Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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Shorter days fishing tip: Use bigger baits to target

larger bluegills in the school

By Jason Revermann

Summer is winding down, but there’s lots of great open-water fishing still available. Baitfish have had months to grow and are more of a mouthful these days. Larger bluegills often look for a larger meal to fill their appetite. Small crankbaits and vertical jigging minnow baits can help you target some of the largest ’gills in the school. Larger baits often will intimidate smaller fish and keep most of them off the hook.

First, locate the fish. Usually you can find them around the outside edges of the weeds anywhere from 4 to 24 feet of water. That’s why you need to use your sonar units to locate marks off the bottom. Side scan really can shine when searching for ’gills, especially in shallower water. Adjust your side scan to get the best possible image when searching in shallower water. I like to set the width away from the boat to about four times the depth of water I am working.

Parker Revermann, son of author, Jason Revermann, caught and released this 10 1/8-inch bluegill while trolling a perch-colored No. 3 Original Floating Rapala behind a bottom-bouncer.

When schools of ’gills concentrate, you can vertically jig small jigging minnow baits like Jigging Raps or Ultralight Rippin’ Raps to catch some of the bigger individuals.

Often bluegills will scatter along the outside weed edge or along certain break lines. This is the perfect time to employ a trolling technique to cover more water and pick off the most aggressive fish.

I like to use a 1 1/2-ounce bottom bouncer with a 6-foot leader and a No. 3 Original Floater Rapala  trolled 1 mile per hour or less. Something that makes this method extremely effective is to drop back the rod tip setting the weight on the bottom allowing the bait to pause and raise, then pull forward and to make the bait vibrate and dive. This pause-and-pull method triggers more bites than a constant trolling speed.

Make sure you are marking fish, and if they are not active move on and find more active fish.

Don’t forget to practice selective harvest. It is great to be able to catch big panfish and to ensure there are big fish to catch in the future it is important to release the biggest fish to pass on their genes. Keep a few mid-sized fish for a meal but don’t keep more than you plan to eat.

Good luck fishing and stay safe.

Mayflies and high water, oh my!
The writer came out of her hotel room to see her car and many others covered with mayflies. They are totally harmless and live only about 24 hours after hatching. Best of all, they are a delicacy for the walleyes to savor.

By Jane Beathard

Port Clinton, Ohio — An abundance of mayflies and record-high water made the recent Fish Ohio Day at Port Clinton a bit unusual.

While most folks welcomed the mayflies at the July 2 event, the high Lake Erie waters were a definite “downer.”

It’s been an unusually late and heavy mayfly hatch – an indicator that the lake’s water (at least in the Western Basin) is getting cleaner.

I came out of my hotel room at about 6 a.m. to see my car and many others covered with the winsome little bugs. They are totally harmless and live only about 24 hours after hatching. Best of all, they are a delicacy for the walleyes to savor.

It was nice to see so many dead mayflies floating on the water since biologists say there are millions of big and small walleyes out there to eat them.


A fellow Fish Ohio Day angler on my charter boat – a person who lives in Cleveland – said the mayfly hatch in the Central Basin is no where near as abundant this year. I wonder what that means?

While I personally love to see the mayflies, they are a bit of a cleaning nuisance. We were forced to find a car wash and clean the vehicle both inside (how did they get there?) and out before heading home to central Ohio.

But that is a small price to pay for a healthier Lake Erie.

Then there was the matter of the high water – not such a welcomed sight. Excessive rain this spring and summer sent lake levels to historic records.

Water was sloshing over the Fisherman’s Wharf cul-de-sac in downtown Port Clinton, making some businesses like my favorite popcorn shop unreachable. Rumor had it that workers at Port Clinton Fish Co. were standing in knee-high water.

Many private and public docks were not usable and the situation promised to get worse as the localized downpours only continue.

It has been only about 15 years since lake levels were at all-time lows. That had everyone worried back then. Many docks and launch ramps were left “high and dry” and some lakeside businesses were forced to close altogether.

Hydrologists blamed that situation on drought around the Upper Lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron). Water flows downhill from those into the Lower Lakes (Erie and Ontario) through a series of rivers and canals. Less water in the Upper Lakes means lower water levels in the lower ones and vice-versa.

Snowpack around the Upper Lakes was heavier last winter. That, coupled with a rainy spring, sent water levels skyrocketing in the Lower Lakes.

We’ve had a rain-soaked spring and summer in the Lake Erie watershed, too. Tributary streams like the Maumee and Sandusky rivers poured even more water into the lake.

As a result, the lake is higher than most anyone has ever seen.

Bowfishing world record? South Dakota men bag massive channel catfish
By Associated Press

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Two South Dakota men have bagged what the Bowfishing Association of America is calling a new world-record channel catfish.

The Rapid City Journal reports 19-year-old Cody Sechser and 18-year-old Isaac Kipp of Montrose were bowfishing on Skunk Creek 10 miles north of Hartford on June 9 when they shot a channel catfish that measured 24 pounds, 12 ounces and was 38-1/2 inches long with a 20-1/2-inch girth.

Sechser, Kipp and their friend Riley Scotting had been at the spot about an hour when Scotting, who didn’t have a bow, saw the fish near some rocks in about a foot of water.

At first they wondered if the fish was a rock before realizing no rock has whiskers or fins like that fish. Sechser said he shot the fish in the spine and Kipp shot it behind the head, killing it instantly.

“For a solid two hours I thought I was dreaming,” Sechser said. “It didn’t even seem like it was real. To be honest, I didn’t even sleep that first night.”

They weighed the fish at Lake Time Steak House and Bait Shop on Lake Vermillion that night and in Montrose the next day. They suspected the fish might be a world record, so they sent video of the weigh-in to the bow fishing association.

The organization confirmed the fish was a new world record on June 18. The old record was 23 pounds, set less than two weeks before Sechser and Kipp killed their fish.

Sechser will be a sophomore wildlife and fisheries student at South Dakota State University this fall. Kill will be a freshman wildlife and fisheries student.

And what became of their big catch? Sechser fileted the beast and fried it up.

Researchers: As lake levels rise, so do mercury levels in Wisconsin fish