Cuyuna Country Fishing - Other Species
Trout fishing slow? How about a 20 pound pike? If the trout are not cooperating in the mine lakes...no problem, switch to another species or try one of the natural lakes within the recreation area. Large pike and largemouth bass are the main targets in the area. The mine lakes contain very large northern pike (that enjoy eating trout more than you do) and grow quickly on this high protein food source.
The mine lakes open fishing season starts with the general fishing opener in mid-May. A trout stamp is required when fishing the mine lakes, regardless of targeted species. The mine lakes close on Halloween. Natural lakes in the area follow the same seasonal guidelines as any other Minnesota lake.
Some of the finest tropy pike fishing in Minnesota is here in Cuyuna Country! Pike are avidly sought by anglers in the mine lakes usually casting large plugs and spinners along the shorelines and around brush and timber. Throughout the area lakes, submerged stands of timber provide ambush and shelter for fish of all kinds. These stands of trees and stumps are targeted for the big pike. Stiff rods and line are required to pull these large fish, some pushing the thirty pound mark, out of the timber!
The best time of year to chase the mine lake pike is in September through October. They are up shallow and feeding heavily before winter. Musky-type tackle and tactics work as do big suckers and shiners under floats - fished right in the trees! When the bobber goes down, you better pull and pull hard.
This is one case where "horsing" a fish is not just suggested, it is required! Normally, the best technique when hooked up to one of these behemoths, is to start the motor or grab the oars and pull away from the trees into open water. Otherwise the fish will literally pull your boat into the underwater forest area and snag up. If you get lucky, you might clear one of these trophies and land it. At the very least you stand an excellent chance of seeing your fish in the clear water as deep as thirty feet down!
The ubiquitous largemouth bass swims throughout the Recreation Area both in the mine lakes and natural lakes. Some of the finest largemouth "wood" fishing in the state can be found here. Look to the hard-to-get-at places such as June and Pascoe. All the mine lakes have largemouth. Again, start in the wood which are visible from the surface in many cases. Some lakes have unimproved launching areas and some do not, so carry in is necessary. The extra work will pay off with fish that do not see many anglers.
Smallmouth Bass The mine lakes also contain smallmouth. Work shore lines and exposed or slightly sunken islands. Smallmouth also like wood. Again, stiff rods and line, with some "muscle" must be used around the wood or the fish will wrap you around a tree. Spinnerbaits are a great all around choice here because they are somewhat weedless and can be worked through the trees.
Nearby the Mississippi and Pine Rivers have excellent populations of smallmouth and walleyes and are a prime target for float trips in the summer. Check with local bait shops for launch locations and trip tips. Try fly fishing for smallmouth! This is probably the fastest growing fishing sport in Minnesota as people discover how well these fish take flies. For more information on fly fishing bass, check out FlyBass.com.
Many local anglers try to keep this area quiet and for good reason. The lakes in this area have good-sized bluegills and slab crappies. The mine lakes are usually fished around the trees, sometimes with cane poles, to quickly pull the fish up and away from trouble. They will remain somewhere between the surface and thirty feet year around. The natural lakes are relatively shallow rarely exceeding thirty feet. The panfishing is good in all the lakes. Fish bite better during the day in the murkier natural lakes such as Mahnomen and Blackhoof. Try the mine lakes during low light for better action. Keep experimenting with all of them and you will find some real gems.