Fishrapper Fishing Reports For July 2015

image denotes link to fish rapper article (7/31) From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson said; "Gradually, the air and water temperatures have been warming and things have started to settle down.That said, fishing right now is very good, at times even fantastic! Walleye are being caught in the 15 to 25 foot depth range. This is my favorite time of year to troll crankbaits and I prefer big lipless cranks like the LIVE TARGET Golden Shiner. I’ll usually troll at speeds around 3 mph, having let the lure sink to a depth just over the tops of the deep weeds. Casting in this situation is also productive.
Smallmouth Bass have moved deeper and to some extent so have the Largemouth’s. Both can be found off deep rocky points and deep weed lines. Wacky Worming and crankbaits have been producing some action while Savage Gear Sand Eels and Sand Eel Slugs have also been very effective. At last….. Crappies are finally where they should be and are acting accordingly. Both Crappie and Sunfish are being taken in the 14-18ft depth range. Trolling small crankbaits in the deeper water out from the weed beds have been producing some very big slabs. Fishing for suspended fish over deep water is just one of the tactics popular this time of year and on into August and September. The lakes in this area are for the most part are fairly deep and very clear, and as such, fish in these parts tend to be found in deeper water. With July rolling to a close and August upon us, be prepared for the fantastic fishing opportunities that await you in our area. Tactics may, by necessity change from what was productive in early July but the fish are there and ready to challenge you, so give ‘em your best shot!" Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 29, 2015 - Bowstring's Bath Water Walleyes

Surface temperatures of the lake's wind driven, turbulent water ranged between 78 and 80 degrees. That is bath water warm and for me, caused some concern about whether or not Walleyes would be active.
Apparently that worry was un-founded because despite the warm water, Walleyes, Perch and Pike were on hand to entertain and provide us with a reasonably good mixed bag of keepers.
Crappies were absent from the mix on Monday, but that doesn't mean that they weren't active. The strong East-Southeast wind encouraged me to avoid fishing on the North and West sides of the lake. There's a lot of good Crappie structure in those area's and there's a good chance that I simply missed out on finding them.
There was an improvement in the average size of Perch on this trip and while our numbers were modest, the ratio of keepers was much better than usual.
Walleye sizes are all over the map, but catching keepers ranging between 13 and 16 inches is a reasonable expectation.
The Northern Pike were active as usual and we decided to bag 5 of them on this trip. Some of the 20 to 22 inch Pike are showing signs of being well fed and appear to be a bit fatter than in years past. That's encouraging for folks who like fish and just want a few bonus meals. When properly filleted, 21 inch Pike can provide a respectable fish fry or better yet, blackened fish dinner.
Spinner fishing patterns on Bowstring Lake have been effective for several weeks already this summer and for us, they were still working. I know it sounds like a broken record, but the most reliable combination is still a simple Little Joe Spinner. For us, the hammered gold, size #3 Indiana blades are reliable. Tipping them with 1/2 night crawlers worked fine for us. But later, I talked with Cub Reporter, Staff #004 and he was using minnows to dress the hooks. His results were equal to, maybe greater than were ours, so I guess you could go either way.
I mentioned last week that I'd been searching for an artificial bait that could be used in place of live night crawlers. I stumbled into a package of Pork Rind baits that are designed to look like 1/2 night crawler. I've used them twice now and they have produced some fish. The jury is still out about their ability to equal their live counterparts, but they definitely do stay on the hook much better. For that reason alone, I plan to keep some on hand for those days when panfish and Perch are overly aggressive.
Water depths ranging between 6 and 8 feet were the most productive, 7 feet seemed to be a magic number this time. The presence of weeds encouraged more action, but for Walleye purists, staying away from the heaviest weed growth produced a higher percentage of Walleye.

image of Gabby and Mike with a Walleye
Walleye sizes are all over the map, but catching eating size keepers ranging between 13 and 16 inches is a reasonable expectation.

image of Gabby holding big Perch
Among the most reliable spinner combinations ever. The time proven Little Joe Spinner in the hammered gold, size #3 Indiana blades.

image of Jeff Sundin Caricature (7/29) And in the "It's a small world" category, these comments from my friend Steve Sykes made me smile. "Hi Jeff, I tried out what you taught me about fishing for crappies in the weeds. While fishing on one of the local lakes (near home) I picked out the largest weed flat I could find on my Hummingbird and started casting small jigs tipped with plastic bodies and did very well.
We found the crappies in 6 to 8 feet of water, this is on a lake I have never caught a crappie in the summer time. Makes me wonder if I could have been doing this for a long time and missed out."
As it turns out, Steve and I were both doing the same thing, fishing the same pattern, at the same time, and YES, on the same lake. It really is a small world, thank you Steve! Oh and by the way ... image of fish smiley

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 28, 2015 - Mid-Summer Salad Bar Crappies

By special proclamation of the Chancellor at the University of Sunny Side Up, it was Mother’s Day weekend! I used to reserve the opening weekend of fishing, which typically coincides with Mother’s Day to fish with my family. But several years of cold, rainy weather forced a decision that Mom should be treated to warmer weather. So for us, the celebration comes in July. Away from the office for a few days, I have some catching up to do. Luckily, some of it's already done. Here's something for you to chew on while I work on the rest.
Crappie fishermen usually know where to find ‘em during the spring, many can find ‘em during early summer too. But when the sun is high, the sky is blue and the thermometer reads 85 degrees, it can be a real challenge to figure out where they go to beat the heat.  For anglers, the assumption that Crappies must have ... Read Article >> Mid-Summer Crappie Fishing In The Weeds

image of Crappies in landing net

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 24, 2015 - Mid-Summer, Mid-Lake Action

On Thursday, our fishing trip started off as what appeared to be a carbon copy of Wednesday. The sun was high in the sky; there was a ripple on the water, but just barely enough to drift the boat.
The surface temperature was 74 degrees, slightly cooler than the lake we fished on Wednesday, but still well within warm water range and warm enough to produce a mild Algae Bloom.
Early in the day, Wiggle Worming was producing fish and it looked like we'd be on that pattern all day long. Mother Nature had other ideas though and during late morning, the ripple turned to a chop, the breeze turned to a wind and before we knew it, the boat was rolling in whitecaps, Drift Control Sock deployed!
I had discovered a school of Walleyes on a mid-lake hump that topped off at 16 feet, the fish were holding on the edge at about 18 feet. At first, they had been easily within Wiggle Worming range, but even though we were still picking up a few fish on the crawlers, my boat speed was becoming too fast for comfort, so I began experimenting with alternatives.
I set up a Lindy Rig with a 1/2 ounce weight, tipped it with a leech and lowered it to the bottom. Within a minute or two, there was a Walleye hooked and on its way toward the surface. Next drop, another one and by the time I reached over to pick up number 3, I could hear a murmur from the crew. Yes, I heard it and started converting one rig at a time, within a few minutes; all 3 of them were Lindy Rigging with leeches.
In heavy seas, 1/2 ounce No Snagg weights allowed the crew to fish directly below the boat. Using leeches instead of crawlers meant that they didn't have to feed out a ton of line and that helped reduce tangles. In fact, we did not feed line at all; we just did our best to allow the fish time enough to inhale the bait. It wasn't perfect; our hook setting ratio was about 70/30, acceptable considering the circumstances.
I can't say that I'm surprised that the deeper mid-lake structures are holding fish right now, but compared to a typical summer, they are lingering on these structures longer than usual. It's not just on one lake either; it's true on Winnibigoshish, Leech, Cass ... every lake in the area that has this type of structure.
My theory is that the steady influx of fresh water from all of the rain has helped maintain good Oxygen levels and a vibrant food chain in these mid-lake areas. Some of the patterns that would normally run their course by this time of the summer are still in play.
What this means for us is that we shouldn't be too fast to jump into territory that would usually be good at this time of the season. Instead, keep some of your favorite late June spots in mind; they may be experiencing the same kind of lag time that I've noticed recently.

image of James with big Smallmouth Bass
James provides proof that Wiggle Worming works on Bass too. This one was on the edge of a mid-lake bar in 16 feet of water.

image of Phil and Jackie Goettl landing big Walleye
While the lake was calm, mid-lake structrues that topped at 16 to 20 feet were within easy reach of the the night crawlers and kept us in the action.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 23, 2015 - Wiggle Worms and Walleyes 101

If you've been following these reports for a while, then you already know that one of my favorite mid-summer presentations for Walleye is the jig and night crawler.
"Wiggle Worms", a term coined by my friend Larry Lashley, is the perfect description for what the bait looks like when it swims through the water. The swimming action makes the night crawler look alive, this wigging action turns the heads of hungry Walleye, Bass too.
While we were fishing on Wednesday, it dawned on me that it's been a couple of years since I described the presentation and since it was responsible for 100% of our catch, this is the perfect time to walk you through the system again.
The beauty of the presentation is its versatility. It can be fished in shallow weeds, over rocks, even out on mid-lake structure in water depths of up to 30 feet.
I start with a 1/16 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a whole night crawler. I insert the tip of my hook into the nose (dark end) of the crawler and thread it up about 1/2 inch. Don't thread it on to much, the idea is to allow the work to swim, if it hangs straight off the hook, it will perform the best.
For some, the tricky part of the presentation is adjusting to the notion that you WILL NOT be making contact with the bottom. The whole idea of this presentation is to provide fishermen an efficient way to work their baits over tricky structure like rocks and weeds without getting snagged up. The Wiggle Worm goes with the flow, easily dancing around areas where conventional rigs would get snagged.
There are some fishermen who have been over trained and work way too hard at finding the lakes bottom. When one of my fishermen asks how they will know when their lure is in the right place, I tell them; "All you really need to do is throw the jig in the lake and have faith".
That's because you control your lures depth by controlling your boat speed, if you can maintain your position on structure and hold your boat's speed to between .4 and .7 MPH, then this presentation will work for you. The system is really super simple, all you need to do is remember these few top secret tips.

  • Use light line, I have my reels spooled with 4 pound test monofilament, not braid, never ever.
  • Be sure that the fishing rod you choose is equipped to handle the light line and light weight lures. A 6-1/2 to 7 foot, light action rod rated for 4 to 8 pound test line and 1/16 to 1/4 ounce jigs will do just fine.
    There are dozens of models to choose from, my personal arsenal includes TFO's model number GTS DSS 632-1, paired up with 1000 size Pflueger president 6925 reels.
  • Keep your rod tips moving at all times; this is a key to making the system produce the results you want. Imagine a dog, gently wagging its tail in contentment; this mental image will give you an idea of what your rod tip should look like. It should be moving constantly, without interruption.
    I allow the rod to rock gently in my hand, the motion should be effortless. If it feels like you're working at it then you're overdoing it.

Once you feel a fish pick up the bait, feed out line just like you would when you're using a Lindy Rig. Allow the fish ample time to inhale the entire crawler, reel up all of your slack line and when the rod tip loads up, set the hook.
Like I said the beauty of system is its versatility, but it's so simple that a child can do it. In fact that's how the whole idea started, I was trying to help my two daughters fish without getting snagged on the rocks. It solved the rock problem and as a bonus, the fish loved it too.
I've been using the Wiggle Worms ever since and if you haven't tried it by now, this is the ideal time of summer for a trial run. Oh, by the way, send pictures!
By the way, Here's a quick rundown about about the facts of fishing on Wednesday.
Surface temperatures ranged between 76 and 78 degrees. The skies were sunny and the lake was calm. Some Walleyes were holding on the deep edges of mid-lake bars and humps, some of them were using weeds for cover. We did our best work on the deeper structures, but we did catch a few fish on the weed edges too.
Wiggle Worms, 1/16 ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with nightcrawlers accounted for 100% of our Walleye catch.

image of Jeff sundin with big Walleye
For me, "Wiggle Worms" have accounted for more Walleyes than I can calculate. The list of customer testamonials would be a long one.

image of Lindy Jig tipped with nightcrawlerstart with a 1/16 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a whole night crawler. I insert the tip of my hook into the nose of the crawler and thread it up about 1/2 inch. If it hangs straight off the hook, it will perform the best.

image of Mike and Jamie Roberts with Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass eat them too, like this one caught by Jamie Roberts on Wednesday.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 22, 2015 - Wiggle Worm Walleyes Back On The Agenda

On Tuesday, we fished near the island on one of my old favorite Walleye lakes.
At the landing, surface temperatures hovered at 74 degrees and the clear water allowed me to see weeds in water depths of 13-14 feet. The skies were bright, the air was cool and the seas were calm, I couldn't see any reason to believe that there would be a hot action bite, so I put away the spinners and rigged up 1/16 ounce Lindy jigs and tipped them with night crawlers.
At our first stop, a small mid-lake hump with mixed weeds and rocks, Brett coaxed out 2 fish in the first 5 minutes giving us the impression that we should be filled out in short order. But our fast start turned out to be one of those "too good to be true" deals. We caught a couple more fish at stop #2, another mid-lake hump with more rocks and weeds mixed, but that spot fizzled out too.
Long story short, the pattern was set for the day; make a move, get a fish or two, and then move on. We used the wiggle worms for most of the day as we repeated that process, fishing small patches of rocks located near weed beds in 10 to 16 feet of water and chipped away at the fish until we were satisfied.
I'm gonna be repeating the whole process again today, and with a little more cloud cover and a slight threat of rain; it's likely that the fishing will go a little faster. Either way, you know that when I know, you'll be the first to know ... :)!!

image of Jeff Sundin with nice Walleye
We used the wiggle worms for most of the day as we fished small patches of rocks located near weed beds in 10 to 16 feet of water. It wasn't fast, but we chipped away at the fish until we were satisfied.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 20, 2015 - Bowstring Lake Fishing Report

On the heels of the huge wind that blew this Saturday, the last place that I wanted to fish was on a lake that had been tossed and turned too much. That's because it usually takes a day or two for a lake to settle down after one of these big blows, unless there are productive areas that remained calm during the storm.
Knowing that Bowstring's stained water would probably allow us to work the calm side of the lake, I thought it was a good choice for Sunday.
When we arrived at the landing, the Surface Temperature had fallen to 74 degrees, a drop of 5 degrees since my most recent visit. There was still a brisk wind blowing, but the west side of the lake was calm and very workable.
Our goal was primarily action, and secondarily gathering food. So the plan was to drop in the spinners and just start trolling, sooner or later we'd stumble into some kind of something somewhere. We did and along the way I was reminded of a tactic that I learned from one of the guides on Winnie about 30 years ago.
When the water is really being shaken up, fish are forced to move whether they want to or not. Schools of fish that were well established before the storm, become scattered and difficult to pin down. In the aftermath, while we're waiting for the food chain to re-group, the easiest way to find them is to troll your way to them.
For some, the idea of going to the exact spot is the only way to fish; that's how I am most of the time. But this old guide's secret was that if you don't already know where the exact spot is, you are running the risk of driving by it while you jump around the lake.
His approach was to start trolling the breakline looking for fish, he would troll all of the way around the whole lake if he had to, but he rarely had to. Sooner or later, a small point, a weed patch or maybe some rocks would be holding a small school of fish. Then they would settle in, catch as many as they could and when it fizzled out, he’d get back in trolling gear.
That's how it worked for us on Sunday, trolling the shallow breakline allowed me to find 2 schools of fish. They were located in the weeds at 6 to 7 feet and if I had been searching for them any other way, I would not have found them. Luckily, when I stumbled into them they were cooperative and that allowed short spurts of action that helped us to gather fish.
I've mentioned the presentation several times recently, Little Joe Spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawlers. It was best to troll a little slower than usual this time, .9 to 1.1 MPH was the prime speed. That forced us to run short lines; we were only fishing about 30 feet out from the boat.
Maybe it was the slower speed, or maybe it was the shake up caused by the windy cool front, but on Sunday the mix of fish had changed. Perch had replaced Crappies and the average size had improved since last week. In fact, we were able to bag a dozen or so nice keeper Perch along with the Walleyes.
The size of the Walleyes is acceptable, but they are not big fish by any standard. We kept 3 or 4 that were just below 14 inches, the rest of them were running between 14 and 16 inches, wonderful eating, but not too many trophy opportunities.
My guess is that another day or two of stability will find more fish settling back onto the weedline again.


image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 19, 2015 - Lake "Windy-Bi-Gosh"; It takes a friend to Love that face!

Sometimes the best thing about a fishing trip isn't the fishing, or maybe I should say the catching.
Oh I know I'm supposed to weigh in every day with fantastic news about where we caught 'em and what we caught 'em on; I'm supposed to make it sound like we really hammered 'em every day! But it doesn't always work that way and if you know me, then you know that I don't always write it that way either.
LUCKILY, today's story is even better than usual, more memorable.
It all started with a work assignment given me by my friend Rand Olson who wrote; "You will be taking out two novice fisherman, Scott (dad) and Miguel (newly adopted, 14yr old son). The grand mission for Saturday, is to have these two fall in love with Winnie and ... "
Okay, now you get 3 guesses. How strong was the wind and how tall were the waves? If you guessed "Like a Hurricane" and "Gigantic" then take your seat at the head of the class. Yes, Winnie was in one of "her moods" and she was tossing me a little challenge of her own.
This would turn out to be one of those days when knowing where the fish are didn't make any difference; we just could not get to them. The strong wind and big waves left us with very few "workable" areas to fish and the places that were workable, didn't have a lot going for them. In other words, our catch was very modest.
This day reminded me about something I heard Al Lindner say over 35 years ago on an In-Fisherman episode. I'm paraphrasing, but he said something close to this; "For a fishing trip to be successful, it requires either catching a lot of fish OR catching a few memorable fish". I’ve always remembered that, hung on to the theme because sometimes catching a single fish can make an entire fishing trip.
This was one of those days when it didn't matter how many we caught, it only mattered how memorable they were. Happily, the right fish bent the right poles at the right times for the right people.
In spite of not being able to fish on mid lake structures where the Walleye fishing in recent days has been the best, there was a "Plan-B". There are some fish using the weeds too and after doing some probing, we found one stretch of weeds on the calm side of the lake that provided us with a spurt of action.
Trolling Little Joe Spinners in the weeds at 10 feet of water did the trick; especially for Miguel who put smiles on all of our faces by catching some very "Memorable" fish.
It's hard for me to know for sure if Scott and Miguel actually fell in love with Winnie. But by the end of the day, I do think I noticed them smiling at her, even if she was putting on a face that only a friend could love.

image of 3 fishermen smiling at fish in net
Miguel, Scott and Rand are all smiles about Miguel's memorable Lake Winnie Walleye.

image of Miguel holding big Walleye
For Miguel, Trolling Little Joe Spinners tipped with artificial worms helped coax a few out of weeds.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 18, 2015
Fisharoo Wraps On Lucky Note!

You've heard the expression "Saving the Best, For Last". LUCKILY, it was and we did and I could not be more thankful.
If you've been following recent reports, then You Know the routine, but just to sum it up, here's a breakdown.
Surface water temperture was 75 degrees and steady. Fishing depths ranged between 18 and 26 feet and the best presenation during the morning was Lindy Rigs set up with 3/4 ounce No Snagg Sinkers, 6 foot snells tipped with large minnows. During late afternoon, Leeches did a btter job of tickling their fancy.
You've also heard the expression "A Picture is worth 1000 words". Oops, I'm sorry that I got so long winded! image of fish smiley

image of jeff minton with gig walleye image of jeff minton with big walleye
image of Duane Rothstein with big walleye image of Jeff Minton with big Pike image of Tommy and Jeff Monton with Walleye double
image of John Armstrong with big Northern Pike

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 15, 2015 - Lessons Learned During Fisharoo Session 1 Wrap Up

I learned a lot about fishing during the past 24 hours; some of it was good, and some of it, well ... You Know.
The good news is that the 26 inch Walleye that James caught during our trip on Monday did win him the prize for big fish of the session. Bragging' rights, along with the kitty that he picked up from the big fish pool will likely make his trip home a sweet one.

Did I say that there was some bad news? Well, it turned out that moving from first place into first place again isn't that simple. So for Ryan, who was hoping that I could lead him to a fish exceeding 26 inches, I was a disappointment. We did our best, but coaxing a bigger Mr. Big than the previous Mr. Big didn’t happen.
There was more good news though and it was that during our search for Mr. Big, John Armstrong AKA "Rosebud” landed a stout 32 inch Pike. You know what they say about a picture being worth 1000 words, and that's what John wanted; so we released the fish, but kept the photo.
On Tuesday, there was more good news too, when the crew became disillusioned with the pursuit of trophy fish, the call for action was easily answered by a visit to the weedline.
Surface Water Temperatures were in the 78 degree neighborhood and that signaled me that "mixed bag" action bite should be on. I moved to the shallow water where we began trolling the weedline in water depths of 12 to 14 feet, at speeds of 1.2 to 1.7 MPH.
We used Lindy Spinners in a variety of colors, and tipped them each with ½ of a night crawler and it took less than 5 minutes to prove the theory. There were Bass, Sunfish, Pike and some small Walleyes coming in as fast as the crew could get their lines in the water. It was a hoot for a while, but for this situation, the mixed bag, action bite wasn’t suitable. Even if it didn't play into our game plan today, knowing that this is going on will benefit some of my customers in the very near future.
So the first session of the 2015 Fisharoo goes into the history books. There's another crew heading this way for session 2 and after a travel day, we’ll all be on the water together. There's no telling what shenanigans they’ve have planned, but I hear rumors that it will be a huge group and there’s bound to be a good story there somewhere.
For today, more torture for me. While I’m on a mission for “Walleye or Die”, I’ll be thinking about that action bite, wishing that I was there with somebody who’d love it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will last long enough for me to get over there again, next time with just the right crew for the job.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 14, 2015 - Fisharoo Day 2, The Plot Thickens

OH OH! Now they've done it, there's a friendly wager on the biggest Walleye for session 1 of the Daikin Fisharoo and YOU KNOW what that means; once given a work assignment, I can't help myself; there's no choice but to go for the brass ring. I talked with my crew about what it means to purposely pursue monster fish. You can almost hear the conversation; "We're not gonna catch tons of 'em, but if we're patient we will get some and when we do, they'll be big ones. How does that sound boys, you in?" As soon as I saw the heads nodding, I knew, the pursuit of Mr. Big was on my agenda and we were headed off to ... read >> Fishing Report July 14

image of Jeff Skelly cooking fish

image of Jeff Skelly cooking fish

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 13, 2015 - Winner, Winner Walleye Dinner?

Conditions didn't look too good for the kickoff of the 2015 Daikin Fisharoo. Thunderstorms and heavy rain distracted us from a smooth start.
The fish didn't seem to like the weather too much either and the goal of catching fish for the traditional day 1, fish fry appeared to be in jeopardy too. As a matter of fact, Bowstring Lake was dishing out a such a disappointing start for my crew and me that it prompted Mike Eckhart to ask; "Has there ever been a day so tough that they can't get enough fish for dinner?" No, was my answer, not that I can recall anyway.

I added that if I've learned anything over these 30 years, it's that fishing is always good for somebody, no matter what. Knowing the experience and skill level of this assembly of guides makes it a foregone conclusion, you will definitely be having a fish fry.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of days for me when it seemed like catching a fish was nearly impossible; no matter where I’d go or what I’d do, the fish just wouldn’t cooperate. Somehow, even on those days, there is always somebody who finds ‘em, figures ‘em out and wins the game, always!
Luckily, on Sunday the weather straightened itself out and the fish became cooperative for us. Whew, my crew was spared that quiet moment when their crony’s might get a chuckle at our expense as they’d boast about their great fishing day.
On this day, most everybody in the group enjoyed a decent afternoon of fishing, even if they did get to watch their guides figure out how to do it.
For me, “figuring it out” meant giving up on Bowstrings shallow weeds and moving back out to deep water. Mid-lake structure with fast tapering breaks from 20 to 25 feet of water held fish. Not all of the fish were active, in fact even once we found them, getting a strike was tricky. But they were catchable and thanks to finding a couple of “honey holes”, we managed a rally.
Lindy Rigs set up with ½ ounce weights and tipped with night crawlers was our best presentation. Using a worm blower to inject the crawlers with a bubble of air or using a floating Lindy Rig is mandatory on Bowstring to prevent the hook from gathering snails on the bottom. For us, the worm blower was sufficient today.
The deep pattern was not the only game going, other fishermen from the Fisharoo were there too and they caught fish using spinners. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they caught more than we did, but I might be able to argue that we had a higher percentage of larger fish.
So day 1 of the 2015 Fisharoo is in the history book, the fish fry went off without a hitch and now we can see what day 2 has in store.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 10, 2015 - Wiggle Worms = Mixed Bag Walleye Smallmouth

Joined by my good friends Carl Bergquist and Jim Seeley, I've spent the past couple of days working on my master's thesis; "How to find Walleyes when they don't want to be found".
No, I'm really not gonna write that as a master’s thesis, but it has felt that way. Luckily, we did enough probing and head scratching to win an occasional round in the two day game of hide and go seek.
Looking for excuses to break up the usual routine, we settled on fishing a couple of lakes that haven't been on our radar screen lately. On Wednesday, we fished a 2500 acre lake with a maximum depth of less than 30 feet and lots of weedy structure. On Thursday, we fished another typically reliable, 3000 acre lake with similar characteristics. Oh and by the way, part of the mission was trying to figure out a way for Carl to catch a Walleye on his fly rod; more on that later.
Water conditions on each of the two lakes were similar, surface water temperatures were consistent, ranging between 72 and 73 degrees the entire time. The water in each of the lakes was slightly stained and there was a mild Algae bloom at each one too. There was evidence of a recent Mayfly hatch at Lake Hopingtofigureitout on Thursday, but nothing freshly emerging.
Despite the lakes being so similar, the current Walleye fishing patterns were complete opposites. On Wednesday, fishing mid-lake bars and humps was a complete waste of time; every single fish that we caught came from the weeds. On Thursday, fishing the weeds was a complete waste of time; every single fish that we caught came from the middle of the lake.
The lakes did have something in common though; 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with night crawlers was the best overall presentation. There were a few fish caught by other means, but if I was headed back to either lake today, I would feel completely confident to use the wiggle worms exclusively.
Smallmouth Bass were susceptible to "wacky rigged" Yum Dingers and I think we could have spent an entire day using that presentation to catch them. The only problem with that presentation was that it afforded us no opportunity to catch a Walleye. Conversely, the jig and night crawler combo produced plenty of Smallmouth, so even when we targeted Walleye, we caught Bass as a bonus. The added action was a blessing, especially on Thursday when the Walleyes were especially shy.
In fairness to Lake Hopingtofigureitout, conditions for fishing Walleye were less than ideal. Sunshine, calm water and super well fed fish are not a great combination for producing action. So, looking back, I should probably be really happy about the fish that we did catch.
I mentioned that weeds were good on Wednesday and I'm sure you have ideas on what to do about that, so I probably don't need to say any more. But Thursday's Walleye fishing scenario might give you more to think about.
I already mentioned that the fish we caught on Thursday were in the middle of the lake. But they were not on structure, they were holding in the gaps between structures; areas that some fishermen call "saddles".
Picture yourself in the boat looking at your Humminbird; you can see 2 humps that top off at around 10 feet of water. Between the 2 humps, there's a depression where the water depth is around 20 feet and that's where the fish are holding. That's what I saw yesterday, small schools of fish, most of them resting as they waited for a better opportunity to feed. When that opportunity comes along, they'll move in the direction of the structure, swim up on top and feed more aggressively.
We fished here because these were the only fish that I could really pin down, but it was obvious that they were not feeding aggressively. What we could do was to use the element of surprise to our advantage. We could make a pass, pick up a couple, and then wander away, allowing the fish time to re-group. After some time passes, wander back over and pick up a couple more and so on. Sometimes they call this 'Cherry picking" and if you know enough spots, it can make the difference between a fish fry or an empty cooler.
Oh and about the fly rod, that didn't pan out this time. We haven't given up, but I think maybe we'll wait to try that again next spring when there are more fish in shallow water.
Finally, you may recall some comments about Northern Pike fishing regulations that I made last winter, after returning from the DNR Round Table meetings. The dialogue is ongoing and the DNR issued a press release yesterday that includes links to some good information about the proposals.
If you're like me and wish that we could get back to the days where catching better size Pike was a bit easier, then I think it's worth your time to keep reading.

image of lakemap showing fishing structure
Walleyes were near the bars, but were not on structure. Instead they were holding in the gaps between between them; areas that some fishermen call "saddles".

image of Jim Seeley with big Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass were susceptible to "wacky rigged" Yum Dingers and the jig and night crawler combo produced plenty of Smallmouth too, so even when we targeted Walleye, we caught Bass as a bonus.

image of Smallmouth Bass on surface

Minnesota Northern Pike Management - Dialogue continues on state’s pike problems; you can still comment

In hopes of improving northern pike fishing, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to expand the dialogue with anglers and darkhouse spearers about the pike problem in Minnesota.
So what's the problem? Well, there isn't just one problem – or one solution – because pike populations differ in various regions of the state.
• In the northeast, pike are present in relatively low numbers and at relatively large sizes. They reproduce naturally. Although they grow slowly, they can grow quite large because relatively few anglers scatter limited fishing pressure across a large number of lakes.
• In southern Minnesota, pike are less abundant and don't reproduce as well as in the north. Southern Minnesota has high fishing pressure and a high harvest rate relative to the number of pike; however, these fish grow fast.
• The north-central area is plagued by too many small pike. There is moderate to high fishing pressure and high harvest of large and medium size pike. Pike grow slowly here, and an over-abundance of small pike is the result.
One concept the DNR will discuss entails creating three pike fishing zones that could solve unique challenges with pike in northeast, north-central and southern Minnesota. In hopes of engaging anglers and spearers about the zone concept, the DNR has developed a Web page >> Northern Pike "Zone Management" concept. The page includes a video outlining the concept, frequently asked questions, a comment form and a space where people can sign up to receive information via email.

image of Northern Pike

In hopes of engaging anglers and spearers about the zone concept, the DNR has developed a Web page that includes this informative vido >> Northern Pike Zone Management

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 7, 2015 - Post Storm, "Goose Bump" Walleye Fishing on Bowstring

When the calendar was set for Lora Bellin, Annette Bingham and me, none of us expected to be shivering in July, but on Monday we were.
Thunderstorms, 2-1/2 inches of rain and ping pong ball size hail rolled through the Bowstring area on Sunday afternoon, resulting a 20 degree drop in air temperature. Not the sort of weather conditions that avid Walleye fishermen look for, but sometimes they get stuck with 'em; like we did.
Somehow, the Walleyes, at least some of them, cooperated and despite some shivering, we managed a reasonable showing and learned something about the lake too. We learned that if you trust it, the lake will give you what you need, even if it requires more work than usual, it won't let you down.
The surface temperature on Bowstring was 73 degrees, a drop of 7 degrees, maybe even more since its peak. The water color had changed too, gone was the layer of green Algae on the surface. Now we could look through the red water and easily see the bottom out to about 4 feet. For mid-summer on Bowstring, that’s pretty clear water, but still dark by most standards.
Most of the lake looked in-hospitable; a stiff North wind was churning up whitecaps everywhere except on the north side. That led to the best advice I got all day when Annette said; “I’m a fair weather fisherman, if it was still raining, you and Lora would be fishing alone right now.” So in other words, my plan included staying on the calm side and the fish were just gonna have to be there.
Honestly, I was pretty skeptical about having a “good day” in the wake of that storm. I was worried that the fish would require lots of finesse, that’s how we began fishing.  Using 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with live bait, we finessed our way through some shallow water weeds. That method delivered some nibbles and a handful of little tykes, but nothing we could call success.
After an hour, we put away the small jigs, ran back to the dock for warmer clothes and hit the reset button. This time, spinners tipped with ½ night crawlers would deliver better results.
Trolling the weedline at speeds of 1.2 to 1.5 MPH turned some of the fish on and the action was actually pretty good. The problem was that most of the fish were sub-standard size, ranging between 10 and 12 inches. By the time we were ready to cook lunch, we had bagged enough to eat, but it required saving a few 13 inch fish to do it.
After lunch, weather conditions and fishing took a turn for the better. The air didn’t get any warmer, but under a sunny sky, it felt that way. I was able to work some of the breezy shoreline where the waves were manageable and the fish liked those conditions better.
From about 2:30 until 4:30, when it felt the warmest, the fish were both more aggressive and of a better average size. They were still widely scattered, but whenever we found some, we could catch ‘em. After 4:30, something happened that stopped our action dead in its tracks. It could have been the weather; it got cloudy and cold again.  But maybe it was a problem with our presentation.
We had started the day with an assortment of spinner colors, including one Redtail color. When Lora was using that, she was catching all of the fish, so I rigged another one for Annette, and then she started catching fish too. Since I only had 2 of the Redtails, we'd have to try and hang on to them all day long. That’s a tall order on Bowstring because those small Pike like ‘em too. Somehow we managed to keep those spinners intact for most of the trip, but eventually the Pike found ‘em, first one, then the other and when they were gone, getting bit was a lot harder than before. Was that a coincidence? Maybe it was, maybe it was the cloudy sky or the time of day that shut us down, but whatever it was, it was real. You can be sure of one thing though; my supply of red spinners will definitely be replenished before I return to the lake.
So there ya go then, we worked our way through the day and wound up okay. We had eaten 3 small Walleye and 4 Perch for lunch and there were 9 Walleye in livewell for the trip back home. That’s not a banner day by any means, but it was better than I expected, the lake gave us just what we needed. ... Read >> Bowstring Lake Fishing Report July 7, 2015

image of Lindy Spinner
Somehow we managed to keep those last 2 spinners intact for most of the trip, but eventually the Pike found ‘em, first one, then the other and when they were gone, getting bit was a lot harder than before.

Maybe you haven't heard the good news? Catching Walleyes on Lake MilleLacs these days has been easier than most folks realize.

Read More About Lake Mille Lacs in Dan Johnson's recent blog post >> MilleLacs Multi-Species Bonanza

image of fireworks

image links to fishing article Wired2Fish THMarine G Force Eliminator; "Hard to imagine that a weird conical shaped piece of billet aluminum could be so beneficial to an already very quiet trolling motor, but the T-H Marine G-Force Eliminator Trolling Motor Prop Nut does just that.
I have been using the Minn Kota Fortrex for the last few years, and didn’t notice it being noisy. Matter of fact, I hadn’t even noticed it made noise at all. The usual pro wash sound maybe but no rattles or clicking or rubbing noises were ever heard. To my old ears it seemed super quiet, but I was totally amazed when I ... read >> Review Wired2Fish THMarine G Force Eliminator
image links to trails end resort (7/4) From Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort; "If it's eating size Walleye that you're after, then we might just have the spot for you. Weedline Walleye action has picked up and fish ranging in size between 13 and 16 iches have been fairly easy to come by. The net full of fish you see in the photo (courtesy Otter's Guide Service) was accomplished in just a couple of hours by trolling spinners along the weed line in 6 to 8 feet of water. There are Perch and Pike mixed in too, so the action would be great for anybody entertaining kids using this mid-summer, warm water fishing pattern. Call for more details. - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt . image of walleyes in landing net

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 3, 2015 - Mid-Summer Walleye Patterns In Grand Rapids

Surface temperatures on the lake ranged between 75 and 77 degrees and the lake water was slightly stained by an Algae bloom. A sunny sky and calm surface conditions allowed us to see the bottom in depths of 8 to 9 feet. Beyond 10 feet, we could see tops of Cabbage weeds, but it was difficult to see anything else.
There are so many variables involved with fish and fishing that it makes my speculation about the Full Moon as a catalyst for change hard to prove.  But whether it is the result of the full moon or not, there was no doubt that Walleyes had begun to ... Read >> Pokegama Lake Fishing Report July 2, 2015

image of Dick Sternberg holding big walleye

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin This week: Mille Lacs Lake Walleyes are the subject of Jon Thelen's video.

Catching Walleyes on Lake MilleLacs these days is easier than most folks realize. But when fish have lots of forage, they can become choosy about when and where they feed. Adjusting to changes in their environment allows versatile anglers to catch fish, even whne the fish have the advantage. In this video, Jon shares his secret for turning the heads of ... view >> Mud Flat Walleyes on Mille Lakes Lake .


image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 2, 2015 - Mid-Summer Walleye Patterns In Grand Rapids

On Tuesday, I promised a full update about our fishing trip to Pokegama Lake and the status of Walleye migrations to deep water, mid-lake structures. So here we go, just the facts.
Surface temperatures on trhe lake ranged between 75 and 77 degrees and the water was slightly stained by an Algae bloom. Under a sunny sky and calm surface, we could see the bottom in depths of 8 to 9 feet, but beyond 10 feet, it was difficult to see much of anything except the tops of Cabbage weeds.


image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 1, 2015 - Mid-Summer Walleye Patterns In Grand Rapids

Aftrer reading my musings about the full moon and its affect on Walleye migrations, I'm sure that you're interested to hear about our trip to Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids on Tuesday; and you will.
The last thing that I'd ever want to do is tease you, but I'm up against the clock to get rolling this morning, so I'm going to have to make you wait one more day for the whole story. But what I can tell you is that there are definitely more fish moving toward deep, mid-lake structure. Getting them to bite during the daytime is another matter, we marked fish at nearly every stop, but there were only two spots where they were active enough to strike. When they did, life was good and I'll have the details ready for Thursday morning, I promise! image of fish smiley

image of Dick Sternberg with Big Walleye
Do You Know that you can even post your own helpful hints to our fishing reports page on facebook? YES! You Can! You don't have to tell us your secrets, just go ahead and brag a little when you get a whopper! Click >>> Fishing Reports Minnesota .
And ... did you know that Jeff's Thursday Morning Program is available for two weeks after the air date? Yes, you'll never need to miss the show. Click the image and then select the 6:00 hour on Thursday. Scroll in to about 6:20 AM and you're in business! Link to KAXE Audio Archive