image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 27, 2015

image denotes question from reader Fishing Bluegills At Spawning Time - A question from Terry Nordstrom asks; "Jeff: planning a trip to cut foot or bow string to try and catch bluegills when on their beds. Estimated dates for me to plan that
trip?? Coming from Wisconsin, Was thinking first weekend in June, Thanks Terry
A) Well Terry that question puts me in a tough spot. There are some really complicated reasons to try and explain in a few sentences, but I would really like to discourage fishing for Bluegills when they are protecting beds.
We have seen that taking the Big Bulls away from the nest is very problematic in terms of maintaining healthy populations of larger fish. Even "catch and release" fishing removes the fish from guarding their nest because after they've been pestered a couple of times, they abandon the bed, leaving it vulnerable both predators and stunted, small fish who take over after Mr. Big leaves.
A much better and equally fun strategy would be to fish during mid-summer when the water is warm and the fish move out to the weedline. Mid July to Mid-August is prime time, whenever the water reaches into the upper 70 degree range.
During the warm water period, fish are aggressive and it's very easy to be selective about the fish we harvest. Another super advantage about fishing for Bluegills during these warm water months is that the Panfish action typically peaks at the same time that Walleye action hit's the mid-summer slow down. That provides a fun and feisty diversion from Walleye fishing just at the time we need it most.
If you file through some of my fishing report archives from July and August duriong recent seasons, you'll see numerous reports about locations, baits etc... Here's a link to get you started in the right direction. >> Read Fishing Reports Archive

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 26, 2015 - Where Seldom Is Heard, A Discouraging Word and the Skies ...

You Know me, I'm an optimist and I really do prefer seeing the Sunny Side Up; I love delivering good news. But, you know too that I'm realistic and that I don't have any problem announcing life's little disappointments with equal enthusiasm, when I have to, so ... Start the trumpet fanfare and drum roll please ... without further ado, let me be the first to say... "Oops, it looks like we're gonna need a do-over".
Blown in by gusty Northwest winds, a major cold front arrived on Monday, just in time for the fishing trip we'd planned for Tuesday. On its heels, I don't think that any of us expected to have fantastic fishing, but we did hope that it would be "good enough" for us to accomplish a special project we were working on.
So even after hearing numerous reports about how the action has "tanked" on Lake of the Woods after every major cold front this winter, we decided to try it anyway. Yes, in spite of morning temperatures in the -20 degree range, we went ahead and made the 1-1/2 hour long snowmobile ride into what had been billed as the Promised Land.
Promising it was, there were numerous sightings of fish on our graphs, in fact I had lookers on the screen of my Humminbird the entire time. There were even a few biters, but the ones that we caught were really small, too small to even to keep for dinner. The rest of the fish could be convinced to follow our baits, but not to go ahead and take that big bite.
So, with a nearly identical forecast on tap for today, we decided to cut our trip short and schedule a do-over.
Don't be discouraged though; just because we stumbled into a zinger this time doesn't mean that it's not worth going up there. In fact, the fishing reports are generally getting better.
Like this one from Jim Eakman who messaged me yesterday; "Was just up there (Lake of the Woods) this past Thursday through Sunday. Fishing was way better than two weeks ago; no big Walleyes (22-1/4" was largest) this time, but we did limit out for 8 guys. We heard from another group who had done great 2 weeks ago, but were struggling on this trip. That's what they mean when they say that fishing is "spotty".
In other words, you'll need a little luck to be in the right spot at the right time.
If your line is in the water, you're in the game though and with a forecast for warmer temperatures and stable weather this weekend, those fish might just be planning to roll into March like a Lion!

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 25, 2015 - Riding To The Sunny Side, Up!

For me, the rooster has been crowing since the wee hours. I guess it was hard to sleep because I've been waiting all winter long for a chance to take one good long snowmobile ride and today, I have a couple of them in my future.
Even before we arrived at Lake of the Woods on Tuesday, we'd been warned that the Walleye action is spotty. From all acounts, any given group could have great fishing on one day, followed by a day of staring into an empty hole the next.
What it sounds like to me, is that if we're going to have a good trip, we're going to have to strike out on our own and fish in territory that hasn't been pressured. So the gas tanks are full, the coffee is brewed and we're about 12 hours from knowing how this day turns out. Either way, you will be the first to Know!
image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie On Lake Winnibigoshish (2/25) John Seekon, The Pines Resort; "Now that the walleye and northern pike season has come to an end, the focus on Lake Winnie will be on the late season perch bite. The classic deep pattern over the mud is always a good bet, but the shallow weed bite is also beginning as perch move in to feed on minnows and crawfish. The best areas are large flats of weeds and sand from 6 to 12 feet of water. You need to be on the move to find the active fish. The best thing about the shallow bite is that these fish are less affected by cold fronts. If you would like to give it a try , we have openings well into march." Contact The Pines Resort for lodging and ice shelter rentals on Lake Winnibigoshish .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 24, 2015 - Focused On Warmer Times!

I KNOW, when the wind is howling and the tears are freezing to your cheeks, it's kind of hard be "cheerful". But what else are we gonna do, especially when there’s only a couple of weeks left before we'll be smack dab in the middle of the spring warm up.
Strong winds and cold temperatures have continued to fuel the fishing slow down. Some ice fishermen with permanent shelters or wheel houses continue to work the more popular winter spots, but these areas have been heavily fished and are now serving up mediocre fishing at best.
With temperatures predicted to moderate this weekend, I think that one great strategy is to pull your ice fishing gear into a nice warm spot, get it all cleaned up and organized. Then, be ready for the next wave of action.

image denotes fishing question from reader This question from Daniel Gorath (2/24) gives me an opportunity to explain what I mean; Q) I've had great crappie action so far this year. But as of the last 3 weeks it's been extremely tough. How should a fisherman's tactics change as we roll into March? I've been targeting deeper holes along shore line breaks so far; and trying lots of combination of bait and lures.
A) Daniel, One of the reasons that ice fishermen like fishing the deep holes is that they help force Panfish into tightly packed schools. The fish are out in the open where they become very easy to see on your electronics and because there are lots of them, there’s more competition for food. That’s been making it easier to get them to strike. As you've pointed out though, the problem is that this pattern doesn't last forever.
Over time, Oxygen in the deeper water begins to get depleted, the environment becomes less attractive. At the same time, ice fishermen have been working on these schools of fish, so many of the more aggressive fish have already been removed; that slows the action down too.
One of the challenges is that as Panfish and Perch begin to migrate away from these traditional mid-winter haunts, they split up into smaller groups, each selecting its own new feeding pattern. Some key on insect hatches, others chase schools of minnows and many just become nomadic, taking any opportunity to feed that comes along. They all have something in common though, they don't remain stationary, at least not for as long as they do during mid-winter.
This time of the season favors anglers who are nimble, making frequent moves into a variety of territory. If I had to put all of my eggs in one basket, I would (and most often do) concentrate on fishing either shallow water weeds, or shallow water where there is enough current to keep Oxygen and plankton levels high. That means that baitfish will be plentiful, raising the chances that you'll find fish feeding.
Over the past couple of winters, it has become very routine for me to locate Crappie, Sunfish and Perch in water depths of 7 to 12 feet. When there are green weeds present, any open patch of gravel, or mixed debris will serve as a feeding ground. At times, Panfish could relate to the weeds themselves, but weeds are typically sparse and are not as important for cover as they are during summer. They are important though in terms of providing a balance of Oxygen and cover for baitfish.
There's an In-Fisherman article written by Dan Johnson that talks about the moving water pattern and that will provide even more ideas about strategies, bait selection and the like. Read Dan's article "Going With The Flow For Panfish". I am looking for a link, or which issue that's in and I will share it as soon as I'm able. If you're feeling the urge to dig in some more, there are a series of ice articles by Dan which you find here at ... >> The Lindy Land Ice Blog .
Also, I have discovered that using the "Hot Spot" isn't always the most effective way to upload my reports to the internet. Circumstances lately have forced me to do that and I can hardly wait for the high speed connections again. I promise that will come back to this subject in a few days when I'm in my real office, with my real internet connection.
image denotes link to Humminbird Electronics

Humminbird Family Values Video Contest

Do you have any great family fishing videos in the can? Or, maybe you've been waiting for an opportunity to use your smartphone or camcorder to take a family fishing video? Now's the time to show off your talent! You could win a trip for four to the Bassmaster Classic! It's easy: load your video onto your Youtube channel, paste the url into the entry form found here: and get your friends to vote for your video!

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 22, 2015 - Wishing You Could DVR The Ice Fishing Season?

For me, fishing reports are fun to write, but sometimes trying to come up with something, fresh and creative can be tricky. That's especially true now, when we come to this "in-between" the part of winter. It reminds me of a movie that starts out great, then it begins to drag, your eyelids get heavy and...
... but wait, YOU KNOW that if you hang in there, just stay awake a little bit longer, we're gonna get to the really good part!
Yes, I admit it, waking up to a weather report that starts with -20 degrees and promises not to reach zero doesn't exactly make me feel like rushing over to Fred's to pick up a fresh container of Wax Worms. In fact without the ability to look forward, it could be tempting to roll over and go back to sleep. But don't worry; I didn't, because I KNOW that we're just getting to the Good Part!
Over the next month or so, things are gonna get good, really good; here, I made a short list of what we have to look forward to.
Walleye and Pike fishermen are counting the days until spring migrations begin on Lake of the Woods. Soon, monster Pike and hungry Walleyes will begin showing up near the shoreline. During this period, ice fishermen can look forward to what is typically the best ice fishing of the entire season on LOW.
Tulibee fishing is a hoot and it's just around the corner! Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, and Mille Lacs, almost all of the big lakes and some of the small ones in Northern Minnesota too. When Tulibee get stacked up over deep water, they are a blast to catch and provide steady action. For me, smoked Tulibee are really a treat, but I've got friends who swear that pickling them is the only way to go. If you're a fish lover and you haven't ever checked out Tulibee, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
For ice fishermen, the Itasca region is synonymous with springtime Perch fishing and for most of the winter; Perch action has already been good. When air temperatures begin warming, the fish will be ready and willing to cooperate, providing ice fishermen with an immediate opportunity to gather a meal.
Crappie and Sunfish have been cooperative too, but for me, late winter fishing in shallow water is the real deal. The action is good and there is nothing more fun than standing on the ice with a big Sunny twirling around in the ice hole. I like it too that I can pursue Panfish in shallow water, knowing that I can release larger fish without harm. I don't have to deprive myself to do it either, I can eat small fish as often as I like and still set the Mr. Bigs go, that means I can catch 'em again next year.
So maybe we can't hit the fast forward button and hurry along to the good part, but just KNOWING that there are warmer days ahead feels really good. In fact, I don't think I'll even feel too guilty for taking another day or two off from the ice. I'll just old Solveig get settled back in after a winter vacation and then join him after he's had a chance to heat things up a little.
OH, by the way, I'm beginning to scare myself, the Lutefisk was good, I'm actually starting to like it! Now what do I do?

image denotes fishing news (2/22) Truck Driver Cited, Fined For Transporting Zebra Mussels - I was really reluctant to share the link to this story with you because I'm afraid that it could be mistaken as a form of finger pointing; believe me it is not. But I think it’s important to talk about this because it points out what an uphill battle we have when it comes to slowing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. What we have on our hands is a war against nature, against evolution, in this particular case, Zebra Mussels.
I'm willing to bet that the subject of this story, a truck driver who inadvertently transported some Zeebs while making a delivery of construction materials, never even dreamed about the possibility that they were tagging along. To him, the idea that he was doing anything wrong probably never crossed his mind.
If I was him, I'd be frustrated about getting the ticket; it seems kind of harsh considering how unlikely it is that he had any intention of transporting those nasty little critters. Still, someone has to do something right? The DNR says; “We’re serious about this stuff and we’re gonna do something, just to be sure that you pay attention, we’re gonna take your money.” Whew, that’s telling him, that’ll do it, I feel a lot better now.
As a boater, someone who has been living in the vortex of the battle against AIS since day one, you don’t need to hide behind a tree, waiting to catch me doing something wrong, I AM already paying attention and have been all along.
As I trailer my boat to work each day, I've endured countless lectures at every boat landing in my home area. Last fall, I was even boarded by a very aggressive, very determined and in my view, very unwelcomed Conservation Officer. I'm not alone, if you have a boat and you've tried to use it, then you know what I mean; you can't go anywhere without somebody sticking their nose into your business. After all of that, the Zep’s and Fleas and the Milfoil just keep on spreading.
This episode serves to illustrate one gigantic point; we’re going about this all wrong. In the battle to prevent the spread of invasive species, we are not even scratching the surface. In spite of all the effort, the invasives continue to spread and they will continue to spread because they are doing what every living thing does, surviving.
No matter how good it looks on paper, we’re really just throwing darts at the wall. Sometimes one of them hits the target, but it's rare.
The problem is that we are trying to stop evolution in its track. We think that somehow, just because we say so, Mother Nature is going to go on vacation and let us live in peace and quiet. It doesn't work that way, we don’t get to choose the moment when the world is “Just right, just the Way We like It”. Don’t take my word for it, ask the Dinosaurs.
So, for what it's worth, here's an idea. Educate me, give me some tools to work with and then trust me to roll up my sleeves and do my best; I will, I promise. Then, you will be free to divert all of these resources toward the real challenge, figuring out how we're going to live with these critters now that they’re among us.
Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Note: Here's a link to the USGS Website where you'll find maps, charts and more articles about Zebra Mussels and all sorts of other Aquatic Inasive Species .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 20, 2015 - Rounding The Corner Into Spring Ice Fishing

With the end of Minnesota's 2014 Walleye fishing season, I'm confident that we'll be seeing a lot of wheel houses on the highways this weekend. Some ice fishermen will be wrapping up their seasons altogether and others will transition to Panfish. But lots of Walleye purists will move toward Lake of the Woods where border water regulations allow anglers to keep bagging Walleyes until April 14th.
Until now, Lake of the Woods hasn't produced the greatest ice fishing season; at least not for the masses. Anglers who are willing to travel 20 to 25 miles before wetting a line are doing okay, but for many, that's a long way to go and for folks who like to fish a little closer to their "home bases", it's been tough going.
Hit and miss fishing action aside, LOW is soon gonna be the only game in town for ice fishermen who want to gather some late season Walleye and Sauger on the ice.
In a few days, I'll be moving that direction myself and I'll have fresh, first hand reports for you. I'm optimistic that there will be some good ones because if past history follows; the instinct to stage a pre-spawn feeding rally will begin to kick in just in time for the new wave of anglers to show up.
For me, this late winter sake up couldn't come at a better time because around here, it's been what they call a slow news week.
Ice fishermen are still moving around on Itasca area lakes, but because of our frigid weather, the traffic has really tapered off. Besides that, most anglers have been choosing to play it safe, following each other to the same 3 or 4 old faithful spots that have been reliable for most of the winter.
One thing that I can report as new news, it is that travel conditions on area lakes have deteriorated. Last week, we received just enough snow to give strong winds something to push around. While vehicles may still be able to travel on most of the surface, ice conditions are only fair. Drifted snow, deep enough to capture and hold your vehicle does now exist on most of the lakes in the Grand Rapids region.
The availability of plowed roads will become increasingly important as we continue to receive these dustings of new snow every few days. None of them have been heavy, but an inch here, two there ... it all adds up.

For some of you, this video will be old news too. But tomorrow is the day for the 2015 Sand Lake Lutefisk party. So in keeping my promise to the "Head Honcho" of the Sand Lake Lutefisk Association; it is my duty as the duly deputized, cub reporter, staff #003 IHBFBB to get on my knees to beg, plead and otherwise cajole you into watching the video "I LOVE LUTEFISK".
Members of the Sand Lake Lutefisk Association surrendered their dignity, endured long, grueling hours behind the microphones and bared their souls to the world in front of the camera. Yes, we did it; happily and unselfishly, all because our great and wonderful friend Carl Bergquist wanted to produce a video that would "go viral".
Everybody knows that I swore an oath, there’s no choice, I have to keep my promise, so, unless you want me to keep pestering you for the rest of time, please help me. Click right now, View the Lutefisk Video, share it with your friends and beg them to help too, it's gotta go viral, it's the only way to make me go away!
OH and by the way, I AM absolutely sure that I speak for all of the fine and upstanding members of Sand Lake Lutefisk Association when I say; "We Love You Carl!"
image denotes news release about fishing licenses (2/20) New Licenses Now Available - Minnesota fishing and sports licenses for 2014 expire Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. I remember last winter; folks hadn't adjusted to the change in DNR Regulations about renewal dates for fishing licenses and that caused some confusion. Don't get caught off guard this winter, the new licenses are already for sale and you know that you're gonna need it so why don't you follow my lead and get one right away.
For me, purchasing the license online is the only way to go; here's why. When I log in and buy my license over the internet, I am allowed to keep a copy of the license on my computer in the form of a PDF. If I lose it, I can re-print one and be back in business almost immediately, but there's more. In my line of work, getting stopped without a fishing license would be disastrous. So what I do is print several copies and put one of them in my vehicle, one in my boat, wallet, tackle box ... you get the idea. No matter where I go, or who I'm fishing with, I have my license with me. For a scatterbrain like me, it is a perfect solution for running out of the house in a forgetful fog! Oh by the way, if you use your smart phone or tablet to purchase your license, you can save the image to your photo folder and guess what? The saved image of your license is accepted by the Conversation Officer who's asking to see it. It doesn't get any easier than that! Here's the link to >> Buy Your Minnesota Fishing License Online . NOTE: For Minnesota Residents, choose the driver license option, it's required for resident licenses, choosing any other option will boot you back to the start page.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 17, 2015 - Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report

With less than a week remaining in the 2014 Walleye, Pike and Bass fishing season, ice fishermen are turning toward Pokegama Lake for some "eaters".
It's a reversal of the situation that we heard about during the past couple of winters, there are numerous 12 to 14 inch fish running along the ... see >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report .
image denotes fishing question from reader (re-post) Kevin Scott asks about Ice Fishing Line; "Hey Jeff, I have a question for you! I am re-spooling my "ice fishing" reels and what do you feel is the best fishing line out there for my panfish reels and also my walleye and perch reels? There are many options so hoping you can give your thoughts.
A) Kevin, I use and love Lindy's Ice Line. I have 2 lb test on my panfish rods and 5 lb test on my Walleye rods. I've suggested it to people before and sometimes they report that it can be tricky to find at local tackle shops. I checked Lindy's website and at the moment, they say that it's out of stock.
A very good alternative is to use a line produced by Silver Thread that they call "Silver Thread Trout". It's a copolymer line that resists being saturated by the water, making it much less likely to freeze up during the cold weather.
The Silver Thread is readily available online through the Lurenet website so here's a link to Silver Thread Trout fishing line.

image links to trails end resort (2/16) On Bowstring Lake Erin Charlton Says; "The cold snap turned the fish off for a few days, but as of last night the crappies starting hitting fast and furious from about 6 pm to 9 pm. During daylight, they rest, but they do seem to like the haze and an overcast, slightly foggy day encourages a better daytime bite. The Northern Pike are biting like mad no matter what you put in front of them and the Jumbo Perch don't seem to mind the bright skies either.
Crappies are nomadic right now and are not staying in one place. They are running along the deeper edges of the main lake drop at water depths of 23 to 26 feet. Ice fishermen who follow the breakline and keep drilling holes are routinely finding fish. Once located, they are cooperative and fast fishing action helps make up for time lost during the search. The fish appear to be very fixed on their preference of water depth. The key for finding consistent action is to focus on the depth where you first find active fish. If you find a school of Crappie located in 24 feet, then use that depth as the baseline for the entire day.
There are occasional reports of Crappie coming from the shallow water too, but for the most part, shallow water has been dominated mostly by Perch, Pike and a few Walleyes. Key depths are 6 to 10 feet of water along the shoreline break. Areas nearby Cabbage weeds that are still standing will produce better results than you’ll find over clear sand.
On the lake, travel conditions by vehicle remain fair to good. For the most part, you can still get around easily, but drifted snow has become a factor in some areas. Steer around the high spots and you'll probably be okay. Of course you can always eliminate some of the worry by using our plowed roads, accessible here through the resort.
Our resort is OPEN for business and with help from friends and family, we have been able to keep it running during Bill's recovery. I will be honest with you though, it has been hard without Bill being able to move around on the ice; he tried plowing one day and it wiped him out. With our loyal patrons, please continue patience with us as he heals and recovers". - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt . *By the way, here's the "You Caring" link to >> Bill Charlton's Medical Expenses Fundraiser

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 15, 2015 - Deer River Area Lakes Ice Fishing Report

On Saturday, I was surprised by how many people shrugged off the cold weather and headed for the ice. I started by sneaking over to look at one of the area's more popular "secret spots". Expecting to find an image of the Dead Sea.
I was surprised to discover that there were a half dozen ice fishermen already set up there. So the tour pressed on, this time travelling further north, yep there were fishermen there too. Lakes to the west? Yep! Lakes to the east? Uh ha, there were fishermen set up at almost every stop. I'd put it this way; all of the spots that were popular earlier this winter are still popular, albeit somewhat less pressured than before. Granted, it was Saturday, but the number of folks on the lakes was a real testament to how popular ice fishing has been this winter.
One item of "new news", at least for me, was the discovery that ice fishermen have figured out a way around the pressure ridge at Bowstring Lake's north access. The ridge is still fairly large, but it's tame right now, appearing not to have moved at all for a week or more. I saw that the guys have rounded a smooth patch where they can cross with vehicles.
The scene on the ice was typical of Bowstring; ice fishermen were scattered all along the deep breakline that runs parallel to the north shore. I wouldn't call the traffic heavy, but it was significant.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 14, 2015 - Lake Winnie Area Ice Fishing Report

Well Happy Valentine's Day! As we enter the final week of Walleye and Pike fishing on inland waters, I can see spring out of the corner of my eye. In fact, I glanced at the calendar last night and really saw spring in the air.
The Ray's Marine Boat Show is only 4 weeks away, The Northwest Sportshow is only 6 weeks away and the opening of fishing is only 84 days from today.
Even though we're rounding the corner into the home stretch, there's still some ice fishing in our futures. In spite of the fact that today is not one of them, t wouldn't surprise me to see some really warm, beautiful days on the ice very, very soon. For Tom Hubbard's sake, I hope they arrive by next weekend!

image denotes fishing question from reader (2/14) Tom Hubbard wrote; "I'm coming over to Bemidji to visit family Feb 18-23, and was looking to do a little fishing. Just had a few quick questions I was hoping you could answer. I'll be fishing solo at the end of the week, and was eyeballing Six-Mile Lake by Bena.
Do you know if it's accessible by truck off Six Mile Road? I looked at my Navionics map, and was surprised to see how deep it was. I wasn't sure where to start, but was thinking of the 25' saddle in the middle just south of the boat landing.
Looking for basically anything, but walleyes & crappies would be ideal. Lastly, we as a family were looking to rent a day house on the 22nd somewhere around Bemidji. I wanted to avoid Leech with the Pout Fest happening, and also Red. I inquired about Cass on (another website), but only got one response. Kitchi was another possibility.
Then of course I've been reading about Winnie, and the bite seems to be picking up. I emailed several of the resorts that rent day houses. Do you have any you could recommend who might be a little more driven to keep their houses on fish?
I know it's a crapshoot out there when you're not mobile. We just wanted to all fish together for a day from the comforts of a permanent.
I apologize for the long winded message, but I haven't gotten very far trying to get info from other area sources. I know you stay on top of the hot bites, and was hoping you might throw me a bone." - Much appreciated, Tom Hubbard
A) Tom, Some people like Six Mile for ice fishing, but it has always been a disappointment for me. Some lakes just don't like me; I never quite get dialed in to the right scenario; certain lakes are just like that.
That's just me though, there are several area locals who fish it heavily for Crappies and I know that they do catch fish out there.
Walleye fishing is seldom referred to during the winter on Six Mile, but there are a lot of them in there and I assume that there are early morning and late evening opportunities, typical of most lakes in the area.
I would probably stick with the shallow water weedline because stocked fish, which these fish are, seldom stray very far from the weeds.
You might get lucky at the access this winter, usually you cannot get on this lake with a truck. But since there's not much snow this winter, it may still be doable as long as you're not trailering an ice shelter. The ramp is very steep and I know already that floks with wheel houses have tried and given up without gaining access to the lake. There is also a walk in access on the Northeast side where you could use a snowmobile or 4 wheeler or walk out. That may be an option if you can travel light and the weather breaks in your favor.
About Winnibigoshish you said; "the bite seems to be picking up". That made me chuckle because I've been saying for weeks that it's the best kept secret in town.
Perch fishing has been very good out there and you'll easily find several recent reports referring to the how's and whys about how to do that. At the moment, there are deep fish and shallow fish all biting at the same time.
Walleye fishing has had its up and downs out there and there is only a week left in the Walleye fishing season. I really doubt that any of the day rental operators are focused primarily on Walleye locations for their houses.
It's hard for me to know if one operator is more "driven" than another when it comes to keeping their fish houses on top of a hot bite. There are simply too many variables for any one person to get everything right. That said, from the 2nd hand reports I've heard, all of them are reporting decent fishing action, especially for Perch and Pike.
The Pines Resort is an advertiser on the fishing reports page and naturally, I'd love it if you give them a call and ask the same questions you've asked me. They are wired into what's happening on the lake and if they don't have what you need, they will refer you to someone who does.
Since you're staying near Bemidji, I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't at least mention that there's been a very good Perch bite out on Lake Bemidji too. In fact, I got a heads up just yesterday from one of my fishing customers who spotted some good action out there too.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 13, 2015 - Hello Hello Hello Is There Anybody In There?

It's not a mystery why, but you sure can feel a drop in the momentum since the snow and cold weather blew into the Itasca region this week. Talking with a friend yesterday, the sentiment was put into its simplest form when he said; "Too cold for me right now, I'm looking forward to those nice warm Crappie days in March". Me Too!
Looking back, I feel it a little bit myself, We've done a lot of fishing this winter and after a snow day on Tuesday, a blizzard day on Wednesday, followed by oops ... I think that maybe I missed the boat on Thursday.
A cold, but otherwise Very Beautiful Day would have been a fantastic opportunity to get outside, check some fresh territory, and snap some pictures. Instead, I immersed myself in paperwork, web stuff and domestic chores; somebody called it "being lazy".
I guess it’s okay, after a short breather, I'll feel more enthusiastic about digging into the spring ice season.
Meanwhile, there are still folks out there and incoming reports from the area continue to point toward Lake Winnibigoshish as the "hotspot". Perch fishing on the big lake is getting the most attention, but Walleye and Pike remain cooperative for some ice fishermen. Although they haven't staged a full scale assault yet, Tulibee out to be providing high speed action any day now.
In a note from Lake Winnibigoshish, Tom Glinski mentions that he and his wife have been fishing the east side of Winnie, somewhere near Highbanks. The couple has enjoyed good fishing for both Walleye and Perch this week.
Tom didn't mention a specific presentation, but he dropped in a big clue; they've been fishing during the mornings. In one of the photos, he mentions catching the very nice Walleye, just before noon.
More reports from Winnibigoshish steer anglers toward Tamarack Bay where Perch are reported to be active in 12 to 14 feet of water. Large mid-lake bars are producing Perch too and the best action out there has been in water depths of 16 to 22 feet. Almost every one of the lakes "Main Bars" like Center, Bena, Moses and Sugar have been mentioned and for what it's worth, I think that these larger bars with lots of room are a better option than the smaller mid-lake humps.
Revisiting my own report from last week, shallow water has been equally productive. If I was thinking about trying to bag a few "eater size Walleyes" before the season ends next weekend, I'd focus on shallow areas where mixed gravel and Cabbage weeds hold a variety of fish. That kind of structure is available in several areas on the big lake, but if you're in a hurry, fishing on Cutfoot Sioux is probably a faster way to go.
Depending on where you check, the weed lines in Cutfoot tend to fizzle out around 8 to 9 feet of water. During late winter, you can expect to find Perch during mid-day and a short run of Walleyes toward evening.
Fishing with jigging baits like a Frostee Jiggin Spoon or Rattl'n Flyer is a good, safe presentation. For me, blade baits like the original Frostee Jig, size #2 tipped with a whole minnow has been very good lately. The larger profile helps ward off attacks by some of the smallest Perch, giving you more time to fish for Mr. Big.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 12, 2015 - Quest For Quality Northern Pike In Minnesota?

That's a question that's been on my mind for a long time and since Doug Smith's Northern Pike Article in the Star & Tribune put us BACK on the subject, whatd'ya say we take a little history lesson?
Finding trophy Pike isn't rocket science, in fact that's part of the trouble, almost anybody can do it and when the fishing is good, they do! When they're feeding, large Pike are their own worst enemy, they're aggressive, hard fighting and delicious. That's why they are pursued much more heavily than most folks realize. When a good Pike lake is discovered, people do show up and the pressure can become intense.
These days, the only way to ensure that we'll continue to have opportunities to catch large Pike is to take the bull by the horns and tackle the problem like we mean it.
Understanding what makes these fish tick is crucial to solving the problem and until we anglers get a grasp on some facts, we're not going anywhere. That means that we're gonna have to do our homework.
Luckily, I've already done some of it for you and in this article, "The Quest For Quality Pike In Minnesota" I did my best to explain why we have some of the problems with "hammer handle" Pike and what we can do to about encouraging the production of larger fish.
Speaking only for me, the job of catching quality size Northern Pike over these past 9 years has only become more difficult. I don't think it really doesn't matter why it got this way, it only matters what we do about it. and that's why I was thrilled to see the topic on the agenda at the Minnesota DNR Roundtable this winter.
The presentation by Gary Barnard, Bemidji Area Fisheries Supervisor featured a review of the Northern Pike Technical Committee report whick helps explain how we got into this mess in the first place. From there, Barnard's presentation focuses on changing the way we approach Northern Pike management in the state.
Minnesota's habitat differs greatly from North to South and using a "one size fits all" management tactic just isn't working. Following Barnard's suggestions would mean that instead of sticking with our current statewide regulations, the state would be divided into 3 zones. Pike within each of these zones would then be managed according to its own unique set environmental factors.
Regulations would be designed using a specific set of goals intended to increase the quality of Our Northern Pike and to enhance the experience of fishing for them.
Following the Power Point Presentation without a narrator requires a little bit of concentration, but walking yourself through the complete presentation will be worth your time. Follow this lik to the current >> Northern Pike Management Presentation .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 11, 2015 - Snow Days In Northern Minnesota

The snowfall that landed near Deer River on Tuesday didn't amount to much, 3 maybe 4 inches. But strong northwest winds are predicted for today and I'm expecting that drifting snow will become a limiting factor on some lakes.
In several of the Itasca Areas smaller lakes, it won't hurt for fish that have been heavily pressured to get a break from vehicle traffic.
Rental operators on Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Cass and others will be on the ice opening roads today, so don't expect a lot of fresh news about road conditions until after the wind settles and they've had a chance to sit down and catch their breath.
For me, a couple of snow days are just what the doctor ordered. I'll be resting the rest-able and catching up with the catchable.
image of Gus' Place Logo (1/11) Gus' Place Resort, Ball Club Lake; "As we come into the final days of Walleye & Northern season lake conditions remain exceptionally good with near 30 inches of great ice and little snow.
The bite is a little more fickle than it was in January when it seemed we could do no wrong. Now that we are headed into the middle of Feb. there are both great days and just average days fishing.
The barometer has seemed to play a more significant role in fish activity, especially any new Low barometer, slows the bite down for a day or two.
It’s hard to plan a fishing trip around what the barometer will do next week. The best advice is to fish your way through the slower times, stay mobile, drill more holes and move around! change depths as well as baits both in size and presentation.
I know ice fishing is more work than drifting, anchored or trolling in your boat, but if something isn’t working; don’t keep doing it, gun and run, move and fish it.
As a resort owner I have seen a growing trend toward the ice fishing Day House and of course the Sleeper. Both are easy for any angler to come in and fish, no work involved drilling holes and all the set up on the lake, but any serious fisherman knows sometimes it takes a little work to fill out a limit.
What if you went out in your boat, dropped the anchor and sat there the whole day in the same spot! how would you do? Now think about the Day House or the Sleeper House. There is a little more than a week before our fishing season resets till next May and there is still time to get on the ice. I always share current info and GPS hotspots with my customers." - Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort 1-888-246-8520

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 10, 2015 - The Way To A Perch's Heart Is Through ...

In life, there are few things easier to explain than the relationship between critters and food. It does not matter which critters; Elephants, Tweety Birds, Crappies, Diatoms, Humans ... we are all the same. If there isn't an adequate supply of food within reasonable reach, we either gotta move, or we perish.
Knowing this helps explain a lot about fishing; like how one angler can find great Perch fishing on a deep water flat at the south end of Lake WishIknew. While at the same time, another ice fisherman reports finding Perch too, but he's fishing in shallow weeds on the north end of the same lake and he's wailing on the fish; it's all about the food.
Yes, I KNOW and I know that you know and ... there are other variables. We can talk later about another Biggy too, but for now, I'm sticking to rule #1, food.
During late winter there are two key strategies for finding Jumbo Perch. One is to locate areas where Perch are feeding on baitfish, typically other smaller Perch. The other is to locate areas where insect larvae, Bloodworms in particular, are reaching desirable sizes to attract schools of feeding Perch.
There are occasions where the two patterns intersect, when there are both baitfish and insect larvae in the same vicinity. That's okay, this just means that roaming packs of Perch are even more likely to stop and chow down. Find a spot like that and you could discover that you’ve landed on one of those real sweet honey holes.
At the moment, both of these patterns are producing fish, so you can pick your favorite strategy and if you stick with it, you will find fish.
For me, the past few days have included both of these fishing strategies and both have been productive. I can't see any new news about presentations, so for details about each, just use these quick links to jump to the bookmarks for >> Deep Water, Lake Winnie Perch Feb 8 -or- Shallow Water, Weed Flat Perch Feb 9

image denotes comments from reader (2/10) Sky Wigen wrote; "Some friends and I are heading to Big Winnie for our annual fishing trip and I was wondering if you could help me with something. I've always wanted to catch a (or some) Burbot. Where on Big Winnie would you go to target them right now? Thanks for your help and I really appreciate your reports. Keep them comin!
A) Your timing for catching some Burbot, AKA Eelpout should be fairly good. The Burbot is the only fish that I know of that actually spawns during the winter, in deep water, under the ice. It's a little bit early for them to begin the physical act of spawning, but you might just find that they are beginning to migrate into likely territory.
Most of the Eelpout that are caught on Lake Winnibigoshish are by taken on jigging baits used by Walleye fishermen on mid-lake bars and humps.
Because there are so few anglers targeting them, information is scarce and that leaves me under-qualified as an expert. I do know that your best chances of locating some will be to fish in deep water. In fact, earlier this winter, we caught one or two Eelpout on almost every trip to the mid-lake humps where we were pursuing Walleye. Since the Walleye season is still open, I'd recommend going after a mixed bag of Walleye, Pike and Burbot.
My first suggestion is to fish early morning and late evening targeting "the humps" and mid-lake bars. For me, key depths have been 18 to 26 feet and I try to have a couple of holes on each of the key features like major turns and on the tips of points.
Focus on using jigging style baits like 3/16 ounce the Rattlin' Flyer Spoon tipped with minnow heads. Colors like the Clown, Perch and the Glow/Red are all reliable.
This is just enough info to get the ball rolling, but with a snow day on tap, I'll have a bit of spare time to do some homework. Tune back in tomorrow for any additional updates that I can uncover today.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 9, 2015 - Shallow Water Perch Action Heating Up

As spring approaches, the days get longer, the air gets thinner and baitfish become scarcer. Add to that the natural instinct to feed more heavily as the spawning season approaches and you have the ingredients for good late winter Perch fishing.
Over the weekend, ice fishermen found schools of Perch roaming shallow water weed flats, feeding primarily on minnows. That's good news for anglers who like fast action, but the key is to keep searching. Remember this advice given by Bill Powell at Fred's Bait in Deer River; "When the fish move in, they're hungry; they'll bite as fast as you can get your lure in the water. But these fish are always on the move and as they feed, they're forcing the forage fish to move in an effort to escape being devoured."
That means that ice fishermen who want to stay on top of the action need to be ready to make a move. Powell says; "Keep driving, searching your chart for nooks & crannies along the shallow breaklines and if you drill enough holes, you will find fish; it's just a matter of time."
Another key to consistent action is to keep working your lures in the hole(s). When the Perch are chasing minnows around, they can disappear in a hurry unless we do something to hold their attention. Using large, noisy lures will help call fish toward your hole. If necessary, drill a second hole and use more subtle baits to help trigger more strikes.
For me, "dead sticking" with a Frostee Jig tipped with a whole minnow is hard to beat when it comes to triggering the strike. Sometimes I'll lay the dead stick on a pail and watch the rod tip while I use a more aggressive, jigging approach with my second rod.
A final thought about the presentation; when the fish are active, they will eat almost anything you drop into the water. They secret to fine tuning your presentation is be figure out which lures they prefer at the times when they're less aggressive. It sounds like a small detail, but you can increase your odds a lot by knowing which of your lures has the most potential during the slow times.
Don't worry about using micro baits for minnow feeding Perch. In fact, sometimes using a bait that too small will encourage small fish and they can wind up keeping you so busy that you lose your focus on the Jumbos. Blade baits tipped with whole minnows or large jigging baits tipped with a minnow head represent an easier opportunity for large fish.
Finding the bottom isn't really necessary either; aggressive fish will often move up 3 feet or more in order to be the first one to your lure. Using the dead stick/jigging bait combo, I'll usually hold one of the baits a foot off of the bottom while holding the other one well above the fish.
Once a fish commits to making a move toward your jig, they are far more likely to strike. Watch your graph and you'll see what I mean; the jumpers can almost always be coaxed into striking.
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/9) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "We have bounced back from the slow down we had with the cold front in the beginning of the week! Fishing the last few days has been great with many giant perch being caught as well. We continue to move houses to stay on fish!
Being active with your jigging line has been producing more fish. Also a set line with a full minnow has been working well. Colors working the best have been gold and pink with white glow.
It is extremely helpful to use electronics! It exciting to watch the fish on the on the screen come shooting up and hit your line. It also helps you to know, if they shoot up and do not hit, a change is needed.
We have some mid-week availability. If you are looking to make a trip this winter call and get your trip booked.
Forecast for this week’s temperatures are in the mid teens with Tuesday having a good chance of 1-3 inches of snow." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 8, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Update

At Lake Winnibigoshish, travel conditions remain good, but complications are beginning to arise, literally. The rental operators on the west side of the lake are pulling back toward the shoreline in order to avoid nasty ice ridges that are moving on a daily basis now. The cracks are wet, sloppy and very dangerous, so unless you plan to fish along the shoreline, avoid using the access on the west side at "Trappers Landing".
Entering the lake from the east and south is less problematic, but some snow drifts are becoming deep enough to get your attention. That said; if you're careful where you drive, you can still travel freely over most of the lake.
Perch fishing on Lake Winnie remains good and yes, you will have to weed through a lot of small fish. The reward for doing that though is a realistic expectation of gathering a robust catch of fish in the 10 to 11 inch range. A handful of 12 inch fish even found friends of mine that were on the lake this Saturday. According to their report, the morning action was very good and their group of 8 was easily able to capture 100 keeper size fish. A couple of hundred more were released in the process.
The Perch were located along large, mid-lake bars in 16 to 22 feet of water and were vulnerable to a variety of presentations. By the time I arrived at the scene, it was past 2:00 PM and the action had slowed considerably. Even then, I was able to call in and catch some fish of my own by using 1/4 ounce 360 jigs. The thumping vibration of the rotating body helped me get the fishes attention. The large size of the bait made it harder to hook small fish, but I didn't care about that. I would rather catch few numbers of larger fish, than to use my fishing time to remove small fish from the lines.

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/7) On Cass Lake, The Winter Ice Challenge runs from Noon to 3:00 PM today, Saturday February 7, 2015 at the headquarters, SailStar Marina, located off of US Hwy 2 in Cass Lake.
Set up time on Saturday starts at 9 AM. Parking will be close to the event and there will also be shuttle service if needed. The $40 event tickets includes entry in all of the raffles, along with tournament entry fees and a meal at the awards ceremony.
Sue Schafroth, Director of the Cass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce says; "Fishing (depths) will be between 6 and 30 feet of water, depending on where the contestant drills their holes. The Cass Lake Fire Department will be available to drill holes for those that need them. We do allow portable ice shacks and provide a warming/food tent on the ice. Awards are given at Palace Casino Bingo Hall where a meal is provided (included in the price of the ticket). This contest usually runs about 325-400 entries so there are good odds of winning a prize. Learn More >> Cass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce .
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/5) On Cass Lake, The Ball family at Cass Lake Lodge reports; "Ice conditions are good, with very little snow cover and 27” of ice everywhere. You can drive a truck almost everywhere on the lake. There are some ice ridges you have to be careful of but you can get around all of them by the shorelines. Fishing has been good. Walleye, perch, Pike, and burbot have been biting. They have been caught on the flats in 12-15’ of water in weedy areas. The recent cold front slowed fishing down a little, but it should be perfect for the upcoming weekend!" - Cass Lake Lodge, 218-335-6658
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/5) On Cass Lake, Sue Marchant, Sah-Kah-Tay Beach Resort adds; "The ice conditions are really great, there is about 24”, more in some areas, no slush, and the location of the challenge is in a great perch location. Several fishermen on previous weeks have also reported some nice walleye laying around the bottom and one of our guests brought in a 27 ½ inch walleye caught on a jig and minnow a little over a week ago. There is very little snow cover so driving anywhere on the lake is really easy. *There are several ice heaves that need to be respected and our volunteer security will try to keep the parking near the marina away from these areas." Sah-Kah-Tay Beach Resort, 218-335-2424

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 4, 2015 - Twilight; Perfect For Mid Winter Panfish

On Monday I left you hanging when I said; "Fishing during the prime time bites of early morning and late afternoon has become so important to me, that I'm gonna have to cut this report short so that I can get on the ice before the sun rises." Well okay then, so I'm back, playing catch-up.
Fishing for Panfish, primarily Sunfish over the past couple of days hasn't produced a single shred of evidence to dissuade me from the point that I made a on Monday. In fact, I'm more convinced now than I was before; the crepuscular feeding pattern for Panfish is here to stay for a while.
On Tuesday, my fishing time was split between two fishing two Grand Rapids area lakes. In the morning, we fished over a mid-depth sand flat in 15 feet of water. During the afternoon, on another lake we fished shallow, 7 feet of water on a large weedy flat. The two lakes were different as night and day, but they had one thing in common; the fish were active during twilight, not during mid-day.
Compared to past ice fishing seasons, the annual movement of Panfish toward shallower water and the decrease in daytime feeding activity seems to be right on schedule. For the next several weeks, my ice fishing will occur during the wee hours of morning, or into the evening "prime-time" period, or sometimes both.
I hear a lot of folks trying to pin down a single reason for these seasonal changes to occur. The truth is that there's so much going on underwater right now that a simple explanation is more slippery than the ice itself.
I'm not sure that we really need to know every detail, as long as we realize that it happens and deal with it. For instance, when I flip the light switch in my kitchen, I don't really think about everything that goes into sending those electrons to flow through the copper wire to heat the element inside of the bulb and generate light. No, I JUST KNOW that when I flip the switch, the light goes on.
Over the past few days, our best fishing has occurred between 7:00 and 9:00 AM; then again between 4:00 and 6:00 PM. There have been some fish caught outside of that time frame, but it has taken a lot more coaxing to get them to strike our bait.
For me, the presentation appears to depend on how much fishing pressure the lake has received. Two of the lakes that I've fished this week have been fished steadily for most of the winter. On both lakes, the only baits that have been reliable are small ones, tipped with grubs. On Sunday morning, Jace was using a Yellow/Pink Tungsten Toad while I was experimenting with other lures. He caught the lion’s share of the fish that morning and since then; I stuck with that Yellow/Pink Toad, tipped with a couple of Wax worms.
Yesterday afternoon, when we fished the shallower weeds, there so many small size Perch mixed in with other Panfish that I went to the opposite extreme presentation. At first glance, a Walleye size, #2 Frostee Jig may seem a little big for Panfish. But what makes this presentation better in shallow water is that the larger hook tipped with 3 or 4 wax worms helps prevent the tiny Perch from getting the hook into their mouths. That means instead of spending time reeling in and removing the un-wantables, I can focus on teasing the more desirable fish that generate those large marks on my graph.
Another trick that works for me is to hold the bait 2 or 3 feet above the bottom. Even if the water is only 7 feet deep, the tiny fish tend to linger within a few inches of the bottom. The larger, more aggressive fish may start from the bottom, but they can usually be coaxed up, away from the babies. In my experience, a moving fish is more catchable than a stationary one. So instead of going toe to toe with every little baby fish on the bottom, I only worry about the ones that are aggressive enough to move toward my lure.
That sometimes means that I catch fewer fish than my partners, but many times the ones that I do catch are the right ones.
One final observation about the contrast between these two presentations; I could be wrong about why the fish located in deeper water prefer the small baits. It may not be the "fishing pressure" (although there is plenty of it) that caused the fish to be so finicky. Instead, it could be caused by whatever it is that these fish are feeding on.
On the lakes where we've been fishing these medium depth flats, our graphs have revealed oodles of microscopic bait. I'm guessing that you've seen the phenomenon before; when your graph becomes blackened by a hodge-podge of living critters that are too small to be minnows, but move to fast to be insects. What these critters are is Phytoplankton in various shapes and sizes.  For lack of a better term, I call it "the Death Cloud". When these clouds of bait-food are present on my Humminbird, it is very rare for me to be enjoying good fishing action.
Over the past couple of days, I've begun to realize that there's a correlation between Panfish and these clouds of bait. We've noticed that occasionally, the graph will become clear, free of the "Death Cloud" and when it does, there are usually a small group of Panfish moving into the territory. That moment is typically when we get a short spurt of action and as soon as the fish wander off, the cloud reappears and the action goes dead.
It's possible that this is coincidental, maybe these microscopic critters just instinctively get out of the way when Panfish approach. But if these fish are feeding on this stuff, it could help explain why the tiny Tungsten baits become more desirable in these circumstances. If that's true, then it would be a gigantic clue about which bait to tie on whenever you spot one of these "Death Clouds" on your graph.
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/4) On Lake Winnibigoshish, Dixon Lake Resort reports; "Things on this side of the ridge are moving along just great. The spearing is still going strong. Not seeing as many northerns, but still some big ones taken. Lot of nice perch right up in the spear houses and out by the ridge. Crappies and sunnies are still coming throw, but being a little more picky.
Good luck and have fun fishing!" - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including a sleeper available for this weekend. Reservations 218-659-4612
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/4) On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris Eagle Nest Lodge says; "Good ice on Cutfoot and very little snow, so getting around is easy. Fishing was a little tougher last weekend." Bryan speculated that cold, windy weather could be the cause for slower action. That, combined with other seasonal factors affected fishing on most of the Itasca area waters last weekend. Soon, springtime migrations will bring Perch and Panfish into shallow water and the action will begin heating up. - Email Eagle Nest Lodge

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2015 - Twilight; Perfect For Mid Winter Panfish

The pursuit of Big Sunfish, Crappies and Perch will make a man do crazy things. For instance, who in their right mind would ever get up at 3:00 AM just to be sure that his fishing report is wrapped up, so as not to delay a pre-dawn arrival at the "Bluegill Hole"?
A guy like that would probably do other silly things like dragging his friends along too; You Know, just to be sure that he'd have an extra good incentive to roll out in the morning. Well, some of us know guys like that and I for one defend the philosophy, especially during mid-winter.
These days, ice fishermen who show up too late or don't stay late enough, might just drive away from their ice holes believing that the action on their favorite lake is dead. It's not dead though, it's just that Panfish are beginning their transition from mid-winter to late winter patterns.
During mid/late winter, numbers of Panfish begin dispersing from deep water holes, migrating toward shallower water. As these fish become more nomadic, anglers are forced to search more territory to find active fish.
At the same time, fishing pressure, predation and death by natural causes have thinned out populations. There are a lot less fish to fish for now, making it even trickier to find "big schools" of Panfish.
It's especially noticeable on Itasca area Lakes this winter because of the ideal travel conditions. It's been so easy to travel on the lakes, that Panfish populations have been treated to especially high fishing pressure.
Referring to one lake in particular that has taken a severe beating this winter, a friend said yesterday; "The fishing has really slowed down up there now". No, excuse me, "The Fishing" probably hasn't slowed down at all, it's just that a huge percentage of the active fish are gone already. If an ice fisherman wants to continue catching fish, he's gonna have to work harder and smarter for less reward.
Fishing during the prime time bites of early morning and late afternoon, an angler has the advantage of fishing for fish that are on the prowl and active. That has become so important to me, that I'm gonna have to cut this report short so that I can get on the ice before the sun rises.
I promise that I will pick up where I leave off and tell you all about our Bluegill, Crappie and Perch fishing from yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will, just as soon as I can get back into the office.
Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 2/2/2015 Flowing North To Trout Fishing On Burntside Lake - "Arriving at the next destination, several holes were punched at the preferred depths with each of us picking a spot. Normal circumstances had us fishing each hole for twenty minutes or so before moving on to the next fresh hole, sort of like “winter trolling.” Moving from spot to spot allowed me the luxury of catching and releasing two more nice trout.
I never get tired of having a fish come on the screen of my Vexilar and chase my bait up and down in a hurry to inspect it. There are times when you have to really work them into committing but then again there are times when the seemingly come out of nowhere and wham! Such fun. When drilling holes, a 10” auger is preferred with two holes drilled together, over-lapping each other. This is done mainly to aid in turning the head of a big fish, making it easier to ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2015 - Leech Lake Ice Report - Between The Lines

Except for the numerous pressure ridges that have split Leech Lake into sections, travel conditions on the ice are generally very good. Accesses remain good too; anglers can easily drive on every county road that leads to the public landings.
On Saturday, we saw vehicles on every side of every crack, so navigating between the pressure cracks obviously isn't too difficult. But figuring out which access allows you on to the section of lake you want to fish involves trial and error.
Once you're on the ice, there is very little snow cover and any drifts that we encountered on Saturday were hard packed and easy to drive across. Ice thickness has moved past the 3 foot mark and it's nearly extension time for some augers.
Reports about good Perch fishing are what attracted our attention to the big lake in the first place. But after a few hours of poking around out there, all I can report for sure is that there are a ton of small Perch on the Southeast side of the lake right now.
Remembering how the perch got active at twilight last weekend, we toughed it out until well past 6:00 PM, but that didn't solve our problem either.
For the moment, I'm gonna cross this one off of the schedule and wait until the weather warms. That will make searching for fish a lot easier and hopefully the do-over will go a little bit better.
For today, I think I'll try using reverse psychology; I'm not looking for fish, I don't care about fish and I hope that I don't hook any fish. I'm too busy for fish right now anyway! ... :)!!

image of fishing knots Almost every single day, someone asks me to show them what kind of knots I use. The knot you tie is the only connection between you and your fish; what could be the trophy of a lifetime! Don't lose it!
There's a great way to learn a bunch of great fishing knots in a hurry. Wired2Fish has all of them right here just follow this link to >> 15 knots that every angler should know.
image of ice fisherman with bluegill in hand (2/2) Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish, Lakes aren’t the only bodies of water that carry safe, fishable ice in the winter. Big rivers like the Mississippi, Niagara, and Rainy also get safe ice, and produce some of the best catches of panfish you’ll see anywhere in the country. “There are a lot of places where you can go catch big perch through the ice, big bluegills through the ice, or big crappies through the ice,” Weber said. “I’ve never seen any place other than the Mississippi where you routinely catch all three through the same hole on the same day. I’ve caught numerous perch measuring more than 13 inches, crappies up to 2 pounds, and bluegills that easily hit ... read >> Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish

Helping your fellow ice fishermen and women stay abreast of the ice conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!
You don't have to give away Uncle Ernie's secret spot; your's either. But a heads up about ice conditions or fishing trends could be really helpful and who knows? Somebody might actually return the favor sometime!!
Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter" and post your own pics and comments; it's good for fishing!
By the way, there's a major Lake Winnie Update scheduled for Wednesday morning, so if you have a few notes or maybe a photo to add, this is your opportuntiy for a moment of greatness! Just click to email >> OR on facebook Fishing Reports MN

image says become a duly deputized Cub Reporter

February 27, 2015

image of 2015 fishing hunting license
The 2015 fishing licesnes will be required beginning this Sunday March 1, 2015. By the way, if you love Walleyes, go ahead and add the Walleye Stamp. Look, I got mine this morning.

February 26, 2015

February 2015 Reports
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
January 2015 Reports
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

February 25, 2015

image pf snowmobiles on ice
On Lake of the Woods, Walleye action is spotty. Ice fishermen who venture away from the crowds are more likely to fill their pails with fish.

February 22, 2015

image of map showing the distribution of zebra mussels
Map USGS: Shows the current distributions of Zebra and Quaga Mussels. The problem is that we are trying to stop evolution in its track. Read >> Trucker Cited For Transporting Zebra Mussels

image says save the date

Friday March 27th, 2015 at 1:00 and 6:00 PM. I'll be on the show program with seminars at the Northwest Sportshow.

February 21, 2015

image of Kyle with Lake Trout
Photo courtesy Brian Castellano: Kyle Curtis Kyle Curtiss shows off a nice 6 lb lake trout that smashed a red and white tube. The Trout struck the lure 10' under the ice, over 60' of water.

image links to Minn Kota Motors Talon Giveaway
Visit MinnKota's facebook page and like it to enter the 2015 Talon Shallow Water Anchor Giveaway.

February 20, 2015

image links to youtube video about Lutefisk
Sand Lake Lutefisk Club watch >> I LOVE LUTEFISK

February 17, 2015

February 15, 2015

image of secret ice fishing spot
Expecting to find an image of the Dead Sea, I was surprised to discover a half dozen fishermen set up at one of the more popular "secret spots".

image of ice ridge on bowstring lake
The pressure ridge at Bowstring Lake's north access is still fairly large, but it's tame for the moment.

image of passage way through ice ridge on bowstring lake
Ice fishermen have figured out a way around the pressure ridge, allowing vehicle access to the Crappies at the north side of Bowstring.

February 14, 2015

February 13, 2015

image of Tom Glinski with Lake Winnie Walleye
Photo Tom Glinski, who along with his wife, has enjoyed good fishing for both Walleye and Perch on the east side of Lake Winnie this week.

February 12, 2015

image of anglers netting large pike
Pike are their own worst enemy, they are aggressive, hard fishting and delicious. When a good Pike lake is discovered, people do show up and the pressure can become intense.

February 11, 2015

image of Gabe Sheker with Northern Pike
Photo Courtesy Gus' Place Resort, Ball Club Lake . Gabe shows of a nice pair of Ball Club Lake Pike.

February 10, 2015

image of Yellow Bass with ice jig in its mouth
Clusiau calls the Yellow Bass "A feisty, aggressive little fish that just looks so darned cool." Read >> Clusiau Report

image of Perch

February 9, 2015

image of Perch caught using a 360 jig
Using large, noisy lures like Lindy's 360 Jig will help call fish toward your hole and hold their attention.

image of Billy Maki catching big perch
If necessary, use more subtle lures in a second hole to help trigger strikes from less aggressive fish.

February 8, 2015

image of Lindy 360 Jig in Perch mouth
I was able to call in and catch some fish of my own by using 1/4 ounce 360 jigs. The thumping vibration of the rotating body helped me get the fishes attention.

February 4, 2015

image of Red Ear Sunfish
At first glance, the Walleye size, #2 Frostee Jig may seem a little big for Panfish. But the large bait helps ward off tiny fish, allowing me to focus on more desirable ones. see report >> February 4, 2015

image of plankton on graph
For lack of a better term, I call it "the Death Cloud". When these clouds of bait-food are present on my Humminbird, it is very rare for me to be enjoying good fishing action.

image of plankton on graph screen
Look close at the screen of my Humminbird; occasionally it clears, of the "Death Cloud" and when it does, we get a spurt of action.

image of large Crappie with #2 frostee jig in its mouth
At first glance, a Walleye size, #2 Frostee Jig may seem a little big for Panfish. At times, I catch fewer fish than my partners, but many of them are the right ones.

February 2, 2015

image of Jace Swanson holding big Bluegill
Jace Swanson Knows; it's worth getting out of the house in the morning. In fact on Sunday, we had to wait for daylight so we could take this picture. By 9 AM the action was all behind us.

image of Lee Lane with big Lake Trout
Photo courtesy Greg Clusiau: Lee Lane showing off a great Burntside Lake Lake Trout. read >> Greg Clusiau Fishing Report

February 1, 2015

image of spawning Walleyes
Once you're on Leech Lake, there is very little snow cover and the ice is getting thick. It's easy to see an extension in this auger's future.

image of Lee Lane Flow North Outdoors holding Lake Trout

Did you know that the Thursday Morning Program is available for a week after the air date? Yes, if you miss the live show, just click here and select the 6:00 hour on Thursday. Scroll in to about 6:20 AM and you're back in business! Link to KAXE Audio Archive

And Do You Know that you can even post your own helpful hints to my 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 Here >>> Fishing Reports Minnesota .

image denotes insider fishing news