SAGONTO was named BIG FISH
HEADQUARTERS in August of 1980, from the St. Paul Dispatch
Pioneer Press World's Largest Fishing Contest when guest Pam Behan (age
11) of Norcross, Minnesota, caught a 10 lb., 13 oz. walleye measuring
30 1/4 inches long, and 18 inches in girth.
Northern pike and lake trout can be caught all season, but the best
time for lake trout is in the spring when they are near the surface and
again in the fall when they are around their spawning reefs. Catching
them on light tackle is a thrill you will not soon forget. They can
also be caught in mid-summer when they are around their deep holes.
Walleye fishing in the spring, during May and June, is very good and
several nine-pounders+ have been caught. For the bass fishermen, we
have swell small-mouth bass fishing.
Excerpts from "At Trail's End, the Fishing Adventure Begins"
Minneapolis Star and Tribune (3/9/87) by Bob Schranck "When cirrus
clouds drift above Lake Saganaga, the guides looking for large walleyes
smile. They have a saying: 'Big fish in the sky, big fish in the
boat.'" "We fish in what might be considered miserable weather--sunny
days, hot and calm with thin clouds across the sky, " said Mike Berg
and independent guide. "We like hog-walleye fishing with a bobber when
there are cirrus clouds in the sky, " Berg said. He wasn't talking
about 8-pounders. A few days earlier, a client landed a 12-pound,
2-ounce walleye. Any smaller, and Berg would probably have talked him
into releasing the fish. "There's a lot of that happening on Saganaga
now. "We don't get much credit for the big ones released, but it makes
sense," Berg said. "A lot of lunkers have been caught since bobber
fishing hit Sag about six years ago." "We realized about six years ago
that Roger Campbell, another guide was catching nice fish on days when
no one else was doing anything," Berg said. "Discovered he was throwing
a bobber on top of the rocks. The first time I tried that method, we
pulled out three 9-pounders from some reefs in eight feet of water and
less." "It's a patience game, like hunting deer. Sit still and wait for
that hog walleye to come by. You may get only one fish, but he'll be a
good one." Publicity about the big walleyes on Saganaga has come during
the last five or six years as bobber fishing became "the" technique.
Berg believes bobber fishing works so well because "most people can't
conceive what's under the water. After they catch fish, they know." His
method is first to idle over a reef looking for fish. It doesn't seem
to spook the fish if there are no bubbles from the prop, according to
Berg. Position the boat upwind and "drop the bobber over the side, give
it slack and let the wave action troll the bait over the reef," he
said. "Let it drift to the walleye." Berg said that when the bobber
goes down and pops up again and repeats that sequence, it's a small
fish, when it goes down and stays down, it's a good fish. Then you reel
down to the fish, when it's tight, set the hook. Keep it tight, and
don't try to horse a big walleye." "You don't see a 10-pounder until
he's in the net." Berg said the boat should be anchored at front and
back when bobber-fishing a reef. He uses a 6-pound test line with a No.
8 or No. 10 hook. Leeches are used because Saganaga is a border lake,
and live minnows can't be taken into Canada. "When I think the leech
has covered the reef without anything happening," he said, "I move to a
(Note: Current regulations: Minnesota leeches are not to be taken to
the Canadian side of Saganaga, but are sold on the Canadian side.)
"This late in the year, I fish two reefs that top off at 10 feet, one
at 15 feet and another at 18 feet," he said. "it's three different
depthss, but walleyes are all over, so if a rock pile holds food, the
fish will be there." That's about a 4-pound fish, nice but not huge.
The best walleye out of Saganaga this season has been a 14-2 monster
taken in May. "They aren't all like that," Berg said. "Everybody wants
action, so we try to get them some good eaters, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
for shore lunch, 2 to 2 1/2 pounders for dinner fish."
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