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protrapper

Balsam and Deer Lake reports

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Just wondering how the panfish bite has been going on these lakes? havent been out in a couple weeks. Once we got the cold weather came bite slowed down. thanks in advance.

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I didn't fish Balsam today, but three of my friends did. They went to a different lake first and ended up on Balsam in the afternoon. The gills were running nice after some sorting. Two of em limited out. I plan on hitting it on Monday if that cotton-pickin warm front they promised us ever gets here.

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Guest

Anyone out on Balsam over the weekend? Thinking of hitting the stumps area on Tuesday. Thanks. Fred

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does anyone fish deer? i have caught a few northerns on tip ups on balsam. shiners. bigger fish were deep.

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Thanks for the reply. I am new to ice fishing in the Balsam Lake area and I have only fished the area in the winter three times. It's a little different game than the lakes here in Iowa. As soon as the ice goes out down here, I'll be making a few trip north. I caught some really nice perch in Balsam last year.

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Yes there is big perch in balsam, i havent got into many this year. But last year i caught about 10 every time i went out before the slabs would bite.

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fished Balsam today in the wind and limited out. Had to do lots of sortin but ended up with nice gills. East side. Go past the bunch of shacks through the gap by the far island. Middle of that lake portion....12 feet of water. Needed a shack though...wow was it windy.

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Steve,
Are you fishing east Balsam where you go out of the small launch are by the cabins our are you out by the stumps area. I have never seen that many houses on East Balsam, I guide panfisherman on that lake and am out there 4 out 7 days sometimes. By the way how big are your gills I get my bigger ones right before sundown in 28 to 30 feet.

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Just got back from Balsam. The fishing was pretty slow caught one 10 inch perch and six crappies from 10 to 12 inches. The fishing there the last month has been pretty slow, never been like that before. Caught all the fish on waxies and maggots. One thing I noticed is the crappies came through in big schools about 1 hour before sunset, witch is not normal for this lake are we starting to see a day or early bite?! Later..

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Oh bye the way lots of guys fishing the stumps dont know if there getting any I never fish there to many people. But I was just wondering if those guys along big island are fishing craapies? god dang there bunched close together.

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If you really sort and yes, get most of the nicer ones late day you can go home with most fish a minimum of 8 ounces...some maybe 10-12 ounces.

These are small compared to my Minnesota spring trip. I have been fishing Minnesota for 17 years. Limits of bulls over a pound are the norm. Last year average 1#2oz on a limit of gills....Wisconsin just doesnt compare, but I guess I live here now and cant drive every weekend to northern Minnesota. So here an 8 or 10 ouncer is decent with an occasional 3/4 pounder in there.

Went today and hit Clam Lake, Little Yellow, and Clam Flowage. Fish were smallish on Clam Lake, didnt fish Little Yellow, just drove out and talked to some fisherman and "watched" for about 20 minutes. They were really doing some sortin. Getting on is testy....big hump to go down or come up. Went to Clam Flowage. It can be the desert or paradise. Today was Paradise. Got 25 dandies...I mean nothing under 10 ounces, but I plan on going back Friday and could end up staring at my locator..thats happened before.

I have a question too but will post it separately. Look for "what are they eaten"?

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Just thought I would let you know I caught some huge crappies out of Little Yellow last winter. They were all over a pound caught some really nice gills too. But its far drive for one day off fishing for me.

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Steve,

I was wondering if you ever catch eyes on Balsam? but it sounds too me like you fish during the day. I have been catching more eyes this year than any other year in my crappie spots, but god are they long and skinny. I caught one that was 16in. and it had the body of a 13in. perch. Last week I got a 16in. eye on Winni and it was 2 pounds. It seems to me there is plenty of small perch in Balsam for feed, any thoughts?

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In reply to fishing deer or Big Round. I seldom fish Deer as their are too many other lakes around that are better. Plus in the spring or early summer you got water skiers and personal watercraft and bigger boats to contend with.

Big Round is an excellent lake. Again, I stayed closer to where I lived and for a while the boat landing was crappy on Big Round. They have a nice dock on Big Round now.

As for Flyingfish's comments, I do know what you are saying, but the area has several lakes that produce bigger gills. The lake I fish most and have for 17 years is strange. Believe it or not, the fish I am catching with poppers are all big...you tell me why. I mean when the average was 1# 2 oz it was because they were from a pound to 1#4 oz....never a throw back.

Yes, I chuckle when people say they are catching pounders and then show them to me. The big ones weigh maybe 12 oz, most are 8 or 9 ouncers. Trust me, you know when you pick up pounder..there is some heft on the line.

Truth is, several people have wanted me to "guide them" when I lived up there, but I refused. Plus...they don't always bite. Like last year, although I was early due to the cold spring, I fished 1 1/2 days and never got a bite. Ended up going to a different lake and had a riot with 8-10 ouncers (catch and release)

Finally, we spotted some dragon flies (that is a prelude to this other lake turning on). That evening I went their and had that limit of bulls. That was the only limit, although I caught fish each time. I was there in a stormy pattern. One storm after another moved through. One evening they started slurping something on the surface and I caught 12 bulls, one after another...then the lightning and wind came and it was over.

Anyway, if it means anything, I wrote to the Wisconsin outdoor paper a few years back and suggested they consider a lesser limit (back when it was 50) and the DNR did end up changing it. Also, I think Minnesota has better fishing, particuliarly, northern Minnesota because they frequently set up road blocks looking for fisherman hauling back coolers full. That deters people from doing it. My 2 cents!

If you recall me saying too, " I rarely bring back fish".....the little ones (gills 5-7 oz are the best eating.

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Hey Protrapper,

Missed your posts about LIttle Yellow and asking if I fished eyes on Balsam?

Little Yellow is one of my favorite lakes. Was there this weekend, but didn't fish it. Its got a big drop where they drive on. If I go again it will mean taking my ATV. Fisherman were catching some gills but had to do lots of sorting. When the big ones bite it can be awesome. Yes the crappies are "line busters"; especially the last ice.

As for eyes on Balsam, no after moving back to Wisconsin I quit fishin em. Fish strictly panfish, preferably gills.

Fished Clam Lake Tuesday (thats the day I drove to Little Yellow) lots of fish but had to really sort.

Ended up on Clam Flowage, and got some dandies there too. No Pounders!!!

From where I live now, the drive to Little Yellow is 95 miles. That is a long haul for 25 panfish. So, I stick closer to where I live now most of the time. What I am really waiting for is "soft water". Prefer fly fishing. Hey Protrapper..drop a line and let me know where you live. You seem to know most of the lakes I fish. I lived in Dresser till November.

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Steve,
I live in St. Paul Minnesota I have cousins that live in Centuria Wisc. And a friend had a cabin on Yellow. I love to fly fish too. A friend and I have been float tube fishing for trout the last 4 years on the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota, my parents have had a place there for 30 years. I have fly fished for gills on Balsam in the spring and done well on the East Balsam side, caught more with the fly rod than some guys with there worms and jigs. Man we used to catch some big slabs and gills on Deer in the past big perch too. Went there this year and had to do some sortin. I was wondering if you have ever tried ice fishing with your nymphs? I have used my pheasent tails tungsten beaded they sink fast,with a euro for gills sight fishing and it works slick, crappies, gills and perch will hit it, you could use them as a droper too. Hey if your on Balsam I drive a Ford Ranger green with green topper I have couple stickers in my back window, i fish out of a fish trap away from the crowd if you see me out there stop by say hi! I would like too share info sometime.

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Good to hear Steve. I haven't read too many of your other posts so I didn't see you write about rarely bringing back fish. It just catches your attention when you see somebody write that they got a limit of gills averaging 1lb 2oz. Yes, most people's one pound gills are only 8-10oz. There's a huge difference between 10oz and 16oz. How about when people say they got a limit of 11-12" gills?

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Hello Steve, it's nice to hear you are finding some better sized fish. I'm not trying to step on your toes, everyone is entitled to keep what they want as long as you're within your legal limits. I would just like to express my opinion in relation to:

"These are small compared to my Minnesota spring trip. I have been fishing Minnesota for 17 years. Limits of bulls over a pound are the norm. Last year average 1#2oz on a limit of gills....Wisconsin just doesnt compare, but I guess I live here now and cant drive every weekend to northern Minnesota. So here an 8 or 10 ouncer is decent with an occasional 3/4 pounder in there."

I don't know the size of the lake you are fishing on in northern Minnesota, or how many people are on the lake fishing it, but if people were a little more selective on the fish they take home, all lakes would have more potential for monster gills like that. Bigger lakes can handle more pressure, but smaller lakes can be fished out very easily.

Fish grow quickly until they hit sexual maturity. When they are sexually mature they spend more energy on spawning habits and less on growing. If there is a population of large spawning fish in the lake the smaller fish will have to grow bigger to compete with the bigger fish for prime spawning grounds. By having to grow bigger to spawn, they will grow to a respectable size faster. If the lake has smaller fish spawning, the upcoming year classes will hit maturity faster and will thus grow slower. You can then have thousands of small fish spawning instead of primarily bigger fish.

Available food also plays a big role with the growth of fish. The more fish there are in a given area, the less food there is available per fish. It would be nice to see 100 bulls get bigger rather than have 10,000 potato chips fight for food.

An 8 or 10 oz gill is a perfect fish to eat. If they start getting near a pound, think about releasing some to go make more. I would say a good majority of fisherman in WI and MN haven't even seen a true 1lb gill.

Once again, I just wanted to express my opinion.

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I used to fish Long Lake out of Centuria for northerns many years ago. Has anyone fished it lately?

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Just got back from Balsam, what a joke caught a few crappies not much size 9 to 10 inches only. One thing is the amount of fishing taking place on the lake its the most I have seen in years! And there was a bunch a people on Deer. Crazy...

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Hey Coach I was on Long Lake the last two days saw two guys each catch a northern and I did catch one on jig stick this morning.
But the northerns have be I believe 26 inches to keep.
Good luck


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