image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 15, 2015 - Upper Red Lake Walleye Fishing

You Already Know most everything there is to say about Upper Red Lake's great Walleye fishing. So it would be redundant to tell you that we were fishing in 9 feet of water using Rattl’n Flyer Spoons, Foo Flyers and Slick Jigs; you've already heard that.
And you've probably already heard that the reports about the Walleye action has tapered off, how it is past the peak and the fish have "gone nocturnal". That's true, it has, and the "easy bite" is probably behind us for the winter. So it would be dumb for me to tell you to run up there and drive out from this landing or that one, to follow the crowd to "the honey hole"; that's old news.
Here's the thing though, just because it's mid-season doesn't mean that the Walleye fishing on Red Lake is over, late season Walleye action can be just as good as the "prime time" bite, especially if you have a helping arm like we did yesterday.
Finding Walleye during mid-season is easy when your outfitter is Jonny Petrowske of "Red Lake Remote". When we showed up on Wednesday, all we had to do was follow instructions.
For Petrowske, the system runs differently; instead of plowing roads that lead to cities of fishing shacks, he focuses on smaller, offbeat spots that seldom see fishing pressure. The trick is to be nimble and by not get bogged down with a huge fleet of rentals or by having miles plowed roads to maintain. With just a handful of shelters to worry about, he can focus a lot more attention to his clients and their fishing.
The smaller schools of fish that Petrowske follows are nomadic and may not stay in one spot very long, but that’s okay, neither does Jonny P.  He’s already got a bushel basket full of productive spots saved up, so when the fish make a move, he does too.
The result is a more personalized experience, the crowds are visible, but they’re miles away. So you know that you’re on Red Lake, but you don’t feel like you’re there; it is just what the name says, remote.
It worked for us; the Walleyes were very cooperative and I’m guessing that it would work for you too. If you ask me, there’s no need to throw in the towel, there’s still a lot of Walleye season ahead and if you play your cards right, you might still be able to wiggle into a spot up there. Contact >> Red Lake Remote218-647-9030


Early ice on any Lake is usually a good time to find active fish everywhere. But sometimes when the timing is perfect, early winter Panfishing can be just too much fun.
This week on Fish ED guest host Jeff Sundin takes you on a trip to Northern Minnesota where the ice conditions are ideal and the Panfish are more than cooperative!
<< LOOK LEFT ... :)!!

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 31, 2015 - The Recovery

Travel conditions on Itasca area lakes remain good in spite of the strong winds that blew on Thursday. There are some deeper drifts on the ice, especially in shoreline areas; but they remain easy to drive around, providing that you pay attention to your driving.
Friday's, calmer winds made the task of exploring for fish a bit easier for my crew. Unfortunately, we chose to complicate our own lives by starting too late in the morning and quitting too early in the afternoon. The reason I say that is because at every single hole that I drilled, from the first to the last, there were fish on the screen of my Humminbird.
Occasionally, we managed to coax one of them into biting and when we did, it was anybody's guess what it would be; Sunfish, Crappie, Perch even a Pike that bit off one of my favorite Perch Talkers.
We were on my first visit of the year to a small lake that only has about 15 feet of water. From what I could see, the fish are not "schooled up" in large numbers at the moment. Instead, they are roaming along the bottom, spread out horizontally across the deep flats. Typically, this means that an ice fisherman who wants good action will have to concentrate on fishing during the prime feeding periods early in the morning and late afternoon.
With several more special fishing projects still on the horizon, I'll be doing a lot of exploring this weekend. I'm hoping to hit 2 or 3 more lakes that I haven't seen so far this winter, so if you see me out there, be sure to give a wave!! OH and by the way, whatever I learn, you are always the first To KNOW ... :)!!
image denotes question from reader (1/31) Underwater Cameras,; Fun, But Ethical? Tom Feyder wrote; "I have been enjoying a new toy and wonder about your opinion on the use of an underwater camera for viewing the action under the ice. It has been a gas seeing how each fish species appears and deals with jigging or set lines; also learning what it is that until now has just been a red line on the Vexilar.
Q) Do you consider this to be an ethical approach to catching or just another way to enjoy the sport? Do you feel the camera affects how the fish approach the bait in any way?
I have not seen many comments other than some YouTube videos, but I have to say it’s been a great experience so far and gives me another reason to get out every chance I can. In addition to seeing some unusual fish behavior and a surprising variety of species (northern, walleye, suckers, whitefish, eelpout, always the perch), the fun of watching life underwater is like scuba diving for the first time; highly recommended!"
A) Tom, I'm glad that you're enjoying your experiences and I remember having all of those same thoughts back when I got my first AquaVu in 1999. I've had several more versions since then and like you I do find them incredibly useful for learning fish behavior. I find them even more useful though for helping understand the correlation between the fish and their habitat(s). I will frequently use my AquaVu just to check out what's on the bottom of the lake before I get serious about fishing in new territory.
As far as I'm concerned, using an underwater camera to become a better fisherman is completely ethical and should be enjoyed by everyone.
Ethical fishing practices, in my opinion, are not a question of the technologies we possess or the knowledge we gain from them. It is a matter of what we as fishermen choose to do with the skills that these tools help us develop.
For me, the sign of a truly "ethical" fisherman or woman is when they become aware of their ability to impact a fishery and then choose to make educated choices about how they can minimize their foot print on the fishery.
I love to eat fish and so do most of my friends, so it's not unusual to see me keep a half dozen fish for a meal. In my particular case, I've chosen to voluntarily self-regulate how many times I visit a given body of water. For another angler, catch and release may be an option.
I think you hear what I’m saying; Have a fantastic time fishing with your camera! Do your best to become a better fisherman and then do your best to assure all of your fellow anglers that there will be fish to catch in the future. If we all do that, then we all win.
image denotes question from reader (1/31) Relaxed Walleye Slot Limit On Lake Winnibigoshish - Tom Crosby wrote;
Q) "With the adjustment to the slot size on Winnie, I was wondering what your thoughts are on keeping a 23 + inch walleye. Do you feel the DNR did this in hopes we take some (larger fish) out? Just curious what your thoughts are?
A) Tom, there is little doubt that the new 18-23 inch protected slot is definitely going to result in a greater harvest on Lake Winnie this season. How much the harvest increases will depend an awful lot on how the weather breaks this spring.
Based on my conversations with fisheries officials, I wouldn't necessarily say that they are "Hoping" that we remove these larger fish. Rather, I think it reflects more that they believe the population of spawning size female Walleyes is strong enough that allowing some harvest of these larger fish is not likely to damage the fishery ... "Too Much".
One thing that I DO KNOW is that my opinion does not matter a hill of beans. For sure, there will be lots of anglers who take advantage of their opportunity to harvest a big fish when they get the chance. So we're relying on the DNR to have solid, scientific data to support taking their decision. That said, I believe that the one fish over 23 inches will be a self-limiting regulation. In fact, I'll step out on a limb and make a prediction right now; mark it down on your calendar January 31, 2015, Jeff Sundin said; "In a very short period of time, it will become exceedingly difficult to bag a Walleye larger than 23 inches on Lake Winnie."
For me, I don't see this as either bad or good; it's just the reality of how these things play out in the real world. Lake Winnibigoshish is an incredibly resilient fishery and I think that assuming we are protective of "enough" spawning size female Walleyes, then the lake will be able to maintain herself.
There are voices in the area who declare that a reduction in the number of big fish is "What the Lake Needs". So for me, this represents the perfect time to relax, sit back and prepare to be amazed by the accuracy of their predictions.
No matter your opinion on the subject about who should keep what; I don't think that any of us should lose too much sleep over the new regulation. Look at Red Lake, Leech Lake and numerous others; we have certainly seen evidence that if a problem arises, it can be fixed.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 30, 2015 - The Blizzard

Thursday wasn't the greatest day for introducing my friends Rick and Kristin Hastings to ice fishing, but we made do. Luckily, my portable ice fishing shelter helped pay for itself by taming what could have been a really tough day to be on the ice. Another lucky break is that newcomers to the sport find lots of non-fishing related events very interesting things to ponder; like driving a pickup truck on the ice.
Fishing was tough because of the strong winds that blew in a significant cold front. Judged against last winter's standards, it was still pretty nice outside in spite of the gusty winds. But compared to the balmy weather we've been enjoying, this change was dramatic. In fact, I think that it gave Panfish a good excuse to sleep in.
We did manage to trick a few Perch and one Crappie into biting; that was accomplished by sheer will power.
After several attempts to find the bait with the best triggering power, I settled on a #4 Frostee tipped with a small fathead. Letting the bait sit nearly motionless was enough to tease some of the fish into striking.
For us, lunch time was as long this trip was gonna last and an afternoon of shuffling papers and doing chores took the place of "hauling them in".
Luckily, I still have a few hours this morning to see if I can drum up a bit more action before my friends head back to Oklahoma. Whatever we decide to do, you will be the first To KNOW!
(1/30) On Lake Winnibigoshish, the action has been good. In fact, my friend Phil Goettl and crew have been out there fishing without a GPS, no map and not even a depth finder. In spite of what most of us would consider probable cause to stay home, they are catching fish anyway.
Phil's crew has been fishing the East side of the lake, somewhere along the shoreline breaks between Highbanks and Tamarack Bay. Both Perch and Pike have been keeping them entertained and in Phil's words; "We moved about 2 miles NE and ran into a whole bunch of hungry Perch; 21 of them were over 10 inches". There were Northern Pike out there too and the most recent text said that they'd caught a 28 inch and 35 inch Pike using minnows on a tip up.
Oh and by the way, click on the photo to take a closer look at the photo. Notice the crowd? No, I don't see it either. In fact, Winnie might be the best kept secret in town this winter, so if you're tired of the chatter and looking for a quiet spot .... :)!!

Geiger's Trails End Resort Closed Until Further Notice - January 30, 2015 In case you missed the report last week, Bill Charlton was involved in a serious accident while working on a truck in his garage. His condition remains serious and during his recovery, the resort will be closed. Erin Charlton added; "Please accept our sincere apology; Bill has a long road ahead and we're not quite sure how long that will take. At the moment, Dane is doing a fantastic job of keeping up and we do have plowed roads. The travel conditions are good, so we certainly won't turn people away and are always accepting money. But under the circumstances, we're not sure if, or for how long we will be able to maintain them". - Geiger's Trails End Resort

image denotes announcement about new Mercury Marine products On Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at the Miami International Boat Show, Mercury Marine will launch multiple new engines. And we want YOU to be part of the excitement.
See what all the Buzz is about right here >> Mercury Announcement
If you are in Miami, please join us at booth M96 to take part in the celebration. If you can't make it to Miami, we will bring the show to you. Mercury will stream the engine launch on our website . at 12:00 PM EST on February 12, 2015.

image of Jon Thelen with giant Crappie

In case you missed the report last week, Bill Charlton was involved in a serious accident while working on a truck in his garage. He's home, but his condition remains serious.
During his recovery, the resort will be closed, but Erin Charlton added; "Please accept our sincere apology; Bill has a long road ahead and we're not quite sure how long that will take. At the moment, Dane is doing a fantastic job of keeping up and we do have plowed roads. The travel conditions are good, so we certainly won't turn people away and are always accepting money. But under the circumstances, we're not sure if we will be able to maintain them". - Gieger's Trails End Resort

January 30, 2015 Gieger's Trails End Resort Closed Until Further Notice.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 29, 2015 - The Ups and Downs of Fishing Nomadic Panfish

On Wednesday, a mixed bag of Crappie and Jumbo Perch took us for their version of a roller coaster ride. They appeared on the screen, and then disappeared off the screen, then they were on the bottom, then off the bottom; here one minute, gone ... you get the idea.
What's going on? Well for us, the fish we were targeting had their hearts set on eating young of the year Perch minnows for breakfast. They chased schools of forage along the breakline, occasionally, pinning down baitfish just below our ice holes. Whenever that happened, we had action, it was the perfect scenario for “hole hopping”.
What I've noticed, is that even though the fish gather near the mid-lake deep water basins, they still relate to the breaklines adjacent to deeper flats. Once we find the fish, I make note of the depth and then try to drill most of the holes in that target depth. By moving between them until we land in the right one at the right time, we can increase our percentage of good luck vs. bad luck.
These fish were on the move, feeding actively and situations like this rarely call for finesse presentations. Our experience proved that out; large, bold baits that get lots of attention helped attract hold fish in an area much longer than smaller baits.
For me, it was a good time to jig aggressively with a #2 Red/Glow Frostee Jigging Spoon. I loaded the treble hooks with as many wax worms as I could jam on. One reason that I did that was to help get the attention of the fish initially. But another important tip that having lots of bait on the hooks helps ensure that if one fish strikes and I miss it, I still have at least some bait on the hooks to help trigger another strike.
The important thing is to do whatever you can to keep the fish under your hole for as long as you can. There were times when the fish would roll in and roll out so fast that if I took a break between fish, they would disappear before I began fishing again.
I rarely use 2 holes at once, but this time I did. I rigged up a set line using a "dead sticking" rod and a Frostee tipped with a small/medium size fathead minnow. All I do is set the depth and lay the rod horizontally on top of a bucket. If the soft tip of that dead stick rod starts bobbing, I have plenty of time to get to it before the fish get spooked.
image denotes news release (1/28) On Monday, the Minnesota DNR issued a list of new and modified fishing regulations for the upcoming fishing season. One of the new regulations has already gotten a lot of attention; On Lake Winnibigoshish, Walleye will now have an 18- to 23-inch protected slot, with only one longer than 23 inches.
According to the DNR Release; "This is to allow for more harvest opportunities while still maintaining protection to spawning-age fish. In recent years the slot limit on Winnibigoshish has consistently met objectives established for the regulation."
Another lake in my own back yard is set to receive special attention too. Sand Lake and connected waters (Birdseye, Portage and Little Sand lakes) will have a protected slot limit beginning in May of 2016. Walleye 17 to 26 inches must be released under protected slot limit, one fish longer than 26 inches allowed in a possession limit of six fish. The DNR says; "This experimental regulation is intended to increase abundance of spawning-age walleye, stabilize reproduction, and end boom-and-bust cycles of fishing success for walleye".
New regulations, or modifications to existing regulations will occur on Saganaga, Lake George, Sauk River chain of lakes, Big Mantrap and several others. The complete list is available here >> MN DNR NEWS RELEASE New Special Angling Regulations

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 27, 2015 - Following the Snow to the Panfish Hole

Remember snow? Well if you know where to look, there is some and you don't have to travel all that far up north to find it. When you do, there's definitely a reward; untapped schools of mid-winter Panfish. They are there right now, gathered along the breaklines of Northern Minnesota's remote lakes.
Fish ED's Jon Thelen shows you tips for catching Panfish on the Frostee Jigging Spoon. Join Jon in this final episode of the 2015 winter season. >> Mid-Winter Snow-Belt Panfish
Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 1/27/2014 - "This newfound freedom to roam has me doing more exploring than normal. I’ve been on as many as three lakes a day, checking them over and looking for new spots. That’s a big part of the game for me. I just love to experiment and explore. Get out there and do it while you can.
Multi Species Fun – Driving on all of these lakes has me fishing for several different species. Most of the trips have focused on panfish but it’s gotten to the point where I’ll go to this lake for portly perch, another for slab crappie, and yet another for big bluegills. Even though all three could be caught on the same lake I prefer to ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 26, 2015 - Ice Fishing Leech Lake Twilight Bite

Stable weather, light snow cover and good reports gave indications that Sunday would be a good day for a trip to Leech Lake's Portage Bay. It turned out good, but I have to say, Leech Lake was full of surprises this Sunday.
While we stopped to drop our $6.00 in the box at North Star Resort, I fired up the Humminbird and locked in the GPS. Fishing partners Bill Powell and Billy Maki were all ears as I showed them where I hoped to go. You can't always go there from the ramp at North Star, but this is an exceptional year and maybe we'd make it.
I was apprehensive because there's almost always a pressure ridge that blocks vehicle travel to the south side of Grassy Point and that's where I was hoping to go. It typically runs west from the shoreline near Federal Dam and ends near Grassy Point.
Leaving the ramp, travel conditions on the ice are excellent. Large areas of clear ice are broken up by small, shallow snow drifts. As expected, we discovered that the pressure ridge is there again this year.  But this time there were fishermen on the south side of the ridge. I walked over for a chat and they confirmed that there were other fishermen too who had been crossing the ridge through a series of low spots toward the west end. As you move west along the ridge and approach Grassy Point, you’ll see that the ridge sort of fizzles out. That’s where we found the tire tracks where others have been crossing and followed suit.
Once we were on the south side of the ridge, we had all of Portage Bay at our fingertips, more space than we knew what to do with. We could go anywhere we wanted to go, but if only we knew where that would be? The problem was that none of us had actually ice fished in this territory very much; it was anyone’s guess where we should start.
Without a better idea, I looked on my chart and picked a couple of spots where we caught a mixed bag of Walleye and Perch this past fall. We drove to the spots located on the shoreline flats in 10 to 12 feet of water, started drilling holes and hopping from one to another in search of a hot bite.
Within a few minutes, Bill had bagged a nice Walleye using a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. The 18 inch fish looked great on the ice and would have even looked better with some company, but for the next couple of hours, the story wasn’t too promising. We were seeing some fish, especially at the 2nd spot where there was a lot of bait fish.
I and Bill debated about the “marks” we were seeing on our Humminbirds. For me, it seemed like there were good size fish looking, but not taking my bait. Bill thought that they were mostly small Perch that were un-catchable because of their tiny size. It took a good long wait before either of us could prove our point, but as the sun lowered in the sky the answer emerged; Bill was right, so was Jeff. There were tiny Perch, medium Perch and large Perch all mixed together.  
As the sky darkened, the action picked up and as it did, the size increased and by the time it was over, it was a pretty good evening. We didn’t keep any Perch, but if we’d chosen too, I guess we may have been able to get a couple of dozen fish in the 10 to 11 inch range with an odd 12 incher thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t the “full-scale Jumbo Perch bite” that Leech can produce, but a family that was looking for a great fish fry could easily accomplish that goal.
Our presentation changed during the period we fished. At first, it was difficult to get fish to take anything less than a whole minnow. I was using a Frostee Jig with a tail hooked, medium size fathead. As it grew darker and the fish became more active, jigging spoons were more productive. For me, a Rattl’n Flyer Spoon tipped with a minnow head, Bill was using a Frostee Jigging Spoon and Billy, a stop sign. When it got darker and our fingers got chilled, we were able to catch fish on all of these baits without using minnows or minnow parts.
The late hour of the action seems a bit odd for Perch fishing, but conditions were bright during the day and that, combined with a complete lack of snow cover could be the reason.
Toward the end of the run, there was one more Walleye caught. Shortly after that, around 5:30, our screens went blank and the Perch run appeared to be over. When we left, there was still ice fishing shelters on the lake and maybe they knew something we didn’t. Maybe if we’d stayed, the Walleyes were on their way to entertain us? We don’t know that, but I’d say that it’s a strong possibility.
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/26) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "Not the January many expected as temperatures have been warmer than usual! The big Fish have been biting! Many slot fish caught and released this past week as well as a good amount of eater fish.
Electronics are definitely helping! If you are planning a trip up and would like to rent a Vexilar let us know, they are a great way to increase your chances. Aggressive jigging has been the trick! Gold jigs and pink on set lines have been working well.
We are still roughly 25 miles from Pine Island in about 30 feet of water. Low 30’s to start off the week slowly dropping temperatures into Friday. Saturday’s high around zero, with a few snow dustings throughout the week." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 25, 2015 - Perch Action Heats Up During Transitional Period

A glance at the calendar is all it should take to remind anglers that late winter is upon us. Time moved slowly over the past 30 days, the length of daylight only increased by 45 minutes. But looky here, during the next 30 days, we are going to pick up an extra 105 minutes of added daylight and 30 days after that … Ta-Dah; the first day of spring. You KNOW that’s it’s not long after that when the spawning season will begin.
During this transition, forces of nature are hard at work encouraging Perch to change feeding and travel patterns in preparation for the open water season that lies ahead.
As the population of forage minnows dwindles with every feeding spree, Insect larvae continue to mature, becoming increasingly important as a food source to both Perch and other small baitfish that Perch prey on.
Here's the equation; Longer Daylight + Shorter Food Supply + Changing Food Sources + Spawning Instincts = Great Late Winter Transitional Perch Fishing!
"Early Birds" have already noticed an uptick in Perch action; anglers on the sidelines should polish up their "Perch-Jerkin'" gear and preapare to do a little migrating toward the Deer River area.
On Thursday (1/23) I wrote about our recent Perch fishing experience on Lake Winnie, that wasa good day. On Saturday, my "Oldest Child" and me had some more good fishing for Perch on a smaller lake. In the mean time, there were more good notes over my email about improving Perch action on other lakes too.
Here's a few words that I gleaned from messages that came from my friend Rich Shenkus. Fishing on Bowstring Lake his notes read; "My son and I did well to my standards for Perch Today (1/23) on Bowstiring. We got 20 nice ones, plus released other small ones in about 10 feet of water.
On Saturday (1/24) the update read; "Another great day, my son had so much fun.  We caught a limit by 1 PM even while making sure we we selective about the keepers. We fished primarily the same, 10 feet of water here we found them on Friday.
image denotes field report (1/24) From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson said; "The Crappie bite has picked up the last several weeks, with the best times being an hour before dark to an hour after. It seems the panfish bite just keeps getting better. Perch and Sunfish are more consistent now with soft plastics being very productive. Walleye have been somewhat slow but as always, the pike are only too glad to take your sucker minnow or as quite often happens, snip off your Crappie minnow along with your jig and beat it to parts unknown or just sit still and wait for the next one to come down the hole. The big news this week was the opening of Trout season. Last Saturday saw many anglers on the 14 trout lakes in Itasca County. Eight of these lakes are designated Stream Trout lakes with the remaining six holding Lake Trout. Reports from various lakes were promising. The general perception was that fishing was good, with most people catching a few or at least hooking a few. Lake Trout fisherman did well and as expected, lost more fish than they landed but had a great time all the same. Be sure to drop by the store on your way to the lake. The bait and tackle departments are fully stocked. Ice combos and augers are on sale".
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 219-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes press release News Release January 24, 2015 - Humminbird introduces Chart Select - The latest digital cartography product available from Humminbird. With ChartSelect you can now select, purchase, and download your favorite individual HD lake map to an SD card for use on select Humminbird fishfinders. Over 1300 High Definition lake maps available to choose from. Learn more >> Humminbird Chart Select

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 23, 2015 - Ice Fishing Report Lake Winnibigoshish Perch

YOU KNOW that I've spent a lot of time looking around the Itasca area for "untapped opportunities" and usually, especially this year, that's been a lot easier to say than it is to do. Luckily, after a couple of days trucking around on Lake Winnie, I have to say that the big lake might be one of them. In fact, judging by the light traffic out there, I think that it's one of the better kept secrets in the region right now.
The ice is solid, nearly 30 inches thick and snow cover is very light. Except for some areas of drifted snow near shore, plowed roads are virtually unnecessary. There are 3 or 4 pressure ridges on the lake; rental operators have staked out paths around a couple of them.
Finding and catching Perch wasn't automatic; I've had to do some exploring. But with travel conditions this good, moving around the lake has been very easy. As always, if you cover enough territory, you're gonna find some Perch. On Thursday, we found one school of Perch that provided non-stop-action for several hours. There were enough Jumbos to make it interesting and tons of 8 to 9 inch fish that kept us busy. With a goal of sorting 10" or better fish, we were easily able to get a good batch for a fish fry for 3 people. We started fishing at about 8:30 and we were off the lake at noon.
Our location was on the sprawling flats on Winnie's West side. Our key depth was 18 feet and we made a point of staying well away from the breakline. The Perch appear to be on the move almost constantly, small packs of fish were arriving every few minutes. Each pack contained fish of similar sizes, so we waded through each school as they came, releasing most, keeping some.
Using Lindy's Perch Talker has fast become our standard presentation for perch. I used a medium size, Perch Pattern tipped with a minnow head. My fishing partner used a medium size, Gold tipped with "Spikes".
There's something about this particular combination of sight and sound that makes them strike very agressively and today was no exception. In fact they're so good and have caught on so fast, that in many stores, they are sold out. I happen to know that Fred's Bait in Deer River has some of the medium size, but are sold out of the small size. That would play into your hand for Perch, because it's the larger, medium size one that we've been using anyway.
You'll have to check with your own bait dealer when you buy your live bait. If they still have some, I promise that you will not be disappointed when you try a couple. In fact, if you want more proof, here's a link to another recent reminder about how effective they really are; read >> Ice Fishing Report January 19
image denotes question from a reader (1/23) Naming Names Of Favorite, Smaller Fishing Lakes? - Every week or so, I'll get a comment like this one from Tim Rodemeyer; "Jeff, I am from Iowa and fish in northern Minnesota a couple times each year during the summer months. My family has a place in (withheld) and we spend most of our time fishing on (witheld).
My Brother in-law and I like to try new places once in awhile when we are up there (and our lake) is not producing.
I notice on your site that when you review your recent fishing you never reveal the name of the lake when you fish smaller bodies of water. We don't have a large fishing boat so we spend most of our time on smaller lakes. Just wondering why you don't reveal the name of the smaller lakes you may have recently fished. I know there are a lot of them in the area but would like to know where some of your favorite small lakes are and how you like to fish those particular lakes.
Any info would be appreciated. Thanks for all the reports you do. This is by far the best place to find updated reports. Thanks for all your work
A) Thank you Tim for the kind words and also for the opportunity to re-visit the topic.
For me, these reports are a Labor of Love; I try to be a good teacher because I believe that it's good for the sport of fishing. I am especially interested though in being a good teacher for students who are engaged in the process. If there's an angler out there who just wants to go out and catch fish, but doesn't want to spend time learning how to find them, then I am always available to guide them. Then they will automatically see the places where I like to fish.
Last year, this website received over 800,000 page views, this page alone received over 1/4 million of them. That means that I have to be especially responsible because there is potential for me to spread an awful lot of lovin' over a delicately balanced 500 acre lake.
So that's why you read the reports and notice that I always leave a little bit for you to figure out on your own. If you read between the lines, all of the reports provide fantastic clues that will definitely steer you in the right direction; those who are willing to do some homework can potentially learn a lot.
While I want to be as helpful as I can, I do also have to bear in mind that many smaller lakes really can't withstand the kind of pressure that they could get if I just started throwing out random names and locations to go fish.
What I try do is give folks some reliable, up to date ideas about current weather trends and fishing patterns. Many times, similar presentations would apply to dozens of lakes during the same time frame. So knowing 2/3 of the equation makes it easier for you to come up with the answer.
For instance; let's say that you read that Walleyes are located on mid lake structure and they're biting on Lindy Rigs and night crawlers, it's a pretty safe bet that you can replicate that pattern on a variety of lakes in the area.
When it's possible, like when there's a good "Numbers Bite" going on one of the larger lakes, or when one of the resorts shares a specific bit of their own information, you will see the name of that lake.
I guess that the upshot is that I NEED to do my best, striking a balance between being a good steward of the resource against providing this valuable service for my fellow man. When I get the balance right, we all win.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 22, 2015 - Ice Fishing Rods, Lund Alaskan Boats

But first, sad news and a word of hope for the Charlton family at Trails End. Bill was working on the truck in the garage, when it rolled on top of him. He got pinned on his side from his lower ribs down to his hips and was left unattended for a few hours. When he was discovered, he was rushed by helicopter to the hospital in Duluth.

image links to trails end resort (1/22) From Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort Erin Charlton's facebook post says; "Thank you for all the prayers, guiding light and loving support for Bill Charlton.
We're not sure about the full extent of the injuries, he's currently under general anesthesia, undergoing additional testing. please continue to send prayers, love, light and good energies! They are all welcome and much needed." - Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt .

image denotes question from a reader (1/22) Fishing Rods For Hard Water? - James Friedrichs asked; "Watched your latest video on Upper Red. Curious, what are you using now for hard water rod and reels? More curious about the rods actually but might as well ask about the reels too. For walleye and Panfish, what length and action do you like? What make rod was that in the video? Thanks".
A) James, I'm not exactly a purist when it comes to ice rods. I really have a Hodge Podge of different brands and actions. I don't get rods from a sponsor or receive any special treatment. I shop the same way you do, comparing features and benefits to the price. I do my best to stay in the $20 to $30 price range, but will occasionally spend a few extra bucks for something really cool.
The rod you saw in the video is a fairly inexpensive "dead stick" rod from Frabill. That slow wagging action that you see in the video is produced by the soft "noodle rod" action. It enhances the Foo Flyer's ability to gently quiver in front of the Walleyes and really helps trigger strikes.
For presentations that require more sensitivity, I have 2 TFO 26" ultralights with 2 lb line for small baits. 2 TFO 26" medium lights strung with 4 lb line for Walleyes. I have a couple of St. Croix Spring Bobber Rods that I really like too especially for when the panfish get finicky. After that, the rest of my rods are random models, lengths and actions. It's only important that the action of your ice fishing rod matches the weight and presentation of the lure(s) you plan to use.
Finally, don't overlook the Ugly Stick ice rods for jigging, they are a great value and if you're like me, tough on gear; they are very durable.
When it comes to spinning reels, I'm a bit more set in my ways. I've tried the high end stuff and most of the time, wind up disappointed. For guiding, the Pflueger President reels have provided fantastic durability and I can usually find them at the bait shop for between $50 - $60. For the past few years, the only reels that I've added to my arsenal have been Pfluegers.
image denotes question from a reader (1/22) Lund Alaskan For Rough Water? - Kevin Scott Wrote; "I have a good friend, early 60s who fishes Minnesota-Wisconsin and Canada on medium size lakes like Bowstring.
He's contemplating the purchase of a new boat and fishes for walleye and Panfish mainly. I recommended the Lund Alaskan in a tiller but he has had a console and is leaning that way.
Easy trailering and easy in and out of water is important and being able to troll and work structure with the right equipment. I think vinyl floor is a great way to go. Can you make a good boat recommendation with the right options?
Also it was suggested by someone that in rougher water, the Alaskan can get you wet; Is that a concern? Also if you can recommend a good dealer that is fair and knows how to set up a good rig! I am asking a lot here so if you really don't want to go into that I totally understand. But I knew you have the knowledge to help my pal avoid buying the wrong rig. Any help would be appreciated and thanks!
A) Kevin, Everyone has their own ideas about what they "NEED" in a boat. The Lund Alaskan is one boat that makes a lot of sense for anglers who want to have all of the right tools for fishing, but don't mind leaving some of the luxury behind.
I'll answer the easy part first; for me and my customers, the end of wet rides started in earnest when I bought my first Alaskan. The lighter weight, combined with the IPS hull allows me to get up on plane using less power and at lower speeds. My 20 footer matches up perfectly with Mercury's 90 HP OptiMax. This is a great fishing engine, it has plenty of power to pop the Alaskan out of the hole, but trolls down wonderfully.
That extra torque allows me to hold position on top of the waves and produces a smoother, dryer ride. Granted, I give up a bit in terms of high end speed to do it, but the payback is smiling customers and a vastly reduced bill for both gasoline and hemorrhoid medicine.
The Vinyl floor is a fantastic option, I can only guess how many 100's of hours I've save by having Vinyl instead of carpet. A garden hose takes care of most routine cleaning jobs and an occasional trip to the pressure washer takes care of a couple detail cleanings each summer.
The lighter weight of the Alaskan vs some of the other models is a huge benefit when it comes to trailering the boat too. My Shoreland'r roller trailer is a single axle model that matches up perfectly with the Alaskan. It's nimble and allows me to launch practically anywhere I want. I can easily load-unload my 20 foot Alaskan in shallower water than almost any other rig I've seen anywhere.
The lighter weight of the rig overall, means that I can trailer it using a 1/2 ton pickup and that saves me gasoline too.
For my particular fishing needs, I happen to prefer the tiller model, but your buddy could get the same boat with other configurations instead; including a full windshield and steering wheel. Either way, he'll enjoy having all of the benefits of an incredibly versatile fishing rig.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 21, 2015 - Upper Red Lake, Mid-Winter Walleye

(1/21) Every winter, there's a rush to be among the early arrivals for the hot, prime time Walleye bite on Red Lake. Most anglers ALREADY KNOW that during the early season, Catching Walleyes on the big pond is as close to "No-Brainer" fishing as you can get. But later, after the crowds have gathered their bounty and Walleye migrations begin, it takes a solid strategy to stay in the action. You can catch fish more consistently during the late Walleye season by following a few simple tips.
In this week's episode of Fish ED., Jeff Sundin shows how fishing the Foo Flyer and Slick Jig together provides a great one-two punch for Late Season Walleyes on Red Lake.

image links to trails end resort (1/21) From Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort Erin Charlton wrote; "This winter, the weather has been driving the fishing. For us, fishing action has been slow, but it has been steady.
Signs of mid-winter migrations that will help anglers by allowing them to take advantage of more stable fishing patterns are cropping up. Crappies are beginning to show up in greater numbers along the steep shoreline drop offs. Walleyes are following the shoreline breaks adjacent to weed growth and just yesterday, we began seeing some good numbers of Jumbo Perch coming into the resort. Creative anglers are finding the Jumbos in some off-beat locations and we have some additional information to share with customers who stop in for a chat". Trails End Resort has plowed access to the lake and remember; we'll even deliver you a Pizza while you're fishing. See you on the ice". - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt .

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/21) On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris Eagle Nest Lodge says; "We had fishermen this weekend all over the area. Gunnar caught crappies on Round, Bluegills on Little Cutfoot, and walleyes and northerns on Big Cutfoot. Our guests fished mostly Winnie and Big Cutfoot and caught perch, walleyes and northerns. Friday was a little slower, but Saturday and Sunday, they had good luck. A good 2' of ice and just a few inches of snow on top makes it easy to get around. We have openings most weekends this winter. " - Eagle Nest Lodge 218-246-8707

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 20, 2015 - A Plan For Small Water Walleye, Narrowing Down Options

For me, Walleye fishing has had its ups and downs recently; some days have been really good, some ... zzz.
On Monday, a quick trip to one of my favorite backyard Walleye Lakes helped remind me that nobody guesses the perfect spot every time. But if you give it some thought, even your slow days will have their rewards.
This was my first visit to the small lake this winter, so when we arrived at the lake, I was amazed by how many people had already acted on the same idea. Looking around the landscape, I spied fishing shelters already set up on the majority of the lakes mid-lake structures. So the head scratching began with the idea of picking a spot that had potential, but was still available. It was already near 3:00 PM so whichever one we chose; we'd just have to hope that it would be a good pick.
A prominent shoreline point that lies adjacent to a large, shallow flat is the spot that got the nod. It looked good on paper; there was nobody there, and if that spot failed, there was a deeper, open water hump nearby. So with plan A figured out, we began driving across the lake.
When we arrived, we drilled our first holes at the southern tip of the point in depths ranging from 19 to 26 feet. There were a handful of lookers on our screens, but no Walleyes caught. I hooked and lost a Northern Pike, Arne caught a small Pike, but that was the only fish we produced.
I moved toward the north end of the point, drilling holes along the way. I drilled a line of holes that covered water depths or 8 to 12 feet and then back out deep again. The story was the same here; there were some lookers, but no Walleyes were produced on the north side of the point.
Arne stuck with the south end of the point while I took a quick drive out to the hump. There was evidence that this spot had been fished fairly heavily already. Holes were drilled in several patterns all around the bar. I added a few more, a series of holes ranging between 20 and 26 feet deep.
Plan B would turn out to provide less than stellar results, but at least there were some results. A couple of small fish tried to catch Arne, but he was too quick for them and he got away. One nice fish did manage to get ahold of Arne's Red/Glow jigging spoon. That Walleye was in the 18 inch range and that fish turned out to be the highlight of our afternoon.
Summing it up; that's Walleye fishing. You get one chance per day to prove your theories and sometimes they prove out better than others. On this day, I think we had the right idea; the structures we chose were based on solid thinking. There just wasn't a large enough supply of fish in this area to produce a hot bite.
So today, I'm gonna do it all over again, take another educated guess and hope that this time, it turns out to be a big hit. One way or the other, YOU KNOW that you'll see it here.

image of ice fisherman with nice Pike on Ball Club Lake image of Gus' Place Logo (1/20) On Ball Club Lake Gus' Place Resort Gus Sheker; "Ice conditions remain very good with 23 inches of clear ice and light drifted snow, 4-wheel drive trucks are recommended for lake travel.
Perch fishing remains excellent in 16-20 feet, live minnows and jigs along shoreline drops. I consider a keeper fish to be 8 inches or more and with this as my standard, about every 4th or 5th fish is a "Bucket Fish". We definitely are having to sort through some smaller fish, but we're having fun catching a lot of Perch. Northern fishermen are also doing very well and it is a good idea to fish Perch and Pike at the same time in the same spots. The bite falls off for both Perch & Northern after dark. Customers have been hooking nice Walleye in 16-18 feet on Shiners and Fat Heads on the humps along the East shoreline, but there are periods of inactivity and you need to be patient and wait for the schools to move through." - Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort 1-888-246-8520

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/20) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "Great times being had here at Border View Lodge! The week has been another success, filling buckets with fish and the lodge with laughter!
We have been battling some pressure cracks and have had to reroute the road in areas. However, our guides work hard to continue to keep the road open for the drive out availability. We have houses ranging around the 30 foot mark. Some of the houses are surrounding structure while some are just off and a little deeper. Standard Gold, Pink and Red glow colors are working great!
Light snow showers early on in the week but turning to a greater chance of accumulation towards the end of the week. Temperatures remain in the upper teens to mid 20’s." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

Click here for video >> “Mid Season Red Lake Walleyes"

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 19, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Report

(1/19) An afternoon trip to the West side of Lake Winnie ended nicely for Danny Martin and me on Sunday. We found some fish and proved to ourselves that sometimes, there really is a "Lucky Bait".
Travel conditions on the lake remain good; some of the resort owners on the West side have a plowed road that begins at the public landing at Trappers Road. The plowed road now includes a bridge that allows passage across the nasty pressure ridge that formerly blocked anglers from moving to mid-lake structure from the shoreline.
They have a pay box at the entrance to the lake and I'd suggest rewarding their efforts by slipping in a sawbuck. If not, roads like this one might not always be available; surely it would be a sad day for ice fishermen to see them disappear.
The fishing goals that we'd set for ourselves were not lofty ones, we just wanted to do some exploring; find out if there were some interesting things to do. Neither of us was in the mood to clean fish, so we'd be happy going home empty handed, but obviously hoped to first tangle with some rod benders.
A mixed bag of Perch, Walleye, maybe even Tulibee, sounded good, so our first stop was on a prominent point, near deep water on Moses Bar. Tiny Perch were all that we could muster at that spot though; maybe we'd do better by fishing a couple of "The Humps"?
Now we had fish looking at our baits, still, small Perch were all that struck. By now, it looked like we caught the big pond on a bad day. Thanks to the fire kept burning under my butt by my senior navigator, we opted to make one more move. This time I asked Danny if he was feeling lucky, he said Yes, this time I am.
This time we'd stopped on the shoreline flat that lies between the deep and shallow water along the West shoreline. The water depth was about 18 feet and as soon as Danny dropped in his Perch Talker, it got bit. We agreed that if we wanted to keep some fish, his first one would have definitely made the grade as a keeper. So would his second one and his third one too and ... wait a minute; I was fishing right next to him, but I was only getting little ones.
I said; "Okay young feller, we're going to find out if it's the bait, or ..." but before I could spit out the words, he chimed in "or the fisherman!"
Long story short, I rigged up a Perch Talker, dropped it to the bottom and within seconds, caught a decent, keeper size Perch. The same thing happened on the second drop and apparently, this was just one of those days that the lure made a big difference. There was something that the fish liked better about these lures than they did my first couple of choices. I’m not sure if the color was important or not, we both used only the Perch pattern and never switched.
We tipped our lures with cut pieces of a minnow; it didn't matter if it was the head, tail or a chunk from the middle. If there was meat on the hook, they ate it, conversely, no meat, and no strike.
It was a bit odd that the Perch action carried on so late in the afternoon. It was after 5:00 PM before we noticed any sign of a slowdown and it was also well after 5:00 before Danny caught the first Walleye. We may have caught more Walleye if we’d stayed longer, but by 5:30 we packed up and pointed the truck east.
There’s no telling if this is the “normal time” for the action to begin, or if the timing on Sunday was unique in some way. We’ll just have to see how that plays out in future visits.

image Rainbow Trout on the ice

Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines (1/19) - "Each new fish and game season brings with it highly anticipated expectations. No matter the quarry. It could be whitetail, small game, or Minnesota’s general fishing opener. Such is the case with the first day of our winter trout season.
Several of my fishing friends headed to their favorite trout waters last Saturday morning for this annual ritual. Planned partner, Chad Peterson, had something come up at the last minute and couldn’t make it so I would be going solo. It didn’t matter, as I would be joining friends and relatives out on the ice.
Leaving home a little after 5:00 am assured me of getting to the lake well before the sun came up. Most serious trouters like to get there plenty early, as parking spaces are at a premium as well as prime fishing spots.
Pitch black, moving right along, and pulling a snowmobile trailer, I drove right on past the access road and by the time I got stopped it was just too far to back up down the highway. Nervously driving the other direction, it seemed like five miles before I found a turnaround but in reality was only ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 18, 2015 - Big Pike In Minnesota, DNR Tackles The Issue In 2015

Condensing the DNR Roundtable session into a few paragraphs is not an easy task. If you asked any one of the roughly 400 people in attendance to describe what the highlights were, you'd probably get about 398 different opinions. Instead, I'll just mention a couple of items from my own "highlight reel".
Luckily, you don't have to depend on me to summarize the whole event. The MN DNR has provided an outline of the event that includes links to the content all of the presentations. Click here for >> An Overview of the 2015 MN DNR Roundtable .
Restoring Quality Pike Fishing - Speaking only for me, the job of catching quality size Northern Pike has become more difficult every year. It really doesn't matter why it got this way, it only matters what we do about it. That's why I was thrilled to see the topic on the agenda at the Minnesota DNR Roundtable this weekend.
The presentation by Gary Barnard, Bemidji Area Fisheries Supervisor features a review of the Northern Pike Technical Committee report that helps explain how we got into this mess. Barnard's presentation focuses on taking a fresh look at how we approach Northern Pike management in the state.
Minnesota's habitat differs greatly from North to South and following Barnard's suggestions could mean that instead of sticking with our current "one size fits all" statewide regulations, the state be divided into zones. Pike within each of these zones would then be managed according to its own unique set environmental factors.
Regulations would be designed using a specific set of goals intended to increase the quality of Our Northern Pike and to enhance the experience of fishing for them.
Following the Power Point Presentation without a narrator requires a little concentration, but walking yourself through the complete presentation is worthwhile. view >> Northern Pike Management .
Leaving The Walleye Workgroup, Joining the Panfish Workgroup - After serving on the Walleye workgroup since it's inception, 2015 provided a great oppotunity for a change. During my term of nearly 12 years on what originated as "the Walleye Advisory Panel", we hammered out some pretty important stuff and I'll definitely miss being involved.
During recent years though, Panfish have become increasingly important to me and as they do, I realize how much I still have to learn about them. That's why this year, the announcement that the DNR was re-establishing an active Panfish Workgroup caught my attention. I applied for a spot on that panel, got the appointment and attended the first meeting on Saturday.
I am very excited, what a panel!! The people that have volunteered to serve on this panel are smart, really smart and the come from everywhere in the state. I already learned a ton about Sunfish and we haven't even gotten to our first "official" meeting yet.
The group, still in the early phase of establishing priorities, seems to have at least one common interest; protecting trophy Bluegill opportunities in Minnesota. There will be more on the subject, a lot more and I'll do my best to provide good representation of your interests on this panel.
So here's an invitation, if you have some ideas about "The Way Things Oughtta Be" in the world of Panfish, don't be bashful, shoot me an EMAIL and let me know your thoughts.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 16, 2015 - New Waters Added For Winter Trout Season Opener

(1/16) The Minnesota Winter Trout Season opens this Saturday, January 17, 2015 and for the first time, anglers will be able to fish for trout in the winter on two dozen north-central Minnesota lakes. Here's a link that will take you to the full news release and it includes the full list of New Lakes For Winter Trout Fishing In Minnesota.
The DNR has also chosen this date to hold the first meeting of the new Panfish Workgroup. Unfortunately ... YES YOU GUESSED; I AM one of the members of the newly formed workgroup. Since I went out of my way to request a spot, it hardly seems right for me to miss the first meeting just so that I can go fishing.
Sorry Trooper Stickler! I'm afraid that you'll be coming up at least one parking ticket short on your quota this weekend.
On the subject of DNR Meetings, The DNR's annual "Roundtable Meeting" is on the agenda for today and I'll be in attendance attempting to learn the learnable and question the questionable; expect a full report on Sunday.

image denotes link to fishing article Outdoor Writer Jeff Samsel, Clarkesville Georgia caught up with us this winter and took some notes. Samsel wrote; "With only two augers available, I figured I’d help the cause the only way I knew how. I grabbed my graph, a rod rigged with a Lindy Fat Boys ice jig and a scoop. The holes were all the same from what I could see from the surface, and I knew all had the potential to produce or Sundin and Thelen wouldn’t have drilled them. So I cleared ice from the nearest hole, turned on my Humminbird and slid the transducer into the hole. What showed up on the screen brought surprise and delight. I was ..." read article >> Bluegils Throughout The Ice Season image of Jon Thelen with large Bluegill

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (12/15) It was a "crappie" trip for Brian Casetellano and his buddy who found their way onto the ice on Wednesday. Travel conditions were good, 24 inches of ice, a few small snow drifts but nothing serious to slow the team down.
About the fishing, Castellano says; "We fished from 11:30 to 1:30 and iced about 30 slabs in the 10-12" range. We also added 6 jumbo perch to the bucket along with 4 pickling sized pike.
The bite wasn't real fast and furious, but the fish seemed to show up in small packs and then it was a fire drill at times fishing 4 lines.
I used a bobber set up with a pink/glow demon jig and minnow on one rod. On the other, I jigged with a 1/32 oz black and silver gypsy jig tipped with a eurolarve. I think I only used 3 larve the whole time; they stay on the hook way better than the waxworms."

image denotes question from a reader (1/15) Handheld GPS For Winter - Steve Sykes asks; "I was wondering what you use for a GPS in the winter time? In the summer I use my Hummingbird 900 Series fish locator with the GPS and maps built in, which works great. In the winter I have a Marcum LX7 I use for my graph and I have a handheld Lowrance I-Finder but I find the Lowrance is not accurate. I was wondering what you would recommend to use for ice fishing and trying to find the hot ice fishing hole from the week before." - Steve Sykes
A) Steve Thanks for giving me an excuse to get back on the subject. We got started on this question back in December and somehow allowed it to get sidetracked because of the early and hectic way that ice fishing season stormed in this year.
For me, my Humminbird 597 has taken the place of a handheld GPS. I need to have a graph for fishing anyway and having the GPS, the Lakemaster Charts and my sonar all combined in one unit is just so convenient that I don't have any reason to switch. Don't go shopping for the 597 though, this one's been replaced with the upgraded Humminbird 688 which is similar, but includes added features.
Using the quick connect mounting brackets, the Humminbird can be installed on an ATV, snowmobile, boat or vehicle. You can just snap the unit off of the quick connect and move it to anything want to use it for. By the way, it also makes a nice backup unit for the boat.
Getting back to your original question, if you only want a free standing GPS and the fishing sonar is irrelevant, then I think that if you reach into your pocket, you already have the answer.
Your smart phone already is a handheld GPS and using it along with the Navionics APP, it can easily take the place of a conventional handheld GPS. In fact, the consensus among almost everybody I've talked with is that the smartphone is "The Way to Go" for an ice fisherman.
One common misconception about using your smart phone is that you have to have cell coverage in order to use the GPS; YOU DON'T. The GPS enabled portion of you smart phone operates independently from the cellular phone service. That means that you will always have a GPS, even when you don't have a phone.
Another misconception is that your smartphone won't allow you to keep and manage waypoints; IT WILL. It's all a part of the Navionics APP.
There are a few tricks about setting up the maps and waypoint management on your smart phone, but you really don't need me to walk through that. Now that you know that it can be done, I'm sure that you can zero in on the details.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 13, 2015 - Northern Minnesota Fishing Reports

On Monday, I had to make a choice; do I spend today fishing, or should I spend it preparing to go fishing?
I have to admit, the idea of trading one afternoon on the ice for being warmer throughout the rest of winter seemed like a really good idea. Knowing that the new ice fishing shelter wasn't going to assemble itself, I decided that I'd better tackle that job and get it over with. Meanwhile, friends were keeping tabs on the fish for me, so let's get down to business.

image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie (1/13) On Lake Winnibigoshish John Seekon at The Pines Resort says that the perch are biting in tamarack bay and the secret to catching keepers is to fish in water depths of 15 to 17 feet. Seekon says; "If you fish any shallower water right now, all you see are small ones. It seems that the harder the winds blows, the more active the bigger perch are." Lake travel on Winnie is good right now with over 2 feet of ice and only patchy snow drifts.
In addition to more fishing reports, John and Doreen Seekon provide winter lodging, ice shelter rentals and access to Lake Winnibigoshish via plowed roads. There are still some openings remaining during February and March. Contact The Pines Resort on Lake Winnibigoshish .
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/13) On Lake Winnibigoshish, Dixon Lake Resort reports; "Ice is great on Winnie's Third River Flowage. Fishing action dropped off with the arrival of cold temps last weekend, but all and all this has been one of our better years for the spear fishermen. There have been lots of fish in the 6 to 10 pound range, all the way up to the monster that currently holds this winter's size record at 22lbs.
Most of the snow has blown off the ice, so getting around is pretty good. Watch for Ice Blocks as some folks have not marked their discarded fishing holes or replaced blocks back into the holes.
A friend and neighbor of the resort tells us that the ice ridge is about 3 feet high and runs from the shore on the east side of Stony Point to the north side of Mallard Point. That description tells us that the ridge is a lot farther out from our side than is normal.
Our guests have reported good action on the Crappie and Sunfish. They are catching lots of perch, but not finding the jumbos. There have been lots of Walleye seen up in the shallows, from our spear houses, but they have been lethargic and and not hungry." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including a sleeper available for this weekend. Reservations 218-659-4612

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 12, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Walleye Fishing Report

On Sunday, there was some kind of football game on TV and it seemed to be important to lots of folks. So I thought just maybe, if there were lots of folks sitting inside watching the game, it could be good time to sneak out onto the ice and find a nice, quiet spot to sit and cogitate.
A quick drive up to the East side of the lake led me to Highbanks Resort, they're officially open for the winter now and the access at their landing is very good.
I can't say that they have a plowed road, not exactly, but there's a stretch of maybe 200 yards as you drive out from the ramp that's plowed. After you get past that, there really isn't much need for a road on the lake so far.
The surface of the ice is a 50/50 mix of clear black ice and patches of hard packed, drifted snow. At first, I was apprehensive about driving through the snow drifts, doing my best to steer only into the clear patches. But as I gained confidence, I found driving on the lake to be very easy and the ride was very smooth, even when I did cut through a few drifts.
There were small gatherings of ice fishermen scattered along the shoreline breaks, reportedly fishing in depths of 20 to 24 feet. There were handfuls of anglers on some of the mid-lake humps too, but they were scattered and overall, traffic on the North half of the lake remains fairly light.
Except for knowing that I wanted to fish "the humps" for Walleyes, I didn't have an exact destination in mind. I just fired up the GPS and watched my chart, allowing it to give me ideas as I drove. A cluster of 3 humps got my attention, they lay within a half mile of each other, and so if I suddenly felt the need to move, I could get to an alternate spot in a hurry.
As it turned out, I never needed to move because I was looking at good fish on the Humminbird right away from the time I drilled the first hole. If these fish would have bit right away, it would have been a blast, but they were in one of their moods and made me wait until 4:00 PM for the 1st feeding run to begin. That 1st run last until the sun was touching the tree tops at about 4:30. During that time, I caught 3 Walleyes, missed a couple and had a couple of "lookers". Then the action went dead for a half hour, no sightings, no strikes, nothing again until 5:00 PM.
The fish were located on the upper edge, almost on top of the hump at water depths of 20-22 feet. I had all of my action on a 3/16 ounce Rattlin' Flyer Spoon tipped with the pinched of head of a medium size fathed.
Today, the fish liked it best if I jigged the bait steadily, using a sharp snap and fall presentaion. The fish that did strike were aggressive and did not require teasing or finesse.
At 5:00, I was almost ready to drive away when another, better feeding run started. This time the fish were more aggressive and moving much more quickly. In 15 minutes time I hooked and lost one, caught a couple more and had other fish on the Humminbird.
That's when my last fish tangled into the line that I had down in the 2nd hole. I didn't have a light, it was getting chilly and I had to cut my lines to get untangled. Maybe I'd have caught more fish if I'd stayed, but I'd saved myself one fish for dinner and this seemed like a good excuse to go home and cook it, so I did.

Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 1/12/2014 - " If you haven’t ever experienced driving on ice and watching a gps unit with a lake map now is the time to try it. It’s amazing, much like running a boat and watching the graph. It makes things so much easier in finding those little known hotspots or even community holes for that matter.
I also use the Navionics app in my smart phone and the detail on some of those maps has really opened my eyes. I’m now finding a few spots that I never knew existed. Running this app non-stop does however eat up batteries so you’re best to leave it plugged in while scouting around.
Last week’s fishing action found bluegills preferring somewhat large spoons over finesse rigs which tells me conditions were right and the fish were on the bite, hungry and wanting something substantial to ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .
image denotes field report (1/12) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "We have had success this past week! The weather has given us a run but the fishing has been good. People are catching nice size eater fish and even getting to catch and release some bigger fish.
We are in the same area we have been 25 miles out from Pine Island. We have had to reroute our road in some areas but as of today we still have driving out as an option. Weather and road conditions play a role in the driving ability so stay in touch with the office daily.
Looks as though we are going to get a warm up in the temperatures! Starting Tuesday temps will be in the mid teens to low 20’s and even reaching 30 by the end of next week" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

Helping your fellow ice fishermen and women stay abreast of the ice conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!
You don't have to give away Uncle Ernie's secret spot; your's either. But a heads up about ice conditions or fishing trends could be really helpful and who knows? Somebody might actually return the favor sometime!!
Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter" and post your own pics and comments; it's good for fishing!
By the way, there's a major Lake Winnie Update scheduled for Wednesday morning, so if you have a few notes or maybe a photo to add, this is your opportuntiy for a moment of greatness! Just click to email >> OR on facebook Fishing Reports MN

image says become a duly deputized Cub Reporter

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 11, 2015 - Leech Lake Ice Fishing Report - Watch That First Step ...

It's A Doosie! - I was heading for Reed Sports in Walker on Saturday and that presented a good opportunity to check up on the ice conditions at the South end of Leech Lake. For the most part, travel conditions on the ice remain perfect for anglers who wish to travel by truck.
At the Whipholt landing, drifted snow on the shoreline has presented a road block for trucks. There's still plenty of parking and snowmobilers have been traveling the shoreline freely. It would be very easy to park your rig and head onto the lake with a snow machine, but not a pickup truck.
The landing at Whipholt was the only problem spot though; there are still a lot of trucks on the ice. From my vantage point, I could see that they're accessing the south end of the main lake by using the plowed road provided by trappers landing resort.
Further west, access to the ice is not a problem and the traffic on Walker Bay was heavy. There were ice fishermen strung out along the shoreline breaks and on the md lake bars everywhere from the city of Walker, all of the way down to Shingobee Island.
When I got into Reeds, Kevin gave me a briefing about the fishing on the west side of Leech Lake and from his assessment it sounds like most anglers are enjoying good Walleye fishing. He said that anglers are reporting Walleye feeding runs during the typical early morning/evening periods. He added though that there's been a reliable feeding run between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. An additional feeding run that's been very strong begins at night, between 10:00 PM and 2:00 PM.
For most ice fishermen in the Itasca area, the talk about night time feeding runs is fairly new news. Most anglers are used to being on the lake for about an hour past sunset and then high tail it for home. Speculating about the night fishing, I have to agree with one of Kevin's observations; there has probably been a reliable night time feeding run of Walleyes since the beginning. It's the recent appearance of sleeper houses on the scene that have revealed the pattern.
There's no doubt about it, the arrival of the "Wheel House" is completely changing the dynamic of ice fishing. As always, change can be both good and bad, but a comment Kevin made really got my attention.
One of the customers at Reeds recently described the "Wheel House" experience in a very positive light. The customer told Kevin that for his family, the comfort of their ice fishing shelter has been the catalyst that helped get his family out of the house and onto the lake. Instead of holing up in front of the TV, his family spends their time on the lake, together, fishing.
I'm not sure that I've ever really thought about that before, but it makes a lot of sense.
I’ve chosen to forgo the comfort of those magnificent shelters in lieu of mobility. In fact that’s why I was in the store; I was picking up a new portable fish house. But I have to tip my hat to the guy who's out on the lake, whole family happily in tow. I'll bet they're having a blast and if ya believe in the sport of fishing, then ya gotta believe that’s good for everybody.

image of Jeff Samsell with big crappie on ice

Jeff Samsel wrapped his year with; "A Dozen Delightful Days". In it, the writer from Clarkesville Georgia counts a day in the Grand Rapids area among his favorite fishing experiences of the past year.
"I quickly forgot about my nine bonus hours in MSP airport after I got on the ice. The first crappie came moments after I dropped a line in a hole, and the crappie/sunfish action never let up." Read More >> A Dozen Delightful Days

image denotes question from a reader (1/11) Sand Lake Walleye Fishing - A Question from Nick Hagness; "Thank you for all of your great tips, articles, and fishing reports. From the reports it sounds like the walleyes have been tough. I'm heading up there on Friday to fish Sand. I'm hoping the warm up will energize the walleyes. Do you ever get reports for Sand? What type of minnows do you like to use for dead sticking and tip ups for the walleyes? My buddy is worried if shiners are used during the day we will be catching a lot of 16 inch northerns. What is your favorite bait shop in the area? Tight Lines, Nick
A) Well Nick, let's see, first things first. Sometimes I do get reports about specific lakes, Sand Lake included. I also get questions like yours, sometimes lots of questions, almost every day. So, answering all of them is a little bit tricky; I have to ask for your understanding about me trying to maintain a healthy balance.
I do my best to be helpful and encouraging and I do my best to pass along information that will help you. But sometimes I need to use my own judgment about being too specific about a lake that may not be large enough, or may not host a robust population of fish that can handle some extra attention. Sand is one of the lakes that have developed a knack for winding up on lots of radar screens.
In recent years, Sand has received a lot of attention from the kind of fishermen who really know how to fish and can tend to put a lake under intense pressure. In many ways, it's a miracle that it's held up as well as it has.
At the moment, the Sand Lake Walleye population is fairly strong, but it is in a re-building mode. There are fish in there, but the majority of them are smaller size. Fish in the 12 to 13 inch range a fairly easy to come by, but 14 to 18 inch are much more difficult to find than they should be.
The lake has a fairly even split of deep fish vs. weedline fish, so depending on your preference, you can probably find a couple of spots that allow you to fish "your own way". For me, shallow water points and weed edges along the shoreline breaks have been consistent and I tend to gravitate toward this type of structure.
The question about Shiners vs Northern Pike is a good one. In my opinion, using shiners on lakes that have such high Northern Pike density is asking for trouble. Shiners offer no particular advantage in capturing Walleyes, especially during the winter, but they do tend to get the attention of more Pike.
For me, Rainbow Chubs are the preferred minnow for the "dead sticking that you mentioned. Use blade style baits like Frostee jigs in the #4 or #2 size ranges. For aggressive fish, the Rainbow can be hooked just above the tail, which will force it to swim a lot. For neutral fish, I like to insert the hook just below the skin, parallel to the dorsal fin. That allows the minnow to sit in a natural, horizontal position and helps minimize their movement. When the fish seem to need time to think, this is the best way to trigger a strike.
We are blessed with great bait shops in the Grand Rapids and Deer River area. For me, Fred's Bait is located so close to my home that on most days, I'd be dumb to drive further. That said; there are at least a half dozen good bait shops that I visit as often as I can. For the most part, my ordinary travel routes are covered pretty darn well by visiting the Winnie One Stop, River Rat Bait, West End Bait, Ben's Bait, the Max Mini Store and Frontier Sports.

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/8) On Leech Lake, Frank at Birch Ridge Resort says: "I have seen truck traffic at the public landing on Sucker Bay. The ramp remains open and access to the lake here is good.
It's been pretty quiet over here, fishing pressure has just been limitied to some weekend traffic. A group fishing the area just south of second Duck last Saturday found 17 inches of ice. There are some pressure ridges out on Sucker bay, so anglers should be aware. I have some guys coming this weekend and should have an update next week." Birch Ridge does have winter lodging available. 800 459 3721.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 7, 2015 - Minnesota Ice Fishing Report

image denotes fishing report from Trails End Resort on Bowsting (1/7) From Bowstring Lake, Trails End Resort; "The Perch fishing action on Bowstring has begun picking up. There was a hiccup last weekend thanks to the crazy weather, the fish bite was tough. It's still cold, but stable and that's been encouraging, the bite is picking pick up again.
The ice thickness is very good; almost 2 feet and now we're getting some snow cover on top.
Access to the lake is becoming somewhat limited. The pressure ridge near the North landing is heaving upward, forcing anglers with trucks to find an alternate route onto the lake.
Access here at the resort remains good, we are maintaining our landing at the ramp and it is open to the public. There's been little need to plow snow so far, but we are staying on top of travel routes, prepared to plow as more snow arrives.
Fishermen report that they are seeing lots of fish, they've been filling the bottom 5 feet on the graph. Now, it's just a matter of getting up here and proving that you can tease them into biting ...
We have winter lodging available and remember, we'll even deliver your Pizza to your shelter on the ice." >> Geiger's Trails End Reosrt .
image of Gus' Place Logo (1/7) Gus' Place Resort, Ball Club Lake; "Cold temps are starting to drive the fish deeper on Ball Club lake. We are fishing Walleyes in 30-34 feet with live baits and jigs. The Perch and Northerns are also moving to deeper water 20-22 feet.
Fishing has been very good during stable barometer periods, especially for Perch.
Lake travel remains excellent, thick ice and very little snow has allowed us access to all parts of the lake. Recent storms have missed us and tracked north.
This is a great time to go ice fishing, we have warm modern cabins and day houses on the lake." - Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort 1-888-246-8520
image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie (1/7) On Lake Winnibigoshish John Seekon at The Pines Resort says that the ice fishing conditions on Lake Winnie remain good. The ice thickness now ranges between 21- 24 inches.
For ice fishermen who want to travel by vehicles, driving conditions on the surface is good. Most of the lake remains covered with clear, smooth ice, but the heavy winds created some areas of drifted snow. The snow drifts are scattered and not very deep, they do not currently restrict travel on most of the lake.
According to Seekon, Perch are biting in Tamarack Bay and he advises; "The perch are biting in 15 to 16 feet of water and the best action is coming on glow white and green and orange.
In addition to more fishing reports, John and Doreen Seekon provide winter lodging, ice shelter rentals and access to Lake Winnibigoshish via plowed roads. There are still some openings remaining during February and March. Contact The Pines Resort on Lake Winnibigoshish .

image denotes fishing report from Trails End Resort on Bowsting (1/7) From Bowstring Lake, Trails End Resort; "The Perch fishing action on Bowstring has begun picking up. There was a hiccup last weekend thanks to the crazy weather, the fish bite was tough. It's still cold, but stable and that's been encouraging, the bite is picking pick up again.
The ice thickness is very good; almost 2 feet and now we're getting some snow cover on top.
Access to the lake is becoming somewhat limited. The pressure ridge near the North landing is heaving upward, forcing anglers with trucks to find an ... " Read >> Bowstring Lake Fishing Report .

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image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/7) On Leech Lake, Josh Bullivant at Trapper's Landing Lodge says; "Travel is open to 1 ton trucks and wheel houses out to Submarine, Pelican Island and all points in between. We have 26”-28” of ice currently on the main part of Leech.
This is the most fisherman this side of the lake has seen in 15 years, There are still lots of untouched areas but we have a lot of weekend fisherman.
Lots of big walleye continue to be caught despite the cold front that moved in over the area. The Shoreline breaks and points close to those shoreline breaks are producing the most walleyes during the evening and lowlight hours.
During the day Pike continue to be very aggressive. The biggest walleye I saw this week was 29 ½” caught last Sunday Night. I have seen lots of walleyes and pike being cleaned in our fish cleaning area."
Trapper's Landing does have winter lodging available and Josh adds; "We also have a Bar on site and ice road access from our property."
Trapper's Landing is currently running some lodging specials. Rent one of our Townhome suites for $99 a night(based on two nights), Do it your self ice fishing package includes 15% off of two nights lodging, road pass and a $20 reeds gift card, ice house package includes 15% off of your two nights lodging, a 24 hour ice house rental(7x16) and a $20 reeds gift card.
*All these packages are based on resort availability and ice house availability for more info on specials call (218)836-2500
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/7) On Cass Lake, the report from Cass Lake Lodge; "We have been seeing some nice walleye and perch. The walleye and perch are both hitting on the weed flats in 10-12' of water. There have been lots of perch caught with some nice jumbos in there also.
There is 15" - 18" of good ice everywhere. There are a few pressure ridges on the lake but you can get around most of them by the shorelines. There is very little snow so you can go anywhere you want in your personal vehicle without driving on a plowed road."
Cass Lake Lodge provides winter lodging and does have ice access. Their cabins will accommodate anywhere from 2 people to 20 people and they also mentioned; "We also have day houses and sleepers available. If you are looking for a good deal, we are offering a midweek special of $60/day off any sleeper booked during the week. Enjoy the winter and good luck fishing!" Call for more info 218-335-6658 .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 6, 2015 - Minnesota Ice Fishing Report

image denotes fishing press release (1/6) Only 1 of 500 Mississippi River samples test positive for invasive carp - Minnesota DNR News Release (January 5, 2015)
Water samples from southeastern Minnesota pools of the Mississippi River that were collected in August and analyzed in December indicate only a small presence of bighead carp eDNA, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the DNR, conducted the environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and analyzing for invasive carp.
A total of 500 samples were tested for ... read story >> Testing Mississippi River for Bighead Carp

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 5, 2015 - Minnesota Ice Fishing Report

Snowfall amounts in the Itasca region were fairly light, but if you head north to the Canadian border, you'll see the plow trucks in action.
The heaviest snow fell along the Minnesota-Canada border. Reports of a foot of fresh snow were common along the Rainy River from Baudette to International Falls.
Closer to home, snow cover in the Deer River area might be a few inches; almost enough for a snowmobile ride, but not quite.
Looking at the weather forecast, prospects for ice fishermen this week don't look that bad. Cold temperatures hovering around the zero mark should be offset by fairly light winds. The lighter winds help make fishing from a portable shelter very manageable.
The cold temperatures this weekend discouraged traffic and by Sunday, the flow of fishing reports from the area slowed dramatically.
Generally speaking, many of the hot action bites that took place early on small water have now diminished. Reports indicate that the tide has shifted in favor of anglers who fish on the larger lakes like Winnie, Leech and as you'll see below, Lake of the Woods.
image denotes field report1/5/2015 From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "The move was successful and people are catching fish. We are further north than we have ever been with our houses. We have been able to maintain a road for drive outs, so as of right now it is still an option. We just received about a foot of snow and have been working hard to keep the roads plowed so they continued to stay open.
The houses are about 25 miles/ 1 hour from Pine Island so the travel from house to shore will be minimal throughout the day. Have your gear, coolers and warm clothing ready for the drive or ride.
Gold and pink are the typical colors and have been doing well. We have heard white has been good also. Recently there seems to be a real active bite starting around 11am.
This week will be cold with temperatures below zero. A chance of snow Thursday brings a warm up for the day." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 1/5/2015 - "It looks like we jumped from the balmy winter of 2014 right into the frigid jaws of 2015 and I’m certainly glad I got my licks in before it got this cold. Frankly, I’m not used to this and it will take a little conditioning before I’m back up to full speed in dealing with Mother Nature.
I spent the last decent day, Saturday, fishing out of my truck and do this especially when searching for fish. It’s just a whole lot easier, slowly driving around from ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .
image denotes question from reader1/5/2015 Minnesota's AIS Sticker Requirement - Mike Nolan read the report about the new MN requirement to complete Aquatic Invasive Species training to receive special decals for boating and water related vehicles and trailers.
As a non-resident who visits Minnesota each summer, Mike asks; "Invasive species sticker, does this mean I need to get one"?
A) Mike, only if you bring a trailer, boat lift or water related recreational gear that could be placed in the water.
Quoting from the Aquatic Invasive Species section of the MN DNR website; "Anyone who transports watercraft or water-related equipment with a trailer in Minnesota needs to complete training and display the decal."
One of the questions found on the Q&A section on their page asks; "I'm just traveling through Minnesota from another state with my boat and trailer. Do I still need a decal?
A) Yes, Minnesota law states that anyone transporting watercraft or water-related equipment in Minnesota needs to complete training and display the decal on their trailer.
For more answers from the MN DNR follow this link to >> MN AIS Training and Tailer Decal page .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 4, 2015 - Ice Fishing With Added Whiteness!

Snowfall amounts really weren't that heavy, but only Mother Nature knows how to throw a really good tantrum and on Saturday, gusty winds turned a few inches of snow into some fairly heavy snow drifts.
The area North of US 2 was most affected and a good rule of thumb that we noticed is that leaving from Deer River, the further North you go, and the more snow you'll find.
Travel conditions on the lakes will probably not deteriorate enough to prevent travel by vehicles. But in the aftermath, some of the public landings and access roads could be drifted closed; especially landings that lay on the South end of lakes.
For me, fishing during the windstorm was a big problem because I didn't already have a school of fish pinned down. I did my best to keep covering water, drilling holes and prospecting for a good school of fish. But on Saturday, I ran out of time before the fish did. Hopefully planning the do-over will go more smoothly and I'll get a chance to make up for this series of wrong turns.
On Lake Winnibigoshish, things were going better, at least for the anglers that I heard from. Tyler from Nodak Lodge, led friends Zach and Jill onto the lake where they spent the day in comfort.
Fishing from a warm, permanent shelter, they caught a mixed bag of Perch, Walleye and Pike. They didn't provide a lot of details about where and how the fish were caught. But judging by the photos, the fish are active enough that most ice fishermen should be able to locate fishable territory on their own.
The sentiment was echoed by a visiting ice fisherman who dropped a note on facebook that simply said; "Walleye fishing on Winnibigoshish was a good idea".

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 3, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Travel Report

Comparing the ice on Lake Winnibigoshish to most early years during early January and I think I have to say that travel conditions are just about the best I've seen in a dozen or more years.
At the moment, pressure ridges that held anglers away from the ramps on the east side of the lake have flattened out. Ice fishermen can now gain access using the ramps at any one of four locations and once you're on the lake, you will have access to a lot of territory.
On Friday, we fished a few of the humps on the North end of the lake and found out that there's 20 inches of good ice, no snow cover and fish to be caught.
Our bag was modest, but considering the time we spent on the lake, it wasn't all that bad. A few of the Walleyes that I hooked came unhooked before I could see them, so I'm not sure if we should have come home with any "eaters" or not. We did catch a couple of very nice "slot-fish", a couple of small ones and 2 nice eating size Pike. If there were zero mistakes, we could have landed 7 maybe 8 Walleyes.
The tips of points on the smaller bars at 22 to 25 feet of water was our key to catching fish. Rattlin' Flyer Spoons and Slick Jigs produced our fish.
I will elaborate more later, but first, I have to get out of this office and squeeze in a fishing trip today.
In the meantime, if you've been thinking about heading on to Winnie, you will find that the surface of the ice is friendly.
image denotes question from reader (1/3) Protective Fishing Leader Material - Chris Julson wrote; "What is your choice for tip leader material, fluoro, mono, steel or ?? Am targeting pike. Thanks, Chris J.
A) Chris, At times when we are fishing specifically for Northern Pike using presentations that do not require finesse, i.e. casting or trolling with heavy equipment, I use 30 pound test, nylon coated steel leaders.
Steel leaders have their disadvantages, but they are the only way to "Guarantee" that a Pike won't slice through your fishing line.
Except for being misshapen by routine wear and tear, the wire used to manufacture the steel leaders rarely fails, so I don't usually concern myself with the brand name of the leader material. But I do pay a lot of attention to the swivels and snaps, choosing the strongest ones that I can find.
For me, the "Coast Lock Snap" does the best job of securing my expensive Pike and Musky baits; so whenever possible, this is the snap I use. When there's no other choice, I will use an interlocking snap. But remember, the quality of these machine stamped swivels varies wildly; I pay close attention to the strength and the fit to be sure that I do not trust a $20 Pike lure to a snap that will come un-pinned at the edge of the boat.
For situations that call for finesse, i.e. when I'm using jigs or live bait rigs, I will use Silver Thread Fluorocarbon leader material, typically 17 pound test.
The fluorocarbon is easy to tie, nearly invisible and protects against a huge percentage of the bite offs that Pike would dish out if we were using only our monofilament fishing line.
Typically, I tie my jig, live bait hook or other lure directly to the fluorocarbon using a Palomar knot for lures or a Snell knot for live bait rigs. Then I connect the leader to my fishing line using a barrel swivel.
For situations where you want a leader that’s tougher than average, but not necessarily super-strong, substitute 14, 12 or even 8 pound test for the 17 pound test that I would usually tie on.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 2, 2015 - Waking Up On The Wrong Side of the ...

Imagine spending New Years Eve on an overnight fishing trip. Conditions are perfect inside your warm, comfortable wheel house. Ah, this is the life, a little fishing, a little food, maybe even a beverage to help ring in the New Year; what could be more peaceful? The next thing You Know ... somebody says;
"It's time to rise and shine, gotta head out of here soon if we're gonna be home for the football game this afternoon."
So you roll out, start the truck, winch up the wheel hose and batten down the hatches. With everything secure, you start driving toward the landing where you discover that ... read more >> Ice fishing report Grand Rapids

image denotes question from reader (1/2) Lake of the Woods Walleye tactics from Tim Higgins; "The Higgins boys are headed up to LOW this weekend. I'm down to a clown jig and a couple of rattlers. Do you have any jig suggestions for me? I'm pretty far out of the loop, fishing wise, these days so any recommendations you might have will be gladly received".
A) Since I’m not an expert on LOW, I’m deferring to suggestions that I've gotten from Jon Telen. He fishes on Lake of the Woods a lot and says that his “go to” jigs are the Rattlin’ Flyer Spoon and the Lindy Darter.
I've seen the Darters in action and they really work, but for me, getting the hang of the darters took some effort. The flyers on the other hand are straight forward and very easy to use.
There are a whole bunch of videos that were produced on Lake of the Woods during the past 3 ice seasons. All of these videos were produced in real fishing situations, using the baits that you see in the videos. They contain some really good fishing tips for Lake of the Woods.
Here's a link >> Lindy YouTube channel << when you get there, search for Lake of the Woods ice fishing videos and you'll be in business. - Happy New Year!!
image denotes field report (1/2) From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson said; "There has been a lot of activity on the ice this week. Colder temperatures and a light snow cover have made travel on the ice very easy. There is still little vehicle travel on the area lakes (many of the lakes in this area have springs and inconsistent ice thickness) but wheelers and sleds are able to go anywhere they want. The Crappie bite has tapered off a bit with the cold snap but there’s still enough action to make it worthwhile. Walleye have remained spotty with the usual catch being one or two in a limited time window of about a half hour before and after sunset.  Don’t forget our annual Winter Extravaganza Sale is going on now with loads of gear for your next ice fishing adventure. Another cold snap is headed our way so get out and enjoy the next couple of days on the ice!" Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 219-832-3901 or Email .
image denotes question from a reader (1/2) A message that came into my facebook page says; "My husband (name witheld) is ranting and raving about the new DNR law starting tomorrow morning to have a Invasive Species sticker! Any news you can pass on to him? Thanks Jeff, Save Me From Going Nuts!
A) When the note came in, I knew about the new law, but just barely. So I wanted to see for myself just how much trouble passing the "test" would be.
According to a DNR press release, the study course was supposed to be "Available in January". I figured that I might just as well become an expert by getting it over with. So on Thursday, I did logon to the DNR website and attempt to complete the study course for myself.
I was disappointed to find out that just because it is January, doesn't mean that they are ready for us. There was currently no link to the study course so I was unable to complete it. Also at that time, there wasn't any information posted about the cost of the decals, so that's a question that will need to be answered later.
*The most important thing that I did learn is that we all have until July 1st, 2015 to pass the test and get our stickers.
Another important fact is that the study course must be completed by every single person who passes through the state of Minnesota, even if they do not intend to stop here. When they say everybody, they mean everybody and for the folks who don't find out in time, conditional citations will be issued. So if you show up un-prepared and receive a ticket, you'll have 7 days to complete the course that they estimate will take 20-30 minutes.
There is a list of Q&A on the DNR website that you will find helpful. >> Click For More Aquatic Invasive Species Training In Minnesota

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 1, 2015 - Happy New Year!

In a very short time yesterday afternoon, my tour around Grand Rapids led me to 6 lakes. I was able to drive onto all them easily and on each one, I was following other people’s tracks. From what I can see, if there's a public landing on any lake, ice fishermen can get on it, and they are.
Tuesday, I was reminded about how many fans of ice fishing ... read more >> Ice fishing report Grand Rapids .

image denotes question from reader (1/1) A question posted to facebook on Wednesday piqued my interest, so it's re-posted here with permission. I caught this fish while I was ice fishing, but I've never seen one before. What is it and are they good to eat?
image of Rock Bass
A) The Rock Bass, AKA "Goggle Eye" like the one you have here can be a very desirable fish. Opinions vary depending on where you catch them, but they do have a loyal following among many anglers.
For every ten anglers who won't touch them, there is someone who loves them! In fact, I have some fishing customers who are very fond of Rock Bass and will go out of their way to catch and bag them.
They are very scrappy fighters and in some lakes, they'll grow to 13 inches, maybe more. As far as eating, under most circumstances, they are very much like eating a Crappie.
The specimen in your photo looks healthy and plump; I don't believe that eating this fish present a problem at all.
The Rock Bass have heavy rib bones, making them harder to clean and less desireable in some peoples view.
They can, in some waters, also develop unpleasant looking skin blemishes. Anglers who have encountered this, tend to hold it against all of the "Goggle Eyes" everywhere.
Once, we fished with a large group of men and one of the guides, with his fishermen caught and brought back dozens of Rock Bass from Cass Lake. The fish and the fillets were beautiful and when we used them to prepare a very large shore lunch, they received rave reviews.
I would definitely hold off on making a final judgement until after you give them a try, then make up your own mind. If you like 'em, you will find lots of good fishing territory and have most of it to yourself.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report December 30, 2014 - Extensions Anyone?

During a phone conversation with my long lost pal Chad Benson on Monday, we talked about ice conditions on Upper Red Lake. In Benson’s own words; "I can already see that we're gonna be needing extensions (on our ice augers) this winter. With this cold weather, we're gonna have 2 feet of ice before this weekend".
I believe that Chad's observation will almost certainly be true for owners of permanent ice shelters and wheel houses; for the ... read >> Ice ishing Report December 30, 2014

image denotes link to Humminbird Electronics

Humminbird Family Values Video Contest

Do you have any great family fishing videos in the can? Or, maybe you've been waiting for an opportunity to use your smartphone or camcorder to take a family fishing video? Now's the time to show off your talent! You could win a trip for four to the Bassmaster Classic! It's easy: load your video onto your Youtube channel, paste the url into the entry form found here: and get your friends to vote for your video! ‪#‎Bassmaster‬ >> Click Humminbird Family Values Video Contest

January 31, 2015

image of spawning Walleyes
Tom Crosby wrote; "With the adjustment to the slot size on Winnie, Do you feel the DNR did this in hopes we take some (larger fish) out? Just curious what your thoughts are? Read >> Relaxed Slot Limits on Lake Winnie .

image of Phil Goettl holding large Perch

Phil Goettl and crew found good Perch and Pike action on Lake Winnie.

January 2015 Reports
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January 30, 2015

image of Kristin Hastings holding Perch
Not a bad fish for her first time on the ice. "Perch Princess" Kristin Hastings shows off the first Jumbo that she's ever pulled out from under the ice.

January 29, 2015

image of Jon Thelen with giant Crappie
The fish we were targeting had their hearts set on eating young of the year Perch minnows for breakfast. They chased schools of forage along the breakline, occasionally, pinning down baitfish just below our ice holes.

January 2015 Reports
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January 27, 2015

January 26, 2015

image of Leech Lake Ice Fishing
The late hour of the Perch action seems a bit odd. But conditions were bright during the day and that, combined with a complete lack of snow cover could be the reason.

In this week's episode of Fish ED., Jeff Sundin shows how fishing the Foo Flyer and Slick Jig together provides the perfect one-two punch for late season Walleye

January 25, 2014

image of Annalee Sundin with Jumbo Perch
Ice fishermen, it's time to polish up your "Perch Jerkin' Gear".
Longer Daylight + Shorter Food Supply + Changing Food Sources + Spawning Instincts = Great Late Winter Transitional Perch Fishing!

image of snowmobiles rigged with portable ice fishing shelters
I couldn't help but observe this crew in action. These guys, rigged for peak efficiency, were obviously on a "search and destroy" mission. Lots of mobility = lots of potential to find fish.

January 23, 2015

image of Jon Thelen with Lake Winnie Perch

image of Perch with Perch Talker Lure in mouth
There's something special about The Perch Talker's skill set. This particular combination of sight and sound that makes Perch strike very agressively.

January 22, 2015

image of Lund Alaskan
Read Q&A >> Lund Alaskan For Rough Water?

January 21, 2015

In this week's episode of Fish ED., Jeff Sundin shows how fishing the Foo Flyer and Slick Jig together provides the perfect one-two punch for late season Walleye

January 20, 2015

image of Arne Danielson holding big Walleye
Arne Danielson proves that even a slow day produces some highlights. Capturing the "Target Species" validates the plan.

image of map showing fishing location on the lake
The Walleye plan A and B. A shoreline point with an adjacent shallow feeding flat and a nearby open water hump that tops of at about 21 feet.

January 19, 2015

image Danny Martin holding Perch on Lake Winnie
Thanks to the fire kept burning under my butt by my senior navigator Danny Martin, we opted to make one more move. This time when I asked Danny if he was feeling lucky, he said "Yes, this time I am" and he was right!

image Rainbow Trout on the ice
Photo Greg Clusiau: The Minnesota Trout opener was rewarding, read >> Clusiau's Report

image links to Fishing Reports Minnesota on Facebook
On Facebook, Duly Deputized Cub Reporters can post reports on our Facebook Page >> "Fishing Reports Minnesota"

January 18, 2015

image of Chuck Wailor holding big Northern Pike
A report from the Northern Pike Technical Committee helps explain how we've lost our way in the effort to manage for quality Northern Pike in Minnesota. Proposed changes would focus on taking a fresh look at Northern Pike management in the state.

January 15, 2015

image Jonny Petrowske Red Lake Remote
Petrowske shown assessing his evening bridge repair duties. He says repairs have been needed daily because of the persistent ice ridge that's been shifting constantly.

image of Brian Casetellano with Crappie and Perch
Photo Brian Castellano: Showing off his pair of twin twelves.

January 13, 2015

image of portable ice fishing shelter
Ah ... basking in the GLOW inside of my new, warmer office. It's finally finally rigged and reay to go on it's maiden voyage today!

image of Walleye on Lake Winnie
On Sunday, all of my action came on a 3/16 ounce Rattl'n Flyer Spoon, tipped with the pinched of head of a medium size fathed.

image of ice conditions on Lake Winnie
The surface of the ice on Lake Winnie is a 50/50 mix of clear black ice and patches of hard packed, drifted snow.

January 7, 2015

Ice Fishing for Big Slab Crappies doesn't always mean that you need live bait. This week on Fish ED Jon Thelen let's you in on how to catch Crappie with the Lindy Watsit Ice Jig. Watch >> Slab Crappies on Plastic

image of ice fisherman holding crappie
Virtually every panfish angler has a favorite lure he reaches for first when it’s time to put fish on the ice. Dan Johnson caught up with Jeff Sundin, took some notes and wrote >> 3 Steps To Panfish Success

January 6, 2015

image of Brad Parsons MN DNR
Lucky break for the Mississippi? Only 1 of 500 Mississippi River samples test positive for invasive carp. Read Story >> Testing the Mississippi for Bighead Carp

January 5, 2015

January 4, 2015

image of mixed bag Perch and Walleyes on Winnibigoshish
Photo courtesy Zach Dagel: Led by Tyler from Nodak Lodge, Zach and Jill spent their day Fishing from a warm, permanent shelter on Lake Winnie. The result was a mixed bag of Perch, Walleye and Pike.

January 3, 2015

image of Austin Jones holding Walleye on The ice at Lake Winnie
On Winnibigoshish, the tips of points on the smaller bars at 22 to 25 feet of water was our key to catching fish. Rattlin' Flyer Spoons and Slick Jigs produced our fish.

January 2, 2015

image of men stranded on the wrong isde of a pressure ridge on Splithand Lake
Photo Brenda Forster: Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed? These men spent New Years Eve in their wheel house and rose to a New Years surprise. The pressure ridge developed overnight, trapping them on the lake.

 Jon Telen fishes on Lake of the Woods a lot and shows how fishing with 2 of his favorite “go to” jigs,
the Rattlin’ Flyer Spoon and the Lindy Darter produce Walleye on Lake of the Woods

January 1, 2015

Ice Fishing for Big Slab Crappies doesn't always mean that you need live bait. This week on Fish ED Jon Thelen let's you in on how to catch Crappie with the Lindy Watsit Ice Jig. Watch >> Slab Crappies on Plastic

December 2014 Reports
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Did you know that the Thursday Morning Program is available for a week after the air date? Yes, if you miss the live show, just click here and select the 6:00 hour on Thursday. Scroll in to about 6:20 AM and you're back in business! Link to KAXE Audio Archive

And Do You Know that you can even post your own helpful hints to my fishing reports page on facebook? YES! You Can! You don't have to tell us your secrets, just go ahead and brag a little when you get a whopper! >>> Click Here >>> Fishing Reports Minnesota .

image denotes insider fishing news