocturnal on most lakes and haven’t fully schooled up after the spawn.  In fact, last week we spotted some crappies still on spawn beds so its safe to say the year has been a difficult one for the crappies to have their annual spawn.

The Crosby pits are still producing some good numbers of trout.  The cooler temps have kept them shallow and trolling small cranks as well as night crawlers below a slip bobber have been working well.  Spot them with your electronics and you will catch fish.

I don’t see an end to the good fishing.  In fact, I only see it getting better so get out there and enjoy what the area has to offer.

Nate Berg
Nate Berg Fishing Guides

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