Water temperatures on lakes and rivers around the Twin Ports are fluctuating between 55 and 60 degrees depending on where you are. Obviously, cooler temps in the morning and warmer by late afternoon. We are now in peak fall foliage and it is beautiful. Hunters are taking to the woods and waters often for their respective sports. As anglers, we need to be cautious of this as we dip into the woods to walk to streams or launch boats in the dark and navigate waters. Fishing has been on the mend, thankfully, after the slowdown we had recently.
Lake Superior will see less traffic now as charter anglers and lake trout anglers alike begin to winterize their rigs. Some diehards will still be out in search of salmon and an occasional walleye. For the most part, Gitchee Gumee will offer slow fishing, except maybe for smallmouth bass near Ashland.
The local streams of Lake Superior are starting to see plenty of action as anglers are wading in search of trout and salmon. We are now seeing a few fall migrants after the recent rain we had. Small spinnerbaits on regular spinning rods and flies on fly rods are producing equal success. Remember, with the size of these waters, we need to be courteous of other anglers. Also make sure to take care of these fish. They are delicate, so proper handling is important.
The St. Louis River has been getting better this past week for walleyes and crappies. Similar to the trout and salmon migration in streams, walleyes have also started moving into the estuary from Lake Superior. Try ⅛-ounce to ¼-ounce current-cutter jigs tipped with crappie or fathead minnows. We have been slow-trolling bigger crankbaits for the bigger fish and finding some limited success. Crappies are schooled up off of dropoffs. What is nice about this time of year is that you don’t really need to be “up and at ’em” early in the day. Giving water temps some time to rise can be the way to go. Smallmouth are also being targeted on various types of structure. Muskie anglers are also finding some success casting a plethora of baits near channel edges and in the flats throughout the system.
Inland waters have been good. If anglers are looking for easy success, this is the best bet. Fishing deep transitions off of weed areas has been best. The best bite seems to be in 10 to 20 feet of water for crappies and a few bluegills. Lots of jigging tactics are working. Anglers shouldn’t be afraid to use ice-fishing tackle tipped with plastics. Pike and bass are also being turned by casting cranks and plastics. Wacky worm rigs (rigid plastic worms hooked in the middle of the body) have been a great tactic. Muskie angling has also been decent. Look for vegetation near basins for most predator fish.
Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.