Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
jignrap09

First time to Lake Despair

29 posts in this topic

Finally taking the wife and kids (two daughter 12 and 10)up to Canada. I have been fishing the Lac Seul system for 20 years. So this will be a new experience. Any helpful tips? We will be lodging on the southern chain of lakes of the Pipestone-Clearwater system. Will be up the last week of July and will fish for 'eyes', bass, and pike. May try for trout on the big lakes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where will you be staying? I am on that system alot and mainly fish Pipestone. If you are staying on Clearwater, you will be travelling each day, which direction will depend on what species you are targeting that day. There are some big fish in Clearwater, but is a very difficult lake to fish. Typically you fish for walleyes on Footprint, Despair, and Jackfish. There is some good crappie down that way too. They are just starting to really take off in those lakes. The very North end of Pipestone is also good for walleye. If you are after smallies, lakers, or muskie, you will definately want to head to Pipestone. Does the camp you are staying at have any portage lakes? There are some real good lakes around if they have a boat in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be staying at Lake Despair Lodge. So from what I've read, this lake and Footprint and the Jackfish lakes are the best bet for 'eyes'. It sounds like these lakes are stained like Lac Seul. So I would assume it can be a good day bite as well. Do the fish 'eyes' tend to be in the 4-16 foot range most of the time. Also I believe that we could use the same portages to Clearwater and up to Pipestone. But may stay around the "area" lakes if fish keep the kids occupied. By the way, AWESOME lakers and crappies on your past posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jignrap-

i have been going up to despair/footprint/jackfish for over 20 years. In fact we park at Bill and nells resort there (lake despair Lodge).

I usually dont fish the immediate area around there- we go up through the mile river and then up through the "rapids" and fish the jackfish portion mostly. You will have no problem finding eyes in the 18 foot range. The smallies are also great and you can catch all the smaller nort you want casting in the bays- and occasionally a larger northern. Bill knows the area well and I think has actually won some of the smallie tournies around there. I would recommend a day guiding with him if possible. I wouldnt recommend trying to navigate the mile river or especially the rapids if you are just going there the first time without some guidance. We normally head further North just because that is where my buddies cabin/island is...but I guess from what i hear the larger walleyes are more plentiful right off lake despair. Have fun, the area North is quite scenic - but again - I would really watch it if you are trying to navigate the rapids or mile river by yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info Hoffer. I'll take your advice on the Mile River and the Jackfish Narrows. Other than those two obstacles do the lakes pose much water hazards? If so, does Bill have lake maps of the area that mark them? Lac Seul and Pelican Lake in Orr Mn. both have their share of such problems and its always good to get a marked map and some advice/experience to avoid such hazards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill will have some good maps and mark the hazards for you. You will have the best luck for eyes on that end and Pipestone would be a long run from there and the portages would be around $40 for the rt. There are some good smallies down that way too. I think Bill has a boat on Albert and Ottertail lake, if you can do use them, they are good smaller lakes, easy portages, and have some great walleye, smallies, northern, and crappies. He might even have a boat on Loonhaunt and that woudl be an easy way to fish lakers from that end if you wanted to. You will have a good time and be sure to post a report after your trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, i think Bill does have a boat over the hill on Albert. I have never done that portage while we are up there - mainly cause we find the fishing to be decent without it - but I hear the smallies are really active in Albert. If you make it up that way - you will basically have to pass either right behind my friends island or in front of it...its a newer gray cabin. As far as the issues other than the mile river and the "rapids" there is a very shallow rocky reef just after you make it from footprint into jackfish. It is actually right smack in the middle of the route you would take - and depending on water height it might be just submerged. It is usually marked with a buoy - but about 10 years ago - my buddy who has the place up there and has been going since he was a small child ran his boat with 2 of us in it right over the top of the reef. The boat somehow made it over the reef but it took out the lower unit like it was nothing. I was in the front just happened to look behind at the moment of impact and just saw metal and prop parts flying through the air. Other than that there is the occasional submerged rock or 2 when you enter into a bay - but just go slow and steady and I usually just cut the engine before I get too close and use the minnkota troller to go the rest of the way in. On the way to albert - there is also a similar reef to the left hand side. It is usually marked too - but not always. if you have an e-mail i could try and blow up a google map section and put a mark on where those 2 reefs are. We have a ton of walleye spots from throughout the years - but to be honest most of thenm I have found just watching the graph real close. We catch many walleyes around 15 to 18 inches. Last year, I picked up the biggest walleye they have caugh to date - and that was 10.4 pounds - a real surprise after all these years. We have caught eyes around 3 to 5 pounds as well - but usually when we have been casting larger lures like rattlin raps for northern in the shallower areas- i dont know why - but thats when we catch the occassional larger eye. usually the traditional way of slow trolling a lindy rig or jig in 15 to 18 feet of water just produces the 15 to 18 inchers. Anyway, sorry for the long reply - but if you want any more info - just let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoffer - thanks for the info. Not sure how to get e-mail info out. I'm fairly new and still need to learn getting e-mails out, posting pictures, and doing a avatar. Definately interested in more info and location of such known hazards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also fished the chain for over 20+ years. We too mainly fish West Jackfish and Ottertail.

As far as hazards the gentlemen is right. there are two spots on the mile river...one is as you enter from Lake Despair..need to go very slow especially is water level is down or low...it typically is marked with a jug but the overall area is rocky...the second spot is past the s curve...it ususally is marked but you definitely need to gl slow through there...there are some spots on footprint that you need to watch as well...the narrows etc

fishing has been really good the last few years ...I think the lake has benefitted from reduced daily and possession limits from 6 to 2 ..years ago folks from MN would fish the chain over the weekend and it would get quite crowded. since the lower daily and possession limits it has reduced this flow and fishing h as improved.. we have stabbed a number of big walleyes...biggest two are 9 - 10 lb range..crappies through mid-June are really nice...smallmouth can be good but more so in August...Bill and Nell are wonderful hosts...we have been guests since they took over the lodge..Bill is a really good fisherman and if you can get him to guide it would be a treat for you...email me ba60453@aol.com for more info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the added info. Does Lake Despair offer good fishing? It seems that all the research that I have done, points to the Jackfish lakes.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Bill would tell you that the actual Lake Despair is probably a better area for larger walleyes. We just go further up into jackfish because that is where our buddies cabin is. We usually get many eyes around 14 to 17 inches and the occasional 4 pounder. Last year on the last night at the last 5 minutes before dark I picked up a 10.4 pound eye that was the biggest the groups had ever come accross over the years.

However, I guess those fish are available in the main lake more readily. I think Bill has a couple 12 pounders on his wall in the store that were caught in the main lake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alot of people I know refer to the all the lakes on that end Jackfish. I know alot of the different camps from Clearwater fish Footprint and Despair with good success on the eyes. Remember to the grass is always greener on the other side, so alot of people venture to the far end of the chain and pass up alot of good water on the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah Superbee is right...

I think the best way to describe it is the area right by Bills resort where you put in is lake despair. The you go up through the mile river and up through the rapids and come out at Footprint.

Then after footprint there is a deep "channel" that goes into what I call jackfish. We call that area "the cut" but it is probably just a nickname within our group - not a common name that everyone knows. That area will go all the way back to where a small strip of land seperates jackfish from Albert.

I could be wrong on all that...the whole area could be called jackfish. We just usually referred to the area all the way up through the cut as being jackfish. Anyway, maybe Superbee you would agree that the main dividing area where you could define between footprint/jackfish and despair is the rapids?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was kinda thinking that same philosophy that the farther away to the spot the more attractive it is. This time of year(July 25)is the latest I've fished in Canada. Are the fish deeper then 15 FOW? As for bait, are the higher percentage presentations jigs and plastics, crawlers on spinners, or cranks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree that Jackfish starts just after the rapids. Most of the walleye fishing should be around the 15 fow for that time of year. Jigs, lindy's, and spinners would be the best. I prefer a leech or minnow, but others do well with crawlers. Trolling cranks will be less numbers, but I have caught bigger fish that way on alot of the surrounding lakes in the area. Bill will let you know what is working best at that time when you are up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - I completely agree with Superbee.

We usually do the lindy rig with the spinner - and crawlers. Use the double or triple hooked ones. The minnows are great too - but we have equal luck with crawlers and they are easier to keep.

I also agree with Superbee with the cranks. I have trolled those outside the weedy bays in about 8 to 10 feet of water. For example a number 5 rattlin rap that gets down about 6 feet trolled or casted outside the weed edge of the weedby bays has produced some nicer eyes.

Dont forget the smallies up there. I havent found them yet stacked up in certain places - but usually casting around rocky points and along any areas with the reeds sticking up will produce a few - then I just move on to another area and so on...rattlin raps and also a simple jig with a twister tail work well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS

When you make it past the rapids and then past the "cut" into the upper jackfish area - it really doesnt get that deep. You might find a few holes - but really on average its only about 20 feet deep around that whole area...just watch your depth finder for markings and you will find them between 15 and 18 feet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoffer,

When you say you see them on the sonar, are they usually tight to the bottom or off a couple of feet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

usually I will pick them up closer to the bottom - but not always. i do know though that when I mark fish in a spot and stop - I will usually catch fish. This goes for the areas that are in the open like in 15 to 20 feet of water. The walleyes I have picked up shallower off the weedlines - I have not graphed. I havent figured out how to filter out all the weeds that show up on the sonar in the shallows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When will you be fishing there? My group will be there at the lodge beginning Sat July 25th. In terms of where to fish and what to fish with, I beleive a variety of presentations work well. Typically, we jig fish with the usual suspects, minnows, leeches and nightcrawlers. Relative to the time of year, we tend to think the fish are located on or near reefs. There are a number of spots on west jackfish, which I believe is the area that Superbee mentioned. I would ask Bill for direction on getting to west Jackfish. It is tough to explain without a map but essentially after exiting the "cut" or narrows are we call it, you would stay to the left of the islands and proceed past I believe three or four of them, and turn left at another neck down area it is a long and winding road to get to the area that Superbee mentioned near Lake Albert. After the keft turn at the neck down area you go striaght and have to go around a curve to get ot cross isdland and then right around sand point. plenty of structure on west Jackfish even if you back troll shoreline areas until you find fish. Definitely get a map and ask for help before you go.

We also like to cast various lures, especially lipless crankbair - Rat-l trap like lures.. they are versatile to fish shallow or allow them to sink. I like the cultiva mirra vibe 83 - ghost color great lure for me for walleye also use rip n minnow 65s for smallmouth . they have caught quite a bit of fish for me over the last few years.

If you are going to be there the same week as me, I'd be happy to provide more info to help you catch fish.

We too do not fish Despair much and tend to head out to west jackfish as there are a number of subnmerged reefs - 15 - 25 ft depths. We generally fish the whole area including reefs that top out at 5ft or so.

Also, I would consider getting a guide for the first day at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be up that same week in July. So any info would be appreciated. As of now, we are starting to get organinzed for our trip up to Pelican Lake at Orr Minnesota. Went up there last year and had a great time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two weeks away before the trip. Any reports on how Despair Footprint or Jackfish lakes are doing? Any particular presentations work better for the 'eyes'? Can't wait.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jignrap-

My buddy will be up with his family the first week of August - dont know if you will still be up there then...but he has the newer grey cabin on one of the 3 islands as youmove past the "cut" or the "narrows" about 1 mile past. Stop by and say Hello - he can possibly provide a few tips. Just remember as you pass through the "cut" or the "narrows" and make it through that area stay to the left or right - because directly in the middle after a few blocks is an underwater reef that is usually not marked. Some years there is a white buoy - and some years not. If the water is on the low side you may see the rocks sticking out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jignrap-

I just went to google earth and marked off a few spots on a map of despair/footprint/jackfish.

It might not be a perfect pinpoint location of stuff - but you can get the general idea.

If you feel like leaving your email - I can email you the jpeg picture with the marked areas.

Hoffer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0