image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 11, 2023 "Ice Fishing Update"

image links to ice fishing report from the Grand Marais area ... "There are a variety of lakes in my region that have plenty of ice for walking right now, but there aren’t many folks toting fish pails toward their respective “honey holes”. Instead, the modern ice anglers are waiting for enough ice to drive heavier trucks towing larger shelters. These days the term “portable” means driving ATVs, side-by-sides, or snowmobiles towing sleds filled with gear.

I like comfort as much as anybody, and I don’t have any problem ice fishing in a wheelhouse, or in a large rental shelter but I still have a soft spot for old technology. It’s a sentimental connection, I know, but for me, the appreciation of catching a fish through the ice is elevated when I do a certain amount of suffering for my sport. Maybe it explains too why I credit folks who embrace the “old ways” of ice fishing with a greater love for the sport.

Take our daughter Joelle and her fiancé’ Patrick for example, they ..." Read >> Northeast Minnesota Ice Fishing Report December 11, 2023

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 11, 2023 "Bass Pro Shops $100 Gift Card Giveaway"

image links to article about finding the best deals on fishing gear for gifting "Nothing beats the holiday season. We look forward to it each year but most, if they are honest, are glad when the hustle and bustle is over.

All of us can use a little cash this time of year to help either put a smile on someone else’s face or add a grin to our own by spending a little money on ourselves and we think we have just the ticket for that.

Our friends at Bass Pro Shops will be helping with that this year by giving you a chance to win a 100-dollar gift card." Learn More and Enter >> Bass Pro Shops $100 Gift Card Giveaway

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 6, 2023

image of staked ice trail on lake of the woods "Ice continues to form and make progress on the south end of Lake of the Woods. But with that being said, it is going to take some time before it is safe enough for ice fishing houses. Resort ice guides have been out checking ice thickness, flying drones over the ice and basically staying on top of current conditions.

Back bays are locked up and there is some spearing for pike that has been happening. Ice conditions even in back bays vary, so for safety, please work through resorts and outfitters.

Most of Big Traverse Bay is ice covered. There are still patches of open water, some cracks that have opened up, etc. This is typical for this time of year and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Report December 6, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 6, 2023 "A Nice Day For A Walk"

I’ve never called myself a great deer hunter, but usually, if I’m determined enough, I can find one or at least have a chance at one. This fall, no matter how stubborn I get, they just keep being stubborn-er. It would probably be a relief if I just gave up, and headed to the lake to drill some holes, but I can’t!

I have been keeping tabs on ice conditions though, and the opportunities are more widespread every day. Locally, small lakes, particularly the shallower ones, have enough ice for walking, and folks have begun fishing on some of them. The larger and deeper lakes are struggling against the mild temperatures to gain ice thickness. On Winnie for example, shallow bays and shorelines are ice covered and folks have begun fishing on 6 to 8 inches of decent ice. There is currently not enough ice over the ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Update December 6, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin November 30, 2023 — Remember On Ice Trash Laws This Winter

image of trash left on the ice Q) How do make an entire group of people “appear” to be pigs? A) By allowing a handful of them to act like pigs.

I’ve ice fished on a lot of popular lakes, Upper Red, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, and others. In my experience, almost every spot we’ve fished has been relatively clean, and trash free. But I do occasionally stumble upon a spot where somebody, one of the pigs, didn’t care enough about their fellow anglers to pack out the garbage they produced while they were on the ice.

The image I borrowed from the Bemidji Pioneer came from an article by Maggi Fellerman on October 22, 2022 offers a perfect illustration of what happens when other anglers find littered areas like this. When it happens, they tend to get agitated enough to forget all about the 99% of their fellow anglers who clean up after themselves. Instead, they get upset and ..." Read >> Remember On Ice Trash Laws This Winter November 30, 2023

image links to fishrapper home page November 29, 2023 "What Do You Mean By Prairie Lakes Region?"

image links to reader question Q) In an email, Linda Ullsperger wrote: “Can you tell me what lakes are considered Prairie Lakes Area? All I find is in southwest Minnesota?

A) Thank you for the note and the good question! In the report on October 28, 2023, my reference to the “prairie lakes” region means, to me, the lakes in the west, northwest, and west central regions of Minnesota. Based primarily on my own anecdotal accounts of the changes in terrain as I travel westward and view lakes in those regions. The areas that come to mind for me, are the groupings of lakes around the Erskine, Detroit Lakes, and Fergus Falls.

There are regions defined and mapped by various "state" agencies. The MN DNR offers a map called ..." Read >> Q&A What Do You Mean By Prairie Lakes Region?

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 29, 2023

image of ice conditions at the northwest angle on lake of the woods "Ice is forming nicely on most areas of Lake of the Woods. That said, it is going to take some time before it is safe doe Travel. Outfitters, resort guides and various rental operators are ready to start marking trails on the ice.

Once they feel conditions are right, they will get out on the ice to check areas that offer the safest passage. As always, we encourage working through resorts and outfitters and staying on marked trails for safety.

Back bays have locked up first as they are out of the wind. Despite some good wind this past week, the lake is still covered with ice for ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Update November 29, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin November 28, 2023 "Ice Conditions Update"

image of Splithand Lake at the public boat ramp Grand Rapids area residents are likely to recognize the image of Splithand Lake’s public boat ramp. From there, it looked like the lake was frozen solid on Monday, and it was getting close. On the other side of the lake though, a couple of small open spots persisted over the deeper water. Down the road, Little Splithand was almost entirely frozen too, but several narrow cracks and wet spots revealed that the ice is not safe there either, not yet anyway.

Around the Itasca region, there were widespread reports about larger lakes getting close to locking up. Leech Lake’s shallow eastern bays skimmed over Monday morning. On Winnie, Third River had 4 to 5 inches of ice, and as soon as the trail controlled by Chippewa National Forest officials opens, there will be a rush of spear houses on the flowage.

It's 1 degree above zero outside my office right now, and that probably means that soon, we’ll be talking about some of the region’s larger lakes too. But further west, folks in the prairie lakes region are not issuing reports about ice conditions. Nope, they ..." Read More >> Ice conditions update November 28, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin November 27, 2023 "Countdown to the Ice Season"

Our goal on Sunday wasn’t to visit the maximum number of lakes, it was more of a road hunt, lunch stop, campground exploration and date day all rolled into one. Visibility wasn’t the greatest anyway, light snow driven by gusty winds prevented us from getting any great images. If you look closely at the accompanying image of Itasca County’s Round Lake though, you’ll see a couple of open water patches. There was a lot more ice than there were open holes, so I expect to see that lake frozen over whenever the wind stops blowing, but it isn't finished yet.

Some of the other small lakes we spied along our way north were frozen over, but all the larger ones were still wide open. I was surprised to see so much open water at Little Cutfoot, shallow and protected from wind, I’d expected to see at least a partially ice-covered lake, but it was almost wide open too.

Anglers champing at the bit to be among the first wave of ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Update November 27, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin November 26, 2023 "Freezing the Freeze-Able and Eating the Edible"

image of Itasca County area lake frozen over on November 26, 2023 If you want to, you can start your ice fishing season this week. You’ll have to walk, and you’ll have to limit your travels to one of north central Minnesota’s smaller, shallower lakes, but you can do it.

On Saturday, Susan and I found several lakes in the Grand Rapids area already frozen over. The one you see pictured here is a 125 acre, moderately clear panfish lake with a maximum depth of about 16 feet. This fits my early season, first ice profile to a T, and I’m thinking that I’ll take a walk out there really soon.

Around the region, there were reports of some larger, deeper water lakes that skimmed over yesterday morning too. Dixon Lake, northern Itasca County was locked up, so were the ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Updates November 26, 2023

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 8, 2023

image of ice forming on Zippel Bay links to Lake of the Woods ice updates "There have been very few anglers out on Lake of the Woods this past week. A combination of the blanket of snow, along with the draw of Minnesota's deer hunting tradition has most anglers waiting for ice to form on the lake.

At last report, there were good numbers of walleyes and saugers chasing schools of shiners in various spots across the south shore. The ideal depth was 22 to 26 feet of water. Typically, these fish will hold till early ice conditions allow anglers access. Early ice fishing could be good.

Back bays are iced up. The lake and larger bays are still wide open. The 10 day forecast shows above freezing temps, which is normal this time of year. Mother Nature determines, but traditionally, day houses start going out around ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report November 8, 2023

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish November 8, 2023 "Electric Ice Augers | Benefits Over Gas and Specs"

image links to Halloween Sale on Foldable Kayaks from Oru "Few fishing guides spend as much time on the ice or drill as many holes as Tony Roach of Roach’s Guide Service. Like professional tools, lithium battery-operated electric ice augers have quickly transformed the ice augers and taken market share, and for good reason.

Roach discusses why he made a wholesale switch from gas to StrikeMaster electric ice augers. He then discusses some key buying considerations for electric ice augers, depending on how you intend to use them.

First up, electric ice augers are super quiet. So what? Well, in addition to spooking less fish, the quietness of electric augers ..." View Video and Learn More >> Electric Ice Augers | Benefits Over Gas and Specs

image links to mn dnr news release News Release November 1, 2023: "Upper Red Mille Lacs Lake Winter Walleye Regulations Set for 2023-2024"

image of ice fisherman holding an upper red lake walleye "DNR sets winter walleye fishing regulations for Upper Red, Mille Lacs lakes"

The walleye limit for Upper Red Lake will decrease from the five, currently allowed during the open water fishing season, down to four this winter while the Mille Lacs Lake walleye limit will remain at one.

“Fall netting assessments on both lakes suggest these harvest levels will keep walleye populations sustainable and healthy,” said Brad Parsons, fisheries section manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’re pleased to offer anglers harvest opportunities on both lakes.” The DNR sets winter regulations for these lakes after they ..." Read >> Upper Red Mille Lacs Lake Winter Walleye Regulations November 1, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin October 31, 2023 Valuing the "Valu-Able"

image of Jeff Sundin's yellow lab with rosster pheasant Folks who know me well have heard me say this before, but for the record, I’ll say it again, for everybody. My dog, the yellow lab called Sandy, really got the shaft by having me in charge of her hunting schedule.

While most other hunting dogs are out in the field, chasing ducks or grouse or pheasants, she’s at home, waiting for me to get back to the house after work. Some years, like last fall, she never even got to hunting once, nope, not a single time. So, you might imagine that whenever I do finally get a chance to take her hunting, it means a lot to me. I don’t know if it means as much to her, but in my heart and mind, I’d like to believe that it does.

My fishing season, like I wrote last week, finally ended on Wednesday. Thursday, I spent the day in Duluth with the Hippie Chick, learning about the details of her upcoming retirement and then on Friday morning, our hunting adventure began! I packed a few days’ worth of sandwiches, a handful of shotgun shells, a bit of gear, one yellow dog and ..." Read >> Sundin Valuing the "Valu-Able" October 31, 2023

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image of jeff sundin with walleye caught during cold weather

Fishing The Fall Turnover In Natural Lakes - Jeff Sundin

... "This probably means that for most fishermen, "The Turnover", I mean the absolute scientific event is probably not really what influences fish locations and feeding patterns during the cold water period.
Most of us rarely, if ever see surface temperatures colder than 40 degrees and for me, 50 degree water is enough to produce changes in both location and feeding patterns. In other words, it's the fish that force me into finding alternative locations and feeding patterns well before the scientific version of turnover actually occurs.
Although there are times when a lake make may actually have completely turned over during our fishing season, it seems more likely to me that... Read >> Fishing Fall Walleye At Turnover


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