Lake Vermilion - Lake of the Red Sunset

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Lake Vermilion Fishing Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

Where do we meet you?
I can pick you up at the dock of the resort or cabin where you are staying. If you are not staying on the lake we will meet at the Lake Vermilion Houseboats landing. We will meet at a predetermined time that works best for you and for the fish. Dock times are flexible, so if you like to sleep in that can be arranged!
What species do you guide for?

Walleye, Muskie, Smallmouth, & Crappie.

I guide primarily for walleyes and work very hard for them. Dog days? I don't know what that means. There are just as many opportunities to catch walleyes on a dead calm 90-degree day in August as there are spring and fall. The fish never stop eating!

I personally don't guide for Muskie, but my staff guides are Muskie experts! They will put you on the apex predator of the lake if you are willing to cast big lures all day!

Seasonally, I have a good pattern for smallmouth and/or crappie and can add that to the trip if you would like. Ask when making your reservation.

When is the best time to fish Lake Vermilion?
As soon and as often as you can. Like I said, the fish don't stop eating. So, when you get the chance you better get up here! Normally, the lake opens up mid/late April and freezes early/mid November. If the water is open, I will be in my boat fishing for whatever is in season! I also guide during the hard water season, with safe ice usually in early/mid December through the close of the fishing season at the end of February. Stay tuned for the addition of winter Fish House rentals!!
Where can we rent a boat during our stay?
We have multiple rental boat options at Lake Vermilion Houseboats. Feel free to call and discuss options.
What do we do during inclement weather?
Very few trips are canceled due to weather, but it can and does happen. With that being said, I don't want to fish in the rain all day anymore than the next guy. I always contact my guests a couple of days before their trip to discuss trip details (group size, meeting time, & location) and by then have a decent weather forecast. If the weather is not looking good we will discuss options at that time. Sometimes we may need to delay the trip, go in early, or take a short break on shore while it passes. Wind generally does not ruin our fishing day because there is almost always somewhere on the lake we can fish in relatively calm waters if need be. One of the huge advantages of a 21-foot Ranger boat is being able to handle very rough seas fairly comfortably.
How many guests can you accommodate?
That's a good question! The possibilities are truly endless. Groups of two or three are recommended for the most comfortable and productive fishing trips, but can add a 4th if needed. The more people in the boat the more limited we are in types of fishing presentations and fishing in windy conditions. It is always recommended for larger groups to split up as I have multiple staff guides for a more productive and enjoyable experience on Vermilion. I often times have families in the summer with two parents or grandparents and two or three kids. I like to focus on the kids first and foremost and try to make sure they have a positive experience. Fishing may be tailored with the kids in mind first. Kids under 16 fish at no additional charge and there is nothing better than putting a smile on their face!
Can you accommodate a corporate outing and/or large group?
Yes! I have multiple staff guides and can also hire other guides to accommodate a large group. What better way to spend quality time with colleagues, staff, friends, and/or family? There are many places to hold company meetings and/or family gatherings around Lake Vermilion and there is something for everyone. Maybe some members of the group want to go fishing, others enjoy a round of golf at one of the nearby award-winning courses, and others enjoy personal time at the cabin? There are also corporate board rooms and casual assembly areas around the lake. Please call or email today for any questions or help you may need organizing your next get away!
What part of the lake do you guide?
Wherever the fish are biting! That being said, generally I fish the eastern portion of Lake Vermilion where it is well known that the walleye population is much stronger. I live on the south end of the lake in Pike Bay, only a 15-minute boat ride to Big Bay, which is the heart of the Lake Vermilion walleye population. We will travel wherever needed to catch walleyes depending on seasonal migrations, patterns, and weather. We can also tailor the trip to focus on a certain area of the lake near where you are staying if that is what you would rather do. But for the most part we try to go where our odds of catching walleye are greatest.
What do we need to bring?
If you've never been to northern Minnesota before be prepared to dress warm and in layers! Please come prepared for whatever weather that we may encounter the day of your trip. It is generally cooler out on the water than on land, which usually correlates to a 10-15 degree temperature difference. Please bring any personal items you may need for the day so we don't have to make unnecessary trips back to shore and cut into your fishing time. I generally carry bug spray and sunscreen on board, but it's not a bad idea to have your own. I usually have extra bottled water on board as well. I have a built-in cooler on the boat, which can fit a small coolers worth of beverages and/or snacks. I recommend bringing beverages of your own, snacks and/or a lunch, a cooler, and proper clothes including rain gear if rain is in the forecast.
What is included in the trip and what do you provide?
All gas, bait, fishing equipment, life jackets, and fish cleaning will be provided by your guide during the trip. If you want to bring a rod it is OK but I'd rather you use what is provided. More often you will be more productive with the equipment I provide.
Do I need a fishing license?
Yes you are required to follow state law as far as licensing. There is a link to the MN DNR on my Links page.
Can we keep our fish?
You are welcome to keep the fish that you catch but we must adhere to state and lake regulations. Each angler can have 4 walleyes per day and only 4 total in your possession even if you fish multiple days. The fish need to be under 20 inches and you are allowed to keep one over 26 inches. I would like to see the fish over 26 released back to the lake, but it is ultimately your decision. I would also prefer that all smallmouth or northern pike are also released but it is your choice. I highly recommend a replica mount of any trophy fish caught. Your trophy fish will live to possibly become a trophy for another angler and replica mounts last much longer and look better than skin mounts!