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member (8)member
01/13/2018 10:03AM
Hey everyone! Starting to think about a 2019 trip. Anyone have recommendations for times of year and lakes for good smallmouth fishing? This will be my third trip, Ive been to the Knife Lake area both times, so looking to explore some new ground and really get on the smallies. Any advide would be much appreciated.

Open to times of year, lakes and entry points.

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distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/13/2018 02:58PM
Some basic ideas....

Fall lake entry point north to areas on Basswood lake (jackfish bay and pipestone bay).

Mudro entry point north on the horse river into crooked lake fishing friday, saturday and sunday bays.

Ive only beem up fall lake into basswood but I think both these areas are referred to as smallmouth factories.

Another idea if you want to stick to small lakes is Wood lake entry point, an area Ive been to multiple times. Wood lake has good smallmouth fishing as well as Indiana lake and sections of basswood (back bay and hoist bay).

More info can be provided if you narrow things down later
member (8)member
01/13/2018 03:16PM
Thats a great start Jim, thank you very much!
distinguished member(1164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/13/2018 07:54PM
Most areas west of where you've been before have smallies. You can look at the MN DNR site and go to lake finder. They'll show survey results from most lakes and you can see numbers and sizes.
distinguished member (314)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/14/2018 07:37PM
I will give you a one word answer given to me 2 years ago:


I listened to the advice and had an awesome trip mid June last year, with great fishing on nearly every lake I fished. Personal best 19.5" smallie, 33" pike, and 5.5 lb lake trout.
distinguished member(1112)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/14/2018 10:08PM
A 2019 trip? Or 2018? More power to you if you're looking out to '19...I thought I was bad with planning. :)

There are smallies pretty much everywhere, and it's hard now to find a lake that doesn't have them. I'd suggest early/mid-June for your trip. If you go at that time of year, you might "miss" them on one lake (they get in a funk for a week or so after the big girls spawn out) but you might catch them hot and heavy on a different lake.

Do you want to go out of Ely or Grand Marais/Gunflint?
member (5)member
01/16/2018 02:17PM
Some great advice already here. I would add that there is great SMB fishing throughout the entire BWCA, although I only go to Basswood in recent years. Suggestion: decide what EP you are using and then repost the question on the Fishing Forum.
distinguished member(4109)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/16/2018 02:28PM
Basswood has some big smallmouth.
01/16/2018 06:32PM
Crab Lake as well as Cummings Lake hold nice smallies. In addition, Coxey Pond also has plenty of smallmouth.
01/16/2018 09:40PM
I would be careful with the MN DNR Lake Survey for information about Smallmouth population on any of the lakes they list. The DNR uses gill nets sunk deep to catch then count what they bring up. The SM mostly are in the shallower parts of the lake and an accurate count can't be trusted when using deep gill nets for SM.

Almost all BW lakes have SM, just a matter for size and quantity. The Boundary Waters Journal has published some very good articles on which BW lakes are best for SM. You can check out the article index on their web site or you can read lots of trip reports and ask around on this site.

UP Boy
member (8)member
01/17/2018 12:31AM
Amazing advice, thanks to all for responding. Yes, getting a jumpstart on 2019 planning. Time off work is a challenge, and making a trip to Lake of the Woods this summer, so wont make it to BWCA this year.

My two previous trips were mid-summer and early fall, but thought early summer might be better, just not sure how early. Ive caught some decent smallmouth on Knife, but never of the quality or quantity I would have liked. Time to try some new areas and explore some new scenery.

It sounds like I was a month late and a little farther east than I should have been. I like early June, that sounds like the consensus post-spawn time to go.

Thanks again, this forum is awesome!
distinguished member(3834)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/17/2018 08:58PM
Basswood - Pipestone and Jackfish Bays are loaded with smallies. Fish off small islands, submerged islands/rock piles, downstream side of rapids (where a stream or river pours into a lake), points, channels, against cliffs that plunge into deep water, and near downfallen trees. I catch most of mine with a leech and bobber setup, but also catch several while bottom bouncing with a leech for walleyes.
distinguished member (286)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/18/2018 10:05AM
That early time of June can be really hit or miss - 3 or 4 days of bad weather and fishing followed by a day or two of the best fishing in your life. Word on the street is that the Granite river is a great smallie trip.
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