Published May 24, 2009, 12:00 AM

Shore fishing: You don’t need a boat to catch them

You’ll find Ron Miller fishing from the Island Lake bridge most days of the spring and summer. Even if the temperature is 45 and the wind is howling down the lake, as it was on Tuesday morning.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

You’ll find Ron Miller fishing from the Island Lake bridge most days of the spring and summer. Even if the temperature is 45 and the wind is howling down the lake, as it was on Tuesday morning.

“I’m a shore fisherman,” said Duluth’s Miller, 70. “This is what I do.”

He’s caught plenty of fish from that bridge, including a 7-pound walleye in November.

He has other spots, too. Miller and other shore anglers know that there are lots of places to catch fish from shore in the Duluth-Superior area.

Here's a list of suggested places to fish from Miller, Scott VanValkenburg at Fisherman’s Corner in Pike Lake and Ted Sellers at Northwest Outlet in Superior.

Island Lake bridge — On St. Louis County Highway 4 where it crosses the narrows on Island Lake. Walleyes, northern pike, crappies, the occasional muskie. Best in early season, but Miller’s there spring, summer and fall. Presentation: Jigs and live bait, slip-bobber rigs or a Lindy rig fished off the bottom with live bait. Safety precaution: If you’re taking kids, don’t fish from the bridge itself but from shore below.

Island Lake dam — Follow Lavaque Road north to where it dead-ends at the dam. The Cloquet River flows out below the dam. Fish above or below, VanValkenburg said. Slip-bobbers and live bait. Pitch them into the eddies at the edge of current. Walleyes, northern pike, catfish, smallmouth bass, the occasional muskie.

Finlander Bay of Island Lake — This is the body of water on your right as you drive north on Lavaque Road from the Fredenberg Minno-ette. Walleyes and more. Slip-bobbers and live bait, especially late evening in the summer, VanValkenburg said.

Fish Lake bridge — Where Lavaque Road passes over the narrows of Fish Lake near Eagle’s Nest Resort. A hotspot for walleyes and crappies in spring. Try slip-bobber rigs with minnows or night crawlers.

Fish Lake dam — Follow the Fish Lake Dam Road past Hi-Banks Resort to the boat launch. Fish from the dam on Fish Lake or below the dam where the Beaver River flows out. Walleyes, crappies, northern pike. Slip-bobber rigs, live bait. Spring and summer.

Chambers Grove, St. Louis River, Duluth — A city park along the river, just above the Minnesota Highway 23 bridge at Fond du Lac. Walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass, the occasional sturgeon (which you must release). You can actually “troll” by walking the boardwalk along the river, VanValkenburg said. Use a slip-bobber rig and live bait to just drift your bait downstream with the current. Or toss out an egg sinker and floating rig to fish off the bottom. Excellent for walleyes early in the season. Be aware: Season doesn’t open above the Highway 23 bridge until May 19 each year.

Boy Scout Landing fishing pier, St. Louis River, Duluth — Adjacent to the boat landing where Commonwealth Avenue dead-ends at the river in Gary-New Duluth. Walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass, just about anything that swims in the river. Use Lindy rigs to fish off the bottom with minnows, leeches or night crawlers. Expect company.

Perch Lake area, St. Louis River, Duluth — There’s a little shore-fishing spot and a few parking places where an inlet from Perch Lake enters the St. Louis River between Gary-New Duluth and Fond du Lac. Walleyes, smallmouth bass, northern pike. Best bet is a Lindy Rig approach with live bait floated up off the bottom.

Water Street, Fond du Lac neighborhood, St. Louis River — Take 131st Avenue West toward the river and follow it to the road that runs alongside the river. Good in spring for walleyes. Use a Lindy Rig with a minnow or night crawler.

Munger Landing, St. Louis River — Take Grand Avenue to Clyde Avenue and follow it to the boat landing and fishing pier. Walleyes, smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappies. Use a Lindy rig with minnow, night crawler or leech. Or try live bait under a slip-bobber.

Caribou Lake north of Duluth — Try fishing from the dock at the boat landing off the Birch Point Road (reach it from Munger Shaw Road). Kids can catch bluegills here. Just use a small splitshot and part of a night crawler. Put up with a little boat traffic.

Duluth ship canal — In early May, use a Lindy rig with a night crawler to fish for coho salmon off the south pier in Lake Superior. You’ll need a long-handled net to land them.

McQuade Small Craft Harbor — On Scenic Minnesota Highway 61 at McQuade Road. The breakwall was designed with areas custom-made for shorecasting. Use a long rod, 6-pound-test line. Throw Kastmasters or other spoons for trout and salmon. Early morning, late evening best.

Hartley Pond in Hartley Park — Park in Hartley Nature Center parking lot, 3001 Woodland Avenue. Walk about 1/4 mile to the pond. It will be stocked with brown trout in early June.

Twin Ponds — Just east of Enger Park on Skyline Parkway. Stocked with brook trout, intended for kids. Use a piece of night crawler under a bobber.

Chester Creek — Fish upstream from the chalet in Chester Park for brook trout stocked for kids. Use a piece of night crawler on a plain hook. Or try the pond in early June for brown trout.

Lester River — Lower reaches are stocked with brook trout for kids. Use a piece of night crawler on plain hook.


Arrowhead Pier, St. Louis River — Follow Belknap Avenue west to the parking lot near the pier (what’s left of the former Arrowhead Bridge). Walleyes, catfish, northern pike, almost anything. Use a Lindy rig with a night crawler or a leech.

Billings Park, St. Louis River — Follow 21st Street west until it ends and follow a short road down to the boat launch. There’s a paved trail along shore that goes around First Point. Walk the paved trail along the water’s edge. Throw spinners, Beetle Spins, Mimic Minnows or floating Rapalas for northern pike, smallmouth bass.

Barker’s Island — Fish from the docks at the public landing or from shore on the harbor side. Walleyes, northern pike, muskies. Try a bobber with a night crawler.

Amnicon Falls State Park — East of Superior 10 miles on U.S. Highway 2. Fish the gorge below the falls there, Sellers said, for walleyes (spring only), muskies and an occasional steelhead. You’ll need a park vehicle sticker ($7 daily for residents, $10 for nonresidents). Try a jig and minnow, or use a couple of splitshot and a floating jig head with a minnow or night crawler.