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Just got back from three weeks in northern Minnesota, where fishing was the priority of the day … every day. The fishing conditions were pretty good for early August. As with everywhere around here the fishing was about three to four weeks late, so instead of having late-summer transition fishing, those fishing recently were fortunate to have late-summer peak fishing, which means numbers of fish in predictable patterns and a good chance at a trophy-size fish.

The Peach fishing trip began with a visit to the local bait shop for bait, but more importantly for information on what had been happening on the water the previous few days. There is hardly a better source of fishing information than the local bait shop, where they hear what is biting and where, and are very happy to share that with their customers.

Armed with more information gleaned from local guides, it was good to sit down with a lake map and plan the day of fishing (and hopefully catching). The consensus around the lake was that walleye were not being caught and no one, including the guides, had any idea why. It seemed best, therefore, to fish for what was biting and that was just about everything else.

The smallmouth bass were located as expected, smaller males along the shorelines and under docks, the larger males and females on or near the reefs and rock piles in 15-20 feet of water. The panfish, mostly bluegills, were at home in the weed beds all around the lake. Most were small and the larger (1/2 pound) ones were very catchable. Keeping about 1 out of every 5 caught provided many great dinners.The highlight of the trip was boating a very nice 34-inch northern pike. Smaller, eating-size pike had already been caught and the decision to go after the larger trophy size was no disappointment.

If one has the chance to really get away, Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota is not only a great fishing lake, but an amazingly beautiful lake set in one of the most natural, unspoiled areas of the country. I’ll be back in Evanston shortly. Until then …keep a tight line.

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