Timber Trail Lodge is located on Farm Lake, one of four lakes on the White Iron Lakes collectively known as "the Chain". The expert fishing guides at Timber Trail know these lakes inside and out, and they have a wealth of Minnesota fishing tips to offer.
One of the most frequently asked questions our guests ask is: when is the best time to come? Well, as you will see below every month could potentially be the best time to come. It all depends on what your priorities are: quantity or size of fish, best weather, no bugs, fewer people?
In the spring (especially May and early June) Walleyes and Northern Pike are usually the primary game. Those seeking a quality Minnesota Walleye fishing tip are advised to use live bait, either with jigs or Lindy rigs tipped with minnows. Areas with strong currents are typically the best locations on the chain during this time of year.
Early in the year, there are two locations which offer the best fishing opportunities on the White Iron Lake chain. First, there are the rapids at the south of the lakes (in an area known as the "hole"). Secondly, there is the bridge that separates White Iron Lake from Farm Lake. These two locations provide the best fishing on the chain during the early months of the year.
Great Walleye fishing can also be found in the "Ring Rock Narrows" in the southern part of White Iron Lake, where there is a strong current. The "Garden Lake Narrows" between Farm Lake and Garden Lake can be a sleeper spot, as many guests have caught big Walleyes here over the years. Get there early © areas with strong currents are best in the early morning or in the evening.
If you are the adventurous type, we have canoes pre-staged by the entrance of the North Kawishiwi River. By taking a motor boat across Farm Lake and entering the Boundary Waters through entry point 31 at the North Kawishiwi River, you can access some great fishing waters. As you paddle up the river, there are several spots with current and rapids. Try fishing below some of the rapids and in some of the deep narrows for Walleyes.
One of the best Minnesota walleye fishing tips you can get is not to rule out easily overlooked locations, such as points, bays, shallow rock humps, islands and reefs. There are Walleyes there for the catching.
Northern Pike: As the ice melts away from the White Iron Lakes, the Northern Pike tend to remain in the shallow bays for awhile. Our guests have had consistent success fishing for pike in the shallow bays on Farm Lake and South Farm Lake during this time of the year. Pike can be targeted with either live bait (suckers and shiners) or frozen ciscos under a bobber. A trophy catch of over 40 inches can happen at this time of year. If you catch a big one, take a photo, measure the fish and have a fiberglass replica made © but please catch and release! These big fish are valuable to our lakes, and it takes a long time for them to grow to this size.
Once our waters begin to warm up in the early part of June, the Smallmouth fishing heats up. Smallmouth Bass spawn when the water temperatures reach the low- to mid-sixties. During this time, Farm Lake and South Farm Lake are some of the best areas for Smallmouth fishing. At the peak of the Sallmouth spawn, a yield of 100 fish a day is possible, with an occasional trophy bass over 20 inches. Remember to release these big female bass. A 20- inch Smallmouth bass is an old fish and is extremely valuable to our lakes. It takes a long time for them to reach this trophy size. Our Minnesota fishing tips for Smallmouth Bass include casting the shorelines with top water baits, tube jigs, grub tails and stick baits, as these usually work best. Some of the best colors are purple, smoke, gray, blue and pumpkin.
In June, Walleyes are feeding as the water is warming up. At this time, some of the weeds in the bays are staring to grow, and the bait fish and Walleyes will be in this new weed growth. Walleyes can be found in some of the shallow shorelines and bays. Trolling spinner rigs with light weights and drifting with live bait rigs can yield great results.
The pike can still be aggressive at this time of year, as they begin to move out of the bays toward some of their summer spots. Casting and trolling spoons in 6 - 12 feet of water can get some of these pike to bite.
The Pan Fish, such as Crappies and Blue Gills, can be caught more readily starting in June. Crappies will be anywhere from 12 feet to 20 feet off islands, points and bays.
By July, most fish have found their summer spots. For anyone who aims to catch some Minnesota Walleye, fishing tips include seeking out the deep points, rock reefs, sunken islands and deeper shorelines where Walleyes gather. This is a great time of year to catch big Walleyes, as they are concentrated in these places and not spread out all over the lake. Trophy Walleyes up to 30 inches can be caught during this time. Of course, not everyone will catch one this big. Again, always remember to catch and release these big fish. A 30-inch Walleye can be 20 years old. Feel free to keep and eat smaller fish, but please release the big ones back into our lakes.
Smallmouth can be found in some of the same places as Walleyes. As a rule of thumb, if you are fishing for Walleyes 20 feet off a point or a reef, then the Smallmouth are usually in the shallower parts of the same location.
There are many opportunities for pike fishing in July as well. Pike could be anywhere from the weed beds to deep main lake points and reefs. Some effective strategies include trolling the main lake areas and as casting the weed beds with spoons or spinner baits.
August can be some of the best fishing of the year or it can be the slowest. The weather during August tends to be sunny and comfortable, and water temperatures are at their warmest. During this time, the fish are in their well-established summer spots and tend to feed either very aggressively or not at all.
Fish can be found in the cabbage or pond weeds located in bays and on shorelines from 4 feet to 6 deep during the summer heat. Our Minnesota fishing tips for August include slipping bobbers, jigs and lures just off of the weed edges to yield Walleyes, pike, and bass.
Pike can still be found, but the big ones tend to seek out the coldest water and only occasionally come up to feed.
September marks the beginning of fall fishing. As the leaves change their colors, the fish tend to group in deeper waters of up to 30 feet. Walleyes feed in steep vertical drops at this time of year and come out to ambush their prey. They are opportunistic predators and will travel a great distance in a short time to feed.
Typically in mid-September, the water temperature begins to drop, causing the lakes to turnover. This is a time of peak activity for Walleyes. Once the water has turned over, there is no temperature difference between deep and shallow waters, and there is oxygen in all depths. Walleyes can be caught anywhere, from the deepest parts of the lakes to shallow shorelines and rock humps. Those seeking Minnesota walleye fishing tips should note that late autumn can be the best time of the year to catch large numbers of big, aggressive Walleyes.
The fall can also be the best time of the year to catch pan fish. White Iron Lake, Farm Lake, Garden Lake and South Farm Lake are all excellent Crappie lakes. The cCappies generally move towards the deeper basin areas of the lakes. They can be located anywhere from the bottom of the lake to halfway up the water column. Jigs tipped with minnows or plastics are the best presentations for luring these fish to bite.
There are a few things to remember. The White Iron Chain of Lakes includes Farm Lake, White Iron Lake, Garden Lake, South Farm Lake and the Kwishiwi River up to the first 210 rod portage has special slot limits. Walleyes between 17 and 26 inches must be immediately released back to the water. Northern pike between 24 and 36 inches must also be immediately released. Check the DNR regulations for State wide rules.
Minnesota's daily possession limits:
Northern Pike: 3
Bass: 6 (Catch and release in September. Check with the DNR for specific dates.)
All slot limits and daily possession limits on this site are believed to be current, but DNR regulations are subject to change. Be sure check with the DNR or a local facility for current regulations. This information is also available online at the link below.
Minnesota DNR website link: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html
Again, we strongly encourage catch and release. Help protect our resources for future generations. Take what you can eat and release the rest - don't waste the fillets in your freezer!