The most common shore fishing technique is to fish a weighted and baited line off the bottom with the rod set in a rod holder at the water’s edge. 9 to 10 foot steelhead spinning rods are preferred with 4 to 6 lb. low visibility monofilament with 6 lb. working best off the bottom and 4 lb. better for fishing weighted casting bobbers. Off the bottom, a 2-3 ft. leader is commonly used with a floating spawn bag, night crawler, or wax worm. Single salmon egg type hooks in the 8-4 sizes are the standard terminal tackle with a slip sinker slinky in the 3/8 to 3/4 oz. size. Slinkys are parachute cord type material with inserted lead shot sealed inside and about 3 inches in length. Slinkys don’t lodge in the rocky lake bottom as often as other weights. A line release or turned down drag should be used to prevent the loss of a rod from the rod holder when a biting fish takes off. Bites can be subtle or dramatic depending on how the fish moves off after taking the bait.
The bug and bobber technique becomes very effective and popular as more fish stage usually around February. Here a weighted looper bobber of 3/8 to 3/4 oz. is cast up to 70 yards offshore with a 1/64 to 1/16 oz. marabou jig suspended 4-5 ft. from the bobber. The jigs are commonly tipped with wax worms.
Bottom fishing with spawn bags and casting spoons like 1/2 oz. crocodiles seem to be the most effective and common fall tactics. Trolling out of the Knife River or McQuade Harbor boat launches with plugs or spoons is also very effective in the fall.
McQuade Harbor and areas around the French and Lester Rivers provide ice fishing opportunities in the winter. Looper bugs, micro jigs, spawn bags, wax worms, and pan fish type lures are commonly used. The clear Lake Superior water offers the opportunity to see the fish strike and fight.
Wax worms off the bottom and bug and bobber fishing from shore are preferred in the spring. In March the fish often show a preference for very small presentations like 1/64 oz. micro jigs, wax worms, small sinking spawn bags, or nymphs below a bobber.
In the rivers fish are caught using drifting techniques with straight line presentations of spawn bags or yarn flies in the shallow faster water or bobber presentations with spawn bags, jigs, or wax worms in the deeper stretches.
Traditional fly fishing becomes very effective when the fish are close range late in the season. Local fly shops have the most productive fly patterns. When the temperatures warm up bring a cooler to preserve your catch.
Fish are generally looking for comfort, food, or sex so their locations and tendency to bite follow repetitive patterns. Notice the conditions that are present when fish are being caught. Look for fish being caught or rolling on the surface. You’ve got to find them before you can catch them. They will school up and change their location with changes in the conditions. With experience you can learn to anticipate where and when fishing will be productive. Flurries of activity followed by lulls in activity are common. Those who fish the most are usually the ones catching the most fish. Fishing in an area that is holding fish is the most important criteria for success.
While Kamloops are intended to be harvested some may choose to release their catch and other fish like Steelhead(total catch and release is always required) and Lake Trout(when out of season) need to be released. Here are some catch and release guidelines from the MN DNR:
Catch and release properly to help fish survival
Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release with methods that avoid internal damage to fish.
“Fish can be injured by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water,” said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “As we head into the fishing season we remind anglers to keep the fish’s survival in mind when planning to catch and release.”
Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Setting the hook quickly helps avoid hooking a fish in the stomach or gills. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth. Barbless hooks or pinched barbs can help, but where a fish gets hooked is more important than the presence or absence of a barb.
Quickly landing a fish, minimizing its time out of water and handling the fish firmly but carefully all help it survive after release.
“By all means take photos, but it helps to have the camera ready and to have pliers that work well for taking hooks out,” Parsons said. “Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.”
The DNR encourages anglers to practice some restraint when the fish are really biting, especially during the summer or when fishing deep water. Fish pulled up from deep water can experience stress and injury, so anglers who plan on catch-and-release are reminded to avoid deep water.
“Deep water and also warm water temperatures increase the stress put on fish when caught and released,” Parsons said. “Anglers tend to do more fishing and catch more fish in warm weather, but these are also important times to take special care during catch and release.”
Here are a few more tips for successfully releasing fish:
- Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
- Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically.
- Hold a fish firmly but gently. Don’t drop it. And don’t hold a fish by the eyes.
- Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
- Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it back and forth in the water until it swims away.
- Harvest a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.
In addition, avoid touching or holding a fish(to be released) by or near the easily damaged areas in or around their gills.