Minnesota fishing guide Dustin Monson of Hawg Hunterz Guide Service gives his latest Buzz Bite report for the Brainerd Lakes Area on March 27th, 2023.
Brainerd Lakes Area: 3-27-2023
Brainerd Lakes Area and Cuyuna/Crosby/Ironton, Minnesota: Last call for inland Rainbow Trout! Inland Rainbow Trout season ends March 31, 2023; and they’re biting along with panfish! We’ve noticed about 20-25 inches of ice in the area, and softer snow on the surface ranging from 8-15 inches, with some slush underneath the snow. Foot travel, ATVs with tracks or chains and snowmobiles recommended.
Catch crappies and bluegills in basins/holes of 20-30ft (finding fish suspended in the water column); also near/in bays around weeds in 7-12ft; submerged wood is a bonus. If fish are near bottom beyond 26-30ft, they will not survive the catch due to barotrauma, so plan to keep all sizes of fish within your legal possession limit if fishing those depths.
Jig crappies with 5mm or 7mm (size 10) Tungsten jigs tipped with a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum or wax worms, 1/16oz Frostee Spoons tipped with wax worms work well too! The same tactics are working for tullibees/ciscoes though jigging in the top 10ft will usually be sufficient for jigging depth over deep basins. “Hole hopping” or drilling multiple holes in varying depths and fishing each hole for about 10-15 minutes has been producing fish.
Jig higher in the water column, a good rule of thumb is splitting the depth in half and jigging at that location in the water column as well as jigging within 2-3ft from the bottom. Pluck fish from the top of schools to avoiding scattering the school.
Bluegills in the Brainerd Lakes Area continue hitting tungsten jigs tipped with the tail end of a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum or wax worm on weed flats or soft bottom areas in those similar locations; Also, I’ve been finding schools in bays and near fallen trees.
Another great option to target is inland trout (Rainbow, Lake, Brown, and Brook Trout species) in designated trout lakes in the extended Brainerd Lakes Area! Target trout in designated inland trout lakes in similar fashion to tullibees or fish 10-15ft on edges of deep holes jigging a spoon, tungsten jig/small plastic or wax worm, or jigging rap, aggressively. We’ve done well over the basin and focusing just under the ice to 15ft under the ice. (Trout stamp required with license to target trout and fish designated trout lakes).
On Mille Lacs, main lake areas are accessible by Snowmobile; also take caution crossing pressure ridges. Mille Lacs has a special regulation for northern pike, of which the season also ends March 31, 2023. Target northern pike in 6-18ft of water on points, expansive flats or bays. Target them with sucker minnows or shiners on set lines or “Deadsticks,” or jigging a spoon tipped the head of a fathead (Lindy Quiver Spoon in metallic colors 1/8oz, War Eagle Super Spoon 1/2oz).
Perch are hitting tungsten jigs with wax worms or small spoons/small minnow head in bays, mudflats or rock edges in various depths, jig aggressively on or near bottom to bring fish in and raise your lure slowly to catch them. (Make sure you read the Mille Lacs Special Regulations: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/millelacs.html)
Good luck to all the anglers out there fishing in the Brainerd Lakes area! Have fun, stay safe and Happy Hawg Hunting!