The bite in the Bemidji Lakes Area has been consistent lately with lots of big fish being caught. Ice conditions around the area vary from about 15″ – 20” of ice but it is always important to remember to drive slowly on the lakes. I have been targeting mostly crappies and gills in deep basins for a little over a week now and it has paid off. As usual, the fish are on the move and that means it is important to stay mobile. I have been searching basins and drilling about 30 holes before grabbing my Vexilar and Jason Mitchell Meat Stick to start locating these fish. When I find a school that intrigues me I prefer to use a Clam Drop-Kick jig tipped with wax worms to get down fast. I have been catching a couple fish in each hole before having to go look for them again. Most of the fish I have been finding have been in basins between 30 and as deep as 50 feet of water. It is essential to keep in mind that you must reel these fish up slowly if you plan to release them.
 
The bluegills have also been hanging around basins and deep points, but are found closer to the bottom between 20 – 35 feet of water. Wax worms have also been the ticket for these fish. Walleye fishing in the Bemidji area has been few and far between for me, but they are still being caught on deeper humps in 25 – 30 feet of water. Hitting multiple spots in the first few and last couple hours of daylight have been the best bite windows.
 
Red Lake is still producing fish and it has been good for walleye in 12-14 feet off of Center Bar. People are even finding multiple perch mixed in and the elusive Red Lake crappies have been appearing as well. The ice up there is between 18 – 24” now, but no ice is safe ice so always use caution when driving vehicles out on the lake.
 
Good Luck!
 
Matt Newell
Team Yukon Outdoors