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Video Preparing Smoked Tulibee January 10, 2011
Video Cutfoot Sioux MN DNR Walleye Egg Harvest
(April 2012) Smiles are always welcome! In April of 2012 first we smiled at the warm early spring, and then we smiled at the late, snowy spring! Now, I'm smiling because it's over and I like May better. !!
Feature Fishing Report 4-30-2012 Greg Clusiau Starts his report by saying; "I finally got into them!" "Before fishing, a quick water temperature check was made and when it showed 54º, I was thrilled, as according to my past records, the fish should be biting in this spot. The only thing that could ruin it was a strong wind and we had that but it was coming from behind us, over our heads. We were good to go." Learn more about >> Spring Crappie Action.
Fishing Report April 30, 2012 Jeff Sundin - As surface temperatures move above 50 degrees, more reports about good spring Crappie fishing are trickling in. The best so far has been from Greg Clusiau, he posted his new report just this morning.
(4/30) More news about the Minnesota Hunting and Fishing License Increases. Both the House and Senate have now approved the Omnibus Game and Fish Bill, HF2171. Providing that the Governor signs the bill, the license fee increases for fishing would become effective for the 2013 season.
Just in case you're in the mood to voice your opinion, the Minnesota Governors Office has a toll free number: 800-657-3717.
(4/30) From The Rainy River - Mike Kinsella, from Border View Lodge Reports; "The sturgeon bite has slowed some. Early ice out and warmer water temps mean many of the fish have already made their run to spawn. There are still big fish out there. Fish in the upper 60+ inch range and even one 70 incher have been reported.
The “keep” season runs through May 7th this year and the walleye opener will remain on the 12th. It should be ano ther great opener. I would expect a lot of the walleyes to be back in the lake with the early spawn.
Highs will be in the low to mid 60s this week. There will be some breeze and a chance of showers throughout. One last chance to catch that big sturgeon! We have openings midweek and through the weekend."
Fishing Report April 29, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Every now and then, life just happens to put me in the right place at the right time. Like the time, a few springs ago when on one rainy, breezy day, life came along and plopped Craig Anderson into the boat with me.
Now a lot of folks might have been miserable on a day like that, in fact, at the time, I even had an extra reason or two, that tempted me. But, it wasn't that way with Craig, nope, we made the most of the weather, caught some fish and had a really nice day. That was it, all done, a simple one day fishing trip. That is, unless you count the friendship that came along afterward........
Fast forward, this winter, I got this call from Craig, he was interested in having me come down to the Twin Cities and talk about fishing with the Men's Ministry group at Prarie Lutheran Church in Eden Prarie. He said that he had a fishing event planned for this summer and he was hoping that I could help inspire some of the guys. You know, help get 'em reved up a little bit about fishing and generate a little enthusiasm about the trip. That sounded kind of interesting and after fiddling around with our calendars a little, we figured out a date, April 28th, 2012. That's right, yesterday.
Well, I have to be honest, the hardest thing anyone has ever asked me to do, was to try and "inspire" anyone. How the heck do ya do that? How can a few simple words motivate anyone, let alone a group of guys who are probably already better fishermen than me?
Anyway, I did my best, I put together a little presentaion, threw in a few snapshots and hoped it would be good enough. It wasn't bad; A few words about past history, a few about fishing, a little bit about baits and stuff like that. Really, it all went okay.
What I wasn't counting on though, was that by the time it was over, I'd be the one that got all of the inspiration. Just meeting these guys, listening to their stories, sharing experiences and discovering a whole room full of new friends. I could go on and on, but for now, how about if we chalk it up as another one of those "Lucky Breaks"!
Thank you Craig, for your creativity and the invitation and thank you especially to Joel, Scott, James and all of you guys who got outside on another rainy, breezy morning to share the boat, (well almost) with me. If I lived anywhere near Eden Prarie and I was looking for a really, really comfortable place to hang with the guys, it would definitely >> Be Here.
(4/29) While I was in the cities, it amazed me how much further along spring has progressed than it has here. In Bloomington, the Lilacs were in full bloom and so were all of the Flowering Trees like Crabapples. Most of the trees are green and so is most of the grass.
On my way home, I was watching out of the corner of my eye for anything unusual about the lakes that might give me a clue about fishing for the upcoming week. As I began to pass by Bay Lake, I glanced out and saw a pontoon boat filled with youngsters being entertained, presumably by their dad. One of them happened to be reeling in a Crappie, so I turned around and went back for a closer look. Well, they were reeling the panfish in fairly steadily and talking with some folks at the dock, it's been going that way for most of the past week.
We're usually not much more than a week or so behind, so that tells me that it's time to start rigging up some poles with small jigs and bobbers.
(4/26) More than ever before, Minnesota anglers will feel the impact of new rules aimed at slowing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. There's good news though, life on the other side of an adjustment period will be even better than it was before. All anglers will need to do, will be to change a few habits and soon, they'll see how easy it is to have a bait supply that's in better shape than it ever has been.
In March, 2010, I wrote an article about my system for keeping live bait, particularly minnows, alive and healthy. At the time, the system was both legal and extremely effective.
During mid-summer of 2011, Minnesota anglers, including me, were forced to adapt yet again. The legislature passed additional restrictions on transporting water and once the new law took effect, all water in the boat, including livewells, baitwells and all portable live bait containers must be drained at the landing before it's legal to drive away.
Yes, you heard me, every single drop of water that's in your boat needs to disappear before you leave the landing site. I know, it's not easy, but ... Read >>> Keeping Live Bait Alive, Minnesota Legal.
(4/26) Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says;
The slow spring warm-up continues in the Bemidji area. Surface water temperatures have been inching their way into the mid to upper 40s in most lakes, with a few of the backwater areas pushing above 50 degrees late in the afternoons.
Most crappies and sunfish have been holding in deeper water, close to the areas they will move into once water temperatures are able to hold over 50 degrees overnight. A few fish have been moving into the shallows to feed late in the day, after the sun has had a chance to warm the water.
Sunfish usually like shallow muddy areas with a dark bottom, because the mud is usually full of insects. Crappies usually like clean, hard bottom, because they usually prefer hunting minnows rather than searching for insects.
Perch have already spawned in most lakes, so the perch in the shallows are mostly males, with the female perch holding in deeper water, while they recover from the spawn.
River spawning walleyes are finally finishing up the spawn, after a long drawn out spawn caused by the stagnant water temperatures that were stuck in the low to mid 40s for weeks.
Lake spawning walleyes are usually just getting started spawning about the same time the river spawning walleyes are about done spawning. The difference is in the water temperature, with the rivers warming up much faster than the lakes.
Many of the docks at the public accesses around the Bemidji area were getting put in the water this week, so anglers should have an easier time getting their boats in the water for a test run before the opener.
Anglers should remember lake levels can vary from year to year, so some areas may be shallower than they were at this time last year.
Anglers need to have a new invasive species sticker on their boat trailers and their boats this spring, before they put their boats in the water. Anglers can get the stickers from DNR offices, some bait stores and state licensing centers. - Paul A. Nelson, contact >> Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
(4/26) The Minnesota Bass Federation has asked Anglers For Habitat for help in recruiting volunteers to hand out and discuss the new AIS boat sticker. They need help covering the Non-DNR boat ramps on Lake Minnetonka.
May 5th is the big Crappie Contest and this will be a real opportunity to provide education to anglers and boaters. If you can make it, just show up at 6 a.m. The DNR will provide banners to use at the ramps. Volunteers should meet at Lord Fletcher's and spread out from there. For more information, click to contact >> Peter Perovich .
(4/26) About the AIS Decals; While we're on the subject, I promised an answer to recent inquiries about who needs to display the new AIS Decals. According to David Olsen, District 7 Supervisor for the DNR Enforcement Division: "All boaters who plan to enter Minnesota Waters are required to display the decal." Residents and non-residents are all responsible to have the stickers. Olsen added a comment that the stickers are tough to keep on hand right now because the word is spreading and anglers are gearing up for the season. For more information, including where to get your decal, click here to read the original report.
Helping out a friend with a boat for sale: If you're interested in getting yourself into fishing, or just want nice, inexpensive rig; A family friend has a real nice, older boat that's still in really good working condition. They've had it since it was new and it's been well maintained. The price range is around $4000.00 and you can get more information and I'll send you pictures by contacting me.
Fishing Report April 25, 2012 Jeff Sundin - A warm, sunny day on Tuesday sparked rumors about some small groups of panfish that were starting to move toward shallow inlets, on a handful of our areas better Crappie and Bluegill lakes. It's bee cool in Northern Minnesota, so the surface temperatures of 56 to 59 degrees are getting close to what we'll need to see, but not quite there yet. Once they reach 60 degrees, things will get a lot more interesting.
Today, we're getting another dosage of wet, rainy conditions. My guess is that any fish that were moving in, will back up into the deeper water again and wait for the next sunny afternoon. This little game of hide and seek will go on for a while, but when you see the sun shining on a calm afternoon, don't be afraid to tell the boss about that little tickle in your throught. Hoofin' it to the Crappie is good for that sort of thing, I've heard.
Just in case you're a fan of fishing shallow water panfish in the spring, and just in case you've always wanted a convenient way to make your boat sit dead still in the water; Then here's something you need to check out.
If you have a hankerin' to reel in something big, remember that just because inland lakes are on hold for a couple of weeks, doesn't mean you can't do some trophy fishing. Up on the border, Northern Pike and Sturgeon fishing seasons are open now. For sturgeon, it's mainly catch and release fishing except that from now until May 7th, you can keep one fish between 45 and 50 inches.
(4/25) Jacki LaValla from Sportman's Lodges reported this; "Sturgeon fishing has been good in the River near Sportsman's and Wheeler's Point. Areas where you can find a hole in the river bottom have been the best spots anchored. #5 or #6 hook, 1-2 oz weight and a gob of night crawlers work best. Nice 40"-65" fish have been caught recently. Check out the attached picture of the 61 incher caught this past weekend.
Pike fishing has started to pick up in Zippel Bay and Four Mile Bay." Sportman's Lodges are running a spring special until May 24th. $39 per person/per night + Tax (2 person mininimum).
Fishing Report April 24, 2012 Jeff Sundin - A bit of warmer weather helped green up things up in the Deer River area on Monday. Still soggy from recent rain and snow, our fields aren't quite ready for prime time, but they are producing enough to turn into magnets for Deer, Ducks and Geeese. In fact, I think I've seen more waterfowl than usual this spring, at least in my tiny bit of territory.
Predictions are for a little warm up today followed by moderately nice weather for the rest of the week. If you follow the old rule of thumb about the Lilacs blooming and the Crappie biting, the we still have a wait ahead of us. We'll see about that soon enough.
(4/24) On Monday, at the Capitol, a modest, but devoted group of hunters and anglers gathered at the State Capitol in support of the license fee increases contained within the game and fish bill.
Most notable among the speakers was Al Linder, who most would agree, has shaped the vision of sportfishing for an entire generation of anglers, myself included!
What's unique about this effort, is that devotees of hunting and fishing in Minnesota have come to the realization that it takes a certain amount of money to produce the quality experiences that Minnesota has to offer. For a few years now, outdoorsmen and women have been arguing in favor something that you won't see too often among citizens groups, most are in support of license fee increases.
Now I've been in this industry for almost 30 years and I've seen people argue over everything! I mean everything. Hunters and anglers are just naturally independent minded folks and they always have their own ideas about how to fix little problems that crop up. We argue about everything, but not about this, hmmm ... wow.
Why then, when everyone agrees that we need to raise funding to continue providing great Walleye fishing or fantastic Deer hunting, and you have folks that are standing in line, asking for fee increases to support their passion for the outdoors, is it so hard to get it done?
Because most of Minnesota's politicians aren't outdoors people! Not very many of them want to risk their re-election by voting for an increase on anything. Especially on something that they really aren't personally connected to.
For them, who cares if some dude in a plaid shirt wants to have a fish fry? Or if I'd like to see a 50 inch Musky? Oh, and by the way, who the heck are these Boone and Crockett guys anyway?
This is where you have to give guys like Vern Wagner and Lance Ness from Anglers For Habitat some credit. They went to a lot of trouble, organized a rally in support of the proposed fishing and hunting license fee increases and did they best they could to bring the subject to the attention of Legislators who don't even have us on their radar screen. Deep down inside, I wish I was more like them!
(4/24) About the Senate version SF2171 of the Game and Fish Bill; On Monday, it passed the Senate vote and is now on it's way to the House conference committee. That's a step in the right direction. So if you're like me, and you want to help, now would be a really good time to drop your representative a line. Let them know if you support the bill, let them know if you don't, just let them know something so that they know who we are. If you're not sure who your District Representatives are, click here for an easy way to find MN Legislative Districts.
(4/24) On Bowstring Lake, Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort has been working on spring preparations and says; It has been crazy around here! We are working hard to get everything perfect for opener. Docks are going in this week and we can feel the energy of the up-coming fishing opener!
In the lodge, the phone's have been ringing and we're filling up fast, in fact we're down to only 2 cabins left (both are 3 bedrooms). We are anxiously awaiting the chance to float our boat and we're looking forward to a great summer. We'd love it if you'd let us have the chance to share Bowstring Lake with your family this summer! >> Learn More.
Fishing Report April 23, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Head's Up! Yesterday, I sent out an the spring Fishing Guide's Insider's Newsletter. It's the one that has the the list of open dates for the 2012 summer season and I know some of you were waiting to see that. The only way to get the newsletter is to sign yourself up!
Don't worry though, If you want that list, but hadn't already subscribed, you'll get a second chance as soon as the current subscribers have a chance to check out the dates. If you're not already a member and want to receive it, click here.
Sunday was an eventful day in Deer River, especially for my youngest daughter Katie. First, we attended her Confirmation and then we hurried home to meet up with the buyer of her old wheels. Then we hurried out into the world and made a deal on her new wheels. Not a bad day to be Katie, I'd say. But, it took me out of the loop in the world of fishing for a day and be playing catch-up as work my way through the list of other fatherly chores today.
(4/23) At The Capitol, Today - Hunters, Anglers and friends of the Outdoors will be gathering at the State Capitol Rotunda, Today, Monday April 23rd at 10:30 AM. For more info, click here for the printable flyer.
If you're within striking distance of the Capitol Rotunda today at 10:30 AM, you can be part of a group that's trying to do a little something extra to move the game and fish bill forward in the legislature.
Anglers For Habitat has organized a rally in support of the proposed fishing and hunting license fee increases. Help Lance Ness and Vern Wagner from AFH welcome guest speakers, fishing personality, Al Linder who will be the headlining guest speaker at the rally. Senator, Bill Ingebrigtsen, Representative, Denny McNamara and Gary Botzek.
(4/23) More Q&A; As the week rolls along, I'll be answering this question from Paul DeWolfe in more detail, but for now, here's the short version. Q) What is the procedure for your (live) bait this year? Leeches (and) minnows both need water, so what is your plan to take them back home after fishing? How about after leaving the bait store and you get stopped? (Does the DNR need) proof when, (date/time you made the purchase) or are they just waiting by the landings and in the vicinity to watch you leave the landing etc... Just what is your plan, Stan?
A) The key for anyone who plans to use live bait on Minnesota lakes and rivers this summer, is that you need to carry your own supply of fresh water. Do yourself a favor and get into these few simple habits and you'll already be most of the way there.
At the bait shop, get your live bait, minnows and Leeches packaged in Oxygen bags. Be sure to leave leave them in the bags until you get out on to the lake. That covers you until you want to head home or until you've decided to switch lakes.
If you've decided to leave
the lake, but you want to hang onto your live bait. Then you're going to need to carry a supply of fresh water in a cooler or other sealed container, in your vehicle. Then, when your're leaving the lake, drain all of the water from your boat's bilge, livewells, baitwells and portable bait containers. Use the fresh water for transporting your bait to your next destination.
Now, just how I plan to do that, will be the subject of more updates throught the next week. But if you use your imagination, I'll bet you'll already have an idea or two that will move you in the right direction.
(4/23) From The Rainy River - Mike Kinsella, from Border View Lodge; Reports of big sturgeon are rolling in. The biggest I’ve heard so far is 67”! Lots of other fish in the hig h 50 and low 60 inch area have been caught and released. Deeper seems to be better. Forty plus feet at the mouth of the Rainy has been producing some monsters. A gob of worms and a hook are all you need for bait.
Once again, for those of you who have never tried sturgeon fishing, the “keep” season begins on April 24th and runs through May 7th. With the purchase of a $5 tag, anglers may keep one sturgeon between 45 and 50 inches. Sturgeon are excellent smoked and there are no bones to deal with! Catch and release has been going on for some time now and has been excellent. Sturgeon lurk in the deeper waters in along the river channel.
Sounds like upper 60s and even a chance for 70s early in the week, but cooling down towards the weekend. We have plenty of midweek openings. Rate is still just $29 per person per night. Come on up if you like catching big fish. It’s a life experience you do not want to miss!
Fishing Report April 22, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Head's Up! Today I'll be sending out an Insider's Newsletter. Today's letter has the list of open dates for the 2012 summer season that I know some of you are waiting for. The only way to get the newsletter is to sign yourself up, so if you're not already a member and want to receive it, click here.
Saturday gave me a chance to get some ideas together for the upcoming fishing season and to do some updating on a variety of web pages. With only 20 days remaining before the Minnesota Fishing Opener officially begins, it won't be too hard to fill these pages with ideas about how to get prepared. But, I did jot down some notes about subjects I've wanted to go back and re-visit after touching on them during the winter.
Q&A - While I was working on that, an email came in from Richard Mullet, who asked; "was at your seminar last week in Nashwauk. Really enjoyed your input. I have been researching fishfinders and have a question or two. Some research seems to show that the Humminbird units with Down Imaging do not show fish and bait fish as well as the regular sonar units. Is this true? Do you have a recommendation for someone like me? Humminbird, or Lowrance? Maybe staying with my flasher is still the best option?
A) Richard, I am a Humminbird fan all the way. I've had both and I have been thrilled with the performance of the 998 that I currently use. For the past couple of years, I've done seminars about the Humminbirds and as part of my presentations, I always tell folks to use this rule of thumb. Both, Down Imaging and Side Imaging are the absolute best tools for locating and identifying fishable structure. Seeing structure displayed on down imaging reminds you of looking at a photo or an image that you'd see on an underwater camera. It really makes it easy to visualize the structure and it allows you to make quick decisions about where and how you want to fish a given bit of structure. Once you've made those decisions, then the Sonar screen is the best way to identify and seperate the fish. Once you learn to use the features together as a complete system, you will be ten times more effective at finding & catching fish. I hope this helps, in fact, it's a great question that should be shared with others. May I use this question on my fishing report tomorrow?
>> While I'm touching on the subject, I just got my copy of Lakemaster's Contour Elite, Lake Map Planning System. The 3D mapping system will allow me to look at detailed charts of Minnesota Lakes on my home computer. I'll be able to view the structure from any direction; Up, down, sideways, ... even backwards. After I decide where I think the fish will be hiding in the lake, on the structure or around the shoreline, I'll mark the map, load it into my 998 and head out to the lake with a fully developed game plan. Sweet!
I'll bet it's going to take me a few days to really get the hang of it, but during the week, I'll let you know how the software shapes up as I mark up a few "new lakes" for the 2012 fishing season.
By the way, your questions are always welcome. Just us click here to Send Me An Email and if I can't help, I'll find someone who can!
Fishing Report April 21, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Knowing that there was nice weather coming, I had planned to selfishy steal a "personal day" on Friday to get some relaxation and a little bit of sun out on the lake. I'm not sure how serious I was about fishing, but I was planning on at least wetting a line. So when I got a text from my pal Arne Danielson, I invited him on kind of an un-fishing, fishing adventure.
After getting the green light from the director of fishing, we left Deer River just before lunch time, heading for a little lake that we had some fun on last winter. We purposely picked a tiny lake so that we'd have plenty of timne to search the whole lake, and to be sure that there was going to be some protected, warm water areas.
On the drive up, we didn't know for sure if we'd even get the boat onto the water, but we got lucky and the landing turned out to be "good enough". Anyway, we made it out, at least this once. The landing was shallow and could easily turn muddy after a couple of visits, so I'm guessing that we may just save this one for another visit next winter. But, while we were out there, we did manage to learn a few things.
On the water, surface temperatures ranged from 48 to 54 degrees, depending on which side of the lake and how shallow we were located. At first, it didn't seem warm enough to attract many fish into the shallow water, so I scanned the lakes only deep water hole, hoping to find a school of suspended Crappies. Too bad for us, there weren't any easy pickin's floating around in the deep water. In fact, we search it pretty thoroughly and only ever marked one small school of really questionable looking fish.
Next stop was a weed edge in about 6 feet of water, that didn't do much for us either. Next, a series of stops in shallow water shoreline areas. Hmmm.... that wasn't working either.
Nothing really happened anywhere, until we showed up along a stretch of shallow Bulushes on the shoreline that where adjacent to a steep drop off. Fishing on the deeper side of the break, we were surprised by a couple of Largemouth Bass, entertaining, but not in season. We kept hearing the sounds of fish breaking the surface, and when we started looking in the super shallow water, we could could see minnows, small fish and a few small schools of panfish.
The problem was that the fish were so flighty, that we could never get a chance to fish for them. Every time we cast our baits, the sound of the rig hitting the surface would spook the school of fish and send them off into points unknown. They were in really shallow water, 6 inches to a foot and it was full of snags like tree branches, dead Bulrushes and decaying Wild Rice plants. I mentioned parking the boat and fishing from shore, but the shoreline was full of snags too and I doubt that we would have been much sneakier if we'd tried that.
To sum it up, there was no fish fry at the end of our day, but we did get a feel for the conditions. It won't take a lot get some of these smaller lakes warmed up into the mid 50 degree range and that should get 'em moving a little better.
In the mean time, what I probably should have done yesterday, and what my next try is going to be, is to find a spot where I can fish from shore. There are a bunch of lakes with shallow inlets and bays that are accessible by hoofing it. My guess is that some of these are probably going to start holding fish as soon as the next warm stretch of weather rolls in, at least it will be a good time to check them out.
(4/21) Statewide Spring Walleye Egg Harvest Report - According to Neil Vanderbosch, DNR Fisheries Program Coordinator. Fisheries staff have already wrapped up the egg harvest operations on the Pine River in Brainerd and Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes. Today will be the last day at Cut Foot Sioux and in Fergus Falls, the Dead River operation will wrap up today or very early next week at the latest. The last one remaining in operation is the Boy River in Walker. Vanderbosch says "they are inching towards the finish line and will be done early next week. We should have plenty of fry to go into the lakes and ponds".
(4/21) Non-Resident Boats in Minnesota? About Minnesota's Aquatic Invasive Species Decals; I've received several emails from out of state anglers wondering if the the MN AIS Decals are required on non-resident boats. Well guys, I'm afraid that it includes everybody!
I promised an answer to recent inquiries about who needs to display the new AIS Decals. According to David Olsen, District 7 Supervisor for the DNR Enforcement Division: "All boaters who plan to enter Minnesota Waters are required to display the decal." Residents and non-residents are all responsible to have the stickers. Olsen added a comment that the stickers are tough to keep on hand right now because the word is spreading and anglers are gearing up for the season. For more information, including where to get your decal, read the news release below or use this link to Contact The Minnesota DNR.
DNR News Release: New required aquatic invasive species rules decal for boaters now available (Released April 5, 2012)
A new required decal is now available for Minnesota boaters to help remind them of the state’s aquatic invasive species laws, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.
The free decals are available at: DNR offices. - Deputy registrar offices where licenses are sold. - Large sporting goods shops. - DNR watercraft inspectors and conservation officers. The decals will also be included in envelopes with new and renewal watercraft licenses mailed from the DNR.
The decal should be attached to all types of watercraft including canoes, kayaks and duckboats before launching on, entering into, or operating on any Minnesota waters.
The two-piece, gray-and-black decals detail new state laws that watercraft users must follow in order to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.
The decal must be attached to the watercraft, but state law does not specify where that must occur. DNR officials recommend displaying it where it can be read and can be shown to an officer upon request. However, the decal does not need to be in view of the operator (as is the case with the state’s personal watercraft decal), and it does not need to be placed near the watercraft registration decals.
If a watercraft owner does not want to stick the decal on the boat because it is an antique wooden boat or other unique boat, the decal can be attached or laminated to an object like a luggage tag and kept in the boat.
There are two parts to the decal. Watercraft owners and operators must display the top portion of the decal on all watercraft prior to launching on, entering into, or operating on any waters of Minnesota.
The second portion of the decal is intended to be placed on the winch post of watercraft trailers or in another area to remind boaters to remove the boat’s drain plug when leaving a water access area as required by state law. It also reminds boaters to replace the plug before launching. This decal is not required by law.
There is no penalty in effect, but conservation officers can issue a warning for not displaying the decal. After Aug. 1, 2014, it will be a petty misdemeanor for boaters who fail to display the decal on their watercraft.
Fishing Report April 20, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Warmer weather on the horizon today is going to provide me with a short, but sweet window of opportunity to get out and relax a little. With luck, I might stumble into some panfish to pick on as I prepare for the next series of special projects.
I wish I could say that there were signs of encouragement for this weekend, but it looks like we'll be inside, hiding from a series of showers that will swing through the area on Staurday, maybe Sunday too.
(4/20) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - According to Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Staff, the numbers of Walleye running into the traps at Little Cutfoot has been on a sharp up-swing over the past few days. It's likely that Saturday morning will be the final day of operation, si if you're thinking about paying them a visit, you better plan on doing it within the next 24 hours.
At the moment, I'm expecting to hear that the egg harvesting is almost completed everywhere and I'll have some results of the statewide harvest available for Saturday morning.
(4/20) A note about Minnesota's Aquatic Invasive Species Decals; I've had several inquiries from non-residents asking if they need the decals on their boats when they visit Minnesota. I got in touch with the Enforcement folks at the DNR and should have an answer later today. I will sure that it gets posted on the report as soon as I know.
Where can I get one? The free decals are available at DNR offices, Deputy Registrar offices where licenses are sold, and large sport shops. Also from DNR Watercraft Inspectors and conservation officers.
They will be included in the envelopes of new and renewal watercraft licenses mailed from DNR.
Minnesota's Aquatic Invasive Species Laws changed last season, during mid-summer. The new laws virtually affect every single angler, all of us! Every boat owner is going to need to do some planning and if you plan on transporting live bait this summer, you need to get starteed thinking about your system right now. Even my system, of carrying nothing but fresh water on board my boat, is no longer legal to transport.
I have a really good idea for how I'll handle the changes and I'll be sprucing up my article about the system over the next few days. I'll be sharing that when it's finished.
Here's what you need to know right now though; Every time you leave any lake in Minnesota, you will need to drain all of the water from your boat. That means everything, the bilge, the livewell, the baitwell and now, all of the portable bait containers too. If you have live minnows or leeches and you want to bring 'em home, you're going to need some fresh water stashed in your vehicle.
If you're driving on any road and you haven't pulled your boat's drain plug(s), you ARE going to get stopped! In 2011, I was playing 100% by the book and even with all of my ducks in a row, those last few, persistent little drips of water that come out of the drain hole when you accelerate, got me pulled over 3 times. Yes, I said pulled over, red lights flashing and the whole shabang!
New for 2012, Minnesota boaters are required to display a decal on the watercraft to help remind them of the state’s aquatic invasive species laws. This year, DNR officers will issue warnings for not displaying the decal, but by 2014, you can receive a citation simply for not displaying the decal. I'm ahead of the game, because I already have mine. If you don't have one yet, they're easy to get, just click on the image to the right and you'll see where they're available.
Fishing Report April 19, 2012 Jeff Sundin - For me, the road trips, seminars and sport shows are almost finished for the season and except for one or two special trips to the metro area, it's all about getting the boat and gear ready for the Walleye Fishing Opener on May 12th.
Okay, so since we're in sort of a holding pattern about fishing right now, I think it might be a good time to start sharing a few tips about getting ready for the 2012 Fishing Opener. I'm afraid that some of the tips will be more fun than others, but since I actually want you to have fun on your first outing, I'm going to tell you about a few things that will help you be prepared to do that.
Fishing Report April 18, 2012 Jeff Sundin - After a day of sunshine that helped turn our snow into puddles, there's a rainy day on tap for Northern Minnesota today. Granted it won't be enough rainfall to make up for the deficits caused by our unusually dry spring, but it's a nice sign that we'll have some water to float the boat in a few weeks.
On Tuesday, I spent my day at a meeting of the Walleye Advisory Council, a cooperative effort between the Minnesota DNR Fisheries, and a group lodge owners, guides, fish farmers and other pro-active Walleye enthusiasts. The mission of the group is to focus on maintaining a healthy, thriving Walleye fishery in Minnesota.
During past sessions, we've had the luxury of focusing on ways that we could help "do more" for the Walleye anglers that visit Minnesota's Walleye waters. Unfortunately, during the past couple of sessions, concerns about declining budgets are forcing the discussion further in the direction of working on how the DNR can avoid "doing less".
The problem is that there's been a nine year gap since the last license fee increase. Faced with rising energy costs, the effects of inflation and a continuously rising workload into areas like fighting the spread of invasive species. Without some additional funding, the DNR will continue on a certain path of declining capabilities.
As DNR Fisheries Chief, Dirk Peterson put it; "So far, Walleye stocking programs have been held harmless from budget cuts, but there are fears within the agency that much more tightening of the belt, could soon turn it into a tourniquet."
According to Peterson, the DNR has already been on Oxygen for a while, surviving budget cuts by holding vacant positions open, cutting lake survey projects and initiating cost savings in other areas like reducing fuel consumption and reducing capital expenditures.
almost all anglers and folks with business interests related to fishing in the state, are supportive of fishing license fee increases. Over the past few years it's been common to hear from many of these organizations that it's time for an increase. The problem is getting the needed support and passage in the legislature.
The original DNR proposal would generate $14 Million per year and would help ensure proper funding for about 8 more years. There is currently a Minnesota House Bill that would provide for a fishing license fee increase and if passed, would generate $14 Million per year. A Senate version of the bill would provide $11 Million per year, not enough to solve all of the agency's problems, but still a step in the right direction. According to Peterson, the DNR would still be prepared to accept the Senate version, even if it doesn't provide complete relief.
As of Tuesday (4-17) afternoon, the Senate version of the bill was not passed, but tabled for further discussion. The House version of the bill has not been passed out of committee so far.
What threatens funding for fish stocking programs is that these funds aren't "reserved or dedicated" portions of the budget. Instead, they are based on a percentage of the overall budget. So in other words, cuts to the overall budget, force a proportionate cut to each program within it. So far, fish stocking programs have escaped cuts because other programs have been cut
dis-proportionately to make up the difference.
Overall, fish stocking programs are currently 22% of the total budget and the breakdown goes like this; 11% goes for Walleye, 8% for Trout, 2% for Musky and the remaining 1% covers everything else.
Casting aside the larger budget issues, as Walleye anglers, one thing we can do to help is to support the Walleye Stamp Program. Purchasing a Walleye Stamp is voluntary, but the benefit is that proceeds from stamp sales are guaranteed to be used for funding Walleye stocking programs. In case you didn't know already, the current cost of stocking Walleyes is roughly $16.50 per pound. In other words, fingerlings that average 14 to 18 fish per pound carry an average cost of about $1.00 each, so buying a Walleye stamp covers the cost of catching one limit of average size Walleye. When you think about it, that's a heck of a deal!
Want more information? Click here to take a look at the article >> Where Does My Fishing License Dollar Go?
(4/18) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - According to Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Staff, the egg harvest at Little Cutfoot Sioux was about 1000 quarts by days end on Tuesday. That's over halfway to harvest quota target of between 1500 and 1800 quarts. There isn't an exact number for the quota because it depends in part, on production from some of the other state operations. If others are producing well, then Grand Rapids stops at about 1500 quarts. If production is below targets at other area operations, then Grand Rapids takes up the slack by harvesting an extra few hundred quarts.
About that quart of eggs; In case you missed it in an earlier report, one quart equals about 110,000 eggs. In terms that even I can understand, If 10% of that quart of eggs hatch and surive, it would be enough fish to provide me with a 6 fish limit, every single day for 5 years, not bad, I'll only need six quarts to hold me until I retire!
4-16-2012 - Feature Fishing Report: Greg Clusiau
; "Granted the extra time to explore, I’ve found some new waters that are only a little over 30 minutes from my house. How is this even possible? Well, what happens is we are so blessed with such an abundance of waters that most of us, me included, stick to our old honey-holes and pretty much don’t even give these other lakes a second thought. You know the old adage" .... Read Greg's >> Iron Range Fishing Report
Fishing Report April 17, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Today is the perfect day for a road trip down toward the metro area where we'll be having our spring meeting of the Walleye Advisory Committee. My guess is that we'll have plenty to talk about as members are wringing their hands about everything from messed up spawing runs to early fishing seasons, bugs in the water and well..., you get the idea.
I won't try to read too much into the meeting before we get there, but it's an interesting time to talking about fisheries and outdoor issues in general. I'll be sure to have some news about the highlights tomorrow.
While we're on a related subject, the proposed legislation about the Early Fishing
Opener is losing steam faster than shower running out of hot water. For Minnesota Representative Dill and Senator Bakk, I think their heart was in the right place. But, enthusiasm for the bill disappeared when the warm weather disappeared and resorters opposed the bill in large numbers.
It's not dead yet, but from reports I'm hearing, it might as well be. The "Game and Fish Bill" is supposed to be on the schedule in the Senate today and if the early fishing opener comes up as an amendment, it's not expected to get much support.
(4/17) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - It is incredibly painful to watch the process this season. As the weather continues to fluxuate, Walleye movement has been on-again, off-again, for almost two weeks. As of yesterday, the DNR Fisheries Officials are reporting a harvest of ropughly 750 quarts of fertilized eggs. That's about half of what they'll need to fill the quota that they'll need to reach stocking targets for lakes aroung the area.
My guess is that we'll be hearing a lot about this at the Walleye meetings today. But, before it's over, I'll bet that they do hit their quota, especially if we get an extended period of warm, stable weather. It's going to continue to be a slow process for the next few days though, and a little extra boost from Mother Nature sure wouldn't hurt.
(4/17) Finally, from The Deer River area - It's my last day of running all over the country side for a while and beginning tomorrow, I'll be looking for another chance to get the boat out onto the water. Maybe Crappie fishing, maybe we'll make a run or two up to the river for Sturgeon or maybe I'll still find an excuse to go after those big Pike. I may need a favor from someone over on Leech Lake to help wrap up a special project that I've been helping out with. I'll know more about that on Wednseday.
Fishing Report April 16, 2012 Jeff Sundin - I guess there's no big rush to head toward Northern Minnesota today. That is unless you want to take me up on the offer to come up and help me make a snowman! The snow fell overnight and it's still falling. Most schools have already announced cancellations, there were a number of power outages and it looks like my "special fishing project" is going to get put back onto the back burner again.
I'll take this as a blessing though, it gives me another day to catch up on some paperwork and work on putting together an "insider newsletter". If you're on the list, you'll be getting an announcement soon about open dates for this summer along with some other important news that you won't find on this page.
Fishing Report April 15, 2012 Jeff Sundin - I want to say thank you to everyone that I met at the Naswauk Home Sport and Travel Show on Saturday. Tammie Sumner and all of the folks at the show were warm and welcoming in every way. Thanks also to the folks who showed up to hear the seminar; it's always nice to have some friendly faces in front of me.
It sounds like we might be turning this into a repeat performance next year, so that gives us a little time to gather ideas for making even better for next time.
By the way, the show isn't over yet, so drop in for a visit today between 10AM and 4PM. Nashwauk Recreation Center, 400 2nd Street, Nashwauk, MN 55769 (218) 885-3763
(4/15) On The Rainy River - Today is the last chance for Walleye anglers on the Rainy River and if you're lucky enough to be heading that way, you're going to find a bunch of hungry fish.
My Buddy Matt Mattson and a couple of his friends were on the river yesterday and had a fantastic day of fishing. According to Matt; "Fishing was absolutely great"!
The group boated 122 total fish and the average Walleye was over 20 inches. He said that they found pods of females, some were ripe and ready to spawn, but many were still solidly and in "pre-spawn" mode.
Matt added; "
If we were in the pod of Walleyes, it was big fish after big fish. As we approached 6:30 PM, we finally got into males and eater fish".
Matt said that they spent most of their day anchored. They fished mostly jigs with spnning blades and presented them by popping the baits along bottom. Some of the fish were caught on heavier, plain jigs by fishing them vertically and sometimes even laying them motionless on the bottom. There were several other anglers out there using only artificial baits and they did well too.
The best fishing for the group was just South of Birchdale. They never made it past the rock 1/4 to ½ mile down river from Birchdale.
He wrapped up hi report with;: "It was fun having my buddies little guy along with us to catch all those fish. He probably reeled in over 60 fish himself and it was humorous when a young guy like that is saying ”its just another 23 incher".
For me, the last day of Rainy River Walleye fishing is going to be replaced by a road trip to Crookston, MN where we'll be having a few pancakes at the U or M fundraising event for my daughter's equestrian team. After that we'll pay a visit to her farm and then, one more raod trip back home.
Oh I know, it sounds like I'll miss out on the fishing, but don't worry, I'll get to make up for it, soon and I'll be sure to tell you all about it.
(4/15) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - It is incredibly odd that the spawing run is so dis-jointed this spring, but for reasons that me be known only to the fish, Walleyes are dribbling into their spawing territory in small batches. Lacking the intensity that usually occurs once the fish begin their run, these fish are causing a little hair loss for DNR officials who worry whether or not they'll reach their egg harvest quota.
The number of eggs they hope to havest is somwhere between 1500 and 1800 quarts of eggs. The number isn't eaxct because it will depend not only on how the Cutfoot runs wind up, but also on how fish at some of the other harvest stations respond to the strange weather this spring.
No matter how you add it up, they are still well sort of even the minimum amout. I heard a couple of different numbers reported on Saturday, but right now they've gathered somewhere between 450 and 500 quarts of eggs. According to Zach Dagel who paid them a visit late afternoon on Saturday, there was a strong run of fish yesterday afternoon and the crew may have a larger number of eggs today.
(4/15) From The Deer River area - It
was a good day to be Mary Valliant on Saturday. Just lay down in the boat and sleep along side the dog while you wait for Vern to find a school of Crappies. Then once he finds them, just wake up, start fishing and catch the lions share of the fish. Wow, where can I sign up?
They were fishing on a small lake, hoping to fisn a few fish taking advatage of the sunny conditions and moving inot the shallows. It didn't work out quite the way they'd planned it, but after some search, Vern did find some fish schooled up in open water, at about 17 feet. Once they were over the fish, the bite was okay and they didn't have much trouble gathering enough fish for a meal.
Vern did tell me that the fish were flighty and moved around a lot. It was hard to pin them down to a precise location, so if you're out trying to catch a few, be prepared to move as the schools of fish disappear from view.
Fishing Report April 14, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Okay, we're running out of chances to chat about fishing before the season opens. If you're in the neighborhood, take a few hours today and run over to the Nashwauk Recreation Center. I'll be there today for the Nashwauk Home, Sport and Travel Show.
Today at 1:00 PM I'll be doing a seminar on Rigging Up Monster Walleyes! This will be my first visit to this show and in Northern Minnesota, I think that this is my last appearance of the season. The folks in Nashwauk have already been so welcoming that I'd really love to see a good turnout!
Stop in catch the seminar and then lets chat about your fishing plans for the summer. Nashwauk Recreation Center, 400 2nd Street, Nashwauk, MN 55769 (218) 885-3763
(4/14) I still have a lot of folks asking about the proposed early fishing opener. I mentioned earlier this week that I tought it was less than a 50/50 chance of passing. If this note that I received from my Senator, John Carlson is indicative of what others in the Minnesota Senate are thinking, then I think that you can forget any idea of an early opener this season.
Here's what he had to say: "Thanks for your email regarding the fishing opener. I have received an enormous amount of emails and phone calls on this issue and you are the first to speak in favor of an earlier opener. I even heard from another guide who thought it was a bad idea.
Since the overwhelming majority believes it's a bad idea, I will have to oppose this move and vote to keep it the same".
It's nice to get a clean, honest answer to a question, and I really do appreciate that! But it sounds like we'll be fishing for panfish instead of Walleye, during the first weekend of May.
Fishing Report April 13, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Warmer weather moving us closer to spring, or not? More strange tales about the spring of 2012 unfolded on Thursday as I checked in with friends and DNR officials about the spring Walleye runs.
I stumbled into Gerry Albert, Large Lake Specialist with the DNR and he told me that the egg harvest at Cutfoot Sioux is off to one of the strangest starts he's seen. As of Thursday, the total egg harvest was at about 200 Quarts, well short of the 1500 Quarts that they've set as a goal.
At first, Walleye were slow to move into the trap nets and of those that did, most were still "Green" (not ready to drop their eggs). During the past few days, the situation has reversed and now, Walleye are showing up in much smaller numbers, but when they do, they are so ripe that many of them either spawn immediately or in some case have already spawned before they arrive at the nets.
According to Albert, there's a chance that many Walleye will spend their spawning season somewhere out on the main lake (Winnibigoshish) or possibly in Cutfoot Sioux, stopping short of the full run up into Little Cutfoot Sioux. Low water, cold water temperatures and a record setting, early ice out are all playing a role, so there's no way to really pin down an answer. Based on past history though, it's still not too late for a mass migration that helps get the spawning run back on schedule.
Note: I mentioned yesterday that I'd lost a ton of email messages on Wednesday. Luckily, I heard from some of you again on Thursday, but I know that there's still some important business to take care of. If you sent a meassage lately, please re-send it so I can pick up the missing pieces. Thanks!!
(4/13) From The Rainy River - Zach Dagel checked in with a report from the Rainy. He advised some of his fishing buddies to move upstream toward Birchdale and try fishing the areas where we had success last weekend. It was a good strategy; They had an easy time
catching male fish that were using the shallower, gravel sections of shoreline to spawn. They had good results fishing jig and minnow combinations in 5 to 8 feet of water, even shallower at times.
(4/13) From The Rainy River - Another report, that echoed Zach's report, came from Steve Ott who said; "Had a good day on the Rainy. Nothing huge but several 25's and many 23's and under. Two of us boated about 40 fish while anchored and the weather was beautiful, with not a lot of boats. Had to quit at 3:00. The DNR boys were electro fishing in the rapids area. Afterwards they said the fish were still not spawning. Steve
(4/13) From The Rainy River - A field report from Brian Castellano for Fred's Bait Shop in Deer River had this to say; "We caught about a dozen fish, most of them on bright colored ... (crankbaits). From what we saw, we were wishing we would have brought some live bait along as the jig fisherman were doing pretty good in the afternoon. Click here for >> Fred's Bait Shop Fishing Report
(4/13) From The Rainy River - Jacki LaValla at the Sportsman's Lodge; "Walleye bite was good yesterday. Jigging with a 1 oz jig tipped with a shiner out in front of Sportsman's Lodge, Wheeler's Point and the Lighthouse Gap produced several nice keeper and 23 inch + walleyes. Four days remain of the season until May.
Sturgeon bite was a little slow yesterday but has been good overall. Anchored in front of the Sportsman's Lodge in about 25' of water was good a few days ago using a #5 hook, 2 oz weight and a gob of night crawlers. Lots of nice size 40 inch + and many 50-60 inch range.
Pike bite has been a little hit or miss during the cold snap but we are starting to warm back up and most of the ice is off the lake now so several more bays are available to try. Four Mile Bay and Zippel Bay would be suggested options to try first. We are looking forward to some good spring action to continue." Jacki mentioned that you can find recent pictures by checking out the sportsmanslodges facebook page.
(4/13) From The Deer River area - Warmer temperatures are working their magic on shallow rivers and creeks. Suckers are active right now and fish are gathering near sources of current like dams and shallow water rapids. Later, the Suckers will become popular with folks who like to gather them by spearing or netting. But for hook and line anglers, now is the time to catch some.
Anglers fishing the Prarie River are using simple rigs; plain hooks on short leaders behind egg or bell sinkers. Keep you bait located on the edges of cuurent breaks like eddy's or behind structures like pilings or dams. Use worms or even Corn for bait.
(4/13) From The Deer River area - Crappie fishermen are talking, but so far, there's no hot run of fish starting up. Of the fishermen that I've talked to, the best action has been to fish the outside breakline edges near inlets, shallow bays and creeks. Fish appear to be staging on the deeper breaklines in 8 to 16 feet, waiting for warmer water in the shallows before they move in.
Fishing Report April 12, 2012 Jeff Sundin - A warmer, sunnier day on Wednesday set the stage for some early spring panfish action. They're not moving into the shallows in full force, but there are signs of good panfish action on the horizon.
Watch the deep water areas adjacent to shallow bays, creek inlets and weed flats that are exposed to afternoon sun. Crappies and Sunfish will move in and out of these areas as the water temperatures rise and fall. During mid-day, fish will move into the shallows, but at night and when cold temperatures strike, the panfish will move back toward deep water, staging along the breaklines.
I'll be adding some more about the panfish action during the next few days.
(4/12) You might remember a couple of pictures that I posted on Tuesday morning. There were a few ATV's running in low water, along the beach of an un-named lake. Well, on Wednesday, I got an email from the DNR Parks and Trails and guess what? As cute and innocent as I thought those boys were, they were in the process of violating the law. That's right, just in case you're like me and you didn't already know, Ya Can't Ride Your ATV in the Water.
Fishing Report April 11, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Yesterday, wintery weather held its grip on the Northland all day long. In spite of the calendar, temperatures fell back into the 20 degree range and some of the shallow ponds began to re-freeze.
There wasn't much traffic on Deer River area lakes, but there were still some tough dudes fishing up on the Rainy River. With only a few days left of the Walleye season on the Rainy, anglers are getting in their last few licks before the season ends on Sunday April 15th, 2012.
Ironically, the cold snap is probably helping their efforts, because falling water temperatures are keeping many of the fish from moving into full scale spawning mode. As long as their are still some fish in the pre-spawn mode, anglers will have a good chance at landing a CPR trophy. Even as the larger females spawn and become inactive, smaller male fish will continue to provide some good action along with a few fish for a meal or two.
(4/11) From The Minnesota Legislture and other "Powers That Be". For anyone who knows me, here's an example of the times that you've heard me say; "There's more politics in fishing, than there is in politics".
The amendment to move the Walleye Fishing Opener up a week earlier, that was added to the "Game and Fish Bill" has caused a stir that I'm sure the legislators hadn't thought of when they tacked it on.
The bill has already passed the "House Vote", but still needs approval from the Senate. The rhetoric is heating up though and from my vantage point, it looks like the chances of passage are probably less than 50/50 and going down.
An exchange with Minnesota DNR Spokesman, Chris Niskanen on Tuesday left me with the impression that the DNR is ready to deal with the early opener if they need to, but I don't think that they're too much in favor of it.
>> About the early opener, Niskanen said; "At the DNR, we're at the mercy of the Legislature. This was a legislative initiative with the Senate and the House sponsoring bills. The House version has passed already, so the next step is for the Senate to pass it and then the governor to sign it. It's in what is known as the Game and Fish Bill."
Niskanen added; "The DNR is not opposing it, but we're not crazy about it either. We're worried about what the extra week of fishing could do to the quota on Mille Lacs and how it might affect lake trout in border waters.
But the economic and social issues -- whether it's good or bad for resorters and fishing guides -- we're telling folks that's up to the Legislature to decide. We weighed in on the fisheries management issues, but it's the legislature who should decide, based on input from voters, on the social and economic issues.
Our feeling here, however, is there is strong momentum in the legislature to pass it. But it's a crazy session -- anything could happen."
From my own point of view, I know for sure is that most of the Deer River area resorters oppose the early opener. Scheduling problems, getting supplies delivered early and lining up extra help are all considerations that they site as reasons for their opposition. The resorters like consistency in scheduling and throwing the dates off by a week will make it tricky to schedule customers into the 2013 season.
For me, I can take it or leave it. It would be nice to squeeze in a few extra trips, but the original date for the opener is already on the early side, so in other words, May is going to be a strong month for me anyway. For a braoder range of opinions, I posed the question to friends on Facebook on Tuesday. Judging by most of the comments, I'd say that the current trend is more opposed than in favor. There's room for more discussion, so If you want to add your 2 cents worth, read the comments on My Facebook Page here. While you're there, feel free to join in the discussion.
Finally, for everyone that's been calling, emailing or just plain wondering about the early opener. I'd suggest not holding your breath. Look at it this way, if you want to go fishing on May 5th instead of May 12th, then go ahead and go fishing. Let's see, there are Crappies, Sunfish, Perch, Rock Bass, Suckers ....... Oh, if you want to fish Walleyes on May 5th, I'll bet that you can find someone in Wisconsin that will gladly accept your money.
Fishing Report April 10, 2012 Jeff Sundin - A return to winter kept a lot of folks inside on Monday. Snow furries, gusty winds and Grey skies added up to make it one of those days where I was feeling "cooped up". Thankfully, the outlook for today is a little brighter. The Easter break is behind us and the return to a "normal" schedule will help. So will a little sunshine, which by the way is creeping up over the tree-tops right now.
While many anglers are taking advantage of the warm early spring weather and targeting Pan Fish we recently made a trip to the Rainy River. Targeting Pre Spawn cold water walleyes is what we had in mind and we pretty much timed everything just right.
(4/10) From The Rainy River - Jason Green slipped in a report from his recent trip to the river. Jason Says; "While Rainy River holds an above average amount of local fish year around we are starting to see good numbers transition from Lake Of The Woods.
Even with fish transitioning and getting ready to spawn I think we still have some time. Out of all the fish we caught not a single one dropped eggs or milt.
Once we arrived at the landing I was pretty impressed at the lack of debris floating around and for the most part the water was pretty clear.
After checking out a few spots we quickly located an area on the U.S. side that should hold fish and we were right. We spent most of the morning hoping 3/8oz Gold Whistler and Fireball jigs tipped with Rainbows. Since the current wasn’t all that strong 3/8oz was plenty to stay in con-tact with the bottom on the shore-line break. For most the afternoon we chose to switch things up and pull crankbaits up stream. Large sized Cranks out per-formed the usual smaller sized baits at least 2 to 1 with Perch Patterns and Chrome Blues trig-gering the most. Turning the boat into the current and pulling cranks at 1.2mph aided in boat control along with Planner Boards to keep the lines sepa-rated. This made things pretty simple when it was time to battle a fish.
If you have never experienced Pre Spawn Rainy River Walleyes I would suggest you give it a try. You have a few days left before they close their season. What a perfect excuse to get your gear out and make sure everything works correctly for the MN Fishing Opener." They whipped up a video while they were on the river that you can view by clicking >> UPNORTH Walleye Video
Personal appearances: I'll be at the Nashwauk Recreation Center this weekend for the Nashwauk Home, Sport and Travel Show. On Saturday at 1:00 PM I'll be doing a seminar on Rigging Up Monster Walleyes! This will be my first visit to this show, so I'd really love to see you over there! Stop in catch the seminar and then lets chat about your fishing plans for the summer. Nashwauk Recreation Center, 400 2nd Street, Nashwauk, MN 55769 (218) 885-3763
Fishing Report April 9, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Easter Sunday seemed like a good day for me to lay low and enjoy a few moments on dry ground. I guess I wasn't expecting quite as much dry ground as I got, but luckily things weren't as bad as they could have turned out.
I remember taking a walk in the horse pasture yesterday morning and thinking that the Green grass felt awful crunchy. Could be a problem if we don't get some rain, I thought. Later in the afternoon, I happened to be looking out the window and wondered out loud if there was a fire in the area. Looking just a little closer, I saw that there was a fire in ther area; There was, it was just accross the road! It was a grass fire, caused by who knows what. Luckily for everyone in the neighborhood, the Deer River Fire Department and the Minnesota DNR were all on the scene in just a few minutes and the fire was put out before it caused any big problems.
The dry spring theme didn't stop there though. On an evening drive to capture a sunset picture, a visit to the South end of Ball Club Lake revealed another sign of just how low the water really is. The shoreline of the lake is presently sitting high and dry. In fact, I drove my truck out a couple of hundred yards into what is supposed to be the lake. Instead, it's a gigantic sandbox waiting to be transformed back into a lake when the rain finally arrives.
(4/9) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - It is still incredibly early to be expecting the full-blown, spawning run. But even at this early stage, female Walleye are beginning to drop eggs and the DNR staff has begun collecting eggs. So far, an estimate of around 100 quarts of eggs have been gathered, fertilized and taken to the Grand Rapids Walleye Hatchery. It's expected that spawning activity will accelerate throughout the week, but it's likely that the run will be lacking the sudden peak that we've seen in several recent years.
It's too early to make predictions, but now that spawning has begun, an extended period of warm weather could result in a great year class of Walleye for the 2012 season. Given warm water temperatures and good supplies of food for the tiny fish, growth rates could be above average, giving Walleye a better chance of survival over their first winter.
(4/9) About the Early Fishing Opener for 2012 - I've had a lot of calls about the proposal to take advantage of the early spring and open the fishing season a week early was taken as good news by some of us. But there's never a dull moment in the world of fishing and it turns out that apparently, a majority of resort and lodge owners are against the idea. For some of them, getting their operations open a week early is going to be a job that's too big to handle.
Last week, it seemed like the legislation was on the fast track to be passed, but now this little monkey wrench in the gears could swing momentum the other way. Now that we're starting into a week of "normal business", I'll make some calls to see where the bill stands in terms of passage.
4-9-2012 - Feature Fishing Report: Greg Clusiau
; Glancing down, I studied the weeds and found something that didn’t quite look right. Further investigation revealed that it was the head of a snapping turtle that was basically just too cold to move. The water needed to warm up for the turtles too. I quickly reeled in and ran back to the truck to get ... >> Click Here and Read Clusiau's Fishing Report
(4/9) From The Rainy River - Bill Powell from Fred's Bait posted his report this morning; "We got to the ramp and I realized we had our work cut out for us with 3 foot rollers up the middle of the river but we had luck in our pockets with a good tip from.. Click to read the Fred's Bait Fishing Report
Fishing Report April 8, 2012 Jeff Sundin - The Rainy River is undergoing some changes right now and for Walleye anglers, adjusting to the conditions is going to mean the difference between catching big numbers, or just a few.
On Saturday, we arrived at the river and found cloudy skies and moderately breezy conditions. The surface temperature according to my Humminbird was 42 degrees and remained stable all day long. About a half day past the Full Moon, you could feel that there had been a change. Fish had moved from locations where they were plentiful only a few days ago. At first, it seemed that the fish were scattered far and wide. But, don't worry, we eventually figured out where they went.
If you never learn anything else from reading these reports except for this one thing, you will still be a long way ahead of the game. If you're not getting the results you want, don't give up, just keep trying!
The three or four people that were telling us that the fishing had slowed down all had one thing in common. They were still fishing the same areas where they had caught fish over the past few days. It seems obvious, the best thing to do is to move into new territory, but it's hard to do, especially when you're remembering your past successes.
The only thing that we did different, was to take the hint. Instead of heading five miles downstream, toward the old "honey hole", we pointed the nose upstream and headed for areas where we thought we'd find some spawning fish. It didn't happen right away, but we kept chipping away a small patches of gravel located close to the shore and eventually, there they were. Not just a few, a whole school of active fish.
I scanned the structure with side imaging and was able to see that it consisted mainly of gravel, with a few scattered, larger rocks. On the shore, we could see more eveidence; small pebbles ranging in size from a 1/4 inch, up to about the size of a small egg. There was plenty of shallow water exposed to a light current too, a perfect spawning area for Walleye.
For us, we kept the presentation simple. I controlled our drift speed by holding the transom against the current and using the MinnKota in reverse. Backing into the current allowed me to get the boat slowed down to about .6 to .8 MPH, about half the speed of a free drift with the current. I let the boat slip up into the shallow water, anywhere from 6 to 8 feet and then pulled back deeper into about 10 feet. Most of the fish we caught, were on the breakline from 8 to 10 feet. But, there were other anglers fishing even shallower and they were catching fish too. In fact, they were casting up onto the shoreline and working their jigs back toward the boat. As far as I could tell, they were enjoying equal success using that method. If we wouldn't have been catching fish already, i would have started doing the same thing myself.
We used 3/8 ounce Chartreuse Yellow/Pink Whatsit Jigs tipped with Rainbow Chubs and walked them gently along the bottom. We slipped along the gravel stretch several times and caught multiple fish on every pass. Most of the fish on this stretch were smaller males in the 16 to 18 inch range, but there were a handful of females hanging around teasing them, including my first 30 inch captured of the 2012 season.
Based on what we saw, the fish are getting close to spawing, but so far, most of the females haven't started dropping their eggs. There was evidence that some of them must be though, because many of the male fish were showing obvious signs of at least some spawning activity.
About Walleye Spawning in The Rainy River; A recent fishing trip to the river sparked a discussion about whether or not Walleye were in the river on a spring spawning run, or if they were essentially permanent residents of the Rainy River. I did a little research and found an interesting tidbit on the Minnesota DNR Website. The article concluded that there are certain populations of Walleye that spend the majority of their time on in Lake of the Woods and only enter the river to spawn in the spring. While I'm gathering more information, you can start by using this link to read about Spring Walleye Spawning on the Rainy River.
Fishing Report April 7, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Rainy River fishing for Walleye continues to hold up in spite of mounting pressure as anglers take advantage of great spring weather. The sunshine has pushed water temperatures above 41 degrees and soon, the urge to spawn will be kicking into high gear.
(4/7) From The Rainy River - According to a note from my fishing buddy Zach Dagel, traffic on the river didn't stop the fish from biting on Friday. Trolling crankbaits accross rock stretches continues to be the key for Zach, who believes that catching larger fish is easier using this method. Jigging will help you catch more numbers of fish, especially if you're looking for "eaters", try 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jigs dressed with bulky plastic tails and tipped with a minnow.
(4/7) From The Grand Rapids Area - I stumbled into a report by my friend Sean Colter who has been out on a Grand Rapids area lake fishing for Crappies. They've been catching them in 12 to 20 feet of water on the shoreline breaks.
Panfish will be moving in and out of shallow harbors and small back bays as soon as the water temperatures warm. Keep an eye on any deeper breaklines in the immediate areas.
Fishing Report April 6, 2012 Jeff Sundin - Stable weather, Full Moon help trigger spring Walleye migrations. Rainy River traffic is building, but action is worth the trouble.
On Thursday, I was driving back from our fishing trip to The Rainy River and realized that I'd be crossing the bridge at Little Cutfoot Sioux, just in time to swing in for an evening report about the Walleye egg harvest. When I pulled up the driveway, Pat Sweedman greeted me at the dock and told me that so far, the fish had been showing up in larger numbers, but that almost all of them are still "Green", not ready for spawning. In fact, in spite of the record setting, early ice out, the total egg harvest so far is only one quart.
This supports an earlier report that I'd gotten from the DNR Fisheries Staff about other historically early spring runs. It's apparently not simply a matter of when the ice leaves the water; factors like water temperature, length of daylight and probably the moon phase all play a role. For the 2012 season, the spawning runs will certainly be early, but probably won't be that much of a departure from an average year.
Getting back to the quart of eggs; That one quart equals something on the order of 110,000 eggs. In terms that I can understand, If 10% of these eggs hatch and surive, It would be enough fish to provide a 6 fish limit, every single day for 5 years, not bad!
(4/6) From The Rainy River - On Tuesday, we knew that our trip to Lake of the Woods for Giant Northern Pike wasn't going to pan out. For reasons known only to the fish, they act as if they've disappeared from the planet right now. Luckily, there was a great alternative, Plan B was to head for the Rainy River and work on getting into some monster Walleye instead.
For three days, the Walleyes were cooperative and we were easily able to produce numbers of quality fish, along with a smattering of giants. Among the highlights, a solid 9+ pound fish caught by my pal and new comedy team partner Jonny P. It seems that Jonny has escaped catching a really big Walleye and up until now, he'd been living his dreams vicariously through his guide customers. Well, working as a team, we managed to solve that little problem and start him down the path toward filling up his own photo album.
Presentaions, water depths and speeds varied so much that's it's going to take all weekend to write it all down. But generally, there are two approaches that will work for you this weekend. 1) Heavy jigs in the 3/8 to 1/2 ounce range, dressed with a plastic tail and tipped with either live or dead bait. 2) Crankbaits trolled slowly upstream.
Among other goals, we wanted to learn more about some of the pre-spawn habits of Walleye and study a variety river patterns. We purposely went out of our way to keep trying new presentaions, depths and patterns. There was a lot of experimenting going on, so sometimes we struck gold, sometimes we didn't.
What we did learn for sure was that for numbers of fish, there was no doubt that we did best with a variety of jig and minnow combinations. Most of the time, heavier jigs, fished slowly out-performed any of the lighter, more active offerings. Everyone seemed to think that he knew the "magic" color, but in truth, we caught fish on a variety of colors. Among the best were Glow-Blue, Glow-Pink, Pink-Chartreuse and Green-Orange. We dressed the jigs with plastics to add some extra bulk and the favorites were Whatsit bodies and Fuzz E Grub bodies. I like the White Whatsits and Blue-White Fuzz E Grubs. There were good results with the Orange-Green Whatsits too.
For targeting larger Walleye, it was clear that trolling crankbaits helped increase the odds of catching a whopper. That doesn't mean that you can't catch some big ones on jigging, we did that too. But, there were more larger fish caught by trolling and if you're willing to do without some of the "eaters", this could be a good way to target a trophy.
We chatted with several friends who had been fishing crankbaits and for the most part, we saw them long-lining deep diving baits. Since we were experimenting, we tried some other approaches just to see how they worked. On Wednesday afternoon, I, Billy Rosner and Jonny Petrowske fished together in my boat. Jonny P had a really good run using lead core line and a #5 Shadling. In 13 to 15 feet of water, he let out 130 feet of line, making slight adjustments as needed. In an hour, he caught at least 5, maybe more. If you have the gear, this method will work for sure.
A tip I'd gotten from my buddy Vern Valliant paid off for Billy and I. We rigged up three way swivels with a 2 ounce bell sinker on a 2 foot drop line. Then we ran a 5 to 6 foot leader and snapped on variety of crankbaits. The #5 Shadlings worked on this rig too, so did some of the #7 size Shadlings. We rally had a good run on Thursday using longer, shallow riunning stick baits like the Rebels. For best results, wild colors like Firetiger, Fluorecsent Orange and Bright Pink out-performed the more natural looking colors.
What we liked best about the 3-way rigs was that it was so easy to find and maintain contact with the bottom. Running shorter lines made easy work out of reeling in to check for debris that the baits pick up as you troll. Another nice thing about the 3-ways, is that you can easily feel the bottom content. You always know when you're on rocks, sand or clay. The rigs were amazingly snag resistant too, we only got stuck a few times and backing up to free the baits worked every time. We never lost a sinker or a crankbait, at least not this time.
Fishing Report April 3, 2012 Jeff Sundin - It's time to go fishing! On Monday, I tied up a bunch of loose ends and paperwork. Then I finally completed those dreaded taxes! After that, I rolled out my favorite boat of all time and filled it up with rods, tackle and all kinds of assorted stuff.
By 5:30 AM I'll be on my way to Lake of the Woods and there's no telling what we'll wind up doing. We had in mind that Northern Pike would be on the schedule, but following recent reports, we might be better off converting to Walleyes instead.
(4/3) From The Rainy River - On Sunday, my pal Vern Valliant was on the river and reported doing well. I don't think I can give away too many of his secrets, but I think I can tell you that they were not jigging. Instead, they were trolling crankbaits. In his own words, he said; "You know that I will fish a jig over anything else in most conditions. But, I was suprised by how easy and really snag free it was to work and was more productive than jig fishing at least for us".
By the end of their trip on Sunday, Vern said that water temperatures were still holding at 40 degrees, so the spawning run is probably just a few days away.
(4/3) From The Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest - It was the earliest date in history when the nets were set at Little Cutfoot last week. The migration started off slow, but as of Monday, Walleyes were beginning to show up in larger numbers. So far, they haven't begun stripping eggs because the female fish are still "Green", not ready to drop their eggs.
Water temperature at the nets was about 42 degrees on Monday and by the time it reaches 44-45, things should start to happen fast. I expect that my return trip home on Friday will include a stop at the nets for a few snapshots.
(4/3) From The Rainy River - On Monday, I talked with Zach Dagel who mentioned that there are a lot of Walleye fishermen outside of the gap on Lake of the Woods. They've been fishing at the ice-line and catching lots of smaller, male Walleye and Sauger. The presence of all these male fish is an indicator that the serious spwning run is set to begin soon. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that there's a huge movement that coincides with the up-coming full moon.
4-3-2012 - Feature Fishing Report: Greg Clusiau
; - Strapping on the chest waders
, I joined them for a morning’s hike, all over the Big Winnie area. They pulled and re-set quite a few traps and ended up with three more beaver, which gives them seventeen for the season, so far. It’s all fun. I just love the outdoors but a guy can only do so much and after that little excursion, I was ... >> Click Here and Read Clusiau's Fishing Report
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Courtesy Anglers For Habitat: top, Keynote Speaker Al Linder at Game and Fish Rally. bottom, Vern Wagner, AFH and company support increasing fishing hunting license fees to ensure quality outdoor experiences in Minnesota.
Crappies didn't want to have much to do with the shoreline breaks, but couple of surprise Bass were there to welcome us back to the open water season.
Shallow water, 6 inches to a foot and full of snags made it easy for the flighty fish to play hide and seek. They won, this time!
Purchasing a Walleye Stamp is voluntary, but the benefit is that proceeds from stamp sales are guaranteed to be used for funding Walleye stocking programs. Learn More
The decals are available at DNR offices, Deputy Registrar offices where licenses are sold, and large sport shops. Also from DNR Watercraft Inspectors and conservation officers. Contact Information For the DNR
Photos Courtesy Matt Mattson: Rainy River Walleye action was hot for matt and his buddy Austin Kochar, who caught upwards of 60 Walleyes all by himself on Saturday.
Lots of opportunitites for CPR's as Mattson said that the majority of fish were larger females, still in "pre-spawn" mode.
Courtesy Brian Castellano: Eric hutchins showing off one of his CPR'd Rainy River Walleyes. Walleye locations have shifted and so has the preferred presentation, but there are still a few big ones tickling the wire.
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Zach Dagel caught a glimpse of us as we trolled back upstream to the "honey hole". The weather was a little wintery, but the fishing made up for it.
At first, it seemed that the fish were scattered far and wide. But, nature is moving the fish toward their spawing area and a few simple adjustments put us back on track.
The effects of a dry spring are starting to rear their ugly heads. This spot is supposed to be inhabited by baitfish right now. I walked out 200 yards and never got my feet wet!
Courtesy Zach Dagel: Rainy River fishing for Walleye continues to hold up under pressure as water temperatures finally push above 41 degrees.
"Jonny P" broke his string of not catching a lunker by fooling this solid, 9+ pound Rainy River Walleye. He got the job done using a 1/2 ounce Lindy Jig with Whatsit Tail and a Rainbow.
Billy Rosner showing off the results of our Thursday morning trolling session. A 3 way rig with a #5 Shadling paid off big time!
The holding pens at Little Cutfoot Sioux are filling up with Walleye. They were still 'Green" on Thursday, but things are going to change fast over the next few days. Easter Eggs? Well, .... Ya!!
One Quart of Walleye Eggs resting safely at the dock, at the Little Cutfoot Egg Harvest Station. If 10% of these eggs hatch and surive, It would be enough fish to provide a 6 fish limit, every single day for 5 years.
Photos Courtesy Matt Mattson: Walleye fishing on the Rainy River has slowed somewhat, but remains steady. New fish will soon be on the move as water temperatures increase.
Saturday at 6:00 PM Jon Thelen's seminar, "A Fishing Guides Tactics To Catching More Walleye.
Lund Boats 1875 Crossover XS is perfect for the family who wants to fish, but likes to have a little fun playing the water too.
Take a close look at MinnKota's Talon Shallow Water Anchoring System. No more swaying back and forth getting your bait snagged in the cover!
Using lakemaster's Contour Elite Software, you can use your home computer to view all of the lakes structure in three dimensions, just like the fish sees it.
Billy Rosner's Big Gun is the St.Croix "Big Nasty" This one tames though giant pieces of plastic and super magnum bucktails.
Tom Neustrom admiring Daiwas new line of high quality, but still affordable !
Sasquach? You might have thought so at first, but after a little closer look, it turned out to be Mark Braaten from american Alaska's Healing Hearts.
Southwestern shore of Lake MilleLacs has miles of slushy, crushed ice along the beaches. Lake should be ice-free by the end of this week.
Courtesy Greg Clusiau: A very sweet machine for ice fishing, especially early and late ice, when it's dangerous! Notice the trolling motors, they float!
It will only be a few more days before ice disappears from a lot of Itasca Area Lakes. Ducks, Geese and Swans are showing up everywhere.
The ice is leaving the area fast. Without a cold snap, it will be all but gone before April 1st.
First ever Sturgeon, a 48 incher caught on the Rainy River this weekend.
On Monday at Big Sandy Lake near Mcgregor, MN, this melon size rock was enough to reveal, thin, sagging ice.
Chad Brandt wrapped up his fishing season on Rainy Lake. This hefty 25 pound, Northern Pike made a great closing shot!
It took a little doing, but eventually we found 'em. A lime-glow frostee tipped with spikes helped Austin Jones (above) trick this nice Bluegill. Matt Mattson (below) made better use of a glow-blue bug tipped with Waxies.
Late ice, mixed bag or Sunfish and Crappies. Not a bad way to finish the season, I'd say.
Surface water has drained and the ice has stabilized. There are still a few fishable days left, but they are few. Be careful out there!
On Thursday, the sun was warm, the ice was dry and the fish were relaxing.
On 3-13-12 the Northwest landing on Bowstring was useable, but it's getting mushy really fast. Our driving days are numbered!
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Fishing 24 feet deep, over a soft bottom hole, adjacent to a larger flat. For Arne, a large, glow-lime blade bait tipped with a tail hooked minnow did the trick.
On the ice, conditions are improving as water drains off of the surface. In some lower areas, there was a strong current flow into the holes. Watch for high spots and drill there intsead.