Breaking Down Bay Lake

Nestled in the heart of the “lakes area” in north central Minnesota just outside of the small town of Deerwood you’ll find beautiful Bay Lake. This 2330 acre body of water is home to Minnesota’s oldest resort, Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge which has been family owned and operated for over 120 years. Champions Tour Owner Scott Bonnema describes the lake as “generational” with most of the homes and cabins being passed down to next of kin, you rarely see property up for sale. As the name implies, Bay Lake is comprised of a series of bays, and three islands. These bays are all very similar and offer alike water across the lake.

As far as the fishing is concerned the lake has no shortage of habitat. Docks, vast patches of vegetation both emergent and below the surface with milfoil being a dominant source of habitat, and contour changes such as points and turns offer plenty of structure for anglers to break down and it isn’t limited to just one part of the lake. Bonnema says anglers will find “fishy” places all across Bay and if they can dial in a pattern on one spot it is possible to replicate that in multiple places. Anglers shouldn’t have to worry about the fish population either, as Bonnema laughed about just how many fish are in the lake. It may not be filled with four and five pounders but a very high number of two and three pounders can be expected. In fact, Scott said he think those anglers who can find the schools of bigger fish in the lake can expect to be on top because they tend to school up by size and can be found in small areas in large numbers. Bonnema estimated, depending on weather, that 60 pounds would have you amongst the top 6 anglers and anywhere from 75-90 pounds would have the potential to win that brand new Skeeter boat.

Those were willing to look deep will have a better chance of finding the big fish Bay Lake holds, but don’t count out the dock bite that some Champions Tour anglers are famous for exploiting. There are plenty of docks and some with deep water and sharp breaks nearby with potential to hold solid populations of fish. Scott said the lake fishes similar to a smaller Lake Minnetonka, which so many of our anglers are very familiar with. A variety of techniques could come into play, flipping jigs, skipping docks, jigworms, and even moving baits are not out of the question. The one thing that seems to be a constant in this format, somebody always makes a late run, and it always ends up closer than expected. On Bay Lake, who will it be? The answer, we’ll find out Saturday.

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