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TuffEnuff (US)'s Profile > Stories > On the Water with Matt Breuer (Bemidji, MN)

On the Water with Matt Breuer (Bemidji, MN)

Posted Sep 12, 2007 by TuffEnuff (US)
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 On the Water with Matt Breuer There's bluegills and then there's BLUEGILLS. Or maybe we should just call them "bullgills." You can classify them by size, with fish measuring 10 inches or better regarded as being true trophies. This is what Bemidji fishing guide Matt Breuer loves to pursue while out on the water, whether he's guiding or just out enjoying an afternoon with his family. I had a chance to hop into the boat with Matt for a few hours, shortly after he had completed a half-day guide trip on Lake Bemidji, where they banged the walleyes on redtail chubs. Breuer, "North Country Guide Service", grew up in the Bemidji area with as many as 14 lakes being located within 10 minutes of his front door. This fact alone makes one realize that he has several options close at hand when it comes to catching fish. Whether a change in species is desired or a change in waters is required due to inclement weather, there's always a place to fish and you gotta like that. Although I had traveled to Bemidji to give the bluegills a try, I almost wanted to go walleye fishing instead, after hearing the results of Breuer's early-morning guide trip. I said "almost." Easing his Crestliner up to the spot, we anchored and tossed out slip-bobber rigs, which were set at about 6 feet or so. Hanging below the floats, on the business end of things, were Flu-Flu jigs, tipped with waxworms. It didn't take long, maybe a few seconds, before a nice bluegill was hoisted into the boat. Matt certainly had this lake figured out and put on a real clinic in catching some nice panfish, making it look way too easy. When asked why he doesn't use nightcrawlers, like myself, Breuer said "they're too messy." He's got a good point but in my area, waxworms, for the most part, aren't readily available at the majority of baitshops. They are during the winter months but not so much during summer. The same goes for redtail chubs. They have them in Grand Rapids but head east and you probably won't find any. Must be a regional thing.

"A 10 inch fish is a pounder?" I queried. "10 1/8" Breuer replied, reeling in yet another fish. I had to laugh, as this was the indication of a very serious panfisher. "You use a kitchen scale, don't you.?" I asked. "Yep", came the reply. I knew exactly what he was talking about, as I used to weigh all of my larger panfish on a two-pound kitchen scale. That way, I knew precisely the size of fish that were being caught, which is important when telling potential guide clients of what to expect. Matt recommends releasing all those big fish and has personally caught and released 27 of them to date. Another sign. Documenting all the big ones. I like this guy. We pretty much wore out our first spot and the wind was kicking up so we decided to check out another. On the way, however, Matt wanted to see if any walleyes were frequenting the weedlines. Using line-counter reels and Salmo "Hornets", we trolled for no more than a few minutes before a rod was buckled over. It was a nice walleye, about three pounds, that found freedom right near the boat. Several more trolling passes resulted in roughly a dozen more strikes, catching everything from small perch, one rockbass, and northerns and walleyes up to three pounds. Even though the fish were active it was time to move to our next bluegill hotspot. Bluegills bite better in still water and finding calm water on a windy day isn't always easy. Even moving to the supposed leeward side of the lake didn't help much and when we eventually did find a secluded, tranquil spot to fish, the wind would switch, making our fishing a bit more challenging. Eventually, we found another good spot and fished until the waxworm tub was completely empty. It was full when we first started fishing so that equals to a lot of fish and one great time on the water. I love catching "gillies" and even though it was mid-August, it was my first bluegill trip of the year. It was good to get back to the bluegills and fishing the way most of us started out as youngsters. Pretty basic stuff but still as much fun for an adult as it is for a child. For more information on fishing the Bemidji area, contact Matt Breuer's "North Country Guide Service" at (218) 444-6479, e-mail him at, or his web site www.northcountrygu
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