Well, what an awesome first week of June it was in the Brainerd Lakes Area. It didn’t matter what we targeted, the fish were biting and biting hard. Thats what makes this area so great, there is about everything that swims in Minnesota within 30 miles of my front steps.
The walleye fishing was a mixture of daytime and nighttime bites depending on the lake we targeted. The smaller lakes with ample weed growth were definitely more prone to a daytime bite compared to the bigger lakes like Gull, North Long and Edwards that seemed to be a more of a dark bite.
Presentations changed with the time of the bite. On the smaller lakes, pulling spinners and leeches or leeches below a slip bobber out performed crawlers, plastics or crank baits. Anywhere we found cabbage nearing the surface, we found a school of walleyes. We narrowed down those spots using the spinners and then dropping waypoints on the locator when we got into a good area of weed growth and slowed down with bobbers. Bobbers outperformed jigs with leeches and jigs with plastics by a wide margin so we stuck with the bobbers in most cases,
The night trolling bite is still hot and was outstanding on the full moon. We concentrated on big flats with areas of good weed growth. We played connect-the-dots with the weed beds. Most fish came around the weeds, but the bigger fish seemed to be roaming the flats. The hot lure was the Salmo Rattlin’ Sting in their Table Rock Shad color. The key was a long cast behind the boat, trolling 1.1 to 1.6 mph with a pump and pause action of the rod. Most strikes occurred as we paused the lure. One more thing we noticed was the bite was fast within the first hour after the sunset and then slowed until the moon got straight above us.
The pike action has been nothing short of great. Look for shoreline breaks with weeds in the 10-14 foot range. We had an awesome time with some custom painted Salmo Whacky’s from Marine General in Duluth. They have some great colors. Also, musky plastics like Bulldawgs also produced well. Trolling both from 3.0 to 3.8 mph, S-turing on the break lines produced the best.
Bluegills are full into the spawn in the area. Now is the time to get into some giant bulls but please use some selective harvest. For my boat, we did not keep any gills over 8 inches. We also will not keep more that 3 or 4 off of a bed cluster. It is so easy to pluck a lake clean of these big fish. It is always important to use some selective harvesting but when they are on the beds, its extremely important. Its the big bulls that keep the nests clean and allow the eggs to not get silted over and hatch.
A couple good ways to get into the gills are by using tungsten jigs, like the Clam Pro Tackle Drop Jig XXL, below a bobber. They are super heavy and will drop through the smaller fish cruising the area. I tend to tip the jigs with leeches or 1/2 a night crawler.
Most crappies have finished the spawn but there are a few stragglers left doing their thing. The post spawn fish are already very active and can be found on the tips of points and inside turns. We were having some great luck casting Juice Baits Rubber Chickens in black on small 1/32 oz. jig heads swimming it back to the boat. We also had luck dancing the same tail on a 1/16 oz jig head below a bobber.
Largemouth fishing is in full post spawn mode. One of my favorite things to do is find calm areas right at dawn or near dusk where I know the male bass are protecting their fry. Throwing poppers or walk the dog style lures will get those males blowing up. It makes for very exciting fishing. For the daytime bite, the inside weed edge seems to be where they are setting up. We have been throwing wacky worms and drop shot rigs, fishing them fairly slow.
The females are either in 12-16 feet of water or under docks. We have been targeting the deeper fish with a Big John jig and a 6 inch plastic worm. Under the docks, we have been throwing the same wacky style worm.
The smallies are very active. I have been doing quite well casting into rocks using the Salmo Squarebill #5. This has been picking up the more active fish then I slow down and retarget spots where I find fish with a Ned Rig. Smallies are very schooled up right now and if you find them, you are going to catch several off a spot. Watch for followers when you get one hooked and fight it in!
I expect the fishing to continue to get better as we go here. Now that this full moon has passed, I am expecting a great day time walleye bite on all lakes across the BLA. Look for the walleyes to start to concentrate on weediness pretty heavily the warmer it gets and the more weed growth the lakes get. The bass fishing will also improve the farther we get from the spawn. Get out and enjoy the Brainerd Lakes Area. We have so much great fishing to offer.
Nate Berg Fishing Guides