Chill Fishing Report
I enjoy guiding all species of fish through the ice and open water and this weekend we decided to chase a species a lot of people haven’t caught before or caught by accident while walleye fishing and that is a burbot. Burbot has a lot of nicknames that float around like Pout, Eel Pout, Poor Man’s Lobster, or Ling but it’s a freshwater cod and its in a select few lakes in our area with some lakes having a decent amount of a population it makes it worth it to target them through the winter.
Burbot can be found from shallow water to extremely deep water, but most people target them at night on sharp breaks where most people walleye fish. Burbot have very bad eyesight and are more active at night than during the day, but they spawn late ice and during the spawn can be active all day. Since they have extremely bad eyesight big glowing jigs and spoons work best pounding bottom with the hooks loaded up with dead minnows.
Fishing for pout is unique because we can chase them all night and this works great for those that are wanting to do ice camping or for those with families that want to get out after work or when the kids go to bed. We started our day around 3 pm and it took us a while to find the exact location, but our first fish was on the ice a little after 4 pm. Because pout school up its not uncommon to hook multiple or after rebaiting you catch a second one right away.
There are a few companies that make pout specific lures like Pout Candy or Big-Nasty Lures. We had better luck with spoons over jigs and plain hooks on bobbers. We even had luck while eating supper with just putting the rod with the spoon on a bucket a foot off bottom. Since we can use two lines in Minnesota, I would suggest a spoon on a tip down or a bobber and the other line jig to call them into your location. If you get pout lures, you’ll see they have big hooks and load them up with halves of dead minnows and pound the bottom all night. Since you usually are on sharp breaks and the fish tend to hug bottom there is a good chance that you will not see the fish till you lift your rod off bottom and the fish is there and then HOLD ON! I only marked one fish all night and it was when I had my lure sitting off bottom while eating.
Pout taste amazing and our group was blessed with enough fish to have family fish fry’s this week. Fileting a pout though is different and I strongly recommend looking at YouTube on how to filet them before attempting, I had to. The meat is often referred to as Poor Man’s Lobster and growing up we used to eat cod a lot boiling the filets then dip the bites into melted butter and I do the same with my Pout. We did an experiment last year and tried boiling in water and in 7-Up and we preferred boiling in 7-Up. Friends on the other hand prefer breading them and frying them up that way and I plan on trying it this week to get a firsthand experience.
What worked for us best was Green Glow spoons with dead shiner minnows cut in half either pounding bottom or setting as a dead stick. We tried other colors with no noticeable luck. Tip for keeping your minnows on is using Bait Buttons which are little rubber pieces that you clip onto your treble hook to help hold your minnows onto your hook. I do put a half of a minnow on each hook of a treble and I change bait almost every hour to make sure it has enough smell in the water. We caught them from 23-30 feet of water.
Good luck and stay safe