The beauty about the Brainerd Lakes Area is there never really is a time of the year where we have horrible fishing. Even the “dog days of summer” can be absolutely awesome. We are still in early July but some of these warm temps have fishing patterns acting as if we were in August and that’s ok with me!
One phenomenon that I have been witnessing is a fairly strong and very shallow thermocline in even small lakes. If my locator didn’t lie to me, I actually saw a thermocline on a 450 acre lake at 22 feet. I have a feeling this has to do with the very late ice out and extremely quick heat up of the water. All I know is it has really narrowed down the fishing patterns and schooled up the fish in shallow weeds. We are seeing water temps in the mid-80s which is crazy but the fish are feeding.
Brainerd Area Fishing Report
Walleyes have really started to get into their summer patterns of hanging in thick weeds or fairly deep on some area lakes. The smaller the lake, the shallower the walleyes have been. We have found fish as shallow as 6 feet in thick, dense cabbage. The brighter the day, the more buried the fish become.
We have been getting most of our fish on a slip bobber and a leech or a half crawler. Crawler harnesses are also producing but what we have been doing is narrowing down the schools with the harnesses and then anchoring and targeting with the bobbers. A bigger blade really increases your odds. I have been pulling #6 blades. The thump will pull the fish out of the weeds better than a lesser sized blade. Live bait rigs have also been producing with an air filled crawler.
Gull Lake has some fairly deep fish now. Look for them staging off of deep points or bottom transitions in the 25-40 foot mark. Salmo Chubby Darters have been working well as of lake along with a few other types of vertical minnow style baits. Pike are really tight to the weed lines and big spinner baits are outdoing wood at this stage of the game.
North Long has been producing some good walleyes in the 14-28 foot mark along the weed edges. Low light periods of the day or overcast days with a little breeze increase your odds. Long lining a pink and white jig tipped with a leech is doing very good. The largemouth bite has been simply incredible. Look for dense cabbage in inside turns or on the tips of points. 100 fish days have been fairly common as of late.
Bluegills are easy to find and the bigger ones are buried in the weeds. What we have been doing is anchoring and allowing the fish to find the shade of the boat. Once this happens, simply drop your jig below the boat suspended about 3 feet off the bottom. It is really easy to rack up a good meal of keeper sized gills right now.
Crappies have been active at low light periods. If you do target them, you can etch out a limit during high sun periods with a tube jig under a 1/32 oz jig. Casting and swimming the jig has been much better than dancing a bobber.
If the bigger lakes are a little too busy, the smaller lakes are doing extremely well. Walleyes are firm in their weed locations and shallow. A crawler harness or a leech behind a spinner are my 2 choices right now. The best part about fishing the smaller lakes, most fish are schooling together so you will have no problem catching lots of fish while waiting for a walleye to bite.
Crosslake Area Fishing Report
Fishing has been very good on the chain as well as the smaller lakes in the area. Walleyes are being found off of the weeds in 15-24 feet of water as well as on some of the deeper humps. A live bait rig with a crawler has been the best as of late but an evening trolling bite is starting to emerge with blue and chrome being the best colors as of late. There is a great whitefish pattern emerging with the thermocline. Vertically jigging for them with a minnow bait or trolling a small minnow bait will catch you some fish. Feel free to tip your lures with a small chunk of crawler to add a little scent and flavor since the whitefish tend to be fairly finicky feeders. Crappies are being found in a few of the smaller lakes on the chain around swimming platforms near deep water as well as inside turns and the tips of points. There are a lot of smaller fish mixed in with some keepers so a little sorting is needed but you can most definitely leave with a good meal. Bass are staging on deep main lake points right now. A drop shot or a jig worm in shades of reds or purples have been very good for us as of late.
There is still a lot of summer remaining and still a lot of fish to be caught so get out there and enjoy!
Nate Berg Fishing Guides