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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 30, 2018 "Ice Fishing Updates"

image of bill charlton plowing bowstring lake “The ice is good, it’s 15 inches thick, maybe more, but there’s a lot of snow on top, it’s not easy walking.” Those few words summed up the advice I got from a pair of ice fishermen as they loaded their gear after fishing on one of Grand Rapids’ smaller panfish lakes.

Judging by the ruts in the snow, I’d say that hoofing it to the honey hole is a job suited for the toughest of the tough. Snowmobiles and track machines are now required for travel on most of the Itasca Area lakes. Plowed roads are available on the larger, more populated lakes, but the process of digging out has gone slowly so far.

On Friday, Erin Charlton at Trails End Resort shared; “Bill ventured out onto the lake with the 3/4 ton V plow on Thursday, creeping along inch by inch to try and get a road open to a few hot spots. He said that its getting close and the fish are biting. We should be able to accommodate some vehicle traffic this weekend.”

On Saturday afternoon, she texted me an update; “News Flash, Bill is plowing big time on the lake right now!”

image of mark thompson with crappies It wasn’t too long afterward that I got another text, this time from my friend Mark Thompson. He and his son were on the lake somewhere. I know that even if were able to park on the lake, they travelled by snowmobile, he had let me know his plans earlier in the morning. He didn’t mention where they were fishing, in fact he didn’t write anything; he just let the photo speak for itself. Obviously, there were Crappies biting somewhere on Bowstring despite the cold air temperatures.

Throughout the day, I followed images of rental operators clearing roads on Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake and on Upper Red Lake Too. Generally, travel conditions are improving, but expect access to be limited. For example, the advisory from West Wind Resort on Red Lake says that their roads are open. But they caution anglers to be prepared for tough travel conditions off of the main roads. “Bring shovels, straps and safety gear”; they say.

The forecast for moderating temperatures today has piqued our interest; it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that the Hippie Chick wants to go fishing. While we’re planning that, I’ve got feelers out to some of the rental operators for travel updates around the area. As always, you are welcome to contribute too, just shoot us an email. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 28, 2018 "Moving the Moveable"

In Grand Rapids, the snow fell steadily for about 24 hours and it’s piled up 10 inches high in my front yard. It isn’t super heavy or really wet, but it’s not light, powdery snow either. So speculation that strong winds are going to blow most of it off of the ice should be taken with a grain of salt.

Reports of solid ice in the Itasca region give cause for optimism. Thicknesses of 14 to 18 inches are most common, but there are still some lakes that only have 12 to 14 inches, some slightly less. When you pile that much snow on top of the ice, there are bound to be some complications.

Everybody is busy digging out right now, including me. But as soon as travel conditions improve, I’ll make a tour of the area to see what I can see. In the meantime, here are a few reports that trickled in this morning.

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort December 28, 2018

"We have 10 inches of snow so far and it's still coming. Before the storm we were teetering between 15 and 16 inches of ice. Bill ventured out onto the lake with the 3/4 ton V plow on Thursday, creeping along inch by inch to try and get a road open to a few hot spots. He said that its getting close and the fish are biting. We should be able to accomodate some vehicle traffic this weekend."

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort December 28, 2018

"Hi Jeff all we got is about 10 inches of snow up here. Todd does have roads plowed down to the Third River Landing and out to our houses. He does not have any roads plowed out to everybody else's spots though.

Travel on the on the ice actually pretty good, being that there wasn't much snow to begin, driving through the fresh snow is doable. It sounds like we're going to have a lot of strong winds today, so we think that's going to sweep a lot of the snow off of the ice. I would imagine travel being pretty decent for anglers this weekend." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image of Jeff Sundin I know that for many of you, this is a really busy time. But there are a lot of folks wondering where they can and cannot fish this weekend. If you can spare a few minutes to share your observations, I'm sure that the information will be greatly appreciated.

OH and by the way, don't feel like you need to give away your cherished fishing secrets. In most cases, the smallest tidbit of solid information is all we really need. Travel conditions, ice thickness, potential safety hazards and general fishing patterns are all helpful. And if you're a rental operator, fishing guide or tackle shop owner, go ahead and throw in a plug for your business too; you never know who might walk through your door as a result! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page December 27, 2018 - "Can I Drive My Pickup Truck on Lake Winnibigoshish?"

Nick Limpel wrote; “Do you think I will be able to drive out on Winnibigoshish this weekend with my truck? We are coming from Wisconsin and don't want to be disappointed when we get there.

That's an interesting question nick. There are a few folks driving on the lake already, but we are looking at a big winter storm right now. There’s already a few inches of new snow and they predict more heading our way right now. It's possible that we may receive upwards of 12 inches of new snow before you arrive on Saturday morning.

We sent out requests for updates from the Lake Winnie rental operators and here's what we've heard so far today.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux, The Pines Resort December 27, 2018

"From the Pines Resort, we do not have enough ice for truck traffic yet. Once you get past the river channel out into Tamarak Bay the ice ranges from 13 to 16 inches, from what I have drilled, but it is not consistent so I would not advise vehicle traffic just yet. UTV, ATV and Snowmobile is the means of travel right now." Chad & Melissa Mertz, The Pines Resort 218-246-8701

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Becker's Resort December 27, 2018

Updated again At 1:30 PM; "Okay, we now have one foot of new snow." Jessica

"Ice ranges from 13-16 inches, Tom just drove his truck with plow out yesterday and with these lower temps we will have more ice. As for the snow, 3-4 inches as of now (December 27 at 7:15 AM)." - Tom & Jessica, Becker's Resort 218-665-2268

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Northland Lodge, December 27, 2018

"They are not driving out of the Pines or Tamarack. The ice is only like 12 inchs around the weed bed." - Pat O'Reilly, Northland Lodge, 218-246-8531

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 26, 2018 "Ice Fishing Kabetogama Remote, But Accessible"

image of Dawn and Kent Keeler of Kabetogama outdoors Keeler, along with his wife Dawn and their son Kolby entertained us on “KAB” last week and while we were there, we talked a lot about what folks CAN DO on Lake Kabetogama. As a matter of fact, we learned firsthand that catching fish is one of them.

Walleyes were on the prowl during primetime and there were perch, pike and tulibee hitting at random intervals too.

“What we have here is special; you could take a snow machine to a great fishing spot and enjoy an action packed day in a gorgeous wilderness setting. Or we could shuttle you out to one of our sleeper rentals and you can ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Kabetogama Remote, But Accessible

image denotes link to fish rapper article Marcell Area — Edge of the Wilderness, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson December 22, 2018

"The lakes in this area have been making ice for some time now and some of the smaller lakes have attained thicknesses of 12 inches or more. Nine to twelve inches is the norm.

Fish houses are appearing on many lakes, both portables as well as permanent shelters. The ice is still not thick enough for vehicles in most cases. Driving out on the ice as of today is not recommended. The warm spell we just had probably didn’t make any new ice and if we did lose some ice, the loss would have been minimal. Very little snow, two maybe three inches, remains on the ice and travel by four wheelers and snowmobiles is very easy.

Walleyes have been cooperating especially on lakes like Bowstring (which had nine inches two weeks ago) and Crappies have been on the bight too.

The rest of the week and into the next couple of weeks will be colder but still above average. That means more ice and more fish. Have a Great Christmas Holiday Everyone!! HO! HO! HO!" - Paul Larson, Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
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.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 22, 2018 "Get Ready, Get Set … Wait!"

image of walleye caught on Lindy Quiver Spoon Greetings and Happy Winter Solstice!

You’d expect that with the official arrival of this first day of winter, ice fishing activity would have intensified more by now. But despite the early freeze up, the ice on most north central lakes is thickening very slowly. That means that lots of folks are still sitting on the sidelines waiting for the chance to get their wheelhouses out onto safe ice.

I’m out on special assignment right now and the lake we’re fishing only has 11 inches of ice. It is very clear and solid, in fact maybe some of the most beautiful ice I’ve ever seen. But the only folks who can fish it right now are those with portable shelters, pulled behind snow machines or ATVs. Anybody that wants to drive out will have to wait until we get cold enough conditions to add a few more inches of ice.

Most of the deep water lakes throughout the Itasca Region have similar conditions. It’s common to get reports of 10 to 12 inches from most sources, occasionally a little bit thicker. That means that most folks who want to fish this weekend will be trailering snowmobiles or ATV’s. Folks who want to drive pickups onto the ice will have to head for the relatively few lakes where it is safe to do so.

Upper Red Lake is one place where driving conditions are good. When we were there last Saturday, I measured 18 inches of ice at the spot we fished. As of yesterday, West Wind’s Resort’s official reporting says that the ice is 14 to 16 inches thick. This weekend, they will be allowing anglers with heavy artillery onto the lake; ¾ ton pickups and tandem axle wheel houses will be allowed. Heavier diesel powered pickups are the only exception; they have not given them the green light so far.

Walleye fishing on the big lake is “decent”; fish are being caught daily, primarily at twilight and just after sunrise. Daytime fishing is sluggish, featuring a lot of lookers on the screen, but few biters.

As I mentioned, I’m out on special assignment right now, so I have to cut this report short this morning. But I anticipate providing you with a very special report about a very special place as soon as we get past Christmas.

In the meantime, I’ve been soliciting reports from Cub Reporters all around north central Minnesota, so please watch for occasional updates throughout the day today. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Big Rock Resort December 22, 2018

"We’re located on the SW corner of the big lake, we have 13-15 inches of ice out front of us and travel conditions are pretty good. There is one small ridge that goes north and south from Grassy Point towards Uram Bay but there are sections you can cross it.
I have not seen any half ton trucks out near us yet, but I would guess this weekend we will, they are traveling around other parts of the lake already." Ray Phillippi, Big Rock Resort 800-827-7106

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Anderson's Pine Point Resort December 22, 2018

"Hello! Things are looking good so far this winter. Out from the resort there is 10 to 13 inches of heave is in normal place about half mile out towards goose island, caution when going close to that. 4 wheelers, side by sides with wheel houses. You can park on shore and off load. Road Access Fee is $100 for full season pass or $10 per day. ACCESS IS NOT FREE. Good luck fishing!" - Jeff Anderson, Anderson's Pine Point Resort 218-547-1632

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Trappers Landing Lodge December 21, 2018

"Out front of Trappers on the Main Lake we have 15-17 inches of ice and have a couple roads that have been plowed for people to follow. We are not crossing any big cracks on our road system.

The big ice heaves are running north south off of Rogers Point which is blocking access over to Big Rock Reef and Horseshoe bay reef, and we have an ice heave running off the north side of Pelican Island running over to Bear Island.

In Walker bay they still have patches of open water in the center. They are reporting 3 to 9 inches of ice on the main part on south part of Walker bay. In Agency Bay they have 10-12 inches of ice there. Beware of all the cracks across the lake as they have been moving well the last couple of days.

Fishing has been good with lots of big fish being reported. If you are coming up in a wheel house look for sand/rock transitions and set your house up on those transition zones in 15-22 ft of water for overnight walleye. For the guys in portables, look to the old remnant weedlines, and shallow rock reefs in the evening times in 10-15 ft of water.

Jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head are working best and always make sure you have a set line with a full Rainbow or Shiner down.

Panfishing in Boy Bay and Sucker Bay have been good for both Crappie and Perch. Use a camera to scout for the remaining cabbage beds and keep on the go. Grab your favorite plastic and tungston jig and you will weed out the smaller fish." - Josh Bullivant, Trappers Landing Lodge (218) 836-2500

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Spirit of the North Resort December 21, 2018

"Leech and surrounding lakes have 10 to 14 inches on most! These last few nice days have people wavering about driving larger trucks with wheel houses on until we get a little more ice. Like always watch ice heaves and any where there might be current!
Every one I have spoken to said they have been seeing good fishing so far, Lots of smaller walleyes and perch. Come enjoy Leech Lake with us!" Tim, Spirit of the North Resort (800) 516-0077

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Shores of Leech Lake December 21, 2018

"There are wheel houses on Walker Bay, but they are not yet driving trucks on the bay. Also, there is still a relatively large area of open water over the deepest part of the bay out from the town of Walker.
Don’t know anything about the big lake. It was frozen before the bay and is likely good ice." Mitch & Mara Loomis, Shores of Leech Lake 218-547-1819

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Oak Point Resort December 21, 2018

"About 15" of ice on steamboat bay Leech Lake. You could drive on our bay but someone has to be the 1st and so far no one has driven a vehicle except for 4 wheelers. I took the 4 wheeler to Erickson's landing from steamboat bay and there are 2 major ice ridges, one running from sand point going south east for about 3/4 mile and the other from sand point running south for about a mile. I'm not sure how much ice there is by Erickson's landing but they are driving side by sides to the ridge." Lee Nupson, Oak Point Resort 218-335-2993

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 22, 2018 "Don't Get Left Out In The Cold Without A Glow Spoon!"

image links to walleye fishing videoI know I’ve said a lot about the Lindy Glow Spoons already, but I promise that this short video will “illuminate” you about why.

It’s been pretty obvious that I’m high on the Glow Spoon and just like last winter, we are out on the ice right now, having a blast catching fish on them again.

Just when I thought that I’d said everything there was to say about the Glow Spoon, Lindy uploaded this short video reminding me about my first experience with them last winter. In it, I get to tell you a little story about the time my fishing partner had the Glow Spoon and I didn’t. He caught all the fish while I sat and watched.

Christmas is coming, so you might find some of these in your stocking. On the other hand, what if nobody thought about getting you some? Maybe you better take a couple of minutes and giggle with me while I watch the video again. Then you can decide if you want to take matters into your own hands and get yourself your own Christmas gift! View Video >> Don't Get Caught Without A Glow Spoon

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort December 22, 2018

"I guess one went in up on Red so everyone is looking for a new place, so I have had many calls about the ice and whether I think it’s safe to take wheel houses out over Christmas. Even though the ice conditions on Third River look great, the answer is still NO, I am not recommending that.

There is 17" of ice all along the north shore on your way toward the clay banks. But, once folks start heading to the pressure ridge, I am getting reports of only about 10 to 12 inches of ice.

There's still about 2 to 3 inches of snow on the ice with some drifts here and there. Water clarity for the spear fishermen is best straight out. You can see the bottom and see the individual pebbles but the water is still cloudy.

Up river to the right is much clearer, but ice gets thinner as you go. Dixon Lake Resort has houses set a ways up river right now and are on 10" of ice so no driving that way.

Getting some nice northern spearing and angling, jumbo perch. Clay banks reporting nice jumbos, bass, crappie and a few sunnies. Walleyes are being pulled out here and there in all locations.

Merry Christmas." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 21, 2018

"Spring like temps and high winds this last weekend, did little in helping make ice. Ice thickness ranges from 6-11 inches. 4 Wheelers and snowmobiles have become more common, but travel by foot remains the most popular still.

Panfish - Spring like temps had people thinking of maybe a spring panfish bite would be going on. Many anglers reported that they found some good Sunfish bites on small Tungsten jigs, tipped with a waxie or soft plastic, fished around the weed edges. White, brown and red were the colors of choice. Crappies too were in a good biting mode. During the day anglers were finding them out over 20-30 feet of water. Angler had to do a little hole hopping, but otherwise had good luck catching fish. Pink, white and chartreuse jigs, tipped with either a waxie, soft plastic and crappie minnows worked very well.

Walleye - Walleye bite has been tough for many anglers with the last hour of light being the only time they catch fish. Still anglers are reporting a good average size fish between 15-20 inches being caught. 20-25 feet of water, around main lake humps has been where the best bites are happening. Red glowing jig or spoons, tipped with rainbows or chubs have been the best presentation.

Pike - Big Pike continue coming up the hole for anglers target them. Alewife’s or heavy suckers fished under a tip-up continue to be key to catching the biggest pike. Mouths of shallow bays, weed edges and main lake points with weeds on it, has been the key to having a successful trip. Spear fisherman have also been reporting getting steady action on large decoy suckers or red and white decoys." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 19, 2018 "Ice Fishing Updates "

The image of ice fishing shelters spread out across sprawling flats on northern Minnesota’s big lakes is fading to a fresh scene. Warm weather, along with calm winds are bringing robust crowds to some of the Itasca area’s smaller lakes on Tuesday.  

There were upwards of a dozen portable shelters on some of the lakes I drove past on Tuesday. There were others that only had a few anglers on them, but almost every “fishable” lake had a few.

There were a couple of notable exceptions; Trout Lake at Coleraine did not have the traditional line up of dark houses yet.  From shore, the surface of the lake did not appear to be ready for ice fishermen yet, I could see a few wet cracks out there and it’s likely that there’s still some open water out in the mid-section. I couldn’t see that with my eyes, but I have seen it before from the ice and I’m taking an educated guess.

Most folks already know about the hazards associated with travel over Pokegama’s deep water, too early in winter. But a reminder never hurts and for sure, Pokegama still has open water or portions of its mid-section that was revealed by an aerial photo that a friend posted on the internet this Monday. I’m sorry I can’t show you the photo, I didn’t get permission, but there is a hole out there and I hope you’ll take my word for it.

Lake Winnibigoshish has been quiet so far this winter, there’s enough ice for travel by ATV, but to the best of my knowledge, none of the rental operators have opened their roads for vehicle travel. A friend fished the lakes deep water structure and reported “fair” walleye fishing. “The water is murky; it’s hard to see your lure past 3 or 4 feet below the surface. I think the fish are having a hard time seeing the bait”, he said.

A crack running along the east side of Winnie is problematic too and is contributing to the lack of traffic. After Christmas, access to the big lake will improve, but for this weekend, plan on using ATV’s to access the ice.

I’m sure that you’ve heard about some pickups breaking through the ice on Upper Red Lake. From I’ve seen these are folks who have large trucks and have been towing wheel houses behind them. The safety record has actually been good this winter, folks have been cautious and the ice is actually pretty good. On Saturday, we found 18 inches of ice where we fished, others reported 14 to 16 inches.

It’s incredible to me how much fishing we’ve already done this winter. After the ice fishing show I felt like I was getting a late start compared to others, but even so, I’ve already done more walleye fishing this winter than I did by the end of January last winter. We’ll be on the ice again today and I think maybe tomorrow too.

I’ll be sure to let you know what we turn up.

image links to fishrapper home page December 19, 2018 - "Can I Run My Helix 7 Backlight Using Lithium Battery?"

image of battery meter Chris Fosse wrote; "Howdy, Do you run your Helix 7 (backlight) at full brightness with the lithium battery? Mine came yesterday and brighter screen is easier for me to see. Thanks and by the way, I liked the (Fish ED) show on colors." - Chris

A) Thank you Chris, Yes, you won't have any problem running your screen brightness at 100%. The first day after I installed the Energized Outdoors Litium in my Helix 7, I adjusted the backlight down to #8 and the battery stayed at 100% from 8:30 AM until 5:45 PM. Since then, I've left the backlight at 100% (#10) and to date, I've never had a battery reading lower than 89% at the end of any fishing day.

The battery I'm using has been on the ice for a total of 8 full days so far and I'll be keeping an eye on its performance in terms of longevity. Assuming that the performance is anywhere close to claims by the manufacturer, I could possibly be the happiest ice fisherman in Minnesota this winter!

Q) Chris wrote back; "Just one more question, you're using the 10 amp battery right?"

A) Yes, the 10 amp battery is the drop in replacement for the 7, 8 or 9 amp lead batteries that we have all been using for the past 20 years or more.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 18, 2018

image of big walleye on lake of the woods "On Lake of the Woods main basin, strong ice fishing bite continues. As expected, walleyes and saugers are starting to slide a little deeper, 23 to 29 feet of of water are key depths now. During the morning and evenings, many areas experiencing a shallow water bite in 13-18'. Gold and glow red continue to be hot colors. Ice ranges from 11-16" where resorts are fishing.

Resorts have marked trails for ATV, UTV and snowmobiles while others are transporting guests with light ice rigs. Some resorts starting to allow small SUV's with no house or ATV/UTV with up to 17' house. Big crack 8 miles off of Pine Island stretching to Long Point. Snowmobile trail staked from 4 Mile Bay up to NW angle. Please stay on marked trails, don't go off on your own and exercise safety precautions as ice thickness varies.

On the Rainy River... Stretches of the river and bay ice unsafe with heavier than normal current and still some open water. Some walleye action in Four Mile Bay early and late in day. Reports of pike still coming from bays.

Up at the NW Angle... Ice road is open from Young's Bay to Flag Island, no further as of yet. Other areas still need more time / ice before vehicle traffic is allowed. Snowmobile trail from 4 Mile Bay and Pine Island across lake to Angle was marked and is open. Stay on trail for safety! As always, neck down and other areas with current are iffy.

Fishing reports are very good with good numbers of walleyes being caught. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails. Safety first!"  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge December 18, 2018

"Great reports, many fish, big, little and great eaters!

We are just off Pine Island in 23-29 feet of water. Ice is 14-16 inches in our area. We are still taking all guests to and from the houses.

The typical, gold and glow red continue to do well, although Wonder bread colors have been great this past week. Many of the big fish were caught suspended, so the use of electronics is a definite advantage.

Settlers Point kicked off its opening week with a bang. Many great fishing stories and wonderful meals, the facility is great for keeping the group together. 9 large bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms with all meals onsite. Some rooms have fireplaces and there are two great rooms with poker table and fireplaces.

We have some great deals going on in February and March and there are some spaces open, now is the time to call and book your winter trip!" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 17, 2018 "Upper Red Lake Walleye Report"

image of hippie chick with nice walleye "'twas a week before Christmas; the mission at hand, to find a nice walleye for the Mrs. to land.

We drove out of West Wind, a couple miles I’d guess and set up our ice shack where our skills we would test.

I drilled out an ice hole and set up her chair, then baited her glow spoon with sweet loving care.

It took a good hour, some say maybe more, but her first hungry walleye struck well before four.

It wasn’t the last one the Mrs. would catch; she bagged one on my pole as a hot dog I fetched.

One more fish was easy and that topped the show, it came right at twilight with just minutes to go."

The Hippie Chick, AKA Mrs. Sundin has finally done it, catching walleyes through the ice is officially checked off of her bucket list and she did it on Upper Red Lake this Saturday.

When we fished Red lake a couple of weeks ago, we accessed the lake from the southeast corner and used our snowmobiles to get to the spot. The fishing was good that day, so I’d hoped to find a place somewhere nearby to try again on Saturday. On this trip though, Susan's daughter Joelle, along with her significant other, Patrick was in on the plan. With only one snowmobile at our disposal, finding a place where we could drive onto the lake was important.

I’d heard that they were allowing half ton pickups on the ice so I called Justin Bergsgaard with Up North Fish House Rentals, one of the most helpful guys I’ve come across on Red lake.

He said, “Yes, you can drive your truck out of the landing, but there’s a crack that developed out there and we’re not allowing any trucks to cross it. If you’re crew is aggressive and willing to walk a ways, you can park before you get to the crack and hoof it the rest of the way.
We’ve been talking with folks on the lake and the ones fishing ¾ to 1 mile out from the crack are doing well, fishing has been slow for folks who stay on the shoreline side of the crack.”

Justin actually offered to help shuttle us back and forth, but the situation sounded too complicated for us. So I decided to drive into West Wind Resort to check out conditions on their side of the lake. I’m glad I did, they have a very well maintained plowed road with one branch leading south and another, newer one heading north. We talked with folks who were coming off the lake; they reported good travel conditions on the ice, so we drove out from there.

We travelled about 2 miles before stopping and when we did, we discovered that the air was warm, but the wind was brisk. In fact it was so windy that I got into a big rush to set up the portable shelters. I drilled enough holes to set them up, screwed in the stakes and hunkered down inside.

I wasn’t too impressed with my decision at first because I never checked the depth before we drilled our holes. What disappointed me was that I’d heard from a friend that walleyes were active in about 13 feet of water.  The depth where I stopped and set up was only 10 feet deep.

There were good reasons for me to stop where I did, but none of them were scientific in nature. The fact that we had some feeding fish move through the area just means that I got lucky, nothing more.

We caught most of the fish on Glow Spoons tipped with minnow heads; the ¼ ounce emerald color was our best one overall. The Hippie Chick is a huge fan of the Wally Talker too and she used the ¼ ounce red one to her advantage as well.

So the search for Mrs. Sundin’s first ice fishing walleye is over. We probably could have gotten to this sooner, but as some of you know, I spend a lot more time chasing panfish during winter than I do walleyes.

When I am fishing for walleyes, it's typically because I'm out on a work project, producing photos or some sort of web content. When I do get a day off, I'd rather catch crappies, sunfish and perch. But thanks to the early ice this season, I've had some extra time available, walleye fishing made its way to the top of my priority list. And I’m glad it did. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes question from a reader December 17, 2018 Reader Asks "Where Can I Find A Better Assortment Of Glow Spoons?"

image of libdy glow spoonQ) Bruce Roberts wrote; "Hey Jeff, I'm getting ready for my first trip up to Lake of the Woods next weekend and you got me interested in fishing with the Glow Spoons up there. I thought would pick some up this weekend but it was hard to find a decent selection anywhere. These things must be popular because I'm having a heck of a time finding them in the Twin Cities. Do you think I'll be able to find better assortments on my way up to LOW next weekend?

A) Bruce, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that the Glow Spoons were moving fast. Generally speaking, the closer you get to any larger population centers, the harder it is to find a complete assortment. I wish I could tell you that I’ve got some inside information about where the shelves will be fully stocked on your trip next weekend, but my crystal ball isn’t quite that big.

What I can tell you is that I believe you’ll have better luck “shopping locally” rather than stopping at the big box stores this week. We made a few stops along the way up to Red Lake this weekend and I did check out the displays at a few places. As of yesterday afternoon, there were still good assortments at some of them; here’s what I know for sure.

Fred’s Bait in Deer River is located on the way for lots of folks heading from the Twin Cities toward Lake of the Woods, Their selection was still fairly good on Saturday morning, but there were a few holes in the display. Their selection of ¼ ounce size was good and those are likely what you’ll need for Lake of the Woods, so I think it's likely that you'll find what you’re looking for there.

The Village One Stop in Kelliher had a great selection too; In fact I don’t think they were missing any colors or sizes, at least not as of last Saturday morning.

Glen’s Army Navy in Grand Rapids has a good selection too, we stopped there yesterday afternoon to do some Christmas shopping and I noticed their display looked very good.

Those are the 3 places where I’ve seen them with my own eyes most recently. I’ll bet that most of the better locally owned bait and tackle dealers will still have supplies on hand next weekend as well.

Maybe we can learn more aboout supplies before the weekend, in fact, I’ll throw out an invitation to all of the bait and tackle shops right now. If you’re sitting on a nice assortment of Glow Spoons and want a little bit of free advertising, shoot me an email and we will happily give your store a plug. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes reader comments On December 17, Shawn peck wrote; "I've got a good assortment of Lindy Glow Spoons at the Winnie Trading Post right now. I just ordered more for the weekend as well, they have been very popular spoons. Thanks, Shawn Peck"

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 14, 2018 "Quest For Bigger Bluegills An Uphill Battle"

image of jeff sundin with big bluegill Sunfish, Minnesota’s most heavily pursued game fish won’t be getting much protection, at least not over the short term. That’s the upshot of the December 2018 session with the MN DNR and its panfish work group.

The workgroup, volunteers who collaborate with the MN DNR to discuss issues affecting panfish in Minnesota, meet with DNR fisheries staff regularly. The DNR provides technical support to assist group members in learning what makes panfish tick.

The evidence is clear; Minnesota’s average size bluegill continues to get smaller. And while the average size is in decline, overall populations have risen. That result has been more lakes where catching small, stunted fish has become the norm and catching large becomes more challenging every season.

It’s fairly obvious that the situation could be reversed. A series of presentations by fish biologists, DNR field staff and bluegill specialists have demonstrated that ..." Read >> Quest For Bigger Bluegills An Uphill Battle

Sundin's Tip For Getting The Most Out Of Your Glow Finish Lures December 2018

image links to ice fishing video We've been talking a lot this winter about ice fishing lures that glow in the dark. By now, you've seen a lot of footage about Lindy's new Glow Spoon and you know that we've been having a lot of fun with them.

Don't forget though that there are still a lot of really awesome lures that feature traditional, painted on finishes that glow in the dark too. It's just a matter of time before you'll be fishing during conditions that will favor the use of one them.

That means that sooner or later, you'll need a tool to help you charge up the glow too. I want to share my tip about what I use to fire up the glow finish and why I use it. View Video >> Getting The Most Out Of Your Glow Finish Lures

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 13, 2018 "Devils Lake Early Ice Perch"

image of perch caught on lindy tingsten bug Around home, I’m used to seeing eager ice fishermen lined up along the shorelines of their favorite lakes, watching for the first hint of fishable ice.

That’s why it seemed odd to me when Devils Lake was so quiet over the past few days. Apparently, the majority of anglers around Devils Lake like to let the ice get thick enough to drive pickups on before they venture out onto the big lake. I don’t blame them either, when you look around, it’s easy to spot potential travel hazards. Tree branches, ice ridges and areas of underwater current could get a rookie into trouble out there.

Luckily, I’ve gotten to know a few folks out there and they know their way around the lake.  So with their help, we were able to travel from spot to spot in search of fishable areas before the big crowds begin to arrive.

I’ve been perch fishing several times now on Devils Lake, but this was the first time I’d ever been there during the early part of the season. If there was anything that wowed me, it was the similarity between early season and late season patterns. On this trip, we really didn’t do anything much different than we did on the trip I was on last March.

Even though the pattern is simple; fishing around the edges of deep water depressions in the main basin, it take a newcomer like me hours to drill a hole in a “sweet spot”. That’s where hanging around with experienced fishermen is such a huge advantage.  Most of the time, the first holes we drilled at any new spot were likely to produce at least some fish. Moving along the breakline at 20 to 25 feet of water, we’d stop, drill a short line of holes and test them out.

image of lindy perch talker The fish didn’t start moving very early on either day, the first hour or so in the mornings was pretty slow. But somewhere around 9:30 AM, fish would start showing up on the Humminbird and begin feeding.

They were clearly feeding on both days, but their mood was completely different on each of them. Tuesday the perch were aggressive and struck large profile baits tipped with as many waxworms as we could pack on the hooks. For me, the Tulibee Pattern Perch Talker pictured here was the best lure, but I caught fish on both Glow Spoons and Quiver Spoons too.

Overnight the temperatures dropped and the sky became clear, we started fishing with a 12 degree air temperature on Wednesday morning. It was easy to attract fish into range, we could see them on our electronics, but feeding on the larger profile baits was not on their agenda. The smallest size Tungsten Bug tipped with a single waxworm did the trick this time. I tied on an orange/brown combo and it worked, so I never tried any other colors.

Talking with friends around the area, I get the impression that the average size of Devils Lake perch has declined over recent years. While it might not be as easy to get “massive” perch, fish in the 10 to 12 inch range are still plentiful and there are a lot of smaller fish feeding their way toward adulthood too. For most perch lovers, fish of this caliber are worth making the trip for.

I’ll update you about the walleye fishing out there tomorrow, but right now I’m pressed for time. There’s a meeting of the DNR Panfish Workgroup on my calendar today and I have to get out the door to be there. Watch for more updates and trip tips for the weekend on Friday morning. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort December 13, 2018

"Bowstring has 10 to 12" Out there. There is a heave in the middle of the lake. We have a away around it, but haven't checked it out completely. Fish are biting and we have open cabins!" - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Resort

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 13, 2018

"Walleye continue to be a popular target, as fishing for them has been consistent. Anglers have been finding them in 20-30 feet of water, off main lake points, sunken island and saddle areas between sunken island and/or islands. Rainbows and shiners remain the bait of choose for successful anglers. Red and green glow spoons are working best during the last hour of light and after dark.

Northern Pike fishing remains hot for many anger targeting them and even angler not targeting them. Heavy suckers fished under a tip-up, dead or alive, remain the top choice for big pike. Anglers continue to find them cruisin the weed lines, main lake points and at the mouths of shallow bays. Many anglers report catching at lease one pike over 40” per trip.

Interest in panfish has dropped as pike and walleye fishing has been good. Anglers targeting crappies have been finding them in classic winter locations in 20-30 feet of water, oftentimes suspended 10-15 feet off the bottom. Early morning continues to be the best time to catch them, with noon being the cutoff for biters. Pink, blue and white tear-drop jigs tipped with waxies or crappie minnows has been working best.

Sunfish remain somewhat shallow as they are being caught in 15 feet of water or less. Finding good green weeds has been the key to finding good number of sunfish. Tungsten jig and a single wax worm has been working best. The early morning bite has been best too with the bite slowing as the day continues." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image denotes question from a reader December 12, 2018 Gary Scholzen Emailed; Best Glow Spoon Sizes For Walleye and Crappies?

Q) “Hi Jeff I recently purchased 3 Lindy Glow Spoons at L&M in Grand Rapids. I went with the 1/8 ounce size.
In all your testing, do you feel the ¼ ounce size would be better for walleyes? Also did you get a chance to run the 1/16 for crappies last year; any results?”

image of crappies on the iceA) Thank you Gary, I've sure had a blast using the Glow Spoons and if you're like me, you will love using the Glow Spoons this winter too.

I used both ¼ ounce and 1/8 ounce sizes for walleyes last winter and had very similar results with each of them. But a good rule of thumb for selecting the best weight and size is to consider first the depth of water and average fish sizes in the lakes you like to fish. Your favorite fishing rod, reel and line combo is a consideration too.

If your fishing gear is rigged with heavy line and your rod has a stout action, then the larger sizes will “feel” better to you. If you are finesse oriented and use light action rods and or light line, then you’ll be happier with the smaller sizes.

Personally, I have a tendency to fish with larger size lures whenever I can. The larger profile of the ¼ ounce helps make the Glow Spoon extra attractive to larger fish and for me, catching a smaller number of large fish is more fun than catching big numbers of smaller ones. So I usually start big and scale down only if the fish are signaling me that they want something smaller.

Typically they don’t shy away from larger sizes unless there’s been some major weather development affecting their mood.

We were on Lake of the Woods just last week and it amazed us how even the smallest fish did not shy away from the Glow Spoons. Small walleyes and sauger were both eager to strike the baits, even the ¼ ounce size.

That said, I’ve fished with a lot of folks during the testing of these lures and have observed that most of them will reach for the mid-size, 1/8 spoons first. They have caught fish just as well I have, so you can be assured that your choice was a good one too.

The answer to your second question is yes, we did fish for crappies during the winter of 2017-2018. Crappies were more than willing to gobble the Glow Spoons too and I’m looking forward to getting after them again in the near future.

Using the 1/16 ounce was pretty much our standard, but there were times that we used the larger sizes to encourage strikes from larger fish instead of catching higher numbers of small fish.

I think you might be surprised by how many panfish will go after the 1/8 ounce size, but I’d also have a couple of the smaller 1/16 ounce on hand just in case you run into a finicky bite.

Good Luck Out There! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 11, 2018

image links to lake of the woods report "On the main basin... Ice fishing is in full swing and the bite continues to be very good. Big numbers of walleyes and saugers in 17 - 25' of water. Resorts have marked trails for ATV, UTV and snowmobiles while others are transporting guests with light ice rigs. No vehicle traffic yet.

Gold, glow colors, and blue hot colors. Use combo of jigging line and deadstick with a live minnow. Ice ranges from 9-14" where resorts are fishing. Big crack 8 miles off of Pine Island stretching to Long Point.

Please use resort marked trails, don't go off on your own and exercise safety precautions as ice thickness varies.

image of kids with walleyesOn the Rainy River... Stretches of the river and bay ice unsafe with current. Some walleye action in Four Mile Bay early and late in day. Reports of pike still coming from bays. Safety first, we suggest staying on resort marked trails for safety.

Up at the NW Angle... Ice road is open from Young's Bay to Flag Island, no further as of yet. Other areas still need more time / ice before vehicle traffic is allowed. Snowmobile trail marking from Wheeler's Point across lake to Angle planned for end of week, ice conditions dictating. As always, neck down and other areas with current are iffy.

Resorts are ice fishing and others starting this week. Reports are very good. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails. Safety first. - – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge December 11, 2018

"Our houses are out and the fish are biting!

20 to 25 feet has been producing a great bite with good numbers being caught. There have been many slot fish caught this week, and many happy fishermen.

Blue and Orange have been working well the last couple days.

As of now, there are 11 inches of ice on the bay (on our road), and 13 inches on the lake (on our road). We do not recommend going away from the marked trail, it is still early ice and many locations are not safe to travel over.

We still have some spaces open, so now is the time to call and book your winter trip!" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort December 11, 2018

Ice conditions are great on the Third River of Winnie. We have 14 inches straight out from the landing and 9 to 10 down to the east. They are parking on the ice at the end of the landing road. Driving rangers and side by sides out as well as smaller vehicles.

As far as Spearing goes the water is clearing up straight out from the landuing, but still cloudy near the clay banks area. Our guests are getting some nice big northern coming in hot and hitting both the decoys and sucker minnows alike.

Pan fish have really picked up over the weekend. You can also check the ice hot line at 1-218-659-4002. Thanks much Have a great day and Have fun fishing. For dark house rentals or cabins. - Dixon Lake Resort 1-218-659-4612.

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Eagle Nest Lodge December 11, 2018

We had spearing guests this weekend who rented houses on Third River from Dixon Lake Resort, so you probably know what those conditions are over there. A summer home neighbor was up fishing on Cutfoot Sioux, and said there was around 10" of ice pretty much everywhere they went.

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Nodak Lodge December 11, 2018

We are still closed till December 26th, but I figured that we should let everyone know how far the ice is coming along. As of now we have 10 to 11 inches of ice. So far there is one ice heave that we know about and it's going from little stony point on south end up to raven point area. - Nodak Lodge 800-752-2758 or 218-665-2226

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Becker's Resort December 11, 2018

There is up to 12inches of ice in some spots, only using 4-wheelers and side by sides at this time. Fishing dropped Friday and Saturday however picked up yesterday again. Tom & Jessica, Becker's Resort 218-665-2268

Fish ED New Video: Subtle Baits Can Help Catch More Walleyes

image links to ice fishing video Ice fishing lures that shake, rattle and glow in the dark are fantastic, we use them all of the time. But occasionally, walleyes get into a funk and prefer not to be agitated.

That's why there are certain times when using subtle presenations can help us put more walleyes on the ice.

In this video, Jon Thelen shares some ideas about when using subtle lures is a good idea and how to use them to trigger strikes from finicky walleyes. View Video >> Subtle Baits Can Help Catch More Walleyes

image denotes link to fish rapper article Marcell Area — Edge of the Wilderness, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson December 10, 2018

"This year we got a good head start on ice making for the Edge of the Wilderness area lakes. Some of the shallow bays and smaller lakes have been frozen over for two to three weeks. Ice thicknesses, up to nine inches are being reported in these areas. Six to eight or nine are the norm for the bigger lakes around the shore but the areas over deeper water could still be a lot less.

Caution is advised out in the main basins as there are no snowmobile or wheeler tracks to be seen out there. Another couple of weeks with the weather patterns we have been seeing should make enough ice to allow anglers to get out. It will happen when it happens." — Paul Larson, Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
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.

image denotes link to fish rapper article From Bowstring Lake, Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort December 10, 2018

"We do have a few ice fishing houses out on the ice and have guys here fishing right now. They report 12 inches of ice pretty much all over the areas that they been travelling.

They caught a few walleyes over on the west side yesterday and Crappies have been okay. I have not seen anyone driving pickups yet; it’s all been 4 wheelers and snow mobiles.

I do have ice houses for rent and lake access available here." - Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort. 218-832-3101

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Cass Lake, Sah-Kah Tay Resort December 10, 2018

"I have guys staying here now and they are saying that we have 10-12 inches of ice. Fishing is slow they report, but until anglers cover a little more territory, it's hard to say whether it's the fishing, or the location." - Wayne & Sue Marchant, Sah-Kah-Tay Beach Resort (218) 335-2424

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort December 8, 2018

"Here's an update on the Third River area on Lake Winnibigoshish near Dixon Lake Resort.

They are now parking on the ice at the end of the plowed access road. We have 12 inches of ice with about an inch of snow cover, along with some heavier drifts here and there.

Water clarity is better, but still murkier then we would like. You can see the bottom straight out with few clouds that move through now and then. At the banks you can see 3 to 4 feet down.

Spearing has been pretty good, picking up some nice perch and walleyes as well. We have plenty of rentals out so give Dixon Lake Resort a shout for Dark houses or cabins. Thanks much, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and have fun Fishing!" - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 7, 2018 "Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake Reports"

image links to jeff sundin ice fishing report Except for a one night stopover at home to change clothes and pack my gear, I headed straight from the St. Paul Ice Show up to Lake of the Woods, where I’d meet up with the boys in our fishing party.

I didn’t sleep well Monday night because I was anxious to get in on the wave of super-hot walleye action that we’d been hearing about at the show. I was up early and chomping at the bit, to hit the ice on Tuesday morning. We were on the ice and ready to fish shortly after sunrise, at least that’s what the clock said. The sky was grey so it seemed darker than it should have been, there’s no way we weren’t out there early enough for the first run of fish to begin.

As of Tuesday, there were no pickup trucks moving around on the lake so we used our snowmobiles to follow Nate in his Snow Bear. The ride out was sort of rough on the sleds because there was only a couple inches of snow, with lots of patches of clear ice. There was a lot of broken ice too, so I wished that I had a 4 wheeler for this trip. But since I don’t, the snow machine was a semi-adequate substitute.

Nate had already been fishing the mud-flats in the area located between Zippel bay and Pine Island. That meant we didn’t do much exploration, we just followed him to his “Walleye Hole” and stopped where he’d been fishing previously. We spread out a little bit, drilled some holes and were set up in short order.

The first run of fish came quickly and they were the most aggressive fish that we encountered throughout the day. These were also the largest average size fish that we ran into. I had a run of bad luck, losing one large walleye when it snagged on the bottom of my ice hole and then losing a mid-30 inch pike when it cut of my Glow Spoon. Those two fish were the best ones I hooked and were way above the average for the rest of our trip.

For the rest of the day, Lake of the Woods did what it sometimes does; it provided good action that featured mostly small size fish. We weren’t out to get big numbers of fish for the freezer, but if we had been, we could have bagged enough “pail-stretchers” to provide a good fish dinner. I’d estimate that Nate and I caught 30 to 40 fish total, with about a dozen of them qualified to be ‘keepers”. Our fishing partner was a little further east of us and reported doing better; he had action throughout the day, followed by an afternoon run of fish too. He estimated catching 30 fish or more on his own.

We’d been hearing great reports from Upper Red Lake Too, so on Wednesday morning we drove down there to test it for ourselves.

image of walleye caught on Lindy Glow SpoonNate had a friend who’d done well fishing the southeast region of the lake, so we found him and set our shelters up in the area nearby. The water depth was about 10 feet and the only “structure” we fished was the broken ice. These patches of jagged ice, blown apart by strong winds during the early formation of ice were key areas for locating crappies during the famous Red Lake Crappie Boom of the mid-2000 era. These days, outfitters and rental operators still advise customers to locate themselves in and around the rough ice.

Like the LOW run on Tuesday, the first wave of fish came early. In fact my first walleye came in while it was still dark inside my portable shelter. The clown colored Glow Spoon I was using lit up its face when I laid it on the ice.

There was action throughout the day, but I couldn’t call it a “hot bite”. I’ll estimate that that the 3 of us caught 18-20 fish total. This time we were interested in bagging some fish for a fish fry and we did manage 10 legal size fish. There were 3 fish over the 17 inch mark and 7 fish under it. The fish we released were mainly “overs”, in fact I think we only caught a couple of fish that anybody would consider too small to keep.

The Lindy Glow Spoons are working just as well this winter as they did during our testing last year. In fact, it's the only lure I used on either lake this week. On Lake of the Woods, the 1/4 ounce clown color worked best for me, but I caught fish on the gold scale and red scale colors too. On Red Lake, the red scale color was my favorite, with the clown color coming in a close second. The beauty of these baits is that you don't have to learn anything new to be successful fishing them. Fish them the same way that you'd fish a Rattlin' Flyer Spoon or any other jigging spoon, use the same tricks that you've learned over the years and you will have plenty of action.

The ice is a little bit thicker on Red Lake than it is on Lake of the Woods, but both have vast areas of fishable territory. I’ve heard that there will be truck traffic allowed by some of the operators on Red Lake this weekend and I’ll confirm that as soon as I can. I do not anticipate that anyone will allow pickups onto Lake of the Woods this weekend, but will post an advisory if I hear differently.

The upshot of today’s report is that folks looking for a high number of lower quality fish should head for Lake of the Woods. If you’re thinking that quality over quantity is more your speed, then Red Lake should get the nod. Either way you’ll find plenty of traffic, there are lots of permanent shelters already on the ice and there will be lots of wheel houses hitting the ice today. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report December 7, 2018

"Walleye - Walleye fishing still remains hit or miss for many anglers. Anglers catching fish are doing so in 18-20 feet of water while actively fishing a jigging spoon on one line and a dead sticking the other. More often then not the walleyes have been hitting the dead sticks. Rainbows or shiners have been producing the best results. Gold, red glow or chartreuse glowing spoons seem to be attracting the most fish.

Pike - Pike fishing has heated up this last week. Some groups are reporting at least one pike over 40” each trip. The bigger the bait the better it seems, as large suckers and alewifes have been the best bait by far. Anglers have been setting out their tip-ups at the mouths of bays in 10 feet of water or less.

Panfish - Crappies and sunfish have been biting best early in the morning on waxies and crappie minnows. Anglers have been fishing inside the weed beds for sunfish and finding a few crappies mixed in. Most of the crappies being caught have been out over 20-30 feet of water. Again early in the morning seems to be best with the bite shutting completely down by noon." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 3, 2018 "There's Litium In Our Future!"

image of electric ice augers Most everyone knows that providing a solid foundation for newcomers to the outdoor sports is the only pathway to a future in which our outdoor heritage is secure. Thanks to everybody who came to visit the ice show this weekend, it is your support that keeps the spirit of our sport alive.

Yesterday, I threw out a few teasers about interesting items that caught my attention at the show. When I opened my emails this morning, I found this question and it fits right into my plans, so let’s start right here.

Q) Steve Sykes wrote; “I was wondering what your thoughts are on the lithium battery powered ice augers?  I have seen a lot of them in action and for first ice they seem like a really good idea, my thought is once there is a 20 to 30 inches of ice how will they hold up to a day’s fishing. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
A) Long story short Steve; it’s just a matter of time before electric augers are the only thing any of us will be using. There were 3 companies (that I know about) at the ice show which already has “heavy duty”, high output motors that pair up with conventional ice drills. If you wanted to, you could take the auger off of your gas power head and convert it over to electric right now.

I thought I was on to something when I spied Jiffy’s 40 volt electric. Their representative claimed that this was the most powerful motor in the industry. They had it paired up with one of their standard chipper style augers and standard mounting handles. It was a little on the heavy side, but the build was solid as a rock. If wanted the feel of a gas auger with the convenience of electric, I’d take a really close look at that one.

Not long after looking at the Jiffy, I stumbled into Richard JI from the RAZR company. Their electric motor also features a 40 volt battery, but pairs up with the curved blade, “Strikemaster style” auger. Their claim to fame is the heavy duty power head and gearbox construction. They use an aluminum gear housing intended to prevent premature burnout that occurs in competitors units which use plastic gearbox construction. The idea of using plastic gearboxes, JI says that the reason why the RAZR company dis-associated itself with Strikemaster several years ago.

So by now, I think I’ve seen the best and powerful electric augers on the market, but then Mark Thompson tipped me off about another one. The Trophy Strike auger features a 120 volt battery, it looks like it could drill through a cement block, and this could possibly really, really be the most powerful motor, but I still don’t know that for sure.

image of energized outdoors lithium batteryIon, K-Drill, Eskimo, Nils, Clam ... everybody offers and electric auger option and all of them have a little different twist on what makes theirs the best.

Like I said, there’s definitely lithium in our future and sooner or later we will all be using electric augers. To me, it’s like buying a new computer or TV, the technology improves and the price comes down every season. The only decision to make is when you have arrived at your own jumping off point.

For me, my Nils auger is still the best gas auger I’ve come across and until something finally gives out, I will keep using it. After that, I’m convinced that technology will have advanced far enough to allow me several options and that my next purchase will be an electric.

There’s more Lithium in our futures and I teased you about that yesterday too. Before the show ended, I managed to sneak away and pick up a 12 volt Lithium drop-in replacement battery for my Humminbird Helix units.
The one I picked up was from Energized Outdoors and according owner Matt Lardinois, should just about double the run time for my Helix 7. That alone would thrill me, but another happy side benefit is the light weight. Lardinois says that the Lithium battery is 3 pounds lighter than the 12 V 9 AH lead acid batteries I have now. I’ll weigh them to confirm, but I can already tell that it is a lot lighter.

At $90, the Lithium battery and charger combo might seem expensive, but Lardinois claims that the new battery is good for 2000 cycles, a vast improvement over the 400 cycles I can get out of a conventional battery. Another claim is that Lithium battery won’t have a memory, and won’t discharge when I’m not using it. If all of the claims come true, I won’t be buying 3 or 4 batteries every winter and this battery will more than pay for itself in a very short time.

A new rod box made the trip home with me too and luckily, it will be getting its first field test tomorrow morning. That’s right, the snowmobile is loaded up, my portable ice shelter is strapped down and we’re getting ready to make some tracks on the ice. A review of the rod box, along with first hand fishing reports from the walleye hole will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, reports of good walleye fishing continue to flow in from both Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. I see that the Lindy Facebook page has been lighting up with images from folks who are catching fish on both lakes with their new Lindy Glow Spoons. With a little luck, I’ll be sharing some of those images myself in the very near future! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 2, 2018 "Can That Really Be True?"

image of walleye caught on Lindy Glow SpoonAn electric ice auger that’s so powerful you’ll never need a gas auger again? Or how about a 12 volt battery that promises to deliver power enough to last 4 days in my Humminbird Helix 7? And what’s the deal with a rod storage box that can be bounced along on the ice without breaking my favorite fishing rods?

Those are just a few of the interesting tidbits I’ve spotted here at the ice show so far.

I know, you want me to tell you all about them and I will, as soon as I get back into the office. Of course, I will still be at the show all day long today, so if you were to stop by and see me here, well then I could spill the beans right away; you wouldn’t have to wait.

For several weeks now, we’ve been teasing you with bits and pieces about how we tested the Lindy Glow Spoons last winter. You’ve seen some video and photos already, but starting today, the real fun begins.

That’s right, the new season of Fish ED TV starts at 8:30 AM on Fox Sports North. In this first episode, you’ll see, among other things, a monster walleye caught on the Glow Spoon. This is definitely one of the more impressive highlights from the 2018 ice fishing season, so you won’t want to miss it.

After you watch Fish ED, you’ll have plenty of time to swing by the show and see us in the Lindy booth where the news here has been good. Not only have sales of the Lindy Glow Spoons been strong, but we're already getting photos from folks who are on the ice, catching fish with them this weekend.

During the day Saturday, show visitors put a serious dent in supplies, but we checked in with retailers yesterday and they still had enough to restock the shelves for another wave of sales today.

That means our offer is still good, buy 4 Lindy Glow Spoons from any retailer at the show, bring the spoons, along with your receipt to booth #331 and we’ll give you a free promo pack of Lindy ice fishing jigs and a free Lindy hat. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report December 1, 2018 "Plan To Attend St. Paul Ice Fishing Show"

image links to St. Paul Ice Show WebsiteThere are no shortage of fishing videos, fishing articles and fishing news. Folks around the Midwest have plenty of chances to “get information”, but it’s a one way street, you have to glean whatever you can from the material whenever you see it.

Opportunities to exchange information don’t come along as often, but they do come along. The St. Paul Ice Show definitely provides one of the best opportunities for anglers to learn anything they could ever want to know about ice fishing.

Remember the time you were watching that ice fishing video and you saw something intriguing? Maybe it was the certain twitch of the rod tip, or the particular way a lure was presented, just for a moment, you wished that you could ask one quick question.

Well there’s a darn good chance that whoever produced that ice fishing video, article or commentary will be at this show. This is your chance to ask that question, along with a lot more. You’ll be on a two way street where information is exchanged, not just presented. I’ve been at a lot of “sport shows” and I can tell you that this one is high on my list of favorites. The people who work this show know what they're talking about and they're more than happy to share the info with you.

I might add that I’ll be working the show myself, so you can drill me with all the questions you want! These shows are a lot more fun when we have new and exciting information to share and this year we definitely do have new and exciting information for you. That’s why I hope you’ll mark your calendar and make some time to pay us a visit.

St. Paul Ice Show, Friday November 30, thru Sunday December 2, 2018. ST. PAUL RIVERCENTRE, 175 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, MN 55102 Click Here To Learn More >> St. Paul Ice Fishing Show