Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Quiet Comstock near Duluth can provide fine sunnies

There are bigger water bodies nearby, and there’s a good chance
they may prove more productive.

But Comstock Lake, a duo of basins north of Duluth, near
Whiteface in St. Louis County, has its place. On Comstock, anglers
can poke a hole and pull in a fine mess of sunnies, and on
occasion, a walleye or two.

And for the most part, you’ll be fishing nearly undisturbed,
according to John Lindgren, DNR area fisheries specialist in
Duluth.

“It’s a fairly quiet lake,” he says. “There can be sporadic
pressure for winter panfish and sometimes for walleyes, but it’s
not really a winter destination for walleye anglers.”

For the most part, Comstock’s reputation is that of a panfish
lake, says John Chalstrom, of Chalstrom’s Bait in Duluth. He agrees
its ice isn’t often populated with anglers.

“It’s one of those sleeper lakes,” he says.

Comstock consists of Upper Comstock and Lower Comstock, two
basins connected by Hart Creek. Upper Comstock, to the north, is
271 acres, while Lower Comstock’s mass is 161 acres.

However, the names of the two basins should be flip-flopped,
Lindgren says. Technically, water flows into the lower lake when
there’s and upper and lower. On Comstock, the creek flow is into
Upper Comstock.

For the boater, Hart Creek is the lone route to Lower Comstock.
It’s usually navigable without incident, though Lindgren said low
water this year made passage somewhat tricky. The public access to
Comstock is on the north side of the upper basin, and it’s a
simple, gravel landing, suited merely for launching boats.

Also, for ice anglers, it may be a healthy walk from the upper
basin to fishing hot spots on the lower.

But, for some serenity and perhaps some nice slabs, it could be
worth the jaunt.

“On Upper Comstock, the topography is such that it’s more of a
bowl, so it’s more difficult to locate fish,” Lindgren says of both
walleye and panfish angling. “Though the lower lake is smaller, it
has more pronounced contours to it.”

Though the numbers from a 2000 DNR netting survey are just being
calculated, it appears the panfish held strong.

“We saw more crappies in 2000 because of a good year class
during the 90s,” Lindgren said. “In the winter, there’s not much
fishing pressure in Lower Comstock, but we had good reports about
crappies last year.”

“It’s a good panfish lake,” Chalstrom reiterates.

Many winter anglers will seek out the lake’s drop-offs to jig
for walleyes through the ice. Success is mixed, though the DNR has
attempted to keep a good population available.

“We’re stocking both upper and lower with walleye fry every
other year,” Lindgren said.

Still, walleye numbers in survey gillnets has been relatively
low, ranging from one to three per lift.

“Historically, that’s been close to what we’ve been seeing,”
Lindgren said. “During the 70s and 80s, the numbers were a little
better, but I don’t think our management has changed that much. We
get a moderate return on our stocking.”

Surveys indicate most walleyes in the survey nets are from years
when stocking took place, indicating that natural reproduction is
minimal.

An adequate amount of vegetation allow northern pike and
largemouth bass to maintain populations in Comstock Lake.

“There aren’t a lot of largemouth bass in the lake, but the ones
that are there are pretty large,” Lindgren says.

DNR officials say northern pike are at good levels, as well.

Development along the lake’s shore is considered low to
moderate.

PROFILE: Comstock Lake

Nearest town…………Whiteface

Surface water area……443 acres

Shore length…………6.4 miles

Maximum depth………..30 feet

Water clarity………..4.0 feet

Fish species present: Walleye, black crappie, pumpkinseed
sunfish, bluegill, white sucker, northern pike, bullhead.

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