Jarrid Houston Column: St. Louis River Smallmouth on a Tear

Here the cold water on the surface begins to mix into the deeper water columns. And lately it’s been nice that the time of day is no longer as important as it is in the warm summer weeks. You really don’t have to be the first on the water to catch fish from here. Especially on cloudy days when the sun is hidden behind a blanket of clouds. Even so, I prefer to aim mornings and late afternoons for peak fishing periods. Any avid angler would agree that historically fishing is always best when the sun rises or sets.

Let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report:

When fishing in Lake Superior, the fishing pressure decreases. From now on, you no longer have to endure long waits at most public boat docks. For many gitch anglers, this time of year is known as the “last call”. We heard of good results from the boats. Basic tactics and locations continue to be in line with what has been produced over the past few weeks. The best colors were purple, blue, and green. Hauling lead lines, dipseys, or riggers is still a thing, although some anglers again get fish in the upper parts of the water column.

Lake trout continue to dominate the catch and most guys score good numbers with all day scrambling in and around Duluth / Superior. The same applies to the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay.

We’re seeing a surge in good narrow-mouthed and pikeperch action in the Ashland area. Look for those bites to help you improve. In our local streams, anglers report the return of fresh sea fish. Usually late September and well into October is the high point of steelhead, a few brown trout and salmon to run up the rivers. The streams are sure to get busier and busier from week to week by the end of the stream seasons.

We still have some shallow water conflicts at the mouth of the St. Louis River. Be especially careful if you have a boat with a draft and a motor with a longer shaft! It’s best to take it slow. As far as fishing goes, pikeperch and large perch are making a comeback and have done well for the past week. Slowly drifting crappie minnows on long-legged hooks behind a few split shots have caught some fish. The water clarity is not the best in some areas, rather a reason to slow down the fishing.

Small mouth perch was on a crack at the canal edges where they feast on the glimmer of the river. Muskie anglers report some sightings. The best tactic for a beefy muskie or pike is to use troll bait or spinners to accelerate over weed edges. We’re still waiting for a good crappie bite, but jigging deep cuts with simple tube jigs or jig and minnows will be key.

Inland lake fishing was good with persistent panfish bites around docks, beaches, and cabbage. It’s hard to hit a tiny crappie minnow, chunk of worm, or a tiny leech under a pose. If you find fish, try not to scare them away! Pike and perch have been in similar areas, but for the most part they hang lower. Work the weed edges in the 10-20 feet. If you’re looking for a trophy, try even deeper.

Whale eyes have started training in pools about 15 feet deep. Catching them with ice fishing tactics can be exceptionally fun at times of the day with no wind / glass surface. I prefer to take my Vexilar with me and fish them with simple jig and minnow cadences.

The fishing was good and will only get better and better over the coming weeks. Buckle up!

South Range’s Jarrid Houston is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) in the Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River, and Lake Superior in winter.

Comments are closed.