Archived Ice Fishing Reports From April 2011 >> Back To Current Reports

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 30, 2011 Jeff Sundin We made it through April, YES! That's all I have to say.
Fishing Guide MN (4/30) Appearances: Today, Saturday April 30th I'll be at Frontier Sports, Spring Fling in Marcell, MN. It looks like the forecast for today will give you a perfect excuse to drop by. Rain and cool temperatures are going to keep you off the lake anyway. My Spring Fling seminar will be about Advanced Rigging Techniques for Walleye and I may squeeze in some extra chat about Crappie fishing too. We'll get the details together as soon as I arrive there this morning at about 11:00 AM. They have the 14th annual kids casting contest, door prizes and live radio remotes from Noon to 2:00 PM.
This event will wrap up the winter series of seminars and with only 14 days to go until the Walleye Fishing Opener, appearances from here on out will be radio and TV instead of in person. I'll post updates about the Grand Rapids, Governors Fishing Opener fesitivities as we get closer to the event.
Sturgeon Fest is going on right now up on the Rainy River and the fishing reports are fair to good for most groups. They are catching 8 to 12 fish per boat on most days, some "keepers" in the 45 to 50 inch slot are being taken, but the majority of fish are running on the smaller side right now.
It looks like the earliest opportunity for some good panfishing weather will occur toward mid-week. Sunfish and Crappies could make a little feeding run into the shallows if we get a sunny, calm day.
For Suckers and other un-restricted fish, tomorrow is the opening day for Bowfishing. I'm guessing that we'll see the Sucker runs in local rivers pick up during the next week.
In case you've forgotten, You'll need your new fishing license tomorrow. If you love Walleyes, be sure to add the voluntary Walleye stamp. Proceeds from sales of the stamp, which is not required to fish for or keep walleye, are used to maintain and enhance Minnesota's famed walleye fishing.
When you add the $5 walleye validation to your fishing license, those dollars flow into a dedicated account for walleye stocking activities.

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Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 29, 2011 Jeff Sundin The fishing report for Thursday doesn't have too much to do with fishing. Unless you're one of my fishing buddies and have been waiting for some jigs to start hitting the pipeline. That's right, the sun finally warmed the air up enough to start getting some paint on the 2011 supply. My little hobby has taken a back seat to everything else this spring because the weather has been so crummy, but it looks like warm temps again today. I'll gain some more ground this afternoon and maybe have some finished jigs by late next week.
Except for lakes with a few stubborn patches of ice, most of the Itasca area lakes are now ice-free. If you have a boat to test run or just want to get out of the house for a while, you will have no problem finding a place to go.
Around Deer River, the DNR Fisheries wrapped up the egg harvest at Little Cutfoot and pulled out the nets. Walleyes are now moving into spawing locations all over the area. I talked with NMLOG Member Zach Dagel yesterday after he went a road trip to look for signs of Walleye spawning activity. The small rivers and streams that feed into most of the area's self re-producing lakes all have fish in them now. I asked about evidence of a strong Sucker run, but so far, Zach says that there weren't that many Suckers in the creeks. Suckers usually lag behind the Walleye by a few days, so we're probably going to start hearing more about them over the weekend or early next week.
If you like Smelt, reports from the folks catching them on Pokegama are great right now. Smelt are running in most of the sandy beach, shallow areas.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 28, 2011 Jeff Sundin A little snowfall pushed back the fishing scheulde on Wednesday. I and Arne Danielson thought that maybe we'd head up to the Rainy River and squeeze in a day of fishing before Sturgeon Fest and the related traffic takes places this weekend. But it snowed steady from 6:00 AM until about 5:00 PM and I guess we just decided to wait for a nicer day.
Fishing Guide MN (4/28)Bemidji Lakes Area 4/21/11 NMLOG Member, Paul A. Nelson; The ice is gone from most of the smaller lakes in the Bemidji area and the rest of the lakes should be ice free by this weekend. Anglers are allowed to fish for panfish continuously in Minnesota as long as anglers have a current fishing license.
Perch spawn right after the ice goes out on the lakes, so anglers only have a short window of opportunity to fish for prespawn perch. Perch lay their eggs in strands on standing weeds, so most anglers use a jig and minnow under a bobber to search for prespawn perch.
Sunfish and Crappies spawn when water temperatures reach into the mid 60s, so any movements early in the season are related to feeding, not spawning. Water temperature gauges are a key tool for anglers looking for panfish in the spring.
Crappies often seek out the warmest water in the lake early in the season, where they can hunt for minnows. This may include boat channels, dark bottomed bays, inlets, backwaters and anywhere else where water temperatures are several degrees warmer than the main basin of the lake.
Sunfish are also attracted to warmer water in the spring. Sunfish prefer to feed on insects, so they will seek out shallow areas with mud bottom. Insects begin to hatch out of the mud almost as soon as the ice is off the lakes, so sunfish may move into the shallows as soon as a feeding opportunity presents itself.
Anglers need to purchase 2011 Minnesota Fishing Licenses to continue fishing after April 30, 2011. Please consider purchasing a walleye stamp along with your fishing license, with the proceeds earmarked for stocking more walleyes in Minnesota lakes.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 27, 2011 Jeff Sundin Okay everyone, this report is dedicated to all of you pesimists out there who insisted on worrying about a "late ice-out". I drove up to Lake Winnibigoshish on Tuesday to check on the progress and found ice-free water on the North End of the lake. I'm sure that there is still some ice out in the center, but the thing to remember this season is that the remaining ice is so thin and slushy, that it will be completely gone within another day. By the time you read this report, it may even be gone already .
Bowstring Lake, just East of Winnibigosh was already ice-free, so was Cutfoot Sioux and except for some stubborn slush that the wind was blowing toward shore, Big Ball Club Lake was almost ice-free too.
According to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, a DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources at the U of M, The average ice out date for Winnibigoshish is April 24th, Leech Lake is April 27th and Rainy Lake is May 2nd. So, we're really not all that far behind.
In fact, the DNR Walleye Egg Harvest (View Video) at Little Cutfoot Sioux will be wrapped up today. The warm, sunny weather on Monday triggered a huge run of spawning fish and on Tuesday, the DNR Fisheries Staff logged in well over 7000 fish in the trap nets. Now that's a lot of Walleyes! On Tuesday they handled and gathered eggs from about 4200 Walleye before they opened up the trap nets and stopped collecting "new fish". Today, they'll finish up the remaining carry over fish still in the traps from yesterday and then they'll start pulling up stakes and moving out until next year.
According to DNR Fisheries Staff, there were a lot of "ripe fish" and some of the females aere spwaning on their own, in the nets. It won't be long before Walleyes have moved in to all of the major spawning areas and with 17 days until the opener, conditions should be very near normal for anglers.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 26, 2011 Jeff Sundin Well in terms of weather, Monday was a great day around Deer river. I did the best I could do with the multi-tasking, but lots of sunshine, calm winds and beautiful scenes combined to give me a huge case of spring fever and for most of the day, the best I could do was to drift in and out of working mode. I can see that a trip to the lake is going to be required, really soon.
With only a couple of weeks left before the Walleye season opener, everyone is scurrying around getting things ready. For me, that includes one last round of appearances and special events before the fishing season gets into full swing. With only a couple of weeks left before the Walleye season opener, everyone is scurrying around getting things ready. For me, that includes one last round of appearances and special events before the fishing season gets into full swing. This Saturday April 30th I'll be at Frontier Sports, Spring Fling giving a seminar on either Walleye or Crappie fishing. We'll get the details hammered out in the next day or two.
Fishing Report (4/25) On Monday I managed a quick stop at Bass Lake near Cohasset and found the North and West sides of the lake wide open, free of ice and full of Ringbills (Ring Neck Duck). In downtown Grand Rapids, I saw that they have increased the flow out of the dam at paper mill and the Mississippi River is high again.
On Pokegama Lake South of Grand Rapids, the Smelt have started running and there people netting them now.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 25, 2011 Jeff Sundin Warmer weather gives anglers a boost and open water areas are beginning to provide fishing opportunities. It didn't exactly get hot over the weeknd, but at least we're back up into the 50 degree range again. More warm weather this week should help light up some of the shallow water, pre-spawn panfish areas and give anxious fishermen an opportunity to get out and wet a line.
On Sunday, we took a tour of the area North of Lake Winnie to see first hand, how some of those lakes look. By mid afternoon, there was a great wind blowing and this is really going to help break up the ice. For folks looking out accross the big lakes and seeing lots of ice, don't be discouraged. The ice is nowhere near as solid as it looks and it's going to break up really fast now.
We stopped first at the North access on Bowstring Lake and found major stretches of open water along the Northwest shoreline. Sheets of ice that had blown up onto the ramp earlier, were thin and weak. The ice that remained on the main lake was dark and slushy looking. I think that there's plenty of room for the main ice sheet to move with the wind now and I'll bet that Bowstring will be open in just a few days.
Fishing Report (4/24) We stopped first at the North access on Bowstring Lake and found major stretches of open water along the Northwest shoreline. Sheets of ice that had blown up onto the ramp earlier, were thin and weak. The ice that remained on the main lake was dark and slushy looking. I think that there's plenty of room for the main ice sheet to move with the wind now and I'll bet that Bowstring will be open in just a few days.
On Sand Lake, we only got a look at the lower end of "The Boot" from the bridge at Portage Lake (which is almost completely open now) and found most of the bay still ice covered. Here too, the ice is really dark and it won't last long once it gets exposed to the right wind. A report from a friend on the North end of Sand Lake tells me that Little Sand is open and that there are large areas of open shoreline on the main lake too. The Bowstring River between Sand and Bowstring Lakes is wide open and has been for over a week already.
A stop at Round Lake (near Squaw Lake) revealed another lake that we can add to the ice-free list really soon! The wind was blowing ice, if you want to call it that, into the shoreline. It was really more like slush blowing onto the shoreline and there were huge patches of open water out on the main lake. It was only 2:00 PM when I saw it yesterday, so it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this lake came close to opening up yesterday.
On Lake Winnibigoshish, Tamarack Bay is almost wide open, but it still looks like there's a lot of ice out on the main lake. The problem is that from the Northeast side, we would be seeing the ice blown in by the West wind without knowing how much open space there is on the West side of the lake. There could be a lot more open water than we realize over on that side. With luck, I'll get a better idea about that side of Winnie later this morning.
According to a report from Border View Lodge on Lake of the Woods, Sturgeon fishermen are catching fish on the Rainy River. Mike Kinsella says that the water level has dropped, current flow is slower and water clarity is improving. Anglers are catching a lot of fish in the 50 inch range and even some fish over 60 inches. The official Sturgeon season is now open and anglers who purchase the $5.00 Sturgeon tag are allowed to keep one fish between 45 and 50 inches if they choose to do so.
More water opens up every day now and even some of the most stubborn lakes are beginning to break up. There are a number of lakes in the Deer River area where you could put a boat in if you wanted to and by the end of this week, most of the area lakes will be ice-free.
The Minnesota DNR Walleye egg collection at Little Cutfoot Sioux hit full stride on Saturday with a full crew and nets full of fish. The UpNorth Video crew was there and put together a really neat segment that shows how the operation works. View the Video of the Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest
This seems like a great time to give you a little sales pictch about the Minnesota Walleye Stamp. In case you don't already know, the proceeds of the voluntary $5.00 stamp are dedicated to increasing the production of Walleyes in Minnesota. In other words, your 5 bucks doesn't go for any other purpose except to produce more Walleyes. For me, getting the stamp is a "no brainer" and I'd like to think that most folks who read this report would agree.
When you pick up your 2011 Minnesota fishing license, I hope you'll join me and say, go ahead and add the stamp!

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 23, 2011 Jeff Sundin Good morning everyone, this could be one of those mornings when the report is obsolete before I publish it. It's been raining most of the night and I'll bet that some of the lakes that were still ice covered when I saw them yesterday, are either already open or they'll be in for a big change today.
On friday, I headed South from Deer River and checked out some of the lakes in the Remer, MN area. The first thing I noticed was that Little White Oak Lake was about 70% open. There are a few sheets of ice still blowing around with the wind, but it won't last much longer. There were several Swans out there and some seagulls, but not a lot of ducks, especially compared to other spots I've checked.
The water level of Mississippi River at the Hwy 6 bridge has really dropped. They've been holding water back at the Winnie Dam for a couple of weeks now and the effects are obvious. There isn't any sign of floating ice or any other debris, so if we were to get a nice warm day, a trip down the river for Perch and Panfish might not be a bad idea.
Further South on Highway 6, Willow Lake is still about 95% ice-covered. From the landing, it looked like some of the ice is still fairly solid, but the shoreline edges are getting soft.
I made my way South to Thunder Lake and found it was still ice covered, but the ice is really soft and there are numerous holes scattered around the main lake. In one spot, what looked like ice was really just a lot of floating slush. After a night of rain, the next big wind will blow most of this ice open in short order.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 22, 2011 Jeff Sundin I had a meeting scheduled for Thursday morning and the path along the way to Bowen Lodge on Lake Winnie was full of interesting things to see. On the drive up, I pass by some of my favorite fishing spots, so I got a chance to check the ice conditions at several places.
On Highway 46, Little Ball Club Lake was a least 50% ice free, maybe more and I'd guess that panfish could get active on that lake as soon as we have our first string of warm sunny days.
A short detour over to the Winnie Dam revealed that Tamarack Bay continues to open up. In fact from the dam, you can get the impression that the ice out for Winnibigosh could happen really fast. Once you start driving up the shoreline along Bowen's Flats though, you'll see that there is still a lot of ice out on the main lake. There's a strip of open water along the shore that might be 100 yards wide and all along the ice-line, ducks are abundant. There were Goldeneyes in the air constantly, some Mallards and a bunch of Mergansers. I saw my first Loons of the spring here too. Along the road, there are a hundred or so Maple Syrup taps set up as well.
Big Cutfoot Sioux is breaking up nicely and the view of McAvity Bay from Bowens Road was encouraging. A large stretch of open water from the dirt landing, all the way out beyond the Cattails on the West Point. Here too, ducks and assorted water birds were in the air constantly.
The view from the resort, high atop the steep bank was of ice still covering the main lake. Between Bowens and Tamarack Point and as far as the eye can see to the South and West, ice appears to be stubborn. It's going to tak another warm spell and some wind to get the breakup moving again out there.
After my meeting, I headed over to the Walleye stripping operation at Little Cutfoot Sioux to check on the progress. Little Cutfoot is now ice-free and wide open. At the channel, all of the nets were set and acoording to Arne Danielson of the Minnesota DNR, they had already captured about 1000 male Walleye and a couple of hundred of the larger females. On Thursday morning, they'd already stripped eggs from 59 females so from here on out, progress will be fast. Once the Walleye run starts, it usually takes less than a week for the DNR to gather the eggs and transfer them over to the hatchery in Grand Rapids.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 21, 2011 Jeff Sundin Wednesday brought us another almost, but not quite warm day. The sun had some power, but a cold breeze prevented us from getting into that really warm mode.
A drive around the Deer River area in the evening gave me a chance to see what some of the local lakes looked like in terms of ice out. Moose Lake had large sections of open water along the shoreline and in the Deer River beach bay, there is a giant crack in the mid-lake ice. Some of the ice in the center still looks solid, but there are some really dark areas too.
Accross the road, Deer Lake surprised me by already looking really close to ice out. In addition to big patches of open water on the shoreline, there are large mid-lake patches of open water too. There were ducks and geese spread out all along the ice edges and where they stood, ice was balck and soft looking. I'll bet that one big wind will get this lake opened up in a hurry.
Further North, Little Turtle Lake wasn't as promising. There are a few good size areas of open shoreline. But most of the center of the lake still looked white and fairly solid.
At the Cutfoot Sioux bridge, the Walleye stripping operation is ready to begin. The nets are set and the DNR has staff on hand today to begin collecting fish.
Everyone at the Cabelas Walleye Classic last weekend talked about all of the new fishing gadgets, told stories of past success and made predicictions for the up-coming season. But a special highlight of the event, during the ribbon cutting ceremony, was a speech by Miss Minnesota, USA International, Kara Wattunen.
Kara's speech centered around the impact that outdoor sports has had on her life and how important fishing, hunting and the outdoors has been to her. More importantly, she spoke about passing down the legacy to our kids. Later in the day, we had a chance to chat and I discovered that she puts more into this effort than just giving speeches. As the the Minnesota Chair of Youth Outdoors USA, she's taking the bull by the horns and actively promoting not just hunting and fishing, but all sorts of youth related, outdoor activities. Everything from team sports to, to plants to bird watching. Hey, they even go looking for those pesky little spiders that bite ya sometimes. Go ahead and click on the link to Youth Outdoors USA and check it out for ypurself. If you like what you see, they even have room for some more volunteers, so go ahead and sign up!
The trip home on Sunday afternoon revealed a lot of new, open water. Most of the lakes in the Twin Cities metro area are already open. I had a report last Friday that Lake Minnetonka had already opened up then. Lake MilleLacs was still mainly ice-covered, but many of the shoreline stretches between Vineland and Garrison has wide, open swaths of water along the edges.
Between Garrison and Deer River, most of the larger lakes along Highwy 6 were still mostly ice covered, but virtually all of the smaller lakes were open. Of the lakes that I spotted from the highway, Lake Emily was the larget one that was totally ice free. I'll be able to get out and check some of the local lakes today, but I'm expecting that within a week, there will be plenty of open water.
Quality Bluegills, I had a chance to chat with Bro and Heather Brosdahl at the event too and the subject of preserving quality Bluegill fisheries came up again. I've mentioned before that Bro really believes that with all of the pressure on "Big Sunfish", he'd really like to start working toward teaching folks the importance of releasing the larger males. We're not talking about skipping the fish fry, go ahead and keep a nice mess of fish for a meal, just let those real giants go so they have a chance to pass on their genes to the next generation. Bro believes that if we'd adopt a voluntary strategy of "One Over Nine", we could go a long way to preserving our quality sunfish fisheries. I think this would be a great idea and I really believe that as anglers, we're better off doing this kind of thing voluntarily instead of waiting for the DNR to slap a bunch of new regulations on folks who fish for panfish.
Fishing Guide MN (4/21)Bemidji Lakes Area 4/21/11 NMLOG Member, Paul A. Nelson;
There is still ice on the lakes in the Bemidji area and the ground is covered with a fresh blanket of new snow. Anglers are in limbo waiting for the lakes to open. Most anglers are anxious to get their boats out of storage and get them ready for the walleye opener on May 14, 2011.
Minnesota anglers will need to purchase 2011 fishing licenses to continue fishing after April 30, 2011. Anglers are encouraged to purchase a walleye stamp, with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards stocking more walleye fry in Minnesota lakes.
The average ice out date for most lakes in the Bemidji area occurs sometime this week. The average ice out date for Lake Bemidji is April 26th, which is usually one of the last of the local lakes to be ice free. All signs point towards later than average ice out dates for most lakes this spring.
Licensed anglers are allowed to fish for perch, crappies and sunfish continuously in the inland lakes of Minnesota. Many shallow panfish lakes will have open water sooner than the large deep lakes, so anglers may want to take a drive and check a few small lakes for open water later this week.
Appearances (4/21) We're getting down to the wire on the fishing opener and that means the appearance schedule winds down soon too. Next scheduled event will be at the Frontier Sports, Spring Fling on April 30th, 2011.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 20, 2011 Jeff Sundin For all you guys who were sitting on the fence about the 2008 20 foot Lund Alaskan Camo Model, it left the yard for the last time yesterday evening. That means that I'll be hanging on to the 2010 Red 20 foot Alaskan until later this summer. It will be availble though as soon as I get the new rig up and running. A small deposit will hold that one for you until it's ready to go.
The weather continues to be stubborn, refusing to go ahead and let spring get a grip on the northland. Daytime temperatures in the 40 degree range aren't enough to completely gid rid of the ice, but little by little, it is disappearing. On Tuesday, we were lucky enough to have it warm up enough for the frogs to start singing. At least that's a step in the right direction.
We'll know in a few hours whether or not the stripping operation is under way at Little Cutfoot and I'll put up a quick update later. Once they get a positive test for Oxygen in the water, they'll set the nets and start capturing Walleyes.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 19, 2011 Jeff Sundin The weather cooperated a little bit on Monday and most of the snow that fell over the weekend is gone. Unfortunately, air temperatures never rose much above freezing, so there wasn't a lot of forward progress toward ice out.
The ice is out at Little Cutfoot Sioux though and word is that the DNR will be getting all of the gear set up for the Walleye egg harvest. An early report is that they'll test the water for Oxygen on Wednesday and if it's good, they'll set the nets and start capturing Walleyes.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 18, 2011 Jeff Sundin Thank you to everyone at Cabelas in Owatonna, Minnesota for putting on a great Grand Re-Opening / Walleye Classic event this past weeekend! Thanks too for the great hospitality you showed me while I was there. The staff was welcoming and helpful in every way! Special thanks to Danny Thompson who was actually running around sweating, as he made sure that everything went off without a hitch. Thanks also to everyone who stopped by to see the seminars and to chat about the upcoming Walleye season. Last but not least, thanks to my friends Erl and Karen Hommedahl for putting me up and looking after me while I was in Owatonna, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 15, 2011 Jeff Sundin It looks the weather is going to give everyone the perfect excuse to stay inside this weekend. I've got a great idea for Saturday, stop in at the Cabela's Grand Re-Opening/Walleye Classic Event at the Owatonna location. There are seminars every hour starting at 11:00 Am. My seminar on advanced Walleye Rigging Techniques starts at 2:00 PM.
Fishing in the Deer River area is on the back burner until this cold snap passes through. On Thursday morning, small ponds and surface water in low lying areas had frozen over. It looks like the scenario will repeat several times over the next week and whether we like it or not, there won't be much ice melting until we get the next warm spell.
The good news, with most of the snow cover already gone, this will allow streams and rivers in high water areas to settle down in time for the fish to begin their spawning runs.
Wired2Fish (4/15) Wired2Fish Has a handy chart to help you select Bass Baits under a variety of conditions. Click here to learn more.
Fishing Guide MN (4/15) Anglers in the Grand Rapids, Deer River area who want to have some fun for the Walleye opener weekend, the "Governor's Fishing Opener Committee" is still recruiting anglers to be help as Hosts for visiting media and other VIP's. If you like fishing, people and want to have your 15 minutes of fame, join me and volunteer to help out for the event.
Fishing Guide MN (4/15) For anglers who really want something to do this weekend, think about the Sturgeon fishing up on the Rainy River. Anglers fishing up there right now are having decent action. Anchoring along the edges of "holes" or "depressions" in the main river channel, fish with night crawlers on a short leader rigged with a 2/0 salmon egg hook. A no snag, Lindy or bell sinker in the 1-1/2 to 2 ounce range will be enough to get your bait to the location.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 14, 2011 Jeff Sundin Today is the close of the Rainy River Walleye season and for Northern Minnesota Walleye anglers, that means that the official countdown to the 2011 Minnesota Open Water Walleye season begins now.
If you had 31 days to kill before you could go Walleye fishing, but you still wanted wet a line, what would you do? For me, I'd start driving around the neighborhood lakes watching for inlets, boat harbors and tiny back bays to open up. Don't worry if there's still ice on the main portion of the lake, panfish will move into these shallow areas as soon as there is open water. Any warm sunny day is a good time to test out a new spot. Cold fronts and gloomy skies don't work well for this system, so use days like that for catching up on chores instead.
If you find a spot and get the right weather, head out and give it a try. Don't worry about a boat, most times it's actually easier to fish these tiny spots from shore. A handful of small jigs, a few bobbers and box of wax worms will be enough to get the fish interested.
Another option, think about the Sturgeon fishing up on the Rainy River. Anglers fishing up there right now are having decent action. Anchoring along the edges of "holes" or "depressions" in the main river channel, fish with night crawlers on a short leader rigged with a 2/0 salmon egg hook. A no snag, Lindy or bell sinker in the 1-1/2 to 2 ounce range will be enough to get your bait to the location.
Fishing Guide MN (4/14)Bemidji Lakes Area 4/14/11 NMLOG Member, Paul A. Nelson has some ideas about keeping busy too, he says; "The ice fishing season is over in the Bemidji area and anglers are now waiting for the ice to go out on the lakes so they can get in their boats and fish open water.
The average ice out date for Lake Bemidji is April 26th, with lakes like Cass, Leech and Winnibigoshish having similar average ice out dates.
There is usually about a 10 day gap between when the ice goes out on Lake Minnetonka near the Twin Cities and when the ice goes out on the larger lakes in the Bemidji area.
The ice was not out yet on Lake Minnetonka at the writing of this report, so the ice out dates for 2011 should be close to the average ice out dates in the Bemidji area.
Anglers can use the time between seasons to get their boats ready and go through their summer tackle, so they are ready to go when the ice goes out on the lakes.
Every angler should at least add new line to their reels before the open water fishing begins and most anglers like to add some new tackle and replenish lost baits from last year.
Shallow lakes in the Bemidji area can be ice free much sooner than the deep lakes, so anglers should be able to fish for crappies, sunfish and perch very soon in the Bemidji area.
Anglers can call ahead to the local bait stores for the latest information on what lakes are open and ready for fishing".

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 13, 2011 Jeff Sundin On Tuesday, a tour of the area revealed more open water. While the majority of lakes are still ice-covered, the ice on most of them is very nearly ready to begin breaking up. Honeycombed ice, with deep cracks and lots of dark patches appear to be telling us that the ice out should be about average this spring.
I and the ramrod, Arne Danielson thought a trip over to the West side of Deer River was a good idea. We thought we might spot a school of Suckers sneaking up the Leech Lake River, but high water made spotting any fish impossible. Water flow at the dam was about as fast as I've seen it in recent years and it's not going to be sutable for fishing any time soon. On the upstream side of the dam, Mud Lake is now wide open except for some stubborn ice patches in the thick Wild Rice beds. On the river, there are so many ducks, swans and other migratory birds coming through that I don't know where to point the camera next. If you really want to see a variety of Ducks, take a drive along the Leech Lake River on Co. Rd 139 ( View Map ) and I promise you'll see a half dozen species or more before you even get to the dam.
On Ball Club Lake, ice appears to cover the entire surface, but it is getting black. Another rainfall or one more stretch of warm weather and we'll see it start to open up. The Ball Club River flowing out to the Mississippi is high, but not out of control.
At White Oak Lake, there are several open spots out toward the main river channel. There is still a lot of soft, sagging ice out there, but open holes are everywhere and it won't take long for this lake to begin breaking up.
Fishing Report (4/13) The Rainy River Walleye season closes this Tursday. There are reports that the water is muddy and still full of debris. An alternative to fighting the current in the river is to head out into Four Mile Bay. Sturgeon are active already and there are reports of some big fish being caught. By the time river flow reaches the bay, muddy water settles a bit and allows anglers to catch a few Walleyes too.
Fishing Report (4/13) On Tuesday, I mentioned shore fishing for panfish. Here's a link to an article that will give you more info, read the article Hoofing It For Spring Crappies.
We have a little cold front moving in tonight, but even with temperatures in the 40's, a sunny day will warm up shallow areas enough to make panfish move in. This feeding run only lasts for a few days, so don't miss out. Jump in the car and take drive around your favorite panfish lakes and maybe you'll surprisie yourself.

Fishing Guide MN Fishing Report April 12, 2011 Jeff Sundin The chapter on ice fishing in the Grand Rapids, Deer River area is closed for the 2010-2011 winter season. Our weather has been a picture perfect recipe for melting ice. Rains followed by a warm, sunny day helped tons of ice to disappear from the scenery in the past 48 hours.
I thought we might be looking at a gap in the fishing action as we transitioned from one season to the next, but time is moving fast now and if you like catching panfish, polish up your gear because your time has already arrived. Creek inlets and shallow shoreline areas are opening up fast! If you're ready you can catch some open water panfish this weekend. On Monday, an afternoon tour of the Grand Rapids area revealed that several shallow water panfish spots are already open!
Within a few days after ice out, Crappies go on a brief feeding binge and will move into extreme shallow water areas. The best areas will have a soft bottom and semi-dark water. Boat harbors, inlets, tiny bays, creeks between lakes, oxbows and even some boggy shoreline areas are all good choices. These are all locations where the sun warms things up quickly and encourages early insect hatches and bait movement. The spots don’t necessarily need to have additional cover, but treetops, branches or Beaver runs are all elements that could make a good spot even better.
Today, I'll check on some more of the popular shore fishing areas and keep you posted.
If your sights were set on fishing the Rainy River, you probably already know that high, muddy water has broken into your game plans. But if you're a adaptable, The Mississippi River is wide open and the current looks manageable. You might not be able fish for Walleyes, but Perch and Panfish are available and could make an interesting trip for you right now too.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 11, 2011 Jeff Sundin HELP! I had to Cancel the Rainy River Trip, I Cancelled the Turkey hunting trip, the ice is melting, it rained all day Sunday, the taxes are due and my dog snores. Hmmm....There must be something to do outside, but it's going to take me a few hours to figure out what.
I checked in with Bill at Fred's Bait this morning and the traffic ground to a halt on Sunday. There are still a handful of die hard anglers figuring out one last excuse to get out on the lake, but for most of us, it's time to look ahead to the open water season.
Over the weekend, the Littlefork River opened up and is dumping debris and cold, muddy water into the Rainy River. For most Walleye fishermen, that signals the end of the season for 2011. Upstream from Pelland, the water isn't quite as murky and it's possible that a trip to that section of river might be somewhat productive during the last few days of the season. Depending on the weather, I may get stubborn enough to run up and try the stretch near I-Falls for a day, we'll see how things develop.
There were still some anglers ice fishing on Lake of the Woods this weekend. Eric from Border View Lodge spent yesterday out ice fishing on the big lake. Atvs were still going out of Graceton Beach, but he doubted that ice would last until next weekend. The ice is still 30+ inches on the lake, but there are some soft areas with 6-12” of slush. Ice is still solid, but according to Eric, it's getting "honeycombed".
Walleye fishing was steady in 26 to 30 feet of water and while they didn't catch any really big fish, they did get a report from some others who had bagged some Walleyes over 28 inches.
On the lake, water was still crystal clear as long as they stayed beyond the Lighthouse and Morris Point Gaps. In the river, water is open into four mile bay and all of the accesses are open. The river water was still fairly low on Sunday, but beginning to get dirtier already. By today, the higher, murkier water from upstream has probably already reached this area too.
Eric echoed other reports about slow Walleye action and added that anglers who have switched from Walleyes to Sturgeon fishing, have had more success. Sturgeon action has been getting better and a number of 60 inch plus fish have been reported.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 10, 2011 Jeff Sundin After a Saturday morning of computer work and catching up on chores, I jumped in the truck and took a tour of the Lake Winnie area to see how the ice looked. If you were in the mood for a last munute trip, you could still find a place, but the options are getting more scarce every day.
When I swung into Little Ball Club Lake, the landing was getting soft, but I could haved walked out onto the lake if I'd wanted to. Down the shoreline a few hundred yards, there was an ice fisherman who had hoofed it onto the lake from one of the private cabins.
I headed over to the Winnibigoshish Dam where I could see Tamarack Bay and lots of open water. Ironically, the water of the Mississppi River that had been flowing high and fast all winter long, has now been shut down to a trickle and the water level of the lake looked really low from the dam. On the lake, there was no sign of good ice from the dam all the way out the river channel and well into the bay.
Don't get me wrong, further up the lake, there are still lots of spots with ice safe enough to fish on, but right now there aren't too many anglers taking advantage of that. With open water appearing, even fewer ice anglers are hanging in there. Now it's time to wait and get ready fot the opener, which by the way, is only 34 days from now.
Ducks were everywhere on the lake, mostly Golden Eyes, Mergansers and what appeared to be some Bluebills or maybe Ringnecks. Closer to home, Mallards, Wood Ducks and Geese are in the air constantly in the mornings and we're seeing some Woodcock flying in the evening. Saturday evening I saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes moving past the house too.
On the Rainy River, anglers are struggling to catch numbers of fish, but it's not completely dead. The reports got a little scarce on Saturday, but I should be able to get in touch with few guys this afternoon as they head home from their weekends. If it's much different than the reports from the past few days, I'll put up a quick update this afternoon.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 9, 2011 Jeff Sundin It's a little early to be talking about open water on the Itasca area lakes, but the change is coming. Around Deer River area, small ponds, rivers and streams are open now. The snow is all but gone and there are more ducks, geese and birds showing up every day. On Friday, my daughter and I spotted our first pair of Wood Ducks, so I feel a session with the camera coming on today.
In a short time, fishing reports will be scarce for a week or two as we transition from one season to another. But if you're free to get outside this weekend, there are still some places to go and things to do.
The question that's on most anglers mind right now is; What are the conditions on the Rainy River? Well, I'm afraid that the action isn't hot and heavy up there. Recent rains have caused a lot of run-off and the water is clouding up. The ice on the Littlefork and Bigfork Rivers is still solid, so the mass of ice chunks and flood water isn't a concern yet. So theoretically, you could still see an improvement in water clarity this coming week.
For anglers that are on the river now, fishing has been slow. No one is going fishless, but most reports are of 4 to 10 fish days, some better and some worse. Now remember, even a one fish day on the Rainy could be the best Walleye day you ever had, so don't think it's a waste of time going up. Just remember to plan on being persistent.
In the past, we've been forced to fish in high water with muddy conditions and when that happens two things always seem to save the day. One is to forget about fishing out in the main channel. Instead, start looking for little eddies and current breaks on the shoreline. Fish will find these tiny slack water spots and hold tight to them. What I do is hold the boat in position with the Minn Kota and cast to the current breaks. When you find a few fish, work the area for a while and the move on to another similar location.
A second strategy that works well for lots of anglers is to start anchoring instead of drifting. It takes a few trys to get the boat sitting in the "spot on a spot", but little dips, ridges and holes also create current breaks. The Walleyes will move in and out of these areas so fishing can be spotty, but catching a few fish every hour or so, beats the heck out of catching nothing.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 8, 2011 Jeff Sundin The Rain on the plain falls mainly on the Rainy. River that is. It's never that much fun to fish in the rain, but in April on the Rainy, it can be even less fun, especially when the fish won't cooperate.
On Thursday, my friend Matt Mattson drove up and fished the river in wet wet, cold conditions. With a surface water temperature reading of 36 degrees, Walleyes, at least the larger females should still have been in their "pre-spawn" feeding mode, but todaym Matt said that it was a struggle.
That report was echoed by Zach Dagel who had been in touch with friends as they fished the river. They too said that fishing was a struggle and according to their report, most other anglers were experiencing similar troubles. It may have been the rain, or it might be because murky river water is now coming into the main channel from several of the smaller streams, but whatever the reason, something has thrown off the bite, at least temporarily.
According to the playbook, fishing should improve as the water temperature approaches 40 degrees and more of the smaller, but more aggressive male fish start to show up in their spawning haunts. Remembering experiences from last year, there was a definite divide between the early run of larger females and the later run of smaller males. With luck, lightning will strike twice and we'll get a second wind this season, like we had last season.
Thursday afternoon, my daughter and I did a little tour of the area. The Deer River is now open and flowing toward White Oak Lake. We headed over to the lake and found what looks like solid ice still covering all or most of the lake. Since the water level of the Mississippi has dropped, it's easy to see that the ice has collapsed and dropped at least a foot from where it was a month ago.
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Fishing Guide MN (4/8)
Lake Vermillion Area NMLOG Member, Billy Rosner Says that reports from Vermillion and nearby Elbow Lake, Crapppies and Jumbo perch are still located in deeper holes. Fishing in 30-40 feet of water, the best presentations have be "Slick Jigs" and Rattlin Flyers tipped with several waxies or small minnow.
Billy has a couple of events coming soon too. Watch for him on April 16th and 17th at Cabela's Walleye Classic at the Cabelas location in Rogers, MN . After that, he's got an in-store promo and fishing seminar for Lindy at the Gander Mountain loaction in Hermantown, MN on April 30th, 2011.
Fishing Report (4/8) On Leech Lake, Rich from Acorn Hills Resort emailed that there are still a bunch of ice fishermen on the lake and they are still catching Perch. Ric says that there is no open water yet and he thinks Ice fishing could even last another two weeks. He noted that at this time last year, they were already starting to put docks in.
Acorn Hills will be running an early season special for reservations before Memorial Day. Four people can fish Leech
Fishing Report (4/8) On Upper Red Lake, there isn't much to do but wait for ice out and according to the folks at West Wind Resort, it may still be a couple of weeks. The smaller rivers are opening up now and I know anyone with cabin fever will want to get out and catch some Suckers. Westwind has an interesting "pre-season" special. How about a 50% discount on cabin rates between now and the Walleye opener. Stay at Westwind and run up to the river for Walleyes until the 15th or Sturgeon after that or Sucker fishing after that. Lakeside Cabins and RV sites include a boat slip in their protected marina.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 7, 2011 Jeff Sundin The spring breakup is going into full swing. Sunny, warm days are predicted at least until this weekend and around home, all of the small ponds are opening up. We now have a steady flow of waterfowl returning to the area and the Deer are back out feeding in the fields, happy that the snow is gone.
Locally, there are still a handfull of ice fishermen sneaking out for their final hurrah, but for the most part, our ice fishing season is winding down. Up North, there are still quite a few anglers on Lake of the Woods taking advantage of their last week of late season Walleye fishing. But even up on Lake of the Woods, all of the talk is turning toward open water fishing.
Fishing Report (4/7) On Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River, Eric from Border View Lodge says that anglers with ATV's are still chasing Walleyes on the big lake, but most of the action now is centered around the open water on the river. With open water now North of Baudette and pockets of open water showing up in the bay out front of the resort, Eric thinks that the Baudette landing could be open very soon. He was skeptical about whether or not the ice access at Wheelers Point will usable for the weekend though.
Eric said that fishing action slowed down on Sunday and Monday with the cold front that blew through, but action is now on the re-bound and anglers are seeing more big fish. Walleyes in the 28 to 30 inch range are becoming numerous and one of Border View's guest reports that his first three fish were all 8 to 10 pound Walleyes.
Sturgeon fishermen are already showing up too and they are enjoying decent catch and release fishing. Numbers have been good and Eric said he's already seen pictures of Sturgeon in the 60 to 66 inch range.
Water clarity is good and the current is reasonable. Barring unforseen flood stage water, conditions look favorable for this final week on the Rainy.
Fishing Report (4/7) On Lake of the Woods, Morris Point Lake View Lodge is only allowing ATVS out on the lake right now. Ice conditions are changing fast and at this point, they are hoping to make it thru the weekend. So far they think they'll be able to make it, but if conditions get too slushy, they'll shut their road down.
The fishing has been good. The evenings seem to be the best. Some people are going out to 30ft, while most are in 18-20 ft of water.
They are offering 15% off of our cabin rentals ($38.25/night per person). Call toll-free at 1-888-303-5085 if you have any other questions or would like to schedule a reservation! Morris Point Lake View Lodge
Fishing Guide MN (4/7) NMLOG Member, Zach Dagel weighed in with a report about his fishing buddies who had been up on the Rainy River on Tuesday. They talked of heavy traffic on the river and they assessed the number of boats at about 300 in the areas they fished. Water temperature was at 36 degrees and they said action was slow on Tuesday.
Fishing Guide MN (4/7)Bemidji Lakes Area 4/7/11 NMLOG Member, Paul A. Nelson in his own words; The ice fishing season is into its last days, with the public accesses on most lakes starting to break up along the shoreline. The extended forecast predicts highs into the 50s and lows above freezing through the weekend and into next week, which will bring an end to the ice fishing season.
Most anglers in the Bemidji area are ready to make the switch from ice fishing to open water. The first place most anglers from the Bemidji area go for their first taste of open water is the Rainy River, which is on the Canadian Border and runs between Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake.
There is an extended spring walleye season in the Rainy River that allows anglers to harvest 2 walleyes shorter than 19.5 inches. All walleyes longer than 19.5 inches must be released. The spring walleye season runs until April 14, 2011. There are only a few accesses along the Rainy River, so anglers should plan to get there early if they want a parking spot, especially on the weekends.
Anglers content to wait for open water on the lakes can spend their time working on their boats and getting all of their open water gear in shape for the upcoming season. This includes changing oil and lower unit grease in 4-Stroke engines. Wheel bearings, trailer tires and lights need to be checked. Electrical connections may need to be cleaned and batteries need to be charged and checked to be sure they are still good to go.
Fishing reels can be cleaned and fresh grease added and then strung with new fishing line. Lures and tackle boxes can be sorted and organized and new tackle can be purchased to supplement the old tackle from past seasons.
New fishing licenses are needed to fish after April 30th and anglers may also want to check their boat stickers to be sure they are up to date.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 6, 2011 Jeff Sundin With only a few days left, hard core ice fishermen are scrambling to squeeze in their last few trips. Depending on the amount of traffic at the landings, some accesses are getting worse than others, but be prepared for conditions to change daily. ATV's are still okay in many places, but exercise good judgement as you move out onto the ice.
Fishing Report (4/6) I talked with a friend who had just returned from Lake of the Woods and he told me that the road going out from Long Point was officially closed to vehicle traffic this past weekend. As of Monday, there were lots of anglers heading out on ATV's, but there are also several groups choosing to walk out to their spots instead. That might sound like a big job, but Bill Berg said that they've only needed to walk out about 1-1/2 miles to get to their fishing spots. Walleye fishing was good enough on their last trip for them to plan a return trip up there tomorrow and he promised a report when he gets home.
Fishing Report (4/6) On Ball Club Lake, ice conditions are deteriorating fast according to Gus at Gus' Place Resort. Gus says that with care, ATV drivers are moving around the lake and catching very nice, 12 inch plus Perch. The best depths have been 12- 16 feet and the fish have been more active on the sunny days. He added that a warm day with a steady barometer has been the most desirable combination and that limits can be caught in a few hours under these conditions. Be sure to take care around dark, slushy areas or other suspicious looking spots on the ice.
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Fishing Report (4/6) On Tuesday, Willie Powell from Effie, Mn reported that the Bigfork River is still frozen tight. He's predicting that the water conditions on the Rainy River should remain favorable through the end of the Walleye season on April 15th.
Fishing Report (4/6) Rainy River, open water extends all the way downstream past Baudette now. With more accesses open, getting in and out of the water is somewhat faster, but the ramps are still crowded.
Walleye action continues to be steady and there are number of fishermen reporting catching fish in the 24 to 27 inch range. With 50 degree, sunny weather due to arrive, water temps could creep into the 40's and trigger the full scale spawning run within the next few days.
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Fishing Report (4/6) On Tuesday (4-5), I appeared on the radio with Jean Bergerson and Bill Berg to discuss Minnesota's Hunting and Fishing Initiative. In case you didn't know, the Minnesota DNR's Hunting and Fishing Fund is due to run into negative territory. To avoid forcing cuts in a variety of fishing and hunting programs, there are several proposals for license fee increases and the introduction of several new types of licenses for anglers and hunters. I'll be adding coments as they go through the process, but right now, here's a link to the DNR proposals click on the links within that page to view all of the details including an "Online Presentation" that walks you through the whole system. So far, there hasn't been any legislation introduced, so it's a good time to see what's on the table and maybe there's still time to add your two cents worth into the discussion.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 5, 2011 Jeff Sundin Once again, the storm that was supposed to cover the Northland with snow, fizzled out before finding it's way into the Deer River area. Temperatures on Monday remained on the cool side, but stayed above the freezing mark. With most of our snow cover gone and another warming trend combined with rain due to arrive on Wednesday, I think you can count the rest of our ice fishing days on one hand.
Fishing Report (4/5) This morning, Bill Powell at Fred's Bait is reporting slow traffic, a handful of anglers heading for the Rainy River and a couple of ice fishermen. Bill is expecting one last spurt of river fishermen the weekend and the winding down of another hard-water season.
Fishing Report (4/5) I'm on my way to the KAXE Studio this morning to participate in a program about hunting and fishing license fee increases. If you're sitting near a radio or can listen to the live stream, tune in at about 8:10 AM. The program is scheduled to run between 8:10 until 8:35 AM
Fishing Report (4/5) The Rainy River is now open all the way to Baudette, so we're just days away from the peak of Walleye activity. According to the current reports, there are an increasing number of larger females on the move. I've heard of one fish over 31 inches so far and lots of fish between 25 and 27 inches. The average number of fish caught is around 25 per day, per boat. So I think river is still in the "pre-spawn" portion of the run. Once the water temps head above 40 degrees, we'll start hearing more about numbers and less about size.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 4, 2011 Jeff Sundin Back home to catch up after the Minneapolis Sportshow. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to pay us a visit! You know that five days of standing on the same patch of cement can get a little tedious, so it's great when friends stop by to help pass the time. For me, the show was productive, I made some new friends and caught up with a bunch of old friends too. Coming soon, I'll have some announcements and new introductions for you, so watch for details as they become available. On Sunday, I got caught up in the hustle and bustle of closing out last minute deals and getting the booth wrapped up for the trip home, so I'm going to be a little thin on the fishing report until tomorrow.
Listening to whispers at the show, I heard most folks predicting a later ice out than mine, but I like being the odd man out, so I'm calling April 22nd as my date for ice out. I think that at least a portion of the Deer River area lakes will be open by then.
Fishing Report (4/4) Here's what I saw on my trip home Sunday. I noticed that from the Twin Cities North to Onamia, MN most of the marsh areas, rivers and some patches of shoreline on small lakes are opened up already. I spotted my first flock of Cormorants flying just North of the Mississippi at Elk River. In that area, the Mississippi was wide open and completely ice-free from shore to shore. Further North, The Rum River, North of Milaca was flowing fast and wide open with small chunks of ice still floating. Lake MilleLacs is still ice covered, but there are many small, but easily recognizable dark black areas. There wasn't a soul fishing the lake anywhere that I could spot from the highway. At Borden Lake, past Garrison, I saw my first and only ice fisherman of the trip. He was hoofing his way back to shore towing a portable shelter when I spotted him. From there on, all of the lakes had visible surface water standing on the ice, for ice fisherman, that means that there is still at least some solid ice to fish on. The last water I saw before it got dark was the Mississippi at the Co. Rd. 11 Bridge on Hwy 6 near Wolford. Here, the river was still about 50 percent frozen, but there were also large open patches of flowing water that will force the ice to break up quickly.
Fishing Report (4/4) The Rainy River is getting crowded! So far the water levels are good and as of Sunday, there was open water at or very near, Clementson. The fishing reports are all over the map, some fishermen are saying 50 fish or more each day, while others are reporting modest catches of a dozen or so. As far as I can tell though, no one is going home without fish. One of the more encouraging reports came in from Border View Lodge. They had one group report 75 fish and another called in a report of catching a 31 inch Walleye. Most fish are not that large yet, there have been multiple reports of fish in the mid-20 inch range, but few over 25 inches.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 3, 2011 Jeff Sundin I'm watching the weather and I've got my fingers crossed that the weather doesn't come in as nasty as it sounds. Everyone knows that the ice has to give way sooner or later, but whether it's snow or rain, a sudden influx of water is going wipe out a lot of the landings. After that t really doesn't matter if there's good ice or not, that will be the end of it.
Fishing Report (4/3) On Leech Lake As of Friday, ice conditions were still good on Leech. I got two reports of good Tulibee action out on the main lake in about 28 to 30 feet of water. Al Maas stopped by the booth yesterday and told me that there's been heavy traffic out there and his words, thousands of fish have been caught already, but even under heavy pressure, more fish are being caught.
Another similar report came from Gary Drotts who estimated that he'd seen about sixty anglers on the ice when he fished there.
Another note from Al Maas, if you still have time to get there, the Perch action is still good on Sucker Bay and up in Portage Bay too. Al said he witnessed an ice fisherman come in from the lake with an incredible 15-1/2 inch Perch! That is an awesome fish and I sure wish I had a picture of it. He added that were other large Perch caught too and some of them were pushing into the 14 inch range. If you're feeling adventurous, maybe one last trip?
Fishing Report (4/3) On Leech Lake As of Friday, ice conditions were still good on Leech. I got two reports of good Tulibee action out on the main lake in about 28 to 30 feet of water. Al Maas stopped by the booth yesterday and told me that there's been heavy traffic out there and his words, thousands of fish have been caught already, but even under heavy pressure, more fish are being caught.
Another similar report came from Gary Drotts who estimated that he'd seen about sixty anglers on the ice when he fished there.
Another note from Al Maas, if you still have time to get there, the Perch action is still good on Sucker Bay and up in Portage Bay too. Al said he witnessed an ice fisherman come in from the lake with an incredible 15-1/2 inch Perch! That is an awesome fish and I sure wish I had a picture of it. He added that were other large Perch caught too and some of them were pushing into the 14 inch range. If you're feeling adventurous, maybe one last trip?
Fishing Report (4/3) On Cutfoot Sioux, there is a small group of anglers doing well on Crappies right now and there are still Tulibees hitting out there as well. I didn't get a road report, but the picture of Bill Powell and his Tulibee catch shows that they were not driving vehicles on the lake.
Fishing Report (4/3) On Lake Winnie, I got an email this morning from Chris Kottke who's a forester in the Chippewa National Forest. Chris and his friends from the ShuBiGosh duck camp on the west side of Lake Winnie has been out tapping and gathering maple Syrup and doing a little fishing at the same time. They access their camp by water and Chris says that even though the ice is still good, access from the road is getting to be a real problem. Water and slush at the shoreline will soon force them to shut their operation down. They've been fishing the shoreline on the west side of the lake and they're reporting slow action.
Fishing Report (4/3) On Bowstring Lake, Crappie action has apparently slowed down, but according to Arne Danielson, perch action hasn't been too bad. Arne said that there were a lot of smaller fish, but by moving around, he was able to locate a spot where every third or fourth fish was a keeper.
Fishing Report (4/3) Rainy River Reports are about the same as yesterday, so drop down to see the reports from 4/2.
At the show on Saturday, I did some more snooping around and found a few more interesting things.
Kevin said that the most exciting new development in marine electronics this season has been the "Down Imaging" feature. Down imaging is a tool for identifying structure below the boat. My Humminbird 898 has this feature, I've used it and I agree with Kevin, it's a real improvement in defining structure.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 2, 2011 Jeff Sundin It doesn't matter if you're inside or out right now, there's fishing news either way. I got a first hand report about the Rainy River from my friend Steve Gallay who was fishing the stretch between Birchdale and Frontier on Thursday. He talked to another friend who was there at the same time and they had reported a 60 fish day on Tuesday. Steve's boat landed about 20 Walleye over the two days (wed-thurs) but he wasn't bragging up any giant fish. Their largest fish was 25 inches and they also caught one 30" sturgeon. They had alot of chances to catch more fish, but they lost a lot of fish, maybe due to the cold 35 degree water temperature.
Steve said it was getting crowded up there, but when he was there, the open water was limited to the stretch between Frontier and Birchdale. Reports coming in from WigWam Resort on Friday said that there was open water all way down to the Vidas Landing and that ramp may even be open before this weekend is over.
On Lake of the Woods, they still have plenty of ice for fishing, but it sounds like the action is actually better on the river than it is on the ice.
Closer to Deer River, Bill Powell at Fred's Bait said that traffic was good on Friday, Bill says that there's still lots of ice, but the landings are getting a little sloppy. At the landing on Cutfoot Sioux, they saw one vehicle stuck in the slush, a good pull got him out, but it's one reason that they're suggesting ATV's for everyone now.
Bill has been having a lot of fun catching Tulibees on Cutfoot and there's been good reports of Tulibee action on Ball Club too.
On Leech Lake, Perch action continues to be good in Portage Bay and the landing at North Star Resort was holding up well as of Thursday. I was visited at the show by a group of guys who were heading up there this weekend, they'd been keeping in touch with friends up in Deer River who report that the outlook for using this access is good for the weekend.
Fishing Report (4/2) At the Sportshow, I was snooping around the floor again on Friday and came accross a couple of more new and usefull items for the up-coming season.
Cody Roswick showed me one of Berkley's new Gulp Alive baits called the "Pinched Crawler". I'll tell you what, these look like the real thing, half a crawler ready to put on a jig and start catching fish. Judging by the great results I've had with other Gulp items, I think this bait is going to be another winner. Berkley also had a great display of the Ripple Shads that I talked about a lot last summer. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and check out the display so you know which ones to tell your bait dealer to order for you.
Wired2Fish (4/2) Wired2Fish Did you know that a lot of your boats performance depends on choosing the right prop? View this video on outboards and prop selection and get the most out of your rig.

Fishing Guide MN Ice Fishing Report April 1, 2011 Jeff Sundin Welcome to April! working from the floor of the Northwest Sportshow where everything and everyone is talking about the upcoming open water water season, it's getting easier to see the winding down of the ice fishing season. In spite of the pull toward summer though, there are still some die hard ice anglers out there.
Rick Leonhardt from Highbanks Resort showed me some photos of Lake Winnie that he'd received in a text. Ice conditions on the big lake are still good and right now the accesses are in good shape too. At the Highbanks landing, there was a small puddle of water to drive around, but on the ice, conditions are fine for travel. Folks are still driving trucks out there, but before you head out in a vehicle, do some more research! Conditions at the landings change fast this time of year and I'd hate to hear about how you drove out in the morning, but couldn't get back in to shore in the afternoon.
Fishing Report (4/1) On Thursday I slipped in a chat with Brian "Bro" Brosdahl as he worked with visitors to the Minn Kota display. He was getting ready to return home for a final series of ice fishing trips this weekend.
According to Bro, panfish in the Itasca area have made a big move over past few days. He said that lots of the lakes where action had been slow recently, were now coming to life. There's been a shift toward shallow water weed areas and panfish, especially Sunfish are becoming increasingly active. Take one last shot at that Sunfish lake that you've been keeping your eye on, because this might be the weekend you've been waiting for.
We talked about something else that's really important to Bro too. With all of the pressure on "Big Sunfish", we'd really like to start working toward teaching folks the importance of releasing the larger males. We're not talking about skipping the fish fry, go ahead and keep a nice mess of fish for a meal, just let those real giants go so they have a chance to pass on their genes to the next generation. Bro believes that if we'd adopt a voluntary strategy of "One Over Nine", we could go a long way to preserving our quality sunfish fisheries.
Fishing Report (4/1) Checking in again with Bill Powell at Fred's Bait in Deer River, he said that traffic has been okay, but not heavy. Bill says that the mix is 50-50 of anglers heading for the ice or the Rainy River. Chester Powell was out on a panfish trip to Cutfoot Sioux on Thursday and caught a mixed bag of Tulibees, Sunfish and Perch. At Fred's, they're advising all anglers to use ATV's only.
Fishing Report (4/1) Not everyone is heading for the ice, I met up with "The Griz", Dick Grzywinski who's already been out on the Mississippi River a few times. So far, the action hasn't been great, but they've been catching a few. He said that high water and limited access is going to make this a tough spring. A lot depends on how the water levels play out and we'll let you know if there's an improvement.
On the Rainy River, conditions remain favorable and the open water has now advanced downstream to Vidas. So far, it's still a "small fish bite" as anglers wait for the serious spawning run to begin. Water conditions are fairly good though and barring a sudden influx of flood water, we could be looking at a week of good action coming up.
So what's new at the show? There sure is a lot of shiny new stuff to look at, but I've been walking the floor trying to single out one or two things that really catch my eye. On Thursday, I spied a couple of new features that you should hear about.

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Jigs 4-28-11
Thursday's sun finally warmed up the air enough to start getting some paint on the 2011 jig supply.

Snow Deer River 4-27-11
A little snow in the area on Wednesday kept most folks inside. Not everyone though.

Lake Winnie Ice Out
Above: View of Lake Winnie on Apr. 26, from Bowen's Flats looking toward Tamarack Point reveals open water. Below: View of Winnibigosh only 5 days earlier on Apr. 21 also from Bowen's Flats looking toward Tamarack Point. That's 120 hours elapsed time (if you wondered).
Lake Winni Ice Out

Walleyes Winnie Dam
A handful of Walleyes on the apron at the Winnie Dam on 4-26-11

Bass Lake Cohasset MN
Bass Lake near Cohasset, MN was ice free on Monday. It seemed like there were ducks everywhere.
Bass Lake Ringbills

Bowstring Lake Ice Out
Bowstring Lake has wide stretches of open water along the shoreline. Ice sheets that were blown up onto the ramp (below) are thin and weak.
Bowstring Lake Ice Out

Round Lake Ice Out
On Round Lake, the ice blowing into shore was nothing more than slush. If this lake isn't already ice free, it will be in the next day or two.

Ice Out Sand Lake
Overlooking "The Boot" on Sand Lake from the bridge at Portage Lake. Ice is dark and ready for some wind to help break it up.

Walleye Egg Harvest
Minnesota DNR Walleye egg collection at Little Cutfoot Sioux hit full stride on Saturday with a full crew and nets full of fish. View Video

Walleye Egg Harvest Cutfoot
On Friday, The MN DNR collected roughly 100 quarts out of the 1350 quart goal. The Cutfoot Sioux operation will probably last about another week.

Ice Out Deer River Little White Oak  4-23-11
Except for a few stubborn sheets of floating ice, Little White Oak Lake was almost open on 4-22

Walleye Little Cutfoot DNR
The nets are filling up at the Little Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg harvesting operation. First 59 fish were handled on Thursday morning.

Maple Syrup Taps Winnibigoshish
Maple Trees with syrup taps lined the road into Bowen Lodge on Tursday.

McAvity Bay Cutfoot Sioux
At Cutfoot Sioux, McAvity Bay is breaking up. There's still ice over 80% of the bay, but its dark and ready to go out soon.

Deer Lake April 2011
Ice on Deer Lake shows signs of going out soon. In addition to open water on the shoreline, there are large mid-lake patches of open water too.

Little Turtle Lake
Little Turtle Lake has patches of open water around the shoreline, but mid-lake still looks fairly solid.

Lund Alaskan For Sale
For all you guys who were sitting on the fence. The 2008 Alaskan, Camo left the yard for the last time yesterday evening.

Deer River Deer Herd
The Deer were happy about snow melt on Monday and came out for an evening meal.

Lake Emily April 17, 2011
On April 17, 2011 Lake Emily was free of ice. This was the fartherst North that I'd seen open water, but many lakes are on the verge of breaking up right now.

Kara Wattunen Brian Brosdahl Jeff Sundin
As the the Minnesota Chair of Youth Outdoors USA, Miss Minnesota, Kara Wattunen is taking the bull by the horns and actively promoting hunting, fishing and many more youth related, outdoor activities.

Walleye Mississippi River
Walleye 15 pounds 2 ounces caught on Mississippi River Pool 2

Fishing Seminars
Saturday, stop in at the Cabela's Grand Re-Opening/Walleye Classic Event at the Owatonna location. There are seminars every hour starting at 11:00 Am.

Mud Goose Dam Leech Lake River
Water flow at the Mud Goose Dam is high right now. If there are a lot of Suckers down there, it's impossible to see them.

Rainy River Sturgeon
When muddy water slows down Walleye action, versatile anglers switch to Sturgeon.

Pokegama Lake
The LaPlant Landing in Pokegama's Wendigo Arm is breaking up fast after recent rainfall.

Mishawauka Pokegama 2-12-11
How about this? Two pictures of the Mishawauka Landing on Pokegama Lake taken 60 days apart. February 12, 2011 (above) and April 12, 2011 (below)
Mishawauka Pokegama 4-12-11

Ice Report Winnie
The view of Lake Winnie from the Winnibigoshish Dam. Most of the dam bay is wide open now and there was no sign of "good ice" all the way out the river channel into Tamarack Bay. Ducks are everywhere!

Ice Fishing
On Little Ball Club Lake, there was a man who had hoofed it out onto the ice. If you want to go, there's still time, but not much.

Little Ball Club Landing
The landing at Little Ball Club was getting soft, but I could have made it out one more time on Saturday.

Lake Kathryn Deer River MN
Lake Kathryn opened up on 4-8-2011 and we've already see our first pair of Wood Ducks, no picture yet, but just wait.

Deer River MN
The Deer River (yes, there really is a Deer River) open and flowing on 4-7-11

Deer River Swans
Swans in the back yard is always kind of nice.

Deer River Spring Breakup
Even the most stubborn snow drifts are falling to the mid 50 degree temperatures. Wednesday was my first day outside with a short sleeved shirt.

Northern Pike Lake of the Woods
Courtesy of Border View Lodge. A nice 43 inch, late-ice Pike made this outing on Lake of the Woods a little more interesting.

Bowstring Lake Crappies
Joe and Brian simonette with a great mixed bag of Crappie and Perch from Bowstring Lake.

Mississippi River Itasca County
Mississippi river near Deer River, MN Main channel is wide open. Ducks and Geese are showing up everywhere (click to enlarge inset).

Crappie Bowstring Lake
Chad Haatvedt on Bowstring, not a ton of fish, but the ones they caught were nice!

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Bowstring Lake Crappie Perch
Chad Haatvedt's picture, part of the catch from a trip to Bowstring Lake on Saturday.

Gary Roach Seminar Jaycees Home Show Grand Rapids
Mr. Walleye, Gary Roach revealing some of his best tips for catching more Walleyes at the Grand Rapids Sport Show.

Perch Leech Lake
The TechniGlo Frostee with a minnow head was the best bait for Perch on leech Lake.

Ice Conditions Grand Rapids
Current areas like the channel between Little and Big Jay Gould Lakes are wide open now. Lake ice is still generally good, but were in the home stretch.

Northern Pike Leech Lake
Nice Pike are still roaming the weed edges on Leech Lake too. A nice 30 incher caught and released while Perch fishing on Wednesday.

Bob Jensen Fishing the Midwest
Bob Jensen, Fishing the Midwest capturing a Jumbo Perch for the camera.

Surface snow is gone! It's a really good idea to bring cleats along right now.

Cody Roswick Berkley
Berkley's Cody Roswick talking about new offerings for 2011
Gulp Alive Crawler
The new Gulp Alive "Pinched Crawler", half a crawler that looks real but smells even better!

Lakemaster Contour Elite
Lakemaster's new Contour Elite software turns your home computer into mission control for your next fishing trip.

Lund Alaskan 20 Foot Camo
For Sale 2008 Lund 20 foot Alaskan. Mercury Opti-Max, Shorelander Trailer. Help Jeff sell the boat and receive a free fishing trip! Click for details.

Walleye Rainy River
Courtesy of Border View Lodge. Scott "Buzz" with a nice Walleye from the Rainy River on Wednsday.

Humminbird Down Imaging Display
Kevin Dismer of Reeds sporting Goods demonstrates Humminbird's down imaging feature.

Bro Minn Kota
Bro Brosdahl working with visitor at the Minn Kota display at the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis.

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