Brainerd Lakes Area

Brainerd Lakes Area 5-11-2023

by | May 11, 2023 | 0 comments

Minnesota fishing guide Dustin Monson of Hawg Hunterz Guide Service gives his latest Buzz Bite report for the Brainerd Lakes Area on May 11th, 2023.

Brainerd Lakes Area 5-11-2023

The Brainerd Lakes Area on North Central Minnesota is heating up and so is the fishing!

Crappies have been staying in areas adjacent to spawning habit, such a steep breaks, holes and flats in 8-15ft of water. Some push have began to push up shallow towards spawning areas.

Drive around areas near spawning habitat or sunken wood until you see schools, or check shaded areas such as docks/bridges/boat lifts and fish the schools. Two main approaches for early spring crappies are jig/plastic or bobber/minnow presentations.

We opted for using Lindy Fatboy Tungsten Jigs and Mister Twister Sassy Stingum plastics to catch our fish! We found a large school, anchor-locked on the school, and either vertically jigged them or pitched at the school. Sunfish are near these same areas and will hit a wax worm tipped on a small lead or tungsten jig; slip or attached floats/bobbers will catch fish.

You can target catfish in the area as well and I’ve heard limited reports at this time, but fish are catchable in current seams with cut bait and a weighted rig.

We are really excited for this upcoming weekend which begins the opening seasons of walleyes, northern pike and catch/release bass for the 2023 MN Fishing Opener!! Our focus will be 2-15ft of water, and casting jig/minnow, jig/plastic combos or stickbaits (Smithwick Rogues). Stay tuned for big fish reports and pictures!

MN Opener Strategies (Mille Lacs and Brainerd Lakes Area)

Mille Lacs Lake

There are 3 main presentations we will be using on opening day fishing Mille Lacs Lake MN: longline trolling crankbaits/stickbaits, casting jig/minnows or casting slip bobbers. Our efforts start at midnight looking at hard bottom areas in 5-13ft and immediately begin by trolling either Floating Rattlin’ Smithwick Rogues or Perfect 10 Rogues anywhere from .5 to 1.2mph (try varying speeds until you notice a more productive speed). As sunrise approaches, we switch gears to jig/minnow or jig/plastic presentations and use Side Vu to locate schools of fish.

Typically, we’re targeting close to the same depth ranges in 5-16ft. We pitch our jigs past the school, let the jigs hit bottom and retrieve in a lift-reel-drop-hit bottom-repeat method until we get smoked! Once again, varying your speeds and jigging cadences will allow you to dial in more effective patterns to catch more fish.

A 1/8 or 1/4oz jig will cover most situations and Mister Twister Sassy Swimmer catches quality fish! Last resort, we turn to the classic slip bobber/leech or minnow presentation and pitch down wind to inside turns, rock piles or sand flats. We hope to see you on the water!! Good luck, stay safe, have fun and Happy Hawg Hunting!

Good luck out there fishing the Brainerd Lakes Area or on Mille Lacs Lake!

-Dustin Monson

Contact Information:

Hawg Hunterz Guide Service: Brainerd Lakes Area and Mille Lacs Lake

Email Dustin at or call/text at 320-293-2442 if you have any questions or to schedule a guided fishing trip.

Follow us on Facebook at Hawg Hunterz Guide Service


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