image links to fishrapper home page May 23, 2024 "Memorial Weekend Fishing Memos"

image of profesional fishingguide Jeff Sundin with gig black crappie "In many ways, Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the “tourist season” in northern Minnesota. The blend of folks fishing here on Winnibigoshish for example will consist of more families and fewer groups of hard-core anglers on the lake. If that describes your crew for the weekend, some of these notes could be helpful.

First off, the rain that fell over the past few days added up to roughly 1-1/2 inches over most of the Itasca Region. That wasn’t enough to completely cure some of the low water problems in shallow, stream fed lakes, but it did help. Inflowing water will likely improve conditions at some of the ramps.

The fresh water forced surface water temperatures to drop a little bit too. On Winnie’s west side, our readings ranged between 56 and 57 degrees on Wednesday. Shiners, small perch and other forage fish were forced away from the shorelines and spread out across the lake’s sprawling sand flats. Walleyes were feeding on the ..." Read Full Report >> Memorial Weekend Fishing Memos May 23, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 22, 2024 "How Do You Catch a Unique Fish?"

image of Jacob and Zachary Krug with a lake winnie walleyeWe were close to a deeper spot on a flat and because of a good morning I had with those boys on a previous trip, named it “Krug Flat”. Casting into 14 feet of water with a ¼ ounce live bait jig tipped with a fathead triggered a strike from a walleye in the protected slot. Then we caught a couple of northern pike too and maybe a perch or two. There wasn’t enough fish there to hold our attention for long, but the clue of fishing deeper was a big help.

On our next stop, casting and retrieving the ¼ ounce jig and minnow combos worked out better. In fact, the Krug clan had me cook some of their walleyes for dinner, and still packed up 3 limits to take home.

I’m fairly confident that these were the same fish I’d been catching in the shallows earlier in the week. Proving that theory would be difficult, but let’s assume I’m right and that the fish are simply moving in and out of the shallows as daily conditions vary. That would mean that a solid game plan is to ..." Read >> "How Do You Catch a Unique Fish?" May 22, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 21, 2024 "Crappies on the Menu!"

image of Ken Seufert and the Hippie Chick with a pair of nice crappies caught near Grand Rapids I saw my first crappie of the season sitting over a bed in shallow water this Monday. That was it though, despite reports from some anglers that they’re finding crappies in some shallow water lakes, this single sighting tells me that crappies in much of the north central region are just beginning to explore spawning territory.

Ken Seufert and I had already fished for walleyes on Winnie last Saturday. So, on this trip, with the added assistance of “first mate” the Hippie Chick, was aimed at finding crappies, perch, or walleyes somewhere that could enjoy some different scenery. As the photos reveal, the crappies we hoped to find did show up, they just weren’t located where we expected to find them.

There were two key areas for us, one was a ..." Read >> Crappie Fishing Report May 21, 2024


image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 21, 2024

image of Rand Olson links to fishing report from Lake Winnie "With a full week of fishing now in the books, we’ve had a chance to compare real life experiences with recent DNR fisheries reports about Lake Winnie’s fish populations. So far, the key takeaway about this season is that the very large 2019-year class of walleyes have matured, and folks are catching lots of ideal eater size walleyes.

The typical bag coming into the fish cleaning station includes most fish measuring 15 to 16-1/2 inches, with an occasional larger, 17-17 ½ inch fish from the 2018-year class. Not many, but some fish from the 2013-year class remain in the system too, and folks are reporting 23-to-26-inch walleyes striking from time-to-time.

A water quality assessment in 2023 revealed that Winnie’s water clarity measured ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 21, 2024

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "How To Set Up a POV Camera For Fishing"

image links to fishing video about how to set up a POV Camera for fishing"I first saw Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Brandon Palaniuk playing around with a GoPro back in 2011. This was also the first time I saw a POV (point of view) camera being used in the bass fishing space. It looked like a lot of fun, so I picked one up for myself in the spring of 2012. For the last 12 years there’s been one running in my boat more times than not.

These little POV cameras have captured a lot of great memories for me along the way: my biggest tournament bag and tournament bass ever on Lake Okeechobee in 2013 (29-8 and 9-1), special moments with my friends and family, camping trips and local tournament wins with my dad and so many more.

They’ve also been an integral part of my outdoor journalism career, landing me a major freelance gig with ..." View Video and Learn More >> How To Set Up a POV Camera For Fishing


image links to fishrapper home page May 20, 2024 "A Tale of Two ... Upper Red Lakes"

image of Roger Will and Bill Linder holding a pair of walleyes they caught on Upper Red Lake The headline news from two writers, each writing reports about the fishing on Upper Red Lake on Friday but with different deadlines, might look something like this.

Version 1) The fishing on Red Lake was phenomenal, despite sunshine and calm seas, walleyes crammed in shallow water provided steady action throughout the afternoon and early evening. Walleyes struck our jig and minnow combinations aggressively when cast into 3 to 4 feet of water.

Version 2) Walleye fishing on Red Lake just isn’t what it used to be. We moved steadily along the shoreline, trying spot-after-spot, but the best we could manage was ..." Read Full Report >> May 20, 2024 "A Tale of Two ... Upper Red Lakes"


image links to mn dnr news release News Release May 20, 2024 "Clear Lake Sibley County Open For Unlimited Fishing"

"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has opened Clear Lake in Sibley County to unlimited fishing, allowing anglers to harvest fish that would likely not survive the upcoming winter during low water conditions on the 505-acre lake.

As part of a project to improve fish and wildlife habitat on Clear Lake, this spring the Minnesota DNR will begin to ..." Read Full Story >> Clear Lake Sibley County Open For Unlimited Fishing


image links to fishrapper home page May 17, 2024 "It All Depends On The Weather"

Shiners, along with other minnows and small gamefish are roaming the shallow sand flats on Lake Winnibigoshish right now. Walleyes definitely want to be there to feed on the bounty, and they are! That is at least when the weather conditions allow them to be there and twice now this week, we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.

Wednesday and for most of the day Thursday, the skies were dark, and there was a light chop on the water. We located several areas where walleyes were in 6 to 7 feet of water and feeding heavily. Slow drifting, or backtrolling and casting/retrieving 1/8 live bait jigs tipped with minnows worked like a charm. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the action was almost as good as “the good old days”.

Then around 2:00 PM on Thursday, the sun began peeking through the clouds and ..." Read >> Sundin: Lake Winnie Walleye Report May 17, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Flat-Sided Cranking Smallmouth | A Jerkbait Alternative"

image links to fishing video about how to catch smallmouth bass using wide bodied crankbaits"A jerkbait typically comes to mind when considering prespawn smallmouth bass fishing, but subtle flat-sided crankbaits are a unique alternative. Wired2fish’s Kyle Peterson provides an in-depth look at crankbaits’ use when targeting smallmouth bass on rocky drop-offs and flats adjacent to their spawning grounds. Peterson details the unique benefits of a crankbait, key locations and conditions, and his preferred gear for the technique.

Peterson starts by showcasing the Rapala OG Deep Tiny crankbait, emphasizing its slower rise compared to beefier round-bodied balsa crankbaits such as squarebills. This feature allows anglers to pause the bait effectively, keeping it in the strike zone longer, similar to a suspending jerkbait. Add a few Suspend Strips to make it suspend or even slow sink. So why a crankbait over a jerkbait? A crankbait can effectively ..." View Video and Learn More >> Flat-Sided Cranking Smallmouth | A Jerkbait Alternative


image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 16, 2024

image links to fishing report from LaKE Winnie "Jump to the conditions for our 2024 walleye fishing opener on Lake Winnie. Calm seas, bright sunshine, 54 to 56 degree water temperatures and robust crowds was the challenge. Hit or miss, was the best term we can use to describe the opening weekend results. Many of the more experienced anglers did very well. Many of the less technically oriented anglers struggled.

The good news is that walleyes which were caught tended to be high quality fish. Keepers from the large 2019-year class now range from 15-1/2 to 16-1/2 inches in length. The population remains strong too, so there’s an excellent chance of gathering fish for a meal. The also strong 2018-year class, and a smattering of remaining 2013 year class fish provided folks with opportunities to catch-photo-release some larger fish. Reports of fish from 18 to 22 inches were common, some larger fish in the 24-to-26-inch range were reported by especially lucky anglers.

The key depths tended to be deeper than typical for most. Most common were reports of folks catching fish in the 16-to-22-foot depth range. Fish were also located shallower, but only in ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 16, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report May 15, 2024

Walleye anglers were greeted with warm water temps and clear blue skies. Water temps are being reported from 51 to 59 degrees. Anglers that fished this opener like they did last year, struggled. Small walleyes, too small to keep, we're a common catch. Yes, a few keepers were landed, but...

These anglers reported catching walleyes in 14 to 20 feet of water on a jig and minnows. So, where was the hot bite? Where were the big keepers, everyone wants, caught?

Super shallow water. 2 to 7 feet of water, max! Here anglers are catching walleyes pitching 1/16oz to 1/8oz jigs, tipped with a good lively rainbow. Bigger the rainbow the better! Shallow sand flats, gravel, or near slow moving creeks entering a lake were the best place to find these active walleyes. Top jig colors reported were, green...yes green, bubble gum, blue and white.

Northern Pike anglers had a great time catching good numbers of quality pike over opening weekend. Large pike ..." Read >> Ely MN Fishing Report May 15, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 13, 2024 "Noting the Note-Able"

image of Carey Brown and friends with stringer full of nice walleyes from Lake Winnie "At the resorts around Lake Winnie this weekend, it wouldn’t have been hard to spot images like this one that I borrowed from McArdle’s facebook page. Carey, Curt, and Matt headed to the cleaning tables with a very nice limit of walleyes. They weren’t alone, we watched a steady stream of west side anglers coming in with fish all weekend long. On the north side of Winnie, you’ll find similar images of folks headed back to Bowen’s too.

It’s evident that walleyes are widely distributed around the lake. Yesterday, I talked with a friend who’d been on the lake catching fish in 6 to 7 feet of water. Not far up the shoreline, another group reported catching fish in ..." Read >> Sundin Report May 13, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 11, 2024 "Another Family Friendly Walleye Fishing Opener"

Image of Governor Jesse Ventura with Annalee Sundin at the 1999 Minnesota Walleye Fishing Opener I wonder if you remember what you did on the fishing opener 25 years ago? No, I don’t blame you, I can barely remember what I had for dinner last Thursday.

They say that memories, to be most vividly recorded in your brain’s cache, need to be emotional, somehow noteworthy of getting flagged within your internal archives. So, I guess that means the 1999 Minnesota’s Governor’s Fishing Opener was that, emotional, for me. It was noteworthy on several levels, and someday I might even write a story just about that. Today though, the connection between that opener, and this one is about one thing, family.

When you fish with somebody for a day, there’s a lot of time to chat. Often, the conversation meanders and folks wind up talking about anything from their favorite music to their most comfortable socks. On that day back in 1999, the Governor and I ..." Read >> A Tale of Two (very different) Walleye Fishing Openers May 11, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 10, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Shiner Tanks Filling Fast"

A lot has changed over the past few days. Posted this morning by Northwoods Bait in Bemidji, the photo left shows a net full of shiners. “Tanks are full, it’s time.” Was the succinct accompanying message.

Fred’s Bait in Deer River received another load of shiners yesterday too, and so have several other bait shops in the region. I can’t say for sure, but it appears that there will be enough to at least get folks started this weekend.

If you're stopping for minnows today, and can spare a minute to share news about the supply at your favorite bait store, let us know! fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper home page May 10, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Shiner Minnows For The Walleye Opener? Maybe."

image of tank filled with spottail shiners Anglers seeking news about shiner supplies for Minnesota’s walleye opener is less intense now, compared to what it as a few years ago. Some worry less because they’ve discovered that other bait varieties are equally effective for catching walleye. Others have learned about artificial lures that produce good results and rely more on those alternatives. Still, there are plenty of folks who hope to, if not insist on getting shiner minnows for the annual walleye fishing opener.

As of today, shiner supplies are “trickling” into bait shops in north central Minnesota. Bill Powell at Fred’s Bait told me this morning that they have enough shiners on hand now to last for a few hours on the opener. For him, low water levels and strong winds have been a problem. “The shiners are there, we just have to be able to get at them”, he advised.” According to Powell, supplies of fatheads, rainbows and creek mix minnows is really good, so folks who shop at either Fred’s Bait, or at the co-owned Winnie One Stop will ..." Read >> May 8, 2024 Shiner Minnows For The Walleye Opener? Maybe


image links to fishrapper home page May 10, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Ready Or Not, Here We Come!"

The Hippie Chick and I got most of our gear packed up yesterday too, and today we’ll be joining the masses, hoping to land on the right spot, at the right time. Before I log off the computer and grab my fishing rod, we have a few last-minute notes to clean up from yesterday.

Q) Dave Perry asked, "I'm hoping you can let me know how the public access on the north side of Round Lake is by Squaw Lk. With low water levels will we be able to get a boat in. In past years when it was low the bigger boats couldn’t get launched. Any thoughts would be helpful, we're planning on heading up next week if we can launch our boat. Thank you!

A) Dave, here’s a note I got from Cory Smith, co-owner of Leino's Riverside Resort and Pub located on Round Lake. "Good morning, Jeff, to be safe on Round Lake ..." Read >> Sundin Reports May 10, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish May 10, 2024 "Berkley Powerbait Cullshad Swimbait Review"

image links to fishing article about how to use Berkely Powerbait Swimbaits"One of the hottest trends in fishing over the last several years is throwing big baits. This style of fishing has taken the bass fishing community by storm, and it’s quickly proven to be a productive way to catch some giant bass. One of the most productive big baits an angler can throw is a harness style swimbait. One of the most talked about harness style swimbaits to hit the market is the Berkley Powerbait Cullshad. This bait draws inspiration from other baits in its category while adding Berkley’s own unique twist to this popular style of lure.

The Berkley Powerbait CullShad Swimbait features a big bait profile with a lifelike action. The Cullshad features Berkley’s proprietary Honeycomb Technology that increases durability while maintaining a superb action. This bait comes standard with a pre-rigged harness and a screw lock hook keeper that keeps everything in place without hassle. This bait runs true at a variety of speeds whether you’re slow rolling it near the bottom or burning it on the surface. ..." Read Article and Learn More >> Berkley Powerbait Cullshad Swimbait Review


image links to fishrapper home page May 9, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Shiner Supplies, Water Levels and Alternative Baits"

image shows an assortment of Joe Billiar's favortie artficial lures for walleye fishing I mentioned yesterday that the reader demand for tracking supplies of spottail shiners, while important, has lost intensity in recent years. Among the reasons, I cited an increased willingness among anglers to explore alternative presentations. Some still prefer live bait but have switched to minnow varieties that are easier to find. Others are rejecting live bait altogether, opting instead to rely on artificial lures to put their walleyes topside.

When I called Joe Billiar, Crooked Hat Guide Service in Baxter, MN for a shiner update, I learned that he is in the “artificial lure camp”. Not that Joe won’t use live bait, he will. But when he hits the water this weekend, he’ll be throwing some of his favorite soft plastics and hard baits too. I asked if he’d be willing to share his favorites with us, and he agreed. Here are his thoughts about alternatives to using live minnows for ..." Learn More >> Shiner Supplies, Water Levels and Alternative Baits May 9, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page May 8, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Shiner Minnows For The Walleye Opener? Maybe."

image of tank filled with spottail shiners Anglers seeking news about shiner supplies for Minnesota’s walleye opener is less intense now, compared to what it as a few years ago. Some worry less because they’ve discovered that other bait varieties are equally effective for catching walleye. Others have learned about artificial lures that produce good results and rely more on those alternatives. Still, there are plenty of folks who hope to, if not insist on getting shiner minnows for the annual walleye fishing opener.

As of today, shiner supplies are “trickling” into bait shops in north central Minnesota. Bill Powell at Fred’s Bait told me this morning that they have enough shiners on hand now to last for a few hours on the opener. For him, low water levels and strong winds have been a problem. “The shiners are there, we just have to be able to get at them”, he advised.” According to Powell, supplies of fatheads, rainbows and creek mix minnows is really good, so folks who shop at either Fred’s Bait, or at the co-owned Winnie One Stop will ..." Read >> May 8, 2024 Shiner Minnows For The Walleye Opener? Maybe



image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism May 7, 2024

image of rainy river anglers holding huge sturgeon links to current fishing report "Things are shaping up nicely on the south end of Lake of the Woods for Minnesota's 2024 Fishing Opener. Recent rain has brought up the water levels, which were low. The walleyes and saugers are in very good shape across the south shore. Expectations are high.

The "go-to" presentation this weekend will be a jig and frozen emerald shiner or other kind of minnow. Emerald shiners are a staple in LOW and walleyes love them. Hook the shiner through the mouth and out the gill. Push the minnow all the way up to the jig head and hook the minnow as far back as possible. This will give you a better hooking percentage.

Jig sizes and colors? This is stained water so you can ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report May 7, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish May 7, 2025 "Everything Anglers Should Know about Lithium Marine Batteries"

image links to fishing article about lithium batteries for fishing boats"Most of us grew up fishing with lead acid batteries in our boats as our fathers before us did. The new generation of anglers, however, are coming up in the age of lithium marine batteries. Yet it’s somewhat telling how little most anglers know about lithium power.

They have seen the literally “inflammatory” stories of the early days of lithium power in boats and have shied away from lithium power. Or they got lithium powered batteries but don’t understand the technology so they are not using it correctly or optimizing its longevity. The lack of people that know about lithium marine batteries and how best to use them caused me to put this together.

I recently wrote an in-depth marine battery guide that covered a bunch of the best lithium batteries in the marine space this year as well as some of the ..." Read Article to Learn More >> Everything Anglers Should Know about Lithium Marine Batteries


image links to fishrapper home page Jeff Sundin Fishing Report May 2, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Water Levels, Fisheries Summit and More"

image of rainfall chart for select north central minnesota lakes Well folks, the final countdown to Minnesota’s walleye opener has entered single digits! In just 9 days, we’ll be on the water, testing our skills and hoping to find schools of hungry fish.

Folks will be looking for bait soon, and despite rising interest in alternative baits, most walleye anglers will still be most interested in finding their favorite, spottail shiner minnows. Today, I’ll be checking in with trappers around the region to learn whether shiners have begun to move into any of their traditional spawning territories.

Folks have been interested in learning about water levels too, and anecdotally, I can say that the situation has improved over the past month. After the 2024 MN DNR Fisheries Summit, the Hippie Chick and I hung around the Twin Cities for a couple days.

At my brother’s house in Edina, the weather was warm and wet, the grass was green and flowering trees were in full bloom. Lilacs in bloom always signal the start of crappie spawning season, and yesterday in Edina, they ..." Read >> Sundin Report May 2, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 28, 2024 "First Annual MN DNR Fisheries Summit? I Hope So!"

image of slide presentation about Minnesota's Crappie Population Dynamics Report You may have heard, Brad Parsons, MN DNR Fisheries Section Chief orchestrated the formation of the 2024 “Fisheries Summit”. The summit was held this past Saturday, and it was a refreshing departure from recent large scale DNR operations.

No Governors, no commissioners, no legislators, and no pontificating from industry big wigs. Instead, this was a gathering of folks who are much more likely to get their feet wet and their fingernails dirty in the field.

The audience consisted primarily of members of the various fisheries workgroups. Like me, these folks have a passion for fishing, and have chosen to ..." Learn More >> April 28, 2024 "First Annual MN DNR Fisheries Summit


 

image reader comments April 28, 2024 Lake Winnie Water Levels

A couple weeks back, I searched for ways to compare water levels on Lake Winnie from one year to another. I never did find any really good way to do that. One reader, T.R. James, may have come up with a better way to compare annual water trends. Try using this link to compare Lake Winnibigoshish Dam near Bena, MN water levels to previous seasons.

April showers, will they bring May water levels up? Who knows for sure, but as April sees its way out, the outlook is at least somewhat encouraging. It’s been raining on and off here in the Twin Cities for most of the past 24 hours. It was raining on our trip south from Grand Rapids on Saturday too, and at times, ditches were filled with flowing water. If the forecast pans out, our trip back home will be wet again too, and it may rain for most of this week.

I know, lake levels are still low, and Mother Nature has a lot of catching up to do. Still, it’s good to see moisture on the ground, and I’m optimistic that we’ll have good conditions for the fishing opener, stay tuned. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 25, 2024

image of anglers holding a huge sturgeon caught on the Rainy RiverThe sturgeon harvest season is currently underway and continues through May 15, 2024. Although every day can be different, many boats have caught 30 to 40 sturgeon in a single day! We have heard of lots in the 60 to 70 inch range, as well as some fish measuring into the low 70 inch range.

If you fish during the sturgeon harvest season and wish to keep a sturgeon, you must first purchase a $5.00 sturgeon harvest tag. Then, you may harvest one sturgeon per calendar year (45 to 49.99 inches inclusive, or over 75 inches).

To catch sturgeon, most anglers ..." Read >> Rainy River Fishing Report April 25, 2024


image links to fishrapper home page April 23, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Water Temps, Shiner Runs and Walleye Locations?"

walleye fishing guide Jeff Sundin holding nice walleye caught on jig and minnow Q) Paul Plinske wrote; "With the walleye opener fast approaching, I’m sure the excitement is building around the area. Of course, the preferred live bait for walleye around the opener is the spottail shiner, and other minnows such as fat heads. I was wondering at water temps do you tend to see walleye switch their preference from minnows to crawlers and leeches, and then back again from crawlers and leeches to minnows for the fall bite? Thanks, Paul”

A) Paul, I do believe that water temperatures loosely influence trends in walleye feeding patterns and locations. But when it comes to truly figuring out walleye feeding preferences, water temperature appears to only be a starting point. The timing of seasonal feeding trends, for me, is all about figuring out where to ..." Learn More >> April 23, 2024 MN Fishing Opener "Water Temps, Shiner Runs and Walleye


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 19, 2024 "Bewteen Seasons Stuff To Do? Pondering the Prospects"

image links to article by Jeff Sundin about stream trout fishing in north central minnesotaStream trout have always been a mystery to me. I’ve been encouraged over the years by some of my customers who live in southeastern Minnesota. They’ve said things like “you really have to come down and fish for trout with me in the spring.” Many of them tell me that they catch a lot of trout, and while I’ve been interested, I haven’t been willing to commit the time to travel, learn the streams and so on.

Believing that the southeastern Minnesota region was “the only game in town” for finding good trout streams, I never pondered north central Minnesota as an option. I’ve assumed that opportunities to fish for stream trout here were limited to finding “designated trout lakes”, and then fishing for them during the summer season, which conflicts with my guiding season. Or, in my case, searching for them during winter and fishing for them through the ice.

It wasn’t until August of 2021 that I caught my first rainbow trout on open water, when the Hippie Chick and I ..." Read >> Sundin Report April 19, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 17, 2024 "Noting The Note-Able"

image of the beach at Wooden Frog Campground Rainy Lake MN For most Minnesotan’s, ice out has already been fait accompli for a while. Cross the 48th parallel heading north though and you’ll find more typical early spring conditions. On Lake of the Woods, there were still folks ice fishing just last week. On Rainy Lake, Voyageurs National Park officials announced ice-out at the Wooden Frog Campground just yesterday.

Anglers fishing in the cold waters of the Rainy River enjoyed a very strong run of “pre-spawn” walleyes through last weekend. There were numerous reports of catches in the 100+ fish per day range, and plenty of photos showing off big walleyes. Now that the walleye season has closed, they’ll be forced to hold off until the walleye opener on May 11, 2024.

Northern pike anglers were catching fish in ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Report April 17, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 16, 2024 "Cutfoot Walleye Spawning, A Game of Give and Take"

image of Grand Rapids DNR Fisheries Staff checking walleyes for mature spawn"At the entrance to Little Cutfoot Sioux, walleye traps were set last Friday, and they have been filling with migrating fish ever since. Through the past weekend though, the eggs of most female walleye had not yet matured, “ripened”, as they say. That meant that through Sunday, there wasn’t a lot of egg fertilizing going on up there.

That began changing on Monday morning, DNR fisheries staff managed to gather, fertilize and transport about 100 or so quarts of eggs. Combined with those that were gathered over the weekend, brought the total of collected eggs up to a total of about 200 quarts, give or take.

As we watched the sorting process, it was obvious there were still a lot of “green females” that ..." Read >> April 16, 2024 "Cutfoot Walleye Spawning, A Game of Give and Take


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 12, 2024 "Walleye Spawing 2024 Prospects For Strong Year Class?"

image of Tamarack Bay on Lake WinnibigoshishQ) Rand Olson wrote, “I’m not a pessimist, but I remember early ice outs in the past were years of poor reproduction or hatching, and I’m wondering if this will be another year like that? I hope you report on the DNR activity on an upcoming post.”

A) In recent years Rand, I’ve been given lots of help from fisheries folks aimed at helping me understand how walleyes spawn and the conditions that help encourage a strong year class. I’m struggling to recall anyone making a direct correlation between an early ice out date, and a poor year class of walleyes. I’m only speculating, but anecdotal accounts of that sort are likely influenced by other factors that happened to occur coincidentally.

The way I understand it, weather conditions that occur after the spawn are most crucial to newly hatched walleye fry. An early spawn, followed by cold weather, could discourage algae production and ..." Learn More >> Walleye Spawing 2024 Prospects For Strong Year Class?


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 11, 2024 "Water Levels and Walleye Spawning Updates"

image of walleye traps set up at the Little Cutfoot Sioux egg take operationOn Wednesday, the Hippie Chick and I took a tour of the Winnie, Cutfoot and Bowstring Lakes region. We expected to see that water levels were low, and they were, but not as low as I had anticipated. I’m in touch with folks at the corps of engineers now and will provide updates on the precise water conditions later today. Before I do that though, lets talk about the Cutfoot Sioux walleye spawning run and the DNR egg take.

As the photo reveals, most of the walleye trappig gear was already set up at Little Cutfoot Sioux walleye egg take site on Wednesday. We drove in and talked with fisheries staff who told us that be setting the traps and holding pens sometime today, Thursday Aprill 11, 2024. Dissolved oxygen levels are good they reported, and water temperatures are moving toward ideal range. So, whenever the fish are ready, the action will begin. It is still early though, and I would advise that we ..." Read Full Report >> Water Levels and Walleye Spawning Updates April 11, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "The Art of Catching Bass Off Bed"

image links to fishing article about how to catch bass off of their spawning beds"Spring time is without a doubt my favorite time to fish. There are so many ways to catch bass this time of year, it’s hard to not love spending time on the water. One of the biggest reason I look forward to this time of year is the bass spawn. Every year we get a short window where bass cover the bank looking to make beds and spawn. This is often when the biggest fish of the year get caught, and it allows for some fantastic sight fishing opportunities.

Catching bass off bed can be easy at times, however they don’t always want to cooperate. Over the last several years of fishing I’ve learned several nuances that have helped me find success in this area. Some of these tricks are new and some are old, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I’ve learned.

The first step to catching bass off beds is to ..." Read Article and Learn More >> The Art of Catching Bass Off Bed


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 9, 2024

image of big walleye caught by brett amundson on the Rainy River "This is the time of year that some are still ice fishing on the south end's main basin of Lake of the Woods, while others are fishing out of boats on the open water of the Rainy River. It's nice to have options!

On the Rainy River, open water has made it all the way to Four Mile Bay. Walleye fishing and sturgeon fishing has been excellent. The water clarity is still very good and there are a lot of fish in the river.

Boat ramps are open all the way to Wheeler's Point. Birchdale, Frontier, Vidas, Timber Mill Park in Baudette, and the Wheeler's Point boat ramp at the mouth of the Rainy River are all open. Jigs tipped with ..." Read >> Rainy River, Lake of the Woods Fishing Report >> April 9, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 8, 2024 "Countdown To Walleye Opener"

It’s time to start the countdown, with only 32 days until the walleye opener, it's time to start rigging rods, fine tuning gear and checking water conditions.

Some of the folks that gathered to chat at Ray’s Marine Open House this weekend expressed concern about the dry conditions and low water levels. There’s no doubt that concern is warranted, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it so dry during the month of April. That said, our conversations reminded me about the dramatic turnaround we experienced during the 1999 fishing opener. A couple of weeks before opening day, rain began falling and didn’t stop. Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids was littered with dock sections and other debris that floated away from shore under flood-like conditions.

I’m not saying that will happen again this spring, but ..." Read More >> Countdown To Walleye Fishing Opener April 8, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 5, 2024 "Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame and Fishing Museum Night With The Pros"

Public appearances where I can meet and chat with people who love fishing has been another gratifying pursuit for me, and I have a couple of them this weekend. Today, I, along with a bunch of other fishing pros will be at the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Fishing Hall of Fame in Little Falls for their annual “Night with the Pros” fundraising event. There’s an early, member’s private event at the Museum in downtown Little Falls at 3:00 Pm, then at 4:30 a meet and greet at the Rice Creek Convention Center, followed by dinner at 6:30. Silent auctions, raffle prizes and giveaways take place before, during and after dinner.

The event is particularly “kid friendly” and fun. If you come, you’ll learn that all of the fishing pros love autographing kids' photo programs, hats and the like. For a full list of the fishing pros who will attend the event click here >> MN Fishing Museum Night with the Pros Celebrity List
Ticket sales end soon but are currently still available Here’s a link to the ticket sales page on Event Brite >> 2024 Night With The Pros Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin April 4, 2024 "Nashville, Myrtle Beach, Little Falls and More!"

image of the Hippie Chick standing in front of wall of Azaleas at the Brookgreen Gards In case you noticed that I haven’t been around much lately, I apologize, it is completely my fault. You see after 55 years in the work force; I finally took off with the Hippie Chick for my first ever 2-week vacation.

Yup, that’s right, I’ve never been away from work this long since the day I got my first paper route way back in 1969. Now that we’re back home, you’ll notice the fishing reports and updates flowing freely again. But before I get myself fully immersed in work, gather around the water cooler and let me tell you about some highlights of our trip.

On this trip we first re-visited some of our favorite places in ..." Read >> Sundin Home From Vacation April 3, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 3, 2024

image of young angler with monster northern pike from Arneson's Rocky Point Resort "For a while now, Lake of the Woods has been the only game in town for Minnesota anglers who want to continue ice fishing. Now that the deadline for shelter removal has passed, most folks have given up on ice fishing, but not everybody. Up at the Northwest Angle, the ice bite finished strong but is now finished, and the focus is now on the May 11, 2024, walleye fishing opener.

On the south end of Lake of the Woods, cold spring weather helped dispel certain social media predictions about the greatest of weather and deteriorating ice conditions for the late ice fishing season. The bottom line, after an early warm up, conditions turned back to winter, preserving ice conditions for those wanting to take advantage of them. March ice anglers were rewarded with good catches of walleyes, saugers and of course this time of year, monster pike. 

Although the walleye season continues through April 14th, 2024 for the most part, ice accesses are closed for the year and anticipation is high for the Walleye fishing on ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Rainy River Report April 3, 2024


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report March 14, 2024 "Minnesota, One Regulation Away From Paradise!"

On Wednesday, MN DNR fisheries announced new summer regulations for both Upper Red Lake and Lake Mille Lacs. Long story short, Red Lake Anglers will be allowed to harvest 3 walleyes from May 11 to June 14, 2024, then beginning June 15, Red Lake anglers will be allowed to harvest 4 walleyes. During either period, only one walleye may be 17.0 inches or longer, all others must be 16.99 inches or less.

Mille Lacs anglers will not be allowed to harvest any walleyes from May 11, through August 15, 2024. Beginning on August 16, 2024, Mille walleye anglers may or may not be allowed to harvest one walleye, presumably that will be announced later. If the DNR deems that harvesting a walleye is acceptable, it’s length will need to be between 21.0 and 22.99 inches. You can read the full press releases for either, or both, by following these links >> Upper Red LakeLake Mille LacsFull MN Regulation Book

Understand this, I’m all for regulations that are aimed at improving or maintaining the best possible fishing and hunting opportunities that Minnesota has to offer. As far as regulations go, these new ones are what they are and I’m in no position to know if they’re good for fishing, or not. I must admit though that this morning, I’m scratching my head, trying to figure out just which messages I’m receiving, and from ..." Read Full Report >> Sundin MN Walleye Regulations 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "22 Best Add-On Accessories for Any Boat"

image links to fishing article about the best add on items to improve fishing boats"There is a massive market for third party marine products. Whether you’re wanting to polish off your brand new rig or breathe new life into a classic ride, adding the best after-market accessories for any boat can do just that. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite products that we’ve tested over the years, as well as a sampling of others based on reader recommendations. These products are hand selected for their ability to make you more effective and efficient on the water. We covered everything from tool holders to wiring, lighting to securing features and convenience items to safety items. These wide array of options will enhance your boat and make time on the water easier and more worry free.

Most new boats have tool storage at the ready in every direction. However, if your boat is more than a few years old, it’s likely your pliers are bouncing around on the floor getting rusty right now. Well no more, thanks to the ..." Learn More >> 22 Best Add-On Accessories for Any Boat March 13, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin March 13, 2024 "Turning Onto The Acceleration Lane Into Spring"

image of panfish in the livewell of fishing boat Well friends, this winter has not been one of the better news cycles in my Cub Reporter, Staff #003-IHBFBB career. Except for the handful of now obvious destinations, most folks already gave up on ice fishing a while back. Even as you read the current ice fishing reports sent over by folks in Ely and Lake of the Woods, many anglers know that there is more open water available than there is ice.

On Tuesday morning, my nephew Chris Andresen sent a text from the Mankato region. “Happy Spring” it said, and the accompanying photo of panfish in the livewell of his Alaskan revealed proof that he’s already been out on one of his favorites of southern Minnesota lakes.

On Monday, I got a note from a friend letting me know that he’d ..." Read Full Report >> Turning Onto The Acceleration Lane Into Spring March 13, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report March 13, 2024

Ice Report • Ice conditions are quickly deteriorating in the Ely area. Shoreline ice is beginning to pull away from the shorelines, cracks are opening up out on area lakes and open water is being reported on many area lakes. 4 wheeler and side by side travel, over ice, is no longer recommended. Foot travel only now. Anglers looking to still ice fish should look to smaller lakes, to get out on. The smaller the better your odds are to get out on them and fish.

Fishing Reports • Crappie fishing has ..." Read Report >> Arrowhead Outdoors March 13, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin March 2024 "MN Anglers Get More Chances For State Record Fish"

image links to article about Minnesota expanding the catch and release fish records category I’ve always wondered if one day, I’d drop my lure into the water and catch a fish big enough to register as a state record. Most days, it doesn’t seem likely, but you never know, one of my customers came close one time, but missed the mark by just a few ounces.

As a matter of fact, if this program had been in place last year, my fishing buddy Bryce Demuth may well have had a shot at a record. Bryce's would-be record might have come for catching and releasing the pictured Bigmouth Buffalo. His fish was massive and is one of the fish species being added to the list starting today, March 1, 2024.

MN DNR “Starting March 1, anglers can earn catch-and-release records for ..." Learn More >> MN Anglers Get More Chances For State Record Fish


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish March 1, 2024 "Best Marine, Lithium and Trolling Motor Batteries"

image links to fishing article about choosing lithium batteries for marine applications"Marine batteries for electronics, starting outboards and powering 24-volt or 36-volt trolling motors have come a long way in the last 20 years. Where we basically had a cranking battery and a deep cycle lead acid battery for our trolling motors, now we have a plethora of options from AGMs to Lithium and of course still lead acids. The marine batteries of today are some of the best trolling motor batteries and best marine electronics batteries we’ve ever had at our disposal.

With all this new technology in batteries, especially around lithium options, it’s created a lot of misinformation and made it more complicated to find the right battery for your setup and budget. This piece will share a ton of hands-on experience on the best marine batteries and trolling motor batteries out there today and how each one and each company handles their batteries. We will give you a bunch of good ..." Learn More >> Best Marine, Lithium and Trolling Motor Batteries


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report March 6, 2024

image links to arrowhead outdoors ice fishing report from the Ely MN area Ice Report • Ice conditions are slowly starting to swing the other way now and start to deteriorate. Several days of well above average temperatures have burned off all the snow area lakes. High winds have caused pressure ridges to form and large cracks to open up on a few Ely area lakes.

Ice thickness on lake trout lakes ranges from 7 to 11 inches now. Other area lakes are being reported to be 11 to 15 inches. Side by sides are no longer recommended. 4 wheelers with chains and foot travel, with ice cleats, has become the safest way to travel across lakes. Ice along north shorelines is really starting to melt and open up, so be careful!

Fishing Report • Lake trout fishing picked up this last weekend for many anglers. Several reports of lakers being caught ..." Read >> Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report March 6, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism March 7, 2024

image of woman holding monster walleye caught on Lake of the Woods at Arneson's Rocky Point Resort "After recent air temperatures in the negative 15 degree range, single digit temps feel like a "warm up" but clearly, it's still winter on Lake of the Woods. Ice fishing is in full swing on Lake of the Woods and it has been excellent. Lodging, fish house rentals, ice fishing, and meal packages are all still available this week. Resorts are monitoring ice conditions multiple times per day and fishing continues to be excellent.

Every ice road operator makes their own decisions based conditions in their "home area" and many continue to allow pickup trucks with wheelhouses to drive out and fish on the south end of the lake. You can't assume that they aere all open, so please check with each individual ice road operator about their specific limits.

Once you're on the lake, the majority of ice fishing for walleyes and saugers is still taking place in ..." >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report March 7, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin February 29, 2024 "Out With Old, In With New, Ice Fishing Season"

image of map showing Minnesota's ice shelter removal dates For me, it feels like the ice fishing season is just getting started. With spring just around the corner, perch and panfish activity will be increasing, and access to north central region lakes, especially the smaller ones, couldn’t be better. Snow cover is virtually non-existent, so walking out to the shallow water breaklines will be easy. In past seasons, that’s been my best fishing period of the whole winter.

Lake of the Woods has gotten most all of the attention lately because folks can drive out in pickup trucks, and there’s enough ice to support larger ice fishing shelters. Now that the inland season has closed for walleye and pike fishing, Lake of the Woods will get even more attention from walleye, pike and sauger anglers. But if you’re an explorer, keep in mind that there are numerous other ..." >> Ice Fishing Update February 29, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish February 28, 2024 "Mundy Turns Off Graphs to Win $50K and Vexus Buckle"

image links to article about Mundy winning big bass tournament witrhout using electronics"At a time when sonar technology is easily the most debated topic in bass fishing, Vexus® Boats anglers and Lake Sam Rayburn hammers, Derek Mundy and Jason Bonds, swung toward the opposite field during the season opener of the lucrative Brandon Belt “The Show” Team Series event, by turning their sonar completely off with hopes of spooking fewer bass.

The longtime team partners proceeded to catch 47 pounds of bass in two days, won the $50,000 first place prize, plus a $10,000 Rev Rewards bonus from Vexus, along with a commemorative 2024 REV Rewards™ belt buckle for the trophy shelf.

“I’m not trying to rain on the effectiveness of forward-facing sonar, but I’ll tell you it was a total non-factor in ..." Learn More >> Mundy Turns Off Graphs to Win $50K and Vexus Buckle


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report February 28, 2024

image of ice fisherman holding nice size lake trrout "Ice Report •

No improvements were made this last week in the Ely area. Ice thickness remains between 12 and 16 inches on shallow lakes in the Ely area and 8 to 14 inches on deeper lake trout lakes. Very little to no snow has travel limited to skates, foot, 4 wheelers and side by sides.

Fishing Reports • Lake trout fishing has been challenging to say the least. Many anglers, this last week, struggled to get lakers to leave the bottom or even stop and show interest in their baits.

Small jigging spoons and live bait placed 6 to 12 inches off the bottom seemed to be anglers best approach to catching lakers. Sunken islands that top out in ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Report February 28, 2024


image links to mn dnr news release News Release February 2024 "Public input needed on Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Plan"

image of walleyes stacked up the tailgate of pickup truck The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking people interested in Lake of the Woods fisheries management to share their perspectives about future management of the lake. It is important for this update to reflect public values and perspectives on how the lake should be managed. The updated master plan will be used to guide management of Lake of the Woods fish populations. It will include management goals, objectives and strategies for the lake for the next five years.

The purpose of the questionnaire, available online through Friday, March 15, 2024 is to help generate ideas and identify potential planning issues and opportunities specific to Lake of the Woods as the DNR begins the planning process.

"This questionnaire offers people the chance to help advance management of the high quality, multi-species fishery that is Lake of the Woods,” said Matt Skoog, Baudette area fisheries supervisor. “We especially want to hear peoples’ thoughts about walleye and sauger angling, observations about winter angling, the importance of keeping fish to eat, as well as ideas about other large fish like lake sturgeon and northern pike.”

To share your viewpoints about fishing on Lake of the Woods, click here to participate >> Minnesota DNR Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Questionnaire


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish February 21, 2024 "Advantages and Disadvantages of Forward Facing Sonar"

image links to article about the advantages and disadvantages of forward facing sonar"If you follow tournament bass fishing, you know that forward facing sonar has dominated the majority of major bass tournaments. This new technology has opened doors for anglers allowing them to target bass that haven’t been fished for.

There are a wealth of benefits associated with this new technology, however it comes with its disadvantages as well. Over the last several months there has been lots of backlash directed towards forward facing sonar. Many anglers and fans argue that this technology is having a negative impact on the sport, taking away from its exciting nature.

Much of this scrutiny comes from the fact that many anglers no longer ..." Learn More >> Advantages and Disadvantages of Forward Facing Sonar


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 22, 2024

image links to ice fishing report from Lake of the Woods "It is still winter on the border, and ice fishing action continues to be strrong on the south side of Lake of the Woods. Overnight temps in the teens and twenties are maintaining ice nicely. Fishing continues to be excellent. It has been an incredible year for walleyes and saugers with both numbers and size.

Resort fish houses and sleeper fish houses are available. Some ice roads are allowing pickup trucks pulling wheelhouses as well. Check with each individual ice road for specific limits. As always, and certainly this year, it is important to stay on the resort ice roads. It is tempting to go off on your own as there isn't much snow, but that is a risky move any time of the year. Resorts and outfitters keep their roads on the best ice and monitor it numerous times per day.

The majority of ice fishing for walleyes and saugers is taking place in ..." >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 22, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report February 21, 2024

image of ice fisherman holding nice trout caught while ice fishing near ely mn "Ice Report • Little improvement happened this last week, with ice thickness, on area lakes. Anglers continue to report 8 to 14 inches of ice on area lake trout lakes. Thickness remains very inconsistent. Out on crappie and walleye lakes, anglers have been reporting 12 to 15 inches of ice. Snow cover is almost non-existent, so 4 wheelers and side by side are the best way to travel on area lakes.

Fishing Reports • Crappies - Crappies have begun to get active late last weekend. Anglers are finding them in 20 to 30 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with crappie minnows have been effective for inactive crappies while soft plastics have been better for active crappies. Purple, orange, pink and wonder bread have been the best colors.

Lake trout fishing proved to be ..." Read >> Ely Minnesota Ice Fishing Report February 21, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report February 14, 2024

image of uce fisherman holding big lake trout caught near Ely MN "Ice Report • Another warm week, with rain, then freezing temperatures have actually improved ice conditions on Ely area lakes. What little snow we had on the ice, is now largely gone thanks to the rain we got last week. Freezing temperatures and high winds quickly locked up any standing water. 12 to 16 inches of ice is being reported on just about all Ely area lakes.

Lake trout anglers are still finding pockets of 8 to 9 inches of ice on lake trout lakes. These reports have been keeping anglers from driving out on the ice, so 4 wheelers and side by side continue to be the best way to travel on local lakes.

Fishing reports for Lake trout reports were good going into the weekend, and ...." Read >> Ely MN Area Ice Fishing Report February 14, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 14, 2024

"Ice fishing is in full swing on the south end of Lake of the Woods and a good bite continues for most anglers. Some very quality walleyes and saugers with mixed in jumbo perch, eelpout, and occasional pike in the mix.

Ice conditions, and consequently, weight limits on ice roads are again improving with the cold weather. Resort fish houses and sleeper fish houses are available. Some ice roads are allowing pickup trucks pulling wheelhouses. Check each individual ice road for specific limits. With that being said, it is super important to stay on the resort ice roads and do not go off on your own. Resorts and outfitters keep their roads on the best ice. Going off the ice roads and on your own is not a good idea.

The majority of ice fishing for walleyes and saugers is taking place in ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 14, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin February 8, 2024 "Just When You Think It's Over, It's Not!"

image of vehicles on the ice at Trout Lake near Coleraine Minnesota"We’ve been seeing reports from Lake of the Woods and know that folks are getting around fairly well on the ice up there. Some of the other large lakes in north central Minnesota have enough ice for limited vehicle travel too.

So many operators have placed restrictions about how folks can travel, that it made me lose interest in fishing most of them. While I’ve been interested in fishing more on some small lakes in the Grand Rapids area, the wet conditions had been discouraging. So, like I said, I’ve all but written off the ice fishing season.

Yesterday, I was driving the Hippie Chick over to Coleraine, where we would celebrate her birthday at the Smoke on the Water restaurant. On the way, I swung into the landing at Trout Lake and was surprised to see vehicles driving on the ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report February 8, 2024


image links to mn dnr news release News Release February 8, 2024 "Public input needed on fisheries management plans for 112 Minnesota lakes"

February is the month to connect with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries offices across Minnesota about 112 lakes in 34 counties that will have their fisheries lake management plans updated in 2024.

“People interested in the health and quality of Minnesota’s fisheries are a critical part of the DNR’s fisheries lake management planning process,” said Jon Hansen, DNR fisheries management consultant. “These plans establish fisheries management goals and objectives for each lake and define the work fisheries biologists do each year. Plans aren’t complete without observations and input from a lake’s stakeholders.”

People who want to discuss management for a lake can ..." >> Learn how to provide your input and view the full list of the lakes with proposed changes, click here >> Help Update MN DNR Fisheries Lake Management Plans


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report February 7, 2024

image of Steve Rennenberg holding a big lake trout Ice conditions have changed little in the Ely area this last week. Angler have been running 4 wheelers, snowmobiles and side by sides on area lakes. Walleye, crappie and stream trout lakes have between 12 to 16 inches of clear, solid ice.

Lake trout lakes are a little behind with 8 to 12 inches of clear solid ice. Snow cover varies from 5 inches to nothing. With the warm temps, slush has popped up on many area lakes, but has not been much of a issue for anglers.

Lake trout fishing was slow but steady for many anglers. Some real quality lakers were caught this last week on ..." Read >> Ely MN Ice Fishing Report February 7, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin February 5, 2024 "Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Kids"

image of Joelle Bolos and Pat Everson with nice Lake Trout caught near Grand Marais Our kids, Joelle, and Pat were back up at the lake trout hole again this weekend. As you can see, the weather was gorgeous, and they are continuing to dial in the best fishing patterns for catching trout too. It seems like every weekend we get at least a few photos, sometimes we see a lot of them.

Last weekend, Jo came very close to capturing a wall mounter, estimated to be over 25 pounds. That fish broke the line, just below the ice which I’m sure was disappointing now. On the other hand, that fish will be the one that keeps the fire of desire burning. The chase for Mr. Big is on, and will likely continue for a good long time!

Jo’s report came in via text message on Sunday evening and starts with; “We were on the ..." Read >> Lake Trout Fishing Trip February 5, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin February 1, 2024 "Noting the Note-Able"

Earlier this week, the Hippie Chick and I were traveling west on Highway 2 near Grand Rapids. On that single trip, we saw more trucks towing wheelhouses than we’d seen on all our other trips, all winter long, combined. The problem is that they were all heading east, heading for home instead of coming this way to go ice fishing. I’m speculating, but it wouldn’t surprise me if for a lot of those folks, the “wheelhouse” ice fishing season was already over for this year.

The weather outlook for this week in north central Minnesota reminds me of a classic March ice fishing pattern. Overnight, air temperatures dip below freezing, the surface ice on area lakes turns solid and dry. Travel conditions during mornings start off good, then warm afternoon temperatures turn the ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Update February 1, 2024 Fisheries Plans


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 31, 2024

"Access to the lake has been expanding and all the resorts and rental operators have either day houses or sleeper fish houses on the ice. Some continue to transport anglers to their rental fish houses; others now offer access to ice roads so there are numerous options for driving yourself.  Road rules, fees and weight restrictions vary from site to site, so be sure you communicate with the resort or outfitter you are fishing with and understand their specific weight restrictions when accessing their ice roads. 

Most folks who have traveled here had a great week of ice fishing on the south side of Lake of the Woods. Good reports about catching saugers, along with some nice size walleyes came from anglers fishing in several different areas. Most ice fishing on the south end of the lake happens in ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report Lake of the Woods January 31, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 31, 2024

image of ice fisherman holding big Lake Trout caught near Ely Minnesota Ice Report

Warm temps have cooled off the ice making process. Little progress was made this last week. 6 to 12 inches of ice is being reported on local lake trout lakes. 12 to 16 inches of ice is being reported on other area lakes. Thanks to warm temps, slush and water on the ice has become very common on area lakes. This issue is expected to grow as water temperatures remain in the forecast.  

Fishing Report

Lake trout fishing remains slow for many anglers. Many of the lakers being caught this last week, were caught with a ..." Read >> Ely MN Ice Fishing Report January 31, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 29, 2024 "Home Run At The Perch Hole, or Just Another Beautiful Day?"

Susan Sundin with Harper and Emmy Comnick"I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take them, and my “game plan” changed a time or two during preparation. By the time Steve showed up here with the Connick’s, Jake, Andie, Harper and Emmy, I’d decided that perch fishing would offer the best odds of a decent first ice fishing experience. It was not a slam dunk, there were a lot of holes drilled, and we made several moves. But by the time we wrapped up, everyone agreed that the day couldn’t have been better if we’d written the script ahead of time.

Ice conditions on the lake were good, there was about 15 inches of solid ice and about 4 inches of snow on top of it. There was just enough snow to make me happy running my snowmobile and Steve’s 4-wheeler breezed through it too. There were a handful of folks driving light pickup trucks, but they ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Perch Report January 29, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 25, 2024 "Best Upgrades for an Older Fishing Boat"

image links to fishing article about upgrading older boats with new gear"I was unbelievably blessed by the wife and family of a dear friend upon his passing a couple years ago. I’ve written about it before, but Neal Webster was like a grandaddy to me. And when he passed, his wife gave me his 2001 Triton. At the time, I was working hard to payoff a mountainous molehill of debt that I had accrued in a previous life. Which, praise God, is gone now minus what’s owed on a house and land. So I have an older boat and thought I would share how I make it fish a lot newer with the best upgrades for fishing boats.

In my earlier effort to payoff my debt, I had gotten rid of my previous newer boat. So, I had no boat of my own at the time. I believe whole heartedly that this boat now is a grace from God as is that family that I didn’t deserve, but I’m oh so thankful for. All this said, my ride has surpassed the legal ..." Learn More >> Best Upgrades for an Older Fishing Boat


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 25, 2024 "Hippie Chick Tops The leader Board"

image links to ice fishing report from the Longville MN area Well, we finally found the time, along with a compelling reason to get out on the ice. And as of Wednesday, the Hippie Chick is officially 2 crappies ahead of me for the 2024 fishing season.

Maybe you’re wondering, so, how many did you guys catch altogether yesterday? We caught 2, I mean she caught 2, and I didn’t fish. I know that doesn’t sound very good, but the fishing trip was a lot different than what we’d usually be doing together, and for us the trip was a great success!

What we were doing exactly was participating in a new fisheries research project. The MN DNR, along with Lindner Media has teamed up again to ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report January 25, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 24, 2024

"Subzero temperatures have the ice thickening on Lake of the Woods. Resorts and rental operators are making daily progress in the expansion the network of ice roads. Ice conditions vary based on what ice road.

Some ice roads are now allowing trucks and wheelhouses. One ice road was up to 1 ton, another 3/4 ton with no wheelhouse or 1/2 ton pulling a wheelhouse. Check with each resort for outfitter for their weight restrictions on their specific ice road. If you are driving out on an ice road, stay on the road and don't venture past the end of the road. There are still areas of ice, cracks, etc., away from the roads not fit for vehicles.

Most ice fishing on the south end of the lake is happening in ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 24, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 24, 2023

image of ice fisherman holding big lake trout caught near Ely Minnesota Ice Conditions Report

• Ice conditions have slowly improved this last week on Ely area lakes. Shallower walleye and stream trout lakes, ice thickness is being reported between 12 to 15 inches of nice clear ice. Ice conditions on lake trout lakes are now being reported between 6 to 11 inches of ice.

Ice Fishing Report

• Lake Trout - Lake trout have been unusually fussy this last week. While many anglers reported catching trout, many of them reported that lakers ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Ice Fishing Report January 24, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 17, 2024

image of ice fishermen with huge stack or walleyes "Some below zero and single digit temperatures arrived on the south end of Lake of the Woods this past week and the ice is thickening.

In areas where ice is making progress, so are the weight limits and ability on some ice roads to use light vehicles and wheelhouses. Every ice road has their own rules and restrictions based on ice conditions, follow your resort's or outfitter's updates on social media or contact them directly. If you are fishing with a resort, they will either allow you to drive out or they will transport you out to the fish house depending upon ice conditions and how they operate their business.

Most ice fishing on the south end of the lake is occurring in ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 17, 2024


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 17, 2024 "Berkley Releases New Forward Facing Sonar Inspired Lures"

image links to fishing video about fishing through the ice for crappies on small lakes"Like the rest of the world, the sport of fishing is evolving and forcing anglers to evolve with it. Forward-facing sonar, otherwise known as live sonar, has become a hot topic and is an incredible tool to allow anglers to evolve as fisheries change. It enables anglers to understand more about fish behavior than ever before by providing them with the ability to see how fish react to their baits in real-time. As forward-facing sonar advances, anglers using it are looking for baits that allow them to better interact with fish using this technology. Built on a tradition of innovation, Berkley is leading that charge, with three all-new baits that allow anglers to best interact with fish on forward-facing sonar and in ways never seen. Introducing the all-new Berkley Krej, Finisher, and Power Switch.

“Berkley is the leader in science-based bait development, and we take pride in providing anglers with the best solution to help them catch fish in any environment,” said Berkley’s Chief Brand and Product Officer Jon Schlosser. “We’ve known that forward-facing sonar was coming and have spent the past few years learning about ..." >> Berkley's Forward Facing Sonar Inspired Lures


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 17, 2023

image of nice lake trout caught ne Ely MN Ice Conditions Report •

Ice conditions have improved greatly on all area lakes these last few days. Ice roads continue to pop up and expand on many area lakes. Lakes with ice roads are reporting 12 to 14 inches of clear, solid ice. Ice reports from lake trout lakes went from 3 to 8 inches reported on Friday to 7 to 11 inches on Sunday. Only a matter of time before anglers start driving on these lakes. ATVs like smaller 4 wheelers and snowmobiles were common sight, on lake trout lakes, this last weekend.

Lake Trout - Many Lake Trout anglers were not disappointed for Lake Trout opener. Anglers did best fishing flats in 30 to 50 feet of water. 4 Inch tubes, worked aggressively, were the most productive presentation and ..." Read >> Ely Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 27, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 12, 2024 "Viewing the View-Able or Hearing the Hear-Able"

image links to article about sporting journal publishing viedo featuring Jeff Sundin Recently released videos like the joint Lindner Media, MN DNR barotrauma project, and the subsequent Aaron Wiebe production challenging its results served to shine a brighter light about Barotrauma. And as the topic piqued the interest of an ever-widening swath of midwestern anglers, the mainstream of outdoor media has taken a greater interest in the topic.

Bret Amundson, aside from being an amazing wildlife photographer, offers outdoor programing through his radio, video, and podcast outlets. Like me, Amundson also serves as a volunteer member of the recently formed MN DNR Technology Workgroup. So, it seems natural that he’d not only take an interest in the subject but also want to share his interest with you.

Over the past several weeks, he’s interviewed just about every “insider” involved in either of those two video projects. On Wednesday, he caught up with ..." Read >> Sporting Journal Video Released January 12, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 11, 2024 "Campground Hosts Needed for 2024 Season"

The Blackduck Ranger District on the Chippewa National Forest is looking for individuals to serve as campground hosts for the 2024 camping season at the Norway Beach and Chippewa Loops in the Norway Beach Recreation Area and the Bimijiwan and Winnie Campgrounds.

Campground hosts stay at the campground and perform daily tasks such as posting reservations, cleaning bathrooms, and answering camper questions. There is plenty of time for fishing and enjoying the campfire, and there is no handling of money or law enforcement duties involved. All supplies and training will be provided. These volunteer campground host positions begin in early May and continue through Labor Day. Many of our hosts return year after year and develop wonderful relationships with the Chippewa National Forest Service staff and campers.

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, or if you have questions, please contact Corey Hamilton at 218-507-5180 or email: corey.hamilton@usda.gov Follow Link for more information the Chippewa National Forest go to: fs.usda.gov/chippewa.


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 12, 2024 "Ice Fishing For Crappies on Small Lakes | Secrets Revealed"

image links to fishing video about fishing through the ice for crappies on small lakes"Ice fishing for crappies is an addiction for Wired2fish contributor and follow ice-head Ben Anderson. Anderson dives straight into catching as he immediately locates a mega school of slabs in the middle of a featureless basin using forward-facing sonar. He then details his process of staying on top of the fish and triggering aggressive reaction strikes using lifelike and durable soft plastic-encased jigs instead of traditional live bait.

FINDING BASIN CRAPPIES - Anderson prefers targeting winter crappies in shallow lake basins to prevent barotrauma. On this particular lake, the basin averages an ideal 16 to 17 feet deep, making the fish color-rich (abundant light), strong, and releasable. But despite being a small lake, winter crappies are still notoriously tricky to locate and stay on top of. Anderson is a forward-facing sonar practitioner and he uses it to ..." View Video and Learn More >> Ice Fishing For Crappies on Small Lakes | Secrets Revealed


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 10, 2023

image links to fising report from arrowhead outdoors in Ely Minnesota "Excellent ice making weather has come to the Ely area and even better temps are coming! Ice roads have begun to pop up at popular accesses and permanent houses have returned to traditional fishing spots. 10 to 13 inches of clear ice is being reported just off the ice roads. Pockets of thin ice are still being reported, so if you plan on venturing off the ice roads be cautious. 4 inches of fresh snow has also caused slush to pop up in areas.

Lake trout lakes have been a different story. Handful of anglers have been out checking ice on Burntside lake and have been reporting 3 to 7 inches of clear ice out there and growing. No reports of ice conditions on Snowbank has been reported to us yet and we are waiting to hear from Snowbank Lodge. Anglers looking to fish Snowbank should ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report January 10, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 10, 2024

image links to ice fishing report from Ken Mar Ke Resort on Lake of the Woods "Colder temps and thickening ice has allowed resorts and outfitters to access new areas and deeper water on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Consequently, there are some excellent reports coming in from resorts and outfiiters. Anglers are catching a mixed bag of fish with walleyes and saugers the norm. In addition, jumbo perch, pike, eelpout, sturgeon, tullibees and even a muskie in the mix.

It continues to be very important to work through a resort or outfitter. There are still areas of ice that are not ready, some cracks to be avoided and generally areas to stay away from. The bottom line, ice conditions vary.

Most ice fishing on the south end of the lake is in ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 10, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 8, 2024 "Fresh Snow Reveals More Sketchy Ice Conditions"

Snowfall in the Grand Rapids area ended early Sunday morning. In my driveway, there was about 4 inches, and by all accounts, that amount was typical around the region.

I don’t think this was enough snow to seriously retard new ice formation going forward, but it won’t help it either. The new snow cover on our lakes is deep enough to help reveal some of the open holes and areas of recently formed ice and some of the images are scary. Anglers should be on “Red Alert” when fishing lakes that have both shallow and deep-water fishing structures.

Lakes like Winnie, Leech, Pokegama, Cass and many others have relatively good ice conditions over shallow bays and shorelines. But these images ..." Read >> January 8, 2024 "Fresh Snow Reveals More Sketchy Ice Conditions


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 7, 2024 "Baraotrauma - We Already Know More Than You Think" Fishrapper Fishing Articles Section: Barotrauma Research, Studies and Reports

image links to article about fishing in deep water for freshwater fish

I was on the phone Saturday (1-6-2024) morning with Uncut Angling’s Aaron Wiebe talking about his recent video presentation about barotrauma affected crappies. I was then, and am now, most grateful for his willingness to engage with me in the lost art of civil discourse. Our conversation was fairly long, so I won’t bore you with every little detail. Instead, I’ll just cut to the chance and start by saying that I agree with 90 percent of his presentation. Where we differ, opinions about whether fish caught in 35 feet of water can be “safely” released, will likely lead to more conversations down the road.

You’re probably worried now that I’m headed down the path toward debating the “science” of barotrauma again, but I’m not! We’ve debated enough about that already. I wonder though, after following the commentary, have you noticed a certain behavioral phenomenon like I have? Have you noticed that folks have a tendency to pick and choose selected details from a story, and then use those, and only those select details in order to advance their own, personal opinions? Wiebe and I talked about that, and I shared with him, my concern about one of ..." Read >> January 7, 2024 Baraotrauma - We Already Know More Than You Think


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 5, 2024 Barotrauma, "Responding to the Respond-ABLE"

image links to article about barotauma and jeff sundin responding to comments Personal responsibility, that’s my thing, and folks who know me understand what I mean. I’m sure my kids grew weary of hearing me use the phrase “low expectation, low result” during their formative years. Folks that know me well realize too, that I never set a standard that’s higher for someone else than the one I set for myself. Still, even when I try my hardest to be responsible, I still can’t always reach the “high bar”. I realize my shortcomings and try to correct them. I like to think that my standards are set high enough so that even when I can’t score high on the curve, I at least come close.

If you don’t already know, those standards extend to the service I’ve set out to provide for you. I want you to know that before I write an article for you to read, I’ve studied, learned, and reflected on information I’m preparing to share. I try to get my facts straight, and close to being accurate, to the extent that its possible. To do that, I interact with a lot of people who are smarter than me, people whose knowledge I respect.

Disappointing to me is the number of people in our world who would bypass the pursuit of excellence. Folks who believe that they were born with more knowledge than ..." Read >> Succesful Release or Wishful Thinking? January 5, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 4, 2024 Pointing Fingers Or Working It Out? — Releasing Crappies Caught In Deep Water, Who Proved What To Whom?

image of dead crappies in net after Lindner Media video about barotrauma Ever since last week, when I shared the Uncut Angling video of Aaron Wiebe challenging the “integrity” of the Lindner Media and MN DNR video about barotrauma, there’s been something bothering me. I feel like I should come down on somebody’s side and support them, but I can’t. There isn’t anybody who is clearly in the right, or in the wrong either. I’m conflicted because laying assumptions and opinions aside, nobody, me included, actually KNOWS for sure, what they’re talking about.

In case you missed it, the video produced by Uncut Angling host Aaron Wiebe accuses Minnesota’s DNR Fisheries Staff of purposely creating a flawed study. Wiebe’s assertion is that the project, a joint video production between the MN DNR and ..." Read Article >> January 4, 2024 Pointing Fingers Or Working It Out?



image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin January 3, 2024 "Lake Winnie Ice Fishing Pausing the Pause-Able"

image of ice angler checking conditions on lake Winnie "Ice fishing conditions on Lake Winnie and Cutfoot are improving but vary wildly right now. The ice survived well in shallow water bays like Tamarack Bay, Third River Flowage, and other backwater areas. Reports of ice thickness ranging from 10 to 13 inches are common, ATVs are being used to pull some of the lighter weight wheelhouses and rental shelters onto the ice.

Over the lakes deeper, mid-lake basin, ice conditions range from sketchy, to downright dangerous. There are numerous ice heaves and active cracks with open water in them. There’s also a mine field of thin, slushy patches lying under what appears to be good ice.

If you didn’t see it already, Denny’s Resort offered a video yesterday that ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Update January 3, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 3, 2023

image of ice fisherman showing off nice crappie Finally, some good ice making weather is here and appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. Lakes have added as much as 4 inches plus, since our last report. 4 wheelers and small permanent houses have returned to many area lakes. Open water still exists on the deeper lake trout lakes, but for other lakes in the Ely area, 5 to 9 inches of clear ice is being reported by anglers.

Walleye fishing continues to be a evening affair on area lakes. Anglers continue to report that the bite starts about 3:30 PM and often continues until 5 PM on Ely area lakes. Jigging spoons and deadsticking a small sucker has been very effective for anglers. Key depth remains in that 20 to 25 feet of water range, but good reports in water as shallow as 10 feet continue to come in.

Northern Pike anglers continue to ..." Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Report January 3, 2024


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 3, 2023

image of ice angler with nice walleye caught on lake of the woods "Ice fishing continues to be good for most anglers fishing through resorts and outfitters on the south side of Lake of the Woods. The bite has slowed down a bit from its hot start, but nice fish are still coming in.

With the unseasonably warm temperatures so far this winter, ice conditions are not where they would normally be the first week of January. Consequently, more than ever, it is very important to work through a resort or outfitter.

There are still areas of ice that are not ready, some cracks that are moving and generally areas to stay away from. Pay close attention to the guidelines and weight limits of each individual ice road. Most resorts offer round trip heated shuttle service to their heated fish houses that are set up and ready to fish. Some resorts are allowing travel using ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 3, 2024


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 28, 2023 "Questioning the Question-Able"

Image links to video about deep water crappie barotrauma "Okay now let’s dive back into a deep, pun intended, subject, barotrauma. I’ll warn you right now, this report, along with reactions to it, are bound to be controversial. The topic is important though, and in the interest of preserving the free exchange of information, I think you should look at it.

An email from Mike Lehrer called my attention to a video published yesterday by Uncut Angling’s Aaron Wiebe. The video titled “Crappie Barotrauma: BAD SCIENCE EXPOSED Truths & Tips For Release (Livescope is the Hero, NOT the Villain)" Lehrer asked if I’d watch the video and then share my impressions, so here goes.

When I first started watching the video I thought “oh boy, this is gonna be bad”. My first reaction was that Wiebe was doing a bigtime hit piece aimed at slamming DNR biologists and ..." Read >> Barotrauma Questioning the Question-Able


image links to fishrapper home page December 27, 2023 "Lake Trout In The Nisswa Area?"

Jacob Synnott wrote; Q) "I have business in Brainerd, and I've decided to turn it into a business/pleasure vacation. With that, I booked a stay in the Nisswa area from January 3rd-7th. I know that conditions aren't favorable at the moment for ice, but I was wondering if I could pick your brain on a couple questions?

I would really like to get into some lake trout while up there, and the lake-finder website says that there are lakers in Lower Hay, Big Trout, and Roosevelt Lakes. Can you confirm if there are lakers in those lakes, and any tips on fishing them?

A) Jacob, I wish I wasn't the bearer of bad news, but I'm afraid that the Lake Trout you're after won't ..." Read >> Lake Trout In The Nisswa Area?


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 27, 2023 "Grand Rapids Ice Update"

The rain continued to fall on Monday, but at a slower rate. According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, Grand Rapids got another quarter inch, about the same amount as Bemidji, Kelliher, and Baudette received. This morning, it’s still misty, but the rain appears to be fizzled out. Now, the weather forecast for north central Minnesota warns of a potential “wintery mix” of rain, sleet, and snow today. Then the forecast promises that we’re on the verge of receiving cooler, drier weather later this week and through the weekend.

No doubt the incoming cold snap will be welcomed by folks who want to get out on the ice to fish. However, I DO NOT SEE ANY WAY that there will be widespread or significant improvements in ice conditions before this weekend. One comment generated by reading Tuesday’s report says, “(There was) a mass exodus of houses this weekend on... >> Read Full Report ...


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 26, 2023 "Ice Conditions Deteriorate, Safety Concerns Abound"

image of Leech Lake at Stony Point "Absent today from the stretch of US Highway 2 from Duluth, through Grand Rapid, Bemidji and Fosston will be the typical winter scene, lines of ice anglers towing fishing shelters, ATVs, and related ice gear.

That stretch of the highway has been rain soaked and wet for at least 2 full days now. Day and night, rainfall has been slow-but-steady, amounting to a couple of inches in most areas. At the same time, air temperatures have been consistently above freezing too. That’s been good news for folks like us who managed to travel safely to be with our families for Christmas and back home again.  

Ice fishing enthusiasts don’t necessarily see that as good news though. Except for Lake of the Woods, most lakes in Minnesota’s north central region are losing ice, and ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Deteriorate, Safety Concerns Abound December 26, 2023


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 20, 2023 "What I Learned Fishing from a Pontoon"

image links to article about bass fishing from pontoon boats "I’ve been privileged at times to fish from the nicest bass boats money can buy. I’ve also fished from a $200 fishing kayak and a $2,000 one. I’ve fished from the bank, waded through creeks and even caught fish using a pool float once. But until recently, I had never truly bass fished from a pontoon boat before — less that one cruising trip with the family when I chucked a Ned rig around about 20 times.

But I’d never really tried to catch bass from a pontoon boat, until a recent trip to my wife’s grandparents’ house. We rolled up to find they had the pontoon boat gassed up and ready for us, equipped with a brand-new trolling motor. This loving couple, “Poppy and Nana,” had learned all about my affinity to ..." Learn More >> What I Learned Fishing from a Pontoon


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 20, 2023

image of youngster holding big northern pike "Rain this last week did little to improve our ice conditions, but thankfully the last two days have been below freezing and have helped improve our ice conditions. 10 to 12 inches of solid clear ice is now being reported on area lakes. 4 wheelers and side by side are becoming a common sight on area lakes.

Walleye - Walleye bite has switched to the last hour of light now, on area lakes. Walleyes have seemed to of slide out a little deeper, in 20 to 23 feet of water now. Jigging spoons, tipped with a minnow head has been very effective. Pike suckers fished on a dead stick has also been very effective, if the jigging spoon doesn't do the trick.

Northern Pike anglers continue to ..." Read More >> Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 20, 2023


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 19, 2023

image of ice anglers with walleye limits from Lake of the Woods "For a number of resorts and outfitters across the south end of Lake of the Woods, the ice fishing season has begun. They report that the bite is excellent, with widespread reports of limits in most areas.

Some are allowing travel using your own ice transportation (snowmobile, ATV, side by side) with collapsible fish houses on their staked trails. There are still areas of thin ice and areas to stay away from though and some resorts continue to offer only "shuttle" servicers to day rental shelters. It is super important to work through a resort or outfitter who has marked, and is constantly maintaining, a trail. Follow their guidelines. Most offer heated shuttle service to their heated fish houses that are set up and ready to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report December 19, 2023


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 18, 2023 "Dreaming of a Wet Christmas?"

image of rain soaked christmas tree Angling traffic was minimal in the Grand Rapids area over the past weekend. Steady rainfall and warm temperatures persisted, and not many were interested in fishing in the puddles. Some folks did though, and they report that while wet conditions prevented new ice from forming, they didn’t kill the ice on lakes where it had already formed.

Lakes that have “good” ice are small, shallower ones and because of that crappies, sunfish and perch got the lion’s share of attention locally. On shallow shorelines and back bays of larger lakes, Darkhouse spearing for northern pike is getting some attention too.  

At Lake of the Woods, overnight temperatures had been getting just cold enough to make some new ice. On the south shore, some of the rental operators are transporting anglers to and from their day house rentals. Most of their landings have ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Update December 18, 2023 122423cc 122423ce


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 14, 2023

image of walleyes laying on the ice "Little has changed with ice conditions on area lakes. Temps as high as 50 degrees knocked ice thickness down to 3-4", but with recent cold temps we have climbed back up to about 7" of good clear ice on area lakes.

Walleye - Walleye fishing was nice and consistent this last weekend. Anglers catching walleyes have been catching them in classic 18-22 feet of water, over mud flats, but a handful of anglers have been having great success in 4-6 feet of water, in weeds.

Both anglers have ..." — Read >> Ely MN Area Fishing Report December 14, 2023


image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin December 14, 2023 "Ice Fishing Update"

image links to ice fishing article that ranks the best ice fishing suits When I read the article about the Maine man drowning after breaking through the ice, I realized it’s been a while since we talked about float suits for ice fishing. I realized too that with Christmas coming, a float suit could be a great idea for gifting someone you care about.

Believing I had a decent handle on what was available on the market, I ran a quick search to get updates about the most common brands. Instead of the expected re-hash of info about 3 or 4 suits, I was surprised by how the market has expanded. Finding a dozen or more alternatives, it appeared that my job would be bigger than expected. So, when I found an article by Jim Edlund in Outdoor Life, I was relieved, they’ve already done the research.

In the article, Edlund discusses a variety of suits for a wide range of ice fishing styles. Performance, quality, and price range are all taken into consideration.

Just so you know, I have no affiliation with Outdoor Life, nor am I associated with any of the brands mentioned in their article. For me, it’s a matter of public service, sharing information that might save you, or your loved ones, from a tragic ending to an otherwise happy day on the ice. Read Full Story and Learn More >> The Best Ice Fishing Suits of 2023


image links to fishrapper home page December 12, 2023 "Ice Rentals For The Weekend on Lake of the Woods?"

image of map showing lake of the woods On Sunday, Gary Kelly wrote, Q) “Hi Jeff, I need an honest take on the ice conditions on Lake of the Woods for next weekend. Do you think the resorts will have ice houses out by next weekend, 12-16-2023? Just trying to save eight of us a long car ride for nothing. Thanks.”

A) Gary, the simple answer is that I honestly don’t think there will be any rental shelters on the main lake before next weekend.

There are some rentals, primarily dark houses for spearing, on Zippel Bay, and other “back-channel” areas off the main lake. To my knowledge, access to those rentals is limited to ..." Read >> Ice Rentals For The Weekend on Lake of the Woods?


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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image of jeff sundin with walleye caught during cold weather

Fishing The Fall Turnover In Natural Lakes - Jeff Sundin

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

 

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