"Late summer fishing on Lake of the Woods is famous for walleyes, muskies, bass and pike and if the last week of July is any indication, August is going to be epic. Spinners with leeches, crawlers, or minnows in 17 feet and out to 30 strong for walleyes and saugers. Reefs doing well too. Gold, white, blue, and chrome/silver colored spinners and crankbaits putting fish in the coolers. Anglers doing well in "no man's land" out in the mud in 30 - 34' pulling crankbaits with leadcore with a lot of fish 24-30' being boated. Pike and smallies active around the lake.
Anglers in the Rainy River finding a few walleyes with the morning/evening being better than day bite. Trolling cranks or pulling spinners producing the best . Smallmouth bass scattered all over in the river by docks, structure, and feeder streams/back bays. Sturgeon fishing continues very good with many who target these beasts having good success.
Up at the NW Angle, fishing has remained excellent. Chrome and chartreuse spinners and blue or silver crankbaits have been producing the best off of Lunatic Island and Four Blocks Island or West of Little Oak Island in 28-32 ft. of water. On the Canadian side, jigging gold or purple tipped with either fat heads or shiners next to rock / mud transitions has been the most productive. Muskie fishing really picked up this week while casting bucktails over transitions of weeds and rocks. Algae Bloom is noticeable but hasn't affected muskie bite." Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"Warm weather and light wind this past week produced some excellent angling! The Walleye Master Guides have been putting a variety of tactics in the water. The plug fishing has created the most action and many large Walleye. Bait fishing remained strong when the weather and wind cooperated. Most of the bait fishing this past week has been drifting with spinners using crawlers or leeches with a frozen Shiner. Captain Jason put Kyle Chan on a 32 ½ inch monster Walleye this past week!
The August Walleye forecast is excellent! We are the Walleye Capitol of the World; Lake of the Woods Minnesota is the place to be for Walleye any time of year. For August, we expect fish to be deeper and in the mud, there are large schools of Walleye in Big and Little Traverse Bays, some of the schools can stretch up to a mile and many of the fish are in the 18-20-inch ranges.
This is a great time to plan the summer wrap up trip with the family. Fishing is strong and school will come sooner than expected.
Great amounts of sunshine this past week with warm temps of highs in the 80’s. The week ahead looks like another great one. We are seeing temps forecasted in the upper 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s overnight.
We still have some great opportunities for August with rate specials arriving on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Ask most fishing experts and I’ll bet that they agree; the key ingredient in the recipe for good fishing is stable weather. We have definitely enjoyed stable weather this week and because of it, fishing has been good.
I’m the first one to admit that it’s a little bit hot on the lakes these days, especially during mid-day, but obviously the fish don’t feel it. The combination of stable weather, soaring water temperatures and improved weed growth are providing anglers with all of the ingredients to cook up a good fishing trip.
Walleyes and the pursuit of them have dominated the fishing trips I’ve had for the past couple of weeks. As you’ve been reading, the key presentation has been trolling with Little Joe Spinners.
When we fish shallow weeds, we use 1/8 to ¼ ounce bullet sinkers to keep the blades tickling the tops of the weeds. When we fish over deeper structure, we’re using bottom bouncers to hold the blades in front of the fish; usually about 2 feet above the bottom.
That’s the key to fishing with bottom bouncers; you want to remember that you don’t actually use them to touch the bottom. Instead, use them to locate and maintain the precise depth where Walleyes will see them and strike. Line counter reels are not mandatory, but they make life easier by allowing you to “dial in” the precise depth where you want to fish.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to get set up either. Trolling with bottom bouncers allows precise control over your depth, but it is far from finesse fishing. Trolling speed, combined with heavy weights accentuates the sensation of any strike, making the need for expensive rods and reels un-necessary.
I am using inexpensive line counter reels spooled with 10 pound test monofilament line. They’ll cost about $60.00 if you buy them new, and they are readily available at most of the big box stores. You probably already own the fishing rod you need, look in your garage before you buy one. I am using inexpensive medium action casting rods in the 7 to 8 foot length range. The key is to avoid rods that are too light; holding up heavy sinkers is much easier with a stout fishing rod. I’ve found most of the rods I use on sale at fishing stores around Grand Rapids and typically spend about $75.00 for the ones I like.
If you don’t have a line counter, that’s okay, you can fish by feel using bouncers too. Calculate ounce of sinker weight per every 10 feet of water depth, this will allow good control over placing your weight in the strike range by feel. I've been doing a lot of fishing in the 20 to 24 foot range and for me, 2 ounce weights have been just right.
First get your boat moving at trolling speed, 1.1 to 1.3 MPH and then lower your weight toward bottom. You’ll know you’re all the way down when you see your line go slack. After you’ve made initial contact with bottom, give the lure a little time to settle in and then check it again by dropping your rod tip to the water’s surface. If you can “find” the bottom, you are close enough; if you cannot see your line go slack, let out a few feet of line at a time, until you can.
Just remember, dragging the sinker along the bottom works against this presentation and you will be frustrated. Ideally, you will keep the sinker travelling about one foot above the bottom, but if you’re going to make a mistake, it’s better to fish with the sinker too shallow, rather than too deep.
It’s not lost on me that Walleyes are not the only fish striking the bottom bouncer and spinner combo. During the past few days, some very nice Perch and northern Pike have struck the Little Joes too. Now that I’ve made it through the “Walleye or Die” phase of July, I can see a few multi-species opportunities in my very near future.
Looking at the forecast, I can’t see any reason not to expect good results. Providing of course that I can figure out the right fishing spots; I’ll be working on that and whatever we learn, you will definitely be the first to know!
To say that it’s been a busy couple of weeks would be an understatement of the highest magnitude! In particular, the past 5 days that I spent fishing with various members of the Goettl family and friends.
You’ve seen all of the recent reports, so you already know that the water is warm and we’ve been fishing with fast moving baits; yesterday was no exception. There was however a distinct difference between fish locations during the morning vs afternoon and this could be a good tip for your weekend fishing trip.
Weed beds in many areas are fully developed now and many of them are holding fish in good numbers. During the morning on Thursday, the inhabitants of one particular weed patch were feeding; they had moved out of the heaviest cover and were roaming the adjacent shallow water flat. For a couple of hours, trolling the flat near the weeds was good enough to get fish to strike.
Later in the morning, we could feel the fish pulling back into the weeds. In order to attract and trigger a fish, I had to continually move closer and closer to the weeds, until the fish were buried so deep that we could not fish them anymore.
It seemed obvious that if we stopped, rigged up with jigs and fished in the weed patch that we could drag a few more fish out; but we could not get them to strike. The water is so warm; their metabolism is running so high that they refuse to take slow moving, finesse style presentations.
By the time this experiment was finished, it was time to swap out the morning crew for the afternoon one.
When we returned to the lake, I had hoped to find active fish in or near another weed patch. But without a breeze and under the bright sunshine, fish simply refused to budge, the weed bite that was so good in the morning was not coming back until conditions would improve.
After telling them that I needed to be more creative, my patient crew allowed me to spend some time searching for fish on mid-lake structures. The screen of my Humminbird tipped us off that there were fish located on a small bar located on a large flat. The water depth was only 10 feet, so we started with the standard 3/16 ounce bullet sinker to pull our Little Joe spinners. It worked a little bit, we began picking up a combination of fish, but it felt like we weren’t getting all of the fish to strike.
I tried an experiment; let’s see if using bottom bouncers works any better than the bullet weight? Within a few minutes, the action was hot and heavy. The fish wanted to eat, but only if they didn’t have to move very far to strike the bait. The bottom bouncers allowed us to keep our spinners in their faces and that was all it took to turn them on. Long story short, we fished 3 more spots and we caught fish at all of them.
Admittedly, I got lucky, the slight change in presentation worked out this time. But if I would have stuck with the weed pattern that worked in the morning, our afternoon might have been a real drag.
The takeaway for you, I hope, is that when the action grinds to a halt, you can’t make anything worse by trying something different.
The weather has been stable for a few days and water temperatures will continue to rise. The outlook for action this weekend looks good. Weed patterns on a wide variety of lakes will continue to produce mixed bag action, especially during low light periods.
Although I have really focused on weeds lately, every time I’ve fished mid-lake structure, we have produced some fish. So I think fishing “in the middle” has a lot of potential for the weekend too.
By the way, I noticed that anglers coming in from Winnie all seemed to be toting a few fish to the cleaning shack. Some of them reported slower action than others, one man had 10 Walleyes, another had 6 and another angler had only a couple. The point is, everybody had something and that is usually a sign that there’s a good bite out there, if you can find it. Now that the water is warm and there’s an algae bloom to work with, we might just be seeing an uptick in action at the big pond.
I KNOW! I’d love it too and Phil Goettl, judging by the smile on his face, was happy when it happened to him on Tuesday.
All we were doing was trolling the weed edges, pulling in Panfish and putting on new worms. I was humming the classic Aerosmith song “same old song and dance” when I noticed that Phil’s rod was bent over more than usual. “Oh-Oh, you better reel ‘em up everybody, I think we might to give Phil some room to work”; I said. A few minutes later, the big Walleye appeared at the surface and Phil’s new personal best was entered into the log book.
Ironically, the first image that I saw on my computer when I logged in last night was this post on Lindy’s Facebook page. It was the image of Craig Narowetz, another fishing customer who had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago on the very same lake.
In yesterday’s report, I mentioned that the mixed bag, action bite was on and added that the species you catch depends solely on what’s available in your favorite lake. I ended the report by saying that you’d probably be seeing photos of sunfish today and you would have, except that I never had time to take any; the action was too fast. Naturally, when it came to Phil’s fish, we made the time to snap a few photos.
On the surface, that sounds good, who wouldn’t want to have that problem, action so fast that there’s no time to stop for a photo?
Well, I’m not so sure that the fast action was actually helping us. The small fish, in my opinion, were so aggressive that we never had time to present our lures to the slower moving fish that were lying beneath them.
The fishing conditions were ideal, overcast skies and breezy. They were so ideal that every little fish in the lake was on high alert chomping on our baits as fast as they hit the water. In fact we burned through most of a 100 box of night crawlers by 1:30 PM. I was lucky to find a backup supply at one of the resorts on the lake, which allowed us to fish through the rest of the afternoon.
Reinforcing my theory about aggressive small fish, vs slower moving big fish, was that we always caught our better quality fish, including Phil’s walleye whenever there was a slow-down in the action.
Under the circumstances, there wasn’t a lot that I could do about it; we wanted the sunfish and the action was fun. It would have been silly to switch presentations, hoping to find one that would exclude all of the small fish. So, the best thing we could do was to keep trolling the weeds, let the Little Joes do their job and grin when we got a good one.
By days end, we had caught sunfish, smallmouth, largemouth, rock bass, northern pike, perch, walleye and … Mr. Big. Not a bad way to spend a day.
By now, you've noticed that my comments have gravitated more and more toward mixed-bag, weedline fishing. I’m not gonna be dishing out any surprises today, trolling the weeds continues to produce fish, which ones depend only on the lake you choose to fish.
Water temperatures continue rising and now they're into the magic mid 70 degree range. When the water gets this warm fish metabolism runs so high that they will feed more often than at any other time of the year. One thing that you can bet on is the weedline you decide to try is inhabited by fish, and you can place your spinner in front of them, odds are very good that they will strike.
On Monday, we chose to fish a lake that’s populated primarily by Pike, Walleye and Perch. That’s what we caught, all three species and more often than not, all of them in found in the same weed bed at the same time.
As active as the fish were, the shallow water presentation, Little Joe Spinners, trolled behind a 1/8 ounce bullet sinker was reliable as the sunrise. I was able to be very efficient because it never took more than a single trolling pass through any weed patch to know if there were fish there or not. If we had strikes the first time, we’d fish it again. If we didn’t catch much on the first pass, that spot was crossed off the list for the rest of the day.
Today, the crew only has rule, I can take them anywhere and fish for anything, as long as they can eat it! So we’ll be testing the theory again, except this time the lake’s population consists of sunfish, bass, walleye and pike, in that order. That means that if I’m right, you should be looking at photos of sunfish tomorrow. If I’m lucky, we’ll have a couple of bonus walleye to throw at you and maybe a pike too.
If I’m lucky
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Q&A from Eric Stone who wrote; "Hey Jeff! I have been reading your fishing reports on the internet for a while now. I find them very interesting and enjoy learning other options to try.
We are from Green Bay and the bay provides us plenty of walleyes but we like to change it up once a year and fish different water. I and my dad are coming over to Lake Winnibigoshish in a couple of weeks, just to fish a different body of water.
I was wondering you keep mentioning that Lindy Lil’ Guy rig. We haven’t used that on the bay here; what size would you suggest buying, the 1" 1.5" or 2"?
Also is there any kind of perch bite that goes on Lake Winnie or Leech Lake in mid-August?"
A) Eric, the answer to your question depends on the size fish that you want to target. My rule of thumb for fishing walleyes using Lindy’s Lil’ Guy is to use the 2 inch size, the largest one, for the pursuit of big Walleye. Big fish prefer the bulk and extra vibration; small fish can be intimidated by the size.
I’ve been using the smaller 1 inch size when I want to catch eating size fish. I really stocked up on the one inchers just before Lindy released the new 1-1/2 inch size, so until now, I haven’t fished a lot with that size. Now that we are in the prime time for trolling presentations, I will be adding the 1-1/2 inch size into the mix. I’m sure that you’ll be seeing in pop up in future reports. Read More >> Sundin Comments About Lindy Lil' Guy
Perch fishing is often quite good during mid-August on both Winnie and Leech Lakes.
Typically, Perch will be located on shallow flats during late summer, but you could find them deeper, at the base of mid-lake structures. Key depths in the shallows will range between 5 and 12 feet of water. If you search for them in the depths, focus on the marl transition between hard sand and soft mud; typically, 28 to 30 feet is where they’ll be.
My favorite pattern is when they move into areas where Crawfish are plentiful. Any flat location that has sporadic patches gravel and light rock will hold some Perch. Add a nice patch of Cabbage weeds and then you’ll have the makings of a super spot. Side imaging, if you have it is fabulous method of locating these gravel patches.
Right now, both lakes are chock full of small Perch, but both offer good size fish, when you find them. For me the trick is to keep searching until you begin catching fish of the quality that you’re satisfied with. Avoid the temptation of stopping to fish a spot just because there are perch there. When you’re catching bunches of small ones, hoping that big fish will eventually move into an area seldom works out.
One good way to find them is by trolling the flats using spinners tipped with fatheads. Just keep covering ground until you find the right combination of structure and quality size fish. Then you can slow down and fish with jigs, lindy rigs or slip-floats.
If you've got all the time in the world and can stay out on the lake to fish until the sun goes down, then you probably won't need this advice. But if you've only got a few hours to fish and you want to get the most out of your time, then set your alarm clock to "EARLY".
I can't even count how many times I heard this quote over the past 10 days; "We did well in the morning, but once the sun came up and the wind quit blowing, it turned into a grind."
It's been true for me too, and it happened again yesterday.
After sorting through a handful of fishing spots that produced some, but not a lot of Walleyes, I finally found "the right one". It was a cabbage flat in shallow water and on our first pass through it; Walleyes struck our Little Joe Spinners aggressively.
You can imagine how happy I was, after working hard to find a spot, we were getting in on some good action and now we could settle in and really have some fun. Ten minutes later, the breeze went away, the clouds went away and the action went away too.
Despite knowing that there were fish lying in the heavy weeds just a few feet away, there was nothing I could do about it; they were done. I was back to the grind, staring at the lake’s glass smooth water and searching for Walleyes one bite at a time.
This pattern has repeated itself numerous times, but over the past 10 days, it’s been especially persistent. In fact, for the moment, it seems to be the rule, not the exception.
If I was on my own vacation, the ideal scenario for fishing during this warm water period would be to arrive at the lake well before sunrise and then spend a few hours fishing the weed edges for a mixed bag. By the time the sun rose high enough to be a problem, I’d be waking up from my nap, ready to start the 2nd half of my day.
Since I am not on vacation, and I don’t get to choose my “ideal scenario”, I grind it out, producing whatever I can by relying on these 3 presentations to get me through the rough spots during the daytime.
If I was on the lake early in the morning, I would be casting to the weed edges using small jigs tipped with action tails. When the fish are moving, feeding agressively, this presentation will catch everything that swims. Some of my friends add a safety pin type spinner to their jigs, this is a fun way to fish too.
I spoke with a man a couple of days ago who said; “I know all about mid-summer, the fishing stinks at this time of the season.” I beg to differ, admittedly, it’s not easy to be a Walleye purist right now, but fishing does not stink.
Traffic on the lakes is very light and interest in fishing is at its typical mid-summer low ebb. That makes this an opportunity for you to enjoy some really fine action without be surrounded by crowds. If you choose to take advantage of it, this could easily be some of the best fishing that you’ll experience all year.
Frequent visitors probably recall hearing about the annual "Fisharoo" fishing event hosted by Daikin for some of its customers. With 10 or more guides serving upwards of 60 people throughout the 5 day event, a lot of fishing information usually changes hands; this year was no different.
The weather was gorgeous; in fact this was the most stable pattern that I can recall in the 30 years that I’ve been fishing with this group. On Thursday, I suggest re-naming this weather pattern; referring to it as the “Daikin Effect”. The pattern was consistent of all 5 days and featured cool, breezy mornings and warm, sunny afternoons giving everybody full dosages of Vitamin D.
The morning provided better fishing, but most folks come from the south and for them, the calm, sunny weather was fantastic, even if that meant we had to work harder to catch fish.
Fishing in mid-July, especially for Walleyes is expected to have its up and downs anyway and there definitely were some slow times. But despite suffering through those slow periods, we also enjoyed periods of very good fishing. I think that most all of the guests had moments of greatness on the water.
Obviously, I love it when my crews do well and I’m the first one to brag on them when they achieve success for their efforts. I do have a rather nice highlight reel of photos to show off, but before I do that, I think everybody should give Dale Anderson a standing ovation.
During mid-summer, there are many fishing circumstances that have a way of separating the men from the boys. As a veteran guide, it’s easy to spot another fisherman who knows what he’s doing, and proves it.
Dale told me that “sometimes you just have to get lucky”, that’s a phrase that’s rolled off my lips a time or two as well. Lucky or not, Anderson definitely mastered the art of finding and catching Walleyes on Lake Winnibigoshish this summer. Despite reports about how tough the fishing has been on the big lake, he’s stuck with it and as a result, has turned in solid performances folks who have fished with him.
Fishing mid-lake structure, Lindy Rigging with night crawlers allowed Anderson’s crews to boat numerous large Walleyes, along with an ample harvest of keeper fish too.
Are you’re thinking about heading out onto the big lake to duplicate his results? The best advice that I can give you is to spend however much time you need to find a school of active fish before you drop lines into the water. Insist on seeing multiple numbers of fish, and the closer they are to the top, the better.
For example, if you spot 3 fish in 30 feet of water, you may possibly get one or 2 of them to strike. But the odds are that you will burn up a bunch of your fishing time, and odds are that they will be “slot fish” that you’ll have to release. That’s because if they were eaters, there would be more of them in a school.
Think about the simple math, the older a fish is, the less chance there is that other fish from the same year class have survived. Conversely, a year class of younger fish is likely to be located together and be found in larger groups. If you’re looking for trophy fish, then hunting down singles and doubles is a great idea. But when you want action and food, your time searching for larger schools of younger fish is far more likely to pay off.
Most of the guides, including me, spent our time catering to guests with ideas of their own about what they wanted to fish for. Some of them have developed favoritism for certain lakes, some of them want to pursue favored fish.
The event features a fish dinner on 2 days and when fish were needed for eating; I spent my time gathering them on Bowstring. I wouldn’t say that the fishing was fabulous, but when we kept our nose to the grindstone, we managed a respectable bag of nice size fish.
Several other fishermen were out there too and comparing notes, I don’t believe that my crew had the best “action”. There are a lot of small fish out there, and for me, searching for some larger fish took up a lot of time. Finally, we hit pay dirt by trolling Lil’ Guys and Little Joe Spinners, covering lots of water in the 20 t0 24 foot range was definitely the best way to get fish of higher quality to strike.
To get the lures into position, we used 1-1/2 ounce bottom bouncers. Our trolling speed was 1.2 MPH and we used night crawlers rather than minnows. By the end of a long hard day, we gathered a dozen fish in the 15 to 17 inch range, a better bag, but at the price of slower action.
The rest of my time was spent in the pursuit of a mixed bag of Smallmouth Bass and Walleye. Numbers of Smallmouth was easier to come by than were the Walleyes, but we did catch some quality fish of each species.
We used wacky rigged YUM Dingers for Smallmouth in shallow water, and these shallow fish provided the most action. But for quality, we had to fish deeper and live bait was required to get them to strike. The action was far slower in the deep water, but this is where we found our Walleyes and larger smallmouth.
We used “wiggle worms” and fished in water depths of 16 to 24 feet. Boat speed is critical for this presentation; .4 to .6 MPH is ideal and allows you to maintain contact with the light weight jigs.
As always, careful planning, good food and a cheerful atmosphere made the event a successful one. I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2018.
Murphy’s Law, Corollary 13-B, “The more you want to please a customer, the more difficult it will be to do so.”
Tim Heerts’ family has been vacationing on Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids for 50 years or more. They’ve stayed just about everywhere on the lake and they remember a lot of places that don’t even exist anymore.
They probably didn’t need to hire me to fish on the lake that was so familiar to them. But somewhere along the line, Tim began following my reports and thought it would be fun to fish with me. So when I published a news update about a cancellation, Tim decided to take the date.
Naturally, whenever I meet anybody for the first time, I hope to make a good impression; Wednesday was no different.
At the landing, when Tim and his wife Susan greeted me, they were all smiles, excited to see what the day would bring. Despite knowing that the Walleye bite has been tough, I was excited too, I was confident that reliable mid-summer patterns would allow me to produce some kind of action for my crew.
The surprise was that the normally reliable mixed bag, weedline bite produced numerous fish, but of poor quality. We caught Sunfish, Pike, Bass and Perch, but they were all small and the odd Walleye that would ordinarily show up in the mix, never did.
I said “Okay, I guess we’ll have to try Lindy Rigging deeper structures with big minnows. It’s going to be sort of a grind, but we’ll have a shot at more quality fish” Long story short, it worked just well enough to allow each one of us to catch one good size fish.
There were a handful of missed opportunities, strikes that didn't result in the capture of a fish. But even if we’d caught every single fish that struck, it would still have added up to be a slow day on Pokegama.
I can’t blame it on the weather, the sky wasn’t that bright, we had a nice breeze; it really should have been better. But no matter how many places we fished, the results were similar. The choices boiled down to fishing with spinners in the weeds for lots of small fish or rigging the big minnows for a chance at one good one.
It was easy to find fish, they appeared frequently on my Humminbird, but they were lethargic. I always had the feeling that we were on the verge of discovering something cool, but always fell short of the anticipated hot spot.
If you ask me, I think this is an extension of this season’s odd, late starting summer. Like many of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area, fishing patterns are behind schedule. If the water temperature raises a couple of degrees more and the weeds grow another foot taller, then I think summer patterns will kick into high gear.
If you’ve followed these reports for a while, then you’ll recall Murphy’s Law, Corollary 13-B, cropping up once in a while. Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get ahead of Ol’ Murphy.
Luckily, the Heerts’ family was about as easy going and warm hearted a family as you’ll find anywhere. That helped keep me on track while we searched and waited for the lake to give us our allowance; one good picture apiece.
"Full coolers and big smiles were the theme this week as walleye fishing remains hot. Spinners with crawlers or minnows are putting lots of fish in the boat in 16-30 ft. Gold, glow and bright colors continue to be solid choices. Pike active, perch and smallmouth bite in many areas of the lake. Mayfly hatch on parts of the lake.
Anglers in the Rainy River finding some walleyes with morning/evening. Trolling cranks or pulling spinners producing the best. Smallmouth bass in good numbers along shorelines, bridge embankments and feeder streams. Sturgeon fishing is on fire with good numbers being caught.
Up at the NW Angle, fishing remains lights out. The areas by Crowduck and Garden Island all holding big schools of walleyes. Spinners with crawlers in 20-24 feet. Crankbaits also producing good numbers. On the Canadian side, jigging and pulling spinners on reefs is filling coolers. Muskie fishing good with the a few 50's caught while casting bucktails over wed/rock transitions. Algae Bloom minimal, visibility still good." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"Another beautiful week in the books! We had a great week of fishing up north from Garden Island to Little Oak drifting spinners. Crawlers seemed to have the best results this past week with a some coming on leaches also. Gold with a crawler and white with a crawler were producing well this past week! We are still doing some jigging if the wind allows us to anchor.
The forecast shows a nice week ahead with temps in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. It does show a few chances of rain throughout the week so pack the rain gear along with the sunscreen!
We still have some great opportunities for July and August with rate specials arriving on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
In typical “Fisharoo” fashion, the weather, the locations, the presentations and the fish are all mixed up. As always, the highest percentage of anglers shows a strong preference for Walleyes. Selecting which lake to pursue them on depends largely on each individual guide’s preference for fishing presentations and which species they hope to target in addition.
One thing we all have in common is that we’re fishing in areas where there’s potential to catch some Walleyes, but it is the Pike, Panfish and Bass that keep the action lively.
Just a few days ago, a nice young man, who also happens to be a really good fisherman quizzed me; “Okay, so where is the hot Walleye bite?” he asked. When I answered that there is no hot Walleye bite, the look on his face was telling. Without saying the words, his eyes replied, sure Jeff you’re holding back, you’ve got some special spot stashed up your sleeve, a honey hole that you’re keeping secret from the world?
Nope, it’s not like that, this is the middle of July and for every single one of my 30 something years of guiding it’s been the same story; fishing is all mixed up. No matter what anybody tells you about “the good old days”, mid-summer Walleyes have always been fickle. If anything, we understand their crazy mood swings better than ever. We catch more warm weather Walleye now than we ever did before; but we can’t count on ‘em to bite, not every day.
During mid-summer, there are days when the Walleyes bite like crazy and we all love that when it happens. But there are days when they do not and the secret is having something else to love when they don’t. I’ve learned that delivering my customers a fun fishing trip depends on being prepared to round out the day by catching other species, incidental to the pursuit of Walleyes.
On Monday, Dillion, one of my fisharoo crew members summed up the point the best when he said; “I don’t care what we do as long as we have fun doing it.” These words are the sweetest ones I ever hear because they remind me about why we love to fish in the first place; because it's fun.
If you're the type of angler who can only have fun when you're catching Walleyes, then so be it. Enjoy your pursuit of Walleyes, I hope that you get one of those fabulous, crazy bite days! But when you see us out there, please don't be offended when you hear me giggling while I reel in a Sunfish, Bass or Northern Pike; I just can't help myself.
After talking over a plan for Monday with the crew, it sounded like “having fun” would mean fishing for a mixed bag of Walleye and Smallmouth Bass, so that’s the direction we headed.
We fished areas of mixed rock and weeds in water depths of 10 to 20 feet. Our presentation was 100% wiggle worming, something that David, my other crew member head read about and wanted to learn.
During the morning, strong winds and grey skies encouraged the fish to strike. The mix of fish leaned heavily in favor of Smallmouth, but there was an ample sprinkling of Walleye in the mix too.
It looked to me like we’d have an easy day, but that was before the unexpected happened; one tiny storm passed through and changed everything. Despite NOAA weather forecasts of strong winds and approaching stormy weather, the lake went flat, the sun came out and a strike became a precious commodity.
The combination of sunny skies and mirror glass water is bad enough by itself. But when it occurs halfway through a day when the fish had been previously been feeding heavily, the impact is even stronger. When fish are already full from eating all morning, calm weather makes taking a nap sound like a good idea.
Luckily, we did manage to scrounge out a few more fish by moving deeper and fishing mid-lake bars in the 22 to 26 foot range. Those fish added to our highlight reel, but we earned every strike.
Reports from the other guides were similar, decent action in the morning followed by a slowdown after noon.
Most of the other crews followed a Pike/Walleye strategy, fishing weed lines with spinners. I didn’t hear anybody say that they were disappointed with their fishing action. After spending a full day of fishing with a spinner and minnow yesterday, today’s crew expressed an interest in repeating the experience.
That means that I’m stocking up on Little Joe Spinners and fathead minnows this morning and tomorrow, you’ll be the first one to hear all about it.
It’s not uncommon that my daily work assignments include helping customers entertain their special guests, friends and family members. I had one of those special work assignments this weekend. My job was to entertain two VIP guests who have connections at the highest level; they are close friends with the boss, Carl Bergquist.
I know them well too, in fact I’ve known both of them since they were born, and they even used to live with me. That’s right, these two beautiful women used to be my children, Annalee and Katie.
They are all grown up now, with lives of their own and guess what? They know how to pull strings when they need to.
I’m not sure how this all worked, but somehow, they wound up getting invited to enjoy a day on the water with Carl. Thanks to Carl’s generosity, my own daughters became the subject of my attention and it was a beautiful day indeed!
Surface temperatures have warmed and weeds are becoming more mature by the day. There are more fish showing up on the weed edges and the mixed bag bite continues to improve. The action wasn’t exactly frantic, but it was steady and we caught a combination of Pike, Perch and Walleye.
Surface water was warm, ranging between 72-74 degrees and the lake was glass calm. Any fish we caught came out of the heaviest patches of cabbage weeds in water depths of 5 to 6 feet. Virtually all of these fish were caught by trolling Little Joe Spinners, but that’s because I did not try any other presentation.
My crew fished all day with medium size Fatheads, and I stuck with half of a night crawler. I did bag a couple of Walleyes using night crawlers, but I think that the minnows were better; at least on Friday.
At various times throughout the day, we ventured into deep water, searching for fish on mid-lake structure. I’m sure that there are fish to be found out there, but the few places I tried did not pay off and I got antsy.
By the time I returned to the shallow weeds, the breeze had picked up and fish were more active. That makes me think that there were more fish in the weeds than it appeared, and that during the calm weather, they were hunkered down in the heavy cabbage.
In the past, we’ve rooted out more of these fish by using the wiggle worms and I think that I missed out on a few fish by not trying it. Apparently, we’re in for calm weather today, and I’ll be making a point of try that presentation in addition to running the spinners.
"The walleye fishing has picked up this past week. We are finding fish on the breaklines and mid-lake humps. They are also catching some fish on the weedline. Some very large fish were caught this past week.
Mark Thompson caught and released a 29" monster on a frozen shiner. The same day they caught fish that were 26, 26.5, and 27" as well.
The group I was guiding caught and released several big walleyes up to 27". Rigs and worms seemed to be the best bait for our group. The smaller fish are being caught in the weeds. Spinners and crawlers, as well as crankbaits worked over the weeds is the best program for the smaller fish.
Northern fishing continues to get better. All normal methods are working. Breaklines and deeper weeds are the best areas for Northerns.
Perch fishing is good for those who are targeting them. Jigs and fathead minnows either in the weeds or on the breaklines are the primary areas to work.
We are right in the middle of our busiest time at the resort. We have some serious fishermen as well as the vacationing families. It is a great time to catch up with longtime guests at the Four Seasons.
We are taking reservations for 2018 right now. Also, it is time to plan on taking advantage of our Labor Day and Fall Specials. Check out our website and give us a call." Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
On Thursday, I fished with my good friend and longtime fishing customer Carl Bergquist, who has owned property on Sand Lake for something like 50 years now. He loves Sand Lake and despite recent troubles caused by Zebra Mussels, over-harvest and whatever else has gone wrong with that poor lake, he stands by it.
Carl wanted to see if we could figure out how to work around recent declines in the Walleye population and maybe come up with some alternative ways to catch a few fish out there. Even if it did take 5 different presentations, we did finally achieve our goal. Long story short, we caught a few; 3 Walleyes to be exact and guess what? Carl was happy; he was thrilled that we figured out how to catch anything and the least of his worries were that we didn’t bag a limit.
While we were fishing, we talked a lot about Walleyes and Walleye regulations. We speculated about all of the things that might help and some ideas that could make Walleye fishing better, not just in Sand Lake but everywhere in Minnesota. One of the topics was Walleye bag limits.
It was ironic that when I came home and began reading my emails, one of them was an update from the Walleye Advisory Group and the MN DNR. One of the items read; “Statewide bag limit discussion, most WWG members were supportive of pursuing a 4-fish possession limit statewide. DNR would not entertain a split daily/possession limit (currently only yellow perch have this).”
I think that everybody in the fishing industry would agree; we want Minnesota’s fishing tradition to remain robust. A vibrant fishing economy helps support businesses all across the state. Fishing supports businesses whose interests lay far beyond the obvious resorts, bait shops and fishing guides. Fishing reaches into the bank accounts of folks who don’t even realize that it is fishing that helps feed their own families.
Decisions taken by the MN DNR about fishing are of critical importance to everybody who depends on fishing tourism for their livelihood. We all share concerns about how many fish leave our lakes vs. how many of them remain. We all want anglers who visit Minnesota’s lakes to enjoy good fishing and we’d love to see them come back, over and over again.
So why do we approach every fishing issue from the same point of view, why is it that rationing is the only solution to every problem?
If I worked at ACME Hardware and told my boss that we were running low on purple handled widget pullers, do you think he would he tell me to ration them, or do you think he would he tell me to order more? I’ll bet that he’d say, “our customers need them, get on the phone right now and get some more of them in here and do it fast.”
Let’s say that that Roy Anderson’s family has been driving all the way from Utah to Minnesota for 25 years. It’s expensive, they can barely afford it, but they love it here and they would never dream of going anywhere else.
One of the reasons that they come here, is because if they can catch them, they are allowed to take home 6 Walleyes. Even though their vacation costs thousands of dollars, the promise of catching 6 fish makes them happy and they’re willing to come back every year, based solely on the promise that each of them may potentially bag a half dozen fish.
From my point of view, we should be bending over backward to assure folks like Roy and their families that the odds of catching fish are good and if they keep coming, they can continue to enjoy a couple of family fish fries each year.
I think that striving to provide more opportunity, not less, should be the baseline of every single discussion about fish, fishing and the regulation of the sport.
Walleye “GURUS” from around the state are banging the drum for a 4 fish limit statewide. Despite statistical evidence that suggests this regulation won’t even impact the overall harvest of Walleye. Still, they want to do it anyway, they want to show that they’re doing something.
I’m a “local”, I have the ability, the time and access to lakes where I can catch a fish to bring home for a fish dinner. I don’t need 6 Walleyes, I don’t really need 4 either, most of the time I could easily make do with a couple of fish. If I needed more, I could bag a Pike or some Panfish to help round out a family meal.
What I do need is a job; I rely on folks like Roy who visit Minnesota, hoping to bag 6 Walleyes. You may not realize it, but there’s a darn good chance that your livelihood depends on Roy too, so before you start barking, take a minute to think about what I’m saying.
If it was up to me, I would do everything in my power to maintain a supply of fish that’s adequate to satisfy demand. I would do my best to assure Roy that when he gets here, there will be fish to catch.
If that means more fish need to be stocked, then I’d stock more fish. If we need to adjust slot-limits, then I’d adjust them. I’d conduct experiments, I would "test stock" some lakes lake currently offer no fishing opportunity and I’d try some new concepts, even if they seemed silly. But that’s just me, everybody knows; I’m not in charge anyway.
If the consensus among experts is that rationing can be the only solution, then why don’t we at least be realistic about how the fish are rationed and do it in a way that makes more sense? If we insist on rationing as the only tool to maintain walleye populations, then a slant that favors tourism should at least be considered.
Statistically, it would make more sense to drop the daily limit to 2 Walleyes and allow a possession limit of 6 Walleyes. This regulation would actually have an impact on the “local” harvest, which is the most intense. It would be especially limiting for me and for folks like me, stockpiling fish, would require multiple trips. In my mind that’s okay, we have the ability to catch more fish than average angler and if we need to gather fish for a meal, we may just have to spread it out over a few days.
At the same time, the promise of 6 fish would stay alive and anglers who visit our resorts, motels and lodges would continue to have the opportunity to bring home a bag of 6 fish, if they can catch them. They’d have their mid set on the notion that if they get into ‘em, they would at least have some to take home.
Statically, a Walleye bag limit of 4 fish will not significantly impact the total harvest; it’s a feel good regulation that won’t really dig into the heart of our troubles. So if you already know that this regulation won’t really help, then why would you do it?
The MN DNR has taken a firm position about Walleye bag limits; they will not entertain a “split bag limit system”. I’ve been in that room and heard it before, and it was repeated again in these notes from the Walleye Work Group.
If reducing the limit to 2 fish would have a significant impact on “local” harvest and promising a visitor the chance at 6 fish would keep them coming back to fish, why can’t we at least talk about it? Why is it so hard to consider the economic impact of their decisions on our businesses?
Of course, that’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.
"I'm that guy driving 8-9 hours dropping a lot of $$$ and I can honestly say after going up to lake Winnie for 7 years, now I'm going to another lake.
It will probably not be in the same area, I will drive a few hours more to Canada where I can catch more fish. I am not necessarily worried about bringing home fish, I just want to catch quantities of walleyes and have the chance of catching a 30 too."
Bruce Marsh wrote; “I will be at Huddle's Resort on Leech Lake in 10 days for week-long family vacation. I hope to try Wiggle Worming, Lil'Guy, and now Little Joe Spinners too. Reference to the Fishing Report On July 12, 2017 about Little Joe Spinners, do you usually use crawlers? Rigging? – is it somewhat similar to a Lindy Rig, in that you start with bullet weight, then a snap swivel which you attach the Little Joe. Correct? Are there any other suggestions for areas on Leech Lake?
A) Bruce, as luck would have it, we spent yesterday fishing on Leech Lake and tried some of those ideas already.
First, your comment and question about rigging up the Little Joes. Yes, the setup is essentially the same as a Lindy Rig, you could call it a "hot rod" Lindy Rig, one that is intended to go fast; not slow. And your assessment about rigging them is correct, step one is to slip the bullet sinker on to your line, step 2 is to tie on the snap swivel and finally, snap in the spinner.
The live bait that you add depends on the fishing circumstances that you encounter. Typically, I start off with one or two lines using crawlers, one or 2 lines using fathead minnows and occasionally, I'll try leeches for a while too.
For me, night crawlers seem to help attract a higher percentage of Walleye strikes. They also attract smaller Perch and Panfish, so depending on your lake, worms could produce either a real mixed bag bonanza, or frustrating days of re-baiting after small fish pick the meat off of your hook.
As a remedy, we use Little Joe Red Devil single hook spinner, that features the size 2/0 Aberdeen hook and #3 indiana blade. Then we thread the crawler all the way over the top of the knot and then pinch off the tail of the worm about 1 inch below the hook. That helps ensure that any fish that strikes will get the hook and not just the tail of the worm.
Walleyes like minnows too and they help attract a higher percentage of Crappies, so don't overlook them. Using minnows also attracts a higher percentage of Northern Pike, so depending on your lake, minnows could produce either a real mixed bag bonanza, or a frustrating day of re-tying after a "Scissor Bill" snaps your line.
The new Little Joe Spinners are tied on fluorocarbon and that has really helped reduce bite offs by small pike.
Incidentally, when my local bait dealer happens to be sold out of the right model, then I buy them over the internet from Lurenet and this assures me of getting the exact colors and size that I want.
Leech Lake fishing conditions are liable to change over the next 10 days, but here’s what I learned on Wednesday.
We began our trip in Walker bay, where we searched for fish on a variety of shoreline points and a handful of mid-lake bars. They were not stacked up, but we did see a few fish on a few spots. If they were hungry, I did not have the bait that they were hungry for.
After 3 hours of poking around, we moved into Agency Bay where Walleyes were equally illusive. During our hour of snooping around in there, we learned that there were Sunfish biting in the weeds, but I couldn’t find anything to sink my teeth into.
After a return to the landing for a crew change, I skipped out of the Walker Narrows and headed east, in Sucker Bay; the situation improved out there.
It took a little while to find them, but eventually trolling the Little Joes in 6-1/2 feet of water began producing fish. By the time we wrapped up, we were able to bag 9 keeper size Walleye.
By the end of the day, we had covered a lot of water and it wasn’t easy by any means. But considering how much territory we DIDN’T cover, the fact that we had found some fish and had a reasonable catch was a positive indicator that fishing the big lake has good potential.
There were some second reports about Leech Lake too and while none of them were stellar, they were not dismal either. I think that you’re group will have a good shot at finding some fish out there, especially considering that historically, Leech Lake action tends to improve during late summer.
Bass fisherman have become sophisticated users of side and down imaging technology to find fishing hotspots previously undiscovered with 2D sonar and mapping alone. Bluegill and crappie fisherman have tons of applications for the technology as well, from locating brush piles, laydowns, and panfish beds to name a few.
Ryan DeChaine demonstrates the power and detail of high-frequency side imaging using Humminbird's MEGA Imaging to find isolated offshore bluegill beds missed by others. He also compares what the same bed looks like using ... Learn More >> Use High-Frequency Side Imaging to Find Panfish
"Last week, fishing had improved a great deal from the week before. Water temperatures finally crawled out of the sixties and with that, fish like Crappies began to slowly take up their typical summer patterns. Reports of Crappies out on the deep weed lines and suspended out from the weed edges in eighteen or so feet of water have been coming in. This signals that the time is right for trolling small crank baits for slab Crappies.
Walleyes can be found in this same general vicinity and often smack these small cranks. Lures like the LIVE TARGET Rainbow Smelt, Berkley Flicker Shad and the Savage Gear Soft Vibe rattle bait are fantastic and often times you’ll be rewarded with a nice Walleye while trolling for Crappies.
At the same time catching Bass using this presentation isn’t out of the question, but most Bass anglers have been hitting it big in shallow water now that the “froggin’ season” has started.
Using frog lures up in the lily pads and shallow weed beds have proven to be very productive. New this year, the smaller version of the Savage Gear Suicide Duck has begun to catch on and Bass anglers are having a blast with this lure.
By the way, both LIVE TARGET and Savage Gear won a best lure award at the ICAST Show. Congrats!
Lastly, Pike and Muskies have been quite cooperative these past few weeks. Today’s weather was just perfect for catching these big predators and several photos of some nice sized Pike and Muskies both, were sent in to be put up on the stores “Wall of Fame”. Large Hard baits, Spoons and Spinners and my new personal favorite, large swimbaits will get the job done for these much sought after gamefish...."
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
Walleye purists might miss the point of trolling the weeds with spinners. But if you like the idea of catching fish of all shapes and sizes AND still have the chance of picking up some nice Walleyes along the way, then this might be the deal for you.
Over the past two days, I’ve fished with folks who love to catch fish and they don’t much care what kind. In fact, one of the first times I ever met Craig and Jan Narowetz, Jan gave me firm instructions that I was to avoid taking them on any sort of “Pre-Meditated Walleye Trip”.
It’s not that they don’t love Walleyes, they do, but keeping busy is just as important as the species they’re pursuing. So with the Narowetz’ on my calendar for Monday, it was the natural time to rig up some #3 Little Joe Spinners and start trolling the weed beds for “anything that bites”.
Did it work? Yes, we caught Sunfish, Perch, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass and Walleyes; including some real nice Walleyes.
I moved the same dog and pony show to another lake on Tuesday and the action was even better. Although there were many more Pike and fewer Walleyes in the mix, the rest of the assortment was similar and as a bonus, Crappies found their way into the mix.
That’s the beauty of this presentation; you can take it to any lake that has good weed beds and produce results. All you need to do will be to find a weedbed, get the boat up to trolling speed and start covering water. It’s not going to take long to rule in or out any given spot because the presentation is so fast moving.
The setup is simple; an assortment of bullet sinkers, some snap swivels and a bunch of Little Joe Spinners. I like the #3 Hammered Gold Indiana Blade with a large Aberdeen hook; they allow me to avoid some of the bite-offs that can occur when Pike are too aggressive.
Throughout the Itasca Region, weeds grow in varying depths, anywhere between the 5 to 16 foot ranges. But remember that it’s the height of the weeds, not the depth of water that will determine how much weight you’ll need to use. For example, if a weed bed grows in 15 feet of water and the top of the weeds grow to within 5 feet of the surface; you’ll only want your weight to take the spinner down about 5 feet, so that it tickles the upper weed edges. That means that in most cases, you’ll be choosing very light sinkers. Most often, we use 3/16 ounce as a starting point, but 1/8 and ¼ ounce sizes should be kept on hand too.
Trolling speed should be anywhere from 1.1 to 1.5 MPH, for me, 1.2 to 1.3 is often the ideal speed. When you’re moving this quickly, precision depth control is tricky, but that’s okay. Wiggle into and out of the weeds, trying different depths and covering a variety of angles. If there are fish present, it will only take one pass to find out. If you don’t have strikes on the first swing through a good looking spot, then it’s time to move to another weed patch.
You will be amazed at how quickly you can figure out where the good spots are, you can cover a good sized lake in less than a day.
If the mixed bag action bite sounds good, then the signal is Green for Go! Pack up the kids, get out the skillet and have a fabulous weekend party on the lake; that’s what I’m gonna do!" - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Brock Anderson, Hang Loose Outdoors wrote; "Quick fishing report as we push towards the GRAHA Walleye Shootout fishing tournament on Saturday, July 15th on Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids, MN.
As anglers begin pre-fishing for the tournament, please remember to be safe and respect local anglers and recreational boaters. The lake will be busier than normal this week. We all look forward to an exciting weigh in at the IRA Civic Center on Saturday evening. This is open to the public and will be nothing short of spectacular. Food and beverages will be served at the arena.
Fishing has been hit or miss this year out on Pokegama. The amount of bait, including smelt, small perch, and an array of other bait fish have the walleyes fat and lazy. Walleye fishing has us scratching our heads most days, other days its been good. Targeting big pike and bass has kept the rods bent on days the walleyes have been sluggish.
Either way, with 100 teams (2 per boat) of the best walleye anglers in the Midwest, someone is bound to find those giant walleyes on Lake Pokegama this Saturday. The tournament follows AIM ( Angler Insight Marketing) rules. Teams will catch, record, and release all walleyes they catch on Pokegama. Their best five walleyes will then be converted to weight and the largest weight will win the tournament and kiss 'the cup'.
The GRAHA Walleye Shootout is a fishing tournament that raises money and awareness for local non profits such as Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Special Olympics. The tournament venue is destined to be one of the largest one day walleye fishing tournament events in the state of MN with a guaranteed first place payout of $15,000.
Good Luck to all anglers! See you at the IRA Civic Center Saturday evening." Learn More Go To >> GRAHA Walleye Shootout
"Many limits this week as the bite remains excellent. Jig/minnow or jig/leech and bouncers with spinners with crawlers or minnows remaining a great tactic to land fish. Gold, glow and bright colors doing the best. Walleyes and saugers in 14-20' with others a little deeper to 29-30'. Anglers just starting to troll cranks. Lots of areas producing all around the lake. Pike, perch, and a great smallmouth bite mixed in as well. Lots of mayflies around right now but fishing remains good.
Anglers in the Rainy River finding some walleyes with morning/evening the best. Trolling cranks or pulling spinners a good idea to cover more water. Smallmouth bass in good numbers along shorelines and feeder streams. Sturgeon fishing opened July 1st and initial reports are very good for sturgeon anglers with some monsters boated.
Up at the NW Angle, fishing remains great. The areas by Little Oak, Crowduck, and Garden Island all holding good populations of fish. Crawlers on a hammered gold and/or orange/chartreuse spinner are producing fish out of 18 - 28 feet. On days with no wind, troll 1.0 - 1.25 mph with spinners. Crankbaits starting to boat fish more consistently. On the Canadian side, bottom bouncers and spinners have been sending anglers home with limits as have the traditional jig and minnow. Muskie fishing going good with numbers of 30-45" inch fish and a few 50 inchers." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"We had a great 4th of July and the MTT put on another great event with Anglers coming in with great bags of fish. Going with the old saying, we hope everyone’s corn was “knee high by the 4th of July”, the beans in our area really took off this past week and are looking really nice. Our Walleye Master Guides have been hitting the lake hard this past week, there have been some enormous bug hatches on the lake and the fish have been eating them heavy, although we are seeing a lot of the small crayfish in the bellies also.
The past week our charters have been from Archie’s reef to Little Oak Island. From day to day the favorite jig color could change, yesterday had to be pink and gold. Sticking with the bright colors and changing until you find out which is best is the preferred method. It is also another advantage of our Charters, with 6 lines in the water it is much easier to determine these preferences throughout a day.
The forecast shows a dip in temps for the week ahead with highs into the 70’s and lows in the 50’s, I guess June weather is coming back.
We still have some great opportunities for July and August with rate specials arriving on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Randy Swenson wrote; “I tired wiggle worming for the first time yesterday and caught a walleye on my 2nd cast. I found wiggle worming, at least yesterday, produced far more strikes than Lindy Rigging. However my hooking percentage wiggle worming is poor compared to rigging.
Of the dozen worms I went through I caught 1 Walleye and 2 Smallmouth and was broke off once, most likely by a pike. In 8 strikes (and hook sets) I fought the fish for a short time but they would get off.
I could tell they had weight and were not pan fish or perch but I am finding the hook setting seems to be different than setting the hook when I lindy rig a crawler.
Do you have any advice to improve my hooking percentage?
A) Randy, Judging by own experiences with “Wiggle Worming, developing a sense of timing is somewhat subjective because fish strike differently every day. There’s an adjustment period during which I learn how aggressively the fish are striking.
Figuring out their mood is what tells me how much line I need to feed out. I want to give them enough line to ensure that they have the worm fully into their mouth. But I want to be sure not to over-feed them so I don’t cause undue injury to the fish.
The process consists of 3 basic elements, each very simple, but each crucial to maximizing perfect hook sets.
To an angler, Walleye strikes FEEL like they develop more quickly with wiggle worms than they do with Lindy Rigs. That’s because the connection between you and the fish is much more direct. There are no added sinkers, swivels and leaders to absorb any of the sensation that comes with a strike.
This makes it much easier to feel every little thing that happens at the end of your line, but it also heightens the importance of effectively detecting a walleye strike early, so you can release the line smoothly. A rough sendoff tends to make the fish more wary and can cause them to drop the bait.
This is one key reason that I recommend using light rods that are strung with 4 to 6 pound test monofilament line. The soft rod tip, combined with a little bit of line stretch allows me to test for the distinctive feel of a Walleye strike before I bother feeding line.
Most walleye fishermen are very familiar with the sensation of a walleye strike. Once you know it, you know it and it is always the same. I avoid trying to catch nibbling, pecking bites
Once I feel the telltale “pull-down” and sense the slow, steady movement of a Walleye, the process begins.
I allow the line to pay out freely, without holding back or testing to see if the fish is still there. I keep my paws off the line and have faith that the fish is doing its part. On my first strike, I tend to feed out a lot of line, 10 seconds maybe more. If the fish seem aggressive and swallow the bait, I will shorten the feeding period accordingly.
Phase 2 of the process is to be sure that I have retrieved all of the slack line before attempting to set the hook. Incidentally, this is the part of the process that has tripped up many of the anglers I’ve fished with.
When a walleye swims off with your worm, there are no assurances which direction it will be moving. Line drag in the water gives the false appearance that the fish is moving away from you as the line rolls off of your reel. In reality, the fish could be swimming in any direction, including right at you. If you don’t retrieve all of the slack and attempt to set the hook too soon, the slack line will absorb the force of your hook set and the fish will barely be bothered. This is likely the cause of many fish that “feel” hooked, but get off of the line.
Phase 3, is the solution to this problem and it involves smoothly, but quickly retrieving all of your slack line; every single inch of it.
Many anglers are over-cautious, afraid that they will “spook” the fish if they retrieve the slack line too quickly. Unfortunately that worry causes more problems than it solves and is often the only thing standing in the way of success.
Relax and have faith, if you fed the line smoothly and the fish was in fact a Walleye, then it will be there.
Turn the handle quickly so you can find the fish as fast as possible. Watch your rod tip and when it bends under the pressure of a fish, then and only then; it’s time to set the hook.
That’s it, just focus on those 3 simple, but crucial elements and your hook setting percentages will improve dramatically. The key is to rely on the simplicity of this presentation, if you don’t over think it; wiggle worming will not fail you.
Q) Gary Scholzen wrote; "Without giving up your secrets Jeff, I have a couple questions on your live bait jigs. First do you have an average depth for each weight of jigs? meaning 1/16 for 15 fow or less 1/8 for 25 fow or less.... trying to purchase the sizes needed for my type fishing. Also do you blow up the nightcrawlers when you hook them?
A) Gary, no, I don't blow up the worms in this presentation. I control the depth with my boat speed and we fish 1/16 ounce jigs down to about 25 feet, at times even as deep as 30 feet. At .4 to .6 MPH, the bait falls well into the strike zone at these depths. If I think I can't maintain accurate depth and speed using 1/16 ounce, I will switch to 1/8 ounce, but this is reserved for special circumstances.
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Brian Rusch and his son Will helped prove a point on Friday. Fishing for Walleyes in clear water, on a bright day, during banker’s hours does not always mean that you can’t catch fish.
OH I Know, I’ve been the first one to gripe about the effect sunshine has on Walleyes, especially in clear water and there’s no doubt that many of my toughest fishing days have occurred on “Bluebird Days”.
You may recall that I’ve also talked about clear water lakes in the Itasca Area and how they tend to be slow starters. Deep, clear water lakes warm more slowly than darker, shallower lakes and their summer peak period occurs later. This summer, cool weather dragged out the effect even more and lakes that typically peak during mid to late June are at their best right now.
That’s right, I’ve been on a half dozen clear water lakes during the past 10 days and except for Winnie, they’ve all provided reasonably good action for Walleye; Bass too on the ones that have them. This peak period will not last forever; soon the fish will begin to suspend and we’ll need to make some adjustments. But for now, anglers can take advantage of an opportunity that only comes along a couple times during every season.
Surface temperatures varied around the lake, ranging between 68 and 71 degrees. I think 70 degrees was about the most common reading I saw.
Fishing conditions were especially good in the morning; the sky was broken, threatening rain at times. Later in the day the sky was clearer and brighter and the lake was calmer too. Ironically, we did our best work during the afternoon, the period from 2 to 5 was especially fun.
“Wiggle Worming”, the common thread that’s run through many recent reports was on the agenda for our fishing trip. Despite a certain reluctance to accept my assessment that “Wiggle Worming” has provided the best action recently, Brian and Will were more than willing to give the presentation a fair chance. I think that they were happy that they did, the Live Bait Jig and crawler combo was reliable on Friday, as it has been most days this week.
Walleye location was typical of recent reports too. Many of the mid lake bars held some fish, so did shoreline points that drop of into deep water. The key depth for us was about 20 feet, but fish were caught in depths ranging between 16 and 26 feet of water. I think that the fish showed a preference for spots that contained weeds. Open water bars without any weed cover held far fewer fish than the ones with grassy bottoms.
Okay, so the upshot of the report is that the slower-starting, clear water lakes are ready for prime time. Still, I don’t mean to give you the impression that all of the clear water lakes are “ON Fire”, they are not. But they are reasonably good and if you master the presentation, control your boat speed and make good use of your electronics, you can expect to catch some fish.
On Friday, I did have some advantages too; Brian and Will are very open minded, that made teaching them how to wiggle worm very easy. Their angling skills were very good as well and that meant I could spend more of my time pursuing fish instead of straightening out little messes.
I’ve been blessed to have so many customers who are good natured and have a sense of awareness about what it takes for me to do my best work. That takes a lot of pressure off of me and gives me the ability to focus on the job at hand. I’m very grateful for another day on the water, fishing with men who have these attributes; they were delightful to fish with and all things considered, this day was about as good as it gets.
I don’t want to leave you hanging like a soap opera, but I’m short on time so I want to leave you with something to think about until tomorrow.
Here’s the question; if we can catch fish, during the daytime on any one of a half dozen clear water lakes that all share a common reputation for being “tricky” during banker’s hours, then why is it so hard to catch fish on Winnie during the daytime? More on that subject later.
Warm, sunny days, rising water temperatures and manageable breezes combined to encourage pleasure boaters to show up in colossal numbers over the Independence Day holiday. Despite the heavy traffic, fishing in the Grand Rapids area was good.
Arriving at high noon, under clear blue skies, with pleasure boats going every which way isn’t generally the prescription for maximum production, but that didn’t seem to matter.
“I can’t believe it, for weeks everybody has been telling me that the fishing was slow. Now that the lake is full of jet skis and tubers, people are saying that the fish are biting.” Those words shared with me on Tuesday by the Itasca County AIS inspector at the public landing. That assessment turned out to be true, at least for me and my crew.
With surface water temperatures finally rising above 70 degrees, both Walleye, Smallmouth, Largemouth and Rock Bass were active. With a light chop on the surface, drifting the weedline was easily accomplished too and with 4 lines wiggle worming the weed patches, there was usually somebody reeling in something.
Smallmouth Bass were the most abundant on Tuesday, Walleyes came along occasionally. On Wednesday, the roles were reversed and Walleyes outnumbered Smallies 2 to 1. That told me that the bronze backs are on the move, cruising along the breaklines in search of food and not locked in to that particular territory.
When the more aggressive Bass happen to inhabit the same weed patches as the Walleyes, it is they who arrive first to strike the night crawlers. That gives us the impression that there aren’t many Walleyes in the neighborhood. But when Bass are absent and the Walleyes are alone in the same habitat, we catch a greater number of them.
When they are not bothered by the interloping Bass, we get the impression that there are a lot more Walleye. My point of view is that when Walleyes inhabit a particular weed patch, they tend to stay in the area until something forces a change. So every time I catch any number of Walleyes in a weedy area, I consider the possibility that there are more fish there, even if they don’t appear to be.
It could be fishing pressure, stormy weather or some other environmental change that forces the fish to move. But as long as conditions remain stable, and as long as you don’t see numerous anglers pressuring the spot, then the fish are liable to remain in the that weed patch.
I mentioned that we caught our fish using wiggle worms and that was definitely the preferred presentation. Experiments to discover whether warmer water would trigger a “spinner bite” failed on Monday and again on Tuesday; we didn’t try spinners on Wednesday, but we probably will give it a go while we’re fishing Winnie today.
I’m hoping that warmer temperatures will encourage the algae bloom that started late last week on Winnie. If they do intensify, we could begin seeing some improvement in the daytime action, especially in the weeds.
With luck, we’ll be able to dodge most of the predicted storms today so we can follow through with our plans to give the big pond a thorough going over. Tune in tomorrow to find out if we learn anything or not. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Good numbers of nice walleyes and sauger this week. Jig/minnow or jig/leech and bouncers with spinners with crawlers or minnows still producing a lot of fish. Gold, glow and bright colors doing the best. Some walleyes feeding shallow when bait is present, 14-18'. Others set up in 29-30' in Big Traverse. Some anglers starting to troll cranks with success. Pike, perch and smallmouth mixed in all over the lake.
Anglers in the Rainy River finding some walleyes with morning/evening bite the best. Trolling cranks or pulling spinners a good idea to cover more water. Smallmouth bass in good numbers along shorelines and feeder streams. Sturgeon fishing opened July 1st.
Up at the NW Angle, water temps are in the low to upper 60’s and low 70's. The east side of Four Blocks, Lunatic and Little Traverse Bay producing good numbers of walleyes on MN side. Crawlers on a gold and/or orange spinner are producing fish out of the mud between 22 - 28 feet. Some anglers starting to pull crankbaits. On the Canadian side, bottom bouncers and spinners have been filling the livewells with walleyes. Smallmouth on fire with some boats finding 100 fish per day around Tranquil Channel with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Muskie fishing picking up with high 40” class fish being caught and getting even better as water warms." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"More great catches this past week! We are geared up for another great 4th of July celebration in Baudette. As we leave June behind we recall being bundled up in the morning, maybe July will allow for light shirts and shorts.
Again, Little Traverse Bay has been providing most of the action. We continue to anchor and jig with the brighter colors being most effective. There have been some really large hatches of the Mayflies but the bite continues to be good. The Walleye Master Guides have been getting in some great catches with many guests catching their largest Walleye ever!
The forecast shows an increase in temperature with highs into the 80’s and lows in the 60’s for the week ahead. Great summertime weather!
We still have some great opportunities for July and August with rate specials arriving on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
In the long run, this warmer, more stable weather pattern can’t be anything but helpful. Don’t get excited too fast though, the warm up still has a long way to go before we can declare that summer fishing patterns are firmly established. As a matter of fact, the pattern right now is that there is no pattern and on Monday we saw proof.
With a couple more warm days heading our way, there’s liable to be further stabilization, but we’re going to pay a price. Calm seas and clear water conditions will definitely favor the fish and not the angler. Today and I expect fishing to be something of a grind unless we receive unexpected breezes.
I hope though that Mother Nature has a reward in mind and that we are heading toward warmer surface temperatures and increasing algae blooms. In the short run, a bloom in the water would benefit us by making it easier to pursue Walleyes.
In the long run, fish are going to need better algae blooms for nourishment and if they don’t arrive soon, it could spell trouble for the 2017 year class.
When it comes to the weather, there’s not a lot we anglers can do to encourage Mother Nature to do things our way. But if you happen to have a favorite prayer, meditation or chant, now we be an excellent time to dust it off.
BY THE WAY, my little girl has reached her quarter century milestone today. That’s right, it's the 4th of July and the girl who refers to herself as “My Oldest Child” has graciously allowed the entire nation to share this day with her! I know that she’d want me to thank everybody for the fireworks, so Thank You!
These days she’s got a life of her own and she’s well beyond being a child; except to me. She’s still my little girl and I hope that you’ll join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday, one filled with warmth and love. Something tells me that you'll know where to find her, that big social media page where everbody shares this sort of news.
Okay lets cut to the chase. If you've ever asked a question about using side imaging, how it works or why it works; then you need to watch this video. This is the most comprehensive turorial about using side imaging technology that I've ever seen.
Wired2Fish teamed up with Jeff “Kolo” Kolodzinski of Humminbird to create this detailed video about understanding how and why this technology works.
"The featured product is Humminbird’s Helix-12, but the concepts will help you regardless fish finder manufacturer. Kolo breaks down how to read and interpret what side imaging, down imaging, and two-dimensional (2D) sonar are showing you, and how they can improve your fishing. We filmed real-time drone and underwater video of screen readouts to show you what rocks, weeds, fish, and bottom hardness changes look like on the screen, from the air, and below the water - seeing is believing." View Video >> Understanding Side Imaging Technologies
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