Minnesota Fishing Reports
Walleyes shrugged off the stormy weather on Thursday, at least the ones that I know about did.
Leech Lake, which had been very slow on Wednesday, came alive when strong winds whipped up the surface and got the fish moving again. In fact, the customer I’ll be fishing with today was there and in his words; “it was just about the best fishing I’ve ever had there.”
On Lake Winnie, the fish were scattered, but when we encountered them, they were cooperative too. The shallow water continues to hold minnows and the walleyes are staying right there with them.
The water in Winnie is still clear, but anglers visiting this weekend will notice that the clarity is reduced compared to that of the 2017 season. I think it’s because warm weather is encouraging a better algae bloom this season and if the weather forecast holds true, Winnie could surprise some people this summer.
Surface temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees on most lakes. But I’ve seen water temperatures in the 66 to 68 degree range in shallow, back water bays.
By now, most of you have your plans made and some have already arrived. I’ll be on duty this weekend and I will be posting a brief update again on Saturday morning. But it is Memorial Day weekend, so like many of you; I’m going to work a little less hard for a couple of days.
Travel safely, fish good and have a great holiday weekend! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"When you're fishing for walleye using any jig, there's no one "right way" to present it; there are lots of them.
Walleye react much differently to jigging presentations after a cold front than they do during periods of stable weather. Jig weight, jig color and jigging action are important factors in triggering lethargic, post cold front fish.
This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen and fellow guide Nick Painovich show you how to deal with post cold front conditions and still have a successful day on the water." View Video >> Jigging For Post Cold Front Walleye
With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, there will be lots of folks engaged in the pursuit of panfish. For some, any apparent lack of spawning activity in shallow water could easily be mistaken for a case of bad timing. But in some lakes that won’t be the trouble, it will be that winter kill has affected some, most or all of the panfish within its shores.
Yes, unfortunately, some panfish are no longer with us because they were killed by low oxygen levels. Last fall’s early freeze up, the heavy ice and snow cover over winter and this spring’s late ice out was a deadly combination for fish in certain shallow water lakes.
You may recall conversations earlier this spring about walleyes that were affected by oxygen depletion in ..." Read >> Winter Kill Panfish Lakes May 24, 2018
There have been a lot of calls and emails lately from readers asking for one sort of advice or another. I’m doing my best to keep up and at the same time, attempting to prioritize the list. Since the “busy season” is in full swing, my office time is limited. So if you’ve dropped me a line and haven’t received a reply, I apologize, I will get the stack cleared up eventually, so please bear with me.
I’m usually checking messages during the wee hours of early morning, so my schedule tends to favor emails rather than phone calls. Also, I do offer The Early Bird Insider’s News List, an “opt-in” email list that I routinely use for ..." Learn More >> Contacting The Contactable
Before I can start today’s report, I have to take a minute and brag on my step daughter Joelle.
Over the weekend, she did something that not too many folks get to experience; she caught and released this gorgeous, 29 inch walleye.
Obviously, she and her POSSLQ Pat Everson were fishing at night and they were trolling crankbaits. I’m not really sure how many fish they caught or bagged, but in Jo’s words; “we caught a lot”; and that’s good enough for me.
I think that the Hippie Chick wants to try catching one of these too, so we might all have to plan a trip to try this together one of these days, but for now, I’ll just be proud of her and get back to work.
On Tuesday, Ol’ Sol added another degree or two of warmth to Itasca area lakes. During yet another calm, sunny afternoon, thermometers on larger, clear water lakes returned readings of ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 23, 2018
"Great fishing continues with good numbers of walleyes and saugers being caught from Rocky Point, Long Point, Zippel Bay, Pine Island, Knight Island and in the basin!
A jig and a frozen shiner has been the ticket while anchored up in 15-23 feet during the day. Some fish are sliding up into 10-13 feet for the evening bite. Lots of big girls over 28" being caught. Water on the lake and river is still low, rain last week is helping to raise water levels.
Rainy River was pretty quiet this week with only a morning bite. Some big females making their way out to lake but a good ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report May 22, 2018
"The early bird gets the worm, some say. With this thought in mind, I made plans, last year, to be one of the first to fish the Red Lake River dam area with fishing guide Daris Rosebear of Rosebear’s Guide Service. If there was any problem at all with my thinking, it was the fact that we would be a little too early.
I’ve fished with Daris several times, both summer and winter, and so far, all trips have been on some of the over two dozen little lakes that lie near the southern end of Lower Red Lake, which, by the way, is off limits to ..." Read >> Lower Red Lake Area Fishing May 22, 2018
I almost turned around and switched lakes when the attendant at the ramp said; “the wind blew like crazy yesterday, but this morning we just woke up to a nice walleye chop.”
Oh oh, on a lot of lakes, that would have been good news, but on Upper Red, not so good, that big lake likes calm seas and stable weather. Still, the wind wasn’t blowing that hard and I was trusting that the breeze would continue to calm down, so we went ahead and launched the boat.
On the lake, there was a moderate chop; the surface temperature was a cool, 56 degrees. Boats were strung out along the shoreline the shore and their operators, including me, were ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 21, 2018
"Drop shot rigging excels in clear water but requires some rigging considerations to shine around cover. Pro bass angler Matt Lee spends much of his time on Alabama's pristine Smith Lake chasing spotted bass and gives us two ways to prevent snagging when fishing a drop shot.
The first way is to use a hook size and shape that allows you to hook the plastic tex-posed. This is a good option around ..." Learn More >> 2 Tips to Prevent Snags When Drop Shot Fishing
A little rain, followed by colder temperatures and a blustery northeast wind set the stage for a more spring-like day on the water this Saturday. Despite the brisk conditions, traffic at popular boat ramps was heavy and so was traffic at popular fishing spots.
Last week, I wrote about a couple of lakes and said that I thought I’d arrived too early, before the better early summer fishing had kicked into full gear. That theme played out again on Saturday when I visited another small lake that showed signs of getting good soon, but still hasn’t kicked into high gear.
The surface water temperature was pegged at a uniform 60 degrees almost everywhere on the lake. There were some Crappie fishermen focusing on well-known spawning areas and walleye anglers lined up along ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 20, 2018
Surface temperatures ranged from 55 to 57 degrees and the water was stirred up from rainfall that occurred on Thursday. This probably explains the drop off in the catch rate; Red Lake is known for slowing down after the water gets stirred up by stormy weather, big wind and heavy rain.
For me, the day started with a quick spurt of action that made it look like we had a day of fast action headed our way. That spurt was followed by an hour of fishing without landing a walleye. After that we found a scattered school of fish and began catching them a couple at a time until we hit our limits.
If there was a pattern, it was ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Update May 19, 2018
We pay a lot of attention to casting, trolling and jigging for pike and that’s fine, especially for smaller fish. But this is one time of the season when you can find big fish in shallow water. Using slip bobbers and big minnows works really well for encouraging larger fish to strike.
Thill makes a float that they call the Big Fish Slider that will not only suspend large minnows, but will also allow you to slowly slip along the breakline. I rig the float the same way I’d rig any slip bobber. Below the float, I add a ½ ounce sliding egg sinker and below that, I tie on a large barrel swivel. The egg and swivel are nice because they ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 18, 2018
Chris Andresen, Mankato, MN provided a nice, short video from a lake near his home that shows Crappies beginning to fan beds in preparation for spawning. Crappie spawning habitat may vary from one state to another. But the way that Crappies prepare their spawning beds happens the same way no matter where you are in the country.
If you've always wondered exactly what the Crappie spawning bed looks like, this video will give you a great baseline to work from on your own lake. You may not always find Crappies on the beds like Chris did, but when you know what you're looking for, you'll be able to ..." Learn More >> Crappies Fanning Spawning Beds May 17, 2018
Has anyone ever called you a goof-off? If so, did using that term to describe you conjure up a sense of great pride from deep within your soul?
As a verb, the term goof-off can describe the act of wasting or killing time. But as a noun, goofing off can be used to describe a source of fun or cause for amusement. When you combine the two, goofing-off can lead you into great fishing areas that do provide both fun and amusement. Not only that, you will never find fishing spots like these any other way.
That’s right, what I found by goofing-off on Tuesday, was a great fishing area that I never would have known about if I’d been circling the perimeter of the lake in search of big game fish.
Yesterday I reported that I’d ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 16, 2018
"After hearing from folks about the walleye kill incident on Tuesday, I requested input about how and why the walleye kill occurred. The explanation is not a simple one because weather, timing and natural instinct all factored in to what occurred biologically. Arguably, judgement and expertise do factor into the equation as well and we’ll come back to that in a minute.
But first, here’s a statement about how circumstances led to the Little Cutfoot walleye die off over the past few days. It was delivered in the form of an email to me, so it’s ..." Read Article >> Walleye Kill Little Cutfoot Sioux May 16, 2018
I admit it; I have a propensity for wanting to be the first one to get in on a hot bite. Given the choice, I’ll always choose to explore on my own rather than follow the crowd to the “Hot Bite De jour”; Hence the name “Early Bird”.
There are times though when being the first one to arrive at “the honey hole” isn’t necessarily as smart as it sounds. That’s because sometimes I show up at a lake so early in the season that the fish haven’t even arrived yet; that’s too early!
The lake I visited on Monday, one of Grand Rapids deeper and clearer bodies of water surprised me with ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 15, 2018
"Spectacular Opening Weekend! This may be the best weather on opening weekend we have ever had. Those fishing closer to the ice on the lake noticed a significant drop in temperature.
Anglers have been up river, in Four Mile bay and on the lake. There was a little bit of ice left on the lake but should not have hindered anyone’s fishing. Anglers were catching Walleye on a regular basis, many little ones and slot fish with plenty of eaters. Most were having success in Four Mile Bay or on the lake. The water level is ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report May 15, 2018
Getting back to my roots, fishing the way we started out, I headed up to the Little Bear Lake cabin on an early Friday afternoon. This gave me plenty of time to clean the place up a bit and to scout the lake for panfish.
Even though Little Bear had become ice free much earlier than most area lakes, it still wasn’t what we consider to be “warm” and I had some difficulty in finding and catching fish.
Crappies were found in a shallow area that I usually ..." Read >> Greg Clusiau Report May 15, 2018
"Watching the NFL draft a few weeks ago got my wheels spinning. The analysts were constantly explaining the physical and mental charactaristics that made each player draftable at their respective positions. For instance, they were looking for intelligent, quick decision-makers for quarterbacks and were leaning heavily towards muscular, more aggressive players for linebacker positions.
So this got me thinking: If we had a draft for potential trophy bass, what characteristics would we look for? I went straight to fisheries biologist Steven Bardin to pick his brain and learn what traits a bass might need to reach double-digit status." Learn More >> 5 Unique Traits that Make a Trophy Bass
"The weather was the talk of the resort today as we saw clear skies and calm winds. The temperature reached almost 70 degrees. We had a few sunburn cases, but a lot of smiling faces at the end of the day.
Did I mention that it was opening day of fishing season? Yes, the fishing was much better than I expected; most of the boats came in with fish.
There were a lot of walleyes caught using jigs and minnows in depths ranging from ..." Read >> Four Seasons Fishing Report May 14, 2018
Opening day brought success for Itasca area anglers who spent their day fishing “Old Reliable” waters.
Sharing news with friends about yesterday’s fishing opener experiences reminded me of conversations that I might have had 20 years ago.
Walleye anglers on Winnibigoshish were lined up from the gap, all the way to the rock pile and for many, the fishing was good. Similar scenarios played out at Stony Point, Cutfoot Sioux’s “Gap” and along the west shore near the Mississippi River.
On Bowstring, crowds were surprisingly robust despite low water conditions at the ramps. For anglers who fought off the low water accesses, fishing was ..." Read >> Walleye Season Opener Report May 13, 2018
"What do you do when the walleyes have there bellies on the bottom? Grab a Lindy Rig of course!
That's what Walleye anglers have done for 50 years and during that time, over 40 million Lindy Rigs have been sold.
This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen and fellow guide Pat Burch will give you a master class on Lindy Rigging. Not only will they show you exactly what to look for and how to make them bite.
They'll share details about all of the new, 50th anniversary Lindy Rigs while they're at it!." View Video >> Lindy Rigging For Deep Walleyes
Spottail Shiners and their availability generated a lot of conversation last week. For the most part, none of the major bait dealers could produce a single one in time for the walleye opener.
That’s why I was surprised when the minnow tanks were chock full of Spottails at the Pokegama Lake Store in Grand Rapids when we walked in on Saturday. At $6.00 per dozen, you’ll want to be protective of your stash, make sure you have plenty of fresh water and an aerator in your vehicle so the AIS Inspectors don’t make you throw ‘em away.
Is that price a little steep? Yes, but if you want ‘em, they have do have ‘em and when I pressed the attendant about their supply, he ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Fishing Opener Report May 13, 2018
Well here we are, the Minnesota Walleye fishing opener has arrived. That means it's time for me to get it in gear and report the reportable. Which so far, amounts to this?
My daughter and son-in-law, Annalee and Austin arrived safely last night and everybody has gotten (or is still getting) a good night's sleep. We're on the verge of rustling up breakfast and then we're on our way to the lake. We actually have 3 lakes in mind and no matter which one we decide on, it will be the first time that I've never opened the season there.
All three lakes were chosen because they have ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Opener May 12, 2018
On Friday I wrote; "It is unbelievably heartwarming to know how much support I received from my family, my friends, my fishing customers and my readers. It is so amazing to have you all in my corner that I can’t even find words to express myself."
Well today you can take that statement and multiply it by 100! Since the video aired last night, I've received so many messages, filled with so many kind words it's hard to know what to say except Thank You!!
I promised to share a link for anybody who missed seeing the newscast on WCCO, or for folks who live outside the Twin Cities broadcast area. Enjoy the broadcast and again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart! View Video >> "Best Of Minnesota" Fishing Guide WCCO TV
For a few years now, I’ve written that fishing for Walleyes without Shiners isn’t the worst thing that can happen to an angler. But I do admit that it’s nice having them when they are available and I’ve learned that there will be “SOME” available for the weekend.
On Wednesday morning, I sent out feelers to a bunch of bait dealers requesting updates about bait supplies. Not many responded and of the ones that did, most reported that weekend bait supplies will consist primarily of Fatheads, a few will have Rainbows and a couple will have Golden Shiners if they’re lucky. There was one surprise response though, one report of a bait shop that has "Good Amounts" of Shiners. In an email from Tony at ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 10, 2018
"My goal on Tuesday was to get you one fresh photo of a live Spottail Shiner, but I couldn’t do it. That’s right, I’ve been inside every open bait shop that I’ve passed by and so far not a single one of them has had any such animal in their inventory.
That doesn’t mean that nobody has some, it only means that I haven’t located ‘em yet. But it also means that even if there is somebody with a secret stash, it will be a struggle to take out a large enough mortgage to pay for them.
Golden Shiners aren’t a lot easier to come by, but at least a few of the dealers do ..." Read >> Shiner Shortage May 9, 2018
Q) Darren Kern wrote; “What are your thoughts on Leech Lake being open water for the opener?”
A) Darren, thank you, I’ve needed a good excuse to make my annual supply run over to Reeds Family Outfitters in Walker and your question provided just that excuse. Along the way, I snapped pictures at each of the landings, so when you see their names, just click on them to open the images.
I took off from Grand Rapids on Tuesday and first headed west across Hwy 2 to my first checkpoint at the Sucker Bay Landing. From the ramp, I observed that the bay was ice free almost as far as eye could see. There was dense, low lying fog over the surface about 2 miles out from shore. The fog was a giveaway that ..." Read >> Leech Lake Update May 9, 2018
Shiner trappers will be happy with today’s forecast, but not right away.
Why the delayed reaction? Because conditions for getting traps into the water are going to get worse before they get better.
Minnesota’s best shiner lakes are big, lakes like Winnibigoshish, Mille Lacs, Leech and Upper Red provide anglers with the lion’s share of the Spottail Shiners that we fish with.
It’s not obvious until you study maps of most large lakes in north central Minnesota, but when you do, an interesting pattern begins to emerge. The easiest accesses to the best shallow water flats, where shiner minnows spawn, are most prevalent on ..." Read >> Search For Shiners Heats Up May 8, 2018
"The Minnesota general fishing opener has me heading back to my roots, the way I started fishing in the first place. That means, for the most part, that I’ll be trolling and/or casting spoons for northern pike, a species that generally is willing to bite and provide plenty of action. It’ll be fun, and I can’t wait to feel those ferocious strikes.
Organizing my tackle, and ordering a few more things, I was delighted to see that Northland Tackle has added several new colors to their line of Forage Minnow casting spoons. A couple that caught my eye are “white diamond” and “purple scratch”. You can check them out by going on-line; cool looking baits.
Of course, I’d never rule out soaking a sucker minnow below a ..." Read >> Greg's Guidelines May 8, 2018
"On the home stretch to Minnesota Fishing Opener May 12th. Ice continues to break up, float around and melt on the lake. Much like 2014 with a late ice off walleyes were stacked in shallows and Rainy River/Four Mile Bay. Most anglers on opener will be bouncing a jig and frozen shiner off bottom.
Pike season is on fire right now. Pike tournament last weekend yielded 34 pike over 40 inches for 2 days. A big smelt laid on bottom, trolling crankbaits and buzz baits are all options to catch this big girls.
Rainy River is looking to be the go to spot for Minnesota Fishing opener as walleyes of all sizes will be ..." Read >> Lake of the woods Report May 8, 2018
"Here are 15 proven fishing knots we think will make you extremely versatile in bass fishing. These knots will give you a lot of options for joining lines, creating loops on lures, snelling, or just getting stronger connections and quick solid knots when you’re in a hurry to get your lure back in the water.
We've illustrated how to tie each fishing knot, and made it easy to view on your phone out in the boat. So be sure to bookmark this link for later and share it with your fishing buddies." Learn More >> 15 Fishing Knots Every Angler Should Know
Fifty Eight Degrees was the surface temperature on Prairie Lake Sunday afternoon. Maybe that shouldn’t have surprised me, but I was expecting something a little less than that. It shows what Ray can do with a calm day on a dark water lake.
I guess we never really planned on making this a high level, fish catching trip. But we caught a few anyway and that, along with good conversation and gorgeous scenery made the afternoon fly by. After that wonderful afternoon on the lake I’m looking ahead at the weather forecast of highs over 60, blue skies and calm seas. I’m just wondering, do you suppose that we’re actually going to have a nice weekend for the fishing opener?
If we do, it’s going to help improve prospects that shiners, spottails in particular will begin migrating toward shore. So far, that has ..." Read >> Fishing Report may 7, 2018
"As the industry prepares to head to Washington, DC for the American Boating Congress, the Modern Fish Act is focal point of ongoing industry advocacy with numerous outreach efforts underway.
The Center for Sportfishing Policy (CSP) is leading initiatives to put the Modern Fish Act front and center as Congress prepares to move the bill to the House and Senate floors for a vote.
Last week, CSP launched a new video series to educate Congress and boating and fishing stakeholders on the critical need for sound fisheries management. And, today, a new ..." Read More >> The Modern Fish Act Takes Center Stage In Washington
I’m glad that I and the Hippie Chick set our Saturday chores aside and drove up to see the walleye egg harvest operation at Cutfoot Sioux yesterday. It is moving so fast that if we’d waited until later today, we may easily have missed the entire show.
That’s right, the trap nets were only set on Thursday, but the fish were lined up and waiting to get in. DNR Fisheries Staff harvested 300 quarts of eggs on Friday, racked up another 360 quart harvest on Saturday and now have only about 240 quarts to collect today before meeting this year’s quota; the 2018 harvest will already be wrapped up today.
Typical of late ice out seasons, the fish showed up at the nets fast and ..." Read >> Countdown To The Walleye Opener May 6, 2018
The open water is a blessing for bait dealers who hope to lay in minnow supplies before the fishing opener next week. Minnow trappers are in for a very hectic week now that they can finally ramp up their effort to get the traps in place.
Getting traps in the water is a great first step, but there’s no guarantee how fast minnows will begin showing up. At this point, whether or not supplies will be adequate to get through the weekend remains questionable.
Warm temperatures and calm conditions are ideal and so far, the forecast appears to favor a late inning comeback. If the shiners are as hot to trot as the walleye are, then there’s a chance for ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 5, 2018
Bowen Lodge's report about the walleye season outlook on Cutfoot Sioux and Lake Winnie prompted some comments from readers about the prospect of DNR Fisheries closing part of the lake to walleye fishing for the opener.
I spent most of the past two days trying to track down an "official notice" from DNR Fisheries about the closure. Lacking a solid confirmation, I drove up to the Little Cutfoot walleye egg harvest site this morning to check for notices at the landings.
There were some DNR fisheries staff at the landing and when asked, they did confirm that due to the late ice cover and an early walleye opener, concentrations of walleye that remain near the egg-collection operation at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake will ..." Read >> DNR Closes Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake to Protect Walleye
Now that we know for sure that there will be open water when you get here, it’s time to focus on where to fish on opening weekend.
Always popular on the opener, Cutfoot Sioux will be even more so this spring. Walleye, particularly the coveted “keeper size” male fish will linger near shallow spawning territory. Female walleye tend to arrive fast, spawn fast and move away from the spawn sites quickly. Even taking the late ice out into consideration, most of the larger female walleye will already be in a “post spawn” condition by the opener. It’s likely that they will ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Walleye Opener Forecast May 2, 2018
Hi everybody! I know that a lot of you already "liked", "shared" or voted in one of WCCO TV's Facebook posts a couple of weeks ago. Thank you so much, we really appreciate that!
Just a reminder that the facebook poll was not the actual vote. The Facebook poll was a preliminary process to pare down to the short list of names for the official vote.
We're not sure when the voting will actually be over, but they are still taking votes. That's why I'm asking you to just double check to be sure you cast your vote. Here's the link that allows you to vote in the official poll at the official WCCO website >> WCCO Who's The Best Fishing Guide Poll
Thank You Everybody! We really appreciate it and have a wonderful fishing season! Katie
" Starting with lake... ice continues to melt in a big way. Travel on the lake is very unsafe at this time. Pike season is open all year as border waters. Big pike are close to coming into bays for boat anglers. A big smelt laid on bottom, trolling crankbaits and buzz baits are all options to catch this big girls. Minnows of all kinds must be authorized through bait dealers.
Rainy River sturgeon fishing... The keep season lasts through May 7. Catch and release May 8 - 15. Anglers who remain mobile fared better again this past week as the Little and Big Fork Rivers opened up. Water clarity already clearing and will be cleared up by opener. Luckily sturgeon feed by smell in dirty water. Many big 60+ inch fish caught along ..." Read >> Rainy River Lake of the Woods Report May 1, 2018
"My canceled plans had me heading in the opposite direction, south, to Lake Superior. There’s always open water somewhere, if you’re willing to travel, and that’s pretty much what it takes at this time of the season.
Keith Nelson resides in Duluth and was looking for a fishing partner for the big lake. It was the perfect opportunity to get back in a boat. It was also about half the distance, being an hour and a half instead of three.
Having fished the big lake a number of times, I knew it would be cold out on the water, so there I was, digging out my winter wear, which had just been put away for the summer.
Meeting at the McQuade public access, we readied the equipment, along with several other anxious anglers. There was ice on much of the area we planned to fish, only a week earlier, and it certainly felt like it out on the water. Water temps were in the 34º range.
Setting out our two lines apiece, it wasn't too long before a fish ..." Read >> Greg Clusiau Report May 1, 2018
They say a picture is worth 1000 words and after our Sunday drive around the McGregor area, I've got more pictures than I know what to do with.
I've been getting a lot of emails asking about the ice conditions specific to one lake or another. Knowing that I'll never have enough time to write back about every one of them individually, I thought it best to just take a tour and grab some pictures. Since there were a few questions about Big Sandy Lake in particular, we decided to take a Sunday drive south from Grand Rapids, through McGregor and then west to Hwy 169 for the return trip home.
Except for Big Sandy, the lakes that we stopped at ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 30, 2018
Images of open water in north central Minnesota are getting easier to find every day. On Saturday, there was open water along the shoreline edges of every lake we stopped at. Most of them were barely beginning to open, but in some cases, the open water areas were expansive.
Ice is already melting fast and today, Mother Nature is bringing us an extra special gift. She’s bringing in sunny skies, temperatures in the high 60’s and strong winds. Not just any strong wind, NOAA has issued a “Red Flag Warning”; winds could gust up to 30 MPH! On Monday, highs in the 70’s, sunny again and more wind. For Tuesday, rain and continued warm temperatures.
Remember the article, “Lake Ice from a Recreational Perspective” that I ...” Read >> Fishing Report April 29, 2018
"The ice on Little Cutfoot is receding and there is open water at the Mosomo campground that stretches southward past the steel posts where the DNR sets up the walleye egg harvest operation. Open water at the landing on the south shore of Little Cutfoot is surrounded by soft ice and on Thursday, the wind forced that ice to pulsate like a rolling wave.
That rolling action means that the ice has "candled" and is no longer rigid enough to remain stationary during a strong wind and that Little Cutfoot is likely to be ice free in the very near future.
The late ice melt may not allow us a ton of extra time to prepare the marina and the grounds for the upcoming fishing opener. But we do feel optimistic that all systems are green for go and that the resort will be ready for the fishing opener.
Overall, the 2018 fishing forecast for Lake Winnibigoshish is a good one, especially for anglers who ..." Read >> 2018 Winnibigoshish Fishing Outlook
The St. Croix River has exceeded the 683.0’ threshold for a 'Slow-No Wake' Zone from Taylors Falls to the Mississippi River in Prescott, WI; signs will be posted at the accesses and marinas.
The St Croix River level predictions may change due to additional precipitation and extend the 'Slow-No Wake' timeframe. Marinas and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) public water accesses along the St Croix River will be posted advising of the 'Slow-No Wake' Zone.
"Slow-no wake" means the operation of a watercraft at ..." Learn More >> St. Croix River "Slow N0-Wake Restrictions"
On April 24, 2018 Charles Bigler wrote; Q) "Have you heard much about Leech Lake? I would like to get out one more time this Thursday off of pine point!
A) Charles, I reached out to my friend Josh Bullivant at Trapper's Landing Lodge (218-326-2500) for some advice about Leech Lake yesterday.
Josh wrote; "Yes there are still people heading out up there. Some of the ice is starting to get a little weak around the edges for truck traffic but ATV traffic is still good. Perch fishing has been great and getting better."
Josh's report, along with the photos he sent over were almost persuasive enough to make me put the boat back in the garage and head over there. But I'm gonna stick with my plan and ..." Read >> Leech Lake Update April 25, 2018
Is there any wonder why participation in outdoor sports is declining?
Here's an article from the Associated Press that ran in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press on April 23, 2018. I think this one will leave you scratching your head!
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. "A near-century-old outdoor recreation club will now refrain from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness, according to officials at Penn State University.
The Penn State Outing Club, originally founded in 1920, announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too ..." Learn More >> Wilderness Trips Too Risky For Outdoor Clubs
I stopped at Little Cutfoot and although open water was advancing well past the bridge, there was still no open water at the pipes where the walleye egg harvest will eventually take place. That places the annual egg harvest well behind the average schedule and we are now officially 3 days past the dates that the harvest was completed in both 2017 and 2016.
I stopped again at the US Forest Service landing at the Williams Narrows Campground on Cutfoot and that's where I spoke with two men who were preparing to travel onto the lake using an ATV. They had fished Cutfoot on Saturday, found 24 to 26 inches of solid ice and expected to find good ice again today.
The anglers cautioned about deteriorating conditions on smaller lakes though. “Small panfish lakes, especially the ones that ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 24, 2018
"The River in front of us is now open! It’s surprising what a couple days in the 60’s will do to the ice. The landing next to us was opened up on Monday morning. The weather here is beautiful! Spring has Finally arrived!
Sturgeon and Northern Pike fishing are open and we will keep you updated on those conditions.
We are still working on our spring remodel projects, with the Great Cabin ready to go, and the deck on the main lodge completely removed, we are prepping the site for the retaining wall. Can’t wait to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report April 24, 2018
At Grand Rapids, ice thickness hadn't changed much by Saturday afternoon. I measured 25 inches of ice on Pughole Lake, a small lake that freezes fairly quickly during early winter.
Even though the ice thickness had not been reduced significantly since my last visit, the condition of the ice has. As you see in the photo, there was about 6 inches of heavy, wet slush distributed uniformly across the top of the ice. I like seeing that because the added moisture will help saturate the ice, making it darker and allowing the sun to warm it even more quickly.
Not long ago, I was on a fishing trip with ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Report April 22, 2018
There’s still a couple feet of ice out there and I found one good way to monitor the progress. Click on the image or follow the link to view the Williams Narrows Resort web cams. They have cameras pointing both toward Big Cutfoot Sioux and toward First River. I’ve been fascinated by checking in every few hours because I am literally watching the ice melt, albeit little by little.
Even though I could still go ice fishing for a few more days, I’m not gonna and even knowing that I could probably catch a sturgeon by driving up to the Rainy River too, but I’m not gonna do that either.
Instead, this year I’m remembering my own past mistakes and I’m planning to ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 23, 2018
I AM thoroughly grateful for those of you who have helped me out by plugging my name on WCCO's facebook poll asking about popular fishing guides in Minnesota. I'm not really sure what, if anything actually happens as a result of your participation, but I sure do appreciate your vote of confidence.
Contrary to popular belief, being a full time fishing guide is a humble career, not a glamorous one. I believe that it's best suited for folks who love people and want to serve them. I have especially appreciated comments from those of you who have seen that in me and mentioned it. Thank You!! I promise not to get a swelled head by reading!
"Nothing feels better than the first calm, sunny day that comes after a major wind storm.
But walleyes, recovering from turbulent conditions and heavy feeding binges, can be tougher to catch under the Bluebird skies.
This week Jon Thelen reveals tips and tricks for Lindy Rigging that will help you capitalize on “post blow” conditions and put more walleyes in your boat." View Video >> Lindy Rigging For Post Blow Walleyes
I’m learning that watching the weather forecast and anticipating its impact on ice-out is lot like watching a Vikings game. At the moment, it looks like we’re in the game, but we won’t know if we’re actually winning until after the 2 minute warning.
Right now, surface snow cover is melting really fast, feeder creeks and rivers are open and some of the ice around boat ramps or user developed landings is breaking up. But on the lakes, there are persistent reports of ice thicknesses ranging from 20 to 30 inches and we continue to see folks driving light trucks, apparently safely, on ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 21, 2018
South of Grand Rapids, we stopped at one small lake just as a couple of young fishermen were driving off of the ice. They’d been in town for a couple of days and reported drilling through 20 to 24 inches of ice in the area they’d been fishing. They reported that execpt for the top few inches, that were honeycombed, the ice was solid and dry.
They said driving their SUV was easy on Tuesday, but was getting a little dicey by the end of Wednesday. One of the men added that he doubted whether or not he’d try to drive on the same lake again today (Thursday) because the surface was beginning to get soft and slushy. Both of them appeared to be pleased that they made it off of the ice without incident.
Panfish were biting they said and the two anglers were sporting big smiles, appropriate for ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Ice Conditions Update April 19, 2018
Highlights along my route were few and far between; most of the lakes I saw were still locked up with ice and the accesses were in very good condition. There were some areas of open water; both sides of the bridge at Little Cutfoot were open. That open water did not extend to the pipes where the DNR nets will eventually intercept spawning walleyes, but it was still a hopeful sign that spring is coming.
By the time I arrived at the north landing on Round Lake, my concerns about low water were heightened. Despite most of the state being dumped on by recent snowfalls, the north central region remains dry. Water at this landing is easily 3 feet low and looks just like it ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 18, 2018
"Wow. Don’t you just love this weather? I’ve been ice fishing on a regular basis but Sunday’s cold, blowing wind kept me off the lake. All it took was an early morning walk with my dog, Lily, for me to rethink my plans. There was no way I was going out there, as I had been on the ice for several consecutive days and needed a well-deserved break.
I almost feel driven to go, now that I have 85 ice fishing trips in the books. Why stop now, when there’s still 30” of ice and plenty of snow to keep it cool. I might just hit 100 trips this season after all. My goodness. And to be honest with you, I’m really looking forward to some open water outings and had two of them planned but both fell through.
Both had to do with Lake Superior and I’m sure you’ve seen all the videos taken of that wild and crazy lake over the ..." ... Read >> Greg's Guidelines April 17, 2018
"The walleye/sauger season closed April 14th with a bang. Strong numbers of big walleyes caught on the Rainy River this past week.
Rainy River setting up very nicely for MN Fishing Opener May 12th as big fish should still be there. Some big fish also caught through the ice adjacent to Pine Island. Reports of large cracks opening on the lake. Safety first. Ice roads closed to vehicles and are travel at your own risk.
Big pike being caught in pre-spawn areas and shallow bays. Live suckers, big smelt, or hot dogs working. Minnows and other legal fish used for bait must be authorized through bait dealers. Auger extensions still needed.
Rainy River sturgeon fishing is hot right now. Many big fish being caught this past week. Finding deeper holes and laying a ..." Read >> Rainy River Report April 17, 2018
"Walleye anglers on the Winnebago System’s lakes and rivers could see the daily bag limit drop from five fish to three by 2020 as the Department of Natural Resources updates its management plan for Wisconsin’s largest walleye factory.
The Winnebago System includes the state’s largest inland lake, Winnebago, and the upriver lakes of Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan; as well as large portions of the Fox and Wolf rivers. The system covers 166,000 acres, which is 17 percent of Wisconsin’s surface waters. It also sustains a recreational fishery that contributes at least $234 million annually to local economies while supporting over 4,300 jobs.
The DNR enacted the system’s current walleye plan in ..." Read Article >> Lower Winnebago Walleye Limit
"Control of the double-crested cormorant will return this spring when the bird returns from wintering along the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf coasts, according to federal authorities. Almost all culling was suspended last year after a federal judge ruled in May 2016 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to adequately assess its impact. With that study complete, the service can again issue permits to kill cormorants to protect property, habitat, airports, fish hatcheries and other birds.
“We’re trying to balance maintaining a stable cormorant population with managing them in the place where they’re causing damage,” said Tom Cooper, a region chief for the ..." Read Full Article >> People can once again kill cormorants
"As I began drilling a hole, my auger blade encountered crisp, solid ice that was dryer than I expected. In fact, even as the blade came close to punching out the bottom of the hole, ice chips were still coming up fairly dry. I didn't like that because the solid, dry ice chips were a signal that we haven’t had enough water from surface melting to saturate the ice. Saturating the ice with melted surface water is one way to speed up the melting process. So the dry ice isn't good news for anxious fishermen who want to see the ice go away in time for the fishing opener in 5 weeks.
There was one glimmer of hope though, when I measured the thickness of the ice, my tape measure stopped at a little less than 24 inches. I know that's still fairly thick, but it’s a far cry from the 40 inches of ice that ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Grand Rapids April 14, 2018
I feel bad for everybody in south central Minnesota where yet another “storm of the century” is expected to arrive soon. It’s no fun being stuck inside while there are still so many fishing opportunities available. But the weekend weather forecast for us folks up north doesn’t look bad at all and I hope that some of you can take advantage of it.
Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-high thirties will be ideal for folks who’d like to ice fish for panfish or even take one last swing at Lake of the Woods Walleyes this Saturday. In fact, I spent a good part of Thursday checking the availability of lodging, hoping that I could take the Hippie Chick on an adventure to catch her walleye through the ice.
The folks at Border Bait advised me that the ice road going out of Wheelers Point was ..." Read >> Fishing Update April 13, 2018
"We are officially closed for the season and our spring clean-up is under way.
As we sit here looking out over the ice, it looks lonely out there. Happy for a chance to rest and prepare for the open water season, we still can’t help but miss the hubbub we experienced these past few months.
Reminiscing about our Winter Season, our thoughts turned first and foremost to ones of gratitude. We are humbled and thankful for all of our blessings. All of the friendships and love from our fellow anglers is overwhelming.
We’ve loved hearing your fish tales, sharing in your fish-fry’s and watching you enjoy your time away from work. Thank you all for a great season, we are thankful for your patronage!
Our mantra this year has been “Quality over Quantity” as there were lots of nice fish this season. There’s a lot to look forward to this year and we can’t wait to see how the open water season unfolds.
Now that it’s time to plan your summer vacation, be sure to check our cabin availability page. Thanks again everybody, we’re looking forward to seeing you again soon!" - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Resort
On Tuesday, I wrote; "Referencing Bemidji Area Fisheries Manager, Gary Barnard's comments about Upper Red Lake Walleye bag limits, I found it interesting that he used the phrase "A Lot of Walleyes" to describe the 4 fish bag limit.
I can honestly say that for me, a 4 fish bag limit is fine. I have more than ample opportunity to catch enough fish to eat and I can usually accomplish it within a reasonable amount of time. But that said I still do not view a bag limit of 4 fish as “A Lot of Fish.”
Even the current statewide bag limit of 6 fish doesn’t stretch very far for folks who travel long distances to fish, or for those who have to wait for long periods of time between fishing trips. I suspect that folks who provide most of the tourism dollars to Minnesota’s economy come to our state because of “the promise” that they can take some fish home to eat. That is if they can ..." Learn More >> Walleye Bag Limit Poll
"Ice fishing on the lake doing well. Reefs near Arnesen's and Long Point producing some nice keepers.
Some big walleyes being caught along Pine Island. Rattles working well on all spoons. Ice roads all different open to trucks some only atv/sleds, and some closed. Call ahead and work through a resort-outfitter who is monitoring their road.
Big pike being caught in pre-spawn areas. Live suckers, big smelt, or hot dogs have been producing best. Pike bait must be through authorized bait dealer to prevent VHS.
Walleye Season Closes Saturday April 14. Auger extensions still needed.
Rainy River spring fishing was difficult on weekend anglers as temperatures were overnight temps were in single digits. Birchdale and Frontier landings are still open to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report April 10, 2018
"Our past week, originally set aside for a fishing trip to the gulf to catch Redfish was diverted to a working vacation right here at home.
Merging two households into one is never easy, but pairing down into an 823 square foot house makes the process extremely interesting. Somehow though, the week of sorting the sortable and transferring cartons from one place to another has ..." Read >> Sundin Update April 9, 2018
“Anglers really like the current opportunities to keep lots of walleye on Upper Red Lake,” said Gary Barnard, area fisheries supervisor in Bemidji for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “These regulations serve a specific purpose now, but we want to be clear that eventually we may need to pull back.”
Red Lake’s walleye harvest is managed under a joint harvest plan, revised in 2015 by ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Walleye Regulations For 2018
On March 27, 2018 Tim Olson wrote; “Jeff, following the discussion about muskies and musky stocking, I see some folks referencing a supposed relationship between muskies and a decline in Northern Pike populations and/or spawning success. Are you aware of any direct relationship between the two? Also, I’m wondering about your take on the new pike regulation that will allow a 10 fish limit for northern Minnesota?
A) Tim, pike and muskies not only spawn at different times, but also spawn using very different habitats from each other. Pike begin staging near their spawning grounds before the ice melts and will be the first fish to ..." Read >> Muskies, Stocking and Ideal Habitat March 28, 2018
If you can’t catch walleyes during the day, fish ‘em at night”. These are the words of Captain Ron Hunter, legendary fishing guide and former owner of Judd’s resort on Lake Winnie.
He said this more as a jab at our fishing ability than as advice. Well, Captain Ron never has much problem catching them during the day, but admittedly it’s getting tougher and tougher.
Lake Winnibigoshish was known for years as a gentleman’s lake. Most days the fish bit from 8-4. You’d come in, clean your fish and be ready for happy hour by 5:00.
Over the last 7 years I’ve probably spent an average 75 days on the lake fishing and trying to pattern the walleyes and perch of Winnie. These days, the lake is changing and so are the habits of “Ole Marble Eyes”. Read Article >> Walleyes Get Hotter when the Sun Goes Down on Lake Winnibigoshish!
"Here are 15 proven fishing knots we think will make you extremely versatile in bass fishing. These knots will give you a lot of options for joining lines, creating loops on lures, snelling, or just getting stronger connections and quick solid knots when you’re in a hurry to get your lure back in the water.
We've illustrated how to tie each fishing knot, and made it easy to view on your phone out in the boat. So be sure to bookmark this link for later and share it with your fishing buddies." Learn More >> 15 Fishing Knots Every Angler Should Know
Q) "On March 9, 2018 Ralph Zobjeck wrote; "After reading this (Will Winnie Walleyes Make A Comeback?) I have to ask. Why is this lake and her smaller connected lakes consistently harvested for their roe at Cut Foot if there seems to be an issue with the hatch? Shouldn't this practice be suspended for a couple of years if the problem is not enough smaller fish?
A) I understand that it does seem to be counter-intuitive, but the simple answer is that eggs deposited naturally by walleyes upstream of Little Cutfoot have a very poor survival rate. Over time, sedimentation has degraded the habitat where they ..." Read >> Does The Cutfoot Sioux Egg Harvest Hurt Winnie?
Tune in this weekend as Outdoor Bound TV travels to famous Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota for a little Northern Pike action with our friend Bill Heig of Bowen Lodge and long time friend & guide, Jeff Sundin.
On this trip we're not targeting the monster Pike, we're looking for eater fish on light tackle. Then Jeff shares with us his recipe for blackened pike at a backyard fish fry by the lake.
Watch the episode Sunday Morning at 11:00 AM on WDIO TV 13, Duluth, MN or click here for more >> Outdoor Bound Channel Options - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Q) Al Kirkpatrick wrote; “Wondering your thoughts on Big Winnie. Do you think Walleye populations will return to the days of old, or is this lake another disaster due to poor young of the year recruitment?
These slots just seem to mess up lakes with too many larger males that decimate forage. I'm all for saving spawning females, but things just don't seem to work out well with the existing slots. I think it's more than just the clear water situation occurring on Winnie. Given the poorer than normal productivity during recent seasons and the harvest being way down from the good old days, this lake should just be chuck full of walleye, but I ..." Read >> Q&A March 9, 2018 Come Back For Winnie Walleyes?
Reporting back with an update about last week's Q&A regarding pre-mature loss of battery voltage in his Ice Helix 7, Steve Sykes wrote; "Thanks for your help, it worked! Battery lasted all day long and I actually still had 70% battery life after a full day of ice fishing." Click >> Review Original Ice Helix 7 Q&A Here
"There's still uncertainty about side imaging technology and if it's worth it. We let the imaging do the talking and let you decide based on fishing style and budget.
The goals of this video are to 1) prove that side imaging technology produces highly detailed pictures far off to the sides of the boat, and 2) help you decide if this technology is right for your fishing situation. To accomplish this, we filmed on an ultra clear lake and drove a shallow rock flat covered with boulders and also containing sunken boats and tires. An in-boat camera was focused on the fish finder screen while a drone flew overhead (synched with in-boat camera). Jeff “Kolo” Kolodzinski simply drives the structure and ..." View Video To Learn More >> Is Side Imaging Fish Finder Technology Right for You?
Steve Penkoske Wrote;
Q) "Jeff, What kind of trailer do you prefer, a bunk or roller?
A) Steve, if I was assured that every landing I would ever use had water depths adequate for floating my fiberglass 208 ProV, I would absolutely prefer bunk trailers.
Bunks provide better support for my hull and given that I have enough water to float my boat, the bunk trailer is an absolute dream to load. Hands down, the bunks are a better way to go, when and if they suit your needs.
They do have one drawback and it’s a big problem for me because not all of the public access sites at the lakes I fish provide water that’s deep enough to provide adequate flotation.
That's why I still ..." Read >> Bunk Trailers vs Roller Trailers; Which Is Best?
Pete Mayer wrote; "I read your article on Thursday about controlling a tiller boat in big waves, it makes sense, but not all of us are lucky enough to have a boat like yours. So my questions are do you really need a tiller boat and what would you do in these situations if you didn’t have one?"
Answer) Pete, you’re right, I am extremely lucky to be able to ..." Read >> Boat Control Tiller vs Console October 20, 2017
What is barotrauma? Simply stated barotrauma is “injury caused to the body by changing air or water pressure.” In humans we know this as “The Bends”- a dangerous condition that divers experience when they come up too fast from deep water. Believe it or not, something similar happens in fish.
For example: When an angler angles walleye at the bottom of the lake, those walleye are experiencing a certain amount of pressure (air & water). When the angler yanks them up to the surface, that pressure is drastically reduced. This means that their gas filled cavities rapidly expand. This is particularly a problem for fish due to the presence of their ..." Read >> BAROTRAUMA AWARENESS
Okay lets cut to the chase. If you've ever asked a question about using side imaging, how it works or why it works; then you need to watch this video. This is the most comprehensive turorial about using side imaging technology that I've ever seen.
Wired2Fish teamed up with Jeff “Kolo” Kolodzinski of Humminbird to create this detailed video about understanding how and why this technology works. Kolo breaks down how to read and interpret what side imaging, down imaging, and two-dimensional (2D) sonar are showing you, and how they can improve your fishing. We filmed real-time drone and underwater video of ... " View >> Understanding Side Imaging Technologies
"I’m just like you, I wish that I could visit my favorite lake any time I want and catch oodles of big Bluegills. I’d like to bring a bunch of them home too, that way I could fix a big family fish fry for every special occasion.
The problem is that if I fish there too often or bring home too many fish, my favorite lake won’t remain favored very long.
It’s a fact of life and we’re going to have to come to grips with it; as a group, we are extremely effective predators and we’re getting better all the time. We have the equipment, the knowledge, the leisure time and the communication skills to harvest fish faster than our favorite lakes can produce them. We literally have the ability to ..." Read Article >> What Is The Value Of A Sunfish?
Fish ED New Video March 2, 2017 "How Zebra Mussels Affect Fish Location"
"Exotic Zebra Mussels have invaded countless lakes across the Midwest.
Kurt Anderson Asked; what do you mean by the term “Death Cloud”? I saw your fishing report dated February 27th and in it, you said; “I was surprised that the action stopped before sundown, but it did. By 6:00 PM the screen of my Humminbird was painting images of the “death cloud”. A) Kurt, I coined the phrase “Death Cloud” before I ever ... Read >> What's The Death Cloud?
Helping your fellow fishermen and women stay abreast of the ice conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think! Fishing Reports Minnesota is the Facebook counterpart to this page and it's open to the public. So be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter" and post your own pics and comments. It's good for fishing! Click >> Fishing Reports Minnesota
Fishing The Fall Turnover In Natural Lakes - Jeff Sundin
... "This probably means that for most fishermen, "The Turnover", I mean the absolute scientific event is probably not really what influences fish locations and feeding patterns during the cold water period.
Jeff Sundin is a full time, professional fishing guide, outdoor writer and photographer. Book Jeff for guided fishing trips, for fishing seminars, fishing promotions and media events. Click here >> learn more about Jeff Sundin.
"The Early Bird Fishing Guide" Jeff Sundin - Fishing Blue Books, LLC 715 Byington Ave, LaPrairie, MN 55744 218-245-9858
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