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June 2023 Report

Come adventure with the Wildman

After spending the month of May in Alaska – I returned eagerly to get about the business of fishing the Brainerd Lakes Area. By early June, the season was open for all species – and I promptly took off in hot pursuit.


Sight fishing is a favorite way for me to get panfish, and I had some good success with it – by spotting crappies, bluegills, and some large rock bass in the deeper reeds, rushes, and sometimes cabbage. Others were “found out” by my grand daughter – who likes to doddle around behind the boat with a slip bobber and a puddle jumper in the deep cabbage while I search for bass, pike, walleye and musky. In early June, we found nice “pannies” all around the BLA, and as of early July, we continue to find them more shallow than not, and in the weeds. Small plastics on very small jigs have been the ticket; I rarely use live bait. I like a long rod – used to drop or flip my offering into weed pockets.

Fishing Guide Minnesota


Before I left for Alaska a decade ago – my memory is that almost all the lakes were infested with small pike to the point that they were annoying at times – especially when you’re trying to target something else. It used to be darn difficult to “keep them off”, and I was getting bit off regularly. Surprisingly, I have come back home to an absence of pike action in some lakes. Most of the pike we’ve caught have been in the cabbage, or on the weed line. I like using spinnerbaits, and vary my speed – sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes used like a jig; I let the fish tell me what they want. I find that single colorado blades tend to catch less weeds than doubles or willows – but that’s just me. Suspending crank baits like the X-Rap or the Husky Jerk are also favorites of mine, and believe it or not, we catch a lot of pike while using jigs and plastics (no leader) for bass and walleye. I go well stocked with tackle, and accept the bite-offs that are sure to happen – but also enjoy that you could catch any fish around here on a quarter ounce jig tipped with a four inch ringworm.

Fishing Guide Minnesota


Such was the case over on Mille Lacs, when I was fishing for smallies, walleyes, and pike. I happened to be using a jig and plastic worm – but when a giant musky rose up out of the deep cabbage to bask in the sun, I couldn’t resist pitching to it to see what would happen. More often than not – these fish ignore the offering, so I was shocked when the fish “came unglued” when I ripped the bait past it’s beak. In one motion, it flexed, inhaled, and took off – ripping out drag, and then made me do a couple of frantic laps around the boat before wrapping in the weeds and popping free. Though I prefer to get my hands on these beasts, I didn’t mind too much, and was thrilled to have had an unexpected close encounter with a 50-plus inch giant. Yes, big Muskies still roam the BLA – but the stars must align in order to land one – especially on such light equipment.

Fishing Guide Minnesota


Smallmouth Bass action has been good in the area. I’ve found them shallow, on rocks, on gravel, in the rushes, and surprisingly, in the mid-depth cabbage more than anything. They’ve hit

a variety of baits – from spinnerbaits, to jigs, to cranks – but usually, they have wanted some really small stuff. I had my two uncles with me one day, and one of them wanted to pitch a small jig with a two-inch plastic, on his ultralight. That day, he took the award for the most fish, the biggest fish, AND the “species king” by catching largemouth, smallmouth, rock bass, pike, bluegill and crappie – all on the same lure. The walleye and musky were the only ones to elude him that day.

Largemouth Bass have probably been the fish I have pursued the most with rod and reel. I’ve looked hard for them off the weed line – where I’d expect to find them with water temps rising fast, but I continue to do best in the deep cabbage with spinnerbaits, and in the “slop”with topwater frogs. There are some big bass yet – staying out of the sun, and stalking smaller prey under the shallow mat of big lily pads, smaller “dollar pads” and duck weed too. Sometimes, you can feel the panfish in their bellies – which is a good clue as to what they are doing.

Bass Guide Minnesota


I pursue walleye the least – but I still catch them, as do my guests. We have the most fun pitching or trolling jigs along drop-offs, weed lines, or right up in the weeds – especially early and late in the day, but don’t discount the daytime either. We’ve been getting some good eaters in the BLA, and some picture worthy throw-backs too. A father and son combo got this jumbo on a flat-calm, hot day with a storm approaching; dad got his on a leech/lindy and son got his on a Rapala.

Bass Guide Minnesota

Reach out for mid and late-summer trips, or fall trips when the leaves are changing – as I have openings. Keep in mind that hunting season is just around the corner – and I will be offering the “Hook and Trigger” option, where guests can hunt the ruffed grouse/woodcock combo with Sam Elliott and I, and fish on the same day. Use the “Contact Tim” page to reach me, or call 218-232-6067.

Pheasants Forever
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