“We’re seeing fish on the graph, but they weren’t getting too excited about our jigs and minnows. Now that my dad has his worm on, he’s getting back into the groove and I think things are gonna get better”. Those were the words of advice that my friend Mark Thompson share in a phone call from Lake Winnie on Sunday morning.
At the time, I wasn’t fully ready to buy in to Mark’s worm theory because my customer Ray had just boated 3 walleyes in a row using a jig and minnow.
Still, it was I who only yesterday (Report June 17, 2018) advised everyone to be ready for changes in presentation. Under the circumstances I thought the least I could do is to take my own advice. So I did, I rigged up a Lindy Rig, cut the leader to about 6 feet and added a night crawler. It didn’t take that long before the night crawler was inhaled and a walleye was boated. I handed Mike the rigging rod and it wasn’t long before he had the same result. Eventually I switched all three of our rods over to Lindy Rigs and for a time, it appeared that we were in for a full scale Lindy Rig and crawler bite.
At about noon, the wind began to blow, there were whitecaps smashing into my Wave Wackers and controlling the rigs was becoming more difficult. While the crew was rigging, I picked up a jig and minnow, tossed it into the water and WHAM! Apparently, the jig bite was back on, at least temporarily.
I can’t recall the precise tally, but I’m guessing that we caught about 60% of our fish using jig and minnow combos and that almost all of the rest were caught rigging night crawlers. Somewhere along the line, Ray pulled a fast one on me and substituted a leech on his ¼ ounce Live Bait Jig; he was especially proud of the walleye that he caught on that one.
The upshot of today’s report is that yesterday’s advice still rings true. Even if you are already catching fish using one presentation, be ready to change it up from time to time.
Statistically, both Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux have entered the summertime warm water period. Surface temperatures of over 70 degrees combined with lots of sunshine have kicked weed production into high gear. I don’t think it will long before trolling presentations will become effective, maybe they already have and most of us just haven’t tried them yet.
On Sunday, Ray was quizzing me about whether bottom bouncers would be useful on Winnie. Yes, they are this would be an excellent time of the season to try them. In fact I would have tried them yesterday if the wind hadn’t become so strong, but trolling in 3 foot waves isn’t as much fun as drifting, so I didn’t make the switch.
It’s no secret that fishing the deep water bite on Winnie produces a higher percentage of fish in the protected slot. That said most of the better anglers on the big lake are catching enough “keepers” to provide themselves with fish for the table. We managed to catch 7 or 8 keepers yesterday which represented roughly 1/4 of our overall catch, give or take.
Considering the mixed up weather, it’s understandable that the fish were scattered. We had to make a lot of moves to locate small packs of fish, catch what we could on the first pass or two and then move again. You already know that I’m not a big fan of fishing after stormy weather passes through, that’s why it’s impressive to me that the fish were active at all.
For today, calm seas and sunny skies are my ticket to try something different. With weeds developing so fast, I’m going to try going into the heavy cover to pull out a mixed bag. There’s no telling what we’ll catch, but if I’m right, we’ll have some good action; more about that tomorrow. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Weather wise, it’s been a crazy mixed up, wet and wild weekend so far. As you may have expected, the turbulent weather has taken its toll on the fishing action. Now the question is how fast will our lakes recover from the effects of this stormy weather?
If I based my answer solely on what happened this past Friday, I could give you a fairly optimistic answer. That’s because even though Thursday’s stormy weather killed the fishing action on Friday morning, the fish were already back in a cooperative mood by late afternoon on Friday. In fact, as the breeze subsided and the grey clouds lifted, walleyes, bass and perch became steadily more active.
There's a reason whay they call this the "Summer Peak", water temperatures are ideal, food supplies are good and the fish DEFINITELY act like they want to bite, even when they don't.
Active and feeding as they were on Friday, they were also very particular about which kind of food we tried to feed them. The jig and minnow combos that have worked well since the fishing opener were enticing just enough fish to strike so as to give the impression that this presentation was working. But when I rigged up a 1/16 ounce Live Bait Jig, threaded on a night crawler and began wiggle worming, the strikes began coming much faster.
Similarly, fishing with a leech drew some attention from the fish too, but there were nowhere near as many fish caught on leeches, compared to “wiggle worming”. The only reason not to make the change was a reluctance to make the gear shift from what has been working and to move willingly into mid-summer style presentations.
The problem right now is that every lake is different and the presentation that works like a charm on my lake, might fail miserably on another lake, even one that is in the same neighborhood. So for me, it is the time of season when I’m carrying lots of bait. I’ve got a 100 pack of night crawlers, a half-pound of leeches and a quart of shiners already loaded into the cooler. I have rods rigged and ready for slip bobbers, lindy rigging, jigging and trolling spinners.
I know that it all seems complicated, but if I really want to be ready for anything that happens, this is what I need to do. You on the other hand may prefer to stick with your favorite presentation and hope that it’s right for your lake at the moment. That’s okay, like I said before, I think that most presentations will elicit a little bit of action for the time being. But whatever your “favorite” method is, I do think that minimally, it’s a good idea to be ready for at least one alternative presentation.
Which presentations you prepare for will depend on what your target species. For anglers who like a mixed bag of walleye, perch and pike, Little Joe Spinners tipped with minnows is a good choice. You could use night crawlers as your backup plan, and then you’d be prepared for a more walleye specific offering.
For anglers who insist on walleyes and won’t settle for anything else, then I’d be ready for both wiggle worming and lindy rigging. The fish in any good walleye lake that I know about right now will respond to either leeches or night crawlers. If I showed up without any minnows at all, the only species that I’d really miss out on would be pike and perch.
I’m sure that you’ll have ideas of your own, and I’d love to hear what’s working for you. By the way, you can share information about fishing without giving away your favorite spots; in fact you don’t even have to mention a lake at all. My guess is that anybody who reads these reports has picked up a useful trick or two along the way. We’re all in this boat together and helping out a fellow angler is good for fishing, so don’t be bashful to share an occasional tip, there’s no doubt in my mind that the favor will be returned! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"The Walleye fishing continues to be very good. They have transitioned to the mid-lake structure, for the most part. The main bars on the lake seem to be producing the most fish. Key depths are on the top side of the breakline in 15-20' of water.
Jigs and shiner minnows are still doing well. The live bait rigs with leeches and crawlers are starting to catch up, though. There still can be a good jig bite in the shallower water when the wind is blowing.
Perch have done the opposite. Look for the perch in the new weeds in 8-12' of water. As usual, jigs and fathead minnows work best for perch.
Northerns seem to be everywhere. Jigs and small sucker minnows or shiners are the best bait for Pike right now. If you target the pike, fish the shoreline breaks in 14-18'.
We were pretty hampered by big wind this week, but that didn't seem to matter. Most of our guests who left today said it was some of the best fishing they have ever had this past week. While most of their walleyes had to go back, they were catching big numbers of 20-23" walleyes. We had a 28" and 27.5" fish brought in this week.
We have openings for the remainder of June. If you are thinking about a fishing trip, now is a good time. Check the availability, and give us a call." - Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
Several lakes that are managed for walleyes have been producing nicely, but perhaps the most popular fish with anglers in this area have been, both large and smallmouth bass; rock bass are disqualified. As you can see by looking at the photo of Mike Rogers, there are some good sized smallmouths have been cooperating in the larger deeper lakes while largemouth bass have turned on as well.
Live Target frogs and the new Spinner Rigs have really caught the attention of both bass and our customers too.
As far as panfish go, the sunnies are on the beds and the crappies may have completed spawning. I’ve had quite a few reports of crappies being caught in deeper water and only a few in the shallows.
The other aggressive fish to raise some eyebrows are the good sized pike being caught. The limits on pike have changed this year and as we are in the North Central Zone the limit here is 10 with not more than two over twenty six inches. All pike from twenty two-twenty-six must be released. Landing a pike in excess of thirty inches has been quite common.
With all the new lures, rods and reels and other tackle we’ve brought in for this year, this should be a very good summer, for fishing.
Despite the inconvenience of Hwy 38 under reconstruction, while the road gets a complete facelift, customers are stopping by for photos of fish they’ve caught including some very big Smallies.
All in all as spring reaches its end, fishing has been getting steadily better and all I can say is … It’s about time! Have a Great Weekend Everyone!" - Paul Larson, Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
"Here are 15 proven fishing knots we think will make you extremely versatile in bass fishing. These knots will give you a lot of options for joining lines, creating loops on lures, snelling, or just getting stronger connections and quick solid knots when you’re in a hurry to get your lure back in the water.
We've illustrated how to tie each fishing knot, and made it easy to view on your phone out in the boat. So be sure to bookmark this link for later and share it with your fishing buddies." Learn More >> 15 Fishing Knots Every Angler Should Know
"We've seen a lot of cool fish catches. We've filmed a bunch. There is just something about making a split-second decision with a big bass on the line that gets the adrenaline going. Any fisherman can relate.
Our buddy Mike Gilbert of Working Class Zero shared this video on his YouTube channel of a big bass that came to the opposite side of the boat from his net, and he made the split-second, and often risky decision to boat flip it as opposed to try to play the big bass all the way around and run the risk of ... "
View Video >> The Best Boat Flip We've Ever Seen!
You’ve asked for feedback from anglers who’ve tried this in different regions of the country about how we’ve done. So l would like to report to you Jeff about the article you wrote.
I live in northeast Indiana and l tried this today (6-10-2018) for the first time. Within 2 minutes of starting my trip, l boated a 22 inch Walleye then caught a 20 inch, 18 inch, 16 and finally a 15 inch fish too. On the learning curve about how to get the hookset right, I either missed or lost 8 more. In addition to the walleyes, l also boated 5 Largemouth Bass and a few Bluegills.
I am SOLD on this technique as it is similar to the way I fish spinner rigs for walleye. You mentioned in your article about sending pictures of our catches if anyone tried this technique.
I would also like to add that instead of going .4-.7mph as you noted, I actually experimented with backtrolling speeds. I fished the jig at .7 to 1.2 MPH and for me; the range between 1.0 and 1.2 MPH seemed to really get the fish's attention. I still had no problem reaching depths of up to 17 feet of water. Most of the walleyes I caught were coming from 7 to 15 feet of water and all these fish came from a spot no bigger than a tennis court.
Here are a couple of pretty good pictures (walleye 1 • walleye 2) from today that l would love to share with your readers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this method. Sincerely Jason Betz."
"Most folks that visit Canada gear up for catching walleyes using jigging presentations. We agree that jigging is great for catching good numbers of eater size fish.
But if you're on the prowl for a lunker, then you'll want to know about a presentation that attracts and triggers big fish.
Join Jon Thelen on Fish ED as he shares tips and tricks for using trolling presentations that focus primarily on catching big fish.
Knowing how to troll the right crankbait in the right location will help you catch more trophy size fish." View Video >> Trolling Tactics For Catching Big Walleyes
"A trip onto Lake Winnie with John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune generated more than a little buzz. Fishing on the big lake is consitent and many of our guests have reported double digit catches of walleye during their fishing trips.
We could say a lot more about it, but why, especially when we can let Mayer's article do the talking for us.
Myers Wrote; "Forgive Gerry Albert if he gets a little excited when he catches walleyes here.
"Here's another one!'' Albert shouted as he set the hook on a walleye, working to keep a tight line and run his outboard in whitecaps. "Ohhh, and I think it's a keeper!"
Big Winnie is Albert's lake, so to speak. He's the ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Back To Being A Walleye Wonderland June 12, 2018
Q) On June 11th Tom Crosby Wrote; “Jeff how did Winnie treat you on Sunday? We’ve had our best luck on the north shore, but that wind was brutal on Sunday! Things seemed to have slowed up.”
A) Tom, Our day started off great; we had 5 keepers in the boat at our 2nd stop. Even though the shallow bite is still good, I know that it is fading and walleyes are going deeper now. That's why I outsmarted myself by heading into open water and battling the wind. We did catch some more fish, but typical of the deep bite, we found fish in the slot, without finding any more keepers.
Shoreline fishing isn’t over; there will be schools of fish that remain in weed patches as long as food supplies are good. The return of any hot shoreline bite will depend on when weed growth matures. The return of warmer weather should help speed the process, if there's any development of a good algae bloom, fish will be encouraged to return to the shallows.
For now, all of the lake’s larger bars have fish on them. As usual, the arrival of “the bar bite” brings Lindy Rigging with leeches and crawlers into the limelight.
For folks looking to bag some eaters, searching for larger schools of smaller fish is the key. When you’re electronics are painting images of singles, doubles and tiny schools, you can usually count on them to be fish in the protected slot. Whenever we insist on finding larger schools and commit ourselves to resisting the temptation to fish these small groups of walleye, our percentage of keepers goes up.
I wrote yesterday about my fishing trip with the Skoglund family. There were 3 generations of fishermen in the group; Eldon (grandpa), his sons Jason & John and 9 year old grandson Sam.
You already know most of what happened on the fishing trip, but I do want to share a text note that came last night from Jason. “We’re eating northern pike for dinner and the “Coconut Pike Delight is our new favorite! We second whatever the hippie chick said!”
Most folks already know that I and the Hippie Chick love to eat pike, but the reason I'm sharing the note is because Jason, the one who sent the text, is one of the folks who once upon a time, had a bad experience with a poorly prepared pike. Someplace along the line, one of his friends didn't take proper care of the fish that he was preparing and because of that, Jason has spent a good portion of his life believing that pike are not good to eat.
After reading the story about the Skoglund family fishing trip, those of you who know me may have suspected that I'd make a return trip to that lake in an attempt to get even with Mother Nature for blowing us off of the walleye hole. Well you were right, I took my long time customer and good friend "Mr. C" over there yesterday and we did get even with Mother.
The surface temperature was 68 degrees, the skies were Grey and the fish were holding in 10 feet of water, just outside of the weedline. They fish were neither stacked up or super aggressive, in fact they spooked easily after we made one or two passes on each spot. But there were enough small schools of fish scattered around the lake to allow us multiple opportunities to fish for unwary fish.
The fish yesterday were very susceptible to Wiggle Worming, every fish we caught, we fooled with this presentation. A 1/16 ounce Lindy Live Bait Jig tipped with whole night crawlers. I used the perch pattern and “Mr. C” used the blue and glow combination, they both worked.
All tolled, we caught roughly 20 walleyes using the wiggle worm presentation, bagged a limit for Mr. C and also saved enough for a fish fry. We met up with the Hippie Chick at a place we hadn't tried before, Florios. The place was packed when we arrived, but the staff was keeping up with traffic nicely. Our fish were accompanied by cole slaw and french fries and everything, especially the cole slaw was very well prepared. Mr. C was disappointed that Florios did not offer their "seasoned fries" as an option with the fish fry, but maybe they'd re-think that if enough people mention it. Overall, it was a fine meal and the service was very good.
For today, I'm back on Winnie in hot pursuit of Walleyes. With luck, they'll be biting and I'll have more photos of smiling faces tomorrow, but for now, I gotta run. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Q) On June 9, Dale Engrav wrote; "Can you tell me if is there a public landing on Bowstring Lake that we can get our boat in? I have a 17 ft. Lund with a 75 Yamaha and last year I could not get it off the trailer at the North landing. Will the south work better and if so, what is the road number? PS I read your website every day, thanks for having that. I live in southern MN and it’s nice to know what is happening up there.
A) Dale, the short answer to your question is yes, the south landing is deeper and in most instances easier to use than the landings at either the north or northwest sides of the lake. That said, recent rains have served to raise water levels somewhat and folks with roller trailers can more easily access any of the lakes three landings. Last year's drought conditions were rough on everybody who wanted to access Bowstring, but first time visitors like you were especially hard hit because they didn't know what to expect.
I've included this link to the >> Bowstring Lake Page where you will find an interactive map. Click on the images of the boat ramps and they will take you to Google Maps that display GPS coordinates and satellite maps of the access roads.
I think you will find that it's easier to access and fish Bowstring this season, good luck out there!
Instructions from 2 of the 3 generations of Skoglund’s who joined me on Friday were to keep Sam, the 3rd generation busy. Which species of fish we pursued was less important than were the abundance and/or simplicity of capture. Perch fishing was chosen as the primary goal because they would likely be plentiful so as to promote good action and delicious to eat for the day ending family fish fry. So we headed off to a smaller lake where perch fishing had been good for my crew last weekend, hoping to replicate the experience.
Surface temperatures were back on the rise after our recent cool weather and now registered at 68 degrees on the Humminbird. Early in the day, the breeze was light and conditions were mostly sunny.
My first stop surprised me, despite John bagging one nice walleye almost instantly, the action was dead. The school of perch that I found along a shallow shoreline break last weekend was nowhere to be found. My move to the second spot looked bad at first too, but luckily we stuck with it long enough to land on one small school of decent size perch. We managed to gather a reasonable number of keepers there, but eventually the action fizzled out.
The next move was back to the shoreline where we would fish the weed edges in about 10 feet of water. This time the northern pike were active and it didn’t take long to get one of them to strike our 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with minnows. Despite the good pike action, little else seemed to be happening there, but I kept seeing fish on the screen, fish that didn’t look like pike.
Just to give it a try, I rigged up my wiggle worming setup, a 1/16 ounce Lindy Live Bait Jig tipped with a whole night crawler. This is where the kids fishing trip went big time, almost.
I cast it into the water, wiggled it a few times and WHAM! There was a nice eater walleye on the line. I re-baited, cast it in again and there was another one, one more cast and one more fish made three in a row. The scramble was on, John and Eldon were re-rigging to give wiggle worming a try.
On our next pass, I picked up another one and then another, the boys were getting some strikes, they even had a couple of fish hooked temporarily. But as we were busy climbing up the learning curve, Mother Nature was issuing a big challenge. Strong winds churned up frothy whitecaps on top of 3 foot waves, my boat was bouncing and our drift speed climbed to over 1.5 MPH; way too fast for what we were doing. So with 7 walleyes in the livewell, I decided to abort this portion of the mission and go back to perch fishing.
Luckily, the weedline at a water depth 9 feet in a protected bay held good numbers of good size perch. Pike were present too and we were able to capitalize on both for action and good eating. We did pick up one bonus walleye here, but in calm water, I never stumbled into another good school of walleyes to pick on.
So there you have it, the kid’s trip that almost went big time was a good one, I think. We definitely accomplished the mission of gathering some nice fish for the evening meal. In fact we only needed 15 perch to feed all 5 of us and that left the remaining walleye and perch to go back home with the boys for later use.
Next time, we’ll hope that Mother Nature’s temper remains in check so that we can try “the Walleye Hole” again. You fish better watch out, those boys were on the verge of mastering the wiggle worm; just sayin’.” - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, May 29, 2018 Four Seasons Resort
"The weather has turned more toward "normal". Wind and colder temperatures have made the fishing a little more difficult. Walleyes are still being caught in good numbers with the majority of the fish in the protected slot.
Most of the fish are biting jigs and shiners, with some rigs tipped with leeches and crawlers working as well. Look for the shallow shoreline drops on the windy side of the lake, with the secondary breaklines off of shore on the calmer side.
Northern fishing has picked up this past week. More fish over the protected 22-26" slot being caught. Some fishermen are trolling crankbaits, while others are fishing jig and minnow.
Perch fishing was really helped by the windier conditions. Jumbo perch were found in the deeper water outside of where the walleyes and
northerns are being caught. Key depths are 16-20'. The schools seem to be very tight, so once you find them, it will take some boat control to stay on them. Jigs and fathead minnows are the best combo for the perch. When they are biting light, it sometimes helps to cut the fatheads in half to keep the perch from ripping off the minnow before it gets to the hook.
The forecast is for more stable weather and continued good fishing. We have openings for the upcoming weeks. Check your schedule to see
what works for you and give us a call." Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
Frequent readers may recall my friend Bobby Cox and the “Google Eye, Goggle Eye Brown Eye Red Eye Story”. The upshot of that story was that Bobby is one customer who is happy no matter what kind of fish he’s catching, or for that matter, eating.
In that story, harvesting rock bass became the focal point of our fishing trip, but this year we focused on Northern Pike. Minnesota’s new 10 pike limit in the northern zone is ideal for anglers like Bobby who love to eat fish and don’t pay attention to the color of their skin.
I can imagine much worse was to spend a day other than constantly catching fish while weeding out both the little ones and the big ones. And since Bobby was in town on Thursday, it seemed like the perfect time to test the theory.
I usually write details about habitat, water temperatures and the like. As it happens, we fished on the same lake that we visited in 2017 and the details were nearly identical to the report from that trip. So if you’d like statistical information about the when, where and why’s of catching these fish, then please review >> Fishing Report June 8, 2017.
Fishing with Bobby, his son Steve and grandson Dustin, we would have been allowed to bag 30 pike. We could have done that easily, but because we set a self-imposed size restriction of 20 to 21.75 inches, the total number of fish in our creel fell 7 fish short of the 3 man bag limit. Still, 23 pike is a lot of fish, especially when the sizes of fillets are compared to most other fish that we would be allowed to harvest.
This is likely one of the few reports in which you’ll read about catching walleyes accidentally while we were in the pursuit of northern pike, but that’s what happened. Every so often, a stray walleye would grab our jig and minnow combo as well. We were fishing on a lake with a walleye slot limit, so many of them were too large to harvest, but some of them were bonus keepers and included in our creel.
Of the 23 fish we bagged, one was 28 inches; all of the rest were below 22 inches. I made a special point of getting a photo of the fillets for those of you who are skeptical about how much finished product these small fish actually produce. No matter what species of fish we would have pursued, none would have provided a similar yield.
As far as fabulous eating is concerned, I challenge anybody to try the recipe for “Coconut Pike Delight”, our current favorite. If you can eat that and still say that you don’t like pike, then I promise never to pester you about it again!
I’d like to think that the DNR is on the right track with these generous limits for small fish and I hope that it does lead to an improvement of the overall quality of pike in our region. The problem is that if we anglers won’t give it a try, then we know for sure that it won’t work. While I doubt that I’ll be spending 7 days a week fishing for small pike, I do hope to encourage more folks to at least harvest some of this abundant resource.
To that end, we’ve produced several articles and videos about the care, cleaning and cooking of northern pike. Here are some useful links that provide helpful information about making the pursuit of small pike easier and more fun for you.
Article "Northern Pike Myths Exploded"
Article "The Quest For Quality Pike"
Article "Care and Cleaning of Northern Pike"
Recipe "Coconut Pike Delight"
- Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
That sentiment has been echoed by others this week as well and while most agree that Walleye action is off of its peak, our guests continue to find and catch fish on Winnie.
For most anglers, jig and minnow presentations still dominate and in water depths of 10 to 16 feet, this approach still makes a lot of sense. In deeper water, Lindy Rigging is building a head of steam though and will become increasingly popular over the next week as fish migrate toward mid-lake structures. One good rule of thumb will be to ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 7, 2018
There was something “fishy” about how easy the Walleye fishing was for the spring session of fun with Dick and Paul, 2018. Walleyes are not typically considered the “easiest” of all fishing pursuits, but easy walleye fishing is how we’ll remember this trip.
That’s just the way the timing for this trip just worked out; walleyes were where I could find ‘em and rough seas hampered pursuit of panfish. Since walleyes were easier to come by than many other species, we simply went with the flow and took advantage of it.
On Monday, there was a notable uptick in the action on one of the smaller lakes that had previously been rated as “slow”. The warmer water temperature, 66 degrees, along with development of some shallow weed growth apparently encouraged fish to gather along shallow shoreline breaks.
We drifted along the breakline in 5 to 7 feet of water, used Live Bait Jigs tipped with shiners and by 11:00 AM, picked up enough fish for dinner and then caught and released another dozen walleyes.
The only problem was that the reason for visiting this lake was to catch some perch and they were nowhere to be found (by me) on this day. So we packed up, de-contaminated both the boat and trailer and headed for Pokegama Lake where I’d hoped to find Sunfish, Bass and maybe even Crappies.
Most years the timing would have been great for fishing on Pokegama. In fact during previous trips Dick and Paul have been there when Pokegama was on fire. This season we were too early though, the water is warming, current readings were about 61 degrees, but there was a lot of barren territory in the shallows.
We did find and catch some Largemouth Bass in shallow Bulrushes using wacky rigged YUM Dingers, but even they were few and far between compared to a typical June trip. Except for very small ones, we did not spy any evidence of sunfish on or even preparing spawning beds. The upshot is that we had a little bit of action, but it wasn’t what we were hoping for. I’d guess that it will be another week before that lake wakes up for the summer.
Yesterday was the final day of the trip and we tried one more time for perch, this time on Winnie. It took a few tries, but eventually we did find a school of perch. This time the problem was that we couldn’t get the size right; many of them were getting close, but hitting a legitimate 10 inch fish wasn’t easy.
Ironically, during our search for perch, we continuously picked up random walleyes. After hustling back and forth in search of the right spot for perch, I succumbed to the knowledge that walleyes were still biting. We went back to 12 feet of water, started jigging with 1/8 ounce Live Bait Jigs and began catching walleyes again. I suppose we caught and released another dozen or so before Dick hit the buzzer signaling the end of our spring session.
As those boys drive off to the east where there’s supposed to be a sunrise, I’m listening to the rain fall on my roof. As I’m preparing for a return trip to the big lake today, I know that the easy bite isn't going to last forever. But with luck, it will last a little while longer and the walleyes will be back on duty today when we arrive.
I'll let you know how that goes and for tomorrow, I'll see what I can dig up about panfish action up there as well. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Bluegill beds are excellent places to find bass throughout the entire summer season. When the water temperatures reach the 70-degree mark, post-spawn bass will again infiltrate the shallows to gorge on these spawning bluegill before heading to their deep, summertime haunts.
Managing Editor Walker Smith walks us through his process for finding high-percentage bluegill bedding areas. He also discusses bait selection, presentation and common bass behavior you'll often see in ..." Learn More >> Tips for Fishing Bass Around Bluegill Beds
Ask 6 year old Kayson Cook if he wants to go fishing this weekend and I'm fairly sure that the answer would be YES! Who wouldn't want to re-live catching a fish like this 26 inch Lake of the Woods Walleye that he caught using a slip bobber last weekend.
Not many kids are as lucky as is the young walleye master cook, but that doesn't matter. Even if you can't pack up the family and head out on a big time fishing trip like the Cook's did, there are still a lot of ways that you can expose your kids to some great fishing opportunities. Exposure is the key word, kids can't get interested in fishing if they don't ever see a lake. For most kids, it probably doesn't matter which lake it is or what kind of fish are in it; they just wanna go on an adventure.
When I was a kid, A Lucky Kid at that, my grandparents walked me down the streets of south Minneapolis and let me catch panfish from shore. I can barely even remember the fish we caught, but those experiences are what fueled my passion for fishing. That's why I'm passining along this news release about the upcoming "Take A Kid Fishing Weekend".
"On Take a Kid Fishing Weekend from Friday, June 8, to Sunday, June 10, Minnesotans can fish without licenses if they take children 15 or younger fishing, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Fishing together with kids can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have some memorable experiences,” said Jeff Ledermann, DNR angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor. “We encourage people to give it a try. It’s fairly easy to buy or borrow fishing poles, and one good way to start is by fishing for bluegills with small hooks, bobbers and live bait.”
Minnesotans 15 and younger don’t need fishing licenses any time of the year. Take a Kid Fishing Weekend is a way for adults and kids to fish together without the step of buying a license.
The DNR’s Take a Kid Fishing Weekend page at mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing includes links to a beginner’s guide to fishing; DNR’s Fish Minnesota page that includes regulations and locations of easy-to-access fishing piers and shorefishing areas; and information about fishing in Minnesota state parks.
Fishing gear is available to borrow at state parks and the DNR’s I Can Fish! program teaches the basics of fishing and runs throughout the summer at state parks. Even when it’s not Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license if the body of water does not require a trout stamp."
Believe me when I tell you that I did not learn to fish using fancy gear and high power boats. We fished for the same kind of fish that you and your kids can catch plenty of by walking around the shoreline, sight fishing for panfish, pike and bass.
Simple presentations like using a Little Nipper tipped with a cut piece of night crawler and floated below a clip on float will put plenty of bend in an inexpensive fishing rod, especially a cane pole like the ones we used to use.
I hope that you’ll think about your plans for the weekend and consider taking a walk with your kids. You just never know, you could be helping to foster a love for the sport and wind up with a full time fishing partner for life! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Some great fishing going on right now in various places on the lake and many depths! Most anglers still using a jig and a minnow but trending towards pulling spinners and crawlers. Pulling spinners in anywhere from 5-25 feet throughout the day and evening. Jig and spinner colors, gold mixed with bright colors such as chartreuse, yellow, pink and orange.
Rainy River is still slower for walleyes. Some nice bass being caught along shorelines and docks. A good population of walleyes stay in the River year round. Sturgeon fishing keep season opens again July 1 - Sep 30.
Up at the NW Angle... In Minnesota, walleye fishing with a jig and minnow or spinners bringing in limits of walleyes and saugers. Depth varies from 5-15 feet in the evening and 18-27 during the day. Chartreuse with gold and blue and white jigs. Canadian walleyes at 22-26 feet have been the most aggressive." - Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"Our Walleye Master Guides have been working hard this past week and the success has been plentiful. Anglers are having some great days on the lake with many slot sized and over slot sized fish caught and released along with many nice supper fish.
The majority of the fishing has been in Big Traverse Bay around the Knight and Bridges Islands area, about 15 miles out of the Lighthouse Gap. We have had boats further north in the Little Oak area of Little Traverse Bay as well. Mostly anchored and jigging with a minnow, but there were some efforts at drifting with spinners when the wind made a nice drift.
There are still many fish along Pine Island although the larger quality Walleye seem to be more abundant further North.
We have had a change in the weather the last couple of days. It seems like spring has started, we went from ice to summer so quickly we wondered what happened to spring. The rest of this week looks like we will be getting back in to the 70-80’s for highs and overnights in the 50’s." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
That was a lucky break for me and my fun loving crew Dick, Paul and their “Favored Flower Girl”. The perennial stowaway AKA Mrs. Sundin not only brightened up the boat, but raised the boy’s eyebrows as she turned in a brilliant fishing performance of her own.
You can only teach a person that which they want to learn. But even the most devoted students can only learn by having ample opportunity to practice, that’s what she got yesterday, opportunity to practice.
I’m borrowing her Sunday evening quote from facebook which said; “When I was a kid, I used to hear my Grandpa talk about the “Walleye Chop” and how the fishing would be good. Today I learned what that really meant, gale force winds and rain and wouldn’t you know it, the walleyes were biting! Thanks boys, for letting me tag along!”
When there’s a good current in the water, walleyes just naturally begin moving and when they’re on the move, they start feeding. As long as you can maintain your boat’s position in close proximity to the fish, you will get more strikes. Whenever you’re getting a lot of strikes, you get a lot of practice and that practice allows you get the “feel” of how a walleye strikes and when to set the hook. Once ne knows how to do it, one knows how to do it and future performances continues to improve.
The bad thing about an awesome day of walleye fishing is that it doesn’t give me a lot of teachable moments to report about. What am I supposed to say, “The walleyes were really biting and you should always go out there when they do that?” That doesn’t work very well for me, so I guess I’ll just share the basics.
Surface water was 63 degrees and very choppy, there were even whitecaps rolling out from the calm shorelines. Fish were feeding heavily on tiny perch; the stomachs of the fish I cleaned were packed with ½ to ¾ inch size fish. I’m revealing my ignorance, but I don’t know if those small perch minnows are fish that hatched this spring or not, but I will learn about that later today.
By using my MinnKota to hold the stern into the waves, I was able to “slip” around the upwind edges of small, shoreline related points. Some may refer to my version of slipping as “controlled drifting” and at times, a Drift Control sea anchor could be deployed to help maintain speed. On Sunday, the northwest wind allowed me to quarter along the edges at about .8 MPH.
The fish were active enough that I didn’t have to hold one specific depth; we were able to catch them anywhere between 8 and 16 feet of water. Holding at slow speeds, we never needed to increase the weight of our Lindy Live Bait Jigs from the 1/8 ounce size that we started with. Color didn't seem crucial, I and Susan used Black, Paul used Blue-glow and Dick used Chartreuse Green; we all caught fish.
We used a combination of shiners, rainbows and large fatheads for bait and I couldn’t see that the fish showed a strong preference for any of them. We never tried any other presentation, but I suspect that we could have caught fish using night crawlers or leeches too. Under these conditions, jigging is much simpler and usually more efficient.
Weed cover was of little importance; in fact the harder bottom areas that contained rock, clam shells and the like were our better spots. I think that the current encourages fish movement in more open territory and that cover, like weeds becomes less important. When the wind stops blowing, these same fish are way more likely to show up in the weeds.
That’s the basic rundown; Day 3 of “Fun with Dick, Paul featuring the Favored Flower Girl” went off smoothly. We’ve now seen the emergence of a budding star, a big time pro walleye angler in the making; more on that later.
After the trip, we enjoyed another great fish fry at the Gosh Dam Place and you’ve never tried it, you really should. They do a great job on the food, it’s a great value and the atmosphere is fun and light. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Bass are lethargic after having spent a great deal of energy during the spawn and often only respond to small, slow-sinking plastics. Pro bass angler Mark Menendez has devised a rig that's perfectly suited for tough post spawn conditions - it consists of a Texas-rigged worm with a unique thumper tail paired with a light tungsten weight.
The key is in the slow rate of fall when the worm is lifted off bottom and left to flutter back down. Menendez uses this rig to intercept bass transitioning out of shallow spawning grounds and often relating to ..."
Learn More >> Trigger Post Spawn Bass With Lightweight Worms
For me, the definition of the word wisdom ought to include something about one's coming to the realization that he or she still has more to learn than they have already learned. In some cases, re-learn may even be more accurate because a lot of us have a tendency toward learning the same lessons over and over.
That's why day 2 of “Fun with Dick and Paul 2018” was even more fun than usual for me; because I got to re-learn a big lesson without having to pay any price for it.
On the heels of a good walleye trip on Friday, we needed something different to do and I was hoping to provide the boys with a similarly good day of perch fishing.
It was lucky for me that perch were our target species because when we got to the selected lake, there were already 60 rigs adorned with stickers and badges parked in the parking lot. Holy fishing fleet, they were all on the lake and there was a bigtime walleye tournament already in progress. If we would have intended to fish for walleye, I may have opted to switch lakes, just to avoid the crowds. I don’t think that the tournament anglers minded us fishing for perch though and we made a point of staying out of their way; mostly.
The free lesson that I got from watching the tournament at a distance was all about bait selection. For 3 weeks now, 90% of the reporting about walleye fishing presentations have included phrases like; “the Jig and Minnow bite is still going strong”. To a degree, this is still true; many anglers, including me are still catching fish using jig and minnow presentations. But if I’d been in that walleye tournament, I’d have gotten a lesson pounded into my head the hard way. I would have shown up with a pail full of gorgeous minnows and discovered later that Lindy Rigging with leeches was the way to win that contest.
Honestly, I would have been prepared to switch, in fact I even had plenty of leeches in the cooler yesterday. But this experience did serve as a reminder of past lessons learned. Watching the “big time pros” catching walleyes on leeches while 95% of our jig and minnow catch consisted of perch and pike was rather convincing. So I’m passing along the free lesson, even if you’ve been smashing the walleye on jig and minnow, start preparing for the change that we all know is imminent. Form this point forward, my battle plan will include leeches, crawlers and minnows; all of them need to be stocked in for every trip.
By the way, Lindy Rigging is going to be a lot easier for me this summer. That’s because the Lindy Rig had its 50th birthday this year and America's most popular walleye lure got a total makeover before the party.
All of the 50th anniversary Lindy Rig leaders come pre-tied on 10 foot fluorocarbon line that I can cut to my own custom lengths. There are models with colored hooks, models for crawlers, leeches, 2 hook harnesses and now there are even new models for fishing with big minnows like Creek Chubs and Redtails. All I have to do is open one of the individually packaged rigs, trim it to my favorite length and start fishing; I never have to tie my own leaders again!
So day 2 of “Fun with Dick and Paul” turned out pretty well. We caught our perch while I re-learned my lesson about being prepared for the upcoming summer peak period of walleye fishing.
Looking at today’s forecast, day 3 might be a little more complicated. We’ve eaten walleyes two nights in a row and I had hoped to make an appearance on Winnibigoshish today to replenish a supply for tonight. Strong northwest winds are predicted and that this might be problematic for our “special guest”, so I’m still scratching my head about today’s game plan.
That’s okay, I still have several minutes to take a decision and I’m sure I’ll come up with something and whatever it is, you will definitely be the first one to know! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Okay so here’s the deal, Dick Williams and Paul Kautza have been coming to Lake Winnibigoshish for a long time. They were members of a fishing group that began staying at Williams Narrows Resort some 35 years ago. That means that somebody else was having “Fun with Dick and Paul” for 2 years before I ever even arrived on the scene in Deer River.
I can’t remember exactly when I was first introduced to the group, but it’s been a while; maybe 15 years ago or even longer.
Dick and Paul, along with their cohorts have fished Winnie a lot. They’ve been fishing with professional guides, on their own and along with others that they met along the way. But after our experience yesterday Dick said; “I and Paul were talking and we both think that this was the best walleye fishing that we’ve ever had on Lake Winnibigoshish. Not only did we catch our limits of keepers, but neither of us remembers catching that many big fish on any one day trip ever.”
Well I’m not an accountant and I rarely attempt to add up the exact number of fish we catch. But whether this was “the best” day or not, it definitely was a good one. Walleyes, encouraged by grey skies and strong currents caused by a stiff east wind were on the prowl and they were feeding.
Like I said, there was a stiff east wind making it easy to drift, troll or fan cast. We used 1/16 and 1/8 ounce Live Bait Jigs tipped with shiners. I controlled the speed by a combination of backtrolling and controlled drifting, quartering against the current with the outboard and a drift sock. Our jigging motion was typical for Winnie, snap the jig, and let the line tighten up, snap it again and repeat until a fish strikes.
Often times, casting the lure away from the boat’s path of travel and then jigging it back helps produce more strikes. Experiement with your presentation by adding more fan casting and see if it doesn't help you as well.
For us, the ratio of keeper size fish was good, much better than it’s been in recent years, even better than it’s been so far this year. So while we were fishing, I kept remembering a few key conversations that I’ve had with folks over the past few seasons. Theories, 3 in particular and those 3 appear to all be proving out on Winnie this season.
I first heard the theory from Jon Thelen, host of Fish ED TV. He has been persuasive in his belief that during periods of calm, sunny weather, the lion’s share of fish we catch is larger, more aggressive fish. That’s why anglers on lakes like Winnie, Leech and Jon’s home water, Mille Lacs often grumble about not catching “keepers” during periods of good weather. It’s because you either have to fish when the wind is howling or during the low light periods of early morning or late evening. It’s during those times that larger schools of small fish go on intense feeding runs and become vulnerable to anglers.
I recalled reading the 2017 Lake Winnie Fishing Outlook from Bowen Lodge last spring. In that report, there was a recap of a conversation the MN DNR big lake fisheries specialist, Gerry Albert. I looked it up so as to refresh my memory and it was an encouraging outlook.
It says; “Although statically, evidence of the 2015 year class won’t be available until after this summer’s research, there are early indications that the class of 2015 will be more robust than the 2014 class.
Without going too far out on a limb, Albert was cautiously confident that better environmental conditions in 2015 could result in good survival of small fish and that these fish will show up in the testing this summer.
Albert isn’t expecting to see a monster class of fish, but views its potential as average, maybe even an above average size class of fish.”
I would say that on Friday, we saw evidence that Albert’s observation was correct. Walleyes in the 14 to 15 inch range made up about half of our bag limit and I think that these are from the 2015 year class that he was describing. READ FULL REPORT >> 2017 Lake Winnie Walleye Outlook
Finally, I need to mention the relationship between gamefish and their forage again. A few years ago, there were so many small perch in Winnie that an angler literally could not go anywhere without catching them.
I know that I’m not a biologist, but I do spend a lot of time on the water and I’ve seen this happen before. Perfectly good lakes, with perfectly healthy populations of walleye appear to be dead seas because the fish have so much food that there’s no need for them to feed either often or intensely.
I believe that Winnie is creeping out of one period of over-abundance right now. There are still ample supplies of forage and the fish we catch now are surely healthy enough. But compared to the fish we caught during 2016 and 2017, today’s fish are more slender and also more eager to eat.
Only time will tell, but when you add it all up, there are good reasons for anglers to be optimistic. Barring any catastrophic weather events, I think the lake is poised to produce reliable fishing throughout the summer and fall.
No matter how you analyze it, day 1 of “Fun with Dick and Paul 2018 started off with a bang. Now the question is, how am I going to top that one? Whatever we do, you will definitely be the first to know. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Wiggle Worming, a term coined by my friend Larry Lashley, is the perfect description for what the bait looks like when it swims through the water.
The swimming action makes the night crawler look alive and this wigging action turns the heads of hungry Walleye, Bass, Panfish; any species.
A cross between jigging and Lindy rigging it's a great technique that will help you put more fish in your boat this year.
Many of you have read about my system before, but since Fish ED host, Jon Thelen accepted my invitation to produce a video about Wiggle Worming, you'll have a chance to ..." View Video >> Wiggle Worming Walleyes
There have been a lot of calls and emails lately from readers asking for one sort of advice or another. I’m doing my best to keep up and at the same time, prioritize the list so that I get to the really pressing issues first.
Since the “busy season” is in full swing, my office time is really limited. So if you’ve dropped me a line and haven’t received a reply, I apologize, I will get the stack cleared up eventually, so please bear with me.
I’m usually checking messages during the wee hours of early morning, so my schedule tends to favor emails rather than phone calls. Also, I do offer The Early Bird Insider’s News List, an “opt-in” email list that I routinely use for announcing last minute openings, special announcement and fishing events. List membership is free and it only takes a few seconds to register. I can’t sign you up; you need to do this yourself by clicking the link to the news list.
One final thought, every fishing question that I’ve received for the past week has been about lakes and situations that I have already written about. The fishing archives are jam packed with information about the specific lakes and situations that you’ve been asking about. So if you want a jump start on your next fishing trip, go to Fishing Report Archives, select the month that you plan to fish and peruse the past reports. I promise that you will find the information you’re looking for, plus a lot more. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL