Current Northern Minnesota Ice Fishing Reports

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Visit Us Today At The Northwest Sportshow and Get Free Lindy Jigs! Sunday March 29, 2015

We have lots of news about what's going on with our TV Show, Fish ED and all of the latest news about Lindy Fishing Tackle too. Stop by the Lindy Booth #835 today and let us introduce you to Fish ED or chat with us about your favorite episodes. While you're there, pick your free package of Lindy Jigs!
Mike Christensen, Paul Fournier, Jon Thelen and yours truly, Cub Reporter, Staff #003 will all be on hand to help help get you up to speed on the outlook for the fishing opener and if you ask really nice, I'd even be willing to take you on a personal tour of some cool deals that I've stumbled into down at the show.

image of Paul Fournier offering free Lindy Jigs
image of the Lumber Jills At the Sportshow, the view just keeps getting better and if we can get somebody to save us a place in line, we're gonna go get our pictures taken with "The Lumber Jills" later today. They put on a really fun show that's worth checking out. Don't worry about how to find 'em, they make a little bit of noise with those super charged chain saws, so you won't have any trouble figuring out when their shows start. But, if you're the type who likes to plan ahead, you can get more info here >> 2015 Northwest Sportshow

HydroWave Introduces new "Mini" For Ice Fishermen

By now, you've probably already heard about the system that attracts fish to your boat by delivering sound into the water. Well luckily, I stopped over at the HydroWave display to ask if they were thinking about maybe throwing us ice fishermen a bone and coming up with a portable version.
Guess what? My timing was good because not only have they introduced the new "Mini", but they're running a show special on them too. The Mini is basically the same system that anglers have been installing on their boats, but this one fits into your pocket so you can take it along everywhere you fish.
The show special allows you to add the HydroWave to your arsenal for $100.00, sounds like a deal to me!!

image of Hydrowave
image denotes Wired2Fish giveaway When you think of dependability and a long standing reputation for durability, Lew's reels stand out. They continue to bring high quality rods and reels to the market place that weekend anglers and pro's alike stake their reputations on. The new Tournament MB Speed Spool Casting reel offers 10 bearings, carbon composite drag, and an adjustable external Multi-Setting Brake for long casts and the power to wrench even the biggest fish out of heavy cover. Here's your chance to win one of the $139.00 reels, just click >> Lew's Tournament MB Speed Spool Giveaway

image of graphite fish reproductions At the Sportshow, our view from the Lindy Booth is always a nice one; who wouldn't want to look at all of those gorgeous fish, right? This year though, it's especially nice because a couple of those fish on the Artistic Angler display board are close personal friends. Oh you can look at the picture and try to figure out which ones, I'm not saying. But if you stop by the Lindy Booth for a chat, I'd love to walk you accross the isle and show them to you.
Oh by the way, Reeds Sporting Goods is getting silly with fishing rods again this year. They are offering some huge discounts on selected, non-current, 2014 model TFO, Fenwick and Quantum Fishing Rods. If you swing by, I'd be happy to guide you over to their display and how you how I saved over $800.00 on rods yesterday.
image of Crappies on the ice at Rainy Lake

Fast Forward Back To Winter - Greg Clusiau's Rainy Lake Crappie Adventure 3/24

"Crappies were our target and find them we did. We used atvs, even though trucks were still driving around on areas of Rainy Lake last weekend. I don’t know about that. It scares me. Yes, there is still about 36” of ice but it is late March and nearing the end of a season. Also, many of these Canadian Shield lakes have a good amount of current running through them. This is always something to be concerned about, especially when traveling or fishing near “pinched down” bottleneck areas.
Crappies were doing their thing, moving about and . ... >> Ice Fishing Rainy Lake For Crappies

Post thaw... It’s unquestionably the most epic time of transformation among the Ice Belt states and provinces. Water temperatures are on the rise, but not nearly as rapidly as the air. Luckily, it only takes a one degree increase in water temp to wake up lethargic walleyes.
So why do some anglers motor back to the launch with a livewell full of fish while others return empty netted? Oftentimes, it boils down to trolling speed; using lures that can achieve peak performance at low speeds; and holding those baits in a relatively shallow strike zone.
Few on God’s green earth are more adept at trolling for ... Read >> Slow Trolling For Early Spring Walleye

image of Mark Brumbaugh trolling for Walleye
image of portable ice shelters at Lake Superior

Show Me The Ice, Deer River Area March 23, 2015

This just in from Cub Reporter, staff #003 IHBFBB, who's been out on special assignment. Ice fishing in the Itasca Area may continue to go strong for another week, but anglers bent on finding something different to do, didn't have to go far to do it. In fact, there's more open water than you know what to do with and it's just a little over an hour away. That's right, open water fishermen were out in force this weekend along the shores of lake Superior and the action looked fairly good. I was on the wrong side of ... >> Fishing Report March 23

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report March 20, 2015 - Ice Access Updates For Friday March 20, 2015

Okay, I'm fresh in from my morning tour of the ice access conditions around Lake Winnibigoshish and for the most part, it's good news for weekend ice fishermen. I started the tour by heading toward the West side of Winnie and here's what I found.
At the trappers landing on Winnie's west side, near the Mississippi River mouth, traffic was already heavy at 7:45 AM and as I drove away from the landing there were even more vehicles approaching. I would expect that ... Read >> Lake Winnie Ice Conditions March 20, 2015

image of Robby Ott with Bluegill on ice
image denotes wired2fish giveaway NEW Giveaway (3/16) Lifelike, well balanced, creatively designed baits that "match the hatch" in colors of forage no matter where you live. Their new Yearling BaitBall Series combines the fish catching shapes of other proven LIVETARGET baits but with the look of a tightly grouped "baitball" or school of minnows inside each bait. The 3D look provides depth and dimension to each lure and was designed to fool fish feeding aggressively on baitfish. In our latest giveaway we are going to give you the opportunity to win 4 baits from the 3D-profile BaitBall Yearling series. Included are the Yearling BaitBall Series Crankbait, Walking bait, Lipless Crankbait, and Jerkbait. Enter to win >> Live Target Giveaway

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report March 19, 2015 - Suspended Sunfish, Bet Ya Can't Catch Just One!

Fishing guides like Robby don't come along every day, he's not the flashy sort, you won't find him all dressed up at the watering hole pontificating about his latest conquests. No, he just shows up, lays out the plan and then goes out and does a good job. I like guys like that and on Wednesday, I really really liked it because I was the one who got treated to one of his fishing adventures. Growing up hunting and fishing in this area, Robby knows his way around the back roads and on this day, the road led to the perfect setting for a really .... read >> Ice Fishing Report for March 19

image of Robby Ott with Bluegill on ice
image of Dr. Jason Halfen holding Walleyes

Fishing Article Using Side Imaging To Produce Pre-Spawn Walleyes

Pre-spawn walleyes respond to this burst of icy cold water in predictable ways. First of all, recognize that the fish don't move (or, don't move very far). Biology and instinct has driven them to position on or very near spawning areas, and those biological urges have not disappeared. Unless the dip in water temperatures is also accompanied by an unusual, dramatic increase in water flow, the fish will typically not reposition within the river. That's the good news: if you knew where the fish were in late winter, then you know where to focus your efforts when the water ... read article >> Dr. Jason Halfen, Side Imaging For Pre-Spawn Walleyes

image denotes question from a reader (re-post) Lund Alaskan For Rough Water? - Kevin Scott Wrote; "I have a good friend, early 60s who fishes Minnesota-Wisconsin and Canada on medium size lakes like Bowstring. He's contemplating purchasing a new boat and fishes for walleye and Panfish mainly. I recommended the Lund Alaskan in a tiller but he has had a console and is leaning that way. Easy trailering and easy in and out of water is important and being able to troll and work structure with the right equipment.
A) Kevin, Everyone has their own ideas about what they "NEED" in a boat. The Alaskan is one boat that makes a lot of sense for anglers who want to have all of the right tools for fishing, and don't mind ... >> Read Answer
image of Lund Alaskan

Helping your fellow ice 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 >>

image says become a duly deputized Cub Reporter

Where Have All The Sunfish Gone? Picking back up on yesterday's subject about the disappearing Sunfish, a note from Jesse Aultman on Thursday reads; "It's pretty likely the sunnies are just as abundant as ever, but I just didn't happen upon the school(s) of them".
Okay Jesse now that you've ruled in favor of the fish still being available, I'm gonna have to make a few assumptions about where I'd look for them. Remember, I still have the blindfold on, so I'm giving you my best guesses, based on general knowledge about the fish, not about the lake.
One key factor in tracking Sunfish location is to ... read full answer >> Where Have All The Sunfish Gone?

image of Sunfish
image of fish tightly schooled on graph "Cleaning Up Your Fish Finders Image" - I've been talking electronics a lot with anglers the last month or so, and I am learning that a lot of fishermen have anxiety when it comes to how to use electronics when fishing. Maybe anxiety is not the right word, but they are just overwhelmed with all the settings, so they end up doing nothing except turning the graphs on and off.
Luckily for anglers, the technology is so good in fishing depth finders and chart plotters today that they work really well out of the box. But they work a whole lot better if you make a few changes to your settings to get a clear picture. Read Story >> CLEAN UP YOUR FISH FINDER'S IMAGE
image of ice fisherman with Coho Salmon  on Lake Superior

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (3/10) From his first ever ice fishing trip trip to Lake Superior, Brian Castellano says; "3 of us were the 1st ones at the Brighton Beach parking lot this morning. This area is just north of the Lester River on Hwy 61, as you are going up the North Shore out of Duluth.
We set up in about 45' of water and had to use our headlamps from the get go, yes we were that early. LOL
We graphed LOTS of schools of fish coming through right from the get go, but could only put 2 coho's and a lake herring on the ice. As the morning went on we saw less and less on the graphs. Some of the schools were 20' thick!!!
Around 9:30 am my buddy and I headed out to 80+ feet and tried for about 2 hours for lakers. We had a few that would chase from bottom up to about 10' off the bottom and then cruise back down. Frustrating.
We pulled the plug about 2:30 pm. A silver Slender Spoon with a green sticker and a piece of minnow put 2 coho's on the ... read more >> Castellano, Lake Superior Ice Fishing March 10

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report March 12, 2015 - Where Have All The Sunfish Gone?

Jesse Aultman wrote; "On my original visit, there were sunfish EVERYWHERE near bottom from 15 to 25 ft. Literally everywhere I checked, the bottom was littered with Sunnies back then. Some keepers, some almost keepers and lots of dinks. I didn't think the lake had crappies - just Sunnies and bass.
The water is dark, so I worried that the evening bite wouldn't exist, but I wanted to try anyway, So last night I buzzed out there after work.
I drilled enough holes to cover the deep hole, a line of shallow holes into about 7 feet and holes over the mid-depth mud flat that "I just knew" would be packed with Sunnies.
For a half hour I couldn't find a SINGLE fish; couldn't even graph one. After making two laps around my holes, I was about to pack it up, when (I saw) a pack of ... read full Q&A >> Where Have All The Sunfish Gone?

image denotes question from reader (3/3) Leech Lake Tulibee Fishing - A question from Scott Welshinger; "I was wondering about the tullibees on Leech lake; when and where in the spring do you go to ice fish them?
A) Scott, your timing is good because you can probably get out there and catch them right now, today. Tulibee spend most of their time over deep water where they will suspend at virtually any depth. We've seen them roaming anywhere from a few inches under the ice, all of the way down to the bottom. Unlike most other game fish in Leech Lake, Tulibee are fall spawning fish, so there isn't any spawning event to influence their behavio during spring.
If you connect the dots to form a triangle from Stony Point to Submarine Island and back to Ottertail Point and fish in water depths in the 30 foot range, you will be in reliable territory.
Tulibee prefer small baits, but in open water, it can be hard to get their attention unless you have a lure that produces lots of flash and makes some noise. For me, a good approach for attracting them is to use a 3/8 ounce Rattl'in Flyer Spoon in a flashy color like the Silver Shiner or Tulibee pattern to attract their attention. You won't need bait on it beacuse ... read >> Leech Lake Tulibee Fishing
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (3/1) Lake Mille Lacs has been under the microscope, literally. Among the results of surveys, exams and studies, there appears to be a hopeful outlook for a strong 2013 Walleye year class. Don't get your Li'l Guys baited up just yet, but a strong Walleye year class on the big lake could be be just what the doctor ordered.
In the newsletter Hooked On MilleLacs Lake, the Aitkin MN, DNR Fisheries Manager Rick Bruesewitz says; "Expectations for this 2013 year class of walleye are running pretty high, but I want to caution everyone that this does not mean we are out of the woods quite yet. It takes time for this new year class to contribute to the spawning stock. The timing for that event starts a year from this coming spring with some males first reaching maturity. Then by 2017, nearly all males will be mature. However, for females, first maturity is ... read more >> Lake Mille Lacs Walleye

image denotes question from reader Fishing Bluegills At Spawning Time - A question from Terry Nordstrom asks; "Jeff: planning a trip to Cutfoot or Bowstring to try and catch Bluegills when on their beds. Estimated dates for me to plan that trip?? Coming from Wisconsin, Was thinking first weekend in June, Thanks Terry.
A) Well Terry, that question puts me in a tough ... read answer >> Bluegills At Spawning Time
image denotes fishing question from reader This question from Daniel Gorath (2/24) gives me an opportunity to explain what I mean; Q) I've had great crappie action so far this year. But as of the last 3 weeks it's been extremely tough. How should a fisherman's tactics change as we roll into March? I've been targeting deeper holes along shore line breaks so far; and trying lots of combination of bait and lures.
A) Daniel, One of the reasons that ice fishermen like fishing the deep holes is that they help force Panfish into tightly packed schools. The fish are out in the open where they become very easy to see on your electronics and because there are lots of them, there’s more competition for food. That’s been making it easier to get them to strike. As you've pointed out though, the problem is that this pattern doesn't last forever.
Over time, Oxygen in the deeper water begins to get depleted, the environment becomes less attractive. At the same time, ice fishermen have been working on these schools of fish, so many of the more aggressive fish have already been removed; that slows the action down too.
One of the challenges is that as Panfish and Perch begin to migrate away from these traditional mid-winter haunts, they split up into smaller groups, each selecting its own new feeding pattern. Some key on insect hatches, others chase schools of minnows and many just become nomadic, taking any opportunity to feed that comes along. They all have something in common though, they don't remain stationary, at least not for as long as they do during mid-winter.
This time of the season favors anglers who are nimble, making frequent moves into a variety of territory. If I had to put all of my eggs in one basket, I would ... read >> Ice Report February 24

(2/22) Truck Driver Cited, Fined For Transporting Zebra Mussels - I was really reluctant to share the link to this story with you because I'm afraid that it could be mistaken as a form of finger pointing; believe me it is not. But I think it’s important to talk about this because it points out what an uphill battle we have when it comes to slowing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. What we have on our hands is a war against ... Read More >> Fined For Transporting Zebra Messels

Crappies on Ultra-Light Jigs - When you're ice fishing crappie with light line and micro ice jigs, the gear you choose can make this fishing very efficient. Choose a rod with a light tip but enough backbone to take up the line and move the jig. But more importantly the line you choose can make all the difference. "The lighter the line, the less resistance there will be when the fish sucks the bait in." The fish might suck the bait in from 4 inches away or from 4 millimeters away and you've got to be able to detect that. For that reason, Hammill sticks with 1 pound line even sometimes opting for 1/2-pound ice fishing line. Of course with light line, anglers must tie a good knot and check it often. But more important is the ... read >> Crappie Fishing With Ultra Light Jigs

image of Crappie with jig in mouth

image of Melinda Hays holding Northern Pike

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 12, 2015 - Quest For Quality Northern Pike In Minnesota?

That's a question that's been on my mind for a long time and since Doug Smith's Northern Pike Article in the Star & Tribune put us BACK on the subject, whatd'ya say we take a little history lesson?
Finding trophy Pike isn't rocket science, in fact that's part of the trouble, almost anybody can do it and when the fishing is good, they do! When they're feeding, large Pike are their own worst enemy, they're aggressive, hard fighting and delicious. That's why they are pursued much more heavily than most folks realize. When a good Pike lake is discovered, people do show up and the pressure can become intense.
These days, the only way to ensure that we'll continue to have opportunities to catch large Pike is to take the bull by the horns and tackle the problem like we mean it.
Understanding what makes these fish tick is crucial to solving the problem and until we anglers get a grasp on some facts, we're not going anywhere. That means that we're gonna have to do our homework.
Luckily, I've already done some of it for you and in ..." read >> Ice Fishing Report Feb. 12

Ice Auger Updates (2/12/15) - If you followed the original article about my search for an ice auger; one that I could rely as the perfect tool for my style of fishing, then you remember that I promised an update. So after a couple of month on the ice, living with my own decision, here's a look at how the facts "Drill Down".
One new auger that I hadn't mentioned in the article, caught my attention this winter; this one is Jiffy’s 4G, model 41. It’s a 4-stroke engine that runs on plain, un-mixed gas and it seems to be better at shrugging off cold weather than the LP Gas 4 stroke.
If you’re one of those fanatic drillers who can’t fish without 100 holes, you’re gonna get a workout because at 33 pounds with the smallest drill available, it’s a beast to lug around. If the heavy weight isn’t a factor, then I think you will like the way this auger feels in your hands. After a couple of months in action, the one that I’ve been watching has held up very well.
Re-visiting my own decision about buying the Nils auger and Tanaka Power Head this year, I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself. The Tanaka engine is living up to their reputation about being a little bit cold blooded and I frequently need to give 4 or 5 pulls to start it. But it ALWAYS starts and when it does, it cuts through the ice like it’s drilling into warmed butter.
Austin Jones turned me on to a product that helps with the cold starts; a pre-mixed, 50-1, 92 octane read >> Auger Wars Update Feb. 12, 2015

image of woman drilling hole on ice

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (sticky) If you’re an ice-fisherman, you’ve almost certainly debated this question: Sit tight and wait for the fish to come to you or pick up and start drilling holes to go to the fish? Staying put may result in a day spent just out of the fish’s range. Go mobile and you might leave just before the fish arrive.
If this indecision is bugging you, here are a couple guys who know a thing about staying or going, and their advice can help you make better fishing decisions on the ice. Read story >> Should I Stay or Should I go ?
image links to ice fishing article should I saty or should i go?
image of ice fisherman with bluegill in hand (2/2) Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish, Lakes aren’t the only bodies of water that carry safe, fishable ice in the winter. Big rivers like the Mississippi, Niagara, and Rainy also get safe ice, and produce some of the best catches of panfish you’ll see anywhere in the country. “There are a lot of places where you can go catch big perch through the ice, big bluegills through the ice, or big crappies through the ice,” Weber said. “I’ve never seen any place other than the Mississippi where you routinely catch all three through the same hole on the same day. I’ve caught numerous perch measuring more than 13 inches, crappies up to 2 pounds, and bluegills that easily hit ... read >> Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish
image denotes question from reader (1/31) Relaxed Walleye Slot Limit On Lake Winnibigoshish - Tom Crosby wrote; Q) "With the adjustment to the slot size on Winnie, I was wondering what your thoughts are on keeping a 23 + inch walleye. Do you feel the DNR did this in hopes we take some (larger fish) out? Just curious what your thoughts are?
A) Tom, there is little doubt that the new 18-23 inch protected slot is definitely going to result in a greater harvest on Lake Winnie this season. How much the harvest increases will depend an awful lot on how the weather breaks this spring.
Based on my conversations with fisheries officials, I wouldn't necessarily say that they are "Hoping" that we remove these larger fish. Rather, I think it reflects more that they believe the population of spawning size female Walleyes is strong enough that allowing some harvest of these larger fish is not likely to damage the fishery ... "Too Much". One thing that I DO KNOW is ... read >> Winnie Walleye Slot Limit

image denotes news release (1/29) IMPORTANT! AIS Training and Trailer Decal On Hold!

"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will postpone the new aquatic invasive species training and trailer decal program that was due to launch at the end of the month while legislators consider changes to the program.
Under a law passed by the state Legislature in 2012, anyone trailering a boat or water-related equipment such as docks and lifts in Minnesota is required to take aquatic invasive species training and display a decal on their trailer. The effective date is July 1, 2015.
“With the legislative interest in this educational program and ongoing discussions about possible changes, we are postponing the launch until we see if the Legislature acts this session to modify the program,” said Bob Meier, DNR assistant commissioner.
The DNR supports the education that would be provided under this law, but recognizes there are some concerns with the way the law is currently written. For example, people transporting boats on trailers through Minnesota to another destination are required to learn more here >> MN DNR NEWS RELEASE AIS Training and Trailer Decal On Hold


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