Lake Vermilion Resorts

Fishing Report 2024

Fishing Report:

2024 ICE FISHING REPORTS

FINAL ICE FISHING REPORT Lake Vermilion Fishing Report- Week of March 6 th , 2024 Jake Hyppa of Hyppa’s Guide Service: https://www.hyppaguideservice.com/ Serious hints of spring seem to be in the air in the Lake Vermilion area. The lake is completely bared off of all snow. Ice conditions are still passable at the moment, however warmer weather forecasted for early next week will likely make most travel around the lake unsafe. There is still 10” to 13” of ice in large basins. Areas of shallower water including shorelines and in between islands along with areas of current are seeing some bits of open water coming through. Warmer weather has created some new pressure ridges to form on the lake so caution must be expressed. The walleye season continues to be closed on Lake Vermilion, but many other opportunities still exist for other species the fishery offers. The bluegill, crappie, and perch bite continue to provide action for hardwater anglers still sneaking out on late season ice. If you plan to go out, using a four-wheeler with chains on the tires will be the best way to travel on the ice. The staked snowmobile trail that runs continuously from the east to west ends of Lake Vermilion is still up but will likely be removed around this weekend. Crappie The crappie fishing saw a tougher past week, the crappies that were caught were found in two primary types of locations both shallow and deep water. Crappies were caught in the 25-35’ of water range with most fish being caught suspended around the 18’ mark. There was both whitefish and tullibee caught in expected crappie locations. These fish can be caught on the same tackle used for crappies and provide a great fight. Anglers may even mistake these fish for crappies at first since they often appear in the same area of the water column as crappies. Larger schools of crappies should begin to slide up onto the gradual edges of deep basins in the 20-25’ range as the spring progresses. The most success for crappies was found in less than 10’ of water over mud bottoms where previous weed growth occurred during the summer months. Jig for these crappies 2’ to 3’ off the bottom. Fishing during the low light periods of dawn and dusk in this shallow water yielded the most success with rechargeable 1/16 ounce glow jigs tipped with 2 to 3 wax worms. When fishing the deep basins use 1/16 oz. spoons tipped with 2- 3 wax worms as it gives an extra flash to help pull in fish from a distance. Using 1/16 th ounce jigging raps or slab raps has also yielded success. If you happen to get on a school of crappies, slow down your presentation by using a 1/16 oz. tungsten jig tipped with a rubber tail or wax worm. Having a second hole with a bobber and crappie minnow is also producing. Remembering where you have caught crappies during the springtime open water spawn and begin to search in this area will give anglers the most success. Bluegill Again, not much change in the bluegill bite the past few weeks. Bluegills are still being found in locations where typical weed growth occurs in the summer months in 8’ to 11’ of water. Some nicer sized bluegills have been found roaming in 12’ to 15’ of water of on the deeper drop of these old weed beds and several were even caught in 20’ plus of water. These areas are now mostly absent of weeds and are just a shallow mud flat with minimal weed growth on the bottom. The daytime bluegill bite has only been producing small bluegills while quality size fish are being found mixed in with crappies during the dawn and dusk hours. Using a 1/16 oz. tungsten tipped with several wax worms has been most productive. Try upsizing your bait one size larger to help keep the smaller perch or bluegills off the hook. Perch Jumbo perch continue to require lots of hole drilling and searching and have just been hard to find this ice season. The best success this past week was found in 16’ to 22’ of water along the rock to mud transition line along the edges of deeper basin holes. Small points or outcroppings of this transition line seemed to be the best concentration of jumbos. Baits have remained the same with a 1/8 oz. or ¼ oz. spoon tipped with several wax worms or a minnow head being the most productive, but perch are also being caught on 1/16 th ounce jigging raps. A dead stick with a number 2 red hook with a live chub or rainbow also produced better sized fish as a larger bait tends to ward off the smaller perch. Larger numbers of perch in the 8” to 11” range continue to be caught in shallower water making for great action. For these better numbers of perch, target the deeper edge of summer weed lines and weed beds in the 11’ to 13’ of water range. Fish these areas with a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce tungsten tipped with a wax worm. These areas produce larger perch during the dawn and dusk hours. Walleye The walleye season is currently closed and will re-open on May 11 th . Northern Pike The northern pike season is currently closed and will re-open on May 11 th . MN DNR Need-to-Knows Please refer to MN DNR safe ice recommendations for walking and driving. Spring means runoff and water flowing under the ice leading to areas that were previously safe having dangerously thin ice or open water. Please note Lake Vermilion’s walleye and northern pike season is currently closed to fishing. Panfish season will run continuously through the remainder of winter and into the spring. Lake trout season is currently open on adjacent Trout Lake until March 31 st . Please refer to the MN DNR Fishing Regulations for a full set of rules and regulations for Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area. Lake Vermilion Fishing Report- Week of February 28th, 2024 As the walleye season is now closed on Lake Vermilion, many other opportunities still exist for other species the fishery offers. The bluegill and crappie bite is beginning to pick up and will only get better as the spring thaw continues. Fish will begin to stage near pre-spawn areas up until the ice leaves the lake. Current ice conditions remain strong with 12” to 14” of ice in most areas of the lake. Warmer weather has created some new pressure ridges to form on the lake along with some open patches of water in areas of current like in-between islands and channels so caution must be expressed. There is still very little snow atop the ice right now, making travel with snowmobiles difficult. If you plan to go out, using a four wheeler or side by side with chains on the tires will be the best way to travel on the ice. The staked snowmobile trail that runs continuously from the east to west ends of Lake Vermilion is still up but will likely be removed within the next few weeks. Crappie The crappie fishing has required lots of hole drilling and searching as fish are still scattered about the deep basins in pods of two to three fish. As we progress into late ice, the fishing should pick up as fish will group up ahead of the spawn. Crappies are being caught suspended over 28’ to 38’ of water. Start by jigging your bait at about the bottom 2/3rd mark of the water column or in this case 18’ to 25’. As the fish are still scattered about the deep basins, using 1/16 oz. spoons tipped with 2-3 wax worms has been working the best as it gives an extra flash to help pull in fish from a distance. Using 1/16th ounce jigging raps or slab raps has also yielded success. If you happen to get on a school of crappies, slow down your presentation by using a 1/16 oz. tungsten jig tipped with a rubber tail or wax worm. Having a second hole with a bobber and crappie minnow is also producing. Crappies right now are still being found over mud bottoms. Crappies are also being caught in 8’ to 12’ of water over dead weed beds in the dawn and dusk hours and even into dark. The same tactics can be used to catch these shallow water crappies. At this point in the winter, your best bet as to where to start drilling holes in search of crappies is to think of where the spring crappie spawn occurs. Look for the first drop into the closest deep basin in the 30’ plus range and begin there. Bluegill Bluegills are still being found in locations where typical weed growth occurs in the summer months in 8’ to 11’ of water. Some nicer sized bluegills have been found roaming in 11’ to 14’ of water of on the deeper drop of these old weed beds. These areas are now mostly absent of weeds and are just a shallow mud flat with minimal weed growth on the bottom. The daytime bluegill bite has slowed drastically, and the most productive times are the dawn and dusk hours. Using a 1/16 oz. tungsten tipped with wax worms has been most productive. When you get on a school of bluegill jig 2’ to 3’ above of where the school is sitting as this separation will often deter smaller fish from hitting your bait. A few bluegills are being found in deeper water mixed in with crappies. Perch Finding quality jumbo perch has been a grind the past few weeks. Larger numbers of perch in the 8” to 11” range are being caught in shallower water making for great action. Most perch in the keepable size range (10” plus) are being caught in 18’ to 25’ of water over mud bottoms. Most of these perch are targeting larvae this time of year. Start searching near the mud to rock transition zone on the edge of deeper mud basins where they begin to come up into shallower water. Although schools of jumbo perch are hard to find, these fish will only begin to congregate more as the spring spawn gets closer. Using a 1/8 oz. or ¼ oz. spoon tipped with several wax worms or a minnow head has been most productive, but perch are also being caught on 1/16th ounce jigging raps. A dead stick with a number 2 red hook with a live chub or rainbow has also been producing. For better numbers of perch, target the deeper edge of summer weed lines and weed beds in the 11’ to 13’ of water range. Fish these areas with a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce tungsten tipped with a wax worm. These areas produce larger perch during the dawn and dusk hours. Walleye The walleye season is currently closed and will re-open on May 11th. Northern Pike The northern pike season is currently closed and will re-open on May 11th. MN DNR Need-to-Knows Please refer to MN DNR safe ice recommendations for walking and driving. Spring means runoff and water flowing under the ice leading to areas that were previously safe having dangerously thin ice or open water. Please note Lake Vermilion’s walleye and northern pike season is currently closed to fishing. Panfish season will run continuously through the remainder of winter and into the spring. Lake trout season is currently open on adjacent Trout Lake until March 31st. Please refer to the MN DNR Fishing Regulations for a full set of rules and regulations for Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area. Lake Vermilion Fishing Report- Week of February 15, 2024 Jake Hyppa of Hyppa’s Guide Service: https://www.hyppaguideservice.com/ Less than two weeks remain for opportunity to pursue hardwater walleyes and northern pike on Lake Vermilion. Fishing has slowed down since the ice fishing season has progressed. Fishing during the bite windows of dawn and dusk, along with staying mobile has still resulted in success for walleyes, pike, and panfish. Current lake conditions are not ideal for travel by snowmobile, however using ATV’s is one of the best ways to move around the lake right now. There is still 10” to 14” of ice cover in most places on the lake, aside from areas of current in channels and between islands. The ice is bare is some spots while other spots have an inch or so of snow atop the ice. Virtually all the slush pockets have either drained through or froze through. The staked snowmobile trail that runs continuously from the east to west ends of Lake Vermilion and provides guidance for those unfamiliar to the area is still up. Looks like again some generally warmer temperatures are forecasted for the next few weeks making it a great time to get out and enjoy the last 10 days of walleye season until open water is here.
Walleye The walleye bite has again slowed down as we have progressed into winter. The majority of walleyes being caught are young males in the 10” to 14” range. These males will only become more and more active as the spring spawning season approaches and fish begin to congregate in pre-spawn areas. Walleyes were seen beginning to set up in deep isolated holes in 30’ to 35’ of water over mud bottoms. This is one of the most common places to find fish once the open water season begins. Use contour maps and look for isolated holes 5’ to 10’ deeper than the surrounding basins. During the dawn and dusk hours walleyes are being caught in the 18’ to 24’ of water range in channels, inside breaks of bays, and shallow flats adjacent to deep water. A great tactic is to fish structure like this during the morning, as the day progresses move out to fish the 30’ to 35’ of water range, and then move back to the morning spot to fish again in the evening. The west end of Lake Vermilion including the Niles, Head O’ Lakes, and Wake-em-up bay areas continue to produce better sized walleyes than the east end. The classic ¼ ounce buckshot or rattle spoon tipped with a full live minnow has yielded the most success. A deadstick with a live chub or rainbow minnow has also been producing walleyes in the deeper holes. Use a #2 red hook with a ¼ ounce split shot 6” to 10” above the hook. Using a braided mainline with a fluorocarbon leader which reduces stretch and makes for better hooksets when fishing walleyes in 30’ plus of water. The best time to fish walleyes has been the dawn and dusk hours as the midday bite has slowed considerably.
Northern Pike Northern pike are beginning to spend more of their time in shallower water less than 12’ and congregate in generalized early pre-spawn areas. Pike fishing will continue to get better until the season close as pike are one of the first fish to spawn in the springtime when the ice has just pulled away from shore. Pike are utilizing shoreline breaks in 6’ to 12’ of water during the low light periods along with cabbage beds during the daytime as they provide habit for small baitfish such as perch. Finding the deeper edge of a weed bed or natural points or bays inside the weed beds will yield the most success. Jigging for pike can be done with a ½ ounce or 1-ounce bucktail jig tipped with a whole minnow or #7 jigging Rapalas. As always soaking large sucker minnows under tip ups or dark house spearing is also producing northern pike.
Panfish The bluegill bite has picked up this week and the crappie bite should continue to get better until ice out. Using 1/16 oz. tungsten jigs tipped with several wax worms or a small crappie minnow with a 1/8 oz. jig and bobber has still been working well for both crappies and bluegills.

Crappies are being found in two primary types of locations both shallow and deep water. Crappies are being caught in 8’ to 12’ of water within weed beds in the dawn and dusk hours and even into dark. Crappies are also being caught suspended over 30’ to 38’ of water. Start by jigging your bait at about the bottom 2/3rd mark of the water column or in this case 20’ to 24’. The hardest part of crappie fishing in the spring is simply finding the fish. Find the crappies and they will nearly always bite. Both crappie and bluegill are being found over mud bottoms this time of year.

Bluegills are still being found in locations where typical weed growth occurs in the summer months in 8’ to 11’ of water. Some nicer sized bluegills have been found roaming in 12’ to 15’ of water of on the deeper drop of these old weed beds. These areas are now mostly absent of weeds and are just a shallow mud flats with minimal weed growth on the bottom. Using a 1/16 oz. tungsten tipped with wax worms has been most productive. When you get on a school of bluegill jig 2’ to 3’ above of where the school is sitting as this separation will often deter smaller fish from hitting your bait.

A few jumbo perch are being caught over mud basins in 20’ to 26’. Using a 1/8 oz. or ¼ oz. spoon tipped with several wax worms or a minnow head has been most productive, but perch are also being caught on 1/16th ounce jigging raps.
MN DNR Need-to-Knows Please refer to MN DNR safe ice recommendations for walking and driving. Please note Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit differs from the statewide limit. Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit is 4 fish, with all walleyes 20” to 26” having to be immediately released. Special northern pike regulations are in place for Lake Vermilion as it is in the northeast zone for pike. The limit for pike is two, with only one allowed over 40” and every fish from 30” to 40” having to be immediately released. Dark house spearing regulations differ. Lake trout season is now open on all lakes in the area. Only 10 days remain of the ice fishing season on Lake Vermilion. The fishing season is set to close on February 25th for walleye, pike, and bass and will not re-open until May 11th. Anglers will still be able to pursue panfish including crappies, bluegills, and perch on Lake Vermilion during this time.
Please refer to the MN DNR Fishing Regulations for a full set of rules and regulations for Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area. Lake Vermilion Fishing Report- Week of January 22, 2024 Jake Hyppa of Hyppa’s Guide Service: https://www.hyppaguideservice.com/ Fishing has remained steady for walleyes and panfish alike for those willing to venture out on the lake. Fish are becoming less aggressive as the ice cover thickens but staying mobile and using a wide variety of presentations to trigger bites has yielded success. Current lake conditions are favorable for moving around and staying mobile as there is safe ice for snowmobile travel nearly everywhere on the lake. There is currently 10” to 14” of ice cover on most of the lake, aside from areas of current in channels and between islands. There is around 6” to 8” of snow cover on the ice right now. There is still isolated pockets of slush in areas where the slush has not frozen through completely. The staked snowmobile trail that runs continuously from the east to west ends of Lake Vermilion and provides guidance for those unfamiliar to the area is staked. Looks like some generally warmer temperatures are forecasted for the next week making it a great time to get out and do some hole-hopping as we are approaching the last month of walleye season! Walleye The walleye bite has slowed down from the initial first ice flurry, and this past week the walleyes pushed into deeper water. The best walleye fishing has been from 26’ to 32’ of water as the fish have moved into the deeper basins chasing small baitfish which are relating to various bugs and zooplankton. The west end is still producing a better average with walleyes being caught in the Niles, Head O’ Lakes, and Wake-em-up bay areas ranging from 12”-17” with some slot fish being mixed in. The deeper drops on underwater points, reefs, and shelfs along the rock to mud transition zone has been yielding the most success. Plenty of this kind of structure can be found on the east and west ends of Vermilion alike. Even shoreline breaks where you can find a rock to mud transition in the 26’ to 32’ range has been producing. As always, a short bite window for walleyes pushing baitfish into shallower water in the 14’ to 18’ of water range in channels and shallow flats adjacent to deep water is producing during dawn and dusk. Snap jigging artificial baits has produced more fish than the typical spoon with a minnow head. Aggressively snap jigging slab raps, jigging raps, or puppet minnows has triggered walleyes and jumbo perch into a reaction bite when they would otherwise pass up on your bait. The classic ¼ oz. buckshot spoons tipped with an entire minnow is still producing some walleyes. Typically swoops that get the buckshot to rattle and the bait to flutter is the best way to trigger a bite. As always, utilizing your second line through the ice in the form of a dead stick or tip up soaking a medium to large minnow provides great opportunity for quality sized fish. Northern Pike Northern pike are still relating to vegetation in shallow bays and flats. Focusing on large weed beds in 7’ to 12’ of water where forage and baitfish are present have been the most productive for good numbers of pike. Finding the deeper edge of a weed bed or natural points or bays inside the weed beds will yield the most success. Jigging with a 3/8th ounce bucktail jig tipped with a minnow is a great way to convince cruising pike. During the lower light periods, larger pike can be found off rocky points and sandbars adjacent to 20’ plus of water. Soaking large sucker minnows under tip ups on a treble hook and steel leader or dark house spearing has been most productive for northern pike. Panfish Another marginal few weeks for jumbo perch fishing. What few jumbo perch that were caught were mixed in with walleyes in the 24’ to 28’ range over mud bottoms during daytime hours. A few were caught pushing into shallower water during the dawn and dusk hours. Using a 1/8 oz. or ¼ oz. spoon tipped with several wax worms or a minnow head has been most productive, but perch are also being caught on 1/16th ounce jigging raps. Crappies are still being found on the edges of deep-water basins. Success can be found working the edges of these deep holes in depths 4’ to 7’ shallower than what the maximum depth of the deep hole is. Crappies are also being found over mud bottoms right now. When jigging for crappies ensure that you always keep your bait above the school, jig aggressively until you can get one to separate and rise up to your bait. A few whitefish and tullibee are being caught along with crappies in deep basins. Most crappies are being caught on 1/16th ounce VMC tungsten wax tail jigs in either red or chartreuse. Bluegills are being caught on the same bait, however you may need to downsize to a 1/32nd ounce jig to yield better hookups on bluegills. Bluegills are being found in sparse weed growth in 10’ to 14’ of water. Start searching near areas where bluegills reside in the summer months. MN DNR Need-to-Knows Please refer to MN DNR safe ice recommendations for walking and driving. Please note Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit differs from the statewide limit. Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit is 4 fish, with all walleyes 20” to 26” having to be immediately released. Special northern pike regulations are in place for Lake Vermilion as it is in the northeast zone for pike. The limit for pike is two, with only one allowed over 40” and every fish from 30” to 40” having to be immediately released. Dark house spearing regulations differ. Lake trout season is now open on all lakes in the area. Only a little over a month remains of the ice fishing season on Lake Vermilion. The fishing season is set to close on February 25th for walleye, pike, and bass and will not re-open until May 11th. Anglers will still be able to pursue panfish including crappies, bluegills, and perch on Lake Vermilion during this time. Please refer to the MN DNR Fishing Regulations for a full set of rules and regulations for Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area. Lake Vermilion Fishing Report- Week of January 3, 2024 Jake Hyppa of Hyppa’s Guide Service: https://www.hyppaguideservice.com/ It is finally starting to look like winter in the Lake Vermilion area. After a drawn out past month of marginal ice conditions on the lake, the cold has finally taken it’s foothold and we have safe fishable ice most places and the fish are biting! Good numbers of walleyes have been being caught along with a plethora of other species Vermilion has to offer. There is roughly 8” of ice in most basins on the east and west ends of the lake, however this amount varies from 6” to 10” with some spots having less than that. Checking ice conditions is necessary anywhere you go right now. There is around an inch of snow on the ice making the use of four wheelers great to get around. Travel is not recommended through historic poor ice areas such as Oak Narrows as there is still large amounts of water moving through Vermilion from the rain the area got around a week ago. The staked snowmobile trailing spanning from the east to west end of the lake is not currently up. Looking ahead to the upcoming week, temperatures are forecasted to be warmer than expected for January, but still below freezing. A great time for anglers to get out on Vermilion and enjoy some ice fishing.

Walleye

Numbers of walleyes being caught remain strong; however, the size of fish being iced has decreased since early ice particularly on the east end of Vermilion. Quality walleyes are still being caught on the west end of Vermilion. Most walleyes being caught on the east end are in the 10”-14” range with several eater and slot fish being mixed in. Walleyes being caught in the Niles, Head O’ Lakes, and Wake-em-up bay areas are in the 12”-17” range with slot fish being mixed in. The majority of walleyes being caught on both ends of the lake are from 18’ to 24’ of water over gravel or mud bottoms right now. The rock to mud transition is producing fish and will likely improve as winter carries on. Looking for your typical underwater troughs, gravel humps, sandbars, or shallow flats adjacent to deep water where walleyes drive baitfish in low light hours have been productive for the two-hour window around dawn and dusk. During mid- day, fish will push out into deeper water in the 26’ to 32’ range. Finding the deepest hole in an area that bottoms out in this range can yield success along with the rock to mud transition on the edge of deep basins. Jigging with ¼ oz. buckshot spoons tipped with a minnow head or a whole minnow is the go-to bait for producing wintertime walleyes. Jig aggressively until a fish is marked and then slow down the presentation to get them to commit. Typically swoops that get the buckshot to rattle and the bait to flutter is the best way to convince cruising walleyes. If you have trouble getting fish to commit, try a #5 Rapala jigging rap in perch or purple descent color to trigger a reaction bite. Success was also found on dead sticks tipped with a large rainbow or small sucker minnows on a #2 red hook with ¼ ounce split shot 8” to 10” above the bait and bobber.

Northern Pike

Most northern pike are still related to vegetation that is left from the summer months. Focusing on large cabbage beds in 8’ to 13’ of water where forage and baitfish are present has been most productive for good numbers of pike. Look for the deeper edges of a weed beds, natural points, bays, or pockets inside the weed beds will yield the most success. Soaking large sucker minnows under tip ups on a treble hook and steel leader or dark house spearing has been most productive for northern pike. Several larger pike are being caught in deeper basins in 25’ plus of water foraging on whitefish and tullibee.

Panfish

The jumbo perch fishing has been marginal so far this winter season. Several healthy year classes of yellow perch are making up size ranges of 9” to 14”. Jumbo perch have pushed out into deeper water of 22’ to 28’ over mud bottoms. Using a 1/8 oz. or ¼ oz. spoon tipped with several wax worms or a minnow head has been most productive, but perch are also being caught on 1/16 th ounce jigging raps. Jigging raps provide a great way to trigger a reaction bite, even in jumbo perch. Crappies are being found on the edges of deep-water basins and deep holes within these basins. Success can be found working the edges of these deep holes in depths 3’ to 5’ shallower than the maximum depth of the deep hole is. Crappies are being found over mud bottoms right now. When jigging for crappies ensure that you always keep your bait above the school, jig aggressively until you can get one to separate and rise up to your bait. A few whitefish and tullibee are being caught along with crappies in deep basins. These can be caught on the same baits that are used to fish walleyes and crappies alike. Bluegills are being found in locations where typical weed growth occurs in the summer months in 8’ to 11  of water. Using a 1/16 oz. tungsten tipped with wax worms has been most productive.

MN DNR Need-to-Knows

Please refer to MN DNR safe ice recommendations for walking and driving. Please note Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit differs from the statewide limit. Lake Vermilion’s walleye limit is 4 fish, with all walleyes 20” to 26” having to be immediately released. Special northern pike regulations are in place for Lake Vermilion as it is in the northeast zone for pike. The limit for pike is two, with only one allowed over 40” and every fish from 30” to 40” having to be immediately released. Dark house spearing regulations differ. Lake trout season is now open on adjacent Trout Lake. Lake trout season for lakes outside or partially outside the BWCA will open on January 13th . Please refer to the MN DNR Fishing Regulations for a full set of rules and regulations for Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area.

Lake Vermilion Big Fish Report

All fish were released unless designated by an asterisk (*).

Archived Years

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