Fishing Community Holes

Out-Fish Everyone on a Community Hole


In this video, guide Brad Hawthorne shares a few of his favorite strategies to out fish the crowd by putting more walleyes in the boat when you’re on crowded fishing spots.

Just yesterday I was fishing this is kind of community hole up here in Lake of the Woods. Guys were drifting, and waves were ripping through here at about three to three and a half feet and everyone was drifting spinners through this pod of walleyes. That pod of fish hasn’t moved in about a week and we’re looking at this going man I’m not gonna do the monkey-see monkey-do thing here. Let’s see if we can catch fish both directions.

So we put down our 72” Minnkota Ulterra and I hit it to one mile an hour North heading and the next thing you know are catching fish both ways. 

The other boats looked a little surprised because what they were doing was drifting down catching a few fish, driving back up disturbing the school of fish and then drifting back down but we kind of showed them the guys that had you know 60 or 70 inch shaft rod trolling motors they were actually able to run that same program keeping their bait in the water.

The monkey-see monkey-do thing sometimes that works and you will catch fish, but it doesn’t hurt to think outside of the box. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean its the best way. 

Even if your boat doesn’t have a big trolling motor you could have back trolled. If you had a tiller boat you could have just put the butt end of the boat into the waves and just quite simply put a drift bag out the front on the downwind pass and you’d have been just fine.

A lot of times keeping your line in the water will always catch you more fish so in the scenario like that sometimes doing something a little bit different coming up with your own technique instead of seeing ten boats doing one thing and yeah they’re successful at it but then we took that spin made it our own and literally caught twice as many fish.

Mille Lacs in particular you often run into the same situation there. You’ll see a few boats out there in those community spots their community spots for one reasons because they hold fish. 

We come in everyone’s rigging fish right and it’s that’s a staple technique on Mille lacs. They are pulling minnows and leeches. Anyways so we come in and start rigging and the bite is slow. People are catching one here and there. We decide to switch it up and tie on some Rippin Raps in crayfish color or chrome blue and ripping these baits forcing these fish to bite. 

Once we made that switch the bite was on and while everyone else at the hole was rigging we made a switch and started out fishing the whole group of boats. Doing your own thing especially when you are fishing community holes, can really make the difference and allow you to outfish the other boats.

Trying Something Different

Just yesterday, I was fishing at a community hole in Lake of the Woods. The waves were strong, about three to three and a half feet high, and everyone was drifting spinners through a pot of fish that hadn’t moved in about a week. However, I didn’t want to do the same thing as everyone else. I decided to try something different.

Using My Altaira 72 Inch Trolling Motor

I have a 72-inch Altaira trolling motor, so I programmed it to run at one mile an hour heading north. To my surprise, my friend and I started catching fish in both directions. We were able to keep our bait in the water and catch fish while the other boats were drifting down, catching a few fish, and then driving back up to disturb the school of fish before drifting back down again.

Showing the Other Boats a New Technique

We caught the attention of the other boats in the pack, who were amazed at our success. They were using smaller motors and were unable to keep their bait in the water while driving back up. We showed them that with a larger motor like mine, they could run the same program and keep their bait in the water, resulting in more fish.

Thinking Outside the Box Pays Off

Sometimes, it’s beneficial to think outside the box and come up with your own techniques instead of following the crowd. While the monkey-see, monkey-do approach may work, it doesn’t hurt to try something different if you know your boat is capable. In this scenario, we were able to catch twice as many fish by using our own technique instead of doing what everyone else was doing.

Applying the Same Approach at Mille Lacs

The same principle applies to fishing at Mille Lacs. There are a few community spots where people gather because they know fish are present. However, relying solely on past memories and techniques may not always yield results. It’s important to have a starting point, but if you’re not catching fish, it’s time to change things up.

Switching to Reaction Baits

At Mille Lacs, we noticed that the rigging technique had slowed down. Instead of sticking to the same old method, we decided to switch to reaction baits. We tied on rip and wrap lures in crayfish or chrome blue colors and started ripping them through the water. This aggressive approach forced the fish to bite out of reaction, and we started catching more fish.

Getting a Reaction Bite with Rattle Baits

By using loud rattle baits, we were able to wake up the sluggish fish and get them to bite. This technique was a game-changer, as we went from catching one fish every half hour to targeting schools of fish that were previously unresponsive. The boats around us took notice and started pitching jigging wraps and other baits, realizing that the reaction bite was working.

Being Mindful of Other Anglers

When fishing in a pack of boats, it’s important to keep your distance and not disrupt other anglers’ fishing. If you’re using heavy artillery like jigging wraps or rip and wraps, be mindful of the space you give to others. Getting too close can be seen as disrespectful and may ruin someone else’s fishing experience.


In conclusion, when fishing at a community hole, it’s worth considering alternative techniques instead of simply following the crowd. Thinking outside the box and using your own techniques can lead to better results and more fish in the boat. Whether it’s using a larger trolling motor to keep your bait in the water or switching to aggressive reaction baits, being willing to try something different can pay off. Just remember to be respectful of other anglers and give them their space. Happy fishing!


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