Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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Switchin' to Glide

Extend your spring pike season into early summer by borrowing these baits from the muskie playbook


5Leavon Peleikis

A large, dark shadow appeared in the crystal-clear water behind my glide bait, getting closer and closer as the lure walked seductively from side to side. With every snap of my wrist, the Phantom Softail changed direction, and the looming shadow moved with it. Then I cranked up the speed as the lure drew closer to the boat, changing its slow, wide, methodical action to a tight, erratic scramble. It was just too much for the big northern pike to resist. Fish on!

Caught on a Canadian Shield lake near Magnetawan, Ontario, that 43-inch fish ended up being my biggest pike of the season. And I landed it at the end of June, a time when most other anglers have already traded in their spring pike gear. For the fortunate few of us who stick it out, however, there's still plenty of action to be had. With a few minor adjustments to your spring pike program and the addition of the often overlooked but productive glide bait, the early-summer period from the beginning of June to the middle July is a great time to catch numbers of northerns, as well as trophy fish.

Glide baits are by no means new to the sportfishing scene. Muskie hunters and saltwater anglers have been using them for decades, but only recently have they started to gain popularity with pike anglers, and for good reason. Their side-to-side action is absolutely deadly for triggering big northerns to bite—if you know when, where and how to fish them.

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Excellent summer fishing.  Charters catching strong numbers.  Jig/minnow or jig/leech and bouncers with spinners with crawlers or minnows still producing walleyes. When the wind is right for pulling spinners, they have been lights out.  Walleyes being caught in varying depths, 7-31' of water.  Some shallow shorelines still producing. Pike mixed in all over the lake.

Walleyes in the Rainy River with a better morning/evening bite.  Trolling cranks or pulling spinners a good idea to cover more water. Smallmouth bass are out and about along shorelines and feeder streams. Sturgeon fishing opens again Saturday, July 1st.

Up at the NW Angle, water temps are in the low to mid 60’s. Wind blown shorelines are giving up walleyes via leeches or crankbaits along the weed line. Crawlers on a  gold and/or orange spinner are producing fish out of the mud between 22 - 26 feet. On the Canadian side, bottom bouncers and spinners have been filling the livewells outside of monument bay between 24-28 feet.  Jigging near Skeet and Kennedy Islands have produced nice sized walleye and numerous perch. Great smallmouth action in Tranquil channel and the mouth of Johnston passage. Muskie fishing picking up with high 40” class fish being caught with a few 50's from shallow bottom bays or adjacent to them.
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