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Every year on Aug. 15, just like clockwork, the weeds begin to die on Lake Vermilion and the fishing conditions begin to change. This year was no exception. The first brown weeds were visible at the deep edges first, and within about four days the weeds were nearly completely gone. The exceptions were the coontail weeds and the pencil weeds, which will survive the ice as well.

The bass were still under the docks, which made catching them a lot easier. Though the best smallmouth were evasive, a personal best in largemouth was achieved for a northern lake. At 6.3 pounds and a little over 22 inches long, she came out from under a dock in about 3 feet of water. Smallmouths were being caught, but no large ones. With the weedline dying, the walleye fishing changed dramatically. They moved to the deep water at the rocky base of points or reefs in about 22 feet to 30 feet of water. The good thing was that they were still hungry, and dinner catches were available.  Bluegill fishing also took a turn. With the weeds they used for cover and protection gone, so were they. We never did locate the schools of bluegill. Another time perhaps — maybe this spring. The death of the weeds did improve the fishing for the big fish, northern pike and muskies.

The muskies began roaming the shallow bays looking for perch, walleye or anything else to eat as water temperatures began to fall. I got out the really big tackle:  7-foot medium-heavy rods, 30-pound test line, Kevlar leaders and my biggest black and orange bucktail spinner baits. They call the musky the “fish of a thousand casts” because it seems that’s what it takes to catch one. It may not have taken quite so many casts when a couple of nice-sized muskies turned up. One was 49 inches long, the other was a beauty at 54 inches and both were some of the most fun to catch of the entire trip. Well, it’s time to pack up and head back to Evanston. I hope fishing back home has stayed strong. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.