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WilyMinnow
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04/28/2014 10:09AM
Touchy subject for some of you "top secret" fisherman, but those of you willing to share, I want to know what lake (if you had to pick one) would you go to in the BWCA to catch a 30" + walleye. Not looking for top secret spots or areas, just simply lake names (unless you want to share your secret honey hole).

I have been searching for the illusive canoe country 30 incher for years now and starting to get frustrated. Plenty of 26's and even a few 27's, but that seems like where all these lakes top out at.

I have fished trophy waters (ie. Knife, Crooked, LLC) and agree fish grow big in those bodies of water, and I'm sure if I continued to fish them something would turn up, but I want to hear about your past successes and favorite lakes. Lets hear em!

 
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blutofish1
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04/28/2014 10:39AM
Basswood would be my choice for trophy walleyes.
Aaron4218
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04/28/2014 10:58AM
I agree with Basswood have seen some monsters come out of there.
04/28/2014 02:39PM
In your same situation...at least on soft water and BWCA.

If you have a look in the Outdoors fishing report section of the Sunday Duluth News Tribune, Saganaga far and away has the most walleye 26 inches plus every week throughout the summer-and many 30-32 inch.

I have never been on that lake, (experts chime in) but it seems it holds a vast quantity of trophy class (30+inch) fish.

ktoivola
QueticoMike
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04/28/2014 03:00PM
Basswood would be my choice. Sag would be #2.
openwide
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04/28/2014 03:33PM
When you guys say Basswood do you guys mean the no motor zone part or parts of pipestone and jackfish area as well?
Papa09
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04/28/2014 03:59PM
12+ trips never seen an over 30. But I gotta think they are in most lakes. They don't get that big by being dumb.

They are definitely smarter than me!
analyzer
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04/28/2014 05:06PM
The latest word on Sag the last couple years, has been a shortage of eaters, but good quality.

Mike Bergs seagull creek guide service (?, don't know the exact name, but it's similar) has a hog board you can look at. Their guests post all the eyes they catch over 28 inches, and there are lots of them. Primarily from Sag, but I think the majority of the time they are fishing the NE arm up in the Quetico.

Sometimes luck comes into play. For example, I have been fishing Zephyr for the better part of 40 years. I have more than 1300 hours of fishing on her. My personal best walleye on Z is 26 inches. Yet my sister caught a 27 1/2 inch on her, in her first 15 minutes, and my sons girlfriend caught a 26 1/2 in her first half hour. My son has probably closer to 200 hours on Z, and finally bagged a 31. Zephyr has steadily gone down hill the past 15 years to where walleyes are more of a nice surprise now, but it doesn't mean there isn't a 30 in there somewhere. It just isn't a good walleye lake anymore, imo.

I would guess most of the bodies of water in the bdub that hold walleyes potentially hold a 30 inch fish. It just takes alot of time to find one.

You're probably best off looking at dnr net data, and picking lakes that have good quantities of larger fish.

Queticomike seems to find large walleyes every year, but there's a reason his name is QUETICOmike.

I could be off, but seems I read Bdub has 250,000 visitors a year, Quetico perhaps 10% of that, and WCPP far less than that. Q just gets alot less pressure than the bdub.

If you really want a 30 inch walleye, then right about now you should be fishing the rainy river. You might want to throw on a gob of nightcrawlers and pull in a 60 inch sturgeon while you're at it.

walleyeseeker
Guest Paddler
 
04/28/2014 05:47PM
Trophy 30+ inch fish are in all lakes up there. Need to do homework.
Basswood gets my vote also. Need to spend time on the water,
Fish the solunar tables, that will help right off the bat.

OldGreyGoose
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04/28/2014 06:17PM
Don't have it handy, but one of the recent BWJounals has BW and Quetico lakes rated on scale of 1-3 for 'eyes. (Other issues have Trout and SMB lake ratings.) Very few lakes said to have 30-inchers. --Goose
04/28/2014 06:39PM
Basswood
mgraber
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04/28/2014 08:20PM
Basswood or Crooked.The method you use also plays a factor.Large walleye become much more predatory than smaller walleye.Stay away from leeches and small jigs if you want a trophy.Use large swim baits or crank baits.Suspending jerk baits are sometimes deadly.Also try night fishing.Try trolling structure or weed edges after dark.
WhiteWolf
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04/29/2014 12:16AM
Insula.
bwcatripper
member (12)member
 
04/29/2014 06:36AM
seagull creek fishing camp will put you on some big eyes. mike berg and his son curtis know the spots on sag very well. another old timer, roger campbell, knows some real good spots. he might take you to one of a few trails end lakes, and you might only get a few fish the entire day, but they will be hawgs.
CrookedPaddler1
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04/29/2014 08:44AM
I would second Basswood as a top choice for 30"+ walleyes! I would also give some serious consideration to Crooked.
BearDown
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04/29/2014 08:53AM
I second insula as well as Alice. Nice big lake that are in a little ways.
Basspro69
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04/29/2014 09:53AM
Saganaga, then Saganaga, after that Saganaga :-)
2old4U
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04/29/2014 11:09AM
One of the major reasons Sag and Basswood appear to be standouts for trophy walleyes (not disputing that they aren't) is not because they have "more" trophies than other lakes, but the access to those trophies is substantially increased due to the fact that you can cover water much more so with an outboard motor than you can simply by paddling around. There are other lakes in the BWCA, that are much smaller and easier to navigate by paddling, offer no motor options, and have equal...or close to equal...trophy potential.

Another factor to consider is knowledge of a certain lake. Your chances of contacting a trophy walleye on water you know like the back of your hand can be better than on so-called trophy lakes that you know nothing about. One example of this is Alton Lake; I've fished that lake for decades and know it very well, but I always am amazed when I hear reports that people don't do very well there because the quality is definitely there!

A few other good lakes are Insula, as mentioned, Alpine, Ottertrack, and Knife.

walleye_hunter
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04/29/2014 12:25PM
2old4U- I would agree that Alton is a good lake for some nice sized walleyes but have you ever caught one over 30" from there? I am sure the lake has a 35" walleye in it, but I am not going to spend a lifetime fishing for it.

I would also be interested in any stories or rumors of 30+" walleyes from Ottertrack and knife (specifically the south arm). Ottertrack and SAK are two bodies of water that I have wanted to spend some time on walleye fishing but like you said, it takes time to get to know a lake intimately. Especially when you are paddling.
2old4U
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04/29/2014 12:35PM
quote walleye_hunter: "2old4U- I would agree that Alton is a good lake for some nice sized walleyes but have you ever caught one over 30" from there?


I would also be interested in any stories or rumors of 30+" walleyes from Ottertrack and knife (specifically the south arm). Ottertrack and SAK are two bodies of water that I have wanted to spend some time on walleye fishing but like you said, it takes time to get to know a lake intimately. Especially when you are paddling."


Yes, I have a beautiful mount of two Alton walleyes I caught in the same night exactly one hour apart on Bing's Reef...one was 12.75# and measured 32" and the other was 13.25# and measured 32.25". My friends and I caught several over 10# that trip...the stars were in perfect alignment I guess. LOL!

In the late 80's I fished with a group of guys that caught numerous 10+ pounders trip after trip, summer after summer. One particular night one of them caught 3-14 pounders (maybe the same one three times??) while setting the depth on his bobber stop! It was also during those trips that several so-called "blue" walleyes were caught...one of them hung in Fish Lake Bait for years when I worked there; not sure if it is still there on the wall or not. And yes, there are still many BIG fish in Alton, but timing and location are critical given the exceptionally clear water. I wish I could get back more often, but I've found easier "big" walleyes closer to home...and I can use my boat, which I prefer for comforts sake.
04/29/2014 12:36PM
Basswood gets my vote right off the bat. I have spent a lot of time there and seen some large fish pulled out. Never personally had a 30" fish, but a lot of good ones.

walleye_hunter - I am heading up for a trip on Knife in a couple months to give it a try. The South Arm is on the hit list. If I remember, I will send you whatever info I manage to gather.

Brandon
yogi59weedr
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04/29/2014 12:43PM
How has everybody done on the east vs west sides of Basswood. ?
walleye_hunter
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04/29/2014 12:44PM
WilyMinnow- Your best bet is to pick a lake or two (Some good ones have been mentioned) and fish it hard. After a few years the big walleyes will start to come.

One thing I have noticed is that the fish in those lakes categorize themselves very well. You mentioned that you have caught plenty of 26" walleyes. Can I assume that most of those have come from the same few spots? A spot that produces 26" fish will continue to produce 26" fish. With some exceptions, but not many. When you find a few spots that produce 28 and 29" walleyes those are your big fish spots that you want to fish carefully and patiently. They will cough up an occasional 30" fish as long as you keep a lid on them. If you find a spot that produces 32" walleyes you are dialed in for life.

One thing to keep in mind is walleyes are spooky fish. Big walleyes are spookier than small walleyes, and walleyes in clear water are spookier than those in stained water. This is one of the reasons why it helps to know a body of water very well. If a finger off the point of an island has a huge bolder at the end of it that produces big walleyes, you need to know right where that rock is without paddling all over the area.
walleye_hunter
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04/29/2014 01:06PM
quote 2old4U: "quote walleye_hunter: "2old4U- I would agree that Alton is a good lake for some nice sized walleyes but have you ever caught one over 30" from there?



I would also be interested in any stories or rumors of 30+" walleyes from Ottertrack and knife (specifically the south arm). Ottertrack and SAK are two bodies of water that I have wanted to spend some time on walleye fishing but like you said, it takes time to get to know a lake intimately. Especially when you are paddling."



Yes, I have a beautiful mount of two Alton walleyes I caught in the same night exactly one hour apart on Bing's Reef...one was 12.75# and measured 32" and the other was 13.25# and measured 32.25". My friends and I caught several over 10# that trip...the stars were in perfect alignment I guess. LOL!

In the late 80's I fished with a group of guys that caught numerous 10+ pounders trip after trip, summer after summer. One particular night one of them caught 3-14 pounders (maybe the same one three times??) while setting the depth on his bobber stop! It was also during those trips that several so-called "blue" walleyes were caught...one of them hung in Fish Lake Bait for years when I worked there; not sure if it is still there on the wall or not. And yes, there are still many BIG fish in Alton, but timing and location are critical given the exceptionally clear water. I wish I could get back more often, but I've found easier "big" walleyes closer to home...and I can use my boat, which I prefer for comforts sake."

Thanks for the info, those are some heavy walleyes. Some days a guy can do no wrong. Unfortunately, most days a guy can't do much right.
carmike
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04/29/2014 09:28PM
I've never had much luck on Alton, but I've never fished it early in the year, late in the year, or after dark. I've often wondered what it would be like to fish some of the reefs on that lake after dark, either with a lighted bobber or by trolling some cranks.

Plus, going after dark would keep some of those pesky bass off the end of the line. :)
bgn82
member (19)member
 
05/05/2014 08:27PM
Well, if you want to catch a 30" plus walleye, come on down to Lake Erie. In the late fall you can catch them from shore at night at the warm water outlets. I caught a walleye one night about 15 years ago that would have eaten a 30" walleye. Same goes for HUGE smallmouth bass. Having said all that, I'm going to be in Basswood in June with son #2. Fish fear me.....
05/06/2014 07:24AM
quote Basspro69: "Saganaga, then Saganaga, after that Saganaga :-)"

Haven't you heard, it's fished out.....
Basspro69
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05/06/2014 07:59AM
quote Ragged: "quote Basspro69: "Saganaga, then Saganaga, after that Saganaga :-)"


Haven't you heard, it's fished out....."
Yep :-)
mooseplums
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05/06/2014 08:10AM
I caught my biggest walleye in June of 1988...32" on Lake Three
openwide
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05/06/2014 08:26AM
quote mooseplums: "I caught my biggest walleye in June of 1988...32" on Lake Three"

Thats a catch of a life time right there! I'm still trying to get one over 28"! but this is my year I can feel it!
Savage Voyageur
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05/06/2014 08:32AM
quote Basspro69: "Saganaga, then Saganaga, after that Saganaga :-)"

Have to agree with BP. The state record was caught just down the river from there on the Seagull River.
GrandpaT
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05/06/2014 11:32AM
I also like Basswood lake, specifically Jackfish bay.
mooseplums
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05/06/2014 11:54AM
quote mooseplums: "I caught my biggest walleye in June of 1988...32" on Lake Three"

A few years later... 29.5 on Alice Lake


and a few 28" + outside the BWCA
Walleyechaser1
member (6)member
 
05/06/2014 07:38PM
Basswood would be my choice. Our group has got 10 over 30 inches in the last 10 years 3 of them coming last year. All of them caught in the motor zone.
mgraber
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05/06/2014 09:00PM
quote Walleyechaser1: "Basswood would be my choice. Our group has got 10 over 30 inches in the last 10 years 3 of them coming last year. All of them caught in the motor zone. "

Well, there you go!
Xand
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05/13/2014 02:12PM
There are definitely some big fish in Ogish. Can't say I could ever reproduce it but there's a pic in my profile of the one I pulled out in 2012.
joshawes
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08/18/2018 02:33PM
2old4u, could you tell me wear Bings Reef is on Alton Lake? I will be going to Alton for the second time and any help would be greatly appreciated.
joshawes
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08/18/2018 02:33PM
2old4u, could you tell me wear Bings Reef is on Alton Lake? I will be going to Alton for the second time and any help would be greatly appreciated.
QueticoMike
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08/18/2018 04:00PM
joshawes: "2old4u, could you tell me wear Bings Reef is on Alton Lake? I will be going to Alton for the second time and any help would be greatly appreciated."

I can tell you how to get to Bing's Bar.......that's my Impala parked out front :-)

emptynest56
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08/18/2018 04:16PM
I believe that some big walleyes live in lakes with both whitefish and tullibees, suspend in deep water chasing and eating these, never relate to structure of any real kind, and die of natural causes. And they don't show up in DNR nets and are never detected.
joshawes
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08/18/2018 04:46PM
Nice queticomike, although I’m trying to catch walleye, not a buzz. ;)
08/19/2018 09:01AM
emptynest56: "I believe that some big walleyes live in lakes with both whitefish and tullibees, suspend in deep water chasing and eating these, never relate to structure of any real kind, and die of natural causes. And they don't show up in DNR nets and are never detected."

Agree, didn’t know that until I started fishing Lakers and catch the random large walleye. It is luck though on my part as I don’t know how to pattern them. You can get some big Northern too.

T
08/19/2018 10:01AM
Big water =Big Fish
carmike
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08/19/2018 01:39PM
emptynest56: "I believe that some big walleyes live in lakes with both whitefish and tullibees, suspend in deep water chasing and eating these, never relate to structure of any real kind, and die of natural causes. And they don't show up in DNR nets and are never detected."

I fully agree, though my experience has been that I'm more likely to encounter a jumbo pike.
shock
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08/19/2018 06:17PM
seagull lake , very underrated for big eyes !
08/20/2018 08:24AM
For reference check this out Walleye Hawg Board This is Fishing Guides fishing daily from boats and motors + live bait + extensive history and experience on the lake(s) data. Notice basically all of them are caught on live bait. Notice how many are caught on a bob. That's spot on a spot fishing. Point being, legit 30"+ walleye are rare birds even on very good lakes including the one that holds the MN state record.

30" + walleye are far from mythical but, fishing from a canoe on unfamiliar lakes with marginal electronics with limited tackle w/o live bait and time the odds are vastly more remote. Stu with BWJ has put this 30" walleye topic in perspective numerous times and I agree with him 100%.

If you really want to catch 30" walleye spend a lot of time on the same large lake with significant inflow and outflow dedicated to fishing deep structure and maybe. My serious recommendation is LOTW and/or Lac Seul + guide + time = success.
arctic
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08/20/2018 02:20PM
The biggest walleyes are likely to be found in the bigger lakes--preferably within a river system--as well as some smaller waters where fishing pressure is very light--again, preferably in a river system. IMO, the same food base (ciscoes) that produce big pike and lake trout is also critical to producing large walleyes.

Although the original post specified the BWCA, from my experience, if you truly want a better chance at catching big fish of any kind, you need to head north of the border where fishing pressure is far lighter and regulations are tighter.



MackinawTrout
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08/24/2018 10:02PM
Sag is best for long walleye. The area with no motors is the best for first time fishermen. Cache Bay would be even better but that is outside the BWCA. Basswood has tons of 27 inch walleye. There seems to be some lakes like Pine on the east side that you can catch a 27 each night but never catch an honest 30+ in a season. My $.02
MackinawTrout
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08/24/2018 10:10PM
BnD: " For reference check this out Walleye Hawg Board This is Fishing Guides fishing daily from boats and motors + live bait + extensive history and experience on the lake(s) data. Notice basically all of them are caught on live bait. Notice how many are caught on a bob. That's spot on a spot fishing. Point being, legit 30"+ walleye are rare birds even on very good lakes including the one that holds the MN state record.


30" + walleye are far from mythical but, fishing from a canoe on unfamiliar lakes with marginal electronics with limited tackle w/o live bait and time the odds are vastly more remote. Stu with BWJ has put this 30" walleye topic in perspective numerous times and I agree with him 100%.


If you really want to catch 30" walleye spend a lot of time on the same large lake with significant inflow and outflow dedicated to fishing deep structure and maybe. My serious recommendation is LOTW and/or Lac Seul + guide + time = success."

You are more likely to catch a 30"+ Walleye in some BWCA Lakes than in LOTW. I will say the Rainy River used to be a -put your time in and it's guaranteed. Lake Winnipeg would be my first choice for a 30" right now.
Zwater
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08/25/2018 04:16PM
Iron lake. There is a reef out there where we have caught many big walleyes. Longest was 31", but many 26-28 inchers. Struggled to find eaters. Good problem to have though:)
08/27/2018 08:22AM
+1 on Sag. Biggest Walleye I've even seen was caught just below Sag falls.
wolfpack21
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10/23/2018 03:30PM
wolfpack21
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10/23/2018 03:30PM
timatkn: "emptynest56: "I believe that some big walleyes live in lakes with both whitefish and tullibees, suspend in deep water chasing and eating these, never relate to structure of any real kind, and die of natural causes. And they don't show up in DNR nets and are never detected."


Agree, didn’t know that until I started fishing Lakers and catch the random large walleye. It is luck though on my part as I don’t know how to pattern them. You can get some big Northern too.


T"


I have noticed this too. I have caught some very nice walleye over deep water when I wasn't expecting a walleye bite. I have caught some of those on surprisingly large lures too.
CoachWalleye74
member (49)member
 
10/25/2018 04:08PM
Zwater...I'd like to talk to you a bit about Iron. I go there often and have a couple of things I'd like to get your input on.
Frankie_Paull
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10/27/2018 09:22AM
Since I coined the phrase Basswood Cowboy and spearheaded the cultural movement that followed I’d be hard pressed to pick another lake. But I’ve always had an itch to go to Alice stay on one of the beach campsite mid summer and fish all the amazing structure I see via the topo maps.
Frankie_Paull
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10/27/2018 09:39AM
openwide: "When you guys say Basswood do you guys mean the no motor zone part or parts of pipestone and jackfish area as well?"
We are talking about the lake as a whole. Each has a preference but don’t just think motor vs non is the key it’s time of year and approach. It’s pretty much four different lakes put into one depending on area.
 
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