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jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/27/2020 08:06PM
Hey all,

I'm planning to do a 4 day solo on Clearwater shortly after opener this year, specifically to hunt for a big laker. I plan on staying on Clearwater with an overnight motor permit (fingers crossed I get one) with my pedal-driven kayak (can't use it with a paddle permit) so I'm limited to Clearwater (and specifically chose this lake because I like the area, it's not too big of a lake, most people don't stay on it, and some big lakers have been caught there).

I'd love to catch at least one laker per day but really I'm just looking for one giant. I just want that burning in my forearms, like my rod is going to get ripped out of my hands... those head shakes and long runs, that heart-pounding fight that will make any man religious, praying for the line not to break.

I figure the water will still be pretty cold the week after opener, around 45-50F depending on how it plays out this year, so the fish should still be fairly shallow. I can go deep if I need to though. I've got 1oz bucktail jigs, deep cranks, big white tubes, and clip-on trolling weights from 0.5oz to 2oz. I will also have a fish finder to assist.

Where should I focus my efforts? I have read some references to the north side of the lake but also the south side. I would expect them to be in shallow-ish water close to deep water access, shallow parts of points, and humps. I would of course check deep holes as well, but in the interest of time, I want to prioritize spots since I can't cover a lot of water very quickly. I also don't want to be pulling fish up out of deep water if I don't have to (to avoid barotrauma as much as possible).

Any advice you can give (baits, spots, techniques) is very much appreciated!! Thanks!
 
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AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1976)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 07:17AM
Troll cranks. You shouldn't have to go too deep then. I use a DDHJ 10 100-120' back in the Spring.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(1938)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 07:24AM
Take a couple colors and sizes of Little Cleo's and troll them.

As for where, I've never fished the lake but look @ good satellite photos and there are a few good looking humps/reefs in the middle that you can see from above since the water is so clear. I'd be sure to pedal over those a couple times and watch your finder
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/28/2020 08:57AM
AmarilloJim: "Troll cranks. You shouldn't have to go too deep then. I use a DDHJ 10 100-120' back in the Spring."

Any thoughts as to rattle vs. silent? Rattles will get more attention but the vibration from a crankbait is already decent, especially deep cranks. And to clarify, because I'm still unsure... is the proper speed for a crankbait the slowest you can go while still getting it to do its wobbling action? I feel like my friends and I always paddle too fast with them. Thanks!!
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/28/2020 08:59AM
cyclones30: "Take a couple colors and sizes of Little Cleo's and troll them.


As for where, I've never fished the lake but look @ good satellite photos and there are a few good looking humps/reefs in the middle that you can see from above since the water is so clear. I'd be sure to pedal over those a couple times and watch your finder "


I always forget about spoons because I don't use them for anything and have caught nothing on them. I do have a few Dardevles and a 2/3oz red/gold Little Cleo but maybe I will pick up a few more in silver/blue, silver, and possibly white if I can find one. I figure probably heavier ones, 2/3 to 1oz, so they get deep-ish? I can add trolling weights but I'd prefer not to if I don't have to. Thanks!
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (476)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 09:17AM
After reading your post it sounds like you've done a good amount of research and are going in eyes wide open. Fished CW for the first time last year, an afternoon / late evening and the following early morning thru lunch. Only 1 of our 3 fish was what I'd call big. Here's my report.

My biggest piece of advice is to get out there as early as you can. Be fishing your preferred spot at sunrise. Not going to share any specific spots, but if you're planning 4 days and you have a fish finder you'll figure out where the fish are.

For speed -- If they are up high in the water column you can burn those cranks to trigger a strike. 3-4 mph even. And then stop dead, let the bait suspend or flutter or whatever it does, and speed back up. The sudden change of speed can be the key.

Don't be afraid to think outside the box. We brought a lot of classic laker tackle and caught all of our fish on what I'd consider a walleye lure, using added weight to get to 40 feet. And yes, it rattled :)
 
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1976)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 09:24AM
jdoutdoors: "AmarilloJim: "Troll cranks. You shouldn't have to go too deep then. I use a DDHJ 10 100-120' back in the Spring."


Any thoughts as to rattle vs. silent? Rattles will get more attention but the vibration from a crankbait is already decent, especially deep cranks. And to clarify, because I'm still unsure... is the proper speed for a crankbait the slowest you can go while still getting it to do its wobbling action? I feel like my friends and I always paddle too fast with them. Thanks!!"


I think people way overthink fishing sometimes. There rarely is a magic bait, in the magic color, at the perfect speed. Find the fish, put a bait in front of them at their depth and you will probably catch fish. If not look for another school of fish. You can always come back and try them again later. I rarely stay on an inactive school tinkering with small variables trying to get them to bite(unless it's real windy and there aren't any other location options).
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/28/2020 10:10AM
AmarilloJim: "jdoutdoors: "AmarilloJim: "Troll cranks. You shouldn't have to go too deep then. I use a DDHJ 10 100-120' back in the Spring."



Any thoughts as to rattle vs. silent? Rattles will get more attention but the vibration from a crankbait is already decent, especially deep cranks. And to clarify, because I'm still unsure... is the proper speed for a crankbait the slowest you can go while still getting it to do its wobbling action? I feel like my friends and I always paddle too fast with them. Thanks!!"



I think people way overthink fishing sometimes. There rarely is a magic bait, in the magic color, at the perfect speed. Find the fish, put a bait in front of them at their depth and you will probably catch fish. If not look for another school of fish. You can always come back and try them again later. I rarely stay on an inactive school tinkering with small variables trying to get them to bite(unless it's real windy and there aren't any other location options)."


While I do think it is possible to overthink it, it's not really possible to troll 10 different lures/colors/sizes and find what works, and it takes time to cover a spot. You can't always come back later. Usually in clear water, fish are more easily spooked since they can see well. Rattles are unnatural and might turn off fish, whereas silent baits are a lot more natural. But the silent bait might not draw in a big fish that MIGHT strike a rattling lure. Like you said though, if I find fish and they don't seem to want to bite, I will eventually move on. Ice fishing has taught me that sometimes you just need to work the bait right and they will eventually eat; ice fishing has also taught me that sometimes they will just stare at your bait and never eat it, and it's best to find other fish that will.
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/30/2020 11:08AM
thegildedgopher: "After reading your post it sounds like you've done a good amount of research and are going in eyes wide open. Fished CW for the first time last year, an afternoon / late evening and the following early morning thru lunch. Only 1 of our 3 fish was what I'd call big. Here's my report.


My biggest piece of advice is to get out there as early as you can. Be fishing your preferred spot at sunrise. Not going to share any specific spots, but if you're planning 4 days and you have a fish finder you'll figure out where the fish are.


For speed -- If they are up high in the water column you can burn those cranks to trigger a strike. 3-4 mph even. And then stop dead, let the bait suspend or flutter or whatever it does, and speed back up. The sudden change of speed can be the key.


Don't be afraid to think outside the box. We brought a lot of classic laker tackle and caught all of our fish on what I'd consider a walleye lure, using added weight to get to 40 feet. And yes, it rattled :)"


I thought I replied to this! Guess not. Thanks for the report! I hope to catch a big fish like that! I do plan to be on the water from dawn to dusk. I will bring food and probably my stove with me so I can have a quick shore lunch before getting back out there. I'll have a decent amount of tackle, laker and non-laker specific stuff.

I did end up getting the overnight motor permit I wanted, so I'm pretty stoked. Now all that I need is for the lake to be iced out by the time I get there. It is very possible it will not be out by May 14th. Last year it was late everywhere. I have a feeling it's going to be a nail-biter this year.
 
AluminumBarge
member (8)member
 
01/30/2020 10:35PM
Thought it was interesting you were bringing a peddle kayak, but in doing a little research they apparently are not allowed in the BWCA, even on a motorized lake. I never would have thought that. Apparently the law specifically states that only rowing devices in use prior to the legislation are allowed. There is a post that has a very long reply from the forest service explaining the rules. Sounds like some have been ticketed. Just thought I’d mention it in case you weren’t aware.
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/30/2020 10:48PM
AluminumBarge: "Thought it was interesting you were bringing a peddle kayak, but in doing a little research they apparently are not allowed in the BWCA, even on a motorized lake. I never would have thought that. Apparently the law specifically states that only rowing devices in use prior to the legislation are allowed. There is a post that has a very long reply from the forest service explaining the rules. Sounds like some have been ticketed. Just thought I’d mention it in case you weren’t aware.
"


Can you point me to that please? It is a propeller powered by my feet instead of valves and cylinders. Basically like a paddleboat (which have been in use for quite some time). Thanks!
 
AluminumBarge
member (8)member
 
01/31/2020 08:43AM
Here’s the link. I was surprised too, as I am looking at getting a pedal kayak. If you read down you will see the response from the forest service. At first I thought they were restricted from paddle only areas but the forest service does say that they agree it seems unusual motors are allowed but mechanized devices are not, which is what a pedal kayak is determined to be. Maybe I’m missing something but that’s how I read it.

https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=631247&forumID=15&confID=1
 
jdoutdoors
member (41)member
 
01/31/2020 09:38AM
AluminumBarge: "Here’s the link. I was surprised too, as I am looking at getting a pedal kayak. If you read down you will see the response from the forest service. At first I thought they were restricted from paddle only areas but the forest service does say that they agree it seems unusual motors are allowed but mechanized devices are not, which is what a pedal kayak is determined to be. Maybe I’m missing something but that’s how I read it.


https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=631247&forumID=15&confID=1"


Appreciate it. I will reach out to the USFS because I would like them to explain it to me. The drive is powered by simple mechanisms that existed before those acts were established (pedals + gears + chain + gears + propeller) and it is not a complex modern mechanism like the Hobie Mirage drive. Today's motors have advanced features that did not exist back when those acts were established, yet they are allowed because of their core functionality. I'm going to argue that the propeller pedal drive should be allowed under the same principle. I expect to be shot down, which really sucks because in all of my research, I've found 95%+ of the lakes in MN with big lakers lie within the BWCA, and I am not interested in going on Lake Superior (aka an ocean).
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member (476)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/31/2020 01:36PM
jdoutdoors: "AluminumBarge: "Here’s the link. I was surprised too, as I am looking at getting a pedal kayak. If you read down you will see the response from the forest service. At first I thought they were restricted from paddle only areas but the forest service does say that they agree it seems unusual motors are allowed but mechanized devices are not, which is what a pedal kayak is determined to be. Maybe I’m missing something but that’s how I read it.



https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=631247&forumID=15&confID=1"



Appreciate it. I will reach out to the USFS because I would like them to explain it to me. The drive is powered by simple mechanisms that existed before those acts were established (pedals + gears + chain + gears + propeller) and it is not a complex modern mechanism like the Hobie Mirage drive. Today's motors have advanced features that did not exist back when those acts were established, yet they are allowed because of their core functionality. I'm going to argue that the propeller pedal drive should be allowed under the same principle. I expect to be shot down, which really sucks because in all of my research, I've found 95%+ of the lakes in MN with big lakers lie within the BWCA, and I am not interested in going on Lake Superior (aka an ocean)."


Please let us know what you find out. Of course technology advances, but there should be room for some common sense. A 36V MinnKota Ulterra with ipilot link is allowed on motor lakes because "electric motors" existed in 1978. The advances in that technology are far more significant than the pedal drive on a Kayak.
 
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