Fishing Report May 31, 2013, Jeff Sundin - Weather + Walleye + Panfish = Fantastic Angling Weekend Ahead! Don't let the clouds fool you and don't let a few scattered showers dampen your spirits. The weekend ahead has "Happy Fishing" written all over it. Just like it was on Thursday when warming temperatures, Grey skies and a perfect Walleye Chop combined to make a day loaded with smiles and bent fishing poles.
As if living in paradise isn't already enough to keep me smiling, Thursday's fishing trip was like adding a double dosage of "Smile Fertilizer". A fishing trip with my great friend Carl Bergquist, his "right hand man" Keith Poliachek and my very own daughter Katie, would be as close to perfect as most days could get.
Our adventure started even before the fishing trip began. Waiting for Carl and Keith to appear at the dock, I thought that I and Katie might as well wet a line for a few minutes. Before I knew it, she was reeling in a nice fat Walleye. I netted the fish, removed the jig and began to drop the fish into the livewell when I noticed ... OH OH! Another fish had grabbed ahold of my jig and my old favorite Loomis GLX Rod was tetering on the side of the boat and kerplunk, there it goes, heading for the bottom, leaving a trail of bubbles as it disappeared. Here's what to do if this ever happens to you.
Go to the dock ask Carl if he's got a big treble hook. He'll grab his giant BassOreno yard ornament and tell you to pull the hooks out of it. Once you've dis-assembled his yard decor, then you can tie on a couple of pieces of heavy monofilament, add some 1 ounce Lindy Rig sinkers and drag it through the area that you marked on your GPS.
So there ya go, now I've made two passes on the small point and already, Katie's got 1 Walleye and Car'ls got 1 fishing rod. That's right, he snagged it on the first pass and the Red Alert was cancelled in less than 15 minutes. By now, you've just gotta know that the rest of the day is gonna be lucky, and it was.
The Southeast breeze had the lake stirred up a little, but it was easily manageable. Surface temperatures ranged between 57 and 59 degrees and there were fish showing up in a number of key sprintgtime areas. The shoreline breaks are still better than main lake struces and inside corners
have been better than points. The presesce of Green weeds has been the single key factor in determining the best fishing areas.
Best water depth is found by locating the weed edges and then using the MinnKota to hold as tight to the vegetation as possible, without going into it.
Boat speed is a key factor too. When we back-trolled, keeping the speed at about .7 to .9 MPH, the action was steady. Attempting to drift with the wind ramped up the boat speed to nearly 1.5 MPH and that extra speed cut down the production dramatically.
We fished with 1/8 ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with Rainbows that were on the small side. Fish didn't seem to mind the small monnows though, as we caught Walleyes ranging in size from 7 inches all the way up to 21 inches. We didn't get our limit, but a dozen "keeper size fish" and a couple of really nice Perch did leave the lake with us. Smaller Perch and Northern Pike were on the lines constantly and there was no lack of action at all.
After we left the lake, the fishing trip got even better when Carl insisted that we all head into the woods to hunt for Morel Mushrooms. The recent rainfall was just what the Morels needed and after a few minutes, we started spotting 'em. For I and Katie, this was the first time we'd tried searching for Morels, but in Katie's words; "This is a fun Game". We'll be doing that again too! (5/31) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "If it’s calm, try fan casting while fishing these areas, even if it’s back trolling or during a drift. Try casting out away from the boat, either deep or shallow using 4lb test line, this will offer lethargic feeding walleyes a different presentation than using 6lb test. I’ve noticed you’ll get a ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/31)In the Marcell Area , Paul Larson, Frontier Sports says; "This week saw a lot of changes in the weather and the fish. Crappies have started to move shallower with several nice limits coming from some of the midsized lakes in the area. The bass have started to cruise the shallow bays and are being caught on spinner baits and plastic worms, the same goes for the smallmouth which are cruising along sandy, rocky shoreline structure. I caught several nice ones using a LIVE TARGET Rainbow Smelt crankbait while I was fishing for Walleyes on Tuesday. This weekend should be the best yet. Bowstring is producing Walleyes in 6 to 8 ft. of water. Jessie and Sand are starting up as well.
The bait shop is fully stocked including Spot-tails and leeches. We have a great selection of panfish jigs and lures and everything you need for a successful day on the water. Click >> Frontier Sports, Marcell MN .
Fishing Report May 30, 2013, Jeff Sundin - Trapped, But Not Locked In! Cutfoot Sioux and Lake Winnibigosh gave us a puzzle to work out on Wednesday. It was one of those weather changing days that kept us moving into unexpected territory. Not that it was bad, it just kept changing, forcing a game of chasing moving targets.
Knowing that Grandma wasn't a fan of big waves, I made my first stop in Cutfoot just in case we could get into some action without travelling into the big lake. Stopping on "Bob's Bar", the outlook for plan A looked promising. The surface temperature
was 56 degrees, there were fish showing on the graph and there was just enough ripple to try and force a drift.
On practically the first drop, Grandma (Mary Jane Krug), caught the first Walleye, a slot fish that was about 20 inches long. After that, we boated a couple of keepers, a handful of small Perch and a couple of small Pike. This spot was good for a couple of passes, but that's all and now it was time for a move. The problem was that the surface was glassy, the sunshine was bright and it seemed like the system of fishing small, intricate spots was gonna get too tedious for this crew.
I said, let's just poke our head out around the corner and see what the big lake looks like. It was nice, really nice. Sunny, light breeze from the Southwest, really nice, but I still didn't want to go too far. Sooooo ...... a short poke up the North shore to the Dugouts seemed like a good idea.
There were fish in the area, some Walleyes, a lot of Perch, mostly small ones. The spot had potential, but the action wasn't fast enough to hold our attention so another move was in order.
As we were heading West toward Stony Point, this big Black cloud, heading toward Winnie, started the wind blowing and the water rolling. A phantom windstorm on it's way and there I am, knowing that Grandma hates those waves. Oh Oh, she didn't say it in words, but I knew by "The Look", that I better get out of there before the ship hit the sand!
Just to keep everyone dry (sort of) and to find a workable drift, I headed toward the West side, stopping just South of Mallard Point. There was enough of a wind break to kame a perfect drift, but except for more small Perch, it wasn't producing for us.
At Ravens Point, we found a small group of boats and everyone in them was catching fish. It was actually a really good bite, but it was also a big fish bite. All of the fish we caught were slot fish and most of the fish we saw other fishermen catch were over sized and realeased as well. By now, the cloud had passed, the wind was calm and it was warm and sunny again. The surface of the lake, now up to 62 degrees, was mirror glass calm, a good excuse for a pit stop and a move toward new fishing territory.
A stop at Sugar Point was more productive in terms of gathering fish. There was a mix of Walleye sizes ranging from tiny to large, some better Perch and more little Northerns. It would have made good sense to keep poking around in that area, but guess what? Another Black cloud was heading our way and I mentioned to Grandpa (Virgil Krug), that I thought we should take advantage of the calm seas to run part of the way back home.
A straight shot from Sugar Point to Musky Bay didn't take long and just as we settled in, the wind started picking up. Soon there was a perfect drift along the breakline and we actually did our best work of the day in this area.
Walleyes were on the drop off from 7 to 9 feet, they weren't aggressive, but they were feeding well enough so that we could hook 'em. The size of these fish was perfect for Grandmas fish fry and we did a nice job of gathering them, right up until the ligtning started heading toward us. The timing was good, 5:45 PM, we had a nice ness of fish, there was smooth water again and we had a job to do. So, this walk along the path had a few detours, and a couple of twists and turns; But in the end, we wound up where we were heading and life was good! Thank You! (5/30)From the Deer River Area - Brian Castellano checked in with; "I was able to get on the water the last two days.
Tuesday afternoon two of us headed up to the north shore of Winnie. My buddy and his cousin "pounded" the walleyes in this spot the day before and he said there were a lot of perch mixed in with the walleyes. The long and short of it is we showed up, the perch were there, but the walleyes had pulled a disappearing act. We looked shallow and deeper and couldn't find them. We caught a bunch of perch that were mostly borderline keepers, mainly all males, most of which were still "milking".
We then headed into Little Cutfoot and searched around for crappies and found a few crappies that were getting ready for the spawn. They were in tight to the bullrushes and the bobber/demon ice jig/minnow combo produced about a dozen fish for us. We found crappies in 2 of the 3 spots were tried. The 1st spot was some flooded wood that produced some small 8" crappies. Spot 2, a proven producer in past years and actually for my buddy the day before, produced "0". The 3rd spot produced some monster crappies that we would have felt guilty about keeping so we caught and few and let them go. This spot was along some bullrushes. Here's a pic of my buddy Kyle w/ his 13.75" slab and a pic of me w/ a 13" slab.
This morning 3 of us headed up to Upper Red Lake. We fished the area from West Winds Resort to the south about a mile or two. The fish were spread out along the break line in 5' of water. We fished from about 8am to 12:30 and struggled till we found a pod of fish during our last hour of fishing. We ended up w/ 12 nice keepers in the 15-16" range and we threw back another dozen or so. The perch were on the scene, but not big enough to add to the box. I also caught a wayward 14.50" crappie. 1/16th oz jigs and chub/rainbow minnows were the top producers, but we did pull a few fish on Salmo Hornets.
I talked to a friend on the way home who had been fishing down by JR's Resort on the south side of the lake and he sounded shell shocked. When I asked him how fishing was all he could say is, "We killed them.", over and over again. I asked him how many and he said it was so fast and furious that they quit counting. - Brian Castellano (5/30) A quick note from Bill Powell at Fred's Bait in Deer River; "It's getting to be that time of year when we see so many smiles! The Walleyes have been biteing good on the shallow water flats. The Bluegill and Crappies are starting there move to the shallows to make there beds and there are starting to be some nice Bass showing up too. The next couple weeks will be some of the greatest days for what ever you want to catch. - Bill Powell, Fred's Bait Deer River .
Fishing Report May 29, 2013, Jeff Sundin - Thank You to everyone who replied about rescuing me from my cancelled trip for today. The response was overwhelming, it was already re-booked before I ever got out the door. I am really sorry that I couldn't figure out a way to fish with every single one of you at the same time! I really appreciate the response and please keep in mind that next time you'll get here first. Fishing on Sand Lake was a little more fun on Tuesday than it had been last week. Surface temperatures had risen considerably, ranging from 52 degrees in "The Boot", up to 56 degrees on the North side of the main lake. The sky was overcast and there was a fair drifting wind for the first half of the day. During mid-afternoon, the lake became calm and the action slowed, but did not stop.
Moving around the lake, the screen of my Humminbird produced much more evidence of life in the shallows. There was more bait and game fish of all sizes were present along the weed edges. We poked around at a variety of spots, all of them were shallow weedline areas and found at least a few fish at most of them. While I still can't call it a "hot bite", by paying attention to details and nurturing the fish when we found them, we were able to produce a respectable catch.
Fishing was particularly good for Anders Bowman, who had the best knack for nursing the Walleyes onto the hook and into the net. Reb Bowman on the other hand, held back on catching the little ones. He was saving himself for something a little more special, he had bigger fish to fry. Yes, good thinking, I can relate to that! Besides Walleye, the shallow weed edges contained Perch, (some better than others) and the ever present Sand Lake Special, extra small size Pike.
An added bonus was the first sign of Crappies making their way toward shallow water. With water temperatures heading toward the 60 degree mark, Lilacs beginning to bloom and the first sign of Popple fuzz on the water, I'd guess that Crappie action is on the verge of getting really good, really soon.
For us, jig and minnow combinations worked fine and all we ever used was an 1/8 ounce lindy Jig tipped with medium size Rainbows. The fish were finicky and hooking them depending on waiting them out until they had the bait completey inhaled. There were some really tiny fish helping to confuse the issue, giving the impression of a "real Walleye strike", but being literally too small to hook. Reporting from Leech Lake, my buddy Arne Danielson said that bait selection and presentation is becoming more important. Arne said that by scratching out the fish, they managed to capture a limit of fish ranging in size from 14 to 17-1/2 inches using jig and minnow.
He cautioned though that the jig and minnow, fine for breezy days, may soon be replaced, especially on calm days. Arne said that the fishermen who appeared to be the most productive were Lindy Rigging Night Crawlers. There were a couple of boats in particular that used this presentation and were out producing other anglers in the area. A similar note came in by email yesterday. Steve Schipper's note says; "Jeff: just wanted to say (that we) just got back from lake Winnie and had to chuckle. Everyday we asked people in the fish cleaning area what did you use? Almost each person had a different answer from shiners, to artificials. Each used a different jig color and style. Just goes to prove you can catch them a lot of different ways and dare to try something different."
May 28, 2013Lake Winnibigoshish is the center of activity these days. Walleyes have made their way into all four corners of the lake and as surface temperatures rise, feeding activity intensifies.
On Memorial Day, the wind direction shifted, opening up new areas for fishermen to take advantage of the "Hot Bite" on the big lake. Cutfoot Sioux continues to provide Bowen Lodge anglers with fish too. Especially during the evening, just before dark. Not all Walleyes leave Cutfoot after the spawn, so resident fish remain available throughout the summer.
Crappies are on the verge of spawning now and will soon be located in shallow water on Cutfoot and the Little Cutfoot Lakes too. With water temps on the rise, we're guessing that you'll want to
... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
(5/28)Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "Memorial Weekend is over and anglers are still waiting for the peak spring walleye bite to happen. Anglers are still catching mostly male walleyes, with the larger female walleyes just starting to get active in the lakes.
Surface water temperatures are in the low to mid 50s in most lakes, which is nearing the point where the walleyes should be getting more active and the crappies and sunfish should be moving into the shallows to feed.
The weather has been more of an obstacle than a help to anglers most of the spring. Persistent rain, cold and wind limit where anglers can go on many days, with the conditions not up to par with most anglers expectations for a good day on the water.
Jigs and shiner minnows have been the bait of choice for most walleye anglers, but some anglers have also been catching walleyes on live bait rigs with larger minnows or leeches. The night bite has also been good on the nights when the skies have been clear.
Many anglers will troll pencil style minnow baits at night, but anglers can also use a lighted slip bobber and a minnow or a leech. Walleyes have been shallow, so some anglers may have walleyes feeding at night right off the end of their docks.
Fishing should continue to pick up as the water in the lakes continues to warm. Most of the larger lakes have been producing fish, but the lakes are still about two weeks behind a normal year.
Bass anglers had some success on their opening weekend, but the water was too cold for any of the fish to start making their beds as they get ready to spawn. Bass will spawn when surface water temperatures reach the low to mid 60s." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, firstname.lastname@example.org - 218.759.2235 . (5/28) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "He would just set me up with a bobber-rigged rod with a small minnow on a jig or hook with split shot sinkers. For me there was and still is nothing better than seeing a bobber disappear under the water. When my face lit up so did his. Who among us doesn’t get excited when the bobber begins its slow sideways decent? Crappie fishing really hasn’t changed through the ages. Simply look for shallow bays with ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/26) At Lake Winnibigoshish; "The walleyes have really started to bite on the West side of Lake Winnie. The sunshine on Thursday and Friday warmed the shallow water above 50 degrees, moving the shiner minnows shallow, and the walleyes are hot on their heels. The Four Seasons guides, Jake and Joe, caught limits of keepers the last two days along with multiple released fish in the slot. Our guests are all catching walleyes, as well. The perch have scattered since spawning and schools of fish have been hard to come by. The warmer water will help solve this problem in the next week or so. Emerging green weeds will help to bring the perch together where they can be targeted, also. We are catching a few northerns mixed in with the walleyes, but they are mostly on the small side. Perfect size for eating. Deboned northern is hard to beat in the spring for eating.
My prediction for wide open fishing on Memorial Weekend was maybe a little premature, but it has vastly improved. You can count on catching a meal of fish each time you go out. We have openings for the next two weeks. If you want to try some shallow water walleye fishing, now is the time to come up! Click To Contact >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie .
Fishing Report May 27, 2013, Jeff Sundin -West Is Best For Hungry Walleyes? - It serves me right; I spent Sunday morning's report to pontificate about how the West side of the lake was warmer, better for fishing. Not too long afterward, the wind started blowing from the East/Southeast at about 30 MPH and the West side of Lake Winnibigosh became un-fishable, at least for us.
We gave it a great try, doing everything we could to avoid fishing on the calm side of the lake, where the fish were biting, but sluggish and slow. The drift speed on the West side of the big lake was too fast, especially for the conditions. With water temps at 49 degrees, Walleyes just wouldn't chase down our baits. Eventually, we were forced to backtrack and fish the East, calm water side whether we wanted to or not.
Fishing with the Birthday Boy, Jacob Krug, his brother Zach and Dad Travis, all I had in mind was to have some good laughs and catch a boatload of fish. Instead, us guys would wind up having to work a little harder than I planned. Luckily though, the sunshine eventually helped; The water warmed, the fish went on the prowl and our afternoon wound up being just what we'd hoped for, a Winnie Walleye Party.
We fished the stretch of water from Denny's Reosrt on the South end, all the way up to the Birches landing. For most of the middle part of the day, we found fish scattered in the shallow water weeds. We were never at a complete stop, there were fish coming to the boat every fifteen minutes or so, it just seemed slower because almost all of them were slot fish and our livewell wasn't filling up very fast. Grandma's fish fry appeared to be in jepordy.
Sometime in the early afternoon, the sunshine finally got a grip on the surface water and the temps began to rise. 52, 53, 54 up and up it went until someone said, it's a beautiful day and from then on, it was.
Judging by the paintings on my Humminbird, the warmer water water must have triggered some baitfish to move toward the shallow water. Walleyes weren't far behind and for about two hours, the screen was always full of life, the action was good and the party was on. At a little past 6:00, I said "okay boy's, one more fish or 5 more minutes, whichever comes first. Travis added, we need a Grand Finale', The boys said no problem. With 2 minutes to spare Zach and Jacob hooked into a pair of Walleyes, one last double header to wrap the day. Zach's fish, an eater, got slipped into the livewell and Jacob's ... well that was a 23 incher, it tied the 23 inch fish that Zach caught earlier and gave us a way to end the day with equal braggin' rights. Fish fry ON!
Jigging, agressively is still the best way
to catch 'em. The best water depth for us turned out to be 8 feet. But I saw fish caught both shallower and deeper, so don't be afraid to find your own pattern. If your graph says that there's fish, then fish that spot, they are definitely feeding when you find 'em.
I remained loyal to my plastic baits, but on this day, it was harder to keep up with the boys. Using an 1/8 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a 3 inch ripple shad, I caught enough fish to be satisfied with the results. But the same jigs, tipped with and assortment of live minnows gave the boys an advantage.
We released about 2 slot fish for each "keeper". In other words we needed to keep searching for good size schools of fish in order to get enough for the fish fry. In the end, we wound up with 16 keepers, not quite a limit for the crew, but a solid showing.
Fishing Report May 26, 2013, Jeff Sundin -West Is Best For Hungry Walleyes! - The West side of the lake that is. Yes, a definite pattern has emerged over the past few days.
Fishermen on lakes in the Itasca area including Leech Lake, Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish are all turning in good Walleye reports. There's one thing that they all have in common, West side of the lake, that's where the best bite is.
Regular readers of the report know that sometimes, I'd be tempted to make a game out of this to see who can figure out why. But since many of you are here right now and could use the information today, I'll go ahead and spill the beans.
Sunshine and warmer daytime temperatures are slowly bringing surface water temperatures up.
The rise is temps hasn't been equal though because the prevailing winds have been from the east. As the sun warms the surface water, the breeze pushes it toward the West and given enough time, warmer water begins to "Stack Up" along the Western shoreline. Yes, there was also a Walleye Chop on this side of the lake and that too is a major contributor to better fishing. But what makes the temperature so much more important right now, is the fact that the East side has never had a chance to warm up. Every bit of heat that the sun generated this week, lies along the Western shoreline. In some areas, the temperatures along Eastern shorelines are actually falling.
We experienced it first hand
on Saturday when we fished on Leech Lake. Knowing that a boat ride from Federal Dam to Two Points would be a lot smoother if we ran along the East shoreline. Also knowing that there are good, spring fishing spots along that path, it only made sense to stop and take a look before we headed across Portage Bay.
At the Three Sisters, just North of Five Mile Point, surface temps were ranging between 48 and 50 degrees. The screen of my Humminbird showed little if any signs of life. A few straglers here and there, but nothing to indicate that there was gonna be any action. That's okay, it was worth a look and the ride was a lot smoother taking this route.
When we arrived on the West shoreline though, it was a whole new ball game. The picture was the complete opposite of what we'd seen on the East shoreline. Surface water was 53 degrees in the morning and would eventually cross the 55 degree mark before days end. Baitfish, small fish, big fish and every size in between lit up the screen of my graph.
Soon after we stopped there was good action. Mostly Walleye this time, ranging in size from 12 inches up to our largest, a 24 inch fish that Bruce caught. Comparing notes with friends who were on the lake, there were scattered schools of fish everywhere along the shore. We fished a number of spots between Little Stony Point and the New Leech Lake Campground. For us there were certain places where the fish cooperated better than others, but we saw fish caught in a lot of spots and at a variety of depths.
Our two best spots were completely different from each other. The first one required holding tight on the breakine in 6 feet of water. There was an inside turn and that was the structure holding the most fish. Our second "good spot" was a flat with scattered rock, sand and weeds. At this spot, we did best by moving out to 11 feet of water and letting the wind drift us toward the shoreline until we reached 6 feet. We repeated the process numerous times and caught fish on almost every drift. (5-26)Q) Jeff, I have been reading your articles lately on the use of artificial minnows with great interest, especially now with all the invasive specie laws.
Thursday my brother and my daughter and I were up on Red Lake and the bite was just like nothing I have ever seen in Minnesota, but not for me. I had decided that I was going to fish with ... as I had never used it successfully with it when it first hit the market a number of years ago.
I tried the 3 inch Emerald Shiner, the 3 inch Smelt, and the 4 inch Watermelon Pearl. I also tried them on various colors and styles of jigs. I never had a bite in 2 plus hours of fishing while I watched my daughter and brother boat fish after fish. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, put on Live Bait and started catching fish. My question for you is this: I fished the ... with lift and drop and snap jigging techniques and various other twitching motions but I'm wondering if there is a better way to fish this stuff or is it that it just doesn't catch fish like advertized?
A friend just told me about a new product called ... that has worked for him and I am wondering if its just a confidence thing or am I just working these wrong? Keep up the great articles and information. Last year I set up my minnow cooler the way you explained with the aerator and extra water in the vehicle so I can keep my minnows after a day of fishing. Works great! A) Jim, This is a huge question and it's gonna be mentioned a lot, so please keep an eye cast toward the reports for frequent updates.
Also, I apologize for pulling the name brands out of your comments, but I didn't want to turn off readers who might want to try them on their own, especially in light of the fact that after 30 years of guiding, I've learned that there's no such thing as a bait that "never works". In fact, under the right circumstances, many of the items you mentioned actually do work really well. Here's a fact; I have not used a single live minnow during the past two days of fishing, not one. Using artificials exclusively, I have caught as many or more Walleyes as anyone in the boat. Another fact is that some of the artificial baits I've tried, proved to be completely worthless, while others have performed like magic.
Some of the baits that you mentioned will work better, later this summer, when the water gets warmer and it becomes easier to elicit an "impulse strike" from the fish. Wait until August, when the fish are spread out on mid-depth flats and try ripping those same baits throught weeds and you'll have a completely different impression.
For right now,
during this cold water period, the best family of baits are "Shad-type" tails that have a flexible swim bait type of tail. I've had my best luck with the ones that approximate the size of a live minnow like a Spottail, Rainbow or large Fathead. The actual length of the baits that work best range from 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 inches (measured on a ruler). On Saturday, I tried one that was too big for the size of fish that were present. That resulted in getting a ton of strikes, but only a couple of hook ups.
I fish these swim bait type tails a little differently than I'd fish a jig and minnow. I try to sweep the jig upward, allowing it to fall back on a semi-slack line so that the paddle tails swim as they fall. Almost every strike will come as the bait is falling back.
Matching the jig head to the tail is critical too. These baits will get a lot of strikes, but the fish may or may not hold on to them as long as they would a live bait. I want my hook to come out as near the tail as possible so that when I get a strike, I can take a short pause to be sure the fish is there and then set the hook. I do tend to miss more fish using plastics, but I also get more strikes. In the end, productivity is about equal.
I promise to expand on this answer, but for this morning, let me just wrap up by saying don't give up. Give it a solid effort and you will definitely hit on the winning combination. (5/26)On Lake of the Woods,Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "We are ready to kick this summer into high gear! Most of the projects are done and the guides are ready to hit the lake full time. Graduation parties are happening this weekend and it is time to get out and enjoy the best Minnesota has to offer! Speaking of graduations, we are greatly pleased to have not just one Valedictorian but two Co-Valedictorians of the class of 2013 working with us for the summer, congratulations Sara and Emily! Your hard work and perseverance will reward you for years to come.
We have witnessed some changes in fishing and weather this past week. Out on the lake has been where the action is. We started off fishing just off of Pine Island and the action was great earlier in the week. After the rains dissipated and the river mud and debris started to come by the Walleye bite slowed. There were many anglers including our guides moving around and trying different areas, depths and presentations. The last couple of days have provided morning and evening bites with mid-day lulls. It may have something to do with the Full Moon. We are still fishing off of Pine Island from 10-22 feet of water. Mostly anchoring and jigging but also doing some drifting with jigs.
The success for the week has been great, many nice eaters for shore lunch and 17-18 inch keepers to take home with trophies being caught and released daily.
Our forecast for the week looks typical for May with highs into 70’s and lows to 50’s, of course the possible showers and thunderstorms are predicted.
Our First Class Professional USCG Charter Captains are ready to go this summer! We have a fantastic crew on the books this year! Captains, Lanny Vollmer, Michael J Fox, Dennis Anderson, Jake Beckel, Darrell Hoag, Jon Geurkink, Steve Slick, Josh Beckel and Tom Geurkink are ready for your requests" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Fishing Report May 25, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Big Lakes and Walleyes, Stepping Up For The Holiday Weekend". - By the time we arrived at Upper Red Lake on Friday, I had already made so many promises to my crew, that I had no choice except to turn in a solid performance. Luckily, the fish and calm seas allowed us to do just that.
When we arrived at the landing, the surface temperature was 52 degrees. The water was stained, still churned up from the high winds that blew earlier this week. Where we were fishing, the crowd was light, most of the Memorial Weekend traffic hadn't arrived yet.
The action wasn't automatic, at least not in the beginning. We were working the shallow breakline from 4 to 6 feet of water and I think I trolled with the MinnKota for almost a half mile before the first Walleye was encountered. Once we located that pod of fish though, the action was steady for the rest of the day. In fact, as the sunshine warmed the water, the action got better and by mid afternoon, you could have called it a "hot bite".
Fishing was best when I stayed tight to the breakline where a sharp drop from 4 to 6 feet of water held the largest percentage of fish. There were some fish on the shallow flat and some on the deeper flat too, but that sweet spot, that's was where the fun was.
For me, trolling at about 1.1 to 1.3 MPH was the best. Jig and Minnow combinations worked fine for most of the crew, but I and Mike caught lots of Walleyes without ever using a live minnow. An 1/8 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a 3 inch plastic shad tail did the trick. I just got some more artificials to try today, so expect to be hearing more on that subject during the next few reports.
There were other boats out there catching fish by anchoring on the breakline and fishing with slip bobbers. Honestly, there was a point in the day that I thought the bobber fishing might have been really fun. But I guess that the trolling feels a little more pro-active, so we stuck with that program.
The size of the Walleye where we fished was
ideal. Numerous fish in the 15 to 16 range helped us fill out our limit. There were just a few slot fish, maybe a half dozen and a smattering of pee-wees too. The males, still showing signs of engagement in spawing activities, were at least 95% of the fish we encountered.
My buddy Jonny Petrowske spotted us on the lake while he was checking his minnow traps and gave me a phone call. According to Jonny P, the Shiners have just barely begun to run on the giant lake. That means that the best action of the season is probably still to come.
A second opinion, from me is that the complete absence of any Sheepheads probably supports that theory. Usually, the end of the best Walleye action coincides with the beginning of the hot Sheephead activity.
In other words, if the Sheephead and the Shiners aren't in the shallows yet, then the Walleyes probably will be on the shoreline for quite a while.
While we fished Red Lake, texts were coming from both Lake Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake. Shallow water action was good on both of them. Winnie's West side became a hub of activity, Mallard Point, Ravens Point and Sugar Bay all produced fish. On Leech, the west side of Portage Bay, Battle Point and the Three Sisters were all mentioned. Without hearing from anyone in Sucker Bay, I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that there was action there too.
Fishing Report May 24, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Savvy Anglers Shrug Off Walleyes "Vacation Day". - I needed it, you needed it, everybody did, even the fish. Thursday's calm, sunny day was a welcome break from the gloomy, rainy weather. It was was more than welcome, even if it did encourage a slow fishing day.
Think of it this way; You just had a hectic, busy week. The phone was ringing off the hook, chores were backing up and all of the sudden ... It's the weekend, a chance to sleep in and recharge the batteries. Ah, doesn't that feel good?
The Walleyes need those days too. So after going through the rigors of the spawning run, then trying to make their way back out toward main lake structure, then battling the current, then dodging the boats while they tried to get a bite to eat, sheesh, it's no wonder they needed a day off.
Luckily, I was fishing with the most understanding human being alive and we were able to look at this "zinger" as a learning experience. That's Carl Bergquist for ya, he's a darn good friend, a good listner and a really smart guy. Handy to have around when the chips are down. He helps me think through my little dilemmas.
What we learned on Thursday was that Sand Lake, beautiful as it was, hadn't had a chance to warm up enough to send fish into their springtime, "hot bite mode". With surface temperatures ranging from 48 to 51 degrees, the only signs of baitfish in large numbers were found in shallow water along the Bulrush and Cattail edges. The problem was that the bright sunshine discouraged game fish from heading into that shallow water to feed.
Moving into deeper water didn't help either, there just wasn't much out there. So after a morning of catching Tiny Pike, we decided it was time to re-group and head for another lake.
Knowing that we still needed fish for the evening fish fry and that I had better come up with at least some WALLEYE, I pointed the truck South and beat a trail over to Bowstring Lake. With any luck, the darker water would be heating up faster. Maybe that would trigger some baitfish to move onto one of the lakes shallow sand flats? Maybe we could find a few fish following them into the shallows? It was worth a try, and it paid off, at least a little bit. On Bowstring Lake, surface temperatures ranged from 51 to 55 degrees. The Tanin stained water, was clear, but dark. That dark water is what helps protect the sensitive eyes that Walleyes have and allows them to move shallow on sunny days. Especially calm days like this one, a ripple maybe, but nothing close to a Walleye Chop.
After a bit of poking around, I stumbled onto a point near an adjacent sand flat. The water is shallow there, 3 to 4 feet deep, but there's a nice sharp breakline from 4 to 7 feet and the fish like to follow that edge, heading off minnows that intend to move onto the flat.
Using 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with whatever kind of minnow that came next out of the bucket, we trolled slowly, strattling the edge of the drop off. It wasn't that long before we started getting a few bites. First a Perch, then Carl got one Walleye, then Len got another, then some more Perch and then we lost a couple. A slow, but steady bite developed and thanks to our heroic effort, we were saving the fish fry!
It wasn't the best fishing day that I'll ever have, but we did manage to put a few in the box and just when the action seemed to be getting reliable, the discussion started. Can't leave George and Bill home alone waiting for their supper,
no we have to leave now, just when the fish start biting, the story of my life, always gotta go! Okay, well at least we got the fish fry together and it was good. Maybe not as good as Lenny would have made, but it was still good. (5/24)Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort on Ball Club Lake; "Cool wet weather is keeping water temps on Ball Club Lake stuck in the mid to upper 40s.
Run off from all the recent rain has stained the water a little, but I wouldn't say muddy.
Fishing has been Fair at best for Perch, Northerns and Walleye using live bait rigs in 8-6 feet with slip bobbers and light jigs in white, yellow and chartreuse.
I don't expect the fishing to improve until we see the sun again and the water temp moves out of the 40s.
Most of our docks are in the harbor and the bait tanks are up and running. We will have fat head minnows, crappie minnows, crawlers & leeches, but we will not be selling shiner minnows.
There is still a cabin or two available if you are looking for a last minute reservation." - Gus Sheker. Gus' Place Resort . (5/24)Northland Lodge, Pat O'Reilly checked in with; "The bite is alright here on the north end of Big Winnie. The gap into Cutfoot has been good. Out in front of the (sattelite) dishes and Tamarack point off the old river channel has been good too. They are not not picky on the color or how deep they are yet,we need some warm weather. - Northland Lodge . (5/24) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich has a tip or two about fishing Lake Winnie; "Downsize your jigs and line and use light action rods that have a better hook set ratio while pulling in “slab” crappies. Place a small minnow under a bobber or light jig and start casting and retrieving your bait into the shallows. I like to use ... " read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/24) On The Iron Range, From Greg Clusiau; Has a vested interest in fishing, especially this week. Greg's been going through the closet, making ready for the best part of the open water fishing season. Greg says; "A relatively inexpensive purchase, many years ago, but is oh so valuable now, especially when you’re 100 yards down the shoreline, catching fish, and you happen to" ... >> Read Greg's Full Report . (5/24) At Frontier Sports in Marcell, Paul Larson says that they have a good supply of bait for the upcoming weekend. Golden Shiners, Some Spottail Shiners and plenty of chubs fill the minnow tanks. Leeches and Night Crawlers are not a problem either.
About the fishing, Paul said; "The reports from the “second opener” were encouraging. Bowstring Lake was the standout with many limits of Walleyes taken. The smaller area lakes have seen Bluegills and Crappies starting to head for shallow water. Bass season opens Saturday the 25th and this weekend should provide an excellent opportunity to catch some nice Bass. Trout season opened May 11th and there are several excellent Trout lakes in the area, so if your chosen lake is too crowded with the holiday weekend traffic, you just might want to give one of these lakes a try.
The bait situation at the store is excellent and we have the last of the "hard to get lures" that were so productive last year. Stop in and see many new items for 2013 that have arrived too.
We are looking forward to a great weekend! Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET dealer. Click to contact >> Frontier Sports .
Fishing Report May 23, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Walleyes Action Heating Up, Just In Time For the Big Weekend! - More evidence of the "normalization" of our 2013 fishing season, is the shallow water, action bite that's been heating up on Leech Lake.
On Wednesday, day 3 with my long time friends "Lash" and "Fish", we'd already slated Leech Lake as the spot to wrap up the early season trip. At the landing, we were greeted by another friend, Grand Rapids area fishing guide Roy Girtz, Royal Guide Service. Lucky for me that we stumbled into him because Roy had already been fishing on Leech Lake the day before. He gave me a heads up about the better spots, so even though I had some ideas of my own, Roy helped speed up the process by getting me zeroed in. He knew what he was talking about too, because it only took a few minutes for his advice to pay off.
Surface temperatures were hovering just above the 50 degree mark and a stiff breeze had the Walleye Chop rolling perfectly. All I had to do was locate the shallow breakline, the sharp drop from 6 to 8 feet
of water, center the boat on the drop off and ask Lash to toss in the Driftmaster. I got bit on my first cast, so did my crew and from then on, the action was steady.
There was a mixed bag of Walleye, Perch and Northern Pike. All apparently feeding on baitfish that were heading for the shallow sand flat that's adjacent to the breakline.
The mixture of sizes ranged wildly, with fish from 9 to 25 inches
and everything in between. Before you start heading for the door, one word of caution. Meat hunters could be a little disappointed by an apparent shortage of Walleye in the 15 to 17 inch range. We caught lots of 13 to 14 inch fish and many 20 to 22 inch fish, but very few in what we'd consider the ideal keeper size range.
Perch sizes were mixed too, but we did keep 17 nice size fish ranging from 10 to 12 inches.
We didn't cover a lot of ground yesterday, so I don't know if there are lots of spots where the fish are this aggressive, but judging by the action in this small area, I'd feel confident that other good areas
would be discovered too.
Fishing Report May 22, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Walleyes On The Move, Forget The Spawners, Find The Feeders - A trend toward sunny skies and warmer temps could provide Memorial Day anglers with a real treat this weekend. Especially in light of the fact that Walleyes are gonna be shallow, hungry and on the move.
Forget about following reports from last week, or even a just few days ago. The lion's share of Walleye have already wrapped up spawning and passed through transitional areas. The instinct to feed will be all that they care about this week and as water temperatures rise, spawning baitfish are gonna play right into their fins.
On the big lakes like Winnie, Cass and Leech,
keep your charts set on the shallow, sandy flats and the adjacent breaklines. As water temps rise, go shallow especially if there's a breeze. Fishing the shallowest shoreline breaks will be a key. Depending on your lake and on the spots you choose to fish, that could mean fishing in water depths of 4 to 8 feet.
No breeze? Then we'll need to move deeper. Baitfish and Walleyes will back out and away from the shallow breaklines and spread out across mid-depth flats. In that situation, key areas on Winnie or Leech will be in water depths of 10 to 16 feet. The presence of weeds will help, especially on Winnie. Leech Lake Walleye have a tendency to hold tight near rocky spots on the flats. But if they can find a patch of weeds, they'll hold on those too.
With surface temps remaining cold, presenting jig and minnow combinations should be good throughout the Memorial Day holiday. It would really surprise me if the fish showed any other preference for the next couple of weeks. But just in case we get a calm spell and need to cover more water to eek out stragglers, packing a few Lindy Spinners would be a really good insurance policy. Bait shops are managing to keep up with the demand for minnows, but Shiners will be in short supply. The good news is that we've been able to use a variety of minnows and still turn in good reports almost every day, Right now, my bait tank contains a regular smorgasbaord of minnows. I've been using Rainbows, Dace, Spottails, Brassy Shiners and Fatheads (if the Fatheads are large enough). The size seems to be more important than the species and for me, ideal minnows for jigging are in the 3-4 inch range.
Don't be afraid of artificial baits for jigging, especially if you're targeting one of the larger lakes. On Upper Red Lake for example, I was using a Blue-Glow Lindy Jig tipped with a 3 inch ripple shad and easily kept up with anglers who used live bait. In fact, for someone who wants to gain confidence in using artificials, Upper Red is an ideal testing ground. The abundance of fish on the shallow breakline give you a chance to try a bunch of baits, while persuing the best ones. Walleye anglers who plan to target smaller waters this weekend should focus on shallow cover too, but with a few twists.
When you can find them, shallow sand flats that have sharp breaklines will produce fish. But unlike many large lakes, their little cousins don't usually have much of this type of cover. Rocks and weeds become much more important on small lakes. If your favorite Walleye lake happens to be heavily stocked, then weeds become doubly important.
I like to find Bulrushes, especially when there's an adjacent point or sharp inside corner. Add a weed flat, a pile of rocks or a clam bed and this type of spot just keeps getting better.
In fact, just yesterday, we found a spot like this and caught Bass, Pike and Walleye all at the same time, all on the same point. This type of structure is common in our area and can be found on numerous lakes.
I use the MinnKota to hold the boat along the drop off and then cast (pitch) the jig and minnow combinations toward the shallow cover. Allow the jig to fall toward bottom on a tight line as you hop, twitch or wiggle the jig back toward the boat. If you try this method in a handful of spots, I Promise that you will catch some fish. The Shiner Trapping Ban on Lake Winnibigoshish went into effect yesterday. The DNR simply refused to provide bait dealers with any leeway, even with the cold water temps we have now. So for the handful of licensed bait dealers who would usually get their supply of Shiners from Winnie, it's time for Plan B.
Bill Powell, Fred's Bait said that he
will be to looking for a supply of Spottails somewhere else. Smaller lakes that may at least provide enough bait to get him through this season. Hopefully, their search will be successful and we'll have some good news to share. In the meantime, we'll do the best we can with what we've got. (5/22)Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "The second weekend of the walleye season was like the opener part-two for many anglers. The lakes were busy and the walleye fishing was pretty good, despite the intermittent heavy rains.
Most of the walleyes have been close to current early in the season, but they are beginning to spread out as they work their way back to their home lakes.
Anglers have been fishing shoreline connected structures along the migration routes, with concentrations of anglers fishing the outlets and inlets, trying to ambush the migrating walleyes as they go between lakes.
Surface water temperatures have risen into the mid to upper 40s, so the walleye spawn should just about be done. The hottest lakes for walleyes include Bemidji, Upper Red Lake, Leech Lake, Winnibigoshish and the Cass Lake Chain.
Walleyes in Upper Red Lake have been active along the shoreline break in 4 to 7 feet of water. Jigs and minnows or bobber rigs and minnows have both been effective.
Walleyes in Winnibigoshish have been good in Cutfoot Sioux, Third River Flowage, near the mouth of the Mississippi and in Sugar Lake. Most of the walleyes have been biting on jigs and minnows in 5 to 8 feet of water.
Leech Lake has been good in the shallow bays, with good bites in Sucker Bay, Portage Bay and Steamboat Bays. Most of the walleyes have been biting on jigs and shiners in 6 to 10 feet of water.
Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving have been good for walleyes in 7 to 12 feet on jigs and minnows, with some anglers starting to catch walleyes on leeches on live bait rigs.
The Cass Lake Chain has been best in Andrusia and Kitchi, with most of the walleyes in 11 to 14 feet of water. Anglers are having success on both jigs and shiners and live bait rigs and leeches." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, email@example.com - 218.759.2235 .
Fishing Report May 21, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Chilly Surface Temps, Rain Drive Fish Deeper - Maybe the Walleye action on Monday wasn't spectacular, but steady? Yes, steady it was.
Surface temperatures hovered at 45 degrees and for most of the day, rainfall was steady too. Noticeably absent were the high numbers of larger female fish that had inhabited Cutfoot Sioux during the spawning cycle. Now, smaller, male fish are holding up their end of the bargain by providing anglers with some fish for the frying pan.
Even though there was little evidence of a "hot bite", the fish did cooperate and by concentrating our efforts on practicing good hook setting techniques, we managed to bag a limit of fish in the 13 to 16 inch range.
There's a lot of news coming in from Lake Winnie too, so instead of making you read the same stuff twice, just follow the threads below and you'll bag a whole bunch of info about Winnie and Cutfoot.
May 21, 2013Cutfoot Sioux continues to produce reliable Walleye action. On Monday, we discovered that many fish are now scattered and that many have moved to deeper points and inside corners. Maybe colder surface temps made them move, but expect to find more fish in the 14 to 20 foot range than you will in the 8 to 10 foot range.
Prime Walleye structures are "shoreline related", points adjacent to shallow flats. The presence of rocks seemed more important than weeds on Monday, but never rule out the attractiong power of newly emerging weeds.
As Walleye move back out into the "big lake", shallow water feeding areas will be the focal point for this week. Baitfish movement, especially by the Shiner minnows has ... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
(5/21) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich has a tip or two about fishing Lake Winnie; "If you’re fishing for walleyes start on the wind blown sides of the lake, as the waves will push forage into the shoreline. If it is dead calm ... read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/21) A quick note from Karen at Dixon Lake Resort says; "Had a great weekend on the lake. A little rain didn't stop the guys. Did better on Dixon then Winnie. Seemed like a night bite". Hope it stays true for next weekend.
Fishing Report May 20, 2013, Jeff Sundin -On Bowstring, Walleyes Are Shifting Into Post Spawn Mode. - On Sunday, I showed up at Fred's Bait to meet my fishing customers expecting to get the Green light to head for Upper Red Lake. But when I told them about the experience we had there on Saturday, they said "Yeah, we know, we were there too". AH HAH, so there was no need to repeat and it was time to make an adjustment.
They mentioned a couple of lakes that they'd like to try, among them Bowstring Lake. Closest to home, Bowstring seemed like a good choice, especially in light of the good reports I'd gotten on Saturday, so off we went.
At the South landing, there was a crowd, but the parking ramp wasn't overloaded. There was a Northeast breeze blowing, and a mild chop was tickling the dock. A dose of liquid sunshine and humid air, warmer than the surface water, created a fog on the lakes surface.
I found wildy varrying surface temperatures. They ranged from 44 degrees on the main lake, all the way up to 56 degrees
in Muskrat Bay, near the Bowstring River.
It didn't take any imagination to figure out where the fishermen had caught their Walleyes on Saturday. Every boat on the lake seemed to be heading for the same spot. The only problem was that the action that they'd enjoyed the day before, wasn't gonna be repeated today. There were still some stragglers lying along the shallow breakline. We caught 4 o5 Walleyes, a few Pike and a Perch. But, it was apparent that we'd be making a move into new territory.
I wanted to try and take advantage of the breeze, so instead of trying nearby spots, I headed for the West side of the lake to fish on a shallow point that was facing into the wind. It turned out to be the best decision I made all day and if I'd been smart, we would have just stayed put, nursing that spot until we had the fish we wanted.
The shallow breakline held a school of smaller, but acceptable Walleyes, along with a school of decent size Perch. The fish were holding in about 6 feet of water, just along the sharp break from 4 to 7 feet.
The action was steady, we had plenty of strikes; But the fish were very tempermental and the soft strikes caused my crew some serious headaches. An honest estimate would be that all of us probably missed or lost 3 fish for each one that we landed. The finicky fish were holding onto the tail of the minnows, rarely chomping their way up to the hooks. Luckily, we won enough of the battles to leave the lake with a fairly good, mixed catch of Perch and Walleye. But it was definitely accomplished by applying a good old fashioned, American work ethic!
My assesment is that the larger, female Walleyes on Bowstring are already in their post-spawn mode. Plan on catching smaller size fish for now, but after a few days and a little warmer water, the fishing is gonna get good. (5/20)On Lake of the Woods,Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "First week of walleye season was fantastic! Many have reported that it was their best opener ever!
Males in the 16 to 18 inch range are plentiful in the Rainy River. A one oz jig with a shiner will do the trick. Gold and pink have been excellent colors. Look for rubble on the bottom any were from 12 feet up to 5 feet of water. The big girls can still be caught in the river, but the numbers of females are better on the lake and in the Four Mile Bay. Both gaps, Lighthouse and Morris Point, have been on fire. 12 to 14 feet with a jig and a shiner is a good place to start. Many of the females have been in the 27 to 32 inch range, and the vast majority has already spawned.
It looks to be cooler and breezy with chances of showers during the first part of the week. The clouds give way to sunshine and warmer temps as we head towards the weekend.
We have some opportunities for midweek fishing and also have a few openings for your Memorial Day Weekend. Make your plans to spend some time with us. You don’t want to miss this!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge . (5/20) On The Iron Range, From Greg Clusiau; "Yes folks, spring is finally here, grab your panfish poles and head to a shallow fish holding area and give it a try. It’s some of the best action of the season.
I made a run “up north” on Saturday for just that reason and six lakes were investigated. The first one, a prime little shore-fishing honey hole, found me catching a nice crappie on the very first cast.
Actually, I was a little surprised because the" ... >> Read Greg's Fishing Report . (5/20) At Lake Winnibigoshish, "We have had to revert back to yesteryear for 2013!
In the old days, the walleyes followed a definite migratory pattern. Come out of Cutfoot and move down the shorelines. We would follow these migrating fish with the weather having very little to do with where they were located.
You would start on Opening Day somewhere down the shore from the Gap, and each day they would move closer to home. The past 10 years or so, that hasn't been the case at all. We had fish close to home from day one.
Since opening day this season, very few walleyes have been caught on the west side. Most of the fishermen are traveling up north toward the Gap. And so far, a majority of the fish they have been catching are in the protected slot.
A sure sign that the fish are on the move came yesterday when our guide Jake Premo caught a limit of nice "keepers" off the west side in 8' of water. The males tend to migrate faster than the females and are showing up now. They will keep piling up on the west shoreline until they make their way out to the mid-lake structure. Memorial Weekend is going to be wide-open on the walleyes. If you haven't finalized your plans yet, we still have openings." ... >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie .
Fishing Report May 19, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Making Up For Lost Time! - Wasn't much of a problem for anglers in the Itasca area this Saturday. Walleye fishing patterns are fast on their way to being back on track for this time of the season. Panfish are heading toward shallow water and the weather, well it's good enough.
My first clue that Walleye patterns were getting back to "normal" was when I tried to get one more
trip on a small river that we fished a few days ago. Temporarily filled with Walleye, the small root beer colored river was now almost vacant, containing just a few, enough to prove that they were once there.
My next clue was a call from Bowstring Lake where a fishing buddy
described the Walleye action as "Silly". At noon or just before, they had nearly filled their bag limit with "eaters" and were about to try and find some bigger fish for some photos.
The seed was planted, we were catching some fish, scrounging them out one by one. But it was clear that there were better places to visit and I already knew that there was a move in our future. Still, I had a few ideas of my own, so we decided to linger just a little bit longer where we were. With one last spot to try, we stumbled into a fan. A regular reader of the this report who slipped me another zinger. Earlier in the morning, I was in such a hurry to try my little river , that I had driven right by a group of boats. Boats that were filled with Crappie fishermen who were smack dab in the middle of catching a great run of shallow water Crappies! Oops, I missed the boat on that one too!
The straw that broke the Camels back came when my phone started ringing again. This time it was my buddy Tom Neustrom and his first sentence was; "Jeffrey, Red Lake is hot, it's as good as I've ever seen it!" Well okay then, that was good enough for me and when I got the nod from Mr. C. The boat was on the trailer and we were out of there in no time flat.
At Upper Red Lake, we found perfect conditions. Nearly calm seas, overcast and cool. Surface water temperatures ranged from 52 -54 degrees. There was a crowd that reminded me of how it is on a routine fishing opener. Lots of rigs in the parking lot, lots of boats at the mouth of the Tamarack River and lots of boats strung out along the shallow water breakiline. Many of them were catching fish.
We motored down the shoreline and picked a spot where a gap between packs of boats would provide a little working room. I turned on the MinnKota and backed up to the shallow break in about 4 feet of water and we started jigging. That's the last thing that I did that required any thinking at all. In fact, on this trip, catching fish was the least of my worries. All we had to do was cast out 1/8 ounce Lindy Jigs, Bob's tipped with a minnow and mine tipped with an artificial plastic tail. Agressive jigging triggered lots of strikes, a pause to let the fish eat the bait, followed by firm but gentle hook set sealed the deal.
While we're trolling along, I'm thinking about writing my report for today. How was I gonna describe our trip? How was I gonna say how Lucky I was again this time?
Just then, we crossed paths with a boat that had two fathers and sons. They were anchored along the breakline near a small patch of rocks. They were catching plenty of fish and obviously having a great time. I asked for a favor, could I please snap a couple of pictures? They agreed and in the process of gathering fish for the photo, those boys put on a nice show for Mr. C and me.
The boys were fishing with Rattlin' Flyer Spoons suspended about 5 feet below slip floats. I didn't see and forgot to ask if they were tipping them with whole minnows or with cut pieces, but I'm guessing that either would have worked. They caught plenty of Walleye using that presentation. In fact, they caught their limit during the time we were watching.
As we fished nearby, there was an above average commotion in their boat, Reese Wisehnack was struggling with a bigger fish. This was the one, it was a perfect photo fish, so we snuck over and snapped a few pics.
All wrapped up, I was backing away from their boat when young Maddux Schrupp set the hook on another Walleye. A short battle ensued and then Reese slipped the net under the fish and that was it, they had their limit. It was a good day to be on the water for everybody.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that it was Maddux who caught the last fish? It was, it really was, we saw him do it and it was really lucky that we were there for the show.
I am really backed up against the clock right now, but before I get out of here, a quick list of crib notes. Lake Winnie action is good. Walleyes are stacked up along shallow water breaks in many of the most popular, opening day locations. Leech Lake is ice free and there's a "big fish" bite going on right now. Water temps are still cold and female fish remain located near spawning ares. Shoreline gravel will produce better action than will the larger rocks. Don't expect limits of keepers, but if you want to CPR something special, Leech might be the place to go. Bowstring Lake, action is good, mostly "eater" size fish. Cass Lake action is good too. A note from a friend simply says; "Great Day On Cass Lake Today". So we know that they're bitin', you just need to go find 'em.
Fishing Report May 18, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Post Spawn Walleye Are On The Move! Last week, the entire key to success was finding fish in or near their spawn sites. This week, the focus will shift and anglers should prepare for a trend toward feeding areas.
Depending on the timing of ice out on your favorite lake, there may still be some spawning activity going on. But, there's no reason to linger once the job is finished and Walleye, Northern Pike and Perch are already on their way out of most Itasca area spawning locations.
On Friday, we found surface temps ranging wildly. Depending on where we fished, they were anywhere from 45 degrees all the way up to 55 degrees. As the surface water temperatures continue to rise, panfish will head into shallow water as the previous occupants move out, heading out toward main lake areas.
On Friday, there was already a noticable shift in Walleye location. Current areas and shallow gravel stretches that had been headquarters for the Lion's share of spawning Walleyes are now holding fewer fish. Nearby points and shoreline breaks provided more action and the fish we found were in small, scattered packs instead of large schools. The average size was smaller too, mostly male fish, with an occasional larger female fish mixed in.
The shift will become more noticable each day and feeding areas will become the focus for this week. Walleyes will be seeking out schools of baitfish that are heading toward the shoreline, preparing for spawning runs of their opwn. Shoreline points, weedy areas and shallow sand flats will become "hot spots" sooner rather than later.
May 18, 2013 Just in time for the weekend, Lake Winnibigoshish is ice free and we're excited to have life return to "normal" at Bowen Lodge. While we were hustling to get the docks in place, we've noticed that the traffic is steadily building on Cutfoot Sioux. As it does, anglers who enjoed fantastic Walleye fishing in Cutfoot during mid-week, should begin focusing on a shift toward the big lake.
With warmer water temperatures on their way, spring runs of Shiners, small Perch and a variety of other baitfish will be attracting Walleyes into shallow water sand flats and the adjacent shoreline breaks.
Panfish anglers should be encouraged by
warming water temperatures too. Crappies have already been into shallow water for a short feeding binge and soon, they'll be back into the shallows to prepare for spawnig. For the next few days ... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
(5/18) Chasing Giant Northern Pike, was Jon Thelen's mission for this week. "Jon travels to Northern MN disclosing where and how to catch giant northern pike as they return from their spring spawning ritual in the backwaters.
Returning from an afternoon on the water, Jon heads back to the resort where longtime Lake of the Woods guide Nick Painovich demonstrates how to debone a fish, taking the “Y” bones out of an eater-sized pike." - Click to view >>Zippel Bay Northern Pike (5/18) On Bowstring Lake, Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort; "We are officially, fully open, the lake is ice free and Bowstring Walleye are just beginning to prowl".
Early reports about Walleye action are tricklling in. Action on the main lake is just starting to pick up as the first waves of fish return from spawning and begin to feed. So far, the evening has been the preferred feeding time. Fish are located near the rivers and on some of the shallow gravel stretches along the North shore.
During the weekend, we expect to see the traffic picking up as spring patterns emerge.
Erin and Bill Charlton, Trails End Resort .
Fishing Report May 17, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Excursions Into Unknown Territory Cause Outbreak Of Severe Smiling! If you're a regular reader, then you already know that every single day I say how lucky I am. But on some days, right in the middle of my work day, I look up and realize that I'm even luckier than I thought!
That's what happened yesterday when I and my fantastic crew ventured off into some new territory to see what we could drum up. Sure, the excursion yielded some fish, but even more than that, it was just plain fun.
Knowing that most Walleyes are still smack dab in the middle of spawning mode, we've spent the early part of this season concentrating on river systems and areas where fish were traveling to and from spawning sites. For the most part, it's worked. Perch and Walleye have a lot in common, so we thought it made sense to try the same approach for locating Perch.
That turned out to be a good idea, even better than we thought because we wound up catching not only Perch, but 5 species of fish, all in the same locations, all in water depths of 6 feet or less.
We started our search on the lake, looking in logical spots. Shallow areas containing vegetation like Bulrushes, Cabbage Patches, even Cattails will support Perch spawning. You've seen Perch spawn before, but probably didn't realize what it was. Stringy white threads of eggs clinging to weeds near the surface in shallow water areas.
Our first stop was in 5 feet of water, near the outlet of a small river. A patch of Cabbage weeds growing along the outer edge of an shallow Bulrush patch. There were some fish there and we connected with some of them, but for the crew, fishing in the heavy weeds was a struggle. It was for me too because the weeds aren't visible under the surface and they haven't grown enough to be standing up tall and vertical. Almost every time we dropped in a lure, it would get stuck and if I moved too far away, we stopped getting strikes.
The second spot worked out a lot better. This time the same river, except at the inlet to the lake where the current was a little bit stronger and the water was a little bit deeper. That did the trick, now the weeds were thinner and easier to fish and a steady supply of Perch, Pike, Bass, Crappie and Walleyes kept everyone busy for several hours. Okay, so what I just told you, is to locate areas to fish that are along a route to and from spawning sites. The presence of moving water has been the key to success all week long. Walleye, Pike and Perch are already at the tail end of their spawning runs. But Bass and Panfish are just entering theirs, so these shallow current areas are going to continue producing mixed bag action for the next week, maybe longer.
Presentation was very simple, 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with a mixture of minnows. We used some Rainbows, Fatheads, Lake Shiners and some small Suckers. Smaller size minnows were the best for Perch, but with such a variety of fish all located nearby, we went ahead and burned up our supply of larger minnows too. Bait Suppliers (5/17) are doing their best to keep up with the demand for reliable bait. Rainbows, Fatheads and mixed run creek minnows have been available all week long. But there's no doubt that it's a struggle to keep up. For you Shiner aficionados, there are just enough Spottails showing up to make it worth asking if your bait dealer has them. According to Bill Powell at Fred's Bait, he's finding just enough Spottails to last for a couple of hours in the morning. After that, you're gonna have to be adaptable. Minnow Supplies should be sufficient for the weekend. It might be a good idea though, to stop at more than one store along the highway as you head toward the lake.
Ben's Bait, Grand Rapids 218-326-8281 has an ample supply of Golden Shiners, Fatheads, Rainbows and Pike Suckers.
At River Rat Bait near Cohasset, 218-328-6171 you'll find Fatheads, Rainbows and pike Suckers. They've got plenty of Leeches and Night Crawlers too.
The Winnie Trading Post 218-246-9630 has a limited supply of Spottail Shiners along with Rainbows, Fatheads and Pike Suckers. (5/17)Northland Lodge, Pat O'Reilly checked in with; "About 90 percent of the Lake Winnibigoshish is ice free and open. There are still some big chunks floating around, but you can go wherever you want and fishing is good.
Until yesterday, fishermen were sticking close to Cutfoot Sioux where
up by the narrows, a 1/6 oz jig and a small fat head was working like a charm. Water depth didn't seem to matter as fish move through the area, heading back for open water. Now that the Gap is open, excpect to see fish heading toward the North shore of Lake Winnie. (5/17) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "The gap from Cutfoot to Big Winnie is open and fish are moving through, back to the big pond.
By locating shoreline structure and under water points adjacent to deep water look for humps and points that come up shallow as 6-8’ and troll off these humps into 12-15 FOW. By covering both depths in the same back troll or drift will allow the fish to tell you how the bite is going.
This goes the same for fishing in the Gap between “Big Winnie” and connected Cutfoot Sioux. Try trolling a variety of depths from ... Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report .
Fishing Report May 16, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Once In A Lifetime? I Hope Not! I'm not exactly sure how to word this without sounding like the worlds greatest liar, but let me try it this way; The handful of fishermen who chose to ignore tales of gloom and doom, instead took a chance that they'd find a spot to fish and spent no time worrying about the ice, have been handsomely rewarded for their effort.
Dedication to the sport of fishing leads folks into some interesting territory, but for me, this journey has been downright spectacular.
What's making it so good is that Walleyes in the Itasca Area are at the tail
end of their spawning runs. Some fish are already moving toward open water feeding areas, some of them are finished but still lingering near the spawn sites and still others are in the process of spawning, still moving toward the spawn sites. We seldom get to fish for Walleye this early in their seasonal cycle, some of the recent fishing openers that have arrived well after the fish had moved out of their shallow water spawning grounds. Right now, there are a lot of Walleyes occupying relatively small areas and the concentration of fish is producing action unlike what most of us ever get to see.
I would sure love to this go on forever, but being realistic, I know that the fishing will soon return to "normal". The crowds are arriving at the lakes now and the the fishing action is going to be more like we're used to around the opener. Just plain good, intstead of supercharged good. But good is still good and it looks like anglers should be able to count on a good weekend for a great "do over" of the fishing opener.
Fishing Report May 15, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Bend Over and Kiss Your Ice Good-Bye! At least that's the phrase that came to mind yesterday afternoon when a calm, peaceful day was suddenly disrupted by a 30 MPH West wind.
It was a beautiful sight, sheets of ice blowing across the lake and piling up on the shoreline. Even if it did push us off of our best fishing spot for a while, it was well worth the disruption. It looks like the timing should be good for fishermen who have their sights set on fishing Cutfoot Sioux and Lake Winnie this weekend.
When we left Cutfoot Sioux at about 5:30 PM, at least 50% of the lake was wide open and there were numerous good fishing spots, all easily accessible without encountering ice. We had had planned to venture out from behind Battle Point to observe the conditions
in Bowen's Bay, but that big wind took the fun out of the idea and it's gonna have to wait until later today. We know that there was still some ice on the main bay because we could see the fog lingering over the top of it. But with the amount of wind blowing during the early evening, there's no telling how much more disappeared before the calm water arrived, just before dark.
Before the wind arrived, our fishing was good, as it was for almost everyone we saw on the lake. Walleyes are obviously on the move out from the First River and back into Cutfoot. As they slip along the shoreline, points and inside corners are filling up with these transitional fish.
The depth range varied from spot to spot, but the fish could be seen easily on my Humminbird. It was a simple matter of moving in and out along the drop off until we encountered fish.
Presentation was simple too, an 1/8 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a minnow and fished gently at slow speed did the trick. I made a point of keeping the boat moving at about .6 to .8 MPH. Traveling slower than that caused the jigs to drag bottom too much, cutting down on the number of strikes. Traveling faster resulted in more strikes, but a with side effect of missing too many hook-sets. Keep the speed in that "sweet spot" .6 to .8 and you will definitely notice a positive result.
On our way home, we made a quick swing over to the Winnie Dam. Looking out from the dam, we saw open water almost all the way to Tamarack Point. The last persistent sheet of ice occupies the area from just South of Highbanks, North to somewhere around the rock pile and East back in Haubrichs Bay. I'm sure that the wind diminished this sheet of ice too and we'll make a point of checking up on it again today. (5/15)Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort on Ball Club Lake . Good news from Gus came in by email; "The ice is finally off Ball Club Lake as of Tuesday 5/14/13. There are numerous mats of floating bog out on the lake and the changing wind direction is pushing them back and forth between shore lines.
So far none have parked in our harbor! But boaters should watch for these and keep in mind that they are low profile and not always easy to see until you are nearly on them.
We are in the process of setting our docks this week and refilling the outdoor minnow tanks, both should have been done two weeks ago, but the winter prevented this.
We will have a fishing report in the next issue now that the ice is gone and we can get out. Maybe there will be a Spring this year after all. ". - Gus Sheker. Gus' Place Resort . (5/15) On Leech Lake, Frank Alianello at Birch Ridge Resort in Sucker bay is giving the ice a couple of more days. His message says: "I think it should be gone by the end of the week. Its been pilling up on the shorelines in a few places . There where some guys up the river a couple of days ago, but with the wind switch it closed up that shore line yesterday. Wont be long now." - Birch Ridge Resort 800·459·3721
Fishing Report May 14, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Every Day Another Opener! Crack the Champaigne it's party time!
For the rest of this week, anglers in the Northland are gonna be treated to a new fishing opener, every day, somewhere. At least half of the Itasca area lakes are now ice free and the rest are going fast.
For my great friend Craig Anderson and
me, Monday's fishing opener was on Cutfoot Sioux. We weren't the first ones to get there, in fact I got a call from a friend who tipped me off that there was some open territory and that there were Walleyes on the prowl. Luckily, he did, because there was and they were.
It wasn't automatic, we had to stumble around a little bit before we figured out a pattern that worked for us. But once we did, it was a nice steady run of action. The mix of fish sizes was good too, just enough "eaters" to satisfy the urge for a fish fry and plenty of "slot-fish" to stretch the fishing lines.
If fresh Walleye in the livewell wasn't enough good news; Then watching the
thin, black ice breaking up and disappearing from Cutfoot Sioux was enough extra icing on the cake to give an excuse to declare the afternoon a complete success. By the time you lay eyes on Cutfoot Sioux again, you're gonna be looking at gorgeous, Blue water, ice-free and warming up for the weekend.
I ran into my friend Grant Prokop on the lake and comparing notes, he told me that he'd already been on Cutfoot the day before. His observation was that a noticeable increase in the number of "spent" female fish had occurred overnight. That means that a number of Walleyes had already completed their spawning runs and were returning from the First River, back to the lake
for some R&R before the big move out into Lake Winnie's open water.
For us, fishing was better in deeper water than it was in the shallows where most of the other boats were
concentrated. The break from 12 to 15 feet turned out to be the sweet spot, with fish showing up steadily on the Humminbird.
It's not really fair to talk about colors because we only tried one, they were green/black
two tone 1/8 ounce jigs. These worked, so we never experimented with anything else.
We had a variety of minnows including small Suckers, Fatheads, Rainbows and some assorted others. They all worked and we concluded that the size of the minnow was more important than was the species. (5/14) We think alot about heading North for the Walleye Opener, but for some, maybe heading South, instead of North, to fish for Walleyes on the opener has more appeal this season.
If that sounds like you, then MilleLacs Lake fishing guide, Mike Christensen, has some ideas for you. Mike teamed up with Nathan Shore to spell out some options for early season Walleyes, including ways that you target them after dark, from shore, even without a boat. click to read >> Walleyes At Night . (5/14) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich has a few thoughts of his own about the fishing opener; "We had three boats out early Sunday for a few hours and we did boat some fish with a few other bites too. The fish we marked were spread out across a big flat in 10-12 feet and we found more fish sliding out and holding off the edge into 15-19’. Finding active fish over opening weekend proved to be ... >> Read Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/14)Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "Fizzle might not be a strong enough word to accurately describe the opening of fishing season in 2013. There were probably more walleyes caught from shore and out of 12 foot boats than anywhere else on the opener.
Most of the high end walleye boats had the day off, with ice covered lakes and winds gusting stronger than 305 mph. The ice went out on a few lakes on the opener, with some spectacular footage of ice damage to houses on Mille Lacs Lake.
High winds and warm temperatures are in the forecast for this week, so most of the ice on the rest of the lakes should be gone in time for the second weekend of the season.
The predicted minnow and leech shortages are also coming true early in the season. Supplies of shiners and leeches have been limited, with most bait shops having fatheads, suckers and night crawlers, but little else.
Most walleyes caught on opening weekend were in rivers or near river mouths on the lakes. Walleyes under the ice on the lakes were still in pre-spawn mode. A few anglers using Wilcraft amphibious vehicles were able to get on the ice to fish.
The most successful anglers fish in current areas with jigs and minnows. Bobber rigs and live bait rigs with a light sinker were also effective in some situations. Jigs and plastics also worked, although the ratio of non-walleyes to walleyes usually increases significantly when switching from minnows to plastics.
Anglers in Minnesota are going to have to adjust to the colder water this year. The surface water temperatures anglers normally see on the opener may not happen until Memorial Day Weekend this year, with the spawning runs at least two weeks later than average." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, firstname.lastname@example.org 218.759.2235 . (5/14)On Lake of the Woods,Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "Cold and windy was the story of the walleye opener. Those that figured out that the bite was in shallow, were rewarded with a good day of “catch and release” fishing. Reports of walleyes in the 20+ inch range were common. Jigs and shiners, in 5 to 7 feet, produced well in the river. Gold, glow, and chartreuse were the colors of choice.
It should be a great week for fishing as the weather warms up. Highs in the 60s and even the 70s should make for enjoyable days on the water. We still have some midweek openings in May. Take advantage of our May specials and come on up!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Fishing Report May 13, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Fast Rewind to find fish! Most of the Walleye fishermen who tried their luck over this fishing opener, spent their time looking for fish in the same type of places that "they" would usually look during any "normal" fishing opener. Most anglers who have followed that routine are struggling. Surface water temperatures were hovering at about 45 degrees, plenty warm enough to trigger a full scale spawning run. A concept supoported by the fact that within one day of the DNR setting their nets at the Little Cutfoot Egg Harvesting Station, the nets were already full of plump, ripe for spawning female Walleye. In other words, if the run is on at this location, it is likely also in full scale at most other spawing locations in our immediate area.
Most Minnesota anglers (including me) have never been on a fishing trip where the entire key to finding Walleyes was to figure out, in real time, the exact spot where the fish are spawning and then get close enough to catch 'em. Knowing that fish location would likely be thrown off by the late ice cover, some anglers (including me), have attempted to figure out these spots where the fish would be smack dab in the process of spawning. On the surface, it sounds simple, but it's turning out to be different game than the typical strategy of finding a spot that lays along their travel route(s) and heading them off as they move through.
If you compared it to hunting for Deer; It's like the difference between having your stand set up on a trail that Deer use when moving toward a feeding area or having your stand set up within range of the exact spot where they'll be feeding.
One problem is that most of the really good, large scale spawning territories where there's enough space for easy access using a boat, are off limits. The DNR knows where the areas of largest concentrations are and have them closed right now. That move is aimed at protecting the vulnerable fish during the peak of their spawing runs and that's okay. It just means that anglers need to take the search for spawning Walleyes further in depth, looking at more off-beat places.
We tried to employ that strategy yesterday morning and found out that sometimes, knowing where the fish are and getting close enough to catch them are two different things. We fished in a river system where the movement of spawning Walleyes is well known. There's no doubt that the fish will "be there", but for now, they're so far up the river that we can't get there. After a few hours of looking for fish in the places that we could get to, we decided to switch rivers and try again. Helped along in large part by the mid-afternoon warm up, a gentle tap on the shoulder that perked things up and got 'em moving again. We enjoyed a modest, but very welcome run of fish that "saved the day" and made the fish fry for my crew.
When we arrived, surface temperatures ranged from 45 to 48 degrees. Depending on how far out of the main channel we got. Shallow areas filled with vegeatation we warming up fast in the midday sun. The main river channel remained steady, hovering just above 45 degrees.
We were able to locate some fish by concentrating on shallow flats located directly adjacent to deeper holes. Few, if any strikes came in the deeper water. The fish were using current breaks located along the lip areas just upstream from the deeper holes. A couple of our fish came from the very edge of the grass where the bank drops down into deeper water.
Current flow was moderate, ranging from .8 to 1.7 MPH depending on the areas we tried. River water on shallow flats with long straight runs are moving
faster than deeper areas with well defined current breaks.
For me, a 1/8 ounce Pink/White Lindy Jig
tipped with a Rainbow was the perfect combination. The small size jig found bottom easily and the Walleye were happy with that color, on this day. (5/13) From The Iron Range, From Greg Clusiau; "Stopping in at the Brasel’s, headquarters for “Bear Paw Guide Service” on Upper Red Lake, I was welcomed to join them for the trial run of Tyler Brasel’s new fishing boat, a new 20' YarCraft. How lucky I was to still have my ice fishing clothes in the truck, as I needed to " ... >> Read Greg's Full Report .
Fishing Report May 12, 2013, Jeff Sundin - First order of business, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM! The Minnesota Fishing Opener That Almost Wasn't, WAS ! At least it was for most of the anglers who made their way to someplace where they could put up with the cold temperatures and high winds.
Admittedly, Saturday wasn't the ideal day to open up the fishing season in Northern Minnesota, but the high winds did do one wonderful thing for us. They blew away a lot of ice and now most area lakes have at least enough open water to allow anglers access. The ice was stacking up fast and there are now many "ice-free" lakes in the Grand Rapids, Lake Winnie region. Yes, that's right, soon we can forget about the ice and concentrate on fishing again. Saturday's theme of the day was river fishing. At the Governors Opener in Park Rapids, Jason Durham led Governor Dayton to his first official "Governor's Opener Walleye" on the Fishhook River. Closer to home, the Mississippi River, Bowstring River and Prairie Rivers all produced fish. Some of the smaller rivers produced fish for anglers who hoofed it into the woods and fished from the banks.
On the larger rivers, anglers did their best work by trolling crankbaits on the edges of shallow flats that meet with deeper water runs. These areas where gravel provided cover for sawing Walleyes, but slower water is located nearby are perfect early season river locations. Experiment with sizes and shapes of crankbaits; Lindy's #4 River Rocker is perfect on shallow runs. Cordells Walleye Diver, Jointed Rebels and Shadlings are all good choices too.
For me, The ice won the early battle in the morning. I wound up sitting out the first half of the day, but by mid afternoon, I wound up with a fishing crew and we headed for the Mississippi too. For us, Northern Pike were the target species and after a little testing and experimenting, we did find enough of them to produce a respectable showing. I think that many of the Pike are still located further into the small creeks and grassy inlets, places where we can't go by boat. But there were enough fish located on the grassy shoreline breaks to keep us interested. We caught most of the fish by casting large, 5-1/2 inch plastic swim baits onto the shallow flats in water depths of 2 to 3 feet and then working them back toward the breakline. Triggering the fish fish was best accomplished by using a slow swimming, pulsing motion. Too much action wasn't good, but too little action wasn't good either. To make the swim baits "pulse", retrieve slowly for several feet, then speed up the lure by lifting your rod tip, then let it free fall back toward the bottom. The large, knobby tail of the swim bait pulses as it falls and this is what triggers most of the strikes. (5/12)Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort on Ball Club Lake . The high winds really did a number on the ice at Gus' Place. For the moment, slushy piles of ice are stacked up on the shoreline, but that means that there's a lot of open water out there now and after a little warm weather this week, Ball Club Lake will be ready to produce another season of fun. "On Ball Club Lake and we are certain the fish will be hungry". - Gus Sheker. Gus' Place Resort .
Fishing Report May 11, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Ready or not, here we come! This is it, The Minnesota Fishing Opener has arrived and wherever you are, we wish that you were here instead.
It's been a long couple of weeks, sitting on the edge of my boat seat, keeping tabs on ice conditions and doing my best to encourage folks that there would be a place to fish this weekend. Judging by the traffic at bait shops and gas stations, the gloom and doomers won this round and the majority of folks decided to sit this opener out.
That's okay, just a lucky break for the folks that have decided to head for the lakes today, there will be more room to move around. For me, the best news of all is that starting today, I get to talk about something new, FISHING! (5/11)Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort on Ball Club Lake . Taking it all in stride, Gus says; "Warmer weather has helped get all of our lakes on the other side of winter, but it's been to little too late to get Ball Club Lake open for the "Opener".
What we can do though, is announce the opening of our swimming beach for the most rugged of you.
We expect to see open water late next week on Ball Club Lake and we are certain the fish will be hungry. - Gus Sheker. Gus' Place Resort . (5/11) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich has a few thoughts of his own about the fishing opener; "If you asked a hundred fishing people how opener was…you would get, well you guessed it, a hundred answers. How was ours? In a word…unforgettable, and I don’t mean .... >> Read Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report .
For the opener; Bait is gonna be tough to come by, but not impossible. I wish that I had better advice, but the truth is that we're all just gonna have to check with every bait shop and do our best to find some decent size minnows. Some tidbits of advice can be found by reading this article >> Walleyes Without Shiners .
Fishing Report May 10, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Ready or not, here we come! Here we go, it's 3:30 AM, just 21 hoursbefore the official start of the Minnesota Fishing Opener. By now, most of you already know if you're going fishing this weekend and which lake. But for those who are still on the fence, here are a few last minute updates that might influence your final decesion.
From my own point of view, lakes are opening up faster than I can keep track of. At the scene of Lund Boats annual photo shoot, we're watching ice conditions change almost hourly. Some of the locks that were locked solid on Wednesday, already look like they could open up at any minute.
On Thursday we spent the day on
Lake Placid at Pillager Minnesota where surface tempuratures are 55 degrees and there isn't any trace of ice. At Augers Resort on Lake Shamineau, we're watching the ice turn black and wagering on the exact time of ice out. Maybe Saturday? Sunday? No doubt about it, by Moday at the latest, this lake will be open.
Even with colder temperatures heading our way, the scales are already tipped and high winds predicted for Saturday will open up lots of new territiory.
For me, opening day is gonna be an experiment. This could be a once in a lifetime chance to fish for pre-spawn Northern Pike in my neck of the woods. So I'm gonna try to discover a few areas that have just opened up, then try to locate some Pike as they move in to spawn. (5/10) At Lake Winnibigoshish, West side anglers are already in luck for the opener. By Wednesday evening, open water advanced far enough into the lake that Joe Thompson felt confident that his guests will have a fishing spot for the opener. In fact he
In an early message on Thursday Joe
said; "It is amazing how fast the ice has gone (out) in the mouth of the river. With the windy forecast, the ice will go fast. Our guests will definitely be able to fish out on fishable waters on the big lake on Saturday."
The accompanying photo shows for the first time, more water than ice in the area from the Mississippi River mouth out to the brealine and up the Weat shore beyond the campground.
In an update late Thursday
evening, Joe said that in spite of a Southeast wind that sailed some of the ice back toward the shoreline, open water still extended to the shoreline break and beyond.
One of their weekend guests had already checked in and taken a boat ride out onto the lake. The trip to the edge of the ice pack too him to a depth of 10 feet, well into the fish catching zone.
Surface temperature in the river was 45 degrees and on the lake, at the edge of the ice it was a cool, pre-spawn temp of 40 degrees.
Just in case you get bitten by the fishing bug at the last minute, they do still have some cabins available and you can click here to contact >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie . (5/10) On Bowstring Lake, Hopes are high that the Walleye opener will take place on a nearly ice free lake this weekend. On Thursday, Erin sent me a photo of the rapidly increasing stretch of open water along the North shoreline of Bowstring. At first glance, the ice cover appears to be too heavy to disappear in just a few days. But the ice is in such poor condition that it's melting at a marathon pace. Even if it's not gone completely, there is definitely going to be a lot of open water on Bowstring this weekend.
Trails End Resort will be open for business and they have a nearly full house booked already. As of Tusday evening, Erin reported having 2 cabins still available for the weekend. So if you thought there wasn't gonna be a place for you and suddenly get bitten by the Walleye bug, give them a call or better yet, just click >> Trails End Resort , Erin and Bill Charlton . (5/10) About the fishing opener in the Grand Rapids area, Nik Dimich has this report; "Where there is a will, however, there is a way as the sun has heated things up over the last couple days and we’re seeing more black ice every day. This has mostly occurred near lakes’ inlets and outlets where river systems create open water. Smaller and mid-sized lakes with darker water have a better shot of being open.
So, have no fear, open water is not only near, it is here. The Mississippi River flowing through Cohasset into Grand Rapids is wide and holding plenty of water to float boats. Moving south toward ... " Read >> Nik's Grand Rapids Fishing Report .
Fishing Report May 8, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Pictures Tell The Whole Story! Yesterday I mentioned that a picture is worth 1000 words and that's why you're in luck today! Thanks to the helping arms and eyes (and wings) of the duly deputized "Early Bird Cub Reporter Team", we've got so many pictures today, that I don't even need to say another single ...
Photo Jason Alto: Lawrence Lake on the Scenic Highway East of Grand Rapids looks like a sure thing for opening weekend.
Photo Erin Charlton, Trails End Resort: Bowstring lost ice fast on Tuesday. At this rate, Bowstring could be open in a couple of days.
Photo Ineke Boersma Leer: The image looking out over Kabekona Bay at the West side of Leech Lake near Walker. Open by Saturday? Could be a bit optimistic, but ...
The series of photos taken by Eric Hutchins on Monday May 6, 2013. Eric was in the air for about 3 hours and covered the territory from Blackduck to Grand Rapids, then East to Hibbing.
Spotting a variety of ice conditions, ranging from almost open water to full ice cover, in Eric's words; "We still have a way to go before ice out".
We've chosen the most optimistic views, knowing that there's been another 48 hours of improvement since these photos were captured.
Photo Eric Hutchins: The brdige at Little Cutfoot Sioux. Mon 5-6-13
Photo Eric Hutchins: The channel Between Little Sand Lake the Bigfork River 5-6-13
Photo Eric Hutchins: Williams Narrows Channel on Cutfoot Sioux. Mon 5-6-13
Photo Eric Hutchins: Third River, heading under the bridge toward Winnibigoshish.
Photo Eric Hutchins: Bowstring Lake East Side near the Bowstring River. Mon 5-6-13
(5/8)Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "The fishing season is going to open on May 11, regardless of how many lakes in the Bemidji area still have ice. Anglers that want to go fishing will have to find somewhere with open water they can get into with their boat.
The ice on the lakes has been melting fast this week and ice out should be close to going out on many of the smaller lakes. Most large lakes will still have ice on the opener, at least on parts of the lakes.
Most walleyes will not have spawned when the season opens. There will be many areas closed to fishing early in the season, so anglers will need to check if the areas they are planning to fish are open to angling.
When there are concentrations of walleyes like there will be on the opener, then almost by definition there will be many other areas that will be nearly void of fish.
Walleyes spawn both in rivers and lakes, with the river spawning fish significantly ahead of the walleyes that stay in the lakes to spawn. Most anglers will be looking for river spawning walleyes on the opener, to hopefully find some males that have spawned out and ready to bite.
Key areas will be near river mouths, both inlets and outlets, with the river sections between lakes holding migrating walleyes, at least early in the season.
Water temperatures will give anglers a clue to how advanced the spawn is for walleyes. Most walleyes start to spawn around 42 degrees and will usually be done spawning by the time the water temperatures reach 46 degrees.
Many of the docks at the public accesses may not be in the water on the opener, so anglers may want to bring a pair of knee high rubber boots or waders to help launch their boats. It may also be a good idea to bring something to help older anglers get in the boat without the aid of a dock." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, email@example.com 218.759.2235
Fishing Report May 7, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Planning Your Strategy Will Be The Key! Slowly but surely, ice is inching away from the shoreline. It's gonna be warm enough this week to open up some territory for the fishing opener this weekend. But it's clear that many of the "favored" opening day locations are going to be off limits, even if for only a few days.
I've been giving it a lot of thought and for me, the idea of capitalizing on the circumstances, sounds a lot better than struggling against the odds. In fact, the idea started sounding so good, that yesterday I decided that I'm not even going after Walleyes on opening morning. Instead, I'm gonna find myself one of those backwater areas where the Northern Pike move in for spawning and I'm gonna track down a few, hopefully big Pike.
Your idea of fun might be different than mine. You might want to locate an early run of Crappies in shallow water. (5/7) On Bowstring Lake, They say that a picture is worth 1000 words and on Monday, Erin Charlton at Geiger's Trails End ResortProved it. The photo at right shows how weakened the ic on Bowstring Lake has become. Deeply Honeycombed from being saturated in slushy water for several weeks, this ice could easily break up in just a few days. Right now, it just depends on the weather but with another warm one in store for today, it's a good reason to be optimistic. - Erin and Bill Charlton, Trails End Resort . (5/7) Jeremy Johnson via my Facebook Page asked; Q) I have a question for you in hopes that you'd have time to answer it. The lake that I fish most is North Long in Baxter. It is a great multispecies lake and has quite a few walleyes. The walleyes are stocked and do not have natural reproduction in the lake. I seem to have the best luck catching them by trolling crank baits in the summer off the weed line, and also pick up quite a few by "mistake" while fishing bass and sunfish in the weeds. Since these fish don't spawn, and the weeds are really "up" yet in the spring. What type of structure would you expect these fish to be using? A) Jeremy, As much as I'd love to pontificate about 50 ways of finding Walleyes on a "stocked lake"; You can just go ahead and move to the head of the class because you have already hit the nail on the head. One of the realities of Walleye stocking is that most stocked fish spend the lion's share of their life inhabiting the weeds. There was a radio tracking study about this conducted back in the early 1980's. Following the fish by tracking radio signals, they discovered that something like 93% of the stocked fish, headed for and stayed in the weeds.
The fact that they do is a good thing too, because the small percentage of Walleyes that ventured into open, living on deep water structures were easily found and captured by anglers. An affect that would be multiplied immensely by the improvements in todays electronics.
In order to captialize on the "weed fish" in your lake, you need only to explore some additional presentations. Trolling crankbaits is a good idea whenever fish are active and roaming the weed tops of edges. But when they're nuetral or negative, going deeper into the weeds will be a better idea.
Start looking for numerous clues about weedline Walleye fishing by looking through the archived fishing reports from last June and July. Fishing the weeds was a mainstay for us last summer and you will discover many tips for tackling Walleyes in the weeds. Grand Rapids Area Lakes(5/7) At Bass Lake, just outside of Grand Rapids, stress levels are low. The warm sunshine was working it's magic on the ice along the shoreline. There's still plenty of ... Jump to >> Grand Rapids Fishing Reports .
May 7 , 2013 On Sunday, we got a note from an old friend, Jack Zwicky, former owner at Eagle Nest Lodge. Jack had been reading about the late ice out an looked at the chart from the U of M about historic ice out dates. In spite of what we think about this season's late ice out, Jack had information about one that was even later, way later.
Jack just happened to have some really cool pictures from the old days and along with the photos, a news article from the Chigago Sun Times. The article was followed up by the Grand Rapids Newspaper later that month. The article's main focus was to recap a fishing trip by a group of men who visited Cutfoot Sioux in May of 1950. The article, reported that the date for that year's ice out was May 19th, 1950. Also according to reports in that paper,
the fishing was good, maybe you could say
>> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
Fishing Report May 6, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Minnesota To Receive Warmup! On schedule, the sunshine pushed through the clouds, brightening up the evening sky around the Itasca Area on Sunday afternoon. Perfect timing for me, because I happened to be on a tour, inspecting lake conditions and I took full advantage of every photo opp. Just watching the photos, you'll see a day that transformed itself from dark and gloomy, to bright and sunny. Just what the Doctor ordered!
Covering as much ground as possible, I started with the Bowstring area and then headed West into the Lake Winnie and Leech Lake region. The news at some stops was better than at others, but I have it listed Chronologically. (5/6) At Bowstring Minnesota, The Bowstring River is ice free and the water is high, but not at flood stage. I happened to meet a couple of young men at the ramp who were loading up their small boat. They told me that in spite of the river flowing freely, the outlet at Bowstring Lake was a dead end. Still ice covered and as far as they could tell, still too hard to break through with a boat.
At Bowstring Lake's South Landing, the ice is darkening and there's a small patch of open water along the shoreline in either direction. There was a spot of ice near the ramp where I thought I might step out to check for thickness, but it was nothing more than slush. Without a wind to break up the shoreline, there's no way to know for sure where the ice starts, but it's possible that this landing could break open in a hurry, given the right circumstances. (5/6) At Lake Winnibigoshish, I skipped over the Northeast corner and headed straight for the West side, stopping to see Joe Thompson at Four Seasons. Where Joe took a break from getting the cabins ready and took me on a photo tour. Starting at the river, the news is improving fast. There was a strectch of open water spanning from the Mississippi River mouth, along the West shore and out into the lake toward deep water.
This stretch of water was filled with every imagineable kind of migratory bird that passes through our area. Ducks, Swans, Gulls, Pelicans, Loons... You name it, thousands of waterfowl are all there right now.
Looking accross the bay from the "Ice Fishermen's Landing". Joe said that the conditions have changed a lot in just the past two days. In fact where we stood looking at open water, is the same spot where he walked to snap some pics just a few days ago.
After the tour, we had a chat about the opener, comparing notes about our fishing plans. Joe said that the resort will be ready to go and that they have about a dozen cabins filled for the opener. So far, conditions are moving in the right direction and they have every intention of fishing the West side of Winnie on Saturday.
Just in case you get bitten by the fishing bug at the last minute, they do still have some cabins available and you can click here to contact >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie .
Another stop at West Winnie's Richards Townsite, public landing wasn't quite as encouraging. Here, the ice still looks fairly strong. There was a rim of open water close to the shoreline, but beyond that there was little evidence of open water. It's gonna take a major breakthrough for this area to open by Saturday. Leech Lake has been a mystery lately. Since I've had some folks asking for more information about Leech, I decided to make a bee-line to Sucker Bay. At least that way, I'd be about to get a peek at some part of the lake and be able to break the silence about ice conditions over there.
At the Sucker Bay landing, the sunshine was just beginning to break through the clouds. If mothing else, it was a pretty stop, but himestly, I was expecting to find a little more open water than I did.
There was a rim of open water on either side of the boat ramp, maybe 100 yards in eeach direction. Tracks from recent ice fishing traffic still lead across the ice, out toward the main portion of Sucker Bay. Dark looking ice, but not showing much sign of breaking up over the next few days.
The river at the Northwest corner of the bay surprised me by being ice covered. This is the first spot that I've encountered where flowing water has still been frozen. There is obviously not much current in the river to open it up, a condition which also surprised me.
The North End Of Leech Lake's Sucker Bay is where Birch Ridge Resort is located. I swung into the resort an luckily, found owner, Frank Alianello out working in the yard. I commented that wither seemed to have hit this end of the lake particularly hard this year and I asked about their status for opening weekend.
Frank calmly replied; "It's Just Nature, What Can You Do About It?" Of course he's right and that really is the best attitude anyone can have. Unfortunately though, it still means that except for one group of regular customers, Birch Ridge will be pretty quiet for the opener this year. Even the group of regulars might not make it, but they are holding out hope to wee what the warmer weather might do to improve the situation this week. Birch Ridge Resort , Frank and Ann Alianello, (218) 654-3721
By now, it was getting near sunset and I wanted to get myself into position for a good picture, so I high-tailed it for one of my favorite sunset locations on Ball Club Lake. Here I could get two birds with one stone. A great sunset and one more ice report at the same time. At Ball Club Lake I found a rim of open water around the shoreline that was maybe 60 yards wide. It stretched from the sandy shoreline out to where the Bulrushes begin, about two feet deep. There were some fish, I assume that they were Northern Pike in the shallow water and as I approached the beach, they bolted, leaving a healthy size wake in their path.
By now, the sun was going down and getting an accurate photo of the ice conditions was hard, but about that sunset, how did I Know? Sometimes You Just Plain Know.
I thought ya' never know, someone might want one, you know a really nice one. In case you do, I might as well give you a link to a good, hig res version of this one. Just click here .
Fishing Report May 5, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Minnesota To Receive Warmup! There's a bit of more cheerful news on the horizon for Northern Minnesota anglers hoping to get on the water next weekend. Weather forecasters are predicting a warm, sunny period beginning on Monday; By some accounts, maybe even by later today. NOAA's forecast for Deer River looks so good that I even decided to paste it into the report, just so you can see pictures of a little bit of sunshine. Maybe that'll help shake some of you out of your FUNK!
I know, it's not easy to keep your chin up, especially when you're trying to be cranky and some fishing guide in Deer River keeps telling you to cheer up. Okay then, we'll play the game your way.
So lets just say that the ice on your favorite lake isn't gone by midnight on May 11th. Let's say that there's open water a few miles away, but you've never fished it before. Let's say that the fish might even not be biting. So what? Are you really gonna skip out on the whole adventure just because you have to put your boat in somewhere else? You really would miss out on spending the time with your family and friends? Wow! Too bad.
Well, I figured out a long time ago that I can't make nature do things my way, so I'm just planning to adjust, you know, "go with the flow". You decide to stay home and tough it out on the sofa, but while you're watching re-runs on TV, be sure to keep your computer on so that you can see the pictures we're gonna put up.
Oh I know, there's a chance we might not have a lot of fish in some of 'em. But there is definitely gonna be something interesting going on and I wanna be out there to see it, nope, I won't be missing it.
Admittedly, there's no doubt that it's gonna be right down to the wire before we know enough about which Northern Minnesota lakes have ice out in time or the fishing opener. But my trip back from the Twin Cities on Friday gave me more reason to be optimistic. Compared to a week ago, there are lots of lakes already ice free. In fact, on my trip up Hwy 169, every lake from Minneapolis all of the way to Onamia were open, or at least so close that you might as well count 'em as open.
That means that anglers who fish the Southern half of the state are already in the clear. There will be a place to go, if you're ready to get out there. (5-5)Lake Winnibigoshish; On Saturday, the scene from the docks at Northland Lodge provided some encouragement. The Dam Bay has opened up almost to the shoreline. Another day or two and the ramp will likely be open, allowing boats access to the bay, even if they can't get onto the main lake.
says that Northland Lodge will be open next weekend. So far, they have had a few cancellations, but most folks who had reservations still plan on coming.
Below the dam, The Mississippi River is wide open all the way down to Little Winnie. That provides at least one option for guests already and Pat anticipates more options developing during the week ahead. Contact Pat O'Reilly, Northland Lodge 218-246-8531 For me, there's nothing more important than helping anglers who want to find a place to fish next weekend. It's kind of a big job for one guy though, so if you're up to the job, consider yourself "Deputized" as a field reporter. If you have a tidbit of news about ice conditions, bait supplies or just want to be a good cheerleader. How about just clicking this link to drop us a line with news for the fishing opener.
Fishing Report May 4, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Minnesota Needs Warren Snyder! When the going gets tough, ya gotta have a good cheerleader. It's just too bad that we can't all spend a day together with Warren Snyder. I promise, you'd feel a lot better by the end of the day. In fact, I think I'll just go ahead right now and declare Warren to be the #1 champion Optimist of the world.
No, I don't expect that you'd know him, unless you read about him occasionally in my
fishing reports. But Warren is the only fishing customer that I've ever had, who can take any situation, no matter how gloomy and turn it into a great day. In the past, I may have cautioned that the Walleyes were on a "tough bite". Warren would calmly say, don't worry Jeff, they're gonna bite today and they did. Too much rain? Not today Jeff, it's gonna be sunny and it was.
Too much ice on the lakes? Gonna mess up the fishing opener? Oooh ..., if he was nearby, I know what Warren would say. Well, I'll stand in for Warren today and knowing that the best I can ever achieve will be "runner up", I will still do my best! (5/5) At Zippel Bay Resort on Lake of the Woods. As of Wednesday, Nick told me that about 1/3 of the main (Zippel) bay was open water already and that areas that still remained ice covered contained slushy, soft ice that could be driven through with a boat. He cautioned that any further improvement in travel conditions will depend on the weather over the next couple of days. But, no matter the weather, the show would go on.
There isn't an official tournament flyer or website available on the internet, but if you're interested in fishing the contest next year, Nick is happy to fax one to you. Best way to contact Zippel Bay Resort is to dial their toll free number, 800-222-2537 or you can click here to check out >> Zippel Bay Resort . (5-4) Starting at MilleLacs, there was still plenty of ice to look at, but it's changed a lot during the past week. At Garrison, I spotted a significant patch of open water, maybe a half mile long and 100 yards wide. Not enough to declare certain victory, but once that giant lake has enough open water to give the ice some wiggle room, things can happen in a hurry. A couple of windy days can move a lot of ice up onto the shoreline and off of the lake.
By the time I drove past MyrMar Marina, the shoreline was still ice-covered, the harbor at the marina was the only visible open water.
As I approached Aitkin, a stop at the rest area between Hickory and Little Pine Lake was encouraging too. The shoreline of Little Pine, along the outlet of the channel from Hickory had a nice big patch of open water. The ice was was dark and slushy looking. A couple of warm days would probably take this on out in a hurry.
The Ripple River is wide open and the water is high, so was the Rice River and The Mississippi. All ice free, all filled high, with water flooded into the trees in low areas. Hill City was a really nice stop for me, I love getting happy news and there definitely was some at this stop. Located about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids, it was the first lake I'd seen in "home territory" that looks really close to breaking up. The shoreline water on Hill Lake is opening up around the edges. It looks high, maybe some of the lakes residents would even call it flooded? I'm not sure, but given the right conditions, it wouldn't surprise me to see Hill Lake open up sometime around mid-week. At Grand Rapids, Pokegama is sporting a fair size patch of open water at the causeway of the Hwy 169 Bridge. No doubt this lake has a long way to go, but it's a step in the right direction.
Looking at the weather forecast, there's another push forward in store as a rainy period, followed by warmer temps and sunny skies on Monday, will take another bite out of the ice pack. (5-4)DNR announces closure of Little Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Fishing . An area near the egg collection operation on Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake in Itasca County will be closed May 11-17, because of high concentrations of walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
“The closure is necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around the spawning site where the DNR’s egg collection operation is located,” said Chris Kavanaugh, Grand Rapids area fisheries manager. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the area and restrict recreational opportunities, but our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery. We considered the safeguard offered with the protected slot limit, but felt the risk of overharvest was too high.” Click for the complete >> DNR News Release . (5/4) On Lake Winnie, High Banks Resort will be open for Opener. Kim Leonhardt says: "The river and Little Winnie along with Cutfoot will be options for fishing for opener. If we get a couple days of warm rain that would break the ice up pretty quick on the main lake." (800) 365-2560 .
Fishing Report May 3, 2013, Jeff Sundin -Dumbfounded by DNR Decision, Walleye Advisory Council Meeting provides little relief.
Twice every year, officials from The Mninnesota DNR fisheries department meet with the "Walleye Adisory Council", a group formed (officially) about ten years ago. The goal; To advance ideas that would improve, maybe perpetuate ecellent Walleye Fishing in the state of Minnesota.
As a charter member of this (and other) groups that work with the DNR, I have done my best to absorb knowledge and put it to good use. I usually come away from these meetings understanding, if not agreeing with the direction that the fisheries managers are moving. This time though, I'm still just scratching my head.
It seems to me that a regulation, if put in place, ought to at least come with a reasonable expecation that it will have a significant chance of solving a problem. This one? Zip, Zero, NADA! The decision to ban Shiner Harvesting by licensed, trained, bait dealers flys in the face of logic.
This spring, hundreds of fishermen will head to the lake, livewells filled with whatever kind of bait they can get. When they return to shore, all they need to do is remove the minnows from their livewell, place 'em in fresh water that they've brought from home and drive off into the sunset. All nice and legal and all A Good Idea!
Hold on though, while those same hundreds of anglers are free to come and go (if they follow the rules), with their live bait, there are a tiny handful of well trained, licensed bait dealers who can't touch 'em. Not even if they have already been required to follow the same rules for a long time. Not even if they've already been to school, gone through special permitting and live life under the DNR Microsope. For them, even knowing that their livlihood is on the line, even knowing that it's do or die, they can't take a single minnow. Nope, can't touch 'em. Seriously? Yup, Seriously!
Hmm... I'll keep you in the loop.
In case you're not following the story about a recent decision by the Grand Rapids Fisheries Manager to ban Lake Winnibigoshish Shiner Trapping, you can take a look at a few articles that will help get you up to speed. " DNR Bans Lake Winnie Shiner Harvest (4-25-2013) " , Duluth Tribune, Sam Cook "Anglers Concerned About A Shiner Ban" (4-28-2013), "Walleyes Without Shiners" (4-30-2013) .
Fishing Report May 2, 2013, Jeff Sundin - A moderately cold, cold front slowed down the melting on Wednesday, but it didn't shut it down completely. Still, a few more warm, sunny days would have been easier medicine to swallow than another, Grey and cloudy day. That said, the lakes are doing what they can to try and help us out, and a little more open water shows up each day.
Before I say anything esle, LISTEN! No matter how many stories you hear about how much ice we still have on the lakes and no matter how thick folks tell you that the ice is, don't go out there any more. Ice conditions in Northern Minnesota are completely un-reliable and absolutely unsafe. Consider these words from a friend of mine, Brian Castellano, an avid ice fisherman who's been on the lakes a lot just recently;
"After my near death experience on the ice today, my ice fishing gear will be put away till next winter. On the way back in, I broke through what looked like "solid" ice. About 75 yds out from shore and couldn't feel bottom. Caught myself w/ my arms, the ice around me held, and I was able to pull myself out and get back to shore".
The ice that we have out there right now is as tricky as it will ever get. Standing water and deep snow persisted all winter long and left "Time Bombs" everywhere. Take Brian's advice and get the boat ready instead.
Or even a better use of your time would be to get your tackle box stocked up and then make sure that you're boat is ready to roll. Because even amidst the gloom and doom about our late ice out, anglers are out on the water, fishing, in boats, right now. It's just a matter of time before we'll be together out there too and I for one, couldn't be happier about that! (5/2)On Lake of the Woods,Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "Sturgeon fishing is in full swing on the Rainy River! The sturgeon bite is hitting its peak. We have had quite a few reports of 60+ inch monsters being caught with excellent numbers too. A gob of crawlers on a circle hook does the trick. The current is picking up and should continue to strengthen as the melt continues.
We still have some openings for this week and next weekend. $34 per person, per night, buys you an experience of a lifetime. Take advantage of this great opportunity!" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge . (5/2)On Lake of the Woods,Sportman's Lodges, Jacki LaValla said; "The sturgeon bite is hot! Anchored in or near deep holes of the river bottom using 5/0 circle or octopus hooks tipped with a gob of crawlers is working best. Pike bite is heating up and we are looking forward to walleye opener in 10 days! We have 75+ miles of open water in the Rainy River and open water in Four Mile Bay and through the Lighthouse Gap outwards of 200 yards as of today. Lodging only $39 per person per night midweek and $43 weekend through May 23! Sturgeon keep one season lasts until May 7 and catch and release goes through May 15." - Sportman's Lodges, Lake of the Woods .
May 2 , 2013 We can no longer ignore the fact that there is still approximately two feet of ice on Winnie, and with the Fishing Opener only 10 days away, we decided to let our guests know there will most likely be no open water on Winnie. Everyone has either re-upped for 2014, rescheduled for later in May, or will just wait and see.
It's a very bizarre feeling, to have a fishing opener with a frozen lake!!!!!!
We appreciate each and every one of you, we look forward to seeing you, and will keep you posted as the conditions improve. As of today we do not have the water lines turned on, but the cabins are looking great and we are trying our best to make the best of a bad situation. See you soon, Bill and Gail >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
(5/2) Another optimistic report came from my friend Joe Thompson at The Four Seasons Resort on lake Winnie. Joe isn't ready for a trek across the lake to Tamarack Point. But they do have some open water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. He said today that it was hard to judge how far the open water extended past the river mouth, but that there was some distance between the shoreline and the ice pack.
The pictures reveal that the Mississippi River is already wide open and probably already loaded with "pre-spawn" Walleyes too!
Joe said that the river is a mecca for waterfowl right now. Every kind of duck and migratory bird that crosses the state line have taken up residence in the river including a flock of Loons that Joe estimates at over 100 birds.
Four Seasons has every intention of being in full operation for the opener, access may be limited, so contact them now to find out how they plan to control traffic on the opener. Click for more about >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie . (5/2) On Bowstring Lake, Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort; Dropped me a picture from the landing at the resort. There's just enough open water at the ramp to be encouraging. Before the warmup, ice conditions on the lake were already really wet and slushy. At the moment, we're hoping that all of that water saturated the ice enough to speed up the ice out. Stay tuned in for updates from Bowstring. - Erin and Bill Charlton, Trails End Resort .
Fishing Report May 1, 2013, Jeff Sundin -The chess game between "the Optimists and the Dark Siders" about ice out for the fishing opener continues.
Readers of this report know that I picked my team a long time ago. In spite of Mother Nature's best effort to disourage "Team Optimist", we know that there's gonna be a spot for us on open water this coming May 11th. As a matter of fact, I already know for sure because yesterday I got an update about a spot that could turn out to be a great option for the opener.
In the Deer River area, Tuesday was really an encouraging day. Warm sunshine and lots of wind made snow disappear fast! Except for areas where it was drifted or piled high by snowplows, all of snow cover is virtually gone. It's heading downstream now via small rivers and streams which are flooded, the water spilling over the banks into the woods and farm fields.
The small pond in my field that was ice covered just a few days ago is wide open now, free of even the smallest ice chunk. My back yard actually looks like a lake, there's water standing everywhere, more than I've seen since I've been here.
The Mississippi River between Deer River and Grand Rapids is wide open from bank to bank and it is free of floating ice. Further upstream, from Little Winnie to the bridge on US Hwy 2, the Mississippi is open and currently ice free as well.
At the landing on White Oak Lake, I found encouraging news. There's a rim of open water surrounding the lake, at least as far as the eye can see. The still ice covered mid section, is dark, but not breaking up so far. I could see some open water accross the lake, beyound the old trestle, but from the ground, there's no way to know for sure how much water exists on that side of the river.
Colder weather heading our way is gonna put us back on the teter-totter for a couple of days. We won't have the warm temperatures to work with, but now that the snow cover is gone, ground water will help breakup the ice, even at colder temperatures. By Sunday, there's rain in the forecast, more encouragement? I hope so! (5/1) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "With the sun finally heating things up it finally feels like it’s time to get your fishing gear and equipment organized. I know organizing fishing gear/tackle is kind of like the Never Ending Story but it is time to make a list and check it twice. Even though our lists seem to be endless, especially when we factor in the “new must haves,” there are a few essentials that will save you from scrambling the day before opening weekend. The first is ... " Read >> Nik's Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report . (5/1)Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "Anglers are ice fishing most of the lakes in the Bemidji area, with good bites for perch, sunfish and crappies in shallow water. Most lakes still have about 30 inches of ice, with several more inches of slush on top of the ice.
In case you haven’t noticed, the calendar has turned to May and there is less than ten days remaining before the walleye season opens on May 11.
There will likely be open water somewhere in Northern Minnesota when the season opens, unfortunately most of those locations will be rivers and not lakes. At this point, it seems almost impossible for the lakes to suddenly be free of ice in time for the season to start.
The extended weather forecast does not help the level of optimism. Several nights this week are expected to below freezing, any precipitation will likely include more snow and the daily high temperatures forecast for this week are not expected to get out of the 40’s until the weekend.
Many anglers are in disbelief and are trying to be patient and hope for a miracle, but that is hard to do when there are reservations to consider and big plans already made surrounding the fishing opener for most anglers.
Maybe the best advice is to remember the details and commit them to memory, because we will likely be talking about the spring of 2013 for the rest of our lives." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, firstname.lastname@example.org - 218.759.2235 .
Grand Rapids Area Report - (5/1) I wanted to look at as many lakes as I could, so I decided to take a tour starting just West of Grand Rapids, then working my way around the lakes connected to Pokegama. At Little Jay Gould, I saw the early signs of melting along the shoreline, but there was still plenty of ice out there too. There was a group of ice fishermen who had ATV's on the ice and they appeared to be sitting high and dry on the ice.
At the bridge overlooking Big Jay Gould, there was a lot of open water. You can see in the photo that there were still some ice fishermen out there too. They were on the West side of the island where the current has less impact, but I'd bet that I was looking at one of the last crews that will ...
Click Link For Complete >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report .
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At Bowens Flat on Lake Winnie, ice still covers the bay, but it's getting sloppy looking out there. The countdown is getting serious now!
Jon Thelen travels to the Missouri River in Bismarck, North Dakota, chasing huge spring walleyes.
At the Tioga landing on Pokegama, ice fishermen hoofed it to their spot, but soon, it will be out of reach.
Snowbirds returning home! I know, it's not my best picture, but since it was my first sighting of the 3013 season, I just had to try.
Ice fishermen on Jay Gould Lake haven't got much time left. Open water now nearly connects to the channel at the Mississippi River.
Open water and the beginning of a new fishing season is moving our way. The meltdown is gonna get serious this weekend!
Get ready for the fishing opener by picking up your list of lakes and sitting down in front of the computer for some "Research and Development". Click images to enlarge . For a really modest investment, you can show up at a new lake, armed with a fully detailed map that you work out ahead of time on your home computer.
Here are two views of the same structure.
Top: Chart View Bottom: 3D View >> Learn More .
Believe me, I KNOW when something is good to eat and this is gonna turn out to be one of my favorites. Joe and Carol Oliver's Coconut Fish was the best way to preapre Crappies that I've ever tasted. click for Coconut Fish Recipe .
The ban on harvesting Lake Winnie Spottais, is blamed on the discovery of Zebra Mussel Veligers. But what if the unintended consequences turn out to be even worse?
What happens to fishing in Northern Minnesota if we loose the handful of bait trappers who struggle already, eeking out a living in the face of governmental Red tape? Read More
Catch & Release. A nice crappie catch and release. Fish was caught and photo'd by Chad Peterson of "HookSet Media" while fishing with Greg Clusiau over the weekend. Read Greg's Fishing Report here .
Yesterday I asked; What the heck is this guy battling with?
Anglers are on the Rainy River. enjoying good fishing for Sturgeon right now. The season for "Keeping" a Sturgeon begins on April 24th.
Humminbird's 360 imaging get the nod from Popular Science. When you think of it, it's like Radar, underwater Radar that allows anglers to see everything that's around their boat. Click and read Humminbird 360 imaging article .
Takasaki said. “Knotless, treated mesh results in fewer problems all around. The quicker you get fish get out of the net, the healthier they are and the faster you get back to fishing.”
The species of fish you’re going after determines the hoop size you need. Some nets are ... click for full article .
Rosner’s go-to tactic for taking early ’eyes is Lindy Rigging live minnows. Jigs and minnows are another option, but he’s settled on rigging as a more consistent tactic. The setup is simple, yet deadly. Read Article >> Lake Vermillion Lindy Riggin' Walleye .
If my customers aren't getting in on the action, then every other feature, of any other boat is virtually worthless. The Lund Alaskan helps me put my customers in prime position to catch fish.
Coutesy Greg Clusiau: North of the Border, Jeremy Taschuk, Ft. Frances, displays a great catch of crappies taken last Sunday on Rainy Lake.
Just when you thought it was safe to put away your ice fishing gear! Grant Prokop found a school of Jumbos and has them all to himself!
Wondering how we caught those Walleyes on the Rainy River just a few days ago? Then you're in luck because Jon Thelen has it all dialed in. View the first episode of the season now and use the information on the river this weekend.
Jon Thelen shows what happens when you keep chipping away at a school of Walleyes. In cold, clear water, pitching our lures away from the boat was a key. 1/4 ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with good size Rainbows and fished with a steady "Lift-Drop" retrieve triggered fish for us.
Small, scattered schools of fish, meant that we had to hunt them down. But when we spotted fish on the Humminbird, we were able to trigger them to strike.
By Tuesday afternoon, the fish had shrugged off a frosty morning and we were back in business. Get a good breakfast, start at mid morning and fish later.
Ice fishing and river fishing are both going strong! All you need to do is get on the bus and head up!!
Brule River Steelhead fishing was good for Nik Dimich this weekend. Click image for full report.
Every day dishes out a surprise! For Nik Dimich, surprises like this Musky are welcome ones. An unsual catch on the Rainy River, this one came out of nowhere and grabbed a jig and minnow during our Walleye trip.
Slipping against the current is a great way to put your bait smack dab in front of Big Walleyes!
Sometimes the secret to catching more Walleyes is staking out your own territory.
Maybe short-lived, but for now, the traveling conditions on area lakes is good. During the daytime, Jumbo Perch kept Nik's crew busy and by late afternoon Crappies participated too. Read Full Report
Matt Mattson; Some boats on The Rainy River reported catches of Walleye in the 80 fish range. Numbers for others, including Matt's crew weren't that
high, but most of them did catch fish.
On a three day trip to the Rainy River last spring, Walleyes preferred slightly different presentation each day. Luckily, we were recording some helpful tips for fishing the river that you can watch right now.
Slipping against the current in the main river channel at .5 to 1.2 MPH is ideal for me, but be prepared to make adjustments.
Conditions at the Birchdale ramp will improve, but right now there are still 30 inches of ice, preventing large rigs from getting onto the Rainy River.
Zack Dagel jumped out onto Lake Winnie just a little too soon. The meltdown is real, there's still plenty of ice under that water, but we need a re-freeze to improve travel conditions on the ice.
Flowing from Deer River Eastward, the Mississippi River at the bridge on Highway 6, shows no sign of ice out.
Downstream from Cohasset, MN, Waterfowl are resting everywhere as they follow the Mississippi back home for the summer. The main channel is almost wide open and anglers could fish this stretch now.