Ely, Minnesota is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where fishermen will find more than one million acres of federally-managed wilderness, including 5,000 lakes and rivers. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is known for its walleye, and if you're going to fish near Ely, it's worth spending at least a few hours in pursuit of this delicious fish. The state-record walleye weighed 17.5 pounds. And if you don't have any luck catching them, take heart. Almost every restaurant in Ely serves walleye. You can eat it steamed, broiled, baked and fried in a bun.
Try fishing at night, when walleye head closer to shore to feed. Search for spots where streams enter a lake; walleye feed on minnows there. Sandbars are another good spot. Minnows, crank baits, night crawlers and leeches are effective walleye baits. In the summer and during warm weather, walleye head for deeper water. Attach a lead sinker to your line and fish your bait just off the bottom.
Many Boundary Waters Canoe Area lakes are quite shallow, making them ideal for pursuing northern pike. Pike feed in weedy shallows. The Boundary Waters are restricted to canoes only, making them less crowded than many nearby lakes that permit motors. The fishing can be quite good if you paddle in for a few hours. Northern pike baits include Rapalas and spoons.
Indigenous to the area, lake trout can give you a real workout as you reel them in. These fish like cold water and some of the deeper Boundary Waters lakes are 45-to-55 degrees year round. In the summer, lake trout like deep water. Try fishing with white jigs, minnows or ciscos. Several bait shops in town sell live bait. Fish for lake trout in shallower water in the early spring. Use live bait or cast with an artificial lure. In the winter, try ice fishing for lake trout, using live or frozen minnows.
Article Written By Cate Rushton
Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.