Fishrapper Ice Fishing Reports For February 2016

Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report February 25, 2016 - Capt Josh Haggemeister

"Park Rapids area lakes have been active with crappie and bluegill action. Depths range from 20-30 feet for the bluegills and 25-45 feet for the crappies. Both are suspending in large schools. Tiny horizontal jigs tipped with a wax worm has been my bait of choice every day. Northern Pike and walleye action continues to be steady. Jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head has been the most efficient way to catch them. Depths range from 17-40 feet. Ice varies from 16-20inches.
Alexandria area lakes are also supplying panfish action—however shallower in general—12-25 ft, with the walleyes using depths of 17-35 ft on most area lakes. Smaller shiner minnows on a glow hook is a good choice. Ice thickness around 20” on average.
St. Cloud area lakes are still keeping anglers busy with good shallow water pike action on tip-ups. In most cases an angler can catch bluegills and crappies while watching a tip up flag attached to frisky pike in the 20-25” range. Depths range from 8-25 ft for both species. Ice thickness averages 16-18 inches." - Capt Josh Minnesota Fishing Guide Service 320-291-0708, 218-732-9919

image of giant crappie

image denotes link to fish rapper article From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson (February 25); "The warmer than average temperatures last weekend along with light winds provided anglers in this area with ideal fishing conditions. Reports from all over the Edge of the Wilderness area were very positive. Crappie fishing was very good although you had to move around a lot if you wanted to stay on the fish. However if you stayed in one place, small schools would come by every half hour or so, just enough to keep things interesting. Fishing in twenty four feet of water, the Crappies were up off the bottom with most fish being caught on the drop between nine to fifteen feet down. It appears the oxygen levels in the deeper water areas are becoming depleted and have forced the fish farther up in the water column. Small jigs like the glow blue Tiger Eye with a TriggerX Mustache Worm and a minnow did the trick for me last weekend. The rain we had earlier in the week has frozen and the surface of the snow was like a deep crust on the lake I was fishing, perfect for a sled. Many of the lakes in the area as a result of last week’s rain are reporting slushy conditions so you should be cautious when heading out on the ice. Walleye fishing has been slow but being as this is the last weekend of the 2015-2016 season, it just might be worth the effort to try one of the more popular Walleye lakes in the area, which have been producing a few Walleye as well as Jumbo Perch and Crappie. The last several days I’ve had reports of sunfish being caught on small tungsten jigs and bloodworm style plastics. The bite is very light but anglers have been reporting catching some nice sized ‘Gills. The forecast for this weekend in this area is for mild temperatures and fairly light winds. Light snow can be expected but shouldn’t amount to much. The trails are in great shape so it should be another fun weekend in the Edge of the Wilderness! The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with what you need to have a successful fishing outing in the area and we hope you drop by on your way to the lake."
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 24, 2016 - Dodging The Dodgeable?

I think we maybe dodged the proverbial bullet on Tuesday when the all-day snowfall ended after a total accumulation of less than 3 inches. Under a light breeze, the heavy wet snow fell calmly and that means that drifting will be minimal too.
The backdrop for these final 5 days of the inland Walleye and Pike season promises to be ideal. Overnight temperatures in the teens with daytime highs in the 30’sh range hint that the lakes should be buzzing with traffic this week.
For me, Panfish and Perch will be sufficient entertainment. But if I was going to squeeze in a day or two of “big game” fishing, I would opt for Northern Pike over Walleye right now.

image of ruler measuring snow depth
Tuesday's snowfall ended after a total accumulation of less than 3 inches. The heavy, wet snow fell calmly, drifting will be minimal.

Numerous reports of good mid-lake Pike action are linked to Tulibee (Ciscoes) that are schooling up over deep water now. Tulibee are a prime forage species for large Pike and mid lake structures found adjacent to deep water are ideal ambush areas for predators.
If you want to tap into this pattern, all you need to find are large mid-lake bars that feature steep breaklines. On Lake Winnibigoshish, the Bena Bar is a good example of this type structure. On Leech Lake, the steep breakline that runs parallel to most of the east shoreline of Portage Bay is another example.
I don’t mean to suggest that you have to go to either of these places to locate a current hot bite; I’m only singling these out as examples of what to look for. For me, these steep breaklines work best because they give me a place to focus my attention on.
Even though Pike could be roaming open water, feeding randomly, drilling holes in the middle of nowhere hoping for a Pike to wander by isn’t very efficient.
Locating inside corners, points and pockets in the breakline make it easier to predict where a feeding Pike may set up its ambush spot. Whenever batfish inadvertently move too close to the deep structure, they become more vulnerable to attack.
Tip ups rigged with large Sucker Minnows or Golden Shiners can be set along the breakline. If you prefer a more hands on approach, then aggressive jigging baits like a Darter can attract and capture good Pike too.

Lake Superior Ice Stacking [Video]; Lake Superior put on a beautiful show in Duluth, Minnesota.

"We had to share this beautiful footage shot on February 13, 2016 by Dawn M. LaPointe. If you appreciate the power of beauty of Mother Nature, this is definitely worth sharing with your friends.
Here's what the original post on Radiant Spirit Gallery's Facebook page said; "While shooting in Canal Park, I noticed the ice had pulled away from shore and ..." View Video >> Lake Superior Ice Stacking

image links to video about ice stacking up on lake superior
image links to ice fishing report from lake mille lacs

Hungry 'Eyes, Deep Jumbos; Lake Mille Lacs Late Season Bite Going Strong February 23, 2016

"Smaller walleyes, in the 13- to 16-inch range, are biting really well right now,” Lindy pro and longtime guide Mike Christensen of Hunter Winfield’s Resort in Isle said. “We’re also seeing a few keepers in the slot, along with the occasional bigger fish in the mix.”
Top locations include deep gravel, mud flats and shoreline breaks in 22 to 30 feet of water, Christensen says. “I’ve been doing well on south-end gravel humps, particularly when the fish move up on top toward sunset,” he added. Christensen’s go-to walleye baits include ..." Read More >> Lake Mille Lacs Walleye-Perch Bite

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 23, 2016 - Ice Conditions Bumpy, But Improved For Vehicle Travel

All the signs of a classic late season meltdown were revealed on my tour of local lakes on Monday afternoon. Water saturated snow has a crusty frozen surface and user developed roads that were filled with standing water on Sunday, are re-freezing again.
I wish I could tell you that you'll be enjoying a nice smooth ride out to the fishin' hole, but I can't. The meltdown wasn't fully complete before the weather turned cold again. That means that there are lots of areas where ruts and tracks in the snow have frozen in place, forming a very rough surface, especially in well-travelled areas.
The re-freeze wasn't fully complete by Monday afternoon either, there were areas my pickup truck broke through surface ice that covered un-frozen puddles. This made for a jarring ride, but did not stop me from moving through the wet spots.
In areas where snow was drifted deep, there are likely to be some stubborn pockets of slush, but on most lakes, the snow wasn't that deep. If you keep your eyes open and avoid the deep spots, off road travel should be accomplished easily across the ice on most Itasca area lakes.

image of truck travelling on iceIn areas where snow was drifted deep, there are likely to be some stubborn pockets of slush, but on most lakes, the snow wasn't that deep.

Now that I've said all that, I need to tell you that it is snowing fairly hard right now and as I watch it pile up in my yard, I wonder if it will become deep enough to cause problems. I may or may not fish today, but I do plan on at least touring the area to check on conditions. If you'll do me a favor and check in tomorrow morning, I promise to have fresh updates posted.
There's been a noticeable trend toward folks heading to the Walleye hole for one last hurrah before the season ends on February 29, 2016. With time running low, many have temporarily abandoned Panfish in search of Walleye and Pike.
Perch on the other hand are getting more attention than before and for most anglers, fishing has been good enough. There isn't anybody coming in with buckets filled with Jumbos, but there are consistent, albeit modest catches of good size fish.
Most of the better size Perch continue to be found in deeper water, over a soft marl bottom. Shallow fish are available too though and as the urge to move toward spawning territory increases, shallow water will become increasingly more productive.
By the way, you will need a new, 2016 fishing license after February 29th. In case you haven't heard, anglers who purchase their license via a smart phone will receive a text or email message that can be shown to any conservation officer in lieu of a printed paper license.
I know that most folks rarely go anyplace without their phones these days and if you're like me and tend to forget things, this could be a really handy option.
The last thing I ever want to do is to be stopped by a C/O without my license so for me, buying the license on the internet and printing several backup copies has been a fantastic hedge against forgetfulness. I use a laminator to protect the copies and place them wherever I might need them; one in my glove compartment, another in the tackle box, one in the boat and ... you get the idea.
For more information about fishing licenses, follow this link to >> MN DNR News Release, Fishing Licenses

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 21, 2016 - Catching The Catchable, Feeding The Feedable

Under the influence of a weekend warmup, driving conditions on the ice have already improved tremendously. Now with a cold snap headed this way, travel will be getting even easier for northern Minnesota ice anglers.
On Saturday, the timing played out perfectly for my long lost pal Matt Mattson. After what seemed like a lifetime without sharing a fishing shack, we were finally able to get together for a day on the ice. Matthew had a really special reason for gathering fish; they were to provide the main course for a one of a kind family gathering.
Crappie, Perch, Pike; we didn’t care what we’d catch, so there wasn’t much pressure to find a super-hot bite.  
Our simple goal of gathering meat for a fish fry led us to take the advice of Erin and Bill Charlton at Trails End Resort and head for the north side of Bowstring. They’ve been reporting consistent action over the past couple of weeks and that gave us confidence that we’d accomplish our mission.
On the lake, traffic was moderate and consisted of ATV’s, Snowmobiles and Pickup Trucks. Nobody appeared to have any trouble travelling to their favorite spots, so there were numerous small concentrations of fishing shelters scattered everywhere around the lake.
From what we could see, most folks appeared to be following the same game plan as we were, targeting deep breaklines, in search of a mixed bag of Crappies and Perch.
Our search didn’t begin all that well, in fact It took us 3 moves to finally land on a school of fish large enough to keep us entertained. Even when we found a place to call home, the fishing was sporadic, but it was definitely good enough for us.

image of Matt Mattson holding big Crappie
Tentative temperaments forced us to tease fish with small baits. Overall, Tungsten Toads performed the best, Fat Boys and Ice Worms caught fish too.

Our best depths ranged between 22 to 25 feet of water. There were small packs of fish moving in and out of the area at random intervals. From a strategic standpoint, there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to which fish was coming next. There were a few Pike roaming out there, but the lion’s share of the action consisted of an almost equal mix of Crappie and Perch.
The fish were tentative about striking, they were coax able, but practically every fish came after a battle of wits.
My impression was that the fish have been pressured, further evidenced by an abundance of smaller fish and a lack of larger ones. It felt to me like the larger fish have been “cherry picked” and what’s left; the smaller ones have already become acquainted with one angler or another.
The fish’s tentative temperament forced us to use small baits tipped with waxworms to tease the fish. I Think that overall, Tungsten Toads performed the best, but both Fat Boys and Ice Worms caught fish too.
The secret to triggering a strike was to raise high above the fish, forcing them to make a move upward. If the fish responded to this teasing, then the next move was to stop moving the bait, hold steady and watch the rod tip for evidence of a strike. There were numerous time when we could see a strike, but could not feel it.
By days end we were satisfied, there was just enough action to make the day zip past us as we gathered what we needed for Matt’s family. As a bonus, we managed a few extras for our own evening fish fry at the Gosh Dam Place too, which was excellent, as usual.
With luck, Matthew’s family fish fry is going off without a hitch today. Now all we have to do is figure out how we can spend more time together!!

image denotes link to fish rapper article From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson (February 18); "With only two weekends left of the fishing season left, anglers are out and hitting the area lakes with conviction. Panfish anglers of course have a continuous open season but for Walleye, Pike and Bass the season ends February 28th.
The Walleye bite has been slow. You’ll see the fish on your flasher and they will follow your bait but are very tentative as far as committing. The standard spoons and jig and minnow presentation isn’t fooling many fish this late in the season.
Some anglers I talked to recently have downsized to a one sixteenth ounce jig and small Crappie minnow and have had some success. The Lindy Slick Jig was the most productive lure for these anglers. Northern Pike are still hitting Sucker minnows on tip-ups, spoons like the ½ ounce Shasta Tackle Humdinger and rattle baits like the Live Target Baitball and Golden Shiner.
Crappie fishing has been very good. The deep holes that were so productive earlier have begun to taper off as the Crappies move up in the water column. Again this weekend the Crappies were anywhere from nine feet down to seventeen feet over twenty four feet of water.
I’ve had reports of Crappies being caught in good numbers in water as shallow as ten feet, so it seems the Crappies are on the move. Sunfish have been somewhat finicky but enough fish are being iced to keep things interesting. Trout season runs through March 31st and fishing has been good for Lake Trout. Stream Trout fishing in the designated trout lakes of the area has been good as well. The weather forecast for the area will see a general warming with temperatures as high as forty and lows in the high ‘teens and low twenties. With the warmer conditions his should be a good weekend to get out on the lakes and chase some Walleyes and Crappies. Have a great weekend!
The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with what you need to have a successful fishing outing in this area and we hope you drop by on your way to the lake."
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 17, 2016 - Jumbo Perch Reliable Mid-Winter Pattern

You may already know that during mid-winter, certain populations of insect larvae mature, moving from one phase of development to another. As they do, they provide both game fish and bait fish with opportunity to feed on these developing bugs.
Perch go out of their way to find Bloodworms and once discovered, these insects will hold fish in an area until the larvae moves into the net phase of development.
Right now, there are numerous areas where the "Perch & Bloodworm pattern is in full swing. Locating areas where Bloodworm larvae thrive depends on finding soft bottom areas that contain marl. Finding marl doesn't depend on water depth, it could be shallow, deep or in-between.
Soon, I'll add more information about the pattern and how to zero in on it. For now, if you focus your attention on finding structure near soft bottom, trial and error is likely to lead you into the right spot.

By the way, if you love eating fish, but need to be careful about eating Gluten free foods, then try this simple, delicious recipe.

  • Fish fillets, about one pound of fillets serves 4 people. Use Perch, Crappie, Sunfish or Walleye
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or dairy free alternative)
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 1 teaspon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Paprika.
  • Canola, Coconut, or Peanut Oil

In a medium size mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs along with 1/4 cup milk. Use a one gallon size plastic bag to thoroughly mix flour and seasonings.
Dip fillets in the egg bath; shake wet fillets in flour mixture, let stand on plate for 5 to 10 minutes before frying. Use your favorite skillet to preheat 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil (enough to cover one side of your fillets) to 340 degrees. Fry one side until golden brown, flip and fry opposite side until golden brown. Drain on paper towel; serve with salad and your favorite side dish.

image of kate bolos with giant perch
Jumbo Perch go out of their way to find Bloodworms. Once discovered, these insects will hold fish in an area until the larvae moves into the net phase of development.

image of kate and joelle bolos having fish fry
If you love eating fish, but need to be careful about eating Gluten free foods, then try this simple, delicious recipe.

image denotes fishing question from a reader Q&A Cutfoot Sioux Crappie, Lake Winnie Perch February 16

Q) Hey Jeff... "Fished yesterday out of Highbanks from 11-5. On the humps about 22-25 feet. It was tough to move much with the wind.
Fishing slow all around, lots of lookers but no takers. I continue to hear about crappies on cutfoot, have you tried and any suggestions about time of day and depth? Driving from Cloquet and considering the Pines for perch or cutfoot."
A) I was up on Lake of the Woods last week, and have fallen behind the curve about fishing close to home, but we have fished here a little since I got home; primarily at Bowstring.
Typically Cutfoot does provide good Crappie fishing and by this time of the winter we can find crappies along the steeper breaklines in McAvity Bay. Some of the better Perch fishing can be found along the weed edges in 7 to 10 feet of water too. I'm not too sure about driving conditions on Cutfoot right now, but I am assuming that travel conditions are marginal. At least I do know that's what we found yesterday on Bowstring as we watched folks struggling with pickups on Bowstring yesterday.
I think that if I was in your shoes I would either stick with one of the rental operators on Winnie that provide plowed roads, or I'd get in touch with the folks at Trails End on Bowstring and follow some of their plowed roads to what has been decent Crappie fishing this winter.

Our afternoon fishing trip to Bowstring featured a mixed bag that featured Perch along with a few Crappies. I ran in to a buddy out there though, he and his partner had started fishing earlier than we did and they were nearly limited on Crappies, already preparing to head home.
Like us, they had travelled by snowmobile which is definitely the best if you're headed off road. My friend observed several trucks being towed out of snow drifts before we arrived and we saw a couple more during our brief trip too.
I believe that folks who rely on travelling by truck will be much happier starting their trip at Trails End and taking advantage of both their roads and their good advice about where to begin your search. Contact >> Trails End

image of snow conditions on Bowstring Lake


image of walleye under water

image denotes fishing question from a readerQ&A Lake Mille Lacs Walleye Management (February 12)

Q) Bill Anderson wrote; "Just wanted to make a suggestion and get your thoughts. For all the money and time the state has spent on Mille Lacs Lake, where has it gotten us? I feel it has been a total waste of tax dollars. I think we should take the entire budget for the big lake management and give it to the tribe to quit netting. They would no doubt be way ahead dollar wise. Then the fishery should simply be opened up fishing using no slots or special management. I bet it would recover naturally, and a lot of fishermen would return, which would be a boost for the area resorts and businesses. And the Casino would no doubt do better, too.
Thanks! Bill Anderson, Baxter, MN
A) Bill, I hear where you're coming from and I honestly wish that solving Mille Lacs' trouble could be that simple.
Before I go further, let me say that my opinion, along with $3.00 will get you a nice cup of coffee, so take this for what it's worth.

Lake Mille Lacs is caught up in multiple layers of trouble; the eco system has undergone so many changes that attempting to single out any one layer that is the key to "fix it" is all but impossible.
One of the most concerning things about the Walleye population has been that the fish continue to spawn and produce good year classes. For several years, the small fish survived for a couple of seasons and then just vanished. There's an optimistic outlook for the lake this year because finally, one year class has managed to hold on beyond the vanishing point. I realize that a single strong year class won't solve the problem by itself, but it will at least help.
My belief is that the true underlying issue lies at the doorstep of the Zebra Mussels. These nasty critters have completely unraveled the lake that we have known as Mille Lacs. In fact, we might as well give it a new name because the system we knew is no longer the same as it once was.
The changing environment has forced fish to move into different territory. That has afforded predator fish easier access and better opportunity to feed on them, making it harder for the lake's Walleye population to maintain itself. Clearer water provides less nutrition and makes it even harder for the lake to regenerate a healthy population of Walleye.
It's gonna take some luck, but I know some of the folks who are working on this and believe me, they are losing sleep and pulling out hair trying to fix it. For me, having faith in smart people comes naturally, so I'm giving them the benefit of doubt.
During my career in fishing, we've seen Upper Red Lake, Leech Lake and numerous smaller lakes crash and burn. In those cases, miraculous resurrections have ensued and those lakes now deliver world class fishing again.
I do suggest that we all equip ourselves with as much knowledge as we can get our heads around. One way of doing that is to exchange ideas and commentary with the folks who are working to restore Mille Lacs to its world class status.
The Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Panel is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Feb. 16, 5:30-9 p.m. at Garrison City Hall. The public is welcome to attend, but if you can't be there, contacting one of the committee members would be a close second choice.
Upcoming meetings of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee will take place 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Garrison City Hall, 27069 Central St. in Garrison; and a second February meeting will take place 5:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Izatys Golf Resort.
A previous newsletter included an incorrect day of the week for the second meeting.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe these meetings. The 17-member advisory committee of citizens has been active since October 2015.
For more information about the committee and DNR’s management of Mille Lacs Lake, visit the Mille Lacs Lake management page. To sign up to receive these email updates, enter your email in the blue box on the “Newsletter” tab on the page. Click to learn more about >> Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Committee Meeting

image denotes link to fish rapper article From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson (February 11); "With the arrival of our latest cold snap, the Crappie bite suddenly came to a screeching halt. Last weekend saw temperatures in the high twenties and even the low thirties. This made for comfortable fishing conditions and the fish seemed willing to cooperate. By Sunday the wind was blowing up to thirty miles per hour with light snow but the fish were still willing. An insect hatch occurred on Saturday night, covering the bottom four feet on my flasher screen. With that the Crappie shut down and moved out. Sunday afternoon before the main body of the storm arrived, the fish began feeding hard. That was the best Crappie fishing I’ve had in a long time. Using a pink Tiger Eye glass head jig with a minnow, I had a take on almost every drop. One thing I noticed on Sunday was the Crappies were nowhere near the bottom. The oxygen levels in the lake must be deteriorating in the deeper water as I found the Crappie preferred the nine to fifteen foot depths over twenty four feet of water. This seems a little early for this to be happening but it’s been a crazy winter. Bluegill fishing was good during the weekend before the front and then likewise, shut down. I just had a report from a Lake Trout fisherman having a great deal of success using a Savage Gear white 4 inch Sandeel. We still have some of these in stock. The weather this weekend will be warmer with less wind according to the latest forecast so it should be a good time to get out and catch some Crappies or what have you. February is” Ice Fishing Contest Month”. There are usually several going on every weekend. If you get a chance to go you should. Ice conditions being what they are have limited vehicle access for many of these contests, so walking, wheelers or snowmobiles will be the main mode of transportation. Sunday the fourteenth is Valentine ’s Day. What better way to spend Valentine ’s Day than in a portable with your sweetie, the heater going, fish biting and surrounded by hundreds of people. That’s northern Minnesota! Have a great weekend everyone!"
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes fishing question from a reader Q&A Minnesota Walleye Management; Stocking the Stockable

Q) Brandon Watson wrote; "Hey Jeff; How is it determined what lakes are stocked with fry and what lakes with fingerlings. Also, what is the benefit to each? Thanks!"
A) Brandon, survivability is the primary benefit of stocking Walleye fingerlings. Panfish, especially Sunfish can be devastating to a freshly stocked batch of Walleye fry. It is the larger size of the fingerlings that protects them from being destroyed by small predator fish.
Fingerlings are also used for supplemental, early fall stocking of some lakes where natural populations of Walleye need a boost.  There are other instances where using fingerlings would be desirable too and one could ask; "Why not just forget about fry stocking and use fingerlings for all of our stocking needs?"
The problem is that Mother Nature complicates things and growing Walleye fry to fingerling size is a lot trickier and much more expense than one would think. Walleyes are born with big appetites; for each other! So the first problem is getting them out of the hatchery and into open water before they begin cannibalizing each other. This has to happen within a day, sometimes maybe even within hours of when the tiny fish, known as Zygotes are hatched.
In order to find homes for all of the fry, fisheries staff would need to have hundreds of small lakes to use as rearing ponds. Then each of the small waters would have to be free of predators, they couldn’t even contain minnows.  Each pond would all have to provide shallow cover and plenty of Plankton for the fry to feast on. Finally, the fingerlings would have to be accessible so that fisheries staff could get them back again when they need them.
You can see how quickly the odds begin stacking up against raising fingerlings. Even if finding enough rearing ponds was feasible, then the labor intensive task of retrieving all of the fingerlings would force the operating cost into orbit.
For most of the lakes in the Itasca area where Walleye are stocked, fry are used effectively to supplement Walleye populations. Stocking fry directly into the lakes where these fish would eventually wind up anyway helps reduce the cost tremendously and in most cases, fry stocking works pretty darn well. In fact, some of my very favorite Walleye lakes are fry stocked and I can personally attest to the effectiveness of this method.
The goal of DNR Fisheries Managers is to achieve maximum output for the effort. Information about optimizing stocking methods and stocking levels continues to accumulate. Even today, there are ongoing studies, intended to help fisheries managers understand when and how optimum results can be expected.
Over the next few years, I’d expect to hear a lot more about “tweaking the system” in an attempt to learn more about establishing this "sweet spot" for each lake, or at least each lake classification where stocking occurs.

image denotes link to fish rapper article From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson (February 4); "Last weekend saw a resurgence of anglers out on the area lakes. While some of the larger lakes have been having slush issues, the smaller more difficult to reach lakes were in good shape and were producing nice catches of Crappie and Sunfish. The warmer temperatures and light winds made for comfortable fishing conditions and for those who went back into the small and often lightly fished waters of this area, did quite well.
Crappies have been taking small spoons tipped with either a minnow head or waxies. A pink jig like the Tiger Eye and a minnow was the answer for me last weekend. Some anglers reported success using either Gulp maggots or Trigger X Mustache Worms to pick up a limit.
Sunfish have been somewhat finicky but smaller sized jigs with plastics seemed to do the trick. Walleye have been a little closed mouthed as of late but it’s still possible to catch a few keepers if you work at it.
The most consistent bite has been Northern Pike. Tip-ups with sucker minnows or spoons and large rattle baits like the LIVE TARGET Golden Shiner have been picking up some good sized Pike.
The weather forecast for this weekend looks a lot like last weekend so there should be ample opportunity to get out and catch some fish for a Super Bowl fish fry.
If you’re going to be fishing in the area, be sure to drop by the store. The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful fishing adventure." Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 3, 2016 - Working Better Under Pressure?

That phrase is one that I hear a lot, that's because it applies to me. I always do my best work under pressure and folks who know me, love pointing it out too. That’s because they've watched the self-appointed "Magi Of Multi-Tasking" in action. Juggling flopping fish, re-baiting hooks, steering the boat and watching the Humminbird all at the same time; oh and firing up a stogie while I'm at it too!
Take the pressure off though and I can turn sort of worthless, slipping into a laissez a faire attitude about fishing, caring little about whether I catch anything or not.
Fish work better under pressure too and one event that makes anglers shiver is a falling barometer. There's something about a drop in pressure that tends to slip fish out of feeding mode and sends them into the depths for nappy time.
That's my best guess about what happened on Tuesday; an incoming storm, a falling barometer and zzz's for the fish.
While we watched, the screen of my Humminbird revealed fish after fish, rising to the bait and then slowly sinking back to bottom without striking. As I struggled with the notion that I just couldn't make 'em bite, I thought that the least I could do for you would be to try and explain why this happens.
Researching the effects of barometric pressure on fishing, I stumbled into an excellent article; "Fishing by the Barometer". The in depth article by George Poveromo goes a long way to helping understand how barometric pressure influences fish behavior, it's far better than anything I could write on this subject.
Poveromo writes; "Every angler knows that tide, water temperature, light level and moon phase can affect our fishing success, but there's another factor that often goes overlooked. Although barometric pressure can't be predicted as accurately as the other elements just mentioned, it has a major influence on fish behavior.
Think about it. How many times have you enjoyed a red-hot bite before an approaching ... Read >> How barometric pressure influences fish behavior.

image links to article about barometric pressure

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2016 - Busy Weekend at the "Sunny Hole"

I guess that this was the first weekend of the winter that nice weather combined with the absence of a football game, gave ice anglers a really good excuse to get outside and fish. From my vantage point, it appeared that many of them were rewarded with good fishing to boot.
Bluegill fishing around the Grand Rapids area has been reliable for a couple of weeks now and I wondered if heavier weekend fishing pressure might be the trigger that could slow the action down. The fish shrugged off the heavy traffic though and ... Read >> Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2016

image of joelle bellamyu holding nice bluegill

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