Minnesota Fishing Reports
"It feels like we’re further away from fall this week than we were last week when we reported that fish were transitioning into fall fishing patterns. Warmer daytime air temperatures and more sunshine have momentarily stalled the cooling cycle. Surface temperatures remain steady, holding in a range between 63 and 66 degrees, depending on where we fish throughout all the connected lakes.
Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux both still provide plenty of opportunities, but you’ll notice that certain methods, certain times of the day, and certain weather patterns bring out the best in which species will bite best, and when they’ll do it.For Jared Saufferer, our “in house” fishing guide, jig and minnow combinations have been better for walleyes when fishing Cutfoot Sioux. On the main lake, where he’s been fishing primarily the north central shoreline structures, along with some of the deeper, mid-lake bars of Winnie, trolling spinners have ..." Read >> Lake Winnie, Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report September 22, 2023
Historically August, in particular late August, was always the time when many of us veteran guides expected walleye, perch, and pike activity to increase. For me, the correlation between the full moon of august and an uptick in fish activity was almost as predictable as the sunrise and sunset.
In recent years though, the line that delineates the transition from summer into fall has been blurred. Recently, some days felt like the fall bite is on, and some days summer patterns seemed solid, but some days, there is a mix of both going on at the same time. As of yesterday, surface water temperatures on the big lake ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report September 20, 2023
"Walleye - Fall walleye anglers struggled a little this last weekend. Anglers were largely unable to find walleyes in their traditional fall locations, but not all struggled. Anglers catching walleyes we're finding them in very skinny water. 7 to 9 feet of water was the most commonly heard depth, but great reports as shallow as 4 feet of water are still being reported by successful anglers.
Minnows continue to be the bait of choice for successful anglers. These anglers have been using lindy rigs or a simple jig tipped with minnow and worked over shallow rock and weedbeds. Pink, blue and orange/chartreuse remain top colors.
Smallmouth bass continue to ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report Septmber 20, 2023
There’s been some more great fall walleye fishing this past week on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Anglers and walleye charter customers, like Leisha (pictured left) fishing on the south end of the lake are catching some nice limits as well as both larger and smaller fish that they catch and release. The secret now is that they just must find the fish first.
A transitional time, September is known for movements of both baitfish, and walleyes. As they push toward fall locations, adapting to preferred techniques for catching walleyes is important. Electronics help too of course, but there’s no substitute for covering water.
Most fish are caught in 18 to 32 feet of water, depending upon the structure in the ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report September 19, 2023
"I love to break down new water. Many of you probably don’t know this, but I used to travel the Southeast fishing college and then semi-pro tournaments. The Bassmaster Opens and what was at the time the FLW Everstart Series, now MLF Toyota Series.
I bring this up only to illustrate my point further. I enjoyed the competition of it all, really enjoyed it when I occasionally did well in an event, but more than anything I really just loved going to a bunch of lakes that I had never seen before and getting to break down new water. That was my favorite part about that season of life.
Nowadays though, I can find myself in a bit of a rut from time to time, fishing the same two or three lakes around the house the same old ways. For something different, I decided to ..." Learn More >> How to Break Down New Water for Bass Fishing
"Frequent readers already know that for years now, my special home remedy for fishing on sunny, calm days has been “Pea Soup”. The darker the lake’s water, the heavier the algae bloom and the lower the visibility is, the better I like it! Often, that plan works well, unfortunately, the local supply of Pea Soup is drying up.
The accompanying images of the water at Bowstring Lake were from our trip there on September 11, 2023. The scummy looking film on the surface was thick and green and ooey and gooey and perfect for fishing on a bright, calm day.
We located our fish in 5 to 6 feet of water, along the shallow weed edges. In the murky water, they were aggressive and ..." Read >> Fishing Report September 18, 2023
"Water temperatures dropped to the mid-60s about a week ago and then stabilized. Today, you’ll find temperatures on the big lake that range between 63 and 66 degrees; in Cutfoot, slightly warmer. In shallow water and protected back bays, vegetation has begun dying off, forcing some baitfish into areas where the grass is greener. Others have taken up residence in open areas over slightly deeper water, but not into the lake’s deepest mid-section.
For walleyes, located on the edges of cabbage, coontail or mixed vegetation, summer trolling patterns can still provide action. Spinners tipped with minnows, or night crawlers are especially good during low-light periods at dusk or sunrise. On calmer days, or when conditions turn bright, moving out onto the flats will produce action too. Our guide, Jared Saufferer trolled spinners in 14 to 15 feet of water and showed some of our guests a very rewarding first ever walleye trip. For Jared, the north side of Winnie, everywhere from the gap, west to Mallard Point have produced reliable results.
When the wind blows, especially on cloudy days, drifting the shallow breaklines, or on shallow rocky structure using jig and minnow combinations are more efficient. Walleyes are responding to jigs better every day, and on the big lake, perch and pike ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge, Lake Winnie Fishing Report September 15, 2023
"Walleye fishing continues to largely be a shallow water game. Anglers continue to report excellent bites happening in 4 to 10 feet of water tight to shorelines. Anglers fishing here are pulling gold, perch and orange spinner rigs, tipped with a crawler.
Many anglers have reported that the shallower you go the bigger the walleye. Other anglers have been reporting a excellent bite happening out on sunken islands that top out in 10 to 20 feet of water. Anglers fishing out here have been having success using pike suckers on a lindy rig or 1/4oz jig.
Smallmouth Bass continue to ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Report September 14, 2023
"During our fish dinner at Florio’s last night, Paul Kautza commented, “It’s not very often that we ever single out one fish species, target a single lake, and then go after them successfully. It’s even more unusual to do the same thing three days in a row, targeting a different species and lake each day, and being successful on all of them.” I think Paul is right, it is unusual, at least it’s unusual for me.
If you haven’t already read reports about walleye and crappie fishing on Sunday and Monday, you can review them here. Monday 9-11 Walleye Report Tuesday 9-12 Crappie Report. If you’re already up to speed, then recall that on Tuesday, I promised a report about perch fishing with Dick and Paul.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound gloomy, we can still find perch, and there are still opportunities to catch quality size fish. But Yellow Perch these days is the one species of fish that ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Perch Fishing Report September 13, 2023
The fall session of “Fun with Dick and Paul” is off to an above average start this year. After a strong day of walleye fishing on Sunday, the trip turned crappie on Monday, when I stumbled into some nice ones in the weeds. At the time, I didn’t give it a thought, but later, when I was packing up their fish for the freezer, it occurred to me that all I’d done yesterday was to follow my own advice.
Last Friday, I’d written an advisory about how crappies would likely retreat to the weeds after “appearing” to have moved out into open water for the fall. As it happens, I’d been given a tip from friends who hired me to take them walleye fishing last week. They said, “We caught some big crappies in ..." Read >> September 12, 2023 "Fun with Dick and Paul Turns Crappie!"
It’s hard to come up with any fishing scenario that might have been more fun than the fun I had yesterday as the “Fun with Dick and Paul” Fall Session began. The air temps were in the low 60s, the sun was shining and there was a light breeze from the north, surface water temperatures held steady at 66.5 degrees. Walleyes were active and one of my favorite presentations, “wiggle worming” was hitting on all cylinders!
During the transition between summer and fall, my focus begins shifting away from the more casual, summertime mixed bag action bite, and toward more ardent fishing charters. The goal of keeping folks busy catching some of everything gives way to specifically targeting one species at a time. During this period, “Wiggle-Worming” is one of the absolute best ways to ..." Read >> Walleye Fishing Report September 11, 2023
Imagine that you were out for a half day on the lake fishing with me on Friday morning. Imagine you’re looking at the shoreline and asking, “what’s the shiny stuff on that dock?” “I don’t know, we better go in and investigate”, I might have said. As we get closer, you’re surprised to see women dressed up in wild, flashy outfits covered in bling. But not me, I’m not surprised at all, “that’s the way my afternoon charter, the Luscious Sisters roll”, I’d say.
The reality is that you couldn’t have been the one out there in the boat with me because it was already occupied. The morning crew, “the quiet half” of the VA Nurses Group already had filled.
The luscious sisters, my afternoon crew, get the lion’s share of the attention because they’re fun to tell stories about; they provide some very interesting days on the lake. But truthfully, the morning crew should ..." Read >> September 10, 2023 “Fishing-Ness”, “Silly-Ness”, and “Luscious-Ness”
"... On Wednesday, the wind was from them the north, the sky was grey and the walleyes in “Paul’s Corner” were feeding. My livewell was full of 1-inch-long perch, barfed out by the walleyes we’d put in there; they were definitely on the prowl.
Contrast that against the conditions on Thursday morning, the lake, especially in “Paul’s Corner”, was flat calm, the surface temperature, at 67 degrees had fallen almost 3 degrees overnight, and the screen of my graph was blank. However active the walleyes were on Wednesday; the frenzy had long passed, and the fish were off napping somewhere. I looked at a couple of alternate spots, but by 10:00 AM, started getting that feeling, the “don’t just stand there, do something” feeling. So, we loaded up the boat, switched lakes and ..." Read >> Crappie Fishing Report September 8, 2023
"Walleye • With the recent heat wave, the growing minnow bite cooled off quickly. Savvy anglers who adapted to the heat wave, switched to crawlers and fished them on a spinner rig. These anglers had no issue catching walleyes over the weekend.
Anglers found walleyes still out of sunken islands, in 15-25 feet of water. Now with the cool snap and return to normal fall temperatures, anglers should expect the fall, big minnow bite to come back strong.
Smallmouth bass continue to transition out to sunken islands and feed heavily as they prepare for winter. Anglers looking to catch the biggest smallies of the year should ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report September 7, 2023
The transition between summer and fall is inevitable. Cold water is coming, and favorite summertime presentations begin to fade out, while fall patterns begin emerging. There are times when I wish Mother Nature would just get it over with all at once, like ripping off a band aid. Unfortunately, though, she usually doesn’t do it that way, she tugs on it, a little bit at a time, ouch!
As cold fronts go, Tuesday’s weather change wasn’t all that dramatic. There was some noise, and a lighting show resulting from a series of storms that rolled through north central Minnesota. The air temperature dropped too, about 20 degrees different from Labor Day but for most of us, that was a relief. Surface water temperatures declined too, dropping from around 73 degrees, down to around 69 degrees. That water still felt warm to the touch, especially in contrast to the 50 something degree air temps.
Many seasoned anglers have learned to ..." Read >> Fishing Report Sepotember 7, 2023
"You’ve bought the standard 5-weight fly rod and matching fly reel, have a box full of flies from the local shop that you’re not sure what to do with and have been practice casting a fly in your front yard for the past month. It’s time to get your fly fishing gear together and head to the water to try your hand at catching your first fish fly fishing. After all, the reason we do this is to catch fish, and the only way to get proficient at fishing with a fly rod is to practice with the fish. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to go flyfishing for bluegills. It may be the best way to start fly fishing for beginners.
It probably seems that obstacles block your path to your first fish on a fly, and to some newcomers, this might seem a bit formidable. But being successful on your first trip out is as close as the local bluegill pond. So leave the waders at home, pack a snack and some water, and ..." Read Full Article >> Flyfishing for Bluegills | Best Way to Begin Fly Fishing
"As we roll into September, there are some nice coolers of walleyes coming in from the south end of Lake of the Woods. Plenty of "eaters" along with some big trophies being caught, explains the attraction for folks who love walleyes. There are plenty of "do-it-yourself" anglers catching fish, but winning against these predators isn't always a slam dunk, first you have to find them and then get them to eat.
Folks interested in consistent success have learned that it's most common when enlisting the services of guides and fishing charter services. Many of the charters continue to run to the north end of the lake for good numbers of eaters. The two techniques with the continued warm weather catching the majority of the walleyes are drifting spinners with crawlers and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report September 6, 2023
Thursday was one of those days when we weren’t left many choices. Driven by strong winds, the rolling waves topped with heavy whitecaps held us back from fishing on any of the area’s large lakes. Even the small one where we fished required hunkering down and fishing the calm side. At first, the churning water appeared to be working against us, we did more hunting than catching during the morning. Eventually though the moving water encouraged fish to begin moving and encouraged a period of good activity, allowing us to enjoy a strong finish.
On shallow lakes the one we were fishing, strong winds like this will force the water to “turn over”. On Wednesday, surface temperatures had been consistent, holding steady at about 72 degrees. By days end yesterday, they’d fallen to about 68 degrees on “our side” of the lake. On the other side, the inbound surface water ..." Read >> Labor Day Weekend Fishing Report September 1, 2023
The reason I’m leading with this today is because there are more presentations going on right now than most of us can keep track of. On some lakes, walleyes are on rocks and biting on jigs and minnows.
This week I’ve fished one lake where wiggle worming is working great, but yesterday, on a different one, trolling spinners tipped with minnows worked great too. Slip floats and leeches are still working on Leech, Winnie, Cass, and ... Read >> August 31, 2023 "Presenting the Present-Able"
"Walleye fishing has remained strong on many area lakes this last week. Anglers continue to find walleyes deep, in 12 to 20 feet of water. More and more anglers are looking to minnows and trolling crankbaits to catch their walleyes.
Anglers fishing minnows are working them on a jig, around current areas, windy humps, windy shorelines and windblown points. Anglers trolling crankbaits have been trolling baits over large flats, again in 12 to 20 feet of water, during the day.
Smallmouth Bass continue to be found more and more out on sunken islands, mixed in with walleyes. Anglers catching smallies out here have ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report August 30, 2023
"There is a chill in the air on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Flocks of geese are starting to fly. Leaves are just hinting of a change and fall is on its way. As Mother Nature transitions, fishing continues to be good.
Two techniques continue catching the majority of the walleyes, drifting spinners with crawlers and trolling crankbaits.
Many of the charters continue to run to the north end of the lake as there have been good numbers of eaters. Drifting spinners with a gold blade with some red on it along with a two hook harness and a crawler continues to catch good. Pink, gold, gold/red, and gold/orange continue to be good blade colors.
Try to maintain a 45 degree angle with your ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report August 30, 2023
"Most anglers have encountered it, an expanse of lily pads that has you scratching your head about where to start looking. Well, we have the answer. Pro bass angler Bob Downey shares his methodology for bass fishing lily pads, which starts with finding them. Downey teaches how to identify the highest percentage areas of lily pad beds and the best rod setup and tackle for fighting bass out of the jungle.
KEY INSIGHTS AND TECHNIQUES: Isolation is King: Downey notes that targeting isolated chunks of lily pads can boost your chances of encountering fish during the heat of summer. Such isolated patches function similarly to fishing isolated wood or grass patches on vast flats. Where to Aim: According to Downey, while extensive lily pad patches, equivalent to the size of ..." View Video and Learn More >> Bass Fishing Lily Pads | Find High-Percentage Spots
"Yesterday’s NOAA weather forecast made me happy, until it didn’t happen. In the morning, it was supposedly going to be from the south, in the afternoon, it would switch to the northwest. Great, I thought, we can drift along the weedline, and wiggle worm our way up the west side of the lake in the morning, then drift back south along the east shore in the afternoon; the perfect plan. Instead of drifting in either direction, we wound up creeping along on what turned out to be glassy smooth water until late afternoon.
The smooth surface didn’t kill the fishing plan, but it did change it. Once we were on the water, I told the crew that we’d ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Report August 29, 2023
"... On a clam day, I’d likely still have spent the day trolling the weed edges with spinners. But on this trip, gusting winds and a stiff chop on the water would shunt that plan. So, before we even got to the lake, I’d decided that Wiggle Worming would be our “Plan A” presentation. At our first spot, we talked about how it worked and what to do before, during and after getting a fish to strike. When I got to the part about “wiggling”, Ray mentioned that he’d seen my earlier article about it, and followed the link to a Fish Ed video that came out several years ago. “Did you know that throughout that whole video, the host of the program never explained the importance of wiggling the wiggle worm?” Ray asked.
Truthfully, I never caught that omission, and that’s my bad, because as my fishing customers have heard over and over, the wiggle, is the most important part of wiggling a wiggle worm! I do break it down in the article “Wiggle Worming 101”, but let’s do a quick review of the process from start to finish. The idea is to ..." Learn More >> August 27, 2023 "Wiggle Worming, The Other Action Bite"
Okay, I know, it's my own fault, and I'll likely never see my lost fillet knife again. But on the off chance that you or someone you know is holding on to it for safe keeping, I'd surely appreciate you letting me know.
Pictured left is the actual black handled Cutco Fillet Knife, and orange handled F. Dick sharpening steel that I left behind after work. The fish cleaning station at the Pokegama Dam Recreation area is where I left it on Wednesday evening after I cleaned fish for my customers. By Thursday, I'd realized my mistake and called the Corps of Engineers office at Pokegama Dam. They knew it was there and opted to leave it in the fishing cleaning shack, hoping someone would come back to pick it up.
I did go back, but when I got there, it was already gone. With luck, some one of you is holding on to it for safe keeping, and if so, please let me know. Would you like a reward? Sure, I can offer that, all you need to do is give me a shout. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Walleye fishing on Lake Winnie has generally remained good, but not for everybody. While the fish do bite when found, getting consistent results depends on a combination of weather conditions, location, angler skill, and determination. Among our guests who are doing the best are the early risers, evening anglers and ones who head out when conditions are windy and grey. Creativity comes into play too, presentations change, seemingly daily, so, folks who offer the fish several options get more “takers” than the folks who stick with any single presentation.
Water clarity and temperature are contributing factors, surface temperatures have dropped out of the 70s, holding steady now at 68 to 69 degrees. Algae blooms have declined in response and the water has cleared noticeably. Sunshine, calm water and angler traffic move fish out of the easy to reach structures during the day. But when the weather is rough, and the skies are dark, get ready because walleyes will move in to... Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report August 25, 2023
When we arrived at the lake, my first thought was how the water level had fallen since my last visit. I think there was about 1 foot less water at the landing, and that lower water level impacted our fishing, negatively at first, but positively once I figured out what to do about it.
The negative was that weeds on shallow flats and shoreline breaks that held walleye a couple weeks ago, were so thick that we could not present any lures to the fish. We managed to drag spinners through some of them, but even in locations where we could fish, nothing happened, the walleyes were gone, and so were the crappies, perch, and pike. I hoped that meant that mid-lake bars would be holding fish, but that was wrong, except for a few small fish, the open water structures were a disappointment.
The positive impact of the heavily matted weeds developed when I figured out that it was smarter to go back to the shoreline and ..." Read >> Sundin August 25, 2023 "Weed Whipping Walleyes"
"We have a team of avid anglers and we travel all over the country to fish, work with other fishing professionals, manufacturers and guides and get to experience more tackle, fishing locations and good tips than most. So we try to bear down on some of those experiences to provide good usable accurate information when it comes to topics like best lures for this or that. And smallmouth bass is something we are passionate about so you can trust us when we tell you some of the best smallmouth bass lures for 2023 are some old staples and some new soon to be staples.
Smallmouth are as predictably unpredictable as any fish that swims. We generally know where to find them and how they will react on most days but then some days they completely flip the script on you and the lure they were all over yesterday, they won’t touch as good today and something else really trips their trigger. It’s obviously what keeps us all coming back for more trip after trip and year after year.
So we ran down a list of our top smallmouth bass lures for this year based on what’s been working around the country and the hot new baits that have really ..." View Video and Learn More >> Best Smallmouth Bass Lures of 2023
"Walleye reports have finally begun to pick up a little out on sunken islands in that 15-25 foot of water range. Anglers finding walleyes out on sunken islands have been catching them on bigger minnows and jigging raps.
Shallow water bite continues to be where the best reports continue to come from. Here anglers are pulling lindy rigs, tipped with a crawler, pitching jigs with half a crawler, casting crankbaits and swim baits tight to windy shorelines and windy flats for walleyes. 6-10 feet of water seems to be the best, but reports of walleyes as shallow as 2 to 3 feet continue to come in. Gold, purple, perch and orange were popular colors this last week.
Smallmouth too seem to of begun to ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report August 23, 2023
"There were good numbers of both walleyes and saugers caught on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Most of the better action is occuring both over the deep mud flats in Big Traverse Bay and around the mud and rock transitions located along the outer edges of rock piles adjacent to deeper water. These areas both continue to produce nice size fish.
Typical of most late late summer seasons, there are two techniques catching the majority of the fish. Trolling or drifting using spinners and night crawlers, or trolling using crankbaits. During the warm summer months, walleyes often react better to crankbaits presented using faster trolling speeds; 2.5 to 3.5 MPH have been working well. Rotate crankbait styles until you ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report August 22, 2023
Tommy Howell wrote: "Watching Bassmaster (tournament) from Lake Champlain. The leaders are fishing Livescope in 25 to 40 feet of water! Some are fizzing fish. In my opinion it’s a bad look for Bass Elites." - Tom
Thank you for the comment, and yes, I agree, it does not "look good" when certain high level fishing pros don't keep up with the science that directly impacts their fishing pursuits. With everything that some of us have learned about barotrauma over the past 6 or 7 years, it “feels” like every angler in the world should know about the negative effects of yanking fish out of deep water. But before we judge folks too harshly, we have to step back, realize how slowly the wheels of education turn and do our best as individuals to turn these events into teachable moments.
You mentioned that some of the fishing pros were “fizzing” fish. For newcomers to the issue, fizzing is the practice of inserting a needle into the fish’s air bladder and has been widely believed to ..." Read >> Bass Pros Fishing Deep, Not A Good Look! August 21, 2023
"Mike Shannon and Scott Johnson traded “big walleye honors” back and forth during their 3-day fishing trip to the Grand Rapids area. At the end of day 1, Mile was in the lead with a 20-1/2 incher, then Scott took the lead on day 2 with a 21-incher. On day 3, we caught lots of walleyes, they were mostly small, but they were keeping us busy.
Amidst the heat of our small fish rampage, Mike pulls in a phantom 23-inch walleye, thus closing the “big walleye” competition for 2023 and creating a heightened expectation about catching more fish like that one.
At about that same time, an approaching dark cloud ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Report August 17, 2023
"Hi Jeff, My 5 year old nieces are in town from Boston and this coming weekend we are staying at Breezy Point. They are begging to go out and catch fish so the pressure is on me to find a quiet area they can have fun catching sunfish and perch.
Size has zero influence on this trip. I have never been on the lake before, wondering if you have and have any suggestions on where on the lake I could hone in on the search to take them and hopefully have some luck. Looking at maps the back bays are very shallow and there isn't hardly anything marked as vegetation. Appreciate any thoughts! Brandon Flaata
A) Brandon, like you, I've never fished Pelican Lake either. So, the first thing I did was to ..." Read >> Pelican Lake Fishing Spots? August 17, 2023
"Walleye fishing continues to be a shallow water game. The best walleye reports continue to come from 6-10 feet of water.
Anglers have been finding these shallow water walleyes on points, shallow rocky flats and near current areas. Spinners rigs, soft plastics and crankbaits have been the baits of choice for anglers. Orange, perch, purple and gold have been very popular colors this last week.
Smallmouth Bass fishing slowed this last week as several cold fronts passed through the area. Topwater bite has seemed to cool off some as a result of the cold fronts. In-line spinners, wacky worms and ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Reprt August 16, 2023
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, it's been a great week of fishing with good numbers and some big fish being caught. Many of the charter boats are running to the north end of the lake looking for "eater" walleyes, those fish under 19.5 inches. The protected slot limit on LOW is 19.5 to 28.0 inches, which have to be released.
Anglers are allowed a combined (posession) limit of walleyes and saugers of up to 6, with no more than 4 of those 6 being walleyes. Anglers can also keep on walleye over 28 inches if they so desire. Otherwise, some anglers choose a few pics and a graphite mount then releasing the fish.
Drifting spinners with a two hook harness and a crawler continues to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report August 16, 2023
Switching from “Wiggle Worming” back to trolling spinners wasn’t like flipping a light switch, but it did help add a few last-minute fish to the larder. And for Mike Shannon, offered the chance to stage the “Grand Finale’”, boating the last, and largest walleye of the day.
Contrast yesterday’ report with the one from a week ago, the situation then was reversed. In that case, we’d started the day trolling spinners, and then finished it by switching to wiggle worms, which worked better.
Yesterday, we had a moderate chop in the morning, and a nice breeze for drifting. We began our day using wiggle worms and they worked just fine. But once we ran out of a breeze to drift the boat, walleye action on the jig and crawler combo dropped off. Why do you suppose the walleye feeding preferences would switch back and forth like that? In one of last week’s reports, I ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Fishing Report August 15, 2023
"I hope you’ve had the chance to enjoy some of mid-summer’s finest fishing, what I call the mixed bag action bite. It’s not over just yet, but all the moving parts are leading toward cooling waters and a slow-down in the trolling presentation that makes it work.
When surface water temperatures reach the mid-to-high-70s, trolling spinners triggers strikes from everything, bass, sunfish, rock bass, bullheads … practically everything that swims in your favorite lake. Spinners still work as the temperatures cool, but you’ll notice some of the species dropping out of the mix. Sunfish action fades, then the bass seem to disappear and eventually, we have to begin using more specialized presentations aimed at catching each individual species separately instead of all together.
Diane Eberhardt, along with her kids and grandkids, originally had fishing Winnie in mind when we set up our fishing reservation. But a somewhat threatening weather forecast gave us reason to ..." Read >> August 13, 2023 "Action Bite Holds It's Own As Water Cools"
"Major League Fishing pro Matt Becker delves deep into his go-to wacky rig setup, focusing on optimizing a five-inch Senko on a wacky rig to catch bass around docks. And believe him; this technique is gold regardless of which lake or part of the country you’re fishing in.
Becker begins by unveiling his chosen equipment, featuring a 7-foot 2-inch spinning rod. It’s a medium-heavy rod that Becker swears by. Docks and other artificial cover can chew up your line, so Becker uses a 20-pound braided mainline. It delivers better abrasion resistance, particularly around dock posts. Like his braid, Becker uses a beefier leader. He starts with a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader, occasionally bumping it up to 15 pounds. His rationale: the heavier line facilitates a faster sink rate and provides better durability around dock posts and other abrasive cover.
Onto the business end – the hook. Becker’s pick is the ..." View Video and Learn More >> Wacky Rig Mastery with Matt Becker | Senko Tips Revealed!
A) Yes, I do use the whole night crawler when I'm using the wiggle worming technique. The reason, not onle for the worm length, but for the "wiggling" motion itself is to make the night crawler rotate in the water. The lazy whirling motion that the combination imparts is what, I think, the walleyes are attracted to. The action is not unlike the action imparted by "slow death" hooks that are used for some other live bait presentations which are also effective at attracting walleyes.
I snooped around the internet, looking for more examples of the technique in action and found this video, produced several years ago by Fish ED. In this fun video, you'll not only get an extensive look at the technique, but I also ..." Read >> Wiggle Worming Q&Q August 11, 2023
I write about the mixed bag action bite a lot, and frequently discuss the differences between weed types and how they can influence fish location. Less frequently mentioned though is the timing of when fish of an individual species will be in those weeds. It changes as the summer progresses, and I’ve been reminded this week that walleyes don’t always like any of them.
Spinners start working as soon as the waters warm up during early summer. During the early season, trolling the weed edges typically produces more walleye, northern pike, and crappies, than bass and sunfish. Mid-summer water temperatures in the mid-70-degree range trigger more of the “warm water species”, but typically, even when they appear, walleyes are still present in the same areas. One gets the impression that hugging the weeds will continue to produce the same mix of fish all summer long. During late summer though, right now in my case, walleyes can ..." Read >> Honey, Have You Seen My Walleye? August 10, 2023
Anglers are throwing a very mixed bag of lure at these shallow water walleyes. Swim baits, twisters, slip bobbers, minnow baits and lindy rigs are all producing walleyes. Anglers should be focused on windy, rocky shorelines, points, tops of shallow sunken islands, river mouths and even weedlines for walleyes.
Smallmouth bass fishing was spotty for many anglers last week. Anglers catching fish are doing so during the early morning and later evening hours. Early mornings have been prime time for topwater bait. During the evening hours anglers seem to be having better luck fishing with ..." Learn More >> Ely Area Fishing Report August 9, 2023
Each year, the Minnesota DNR proposes new special fishing regulations that apply to individual waters and asks the public for input about the proposals. The regulations, if enacted, are reviewed on a regular basis. The Minnesota DNR is proposing either new or changes to existing experimental and special fishing regulations for the 2024 fishing season that address a variety of topics.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for input on several special fishing regulation proposals for 2024 including Walleyes, sunfish and northern pike. Lakes include Winnie, Gull, Clearwater, Big Sand and more. For a full list of proposed regulation changes and information about how to provide your input, follow this link >> August 9, 2023 Minnesota DNR seeks input on proposed special fishing regulations for 2024
"The dog days of August are upon us and there was some great walleye fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods this past week.
As one guide commented, "we have to work for them, but we normally find them. They aren't in the typical spots, but fishing overall has been good." Even on Lake of the Woods, you gotta find them. When you do, two summer patterns are catching good numbers of fish. Spinners and crankbaits.
Drifting spinners with a fathead, frozen emerald shiner or crawler has been working well. If there is no wind, troll slowly, about 1.25 MPH to keep the blade spinning and cover water. Use a one hook harness with ..." Learn More >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report August 9, 2024
"Monday’s fishing trip, starting with the weather, was quite a departure from last week. A moderate cool front pushed through on Sunday afternoon and caused some rain, along with a little thunder. The air temperature moderated, a north wind started blowing and surface water temperatures dropped a couple degrees. I was happy about the cooler weather, but wondered how, if at all, the fishing might be impacted by the change.
For me, the norm last week had become baking in the heat, dragging spinners through the weeds and biding our time between walleye bites as we sorted through the hodge-podge of assorted fish species. Burned into my brain, pun intended, by the hot sun, trolling spinners for the mixed bag bite had been a winning formula, and also my “Go-To Plan A”, almost to a fault.
The routine was bound to be interrupted though because of Patrick Patterson’s “secret plan” to ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Report August 8, 2023 "Wiggled Out Of That One!"
"Aided by the lowered light conditions walleyes, at least some of them, have moved into classic, late summer habitat like shoreline breaks, mid-depth gravel flats and areas of submerged vegetation. Lower light penetration into the water, combined with rising surface temperatures that affect fish behavior, helps explain why our guests were able to catch fish this week using trolling presentations.
Spinners, tipped with live bait, provided action for some of our guests who fished shoreline breaks. Crankbaits trolled over the flats, in 12 to 16 feet of water provided action for folks fishing some of the mid-lake structures on Big Winnie. Cutfoot walleyes responded to jigging raps fished on shoreline points, and some of the mid-lake bars. Our guide, Jared Saufferer, is still catching fish using slip-floats and live bait, but he acknowledged that trolling spinners has worked as well.Despite the improved conditions, not all the walleyes ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report August 5, 2023
The fishing report for today is not a long one. For the most part, Joe and Bob’s fishing trip on Tuesday followed a familiar routine. Select a lake with some potential for a mixed bag, figure out where the weed edges are and then start trolling with spinners. That’s what we did yesterday, and the end result was fairly typical, 11 walleyes, 20 sunfish, a few pike and a crappie.
The new news about this trip was that water temperatures had risen since my last visit to the lake, back on July 13, 2023. Water temperatures peaked at around 71 degrees that day, yesterday they’d risen to 75 by the time we arrived at the lake, and 76 degrees late in the afternoon. Sunfish, activated by the warmer water were much more aggressive than they were a couple of weeks ago. Back on that last trip, we found some sunfish by trolling spinners, but to catch them, we needed to ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Fishing Report August 2, 2023
Summer patterns are emerging, drifting with spinners-crawlers, plus trolling crankbaits. Yes, some are still jigging, and some are casting lures, but as a rule, harnesses and crankbaits are catching most of the fish. Anglers using these patterns are enjoying some good fishing. Along with the walleyes and saugers, there are some big pike, jumbo perch and an occasional crappie in the mix.
This time of year, the open basin of Big Traverse Bay is home to thousands of walleyes and sauger. This huge expanse of mud, with an occasional reef, is holding a lot of fish and the rule of thumb for finding them is to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report August 3, 2023
"Walleye - How skinny is too skinny for late July walleyes? 3, 4 feet? Best reports this last week were between 3-10 feet of water. Skinnier the water you find walleyes, the hotter the fishing. Leeches under a bobber, off your dock or campsite, during the evening hours, has been very effective. Spinner rigs tipped with crawlers and worked on weedlines, near timber or rocky flats has also been very effective for anglers. Gold, orange and perch colors have been popular.
Smallmouth - Smallmouth fishing cooled off this last week as a major cool front moved into the area. Topwater remains a popular choice, but smallies eagerness to hit them has cooled off with the weather. Subsurface lures like ..." Read >> Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 2, 2023
"Today we demonstrate how to catch numbers of pike and walleye on lipless crankbaits. And you can easily do it from a boat or as is the case in this video, a kayak. It’s a simple effective method to cover a lot of water and catch numbers of fish, even when the conditions are less than optimal for walleye fishing, i.e. slick calm and sunny. With a fishing kayak and spinning rod and reel combo, some light braid with a fluoro leader, you can take a lipless crank like the Rapala Rippin’ Rap and cover large swaths of the body of water efficiently.
In this video, McKeon Roberts eases along covering water and picks off northern pike as well as summer walleyes consistently. In the summer, these fish can often spread out and be over very large areas. While conditions and times of the day might group the fish up, when they spread out like was this case in this video, it can make fishing really tough. But by changing your mindset and making up your mind to ..." View Video and Learn More >> Ripping Pike and Walleye with Lipless Crankbaits
For Laura and Charlie Dukes’ second day of fishing with me, I wanted to lead them somewhere that “landing a big one” was a good possibility. I wanted to do something different from trolling too, not that they didn’t like using spinners on Sunday, but I’d learned that they really like casting lures; so, I wanted them to get that chance. Although they’re avid largemouth bass anglers, they pondered catching smallmouth bass, and couldn’t recall catching many, if any at all.
Hmm... let’s see, where is there a place, near Grand Rapids, where we could get a smallmouth, plus have a decent shot at catching either a big walleye, or a big northern pike and catch them casting, instead of trolling or live bait rigging?
We didn’t get on the lake super-early, but early enough to see that there was nobody fishing in ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Fishing Report August 1, 2023
"Laura and Charlie Dukes always try to tie fishing into their travels. So, while planning a family visit in Bemidji, they checked around for a fishing guide. Somehow, they stumbled into me, and I’m glad they did.
The Dukes fish a lot, mostly for bass and panfish in their home state of South Carolina. When they travel though, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fishing. Yesterday, they recalled adventures like catching peacock bass, big stripers, and numerous species of saltwater fish. Until now, they had never caught northern pike or walleye. If I could help with that, they could add a couple of species to their list of fishing experiences.
Partly to save them a long drive toward Grand Rapids and partly to give me an excuse to try a “new” lake in the Bemidji region, I ..." Read >> Bemidji Area Mixed Bag Fishing July 31, 2023
Most of the fish we caught, northern pike and walleye were small ones, but there were lots of them. And provided we kept fishing, there would be an occasional strike from larger fish, walleye and pike like the ones you see pictured here.
Trolling spinners tipped with medium leeches was the only presentation we used. We tried fishing over some open water structures, mid-lake bars and caught a handful of fish. At some of the spots we fished, walleyes showed a preference to ..." Read >> "Updating the Update-Able Fish Report, Q&A and Reader Comments" July 28, 2023
Q) Scott Finke wrote: "Hi! My family and I are headed up to Cass Lake for a week starting on Saturday. Do you have any reports or suggestions on walleye fishing and perch fishing? We’ve been there before and have done okay on Perch but have struggled with (walleyes). Have had the best luck on Pike Bay in the evenings, but I have a new boat this year and I don’t think I’ll be able to fit under the bridges to get there, so, I’ll be mainly on Cass. I’ll have everything along with me as far as rods and tackle (spinning rods, jigging rods, and even line counters). Just wondering if you have any thoughts on Cass. Thank you!"
A) Scott, since the advent of Zebra Mussels and the subsequent ultra clear water, fishing tactics have changed. The increased water clarity affects all fish species, but walleye in particular, their eyes are extremely sensitive, and their eyesight excellent. Because of that, anglers are learning that to catch walleyes, the best tactic is to ..." Read >> Q&A Best Tactics For Cass Lake Walleyes July 27, 2023
"Walleye fishing continues to be a shallow water affair for walleye anglers. While there are a few reports out there of walleyes as deep as 15, the majority of good reports continue to be in 10 feet of water or less. Anglers have been using slip bobbers and a leech, jigs and twisters, swim baits and spinner rigs tipped with a leech or crawler.
Rocky flats, shallow rocky humps, windblown points and weedlines have been the areas to find active walleyes. Popular colors have been firetiger, purple, black and blue.
"Do you believe that the full moon encourages large fish to become more aggressive? I do, and after yesterday, Leanne Praska probably does too! Leanne, who along with her husband Nick, chartered me to help entertain Gracie, their high school sophomore daughter. Gracie wasn’t too keen on holding fish for photos of her own, but rest assured, she could have if she wanted to. As you can see by the photos, it was a good day to be Leanne, she enjoyed the very pleasant “side benefits” of bringing Gracie on the fishing trip.
If I tried to tell you that we were doing something special, I’d be lying. Trolling spinners along the weed edges has gotten to be old news for folks who read these reports. In fact, I’ve done it dozens of times on the same lake we fished yesterday. And on most typical fishing trips, the northern pike we catch are “eaters” 21 to 21-3/4 inches if I’m lucky. Most often, there are a handful of fish in the 22 to 26 inch “protected slot”, the largest pike we typically catch might be 27 or 28 inches. Walleyes can sometimes be nice size on that lake, but we don’t usually catch over-stuffed, big fat ones like Leanne Caught yesterday either.
That’s why I think the only thing we did “special” yesterday, was to ..." Read Full Report >> July 26, 2023 "Full Buck Moon = Bigger Fish, Better Action"
It is helpful to cover water to find fish and keep presentations in front of fish, many of which are out on the deep mud. Some anglers are still sticking to deep reefs which can always be a magnet. Both are putting out walleyes.
Drifting spinners and trolling crankbaits are the go-to presentations. Finding where the fish are and changing up color, speed and presentations is key. If the walleyes don't cooperate, try something different, move on to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report July 25, 2023
Roger’s Campground was a lot quieter than the last time I was there, conditions at the ramp were great, dry and level. I talked with one of the campers who tipped me off about anglers who’d done well on the south shore over the weekend. “They caught limits in 6 feet or water”, he told me. That gave us confidence and after quickly launching the boat, getting to our first fishing spot went fast too.
The plan was to try a few different presentations, but we started with trolling spinners tipped with minnows. That worked, and we put 2 or 3 walleyes in the livewell within the first half hour. Two of the 3 rods were getting strikes, but not the 3rd rod; the difference was the spinner blades. Gold hammered blades worked, but the copper hammered color did not. When I traded out the spinners on that rod, I also added a night crawler and soon learned that while the minnows were working, the worms were better. Before long, night crawlers complemented the #4 Hammered Gold blades on all 3 of the rods had.
When we’re trolling, I typically ..." Read Full >> Sundin Fishing Report July 25, 2023
The rule of thumb for walleye fishing on Lake Winnie this morning is “the better the angler, the better the fishing”. Casual anglers are catching their share of fish, there are plenty of fish to go around, and they are biting. Results are awesome for folks who pursue them diligently, or you could say “working” for the fish.
Look at the results from the weekend tournament, managed by the Minnesota Tournament Trail. All the top 20 teams weighed in 5 fish, the tournament limit, and all of those 5 fish limits exceeded a 3-pound average. The top 10 teams fared even better: posting 4 pound plus averages. Congratulations by the way, to our friend Dusty Snyder, who along with Pat Mclean posted took 2nd place with a 5 fish weight of over 25 pounds.
Locating fish using high end electronics, then using slip bobbers and live bait, leeches, and night crawlers specifically, has gotten a lot of attention this year. In some circles, the buzz is that without them, fish cannot be found, and subsequently caught. It is important to remember though that even without sophisticated tools, you can still ... Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 24, 2023
Jamie Curley wrote; "The family and I will be spending next week up in the Northwoods, staying just a little northwest of Deer River. I have went back and read many of your archived fishing reports and it seems that trolling Little Joe spinners may be the best way for me to get the family onto crappies and a mixed bag of fish. Goal is to keep them busy catching and be able to provide a couple fish fry's. Pulling spinners for panfish is a pretty new tactic for me, so thought I'd ask for a little clarification, to make sure I have it down.
Q) Are these best pulled right over the top or right through cabbage beds? Or best outside the weeds? How do I determine what size weights to use to keep the baits down, but not get constantly snagged? How far behind the boat should these baits be running? Thanks so much for any help you'd be willing to share!
A) Jamie, first I’ll ..." Read >> Q&A July 21, 2023 "Spinners, Weights and Depths For Fishing Weeds?
"You’ve known the expression “give credit where credit is due” for a long time. And every so often, you do give credit where it’s due, we all do, sharing news about favorite restaurants, great music, movies, famous people, and the like. I think it’s rare though, to see “average” folks get credit for doing what we think of as “ordinary” things; today I want to do that.
Ian Dallas fished with me when he was 12 years old, sometime back in the 1990’s his dad told me yesterday. The longer we fished, the more familiar that date seemed, but I had not recalled the original date precisely until we were in the fish cleaning shack. Andrew, Ian’s dad reminded me about how he was originally referred to me by former Eagle Nest Resort owner, Jack Zwicky, but that’s not the point.
Before we started fishing yesterday, Andrew and I ..." Read >> Old Dogs and New Tricks - Learning the Learn-Able July 20, 2023
"Walleye - Best walleye bite continues to be a shallow water bite. 7-9 feet of water been where the best bite is happening. Anglers catching walleyes here are either trolling crankbaits at about 2 mph, jigging leeches, crawlers and even minnows, or pulling spinner rigs.
Shallow rocky points, shallow sunken islands and shallow rocky flats have been the areas to target. Hot colors have been Firetiger, purple and gold.
Smallmouth Bass - Topwater smallmouth bass fishing has cooled off some, this last week as cooler than normal temperatures settled in the area. Best bite has been ..." Read Full Report >> Ely MN Fishing Report July 20, 2023
"Amid the summer heat and popular ledge fishing, Randy Howell explores the overlooked pattern of heading shallow and fishing grass with bladed jigs. Far from being just a cold weather or springtime bait, Howell shares how effective the ChatterBait can be for summer bass fishing grass-laden shallow and mid-depth areas. He delves into where and how to fish ChatterBaits in this application and his preferred rod setup.
While ledge fishing with crankbaits and even finesse techniques reign supreme, there’s still a solid population of shallower bass. Unlike ledge fish, grass-oriented bass are less affected by a lack of current. Howell targets ..." View Video and Learn More >> ChatterBait Fishing Grass: Howell’s Summer Technique
“Well, I wouldn’t have known they were there.” That answer, succinct to say the least, was fellow guide, Ken Wood’s response to my question about his effective use of the live scope sonar on his boat. What I’d asked specifically was whether his crew would have caught the walleyes he was cleaning after our fishing day on Monday.
No doubt, being alerted to the fact that fish are present is an advantage, especially in terms of efficiency. I don’t think there’s much argument about how live scope can gather fish faster than someone working without one. But it does lead to the next question; “Is efficiency more important the adventure? For me that’s something we need to factor into the equation about how folks value an average day spent fishing on the lake.
Monday, day 2 of the Daikin Fish-A-Roo, was spent working along with 2 of my fellow guides on one of the area’s popular walleye lakes. Shallow, weedy flats encompass the outer edges, and there are lots of shallow flats and mid-lake structures to explore. I like the lake because ..." Read Report >> Walleye Fishing, Action vs Efficiency? July 18, 2023
According to folks at the Lake of the Woods tourism office, they’ve enjoyed another great week of fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods. They report, “Some anglers are targeting the deep mud on the big basin, while other anglers are targeting rock reefs.
The two most common presentations to catch walleyes right now are drifting spinners and trolling crankbaits. Both do a nice job of covering water and are producing nice fish. With Big Traverse Bay being a big expanse of water, it is really helpful to use your electronics to search out schools of bait and walleyes. Once you find some signs of life, start fishing.
Try a two-hook harness with a hammered gold blade and a nightcrawler. It is helpful to ..." Read Full Report >> Lake of the Woods July 18, 2023
We knew that there would be lots of wind, so I drove around to the west side of Winnie to launch the boat. I’d hoped at the time that I could drum up some decent fishing close to shore, but that didn’t pan out. I began creeping further and further out into the main lake and each step along the way, found a couple of walleyes. Tempted by the promise of finding something more like a “hot bite”, I kept moving further out into open water and eventually, I was in the middle.
Live Bait Jigs, tipped with the Ripple Shads I mentioned a few days ago, were getting strikes. I was catching fish on them, and my crew was closing in on learning the system. The arrival of a line of cumulous clouds changed that, each time one of the heavy looking, dark clouds approached, the wind howled, and the whitecaps crashed into my Wave Wackers. This part of the trip was not fun, and it foiled my attempt to get the crew fully engaged in what was promising to be a good experience. Truthfully, controlling the boat and fishing was not that hard, and there were fish biting, so we ..." Read >> July 17, 2023 "Daikin Fish-A-Roo Day 1
" ... The past few days featured family fishing trips, moms, dads and the kids and it’s been a blast. You probably already guessed that most of my time was spent in pursuit of anything that would bite, and you’re right. Sunfish, Crappies, Walleyes and Pike were all cooperative, but to catch any of them, we had to use more refined presentations than usual. My preferred mid-summer presentation, trolling spinners tipped with live bait worked okay as a search tool. Once located, all of the species mentioned required specializing in more subtle presentations.
Crappies on one lake were holding in the rocks, they were using both small, mid-lake isolated rock bars and shallower, shoreline related rocks connected to larger weed flats. Jigs tipped with small fatheads, fished vertically over the side of the boat was what tripped their triggers.
On another lake, crappies preferred patches of flat stemmed pondweed, casting 1/16-ounce Lindy Live Bai Jigs tipped with Ripple Shads was the clear ticket for them. From a stationary position, cast the lures toward the weed patches and ..." Read >> Full Report July 16, 2023
"Admittedly, the walleye bite is not at its peak right now, but those who are choosing to fish for walleyes find that creativity and persistence do pay off. Getting fish to bite is not the issue but locating them can be. That’s because fish have dispersed over a broad range of territory, some are on the flats, some are using shoreline vegetation, others follow the breaklines on deep structure and many are suspended over open water in the mid lake basin.
The mayfly hatch that hit the lake last week has run its course, so finding less food in concentrated areas has been one reason fish are dispersed more now. Surface waters have declined too, once crossing the 80-degree mark in June, they have now fallen into the 69-to-71-degree range, the cooler water works against folks who love fast presentations like trolling spinners and crankbaits. Water clarity is a factor as well, while some regions of the lake do have a modest algae bloom, other areas remain clearer and ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 14, 2023
"Walleye fishing continues to improve on area lakes, but anglers have been reporting that walleyes are scattered. Anglers are catching walleyes slip bobbering a leech, right off their dock or campsite in 8 feet of water or less, during the evening.
Other anglers are catching walleyes pulling gold, orange and blue colored lindy rigs, tipped with a crawler or leech, out on sunken islands and main lake points, in 12 to 18 feet of water. Still other anglers are having good luck pulling white, bloody nosed and perch colored crankbaits out on large flats in 15 to 20 feet of water or 15 to 20 feet down out over 30 to 80 feet of water.
Smallmouth Bass continue to ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Report July 12, 2023
"The south end of Lake of the Woods is producing good numbers of nice walleyes. Charter captains and guides are definitely on the fish. Walleyes are constantly adapting to forage, water temps, and current conditions. Anglers will be rewarded who do the same.
Getting your presentation in front of lots of walleyes, by drifting spinners and trolling crankbaits is producing nice fish.
Speed and presenting your bait where the walleye wants it is key. Hammered gold combined with brighter colors have been good spinner colors on LOW. When fishing areas with rock, try a bit or orange to imitate crayfish. Over deep mud, try a glow color by itself or with hammered gold. For those who like to ..." Learn More >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report July 11, 2022
You might think that all “Big Time Pro Guides” would get their jollies by dressing up in fancy fishing clothes and polishing the gelcoat between decals on their boats. Admittedly, there’s a time and place for that, but almost all the best guides I’ve known, are not that way. They show up, look after their customers’ needs and do their best to keep enough fish coming into the boat to make the trip entertaining. For me, people like that, salt of the earth folks who happen to be fishing guides, have been my role models; I’ve done my best to hold their standards.
The reason I brought this up is because Gail Pries, a fishing customer sent me a text on Thursday, and it made me proud of myself. The message came on the heels of a big family fishing date with me, on Big Sandy Lake, where the Pries’ ..." Read Full Story >> The Pride and Joys of a Fishing Guide July 9, 2023
We headed out to the middle of the lake, began scanning mid-lake bars for schools of fish and prepared for a session of “power corking”. The rods were set with 1/16-ounce Lindy Live Bait jigs, tipped with lively leeches, a #4 split shot sinker 12 inches above that, and a Thill slip float set for 24 inches above the bottom. After watching the graph for about 5 minutes, I spotted 3 fish on the screen, advised the Hippie Chick to open the bail and drop the lure into the water. About 10 seconds later, I asked where her bobber was, “I don’t know, I am trying to find it”, she replied.
The accompanying image explains where her bobber was, the walleye you see pictured here had drawn it down below the surface when it scarfed up her leech. At subsequent stops, the same thing happened again, sometimes the fish were “keepers”, most times they were too small for us. But by noon, we had 3 nice fish in the livewell for a meal. We also ..." Read >> Full Report July 5, 2023
Walleye fishing is starting to show signs of improvement on many area lakes, as the mayfly hatch is starting to wrap up. Anglers have been having to work hard for each and every fish on these lakes.
On lakes where the mayfly hatch hasn’t happened or has wrapped up, anglers have been catching good numbers of walleyes. Anglers on all lakes have been finding walleyes in 15 to 20 feet of water, on top of sunken islands. Orange, gold, pink and blue colored jigs, tipped with leeches or crawlers, has been the ticket. Spinner rigs have also accounted for its fair share of walleyes.
Northern Pike fishing was excellent this last week for a lot of anglers. While there weren’t to many reports of fish over 34” being caught, good numbers were had by ..." Read Full >> Ely MN Fishing Report July 5, 2023
"It had to happen eventually, the heat on Lake Winnie’s “BOILING HOT” walleye bite has been reduced to a simmer. Our guests and fellow anglers are still bringing in fish, but at a slower pace than we enjoyed throughout the spring.
One reason for the reduced catch rates is thought to be the mayfly hatch that’s going on now. With lots of extra food in the water, walleyes, other predators too, can be more particular about how often, and for how long, each feeding session will occur. To the fish, it’s a lot like us being offered a peanut butter sandwich and hour after finishing a huge, holiday meal like the thanksgiving turkey for example.
Insect hatches occur over a wide variety of areas, so beyond providing more food, they also ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 3, 2023
Did you know a lake that used to offer good crappie fishing, but either got “fished out”, or just hasn’t been very good lately? Well, if you’re vacationing over the Independence Day holiday, and that lake happens to be located nearby, you might want to go check it out.
Last year, during the fall, I wrote about finding large schools of crappies in a variety of “new” lakes that I had been exploring. At the time, I theorized about a great year class of crappies that must have hatched and survived in 2018 or maybe 2019. No matter where I went, huge schools of small, but catchable 6-, 7- and 8-inch crappies showed up, seemingly out of nowhere.
During the winter, I consulted with some DNR fisheries staff who confirmed that many north central Minnesota lakes do have strong populations of these young crappies. This spring, I’ve re-visited some of those lakes, and have ..." Read >> Full Fishing Report July 2, 2023 "The Great Crappie Rampage of 2023?
"Scattered, and un-patternable, they may be, but inactive, they are not. Throughout the day, one thing was always true, if I could see fish on my graph, they would bite. So, I guess the takeaway from today’s report should be that creativity and determination will surely help you gather enough walleyes for a fish fry. If you catch a few and then the action fizzles, then move to a new spot. If you catch them on one presentation and the action fizzles out, then try another presentation.
There was a moment early in the day, when I “Believed” that we would be fishing mid-lake bars and humps, and that we would be using jigs and minnows all day. The idea was supported when Joel, on his first cast, caught a 24-1/2 walleye on a jig and shiner. Not long afterward, Joel caught and released a couple more smaller fish too. After a pass or two, the action slowed and I started searching for a new spot and found a ..." Read Full Report >> June 30, 2023 "Winnie Walleyes Scattered, Un-Patternable, But Biting"
Family fishing trips, especially multiple day trips, usually offer me an excuse to combine the pursuit of walleye with other popular fish species. You’ve read plenty of times about how I love the mixed bag, multi-species action bite. If I keep the boat on lakes that have walleyes in them, we usually get enough, and along the way, who knows what else we’ll catch. Even after all these years, the past few days proved to me that the term “mixed bag” has still never been fully realized!
Bryce Demuth started his fishing trip at age 11 on Monday and finished it at age 12 on Wednesday. As it happened, the fish must have gotten a memo that all 3 days were his birthday and they gifted him accordingly. His parents Harv and Jodi held their own too, but somehow Bryce just keeps winding up catching the biggest, sometimes the most, and this year, the most unusual.
The photo of the Bigmouth Buffalo you see here does not ..." Read Full Report >> June 29, 2023 "Mixing the Mix-Able"
"Walleye fishing can't be fantastic all the time, even in the Ely area. Anglers have been struggling to stay on the walleyes this last week. Anglers catching walleyes have been reporting that they are finding them in 12 to 18 feet of water, out on sunken islands.
Spinner rigs, tipped with crawlers has been best, but jig and half a crawler has also been very effective. Top colors have been orange, gold and pink.
Smallmouth Bass fishing too has slowed on some of the area lakes, but has changed very little on others. Topwater continues to be the way to go on the lakes ..." Read >> Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report June 28, 2023
There are two areas where most anglers have focused this past week. First, rocks. Walleyes love crayfish on LOW and nice fish have been found over various rocky areas targeting crayfish. The second area that has really fired up nicely is the deep mud. There is usually a transition this time of year.
Walleyes are feeding on baitfish and bug hatches. Did you know when there is a bug hatch, most of those bugs come from the bottom of the lake from the mud in a larval stage? Walleyes love the nymph forms of various insects, and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report June 27, 2023
"On the lake, the surface water ranged between 71 to 72 degrees. The wind was from the northeast and there were whitecaps on the lake, varying in size according to how hard the gusts of wind were at any given time. The north side of the lake was easily manageable, I’m not sure how the middle of the lake looked, I never felt 100% about going out there to explore it.
Whatever “pre-trip intel” we had before our trip suggested that trolling was working on Upper Red. We saw evidence that supported the notion, most of the anglers we saw were trolling crankbaits, others were trolling with spinners. My plan was to troll spinners, so that’s what we did, my speed ranged from 1.1 to 1.5 MPH. Water depth was shallow, I straddled the line between 4 and 5 feet of water, occasionally moving a little bit deeper.
Walleyes struck at random intervals, often enough to call the action good. The average size of the fish was ..." Read Full Report >> June 26, 2023 Upper Red Lake Fishing Report "Sorting the Sort-Able"
"Walleyes in both Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux are in a seasonal transition. While some fish remain in relatively shallow water, 8 to 16 feet for example, others are migrating out to mid-lake structures. Instead of finding large, concentrated schools of fish, it’s more common now to find small schools of fish, in a wide variety of locations. So, exploration of fresh territory will pay off bigtime for anglers hoping to find a “hot bite”.
On Wednesday, anglers located good schools of fish in shallow water, not far from the resort. Fishing with jig and minnow combinations, they captured limits of keeper walleyes, and released a good number of larger fish too. At the same time, there were anglers fishing mid-lake structures and they found walleyes too. Whether you fish shallow or deeper depends on your fishing preferences.
Water temperatures have stabilized, and are solidly holding at about 71 degrees, varying by 1 or 2 degrees between day and night. Water clarity has begun to change, there is a slight-but-noticeable algae bloom taking hold in the big lake, somewhat stronger in Cutfoot Sioux. Insect hatches have ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 23, 2023
I know that not everybody buys in to some of my theories, especially that one dude. But I know too that some of you do like to engage in theoretical thinking, so for you I’ll explain in the way of my own fishing timeline.
Let’s start with a crappie fishing charter that Larry, Tim, and Cooley were on with me last Thursday. The water temperature of the lake we fished on was warm, somewhere in the mid-70s, so despite the effects of a cool front, fish were active. We trolled spinners on the weed edges and as planned, caught crappies. But there were tons of rock bass, sunfish, bass and pike on the same deep weed edges and they were all equally aggressive. The experience convinced me that warm water species like sunfish and bass ..." Read Full Story >> June 22, 2023 "Are We Early, or Did We Miss the Boat?"
"Walleye - Walleye anglers continue to find walleyes in water 12ft or less. Shallow boulder flats or on top of sunken islands, has been the locations to look for. Reports of walleye throwing up crawfish has also been reported by several anglers. As a result, orange jigs and half a crawler have been very effective.
Anglers are also catching walleyes with slip bobbers, spinner rigs and trolling large minnow baits over shallow flats.
Smallmouth - Topwater fishing for smallies continues to be fantastic for bass anglers. Anglers continue to find bass on ..." Read Full Story >> Ely Minnesota Area Fishing Report June 21, 2023
Toward the end of the day, I trolled over a non-descript weed flat in about 10 feet of water. The spot drives guys like me crazy because it doesn’t “look” like structure, there isn’t any hard drop off, hump of specific weed patch to follow, random patches of cabbage and coontail are the only features.
The fish liked that spot though, we caught 3 more nice walleyes and a couple of keeper pike, along with 1 small largemouth bass, the only one we caught today.
It's fair to say that the action was about as fast as it gets, as long as our lines were in the water, somebody was “getting bit” almost constantly. But at 71-72 degrees, I don’t think the water was quite warm enough to ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 20, 2023
Regarding yesterday’s reader question about whether perch eat Zebra Mussels or not, retired DNR Big Lake Specialist Gerry Albert wrote. “Hi Jeff, just read your Q and A regarding zebra mussel in fish stomachs.
I have seen and heard of Zeebs in Winnie fish stomachs for a while. This confused me but this year the answer may have shown itself. Zeebs attach to any hard surface including crayfish. This year I have cleaned several fish with undigested crayfish in their stomachs. Those crayfish had live zebra mussels attached to their shells. Just my observations.”
Shortly after receiving Albert’s message, we followed up by telephone. During the conversation, I recalled some photos that I posted in a June 2016 fishing report. Dragonfly nymphs, like crawfish, also have a hard shell and we have seen zebra mussels ..." Read >> Full Sundin Reports June 19, 2023
Q) "Having fished this east side of Leech for so many years my neighbor and I are really struggling with consistent catches of all species of fish. The techniques of the past are no longer working for us. We know the extremely clear water is a new factor to deal with. At times it seems like something is seriously wrong with the lake and fish populations seem way down. Almost like the early 2000s. A testament to this might be the lack of fishing in the bay and even the main lake here on the east side. Most days you can count boats out fishing on one hand. Definitely concerning! You can certainly share my comments. It will be interesting to hear if anyone else has experienced this.“
A) Randy, in the early days, when” Zeebs” were first being discovered in Minnesota lakes, their presence was largely thought to be a death sentence for some of our most beloved fishing lakes. Luckily, the worst of the gloom and doom scenarios haven’t played out and contrary to your concerns, walleyes in Leech Lake have ..." Read >> June 18, 2023 "Where Have All The (Leech Lake) Walleyes Gone?"
"We’ve issued numerous reports in recent years about fishing “The New Winnie”, and offered solid tips on how to approach walleye presentations that work with, not against, the clear water conditions. This summer, we’re seeing evidence that many anglers have taken those tips to heart. They have adapted to the clear water and their creels, filled with walleyes, offer proof that the adaptations have been effective.
Fishing the twilight period, for example, is one of the key adaptations. Formerly reserved for sitting by the campfire, fishing at sunset has now become very popular with our guests. They’ve experienced the transformation from lethargic, daytime feeding patterns to aggressive, even gluttonous at times, walleye feeding behavior during the crepuscular feeding periods. Our guide, Jared Saufferer says; “The bite continues to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report June 16, 2023
"Walleye - Walleye fishing cooled off this last weekend thanks to good cold front that dropped water temps 10 degrees. As a result, walleyes dropped to 15-25 feet of water, just off those shallow flats anglers were catching them just days before.
Minnows really came back into play for anglers. Simple jig and minnow, worked right on top of those inactive walleye was effective. Pink/white, blue/white and gold remain popular colors for walleyes. Angler have now started reporting walleyes out on sunken islands.
Smallmouth bass continue to be very active and aggressive for anglers. Topwater lures continue to ..." Read >> Ely MN Fishing Report June 14, 2023
"Reports about a fantastic week of fishing on Lake of the Woods are common. Walleye anglers are coming in with lots of limits of "eaters" and also with some great photos of larger, fish that were released along the way. Most walleyes are being caught in 7 to 25 feet of water, surface temperatures in the low-to-mid-70s.
One technique that has been deadly for walleyes this week is using a night crawler harnesses; they are catching a lot of fish right now.
Using a size 2 hook snelled spinner with a night crawler paired with a 2 ounce inline sinker or bottom bouncer. For the spinner blade, try a small, size 2 to a medium size 4 blade in gold, glow, red, orange, pink or glow-white. Some anglers are using a ..." Read Full Report >> Lake of the Woods Fishing June 13, 2023
So, here’s a common scenario. Sometime recently, you were reading one of the fishing reports of FishRapper and saw something interesting. Curious for more information, or maybe interested in making your own contribution, you followed the email link, sent me an email, and waited for me to respond. For most of you, communication was swift, most of the time, responses come within a day, sometimes your comments were even featured in the fishing reports.
For some folks though, that scenario hasn’t played out, email messages have been sent, but have not been answered. Why is that? It’s because you have a Gmail account. Google allows me to receive messages from you, and I have. But when I respond to anybody’s Gmail messages, they are kicked back to me as undeliverable.
Google will not allow you to receive email responses from me. Despite writing these reports for almost 20 years, and despite having nearly a quarter million users, Google apparently doesn’t believe that I’m real, so they’re protecting you from receiving email messages from me. They say that there is a fix, that I must ..." Learn More >> June 12, 2023 "Responding to the Respond-Able"
"On Friday, I fished on Upper Red Lake with my friend and customer Eldon Skoglund. A long time ago, Eldon started a family tradition of taking his boys, John, and Jason fishing on, or close to Father’s Day.
Since then, he's expanded the theme, inviting grandkids and in-laws too. The image left, circa 2016 features (L to R) Eldon. John, Jack and Jason. Usually, we fish “in the neighborhood”, but with sunshine and calms seas forecast, I opted to make the long drive to Upper Red Lake on Friday.
We launched the boat at Roger’s Campground, where the boat ramp and parking lot were vastly improved. On my last visit, about 3 weeks ago, the lot and grounds were soaking wet, muddy, and rutted. Conditions then reminded me of what you’d expect to see after a flood, but they ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Fishing Report June 11, 2023
"Surface temperatures, at their peak reached the high 70 to low 80-degree range. After a cooler, breezier weather pattern developed at mid-week, Winnie’s waters were churned by the choppy water and temperatures settled back in to the 72-to-73-degree range.
The warm water generated a moderate algae bloom and that added some color to the “gin-clear” water in Lake Winnie, which had previously been a problem for walleye anglers on sunny days. There haven’t been any large-scale insect hatches so far, but evidence is mounting that there will be some soon. Walleyes caught on the mid depth flats are coughing up insect larvae in folks’ live wells and tiny white, gnat-like bugs have been hatching over the deep-water mud flats.
The development of submerged vegetation has influenced walleye location too. Earlier this week, walleyes were caught in good numbers by anglers fishing cabbage patches in shallow, 4- to 7-foot-deep water. With the ever-growing food chain, reduced light penetration, and blooming vegetation, the array of angler’s choices has ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report June 9, 2023
Caused by a week-long stretch of calm, sunny, and hot weather, I had been reporting incredibly high surface temperature readings. On most lakes, crossing the 80-degree mark was the norm and on some shallow, dark water lakes and flowages, 82 to 84 degrees we not uncommon. Beginning on Tuesday, a welcome turnaround occurred when breezy conditions arrived. The “walleye chop”, combined with cooler air temperatures helped mix the hot surface water with cooler, sub-surface water. On Wednesday, my graph revealed surface temperatures had fallen into the 71-to-72-degree range. More moderate to be sure, but still warm when compared to past seasons.
The long-term impact of the fast rise in water temps is unknown, but for anglers, the immediate impact could be viewed as positive. Algae blooms are accelerated, providing an increased supply of food for recently hatched gamefish fry; this could be helpful in providing a strong year class of walleye from 2023. The warm water and calm seas “should have” been good for nest building spawners like crappies, sunfish, and ..." Read >> Early Start For Warm Water Season June 8, 2023
"Walleye - The skinny water walleye bite continues to be very hot! Walleyes continue to be found in water as shallow as 2 feet (not a typo). Anglers are having great success fishing leeches under a bobber, shallow running minnow baits and trolling slow death rigs. Shallow, wind blown flats, remain the best place to find these hungry walleye.
Smallmouth - With water temps as high as 83 degrees on some area lakes, the bass have largely wrapped up spawning.
Topwater baits have quickly become the go to lures for bass anglers. Whopper ploppers, torpedoes, pop-r’s and hula poppers are all catching tons of smallies right now. Ned rigs and ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report June 7, 2023
"Lots of limits of nice eating size walleyes were caught this week on Lake of the Woods. Anglers are also releasing plenty of fish in the protected slot, 19.5 - 28.0 inches, and catching a good number of trophy walleyes, over 28 inches.
Water temperatures are about 73 degrees now and this means crawler harnesses have really kicked in this week. Using a 2 or 3 hook harness with a crawler teamed up with a weight or bottom bouncer of about 2 ounces is a nice combination and will catch fish.
A tip when pulling spinners, keep just a couple of inches of crawler off of your back hook and pinch off the remainder. The walleyes will still hit your spinner rig and you will hook more. Some anglers are using a ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report June 7, 2023
“Perch, pike, and walleye patterns didn’t change much throughout the week, so perusing the archived reports will keep you up to speed. The new news today concerns crappies, their spawning runs and feeding patterns. I’d say that as of today, 90% of the crappies in this north central Minnesota region have completed spawning. Anglers who want to catch them now will need to adjust to “post spawn” locations and feeding patterns. Today’s theme, crappie location and feeding patterns also ties into a reader question that came in yesterday evening.
Q) Alan Duit wrote;” Good afternoon. Your advice has put some crappies in the Fry pan for us. The biggest was just under 13.5 inches which was my new personal best. Caught a few other 11 inches. My question is (that) the crappies we have caught have all been (located) in the reeds shallow water, 1 at a time; no school of fish or anything like that. Are these just late spawners? Or just happen to be cruising through?” Thanks again, Alan.
A) Once the spawning cycle runs its course, crappies seemingly disappear as they enter one of their most irksome feeding patterns of the open water season. The problem is not how to catch them, but rather when to ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 6, 2023
Day 5 of “Fun (in the heat) With Dick and Paul” is now in the history books. This was the warmest of their trip so far, and also the 5th day that they never needed a jacket, rain coat or anything more than shirtsleeves and light pants.
In the report yesterday morning I mentioned that “the plan” for day 5 was to try fishing on one of the area’s clear, cool water lakes. I wrote, “We can sport fish for bass and while we’re at it, maybe stumble into some crappies that haven’t completed spawning yet.” Well, like a lot of my plans, this one changed before we ever left the Timber Lake Hotel parking lot. When Dick said that he’d prefer to catch perch, I decided the best idea was to follow up on a lead from one of my fishing buddies. Hoping that the perch he’d found a few days ago were still in the same areas, we drove to the lake that we’d find them. When we arrived at the lake, we ..." Read Full Report >> June 5, 2023 "Fun (in the heat) With Dick and Paul MMXXIII
So, what is all this warm sunshine doing to the lakes? Well, for one thing, the surface water temperature was 79 degrees yesterday. Seriously, 79 degrees? Yes, that’s what we discovered yesterday in the northwest corner of the Third River Flowage, a couple of miles upstream from Lake Winnibigoshish. On the main lake, we found temperatures ranging anywhere from 71 degrees on up to 76 degrees.
Alage blooms are trying to take hold, and the water is starting to get a little color. But the "zeebs" and faucet snails are still winning the battle; most of the water on the big lake is still very clear. Last evening, we ran into a friend, Dale Anderson at the Gosh Dam Place and he said that on his fishing charter yesterday, they could see their lures on the bottom is 13 feet of water. I too, noticed the water clarity, we were able to watch the bottom structure whizzing by as we motored from spot-to-spot.
As warm as it is, insect hatches appear not to ..." Read Full Report >> June 4, 2023 "Fun (in the bulrushes) With Dick and Paul MMXXIII
As usual, walleyes were on the opening day agenda. We started on Winnie that day, and we fished in the aftermath of thunderstorms that moved through overnight Tuesday. We found fish, caught enough to provide the evening meal, and even had a few extras for the freezer. But the action had slipped when compared to what folks enjoyed over the Memorial Day holiday.
One thing that made life easier, for me, was that some of Winnie’s walleyes have begun moving onto offshore structures. Isolated bars and sunken islands located at ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Report June 2, 2023
"On Lake Winnie, shiner minnows typically begin spawning around Memorial Day, and that pattern was on track this week. So, we think that the shoreline bite will continue for a week or so, especially in areas adjacent to the sprawling sand flats where shiners perform their spawning cycle. Small perch and other baitfish move onto the same shallow flats where shiner minnows are spawning, and these add to the attraction for hungry walleyes.
Clear water conditions favor fishing during the twilight periods during morning and evening. Key walleye depths range from 12 to 18 feet along shoreline, shoreline related points and rocky structure also provide decent walleye action. During the daytime, especially on calm days, walleyes slip deeper down the breakline, preferring the 22-to-26-foot depth range. In the dark of night, they’ll move over shallow flats in the 10-to-14-foot range, maybe shallower at times.
Jig and minnow combinations continue to be the prominent presentation for our guests. Jig weights of 1/8 ounce are sufficient during twilight when walleyes move shallow. During the day, ¼ to 3/8-ounce weights are required to maintain contact with walleyes. Shiners are readily available now, and do appear to provide an advantage on Winnie, but larger fatheads or rainbows will ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 1, 2023
"Walleye - Skinny water has been has been the name of the game this last weekend. When we say skinny, we are talking 2-3 feet of water. Anglers catching walleyes in this super skinny water were throwing minnow baits or jig and a minnow to these shallow water walleyes, during the late evening hours and after dark (if you can handle the bugs). During the day it was a very different story for walleye anglers. 20-25 feet of water is where anglers were finding walleyes. Again jig and a minnow was the most popular technique to catch walleyes out here. With water temps getting into the 60’s leeches and a slip bobber are quickly coming into play on many area lakes.
Smallmouth Bass - The smallmouth invasion of the shallows is in full swing on all area lakes. Shallow boulder flats, around islands and along shorelines, are now covered with hungry smallies. Suspending minnow baits, soft plastics and even some topwater reports were heard this last weekend.
Pike - Pike anglers are still finding large pike shallow this last weekend. Pike continue to cruise shorelines and river mouths looking for a easy meal. Spoons, spinnerbaits and large minnows fished under a bobber has remained very effective on large pike.
Panfish - With water temps climbing into the 60’s, panfish anglers have been finding crappies and now sunnies in pencil reeds, staging to spawn. Hair jigs and crappie minnows were very effective on these shallow water panfish.
Stream Trout - Stream trout anglers continue to report catching good numbers of stream trout from area lakes. Small spoons, spinners and night crawlers fished under a bobber or floated off the bottom. Anglers should keep in mind that as water temps climb, trout will go deeper. Fish accordingly." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
On Tuesday (May 30, 2023), Dan Hamilton emailed with a fishing report along with a couple of questions resulting from his Memorial Weekend fishing trip Lake Winnie.
"Hi Jeff, I rolled in to camp at 12:30 am Friday morning. This was my first trip to winnie. Instead of making a bunch of noise setting up camp I decided to get on the water. I trolled raps in 8-10' of water on a wind blown shore line from 1am to after sunrise. I boated 41 walleye, biggest was just over 28" and about half were slot fish. After the kids arrived late friday, we trolled rapalas from 9 until midnight with the kids and we boated ..." Read >> May 31, 2023 "Dan Hamilton Lake Winnie Fishing Report"
1) With the gas tank in the rear, the seat is so far from my sonar I can’t reach it. What do you do about this?
2) What do you do with your fishing rods? The side storage compartments are without rod tubes and mine is a tangled mess. Thank you for your help." Bob Caticchio
A) Bob, the Lund Alaskan does have a wide, open floor plan. So, you’re right, it can be a stretch from the coxswain position over the controls on your graph. Your seat could easily be relocated, but I wouldn’t suggest that because if you’re like me, getting a comfortable grip on the tiller handle overrides reaching the graph. The simplest and least time-consuming solution for gaining an easier reach to your sonar controls would be to ..." Read >> Lund Alaskan Rod Storage May 31, 2023
Last week, while we were out on the lakes enjoying fishing, the Minnesota legislature was busy wrapping up the 2023 session. Historic legislation, including bills to provide MN DNR with funds from the state’s general budget passed. So, for the first time, MN DNR will have access to general fund dollars, earmarked for specified DNR projects. Most notably, to repair state managed public accesses, fish hatcheries and public fishing piers.
You may recall the stories about last year’s 2022 MN FISH spring summit meeting when founding member Ron Schara managed to get a public commitment from Governor Tim Walz to include MN DNR projects in the state budget. Why that was a big deal is because historically, DNR has never received funds from the general budget. Their only sources of revenue were fishing/hunting licenses, wildlife stamps and certain small stipends from federal excise taxes on sporting gear.
True to his word, Walz did include DNR project funding in this year’s budget and last week, much of it was passed into law.In a news release late last week, a MN DNR news release spells out everything. For a PDF version of the entire news release, follow this link to >> Historic MN DNR Funding Bills Pass Legislature May 29, 2023
Although technically I am "off" this weekend, I did promise to share any noteworthy tips that I stumble into during my busman's holiday. So, both in the interest of keeping that promise, along with bragging on my wife, here goes.
When I asked Susan what she wanted to fish for on Saturday morning, she replied "crappies". So, I started doing a mental inventory of places that might make catching some of them possible. I came up with an idea about a medium size lake in the Leech Lake region, packed up the jalopy and headed over.
Along the way, Lilac’s blooming, sun shining bright and warm air temperatures provided convincing evidence that we'd be looking for crappies on, or around spawning beds. And when we arrived at the lake, 63-degree surface water temperatures made the theory even more convincing. Within a few hundred feet of the boat ramp, I put down the Terrova, hit the spot-lock and ..." Read >> Crappie Fishing Update May 28, 2028
"Adjusting to the cool, clear water conditions, anglers on Lake Winnie, Cass Lake, Leech Lake and more, have already learned that daytime walleye action will likely be slow and spotty. For folks that were here last week, fishing in the evening and early morning feeding runs produced much better action.
The shortened feeding window meant that figuring out where to fish required fast thinking. So, this weekend, learning the best fishing areas from friends, or being able to predict where walleyes will go when the sun appears at the tree line will be key.
On Winnie, the trend has been for smaller walleyes from the 2019-year class to move deeper. The 13-1/3 to 15 inch walleyes are gathered in fairly large schools along the ..." Learn More >> Memorial Weekend Fishing Outlooks May 26, 2023
"Regions of the lake with the coolest water temperatures also feature the clearest water conditions. Walleyes in these regions show a strong preference for feeding during low light periods. Anglers do report catching some fish during the daytime. But in the words of one guest whose here right now, “The evening bite is on fire, when the sun starts touching the treetops, the fish start feeding. We’re fishing in water depths of 16 to 20 feet using ¼ ounce jig heads and minnows.”
Warmer water, with darker color translates into a whole new story for folks fishing those regions. One of the better area guides says this, “On Wednesday, we fished in the extreme back regions and found 61.5-degree water. “There were some scattered, but still green cabbage plants, along with some stubby, newly emerging vegetation too. There were walleye, perch and smaller northern pike using feeding there.”“We caught a mixed bag of fish by moving slowly along the ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report May 25, 2023
"Walleye As water temps climb into the high 50’s walleye are on the move. While yes, you can still find walleyes hanging around spawning areas, but the majority of them have now left those areas. Now walleyes are cruising shorelines looking for an easy meal. Anglers are now working points, large shallow flats and river mouths.
Anglers are finding walleyes in 12 to 16 feet of water during the day with a jig and minnow, but during the evening hours, walleyes are sliding up as shallow as 3 feet looking for minnows and leeches. Here a slip bobber and a leech, large floating minnow bait, and jig and minnow have been very effective for catching walleyes.
Northern Pike anglers continue to ..." Read >> Ely MN Fishing Report May 24, 2023
"Walleye and sauger fishing continue to be really good on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Most walleyes are spawned out and feeding nicely. Great reports by resort charter boats and others across the lake. Anglers are catching a nice mix of eaters (under 19.5 inches), protected slot fish (19.5 to 28.0 inches) and a good number of trophy fish (over 28 inches) caught this past weekend.
This is the time for jigging. Most anglers anchor their boats and fish vertically using jigs and minnows. The best jig colors are gold, orange, chartreuse, pink or a combo of these colors. Tip jigs with live minnows or frozen emerald shiners. Quick LOW tip ... Place the hook of the jig through the mouth of the minnow, out the gills, slide the minnow all the way up to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report May 23, 2023
"The fishing report from Upper Red Lake is short, but that’s all it needs to be. Walleye fishing is very good right now and everybody knows it. Traffic at Upper Red Lake was super-heavy on Saturday and again Sunday, but the crowds were manageable. Despite the full parking lot at Rogers, anglers were efficient, and we were on the water quickly.
On the lake, water temperatures had risen since last week. I saw the surface water cross the 60-degree mark at mid-morning. The surface was calm, so the warmup continued, peaking at about 62 degrees during the early afternoon.
The fishing action was good, not just for my crew, but for everybody. There are still enough walleyes located on the ..." Read >> May 22, 2023 "Upper Red Lake Fishing Update"
... "We got into position, cast our jigs and minnows into the water and WHAM! My first cast produced a 25-inch walleye. Then Ken caught a keeper, Susan caught one too and within a couple of hours, we had 10 keeper walleyes in the boat. “Why didn’t we just come here in the first place”, I asked out loud? My only disappointments about the decision was that I hadn’t thought of it sooner and that 1 of Kens fish, a larger walleye came un-pinned before we got it to the boat. Otherwise, those last 2 hours of our day were pretty much perfect.
The fish were holding on the shoreline breaks in about 8 feet of water. We used 1/8-ounce jigs tipped primarily with shiners, but with a few rainbows mixed in too. On Winnie, I’ve been thinking that shiners have been best, but back in the bay, I don’t think it mattered.
The walleyes were not bunched up, they were scattered at random intervals and ...." Read >> May 21, 2023 "Too Stubborn Not To Have A Happy Ending"
... "We entered the lake at the Plughat Point landing, and found high, but not flood stage water. Traffic was slower there than I expected, and launching was a smooth operation. The water temperature in the Dam Bay was cool, 54-55 degrees and unusually clean, free of weeds and debris. NOAA was predicting a stiff northwest wind, but when we arrived, the surface was calm. Taking advantage of smooth conditions, I drove straight over to the north shore, in the Bowens Flats neighborhood.
Early in the trip, boats were loosely lined up along the breakline into deep water and it was easy to stake out our own territory. We located small and scattered packs of walleyes holding along the break in 17 to 19 feet of water. We used ¼ ounce jigs tipped with minnows and moved slowly, .5 to .6 MPH was ideal for giving us the ability to ..." Read >> May 19, 2023 "Lake Winnie Fishing Update"
"While I love bass fishing and crappie fishing, I get equally excited about chasing big bluegills for the table. And I love to chase big redear sunfish in the spring. I don’t keep redear near as much as I do bluegill but I probably love to catch them more than any other fish I chase. In fact I won the only redear tournament I ever fished. So a lot of my panfish gear is geared around catching bluegills and redears on artificials, although I definitely fish a lot of red worms as well.
When it comes to fishing, I’m also definitely a fishing kit guy. Because I generally don’t chase bluegills all year, I will build a kit just for bluegill fishing that I can keep all in one place and either keep in the boat just in case or also take with me on trips when I think I might fish for bluegills or redears. So I set a goal to ..." Learn More >> What’s In My Bluegill / Panfish Fishing Kit?
Yesterday, I wrote that culling fish in Minnesota was not legal; I was wrong. An email message from a reader included a screen shot of the Minnesota regulation on culling. It said that except for MN-North Dakota border water, and on Lake Mille Lacs, culling IS ALLOWED on all other waters.
Just to be sure that I wasn’t getting my leg pulled by a prankster, I looked it up in the 2023 Minnesota Fishing Regulations. Sure enough, there it was on page 32 of the booklet. If you do not possess your full legal limit, you CAN ..." Read >> May 19, 2023 "Correcting the Correct-Able"
"... On Wednesday, the words short and smooth ride was an understatement, we literally idled out of the river, stopped the outboard and started fishing. Within 5 to 10 minutes, we’d put our first “keeper” in the livewell, released another, and missed a couple more.
For the rest of the day, we stayed within ½ mile of the mouth of Shotley Brook, the river mouth at Rogers. The only time my Alaskan was ever on plane was the ride back to the ramp at the end or our trip.
The water temperature was 54.5 degrees when we arrived, and never warmed up much from then on. I could see one of the Shiner Trappers working along the shoreline, but he didn’t stay in one place very long. So, I didn’t get the sense that there was any strong run of shiners going on at that moment. The shiners must have been close to the shoreline though, because there were lots of walleyes spread across the ..." Read >> May 18, 2023 "Upper Red Lake Walleye Report
"Walleye - Anglers found walleye in a classic post spawn pattern, meaning mostly males and largely scattered but hungry fish. As usual, a jig and rainbow rained supreme over opening weekend for anglers.
Gold, gold/red, pink, blue were the top colors over the weekend for anglers. Anglers focused their efforts on current areas and large gravel flats in anywhere from 2 feet of water, down to as much as 16 feet of water.
There was a handful of anglers who focused on these same areas with large floating rapalas, during the evening hours, and are being rewarded with ..." Read >> Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report May 18, 2023
"Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux did not disappoint walleye anglers hoping that the action would be great for the 2023 fishing opener. The weather was fabulous, there was a nice chop on the water and the walleyes were snapping. It’s fair to say that on opening day, there were more folks catching fish, even limits, than those who did not.On Sunday, and each day since, the climate has been warm, bright, and calm. The water temperature is now in the 55-to-57-degree range and the water is clear. Walleyes continue to bite, but have been located spread out over the ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report May 17, 2023
"Wired2fish’s McKeon Roberts showcases how to jig fish for finicky walleyes from a kayak. A tough bite forces Roberts to pivot from snap jigging walleye with jigs and plastics to real shiner minnows. He provides detailed instructions on effectively hooking shiner minnows to combat short strikes. This tutorial is helpful whether you fish for walleyes from the shore, a boat, or fishing from a kayak.
In this video, Roberts navigates the unique rocky bottom of Manitoba’s pristine Family Lake at Shining Falls Lodge, a classic Canadian Shield lake. While there is no best fishing kayak for all situations, Old Town’s Sportsman PDL works excellently to maintain precise boat control. Roberts uses the kayak’s pedal system to control speed and" ... View Video to Learn More >> Jig Fishing Walleyes from a Kayak | Deadsticking
"Walleye fishing was fantastic for the Minnesota Fishing Opener on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Anglers returned to the landings with many limits of eaters, and released lots of slot fish along the way. There were a good number of trophy fish over 28 inches also caught this past weekend.
Most anglers were after walleyes anchored up and vertically jigging with a jig and minnow along the south shore of Lake of the Woods. Ice just went out the week before so fish were still adjacent to spawning areas in many cases. Once you found the fish, it was typically good fishing.
The best jig colors were gold, orange, chartreuse, pink or a combo of these colors. Some tipped jigs with live minnows, others, frozen emerald shiners. Both worked well and there was plenty of bait available at ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report MAY 16, 2023
Frequent visitors know that I always reserve fishing opener for family fishing and usually, celebrate Mother’s Day too. This year, we had planned to fish on Lake Winnie, but just before we left home, I looked at the weather forecast, noted the wind speed and decided on a last-minute change.
At 18 months old, I wasn't interested in taking Audrey Jones, our guest of honor on a wild ride in the waves, we can do that when she's older. Thinking about close by lakes that might offer calmer seas, Susan and I settled on giving Swan Lake a try. We’ve had decent luck on walleyes in the past, and almost always catch some northern pike too.
At the lake, I was amazed by water temperatures in the 42-to-43-degree range. Wow! I didn’t expect to see swimming temperature water, but given the warm, sunny weather we’ve enjoyed recently, I ..." Read >> Sundin Family Fishing Weekend May 15, 2023
The supply of spottail shiners began making its way into dealers’ bait tanks on Wednesday. The word “limited” appears in most of the descriptions I’ve read, so I expect to see rationing and high prices this weekend. That said, the weather has presented minnow trappers with perfect conditions for trapping shiners. If the forecast holds true next week, I think we’ll see lots of tanks filling up with shiners.
For the most part fatheads and rainbow chubs are already stocked to most of the bait dealers’ tanks. One caveat, the size of fatheads varies from store to store, so if you’re particular about size, don’t make any assumptions, ask to see them before buying them.
The timing of shiners going into spawning mode ties into a very good reader comment regarding those fishing tips I offered on Wednesday. I offered, “Lots of you already know about the ..." Read >> Shiners Trickling In, More Opening Day Walleye Tips May 12, 2023
esterday, cold air temperatures, rain, and the prediction of a breezy day ahead almost forced us into dropping the plan again. Luckily though, we waited around for a while and around 10:00 AM, the rain stopped. The lake was calm too, so the trip status switched back to green, for GO! We were loaded up and, on the water, sometime around noon.
On the way out, Lorin explained the game plan and pointed to the area he was planning to fish. “Schools of smelt are running hot and heavy, so lots of fish are up on the shoreline;” Lemire Said. “We’ll motor up the shoreline 4 to 5 miles and then fish close, that’s where I ..." Read >> Fish of the Gitch, a Pleasant Switch May 11, 2023
There’s likely been enough time for many of the female, larger size walleyes to have completed spawning already. But I think that on opening day, we should all be able to find some males, still in spawning mode and hoping for a late running female to wonder by. Shallow patches of gravel and the areas adjacent to them should produce some action for anglers who locate and then fish them correctly.
Lots of you already know about the sort of places walleyes like, rocks, fist size and smaller rocks located on patches of shoreline with current flow from streams or exposure to wind would be my first choice. If your timing is good, small rivers and flowages are also good, but the walleyes move in and out of them fast, so they are not as reliable.
One trick about fishing these spots is to stay away from the structure and “pitch” your jig and minnow combo toward them. Side imaging, if you have it, will come in really handy for finding ..." >> Location Tips For The Walleye Opener May 10, 2023
"Open water on Lake of the Woods, just before the MN Fishing Opener on Saturday, May 13, 2023 is good timing on Mother Nature's part. A combination of hot sun, rain and a strong north wind was too much for the rotten ice to handle. Now there's open water as far as the eye can see and it is a welcome sight.
The prediction is for some great walleye and sauger action. Most anglers will be going after the walleyes anchored up and vertically jigging with a jig and minnow along the south shore of Lake of the Woods.
Jig colors like gold, orange, chartreuse, pink or a combination of these colors in the stained waters of LOW will be the ticket. Plenty of bait for the opener. Some anglers will ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report May 10, 2023
Some of the trappers fishing for rainbows, fatheads and other pond minnows have had their gear set in small waters for a few days already and were out in the field checking them yesterday.
Shiner trappers, depending on large lakes for their supplies, were out in the field placing traps for the first time yesterday. So, the situation could change fast over the next couple of days. The range of attitudes was wide, at one of the stores, I ..." Read >> Another Day Closer May 9, 2023
My little update about getting ready for the fishing opener yesterday included a photo of my Alaskan, during the rigging process. Tools everywhere, unopened electronics boxes, no accessories and so on. Well, I did get the job finished and the boat looks a little better today than it did yesterday morning, don’t you think?
Yesterday’s image piqued the curiosity of a reader, Bob, who emailed with a question. “Hey Jeff, I saw your report today and wondered why you pulled the floor on the new Alaskan? Bob, the easy answer is that I was installing a couple of extra seat bases. The reason I do that, I think merits a little bit of extra discussion.
The Alaskan already comes with plenty of seat bases, but in my line of work, I need to ..." Learn More >> Another Day Closer May 9, 2023
"Preparing the Prepare-Able, for me, means putting the finishing touches on the new Alaskan before the weekend. But you can bet that everybody with an interest in the fishing opener, no matter who, is doing the same thing today.
The cloudy weather prevents showing you a satellite image of north central Minnesota lakes. But last Thursday, the most recent clear day we’ve enjoyed, images featured most of the smallest lakes, some of medium ones, and even a few of the big ones were already open.
Over the weekend, resorters, bait trappers and lakeshore owners were reporting on open water everywhere in the region. So today, most of those people ..." Read >> Preparing the Prepare-Able May 8, 2023
Minnow supplies are on my mind these days, but the timing for gathering them is still early. Most of the best shiner producing lakes in our region still have too much ice for setting up minnow traps. But as the satellite images show, Upper Red Lake and Lake Mille Lacs are both getting very close to being ice-free.
Eight days is not much time, but my guess is that there will be a trickle of shiners coming from one, possibly both of those lakes. The satellite image of Winnibigoshish is very poor and blurry, but from what I can see, it will still be a few days before anybody can set minnow traps there.
My writing schedule has been unusually hot and heavy for this week. Today though, I’ve found myself in an “Info Gathering Traffic Jam.” Jeff Reed, MN DNR Fisheries, noticed a comment on “social” media, responding to my story on the walleye egg take at Cutfoot Sioux. The comments prompted Reed to ..." Read >> Minnows, Walleyes, Where They'll Come From Next Week?
"Walleye anglers, curious about the progress of the ice breaking up on Lake Winnie may have had a few anxious moments this spring. But, compared to last year’s “ice-out cliff hanger”, this is going to be a walk in the park. Today’s images of Cutfoot and Winnibigoshish compared to those we viewed around the same time in 2022 indicate that we’re 4 to 5 days ahead of where we were last spring. Admittedly, this still constitutes a later than typical ice-out, but at least we have a little bit of wiggle room to work with. In other words, the 2023 walleye season is going to happen on schedule, and we’ll be ready!
This year, we’re anticipating a continuation of the strong angler catch rates we enjoyed in both 2021 and 2022. The 2 back-to-back, “dynamo year classes” of walleyes from 2018 and 2019 will continue to dominate the population. This summer, the size structure of walleyes from both years will be very desirable. Many of the fish will ..." Read >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie 2023 Walleye Fishing Season Outlook May 2, 2023
The 2nd Annual MN-FISH Spring Summit took place on Wednesday May 3, 2023. In attendance, interested anglers from every walk of life including me, the smallest of all small businesses, all the way up the Governor of Minnesota himself.
The agenda included discussions about MN DNR funding, Barotrauma, public fishing areas, the impact of Zebra Mussels on walleye populations and more. But for me, and maybe for you too, the #1 issue of the day was Minnesota’s minnow supply, or the lack of it.
MN-FISH board member Tom Neustrom, tasked with assembling a group of minnow dealers and trappers, did an excellent job of presenting attendees with testimony highlighting not only the problems, but also in offering up some potential solutions.
Good news first, Neustrom announced the relaxation of trapping deadlines for Spottail Shiners. Bait trappers will now be allowed to ..." Read >> Relief For Late Season Shiner Trappers, Early Season Outlook Blurry
Q) ON May 2, 2023 Kurt Stevenson wrote; “Hey Jeff, I was reading your article (May 1, 2023) and noticed the part about stripping walleye eggs at Cutfoot. If you ask me, they should leave the fish there alone instead of taking all the spawn out of the lake. I’ll bet Winnibigosh has a lot better track record in the years when there’s nobody stealing all our walleye eggs. You should into that.” Kurt Stevenson
A) Thank you for the note, Kurt, and for the invitation for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work on this update in response.
As it happens, your comments are representative of other comments that I, and some of the resort owners on Winnie receive from folks every spring. Over the years, those of us who attend annual meetings with DNR Fisheries Staff have heard the simple answer repeated often, but to my knowledge, nobody has ..." Read >> "Hey, Get Your Hands Off My Eggs!" May 3, 2023
I borrowed an image from Evan and Tallie at High Banks Resort because of its correlation to a photo I published last spring. Compare yesterday’s April 30, 2023, image, with the one I snapped last spring on May 6, 2022. You can see that there’s more open water now than there was nearly a week later last spring. The wind never stopped blowing overnight, so I’m sure there’s been even more movement since. Cutfoot Sioux, this morning, still has ice on it, but now there are large swaths of open water along the shorelines. I don’t think the ice there can hold up for more than a few more days.
Meanwhile, only 50 miles southwest of our house, the Boy River walleye egg take near Woman Lake is underway. On Sunday, the nets were full and the walleye eggs, some of them at least, were ripe enough to begin stripping. The strength of the walleye run at this and other DNR egg take sites will determine how long the operation goes on. The Cutfoot Sioux walleye egg take could ..." Read >> Major League Transformation on North Central MN Lakes
"Fishing for catfish is an all-time favorite pastime. You can expect to break a sweat since catfish can put up a good fight, with some growing over 100 pounds. Catfish are also easy to cook, and they’re tasty, packed with protein, and low in fat. Here in the U.S., we’re fortunate to have no less than 40 species of catfish swimming in our waters. The catfish family is the largest and most diverse group of fish in the world, numbering over 2,000 species worldwide.
Catching catfish is fun and easy, even if you’ve never caught one. That’s because they’re almost always eager to eat. Moreover, they bite a wide variety of things, so your chances of success are very good as long as you fish where they live.
One key to success is knowing that catfish have the strongest sense of smell of any North American gamefish. They can detect substances at concentrations of one part per 100 million. That’s about equal to one ounce of a material dissolved in 100,000 railroad tank cars! Make sure you take advantage of their sense of smell when fishing for cats.
That’s the reason successful anglers ..." Learn More >> How to Catch Catfish | Best Tips for Getting Started
After my story (4-25-23) about seeing the large patch of open water at Pokegama on Monday, I was excited to take another tour of the region on Wednesday. So, without writing a report, I grabbed my cameras, our dog and my keys and bolted out the door heading west to see what the Deer River region looked like.
My first stop, the Trappers Landing at the west side of Lake Winnibigoshish, where the Mississippi River enters the lake, was encouraging. There was a wide patch of open water flowing well out into the lake, I suppose about ½ mile. Swans, ducks and pelicans were all over the place; the open patch was the largest I’ve seen anywhere so far this spring. My “flowing water ice-out theory” appeared to be solid, but as it happens, this would be the only encouragement I’d get on this trip.
At the Richard’s Townsite landing, the ice ..." Read >> Deer River Region — Ice-Out For Opener, Or Not?
"In Grand Rapids, the winter-like weather has diverted our attention from realizing that spring is on its way. Daytime air temperatures have been just warm enough to melt a little snow every day. We don’t see a lot of it because it’s seeping into the ground, but some of the water has made its way into creeks, feeder streams and rivers. Those raging waters now provide evidence of how fortunate we are that the snow is not melting faster, because flooding could easily become a serious issue in the region.
Yesterday, I was standing in my yard when I heard the call of a Loon in flight. I spotted the bird over the trees and soon, another one passed overhead too. After looking at nothing but ice-covered lakes for a week, I was curious about where they might be headed. So, I ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Region Report April 25, 2023
"Despite winter's desperate attempts to hang on, spring is coming to northern Minnesota. We heard a loon yesterday, eagles are soaring and the ice is starting to darken on Lake Winnibigoshish—that means open water is coming soon.
For those who follow Bowen Lodge on Facebook, last week you may have watched Jens and Ashley drill a hole in front of the resort that yielded about 20 inches of ice. That may seem discouraging, but our forecast is promising and we're optimistic that the ice will leave the lake soon.
In the meantime, everyone is working hard to prepare Bowen Lodge for our first guests to arrive on opening weekend. We're thrilled to open our doors for the 2023 season. If you're still hoping to stay with us this summer, we recently had some prime openings in our cabins that are sure to be reserved quickly. We hope you can join us!" Bill, Gail, Jens & Ashley • Call 218-246-8707 • Website
"Anglers fishing on Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota during the 2023 open-water season that starts May 13 will have a five-walleye possession limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“This summer we are able to have a more generous bag limit as the 2019 class is super abundant. These fish are around 15 inches and are now becoming mature,” said Edie Evarts, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “We hope anglers will enjoy this extra opportunity, which will also meet our goal of managing spawning walleye stock at a level that produces future strong year classes.”
The walleye limit on Upper Red Lake during the 2022 open water season was only ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Walleye Limit Increased For 2023
Big Traverse Bay, the big basin on the south end of Lake of the Woods, is still ice covered. Some anglers traveled using snowmobiles this past week to fish for big northern pike and reported doing well. While there are still opportunities to fish on hard water, bear in mind that safety should be your first concern this time of year. Resorts and outfitters are no longer plowing or monitoring ice roads so experience, having others with you and exercising great caution is vital.
The open water mark has reached the Lighthouse Gap area of Big Traverse Bay. The flow of water from the Rainy River is pushing against the ice pack. The current, sun, wind and rain are all taking a toll on the lake ice. This is a great time of the year to fish back bays which host large numbers of pike during the spawning season. Shallow, protected waters are perfect for ..." Read >> Rainy River and LOW Fishing Report April 19, 2023 url
"Pro bass angler Ott DeFoe explores the world of weightless soft plastics for targeting prespawn bass on the verge of spawning. In this video, he dives deep into the when, why, and how to fish a weightless wacky rig and Texas-rigged stick worm when water temperatures reach the upper 50s. *Featured product listing at the bottom.
As Ott explains, a few degrees can make all the difference in bass behavior during spring, shifting their focus to spawning activities. When this happens, hard baits like squarebill crankbaits take a backseat to weightless soft plastics, which hover in the strike zone longer and temp spooky bass in shallow water.
Much of the content centers around how Ott rigs and fishes a wacky rig, along with how a wacky rig can ..." View Video and Learn More >> Weightless Soft Plastics for Springtime Bass
Mother is not a talker, she’s a doer and yesterday, the wind and snow formed blizzard-like conditions all over north central Minnesota. The wind was the worst part, snowfall depths were not too deep though. I think we have maybe 3 to 5 inches of standing snow in my yard, with a few deeper drifts. This morning the snow stopped, but for now, the wind is still blowing strong, albeit not blizzard-like as before.
Later today, and again tomorrow, I’m expecting to ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Update April 17, 2023
Open water spring fishing is going strong on the Rainy River now. There are now three boat ramps open between Baudette and Birchdale. The Nelson Park boat ramp in Birchdale, Frontier boat ramp and Vidas boat ramp just east of Clementson are open to all boats.
Most anglers are targeting walleyes and sturgeon. Both species have been very cooperative. Walleye anglers are primarily jigging with a plastic or with a minnow. Bright colored jigs and larger plastics with a twister tail or paddle tail this time of year are effective.
Some anglers spot lock or anchor up and vertically jig. Others pitch the jig out and ..." Read >> April 11, 2023 Rainy River and Lake of the Woods Report
"The water flowing down my driveway gave me the idea that creeks and small rivers would be swollen with run off. But on Easter Sunday, the scenery along eastbound U.S. Hwy 2 didn’t look much different from recent ones.
The trip from Grand Rapids to Twig MN takes us past several lakes, feeder creeks and small rivers. The first in line, the Prairie River, was open, the water level was high, and we thought this scene would be repeated several times along the route. Further east, the St. Louis River was open too, but water levels didn’t look very high yet.
Almost all the rest of the lakes and rivers we saw were still covered with snow, free from flowing water. Little Sand Lake near Warba, sported a layer of sloppy looking wet snow. The slate grey under layer revealed that it was saturated with water. My assumption was that the underlying ice ..." Read >> April 10, 2023 Planning An Ice Fishing Trip? Don't Wait, Do It Soon!
"Resorts and shelter rental outfitters have pulled ice fishing houses off of Lake of the Woods for the season. Even so, there is still good ice in most areas of the basin and there are still ice anglers getting out ice fishing. Safety first as ice roads and trails are not being monitored.
There are a few still fishing walleyes, but the attention of many ice anglers this time of year is big pike. Even though it still feels like winter, the longer days and Mother Nature have the pike gearing up for the spawn. That means fish are being found in pre-spawn areas and are putting on the feed bag.
A lot of big pike have been iced this week and it should only get better. Most fish are returned to the water after a few pics. Anglers are allowed to posess one "trophy" fish over 40 inches and anglers do catch giant pike by ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods and Rainy River Fishing Report April 5, 2023
I feel like I should have more fishing to talk about right now, but conditions on the lakes just aren’t encouraging. For weeks, I’ve been looking forward to late ice and hoofing it to some of my favorite perch and panfish spots. I still am, but I can see that it isn’t going to happen this week. That’s because I think we’re on the verge of experiencing some major league flooding.
Some readers have suggested that ice conditions should remain favorable for at least a couple of weeks. They’ve said that even if we ..." Read More >> Grand Rapids Report April 6, 2023
On my obligatory 5-minute daily perusal of the “social” media pages yesterday, I saw commentary about how much ice we still have. I didn’t see anything that I’d call panic, but it was clear that some folks believe that Minnesota’s walleye opener could be in jeopardy in the north central region. We all know that ice-out dates occurring after the fishing opener do happen. But in nearly 40 years of guiding, I’ve only seen it happen a couple of times.
Knowing that, combined with my natural tendency toward optimism, I began looking for reasons to be hopeful. So today, I’m using my logs to ..." Learn More >> April 4, 2023 "Latest Ice-Out Ever?"
"Crappie fishing continues to be slower then usual for this time of year. With 10” of snow or more, on the ice, it may be a few more weeks before things really heat up. Anglers results have been very mixed with some doing good while others struggle to find biters. Anglers finding biters stay on the move, looking for active crappies.
Soft plastics in white, pink and chartreuse has been very effective with catching active crappies. Less active crappies have been hitting crappie minnows and wax worms. Key locations have been in 20 to 30 feet of water, over mud flats." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
"On the Rainy River, open water fishing has begun. The Nelson Park boat ramp in Birchdale is open to all boats. The next access downstream is Frontier, and as of Tuesday morning (3-28-23), the open water was almost there.
A big thanks to Koochiching County for doing a nice job of clearing the accesses of snow and ice at the boat ramp. It extends the short window of spring fishing on the river and makes dropping a boat into the river safer.
Anglers are using three main techniques catch walleyes on the river. Jigging with artificial plastic tails , jigging with a minnow and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report March 29, 2023
Here in the Grand Rapids area, there’s still a lot of standing snow, but sunshine has melted a little of it. Seepage from melting surface snow is causing slush on the ice surface and getting around on the lakes is tricky. But there are folks making their way out to some of their favorite ice fishing spots.
Track equipped ATVs are the best, but they even have trouble in wet areas. Walking is do-able, but it’s a lot of work too and at this point, not a great option. I’d love a thorough meltdown to allow walking on the ice again, but for now I think the slower it melts, the happier we should be. I can only imagine the flooding we could have if warm weather hits too hard and too fast.
Maybe it doesn’t look that way, but the open water fishing season is headed our way. Folks were busy sharing the news yesterday that ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Update March 28, 2023
"In Grand Rapids, we woke up to about 5 inches of wet snow on Wednesday. On ice travel conditions have deteriorated and many resorts are either closing their ice roads entirely, or limiting access to snowmobiles and track machines. Under the weight of the wet snow, slush has reared its ugly head again, so walking is temporarily out of the question on most lakes.
With a hopeful short term forecast of warm sunny days ahead, we could see improvement over the weekend. But I don’t want to bet too much on that, daytime highs in the upper 30s will be helpful, but 40+ would make me more optimistic. We’ll just have to watch the conditions and hope for warmer than expected temperatures.
The Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame hosts its annual “Night with the Pros” event this Friday March 24, 2023. Held at the Rice Creek Hunting & Recreation Event Center, 16543 Game Farm Rd, Little Falls, MN 56345. Doors will open at 4:00PM allowing folks time to ..." Learn More >> Attending the Attend-Able March 23, 2023
The arrival of spring wasn’t very spring-like yesterday, but relief may be on the way. That is if the snow arriving later today and tomorrow doesn’t pile up too high and the stretch of warmer days arrives as predicted afterward.
Presently, diminished ice-road maintenance, heavily drifted snow and slush have combined to make travel conditions on the ice sketchy. Until we have a meltdown, getting to and from your favorite ice fishing spots may not be worth the trouble. At the same time, folks chomping at the bit to make their first open water fishing trips on the Rainy River are waiting for the same thing. Absent warm daytime air temperatures, runoff from melting ice has not begun to flow and most of the Rainy is still locked up.
Practically everybody in our family, including me, has been sick with one sort of bug or another. So, for me, staying hunkered down at home for a couple more days won’t be hard. But I am rooting for a warm up to arrive so we can get outside and shake off the effects of winter. Fingers crossed.
"Ice fishing is still going strong on the south side of Lake of the Woods. The walleye and sauger season extends through April 14, 2023 and the pike season never closes. Perch, eelpout, tullibees and crappies are also in season.
Both day houses and sleeper houses are out and can be through March 31, 2023. The forecast ahead has high temperatures in the 30 degree range during the day and teens at night.
Ice trails and ice roads are doing well. Some anglers report slush when going off of the roads and creating their own trails. So, it's a good idea to work through your favorite resort and outfitter this time of year. Ice fishing is still readily available if you ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report March 21, 2023
"Lake trout fishing generally improved this last week for many anglers. While tip ups fished with a dead or live minnow on the bottom continues to be you best bet for a trout, anglers reported having good success with bucktails and jigging spoons. 30 to 50 feet of water, around sunken islands and mud flats continues to be the areas to focus on when targeting lakers.
Eelpout continue to be active this last week as they rap up their spawning. Heavy jigs, tipped with minnows and pounded on the bottom, around river mouths or sunken islands has been very effective on eelpout. Key depths vary night to night, so be sure to look for active eelpout before setting up. 15 to 35 feet of water is generally the best depth for them.
Panfish activity has slowly been increasing as days get longer and warmer. Recent snow events haven’t helped the bite, but anglers adventuring out did manage to catch some crappies and sunnies. Classic deep mud flats are the areas to target panfish. Small crappie minnows were very effective on both crappies and sunnies this last week." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
"Ice fishing is still going strong on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Ice trails and ice roads are doing well. Both day houses and sleeper houses are allowed to remain on the ice through March 31, 2023. The forecast ahead has freezing temps and ice should hold nicely. Work through a resort or outfitter as they monitor conditions closely on their ice roads.
The walleye and sauger season extends through April 14, 2023 and the pike season never closes. Perch, eelpout, tullibees and crappies are also in season.
A good week of fishing. In a nutshell, fish every fish. Electronics are helpful. Most fish are near the bottom but some of the larger walleyes ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report March 15, 2023
If you’re into the off-beat fishing options or want to try something new, the timing is good for Tulibee fishing. They roam, moving constantly over deep water and can be caught almost anywhere over the main basin area of a lake.
Small, flashy lures tipped with wax worms work well. Last spring, I fished for Tulibee with my friend Reed Ylitalo. The accounting of that trip offers some strong guidance about how to catch them. To learn more, read >> Ice Fishing Report March 21, 2022
Most of the tulibees I’ve harvested were used for smoking. Some friends use them for canning too and a few folks pickle them. We’ve fried a few, but I’d rather not use them that way, they’re a bit too soft for my taste.
Fishing for burbot, also known as eelpout is getting good now too and ..." Read >> March 9, 2023 "Hurry Up and WAIT!"
"Lake trout anglers reported having a good weekend of trout fishing finally. Anglers found active trout up on classic lake trout spots such as sunken islands, main lake points and neck down areas between islands. 30 to 50 feet of water was the depth to be in.
Spoons, bucktails around 3 inch sizes continues to be the best size to get bites. Dead or alive suckers laying on the bottom has accounted for almost half of the lakers caught this winter, so be sure to tip ups out with a minnow on the bottom.
Stream trout were active this last week, with some very big splake caught some of the less pressured lakes in the area. Large splake were found in ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report March 8, 2023
Rigged and ready to use, 2022 Lund Alaskan, Mercury ProXS 115 Tiller, Shoreland'r Trailercomplete 2022 package is available now. The rig, along with all of the accessories are almost identical to last year's rig, so you may already be familiar with the description.
I’ve been running Lund Alaskans for a long time now; in fact I picked up my first one something like 16 years ago. Right from the beginning, I’ve loved the balance of utility and comfort that the Alaskan provides for me and my fishing customers.
As far as I’m concerned, these boats are the fisherman’s equivalent of having a 4X4 pickup truck for the water. They have allowed me to go anywhere and do anything without sacrificing comfort. Throughout the years, I’ve watched the folks at Lund steadily ..." Learn More >> 2022 Lund Alaskan Model 2000 Tiller Boat Package For Sale.
Q) Gordy Wallace wrote; “Jeff, I read your update yesterday and you mentioned a walleye tournament on the Mississippi River. My question is where on the River did that tournament happen? Is the fishing any good this time of year?
A) Gordy, the tournament is called the “Freeze Your Butt Off” and the event takes place on the Mississippi at Redwing, MN. There were over 50 teams at this one, among the contestants, Max Wilson, who graciously agreed to let me share the accompanying image with you. The simple answer to your question about the quality of fishing at this time of the season is YES. Walleyes in the pre-spawn period are typically cooperative and ..." Read >> Mississippi River Walleye March 7, 2023
In this informative video, pro bass angler Cody Huff takes us on a tour of his Garmin LiveScope Plus fish finder while scanning a school of bass in a brush pile. He shows his go-to settings for finding and catching bass in brush piles and most situations in general, including his deep water sharpshooting technique with Rapala Jigging Raps and heavy Jigs. Huff starts by emphasizing the importance of doing a factory reset to get the device back to its default settings before making adjustments. This helps to get you close to the ideal setup for fishing.
Huff then goes on to explain his personal Livescope Plus settings, which include keeping his ..." View Video and Learn More >> Garmin LiveScope Plus Settings | Cody Huff 2023
"Thanks to cold overnight air temperatures, the ice is in good shape on the south end of lake of the Woods. Ice roads remain open and well maintained and fishing is still going strong.
On LOTW, ice fishing shelters are allowed to remain out through March 31st, 2023 and the walleye and sauger season runs through April 14, 2023. It looks like the ice might last long enough for angler to fish right up until the end.
On the ice, success varies from fish house to fish house, but there were some very good fishing reports coming in this week. In fact maybe the best we have heard in several weeks. Anglers are reporting catching both good numbers and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report March 7, 2023
In a cautiously optimistic news release, the MN DNR announced late last week that Mille Lacs Lake walleye anglers will enjoy a modest relaxation of walleye regulations for the 2023 summer season. The DNR plans to allow the harvest of 1 walleye per angler for the entire open water walleye season. The liberalization of walleye regulations also removes the ban on anglers using live bait. For 2023, live bait will be allowed throughout the entire open water fishing season. The announced possession limit of 1 fish between 21 and 23 inches, or 1 fish over 28 inches in length is subject to change if conditions warrant.
“We are pleased to see improvements in both the growth of adult walleye and survival of young walleye in Mille Lacs,” said Brad Parsons, fisheries section manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Those factors create the opportunity for anglers to have a continuous harvest season in 2023.” “As always, we will monitor the factors that determine the state’s walleye take throughout the open water season,” Parsons said. “If conditions warrant, we will adjust regulations, either to allow additional opportunity or to tighten regulations if ..." Read >> Mille Lacs Anglers To Enjoy Modest Relaxation of Walleye Regulations
The first week in March is always a time when I start watching “mile markers” along the road to spring. And right on cue this weekend, snow and ice began disappearing from our roof; I think the air temps hit 40 degrees on Saturday. It definitely was making me excited for late season ice fishing.
But on the other hand, following stories about walleye anglers starting their tournament season on the Mississippi River got me going about the open water season too. What slowed me down is the snow that still looks white and deep piled up in our yard. Even though the warming trend is a step in the direction of spring, it’s too soon to ..." Read >> March 6, 2023 "Mile Markers Along The Road To Spring"
Alex Campbell wrote; “Jeff, I read your reminder about renewing our Minnesota fishing licenses and took note of your “sales pitch” about buying the walleye stamp. Ordinarily, I find agreement with most of your opinions, but I have to say that you’re off base on this one. If you ask me, this is just another government money grab that the DNR came up with to drag a few more bucks out of our wallets. I’ll buy my fishing license, because I have to. But you can keep your walleye stamp; I’m not wasting my money on that one.”
Alex) Thank you for your comments and also for the opportunity to offer readers a history lesson. Your belief that the voluntary walleye stamp is, in your words, a “government money grab” is understandable. The trouble with this opinion though is that the walleye stamp was not conceived by the MN DNR or for that matter, by any government agency. That’s right, the concept of offering a voluntary walleye stamp was developed by ..." Read >> Won't Waste My Money on Walleye Stamp March 3, 2023
“Well Mr. Jeff I have to say that I'm a huge follower on your site, I love reading up on past exploits of yours and learning from the knowledge you have and share.
Now I'm from Wisconsin, and you might as well say our state is terrible at managing wildlife. I’m seeing Minnesota do the same thing and luckily there's someone like yourself stepping up and hopefully they'll listen to you. I have a “Go-To” lake that I visit regularly go too and years back the lake association started limiting the (overall) amount of panfish species we can harvest. (On this lake), they went to a 5 sunfish, 5crappie, 5 perch system during the spring spawn”
Apparently Ruzic obviously agrees with this approach because he goes continues with; “I'm constantly telling them to ..." Read >> Panfish Don't Stand A Chance! march 3, 2023
Don’t think of this as a lecture, or even as a reminder, it’s not that. I think of my annual sales pitch about renewing Minnesota fishing licenses more as “fatherly advice” and for good reason. During summer, I watch folks trying to renew their fishing licenses at the last minute, when they’re in a hurry. Most of the time, transactions go reasonably well, but when there’s a glitch, it’s usually a bad one. I’ve even witnessed a few folks get turned away without their fishing license because they didn’t have all of the necessary documentation on hand at the time.
I’ve learned through past experience that glitches occur more often during busy times. What I mean is that 7:00 AM on June 2nd when systems are overloaded is not an efficient time for buying a license over the couter. During the off season, or in the wee hours of morning, computer systems are less likely to be overloaded and transactions almost always ..." Read >> March 2, 2023 Renewing the Renew-Able
Getting back to the questions asked yesterday by Dan Wilm about where to focus ice fishing efforts this weekend.
After looking over the article about oxygen levels during late winter and their impact on fish location, I was thinking about other trends that influence fish behavior during this mid-to-late winter period. Perch, and their relationship to bloodworms as a food source was the topic of an article, I published a while back.
While the article focuses on perch locations, the information contained within it is also useful for anglers who want to locate and catch good numbers of sunfish. I'd suggest perusing this article too, Read >> Finding Perch and Panfish By Locating Bloodworms. I think this will be helpful as another precursor to your upcoming weekend fishing trip. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
We'll be (in your area) pan fishing this weekend, staying at a friend’s cabin. We'll be fishing on lakes both large and small, and I am wondering what advice you may have on what to look for on habitat (weeds etc.) depths, baits, the whole works?"
A) Dan, Offering thoughtful answers to your questions about where to go and what to do this weekend will take a little time. But for me, the most insightful single article about late season ice fishing came about as an answer to a reader question about Bowstring Lake. So, while I compile some additional information, please read >> Q&A March 1, 2023 "Lead Me to the Ice Fishing Hole?"
"Fish houses are allowed to remain out through March 31st on Lake of the Woods, and the walleye-sauger season continues through April 14, 2023 and the northern pike season never closes. Remember, fishing licenses expire on February 28, 2023 and new licenses are needed on March 1st, 2023 on all Minnesota waters.
This time of year, the walleyes and saugers can be spread out, making them tricky to pin down, bit all things considered, it's been a good week of fishing on the big lake. Success varies from fish house to fish house but those working at it typically catch a good meal of fish before the day is through.
Good numbers and even some trophy walleyes are being caught by anglers who ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 28, 2023
Scott Richardson commented; "Yes this is a great article. As far as more legislation on fishing, I believe it's already too complicated. (Made that way) by a bunch of non-angling legislators. I personally feel the northern pike slot limit was an overcomplication to fishing rules. Believe it or not, there are (already) more people doing (voluntary) catch and release on large bluegills and crappies as well; please no more laws.
By the way I love my Garmin Livescope scope more than anything. Also when fishing for crappies in 30 to 35 ft, I never target the fish below the 28 ft mark, typically that's where I find the four to 10 inch crappies, the trophy fish are usually suspended, roaming away from the little ones."
My heart goes out to folks who struggled to find creative fishing spots to park their ice shelters this winter. It took forever, or so it seemed, for ice conditions to offer reasonably safe travel conditions. Then finally, travel conditions improved so that resorts and rental operators could offer abglers a place get set up, and now the end of the walleye season has already arrived. Panfish anglers still have a little time, but for them, ice shelter removal dates are just around the corner.
Some folks have more time than others, but it’s never too early for an early reminder about when the ice shelter removal dates are coming. These days, large shelters are the norm, not the exception and the bigger they are, the more prone to “surprises” they can be. There’s nothing worse than waiting to ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Updates February 27, 2023
"For those of you who don’t have ice fishing planned for the weekend, swing into Ray’s Marine, Grand Rapids, MN location Friday and Saturday, 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM both days. I, along with a bunch of other top-level, “Ray’s Pro-Staffers” will be there to chat it up with you about fishing, gear and of course, boats.
While we’d love to lead you toward a new boat, that is not the only reason you should stop by. Questions about everything from navigation systems to fishing knots can be answered for you, in real time, by guys who know what they’re talking about. If you are in the market for a boat, you should know that there are still special incentives that can save you big money. Lund’s “Spring Catch” for example runs through the weekend and offers $3000.00 off a new Lund. Mercury Outboards are offering incentives too and who knows what other hot deals the Ray's crew will cook up with you?
Even if all you want is to know where the fish are biting, we can talk about that too, I’ll be there today (Friday) and again on Saturday, so swing in, say hi and strain our brains with your questions!
"If you’re up for the trip, you can still finish off the 2022-23 walleye fishing season in north central Minnesota. Snowfall amounts here have been lower than expected and travel conditions on the ice remain good. Lake Winnie, Leech Lake, Cass lake and some of the other, larger lakes have well established plowed roads and rental operators on all of them plan to be fully open for the final weekend of the season.
After the weekend, most access will remain open, but in some instances, limitations on certain vehicles could be required and will be monitored case-by-case. After the weekend we’ll review the current conditions and then publish an update about travel conditions on the most popular destinations.
For those of you who don’t ..." Read More >> Sundin Report February 23, 2023
"The success ratio has been going up for our daughter Joelle and her fiancé’ Pat Everson. Over the weekend, they scratched some more fresh notches into their ice fishing gear belts. Pat’s, laker, at 14 pounds is the best one so far this winter I think, but they’re done yet, so that may still be replaced by a larger one. Jo hasn't tagged a super-big one yet, but she's the queen of catch rates, claiming the prize for most fish caught overall. It didn't happen right away, but these day whenever they head for the lake, we expect to see photos like these.
So, what’s their secret, boxes full of new lures, better intel, updated electronics? Nope, I don’t think so, for these two the big secret has been ..." Read >> Lake Trout Success February 22, 2023
"Stream trout were biting, on more remote lakes, this last week. As easier to access lakes have taken the majority of ice fishing pressure, stream trout in these lakes have largely been removed by anglers. More remote the lakes still have good populations of hungry trout to catch and this is where anglers should focus their attention.
Down trees, weedbeds and partially areas with water coming into the lake, are areas to focus on to find active trout. Wax worms an dead minnows remain the go too's for tipping small jigs or jigging spoons.
Lake trout fishing continues to improve slowly on area lakes. While it still seems a few lucky groups strike it rich and have a amazing day of trout fishing, most anglers are now reporting that they ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Report February 22, 2023
"Lake of the Woods ice fishing is still going strong on the south end of the lake. And because anglers are allowed to keep ice fishing houses out through March 31st, the action is just beginng for many. Walleye and sauger seasons run through April 14, 2023 and the season for northern pike never closes.
As happens each ice season, some anglers who have been fishing 20 plus miles out have started finding fish a bit closer to shore. There are pods of walleyes and saugers in various areas. It's been a good week of ice fishing for most.
The walleyes and sauger are spread out this time of year, so it is important to fish each fish. Electronics really help to see fish when they are coming through, understand where in the water column they are and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report February 22, 2023
"Q) Several of us have been fishing for sunnies and crappies for 5 to 7 years now, often choosing them over walleyes, especially in the winter. We release any sunnies over 10 inches and the large crappies too, only keeping what we might eat soon. We were aware of barotrauma through your early writings, so when we plan on releasing fish, we don't fish in the deeper water.
My real concern now is the forward-facing sonar. Having seen many videos, and observations from acquaintances, these things really don't give the crappies a chance. I don't know what the answer is, but it seems like ..." Learn More >> Q&A Sunfish, Crappies and Forward Facing Sonar February 20, 2023
On Thursday, Vince from Wisconsin wrote; "Hi Jeff — As an addition to your 2/16/2023 perch story, I’d like to add to it.
We fished Winnie this weekend under ideal weather conditions, and we fished areas of the lake that no one else was accessing. Conservatively, I would say that around 60% of the lake hasn’t been touched this year because of travel conditions.
We found nice perch, in decent numbers, on one piece of mid-lake structure one afternoon, but there, we found very few walleyes. We drew a blank on perch at a second, similar structure for the next day. But this time, the second structure was full of ..." Read >> Reader Observations From Lake Winnie February 17, 2023
Last Thursday, while wrapping up my early morning radio segment on KAXE, I advised the audience that perch fishing would be my top choice as a weekend ice fishing pursuit. Well, some folks took the advice, but weren’t very happy with the results. On the lake they tried, perch did not cooperate.
Coincidentally, folks who did not hear that program and did not go perching last weekend, have been contacting me too, looking for advice about where to go on their upcoming ice fishing trips. One of them Steve List has specific plans to fish on Lake Winnie and has been asking around for ideas about where to go when he arrives. In a message yesterday, List wrote;
Q) “I heard yesterday (that) the perch bite on Winnie is ..." Read >> Perch Fishing Q&A February 16, 2023
"Panfish - Spring like temperatures have angler thinking of spring time panfish. Many anglers were not disappointed! Anglers found crappies very active this last weekend. Deeper holes in 20 to 30 feet of water, was where anglers found active crappies and sunnies. Soft plastics, wax worms and crappie minnows were all very effective on panfish.
Walleye - Walleyes have also been very active this last week. Anglers have been catching good numbers and good size walleyes in ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report February 15, 2023
"Remember, anglers fishing border waters, like Lake of the Woods enjoy always enjoy an extended ice fishing season compared to the inland waters of Minnesota. With ice fishing houses allowed to stay on the ice through March 31st anf the open walleye and sauger season extending through April 14, 2023. Another bonus is that the northern pike season never closes.
Ice roads and bomber trails are extending way out on Lake of the Woods working to stay on schools of walleyes and saugers. Some anglers fishing as far as 24 miles out, while others are opting to stay closer to shore and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report February 15, 2023
"Kayak bass fishing in ultra-clear water lakes and rivers is challenging yet extremely rewarding. A calm and hot day set up perfectly for Wired2fish’s McKeon “Keys” Roberts to explore a small ultra-clear lake with his pedal fishing kayak and a few buddies in a canoe. Does it get much better? This video is a little lighter on the talking and plenty heavy of just plain fun fish-catching action using swimbaits and topwater lures.
Clear water lakes require a different approach than bass fishing turbid rivers and lakes. Bass in clear water environments use their keen vision over other senses to ..." View Video and Learn More >> Kayak Bass Fishing Fun in Ultra-Clear Water
The Insider News List is the way to receive infrequent notices about fishing news of special interest. Links to articles, videos and breaking news about the world of fish are occasionally sent to subscribers.
Fishing trip cancellations happen too and whenever a fishing charter becomes available on short notice, subscribers to the insider news list are the only ones who find out about them.
This is a private, opt-in only list, we never subscribe anyone to the newsletter without permission and we never share member's contact information with anybody, not ever. To subscribe, click to >> Opt-IN Fishing Guide's Insider News List.
Reader questions, comments and testimonials are always welcome. If you have friends who'd enjoy receiving occasional updates, please let them know about us.
"The sunshine and warm air temperatures are winning the battle against snow cover on many north central Minnesota lakes. Slush, wet roads and limited access caused by the melt down will cause short term pain, but the next cold snap will produce improved travel conditions. Anglers may well enjoy access to select fishing spots that have so far been off limits for most of the season.
On Sunday, I and the Hippie Chick got a firsthand look at why this would be great news. Finding a spot to fish wasn’t a big problem, we drove out onto the lake, following a plowed road leading to one of the few “popular” fishing areas that’s been accessible this winter. But once we reached the end of the road, we discovered that finding a spot that hasn’t been fished hard all winter wasn’t going to ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Update February 13, 2023
With over 200 lakes now receiving special protection for sunfish, most of the effort will now go into studying and gathering statistics. There will be tweaking, adding a lake here and there to the program and most of these will be based on angler request. Progress reports, provided on an ongoing basis, were brought forward as a high-priority by certain group members. DNR Fisheries Staff were agreeable, so I’d anticipate having updates about the QSI from time to time.
With the heavy lifting about sunfish finished, the obvious question was “where do we go from here?” The answer, almost as obvious, was crappies. But unlike sunfish, figuring out what to do about “fixing” problems with crappie fishing lakes will be tricky, really tricky.
Biologically, crappies are totally different from sunfish. Their spawning habits are different, their feeding habits are different and so are their preferred habitats. Many of the “fixes” that were both obvious and statistically provable for sunfish won’t work for crappies. What’s worse is that some fix-ups that could serve to improve crappie fishing are going to ..." Learn More >> MN DNR Panfish Workgroup Where Do We Go From Here? February 10, 2023
So, 34 years ago, I dropped over to Ray's Marine in Grand Rapids and picked up my new Lund Boat, a 1989 1700 Pro V Tiller. It wasn’t my first Lund, I’d been using a WS-16 before that, but this was the first time I’d ever picked up any rig that was brand new from top-to-bottom.
The customers who fished in that boat loved it, it was wide and comfortable and for the time, smooth riding too. At the time, I had no idea that today, February 9, 2023, I’d be picking up yet another new Lund boat, but I am.
Coincidentally, this very week Lund Boats released an historic video chronicling 75 years of boat building history. For me, the video is well worth watching even if only for the timeline of Lund’s company history. But even after living through half of that history with them myself, the video illustrated to me how many things they did right and for so many years in a row! Besides, it’s fun seeing some of my friends re-running fishing memories from my formative years.
The video offers insight into the reasons why Lund sits so high atop the list of high-quality fishing and family boats. If you love fishing and boating, then you’ll love this video, more than once probably. View the full video and Learn More >> Lund Boats 75 Years of History
"Resorts and rental operators continue to expand fishing territory on the south end of Lake of the woods. The effort to connect ice roads and ice track machine trails with schools of walleyes and sauger mow have some ice roads extending as far as 24 miles into the lake's mid-section.
The weather has presented anglers with a 'good-news, bad-news, scenario. The most recent subzero cold snap is good news in terms of extending ice season, hopefully well into March, but bad new in that it was tough on the bite.
Once the weather started warming up, so did the bite and that's good. But if the warm weather were to continue, it could shorten the duration of "quality" ice conditions, that would be bad news. Presently though, most anglers are reporting ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 8, 2023
"Stream Trout - Stream trout fishing continues to be very popular as stream trout anglers continue to report good fishing. Rainbows and brook trout continue to be caught is shallow water near downed trees, main lakes points and weedbeds.
Small jigging spoons and small tungsten jigs tipped with a dead minnow or waxies has been very effective. Deadsticking the minnows has been the best technique. Best time has been very early in the morning.
Walleye - Walleye have become very active this last week. Anglers have been catching good numbers and good size walleyes in the early morning and during the evening hours.Medium to small rainbows fished under ..." Read >> Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report February 8, 2023
Last week, I published a notice about my 2022 Lund Alaskan for sale. Among the typical array of questions about the rig itself came this one, a note from Jake Murphy who asks these important questions.
Q) What exactly does that (electric) trolling motor in the back enable you to do that the bow mount doesn’t? I was also considering a 90-horse, wondering if that would throttle down enough to troll cranks at 1.5 to 2.0 MPH. How slow can you get that 115-horsepower troll down?" Thanks, and happy fishing, Jake.
A) Jake, your questions are good ones, and they speak directly to some core fundamentals of fishing philosophy; that’s why I asked for your permission to share them with our readers. The easy one, how slow can I troll using the 115 HP Pro XS, goes first. On the 20-foot Alaskan, in flat calm water, my 115 Pro XSs have all trolled forward at ..." Learn More >> How Slow Can It Troll + What's So Great About Transom Mounts?
It’s funny how life works, most of it is spent hoping for news about our future. Usually, it comes in snippets, and slowly but surely, we pass one little milestone after another. The passage of time between them often goes unnoticed. Then, seemingly out of the clear blue, notices about our future start giving way to news about our past. That’s when we notice the cumulative impact of all life’s little milestones.
If you count a couple of seasons spent getting my guide service “up to speed”, as a part timer. Then this will mark the beginning of my 40th year as a professional angler. In truth, what I have is one of the world’s smallest, small businesses. One boat, one motor, one fishing rod and a few people willing to risk not catching any fish if I’m not at the top of my game.
Even after 40 years, there are times when I still feel like “the new guy”. But it would appear that now I’ve shared the boat with enough people, drifted past enough milestones and passed along enough information so that I’ve become “famous”. At the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame, inductees are called “legends”. According to yesterday’s press release, I am one now and for that I am grateful, it is an honor.
Anybody who knows the fishing business knows that you can’t really be “famous”, you can only be a little bit more “recognizable”. After you’ve shared everything you’ve ever learned, with everybody you can ever reach, then a few people know who you are when they see you.
The problem is that nobody sees most of the folks who were there, riding along and experiencing the “school of hard knocks” firsthand, while all of that famousness was still developing. But I saw you, and I remember you, and I honor you. Thank you for hanging in there with me for all that time! OH, and by the way, don’t give up on me yet, I’m still getting the hang of this fishing stuff and I’ll still be around for a good long time to practice it with you."
Rigged and ready to use, 2022 Lund Alaskan, Mercury ProXS 115 Tiller, Shoreland'r Trailercomplete 2022 package is available now. The rig, along with all of the accessories are almost identical to last year's rig, so you may already be familiar with the description.
I’ve been running Lund Alaskans for a long time now; in fact I picked up my first one something like 16 years ago. Right from the beginning, I’ve loved the balance of utility and comfort that the Alaskan provides for me and my fishing customers.
As far as I’m concerned, these boats are the fisherman’s equivalent of having a 4X4 pickup truck for the water. They have allowed me to go anywhere and do anything without sacrificing comfort. Throughout the years, I’ve watched the folks at Lund steadily ..." Learn More >> 2022 Lund Alaskan Model 2000 Tiller Boat Package For Sale.
Rainbow trout and Brook trout are both being caught in very shallow water near downed trees, weedbeds and large flats. Deadsticking fresh dead minnows or deadsticking small jigs tipped with wax worms has been very effective. Any movement when a trout closes in on your bait spooks them off. Best times has been very early in the morning, often time before 9am.
Walleye fishing, thanks to a good cold snap, walleyes become somewhat active and many anglers had good success this last week. Deadsticking rainbows on a plain orange hook was reportedly the most effective way to catch walleyes. As with the stream trout, any movement after the fish ..." Read >> Ely MN Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2023 Lund
Robert Klocker wrote, "As a wheelhouse owner, I do realize we contribute to this crisis. It is just as important to clean the sodium chloride off your campers as it is to clean off the AIS from your boat, yet no one talks about it!"
The "crisis" Klocker refers to is road salt, more specifically, chloride inadvertently carried onto the ice by unsuspecting owners of wheeled ice fishing shelters.
The topic, appearing in the Science Friday podcast segment of January 27, 2023, makes no specific assertion about wheelhouses. Rather, the Article speaks to the issue more broadly, connecting elevated chloride levels with declines in habitat throughout the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed.
My interest in the subject was piqued when I saw this in the transcript; "Toxic amounts of chloride can kill ..." Learn More >> Road Salt Pollution in Freshwater Lakes February 1, 2023
"With ice fishing in full swing, local resorts, outfitters and ice guides are working hard on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Staying on top of walleye and sauger means constant pushing to open new ice roads and grooming off road trails so that we can keep moving fish houses to the most productive areas.
There are a variety of walleye sizes being caught, and sauger are available in good numbers. Sorting through the walleye catch for “keepers” along with adding a few eater sauger to the creel have all contributed to good fish fries for most groups. Some anglers are being rewarded with trophy walleye, over 30 inches along the way too.
Fishing depths vary from spot-to-spot, mostly depending upon ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report February 1, 2023
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.
Jeff Sundin is a full time, professional fishing guide, outdoor writer and photographer. Book Jeff for guided fishing trips, for fishing seminars, fishing promotions and media events. Click here >> learn more about Jeff Sundin.
Home | Current Fishing Report | MN Fishing Regulations | Saved Fishing Reports | Favorite Lakes | Fishing Articles Section | Recipes | Rates Services | Gift Certificates | Contact | Fish Gear For Sale | Lund Boat For Sale | Links | Sitemap | Customer Photos |
"The Early Bird Fishing Guide" Jeff Sundin - Fishing Blue Books, LLC 715 Byington Ave, LaPrairie, MN 55744 218-245-9858
Email copyright©2023 Fishing Blue Books, LLC All Rights Reserved - last revised 09-14-2023