If you’re interested in Walleye fishing on the Rainy River, you’re probably not depending on this report for current information. The buzz has been active for at least a week already and as of Thursday, the news hasn’t changed much.
I got an update from my friend Steve Kusske yesterday and his was the first to mention that no large fish were caught. The lack of big fish could be a simple coincidence, or it could be the signal that the “spawning run” is developing in earnest.
Typically, the early run consists mainly of big fish and continues that way until water temperatures warm into the low 40’s. Warming water begins triggering mass numbers of fish to head upstream, toward spawning grounds.
For anglers who want photos of trophy fish, the percentages begin going down. But action minded Walleye anglers, along with folks seeking a meal begin having more fun as the river’s fish population grows.
I am finally enjoying a break from shuffling paper, giving seminars and cleaning garages. This morning I have my trusty Alaskan in the driveway and by days end, all of the rods tackle and bait will be loaded and ready to go.
Tomorrow morning, we will be heading north to join the chaos and I’m hoping that whether they’re large or small, images of freshly caught Walleyes will soon adorn this page.
Q&A On Thursday, the Hippie Chick shared a note from Mathias Norenberg asking; “What would Jeff recommend to use for bait and tackle for rainy river walleye fishing? I and my dad are going to try it for the first time on Saturday”.
A) Mathias, Your question is timely because it goes along with another report I received on Thursday from my friend Nick Spaeth who has been up on the Rainy this week. Nick told me that the “hot color” for his trip on the river was Pink/White, a color which happens to be one of my long time favorites too.
The jigs I use most often, Lindy’s Live Bait Jigs are the best for tipping with a large Fathead, Rainbow or Shiner. The color is actually Pink/Glow, although their lower portion appears to be white on the bottom. Other preferred colors favored by many river anglers are Blue/Glow, Yellow/Orange, Yellow/Lime and the ever-popular bright Gold.
Spaeth told me that he prefers adding plastic action tails to a round jig head with a barbed color. The Lindy Jig offers these features too (image left) and they are available in the same colors as the Live Bait Jigs. Although a minnow is still added to enhance the smell, the twirl tail helps provide extra attracting power, he believes.
When it comes to jig weight, there are a couple schools of thought about how weights affect presentation.
Some anglers prefer to use heavy weights that allow them to fish vertically under the boat while maintaining contact with the bottom. This presentation is well suited for times when moderate current speeds allow fish to navigate in the center portion of the main river channel. This is particularly effective during pre-spawn when fish are moving upstream toward spawning areas, but before the spawn actually begins.
For me, some of the best action I’ve had on the Rainy occurs when fish are closer to the shoreline. At times like these, lighter weight jigs cast toward shore and drifted along these current breaks provides better action.
The fish can be located on shore because strong mid-channel current forces them to find baitfish in slower moving water, occurring where structures provide current breaks along the bank. Click here for an excellent tutorial about Fishing Current Breaks On Rainy River .
When spawning begins in earnest, shallow stretches of gravel located along the bank provide ideal terrain for Walleye eggs to survive. For spawning Walleyes, these shallow stretches of gravel are where they do their best work.
For shallow fish, casting jigs ranging in weight from 1/16 to ¼ ounce will perform very well. Typically I start with the 1/8 ounce Live Bait Jig, tip it with a nice Rainbow Chub. I literally cast onto the shore in just a few inches of water and hop the jig across the gravel, hopping it along the bottom as I retrieve it.
I am home from Minneapolis after 4 days in the Lindy booth at the Northwest Sportshow.
I’m sure that Jon and all of the folks at Lindy would agree with me when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of you that greeted us with kind words, handshakes and smiles. That makes the show fun for us and because of your support; our time working at the show flies by.
This year’s introduction of the Lindy Live Bait Jig ended a 5 year break from seeing my original lure in market place. Showing off the new jig lineup was especially fun for me because over the years, I and my family had a lot of time invested in the manufacture and delivery of them.
I have to admit, I missed hearing some of the comments and getting “pats on the back” from folks who were loyal customers. Frustrated by their disappearance, many of them have drilled me about when their favorite jigs would be back on the market.
Well, here ya go then, they are back and now that Lindy has introduced the product, promoting them will be a lot more fun. The jigs will be available in a lot more stores; the quality is better than ever and thanks to modern equipment along with a workforce that keeps up with demand, the Live Bait Jigs are even more affordable now than they were when I sold them.
I hope you’ll agree that it was worth waiting to see them again and if you were a fan, I hope you’ll re-stock your tackle box before the fishing season.
For me, the Northwest Sportshow always serves as a natural intermission between the ice and open water fishing seasons. This year isn’t any different, the ice is melting, the Rainy River’s water is flowing, most landings are open and fish are biting; sort of.
Most of the reports coming from the Rainy River are typical for the early season. Large fish make the float interesting, but water temperatures remain cold and it’s still early for the spawning runs to begin in earnest.
The early ice out serves to extend the season on the Rainy and there’s an excellent chance that anglers can get in on both this early season big fish run and the later season spawning run that will feature larger numbers of smaller male fish.
I’m still living vicariously through reports from friends, but after a few days or organizing, I’ll be on my way up there to gather first hand reports.
"Ice is good in some areas of main lake but bad in areas with moving water / springs. All resort / outfitter access's are closed to vehicles but some are open to four-wheelers. side by sides, and snowmobiles including Morris Point, Long Point, Dales's and Arnesen's, which still has fish houses available as well. As always, use a resort or outfitter road for safety as they are monitored daily. Walleye bite has been good with many keepers among smaller fish. Fish are aggressive and having a flasher is helpful. Jigging spoon tipped with minnow head or tail and a dead stick with a plain hook or small ice jig and minnow are doing good. Key depth 17-33 ft. Best colors glow pink/red and gold. Tip up fishing for pike on fire. Many flags of northern pike in back bays and reefs.
Rainy River spring fishing is ON! The Rainy River is open all the way to Wheeler's Point. Birchdale, Frontier, Vidas, and Timbermill landings are open to all boats. Wheeler's Point will be open in a day or so. Walleye fishing has been excellent. Many eater walleyes so far with a few monsters. Right now a 1/2 - 3/4 ounce jig is enough to get to the bottom while tipped with 1 or 2 frozen shiners. Pink, orange and gold are hot colors. Many sturgeon being boated as well." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"The river is opening up and there is still ice on the lake. We have open water in front of the resort and with the current forecast it is easily assumed the access will be open for the upcoming weekend.
The bite has been excellent with many large Walleye being caught in the river. There are still some venturing out on the lake with 4 wheelers and also have been having great luck.
We have begun some remodeling projects and doing our spring clean-up.
We have special spring rates on our cabin rental available through Walleye opener for Walleye and Sturgeon fishing.
The forecast shows highs in the 50s each day for the week ahead." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Sometimes the easiest way to understand where you are going is to look back and see where you’ve been. On Friday, my day was filled with reminders of “where I’d been” over the past few decades.
The Minnesota Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame hosted its 2017 induction ceremony on Friday morning in Minneapolis and for this year’s inductees, deserving the honor was the least of anybody’s concerns.
Perry Good, Terry Tuma, The Burger Brothers, CLAM Corporation … yes of course, they’re in, who would ever argue those choices? But for me, the inspirational choice for this year’s induction was Doug Stange.
Stange shared his love of fishing in many ways; in fact you’ve probably watched him on TV, in an episode of In-Fisherman. TV is good; I watched every episode hoping to glean another tidbit of knowledge. But it is his creative, fact filled and informative writing that really fanned the flame of passion for fishing in my life.
During my formative years, I could hardly wait to get my hands the next issue of In-Fisherman as they came hot off the press. I remember reading every issue cover to cover, gobbling up every word of wisdom I could. But no matter the lineup of articles between the covers, the first article ever read by me always began with … “Written by Doug Stange”.
Until yesterday, I’m not sure that I even realized it myself, but taking a walk back along the path to my beginning leads me straight to those early articles. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is the man who influenced me more than anybody else in the fishing industry.
If I’d known him those 40 years ago and he’d told me that I’d be sitting at the same table, breathing the same air and congratulating him at his induction into the hall of fame, I’d have said; “sure Doug”.
This morning I’m feeling a little extra bounce in my step, a little bit more inspired. Oh I know, even if I kicked it into high gear and wrote something brilliant every day, there aren’t enough days left in my lifetime to begin catching up. If there’s been something brilliant to say about fishing, Stange has already written it.
Still, I’m glad to have the inspiration to try and I’m gonna give it my best effort. If I get really lucky, maybe someday, someone reading now will recall being inspired by one of my silly stories. I’m not holding my breath, but you never know, it could happen, right Doug?
Today marks the beginning of the Northwest Sportshow, starting at 1:00 pm and running through this Sunday. The show is held at the Minneapolis Convention Center and for the next 4 days, you'll be able to find me there.
I would love it if you'll make a special point to pay us a visit the Lindy Fishing Tackle booth. We always have cool new stuff to show you, but for me, this year is extra special.
Over the past few years, friends and fans have been wondering when and where the "Sundin Jig" would turn up again. Well guess what? I'll be helping show off the new lineup of Lindy Jigs, including the Lindy Live Bait Jig which just happens to be identical to the original, first run of the jigs that helped me build my guiding career.
Stop by booth #835 and let me show them to you and while you’re there, we can compare notes about the upcoming fishing season. Show hours are 1:00 to 9:00 PM today and 11:00 to 9:00 on Friday for the complete schedule follow this link >> Northwest Sportshow Location and Hours. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at the show!
Spring is in the air. Our ice fishing season closed Sunday on the lake and the river bite started with a bang on Monday. The Pelland and Birchdale landings are now open and the Frontier and Vidas landing are not far behind. There is open water 4-5 miles west of Frontier landing. Frontier landing has 25-30 feet of shore ice and rumor has it may be open tomorrow. Vidas landing should be open by the weekend and possibly even Timbermill (east side of Baudette) by the weekend at this rate. The bite has been hot! A few of our guides were out and landed and released a pile of walleyes yesterday, over 50% in the slot. Drift jigging gold/pink and gold ¾ oz. jigs tipped with a rainbow was the hot ticket. Clarity was 6-8’ and current speed was .7-1mph. Best time was in the late afternoon in depths of 13’-18’. Lodging specials and guided trips available now! Boat rentals and dock slips will be available soon! Time to book your spring trip!" Sportsmans Lodge 800-862-8602.
"Our houses are off the lake. It was another great ice season! Thank you to everyone who was able to make the ice season great! There is still ice on the lake and travel with 4 wheelers makes it easy going. There has been more of the changing weather this past week. We have cabin rental available through Walleye opener for Walleye and Sturgeon fishing. The forecast shows up to the 50s on some days for the week ahead."
"Game On! The Rainy River is open from 4-5 miles west of Birchdale. Birchdale landing is open to all boats. Frontier will be soon. Some anglers pushing boats over the ice on landings more west. Good reports so far of walleye bite.
Ice continues to be good with 24-27 inches in most areas. As always, use a resort or outfitter road for safety as they are monitored daily. Some resorts have pulled houses, some still have houses out. Some ice roads closed, others still open. Call ahead. Bite has been great overall with many keepers among smaller year classes. Fish are very aggressive but electronics are very helpful as some walleyes and saugers are suspended. Jigging spoon tipped with minnow head or tail and a dead stick with a plain hook or small ice jig and minnow are doing good. Key depth 20-33 ft. Best colors glow pink/red. Northern pike are on fire in spawning areas and are very active with fish over 40" caught daily. Some resorts have pulled houses for the year but others are still going strong depending on where on the lake they are stationed.
Up at the NW Angle, ice conditions decent with 18-24 inches of solid ice in non-current areas but current areas are opening up quickly. Travel with caution. On the Minnesota side, walleye fishing is good in 20-30 feet. Jumbo perch still turning up in buckets. In Ontario the crappie bite is hot with all this warm weather. Remember to shift to another species after you have your limit of crappies as these fish have a high mortality rate over 25' of water. Work through resorts and give them a call before you head up as ice conditions change rapidly this time of year. Fish houses can stay on ice through March, walleyes/saugers through April 14th. Pike and crappies open all year for Lake Of The Woods MN."
"I was just about “walleyed out” after last season but it looks like I’m, once again, ready for another go at it. Justin Bailey spent several hours, last month, working on an old boat he has had since a kid. It, along with the trailer, has been totally redone and looks pretty sharp. He pulled it up to the Rainy River last Sunday and had trouble in finding a ... Read >> Greg's Guidelines March 21, 2017
Sunday delivered a sneak preview of the spring season, one that offered proof of winter’s passing.
On our afternoon driving tour of Grand Rapids eastern perimeter, small rivers and streams were open and were filling with waterfowl. Swans, Geese and a mixed population of early arriving ducks were easy to see, but hard to photograph. Still, they were there and it’s just a matter of days before we can get close enough for better pictures of them.
Ice fishermen were still pursuing Panfish on some of their favorite lakes, but I’ll bet most of them viewed this as their last weekend on the ice.
Landings were mainly passable, but deteriorating as access roads became soft and muddy.
On the Rainy River, warm, windy weather encouraged current flow on the Rainy River. Although the shoreline remains ice covered, the main channel was open well beyond the Frontier Landing on Sunday afternoon and there were anglers using small boats to push across the ice, into the river.
Open water is advancing faster than usual on the river, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to hear about an open landing or two before next weekend. Even if I can’t get up there before the Northwest Sportshow, time set aside for getting my boat out of the garage is on the schedule.
The theme that best fits northern Minnesota’s late ice season this year may just be; “Good Ice, Bad Timing”. It’s been an unfortunate cycle, one day ice conditions are ideal, the next day everybody gets scared away by deteriorating conditions.
Here we go again, with 25 inches of solid ice, easy vehicle access and no snow cover on the lakes, there’s another spring rainstorm headed our way, maybe.
All of this uncertainty has dramatically reduced the number of ice anglers, especially local traffic. But if you haven’t given up on ice fishing, then the forecast for this weekend looks better than we’ve seen recently; we just have to hope that Friday is not too wet.
For folks living in the southern half of Minnesota who have been looking at open water for weeks already the notion of ice fishing already died a while ago. In fact they would probably be really surprised to see how much ice we still have up here.
Even if the forecast of rain on Friday does come true and we do receive significant rainfall, there will still be plenty of ice for anglers who want to enjoy a weekend on the ice. The only question is how they will travel to and from their favorite ice fishing spots.
Thanks to dry, cold conditions, getting my truck onto the ice was easy yesterday. In fact, I was surprised by how universally good the travel conditions were. In the woods, snow cover remains light, runoff is minimal and most of the secondary roads leading in to public landings were dry. This was the case at every stop I made and comparing notes with others, similar conditions were widespread.
Because most of the traffic now consists of tourists pursuing late season Perch. I focused my search on the areas larger lakes.
On the west side of Lake Winnie, the Trapper’s Landing Road had the most moisture, but it was frozen solid, and easy to navigate. The road leading onto the lake was in fine condition and was currently un-restricted.
I met one of the game wardens coming off of the lake and stopped for a chat. He reported that while driving conditions on the lake are currently good, there are several new pressure ridges popping up. That means that the scope of your travel may be limited, but there’s still enough territory available to allow exploration.
According to the CO, fishing action has slowed during every cold front this winter, but the trend is that action picks up again whenever warm weather settles in. He reported that the action had been slow early this week too, but that it was on the rise again yesterday.
Highbanks has officially closed their road for the season so anglers who want to fish the south and east side of Winnie should gain access at Denny’s resort in Bena. For now, they are still allowing ½ ton pickups on the lake via their ice road.
There’s still access to the lake’s north side too; a road leading onto Bowen’s Flats off of Bowen’s Road will take you to some good Perch fishing spots in Tamarack Bay. Watch out for pressure ridges in this area too and don’t attempt to cross them; others have tried and failed already.
If you want to fish on the north end of Winnie, Third River Landing remains available too, but a wet weekend could change that. I will post an update on Friday morning after I talk with the folks at Dixon Lake Resort.
Access to Leech Lake is currently good too. I drove into the public landing at Sucker Bay and found more snow than I did at Winnie, but not enough to cause trouble. There is a good, user developed road leading out from the concrete ramp and once you’re on the lake, you can cover a lot of territory.
Reports about reasonably good Perch action in Sucker Bay persist, but there was no traffic on the lake on Wednesday.
Time was becoming an issue, so I didn’t go out of my way to drive on any smaller Panfish lakes. I passed by several of them though and made quick swings into their landings. Like Winnie and Leech, conditions looked good on these smaller waters as well.
If you were hoping to get a “Hot Tip” about where you can drop in and catch a quick bunch of fish, I’m afraid that it won’t be that simple. Traffic on area lakes is extremely light and most of the “reports” are little more than generalizations that we could throw out there every year during the late ice period.
For me, Perch fishing on Winnie’s north side would probably be my first choice today. If we get a lot of rain tomorrow, I’d probably plan the weekend around hoofing it to one of the areas small lakes for Panfish instead.
The Rainy River is open from Birchdale to the east with shore ice present. Some anglers have already started pushing boats over the ice. Warm weather should get the ice moving again this week as it stalled out last week.
Up at the NW Angle, ice conditions are still good with 20-24 inches of solid ice in non-current areas. On the Minnesota side, walleye fishing is hot between 20-30 feet. Black and gold have been the hot colors. Jumbo perch have turned on this past week with many 14 inchers. In Ontario the crappie bite continues to be hot, typically using small plastics. Remember to shift to another species after you have your limit of crappies as these fish have a high mortality rate over 25' of water. Work through resorts and give them a call before you head up as ice conditions change rapidly this time of year. Fish houses can stay on ice through March, walleyes/saugers through April 14th. Pike and crappies open all year for LOW MN.
Mother Nature did what she does best, she changed her mind; again.
Just think about it, only 4 days ago the mean temperature in Grand Rapids was 44 degrees. The lakes, already covered with standing water were on the verge of receiving buckets full of rain and only 3 days ago, strong thunderstorms and heavy rain caused flooding and fueled concerns that the ice season was over.
By Wednesday, the wet weather had given way to a cold front, the mean temperature was 14 degrees and the winds gusted over 40 MPH; the Itasca area was engulfed in blizzard-like conditions.
This morning, the temperature outside my office is -10 degrees, the wind is calm and most lakes in our region are re-frozen. For anybody who wants to travel this weekend, the ice fishing season is back in full swing.
Small, land locked lakes are in the best condition right now. I checked accesses at several of them on Thursday afternoon and their surfaces were dry, frozen solid and easily accessible. I did not see anybody traveling in cars or light trucks, but there were several anglers using ATV’s and their travel was unrestricted.
Although most lakes are re-frozen, there are some very notable exceptions. River fed lakes that were swollen by the runoff should be avoided, even if they appear to be okay. The Mississippi River for example has a strong current flow and there are numerous areas of open water wherever the river enters or exits lakes in the Mississippi chain.
It’s easy to see open water, but less obvious areas on lakes that are fed by small rivers could be very dangerous. There’s just no telling what the effects of the multiple thaw and re-freeze cycles have been. For me, I can do without traveling long distances and happily spend the remainder of this ice season on small waters, pursuing fish that live within walking distance of the landings.
I know that some of you are more adventurous than I am, and you’ll be happy to know that the rental operators on Lake Winnie plan to have their roads open for the weekend. I'm in the process of confirming which ones are open and I will update the post as new information becomes available.
"Here's an in-depth look at how to use Shallow Water and Depth Highlight functions on your fish finder for making spot-on casts and running a pattern. Mapping has become an indispensable tool in finding fish holding structure, but also in how to ..." View Video >> Make "Spot on Spot" Casts
Conditions in Grand Rapids this morning are calm, quiet and cold; just what ice anglers were hoping for.
My guess is that we’ll find solid ice, not much snow and decent access roads today. I’ll go a step further and predict that any speculation about an early ice out in Northern Minnesota can likely be laid to rest. The forecast of another week of single digit lows and daytime highs in the teens will bring Itasca area lakes back in line for what amounts to an “average” ice out.
The problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know. Strong winds kept most of us away from the ice for a couple of days and before that, we received lots of rain. So it is possible that conditions had already deteriorated further than we think.
Now that that it’s calm, we’ll be able to get out there to assess the quality of ice, but until we do, I’d suggest taking a cautious approach to travel on the ice.
Playing it safe, led to an announcement by the organizers of Madden’s Pokegama Lake Perch Jerk, ice fishing contest scheduled for this Saturday. “Perch Jerk Alert: We have been notified by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office That the Perch Jerk Tournament will be (FOOT TRAFFIC ONLY) from 10am to 2pm which is the time of our permit for Tioga Bay. The use of any motorized vehicle including cars, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles etc. will be prohibited.”
For a complete list of rules, entry forms and list of prizes, click here for >> Madden’s Pokegama Perch Jerk Ice Fishing Tournament Flyer.
I’ll take a tour myself today that will help fill in the blanks about ice conditions. But if your ice fishing gear is still ready for action, then there’s little doubt in my mind that you will find a place to fish this weekend.
While this latest re-birth of our ice fishing season is happy news for some, boaters, hoping for news about the Rainy River opening up, are likely disappointed by the forecast. Even though there are stretches of open water in mid-channel, none of the ramps are available for launching larger boats.
So if last week’s warm weather made you anticipate better conditions and you had already taken your boat out of the garage, you’re gonna have to travel south to find open water.
"Our ice remains 24-30 inches and with single digit nights coming up in the back half of the week. Ice fishing in full swing. A very active bite continues. In some areas, anglers are having to sort through a variety of walleyes / saugers to find keepers. Electronics helpful as some walleyes are suspended. Jigging spoon tipped with minnow head or tail and a dead stick with a plain hook or small ice jig and minnow are doing good. Key depth 29-33 ft. Best colors glow pink/red or chartreuse. Northern pike have started staging near spawning areas and are active.
The Rainy River morning and evening bite has been spotty at times. Know the river or use a resort or guide for safety on ice. The river is open from Birchdale to the east. Shore ice remains and some reports say a few anglers have already started pushing boats over the ice. Reporting open water progress at Rainy River page of website.
Up at the NW Angle, ice conditions are still good with 20-24 inches of solid ice in non-current areas. On the Minnesota side, walleyes on shallower rock points between 20-24 feet as well as well as in the mud between 28-30 feet. Perch are also being caught. A variety of baits with a variety of colors having success. In Ontario the crappie bite has been hot. Walleyes are are most active on humps with successful colors being blue and white, pink and gold. Remember to move on to another species after you have your limit of crappies as these fish have a high mortality rate over 25' of water. Work through resorts and stay on ice road. Fish houses can stay on ice through March, walleyes/saugers through April 14th. Pike and crappies open all year for LOW MN." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"I had big plans for myself a week ago; at least that’s what I thought.
Knowing that the weekend warm up was coming, I could barely decide if fishing on the ice or standing along the shoreline of Lake Superior would get the nod. One way or another, I figured that I’d be telling you a great story about some sort of fishing today.
Sometimes though, even the best plan in the world falls apart when Mother Nature steps in to interrupt. Apparently, this weekend was slated as my weekend to hole up and enjoy the feeling of worthlessness that accompanies a case of the flu. So as lame as it is, that’s my excuse for being absent over the past few days.
By Sunday afternoon, I was able to tag along for a ride to see what some of the lakes looked like and for now, they still look good.
With 45 degree air temperatures and sunny conditions, surface snow was almost entirely melted and there was some standing water on Grand Rapids area lakes. There was still vehicle traffic on a couple of lakes, but there were more anglers on foot than there were driving.
Today’s weather will determine a lot about how long our ice lingers. If we dodge the rain that was forecast, then we’ll see another re-freeze that could keep the ice in fishable condition for a few more weeks. The more rain we receive today, the more time will be shaved off of the rest of our ice fishing season."
"Crappie action is what’s on my plate now. Last week proved that an “early, late ice bite” can happen.
Although the crappies are still over mid depth ranges 15-20ft, they are starting to concentrate outside future spawning areas and feeding quite well. They are also using the entire water column. Keep an eye on your electronics to tell you what depth the fish are passing by, do not ignore the first few feet of water, just under the ice. This is especially true if the ice is melting or there is any water run off whatsoever.
I like the two line approach, one line set with a bobber/hook combo tipped with a lively crappie minnow off to the side and a jigging rod in hand with a small white or black jig tipped with a spike or waxie.
Soon, the fish will be in shallow by the newly sprouting weeds and active insects, not yet though, a few more weeks than yes." Capt Josh, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service 218-732-9919, 320-291-0708
"The fish were right there, they were all over my Humminbird Helix 5 but I couldn’t get them to bite. And then just when the sun went down and the bite should start, the screen was all but blocked out by… well my guess is plankton and that was the end of it.” I’ve had several customers this week tell me the same mournful tale. Plastics on a small jig seem to be the most productive at times like these. I had one customer tell me after fishing for hours with no results he put a Gulp red wiggler, which is a good Blood Worm imitation (not to mention the Gulp Secret Sauce) on his jig AND a minnow. Perhaps the Crappies were jealous, for with this combo he managed to ice eight crappies before everything shut down.
Could it be the crazy weather or some other phenomenon that is causing this slow bite? Whatever it is, it has the area anglers vexed. Fishing is bound to turn around eventually. We have a great weekend forecast calling for temperatures in the fifties so it seems that something has just got to give and soon. The ice conditions are perfect. The rough ice has all but melted into a very smooth surface with a nice crust of snow on top for traction. Whether this will be the case after Sunday’s fifty six degree high and Monday’s rain and possible thunder storms is anybody’s guess. This weekend should be a good one to be out on the ice and maybe, just maybe, the fish will turn on. You won’t know if you don’t go."
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .
Kurt Anderson Asked; what do you mean by the term “Death Cloud”? I saw your fishing report dated February 27th and in it, you said; “I was surprised that the action stopped before sundown, but it did. By 6:00 PM the screen of my Humminbird was painting images of the “death cloud”, clouds of plankton rising above the bottom.”
Kurt, I coined the phrase “Death Cloud” before I ever had any idea what was actually happening under the water’s surface. For me, it simply means that when I see the screen of my Humminbird clouded over by microscopic bait, it’s a sure signal that the fishing action is over and that predator fish are either no longer in the area, or that they are no longer feeding. When there are active predator fish on the scene, these tiny critters run scared and disappear. Sometimes they rise toward the surface, sometimes they burrow down just above the mud.
I’ve written about it before, so you can dig deeper by clicking these links >> October 10, 2015 “What’s that cloud on my screen? or February 4, 2015 Mid-Winter Panfish at Twilight