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Brainerd Lakes Area, MN (Oct. 4th, 2023)

Leaves are in fall colors, fluctuating weather is common and fish are feeding in the Brainerd Lakes Area! Nearly 85 degrees in the beginning of the week transitioning to cold temperatures nearing the end of week will slow fish feeding, but they can still be caught using various methods!

Walleyes continue moving around mid-lake humps, points and inside turns in 10-22ft. Check steeper edges near weeds/weed flats down to around 30ft if you’re not seeing fish in the “shallows.” Our go-to presentations has been rigging/jigging creek chubs with a 1/4oz or 1/2oz sinker or jigging fathead minnows. Catch walleyes on a Lindy jig in blue/glow, chartreuse or gold (1/8oz or 1/4oz). Some fish are still hitting night crawler or minnow and slip bobber presentations too; slip bobber presentations have been producing fish in schools around 12-20ft. Ripping reaction baits (Vexan Crystal Reaper/Moonshine Shiver Minnow) or Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogues are next in line if these presentations aren’t producing.

Crappies have been roaming bays, basins and weeds. Find them on steep breaks, holes and flats in 8-22ft of water. Two main approaches for summer crappies are jig/plastic or slow trolling spinner rig presentations. We opt for using Lindy Fatboy Tungsten Jigs and Mister Twister Sassy Stingum plastics to catch our fish, and troll using Lil Joe Spinners with a Sassy Stingum or crappie minnow. Sunfish are near the same areas as walleyes on expensive weed flats in large schools, and will hit an angling worm or leech tipped on a small lead or tungsten jig casted or under slip floats/bobbers. Weed flats and weed edges (or sunken wood) are the go-to structures in 6-16ft; also applies to shallower bays off main lakes. They will transition more to bases of weedlines and basin schools will begin to form, use your electronics to find fish.

Catch bass and northern pike in bays and inside weedlines in 8-22ft on jig/minnow, soft plastic or wacky worm variations; drop shot techniques for bass are also effective. Trolling a Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue or using as a jerkbait is also effective.

Smallmouth bass are schooling up and hitting various presentations such as a War Eagle 1/8oz worm jig/Mister Twister 3″ Ned Ringer, jerkbaits, crawlers under a slip float, Mepps XD or Booyah Pranks in 5-15ft; slip more into 12-20ft rocks/edges during the day. Many fish have moves into weeds in 6-14ft, which have been smashing creek chubs on rigs.

Target trout on inland designated trout lakes using a Tungsten or 1/32oz jig tipped with a piece of angle worm, wax worm or soft plastic such as the Mister Twister Sassy Stingum. Also very effective has been trolling small crankbaits at 2-2.8mph. Fish are under the surface to 40ft deep, so it’s important to try different presentations or use your electronics to see the depth of most fish to target. #GarminElectronics 

Dustin Monson
Hawg Hunterz Guide Service LLC 
Ph: 320-293-2442