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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 28, 2018 "Warming The Warmable and Renewing The Renewable"

image of ice fisherman on snowmobile We’re a long way from the end of the ice fishing season, but we’re only a few hours away from the expiration of our 2017 Minnesota Fishing Licenses. Just to be sure that I wouldn’t drop the ball and forget to renew my license tomorrow; I woke up extra early and bought mine today.

It wouldn’t look very good for me to be carrying an expired license when I’m checked by the game warden, so I made sure my bases are covered. Following my annual routine, I logged in, paid up and printed out 4 copies. Now I can put 1 in the truck, 1 in the boat, 1 in my tackle box and 1 in my wallet; that should cover me.

By the way, I did it again; I spent $5.75 extra for the voluntary Walleye Stamp just to make myself feel better.

On Tuesday, I finally got to pair up with my buddy Bill Powell for a little fishing. It was one heck of a nice afternoon on the lake. I had almost forgotten what it’s like to sit outside on the ice and be comfortable, but it came back to me. I have to say that after a long cold winter, this trip definitely renewed my enthusiasm for ice fishing.

For now, travel conditions on most lakes dictate the use of snowmobiles or ATVs equipped with tracks. Unless you’re fishing on a lake that has plowed roads, travel by pickup truck is virtually impossible. In fact, on many lakes travel by vehicle is likely over for this winter. That’s because ice, saturated by water trapped between the surface and the deep snow is already beginning to soften. I drilled some holes yesterday that were already filled with wet, soft ice and while it’s still relatively solid, we will want to keep our eyes open for trouble spots.

For us, the fishing action wasn’t bad, small schools of crappies would wander through the area at random intervals. Many of the fish were lookers, but there were enough biters to allow us each to bring home a meal of fish. Sizes were mixed too; I caught one fish that was about 7 inches long and one fish that was close to 12 inches, everything else was somewhere in between.

Bill was using a Pink/Glow Tungsten Toad that was the hottest lure of the day. In fact he says that same lure has been tied on that particular rod since the season began. Although the Toad was best, I was doing okay by experimenting and caught several fish using both a Red/Glow Tungsten Fat Boy and a Blue/Glow Tungsten Ice Worm. All of the lures were tipped with a couple of wax worms; we did not experiment with artificial baits.

image of snow cover on cutfoot siouxLet me add one word of caution about traveling on the ice. Last night, the Hippie Chick showed me a picture of a vehicle that broke through the ice on Rice Lake north of Duluth yesterday. The scary part about that image for us was that we drove onto that lake using the same plowed road just a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure that the driver was convinced that the road was still in good condition and that the ice was solid.

Conditions are changing too fast to be sure about anything right now. But there is one fact to bear in mind; whenever a lake is not making ice, it is losing it. Unless we have a full meltdown followed by a hard re-freeze, we should all assume that the ice is less safe today than it was yesterday.

Slush was not that bad for us yesterday, but unless weather conditions change, it will soon be problematic for snowmobiles too. On some lakes, I’m sure that it already is, especially in areas that have been fished heavily. I’ll send out feelers about ice conditions today, and have a weekend outlook updated for Thursday. If you’re out and about, we would all love to hear from you about travel conditions on your lake. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page February 28, 2018 - "How Can We Make Our Boat Load Better?"

Q) Kevin Scott Wrote; "Hey Jeff! My buddy has a 1999 Pro V 1750. ! He has a shore lander trailer! His frustration comes with loading the boat! Hard to get centered and drive on! What trailer should he have for that boat that would make loading and unloading easy! Many of these boats have been sold and there has got to be the right setup' your help is much appreciated oh Great One! Wishing you the best!

A) Kevin, I’ve had many Shoreland’r trailers paired with a variety of Lund Boats. The Pro V has historically been a very good match up with the Shoreland’r roller trailers. But variances that occur during the original assembly of the trailer tend to give every rig a personality of its own.

Often times, simple adjustments to the placement of the rollers could resolve loading issues, but most of us never actually go to the trouble to find out if our trailers are set up for maximum performance of not. I’ve only had one or two trailers in my lifetime that required significant “tweaking”, but when they need it, they need it.

There’s more than one way to go about correcting situations like this one. But let’s start with the premise that the trailer is already set up correctly and that it has never been damaged in an accident or by use on rough terrain. If that’s the case, then there are two common culprits most likely at play.

First and most common is that your buddy might be backing his trailer too deep into the water before running hi Pro V onto it. When the boat is allowed to float above the back rollers, there isn’t any way to ensure that the rollers line up between the strakes (sand rails) on the hull of the boat. Typically, I like to see the rearmost rollers sticking up a few inches above the surface before I begin to drive my boat on.

The second very common problem occurs when the trailer is not positioned level at the ramp. When the trailer’s rollers are lower on one side than the other, the boat wants to slide down to the low side. This can be very frustrating because no matter have perfectly you align the bow of the boat with the center of the trailer, it continues to load crooked.

In my area, very few of the boat landings are actually level and at times; I’ve had to re-position the trailer more than once to finally achieve the correct balance.

If either of these two circumstances is causing his trouble, then no further action is necessary. He’ll just have to make some adjustments to his loading procedures.

If he’s tried these fixes already, then the next step is to float the boat off of the trailer and experiment with placement of the rollers. Loosen the bolts and re-position the rollers so that they both space evenly between the edges of the trailer frame, but also lay centered between the sand rails under the hull. Pay particular attention to the front set of rollers to be sure that they allow the boat to get a straight start onto the trailer, when they line up correctly, the entire boat will follow their alignment.

An accessory that will also make loading easier would be to install side rollers at the back of the trailer. Whenever the boat’s alignment can’t be perfected, then using side rollers to help push the transom of the boat back toward the center of the trailer can be helpful. These can be particularly effective at steep ramps where the water is deep. They are also good for loading in strong winds when it’s difficult to maintain correct alignment.

I really doubt that you’ll need to go this far, but let’s say that you’ve tried all of this and still can’t resolve the issue. Then your next stop should be at a reliable, full service tire and alignment shop. They will know how to assess the frame’s alignment and if necessary, provide suggested alternatives for correcting it.

I have a lot of confidence in your ability to work the kinks out of your pal’s rig. Just take the simplest steps first, like my dad used to tell me; “don’t re-build the engine until after you’ve checked the spark plugs”.

Good luck and happy fishing! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 27, 2018

image of boys hoolding big walleye "Fishing reports for the past week have been mixed according to Joe Henry at Lake of the Woods Tourism.

The varying attitudes of the fish produce some good days and some okay days. Some schools of fish have been aggressive, attacking any lure they see, others are window watchers that follow a jig up and down through the water column and some don’t do anything, they just cruise through.

As always, electronics play a crucial role right now and most anglers are graphing fish all day. The anglers who capitalize on every sighting are the ones with the heaviest creels.

Most resorts are out in 27-33' and starting to make the push shallower. Reefs to the west continue to put hungry fish in the eater pail. Rattle spoons working well most days but some days a smaller quieter presentation is needed.

Pike are roaming the shallows and setting up for what should be an awesome March.

Auger extensions are needed if fishing on your own; there are 4 feet of ice, maybe more in most areas.

Snowmobilers stay on the marked trails; there are big ice chunks off of the trails. Ice houses allowed to be left on LOW through March 31st, walleyes open through April 14, pike open all year.

Rainy River pushing out some bigger walleyes in the morning/evening with an occasional sturgeon. Local fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay. Morning, evening bite most effective.

The NW Angle continues to put good fish in the bucket. Walleyes and saugers in 19-24'. Early and late bite has been fantastic but the afternoon bite shouldn't be taken lightly. In Ontario waters, crappies in holes of 28-32' off of points.

Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on. Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 27, 2018

"We are situated with houses in 24-31 foot of water off of Pine Island and moving in. It seems strange this time of year having houses close by. We continue to move around and look for a more consistent bite. This past week brought a couple of tough days with limited actions but yesterdays bite was much improved.

Those anglers working their jigs have produced more fish. There are still suspended fish on the sonars. We have 4-5 feet of ice with plenty of snow cover. We are very optimistic about having the houses out through March.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund. Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

The forecast ahead shows sunny and clear with highs in the 30’s and lows in the teens overnight." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort February 26, 2018

image of flooded road on the ice "The weight of this week's snowfall has become greater than the ice sheet on Bowstring can support.

Slush is the new word of the day today and there are numerous areas of flooding developing. For a short time, we are limiting the use of our access in the hope that the roads will heal up faster.

We can't control what people do on the lake, but we were very disappointed by the angler who stopped his rig and drilled his fishing holes smack dab in the middle of our road. The flooding caused by that single, thoughtless act will not only deprive dozens of anglers from accessing a fishing spot, but creates serious concerns about the safety of folks travelling on the lake.

It may not seem like a big deal, but please do not drill holes on or anywhere near the plowed roads. The safety of others is at risk and that concerns us deeply!

We will let everyone know as soon as the roads become accessible again." - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 25, 2018 "Snowy Ending To Walleye Season Up North"

image of matt mattson with nice walleye Walleye and pike in Itasca Region of northern Minnesota are likely to go un-noticed by most anglers today as snow continues to pile up.

Even though there are still a few hours left of the 2017 walleye and pike fishing season, travel conditions on the ice are deteriorating. Snowplows are out on the roads right now trying to clean up after another 4 to 6 inches of snow fell in Grand Rapids area overnight. Here’s the good part though, west winds gusting up to 25 MPH are going to cause white-out conditions today.

The walleye photos that my friend Matt Mattson sent yesterday will probably be the last ones I see from any inland lakes this winter.

The walleye season ending is not good news for me because this means that I have now officially failed to help the Hippie Chick catch her first walleye through the ice; at least so far. There’s still time, but now we’re gonna have to high-tail it to Lake of the Woods if I want to keep my promise; more on that later.

Fishing reports from friends who did manage to fish over the past few days have been mixed. There were enough fish coming in to make life interesting, but there were no reports of stellar action.

The action on Lake Winnie wasn’t fast for Matthew and his fishing buddy, but like Matt said; “reeling in even one nice size walleye through the ice is worth the effort.” Recapping the adventure by telephone last night, I recall him reporting 5 walleyes caught; 4 slot-fish and 1 keeper.

image of lake winnie walleye Perch fishing was slow, and the fish they did catch were mostly small in the area they fished. Mobility or the lack of it was a contributing factor; off road travel was not possible. They drove out on the road out from Highbanks Resort, picked a likely looking spot within walking distance and took their chances.

Crappie fishing for my friend Mike Silvis and his crew wasn’t fabulous, but it wasn’t bad either. Small crappies kept them busy throughout the afternoon and by sorting, they ended the day with a dozen keeper fish in their creel.

For me, hot pursuit of perch and panfish resumes tomorrow. But first, I have one more day of work at the Ray’s Marine Boat Show. I, along with other pro-staffers will be on hand today to help answer questions about utilizing the latest gadgetry, so why not drop by for a chat.

The show hours today Sunday February 25, 2018 run from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. That still gives you plenty of time to check out Ray’s Marine new headquarters and take a tour of their new service department. Ray's Marine is located at 895 NE 1ST STREET in Grand Rapids see you there! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page February 23, 2018 - "Walleye Slot Restrictions MN vs WI Whose Is Better?"

image of walleye In an email, Paul wrote; "Jeff, talking about decreased walleye populations, brings me to this question; I fish both Minnesota and Wisconsin for walleye, and they have very different regulations.

In Wisconsin, they give you a size parameter you can keep, such as 16"-21" can be kept, whereas on many Minnesota lakes, you are given a parameter of what has to be thrown back, such as 17"-26" must be released.

This seems to be encouraging many fishermen to keep many small fish. Seeing people keeping 11-12 inch walleye is a bit disturbing. These younger fish never have a chance to grow up and be future spawning fish.

Do you think implementing a slot limit as to what you can keep, such as Wisconsin, rather than a slot limit saying what you have to throw back would benefit walleye populations?

A) Paul, I too have been disappointed at times by how low the bar can be set for keeping fish. I do understand though that it’s only human nature to want to bring fish home as a reward for going to the effort and expense of a day on the lake. That said real life scenarios that play out from one lake to another can be complicated. Generalizing about what we need to do in one are because it’s what they do in another area may occasionally work, but not always.

Years ago, I was at a meeting where expert biologists reported that applying minimum size limits tend to a lake often result in high catch rates of small fish. Anglers are forced to sift through lots of little ones in order to catch one that achieves the minimum size so that they can keep it.

You could be thinking what’s wrong with that, who wouldn’t want to catch and release a ton of fish every day?

Think about it though, what happens if anglers are fishing on one of the numerous clear, deep water lakes where the best action occurs in 35 to 45 feet of water? Many of those small fish would still die and they still would never get a chance to reproduce. Except now you add the problem that the anglers don’t get to eat them either; nobody benefits.

image of spawning walleyes Earlier in my career, I watched a scenario play out on Lake Winnie one season where there was a gigantic year class of small fish. Everybody on the lake was catching tons of fish and sorting through them to achieve the highest possible weights for their creels. The problem at that time was that the smaller fish from that year class 14 to 15 inch fish were almost all males and the larger ones were almost all females.

In the fall, the fish cleaning shacks were full of folks carving up their catches and it was easy to see the developing spawn sacks in the entrails. In that case, I observed that folks who did the best job of selecting larger fish were actually cleaning mostly females. Anglers who settled for the smaller size fish were filleting a much larger proportion of male fish vs females. So in this case, it appeared to me that the folks eating 14 inch fish were actually conserving more than the folks who were sorting for larger ones.

I asked for guidance from DNR biologists about the phenomenon and they advised setting a self-imposed, personal goal of 14 inches as a minimum. The advice was based on statistics about reproduction on Lake Winnie. The data showed that male Walleyes would most like reach sexual maturity and have at least one chance to reproduce by the time they reached 14 inches.

A few years later, the 17 to 26 inch protected slot was implemented on Lake Winnie. For a time, it appeared to be working well, there were more quality fish in the system and adaptable anglers were catching fish to eat as well. Later though, it was suggested that the size range for protected fish was too broad. There were too many larger fish protected and that produced a problem that biologists call stacking. There weren’t enough fish harvested to allow room for strong years classes of small fish to emerge.

image of walleye length chartThe 17 to 26 inch slot limit was re-evaluated during the summer of 2014. An 18 to 25 inch protected slot limit was initially evaluated. After evaluation it appeared that a less restrictive regulation could be implemented while maintaining a healthy Walleye fishery. Further evaluation resulted in a protected slot limit of 18 to 23 inches with a bag limit of 6 being proposed. That regulation was viewed favorably by anglers and was implemented in March of 2015.

Theoretically, if anglers harvest more of the larger fish, it will provide additional room in the lake and therefore more opportunity for another strong class of walleye to emerge.

With only three seasons behind us, it’s a little too early to tell if this is working or not, but I hope it is.

Getting back to your original question; what do I think about “keeper slots” vs “release slots”?

It’s been my understanding that when minimum size restrictions are set, they create a ceiling that curtails opportunity to harvest fish. Anglers catch numerous fish that fall just short of the “keeper size” and that eventually, almost every legal fish is harvested by somebody.

That’s fine for folks who want a lot of action and don’t care much about catching quality size. It may also be a fine concept for lakes that are large enough to allow walleyes an escape from angling pressure. But on smaller waters where anglers have easy access to all of the fishable territory, it’s hard to imagine many fish escaping capture long enough to survive their life in the “keeper zone”. It seems that wherever you set the keep-able size, is where the lives of most walleyes would end.

If the bar is set high enough to allow female walleyes to reach sexual maturity and reproduce before they’re harvested, we’d be right back where we are now; grumbling about catching fish that cannot be harvested. It seems like you’d create another stacking situation, except now you’d have too many small fish.

Admittedly, I do not have personal experience on lakes where they use that type of slot system. So I do believe it would be both interesting and informative to see a test program run on a few lakes. We do have more than a few lakes that could never be harmed by testing the concept.

No matter how it’s accomplished, it seems obvious that the answer lies in striking a balance between conservation and consumption.

Based solely on my own anecdotal experiences, it makes the most sense to continue using protected slot size limits. Continually tweaking them to achieve the desired results and determining how to maximize their effectiveness. The protected slot should be just wide enough to protect a renewable resource, but narrow enough to allow ample opportunity for anglers to enjoy harvesting some fish as well. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL Related Articles >> Will The Good Old Days Come Back For Winnie Walleyes?

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 23, 2018 "Ray's Marine In Store Boat Show"

I want to thank everybody who turned out for my fishing seminar on Thursday afternoon. I loved having the chance to chat with you and I hope your trip was well worth the effort.
image links to Rays Marine Boat ShowThe show continues today and runs through Sunday February 25, 2018. So there's still plenty of time to check out Ray’s Marine new headquarters where they have lots of boats is located at 895 NE 1ST STREET in Grand Rapids
Highlights of the event include more free fishing seminars and on Saturday, there’s a FREE fish fry from 11:00 AM TO 1:00 PM .
Lowrance University is on hand to help you learn everything from selecting a unit to squeezing more performance out of the Lowrance unit that you already have.
If you're a Humminbird fan, I, along with other top pros will be there to answer questions about your electronics too. In fact, there's somebody to answer your question about everything from trolling motors to pontoon bgoats. If we don't have the answer, we will find somebody who does.
As always, the best reason to visit the show is to see all of the new introductions for 2018 and to take advantage of dealer specials like Lund’s “Spring Catch” or Crestliner’s “Reel Deal”. Both programs offer instant savings of up to $2,500.00 on boats purchased during the program. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin February 23, 2018 Help Jeff Sell The Boat and Receive Free Fishing Weekend!

image of Lund 208 Pro V GLThat's right, help me sell this fabulous boat and you will receive a full weekend of free fishing with me. Even if the new home you find is your own, you can still get the free fishing trip.

I definitely love my 208 Lund Pro V GL, but it’s getting close to the start of a new season and it's time to make room in the shed for the next one.

Either you, or someone you know can cash in on big savings by picking up this luxurious fully rigged and ready fishing boat for $15,000 below the retail price.

If you’re reading this page, then you already know that I like to ... Learn More >> Lund 208 ProV GL Tiller For Sale

Join US On Facebook and Become A Duly Deputized Fishrapper Cub Reporter image links to fishrapper facebook page

Helping your fellow fishermen and women stay abreast of fishing conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!
You don't have to write a book, you don't have to share your secret fishing spots and you don't even have to mention your lake. But even a few words about general trends, seasonal patterns and local weather conditions can really help.

Fishing Reports Minnesota, the Facebook counterpart to this page is open to the public, so you can post your own fishing update or just share a photo of a nice catch. Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter", it's good for fishing! Contact Us

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish February 15, 2018 "Stop Tangling Treble Hooks"

image links to article "I’ve modified a simple way to store treble hook lures in tackle boxes to keep them from tangling up. If you’re like me you take a lot of various colors and sizes of different treble hook baits and you want to swap constantly with conditions and mood of the fish, but I get tired of fighting the baits always being tangled or locked together because of all the hooks.

We shared a video a couple of years ago from ice fishing angler Alex Keszler where he stored his lipless crankbaits for ice fishing in a peanut butter jar using rubber bands to keep the baits from tangling.

I didn’t necessarily want to convert all my crankbait boxes to peanut butter jars so I started playing with how to make it work in my ..." Learn More >> Stop Tangling Treble Hooks

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 22, 2018 "Free Fishing Seminar Today at 2:00 PM"

Learn more about locating and catching panfish throughout the seasons in the Grand Rapids Area

image links to Rays Marine Boat Show For me, pre-packaged fishing seminars need to be really special before I can get too excited about them. Small venues are especially challenging because we don't have access to all of the whizbangs and gadegtry to pull off a Pink Floyd stle show.

That's why I'm doing something different today, let's call it a non-seminar seminar. I'm going to show up with my laptop, a small monitor and a whole bunch of real 3D Lakemaster Maps of our own home waters. That's right, we'll be talking about real lakes, where we really fish.

Then I'm going to walk you through likely panfish locations and presentations season by season.

Since this is an intimate setting, you will have tons of time for Q&A and we won't quit until all of your questions are answered.

The location is Ray’s Marine in-store boat show, 895 NE 1ST STREET in Grand Rapids. The time is 2:00 PM today Thursday February 22, 2018
Do me a favor and swing by, it will be a fun afternoon, I promise. Learn More >> Ray's Marine Boat Show February 22, 2018

image links to fishrapper home page February 22, 2018 - "Humminbird Ice Helix 7 Low Battery Voltage"

Q) Steve Sykes wrote; "Hi Jeff, I recently purchased a new Humminbird Ice Helix 7 chirp GPS G2 unit. I have used it 5 or 6 times and really like the unit, especially the GPS feature. I was out this past weekend and after 6 hours the battery ran out and the unit shut off. Have you had the same issue? I was thinking maybe the battery that it came with wasn’t the greatest?

A) Steve, you're right, the Ice Helix 7 is really a powerful tool and also correct is that it takes a lot of juice to keep all of those features purring properly.

The battery that should have shipped with your unit is a 9 Amp Hour UB 1290. There are other batteries that look the same, and are the same size dimensions, but provide lower Amp Hour ratings. So just check to be sure that you didn't receive either of the lower amperage models 1270 or 1280. Assumining that you have the correct battery and that it is in reasonably good condition, the likely fix for extending your daily battery life is an easy one.

With the unit on, push the power button, select the backlight and lower the light level to the lowest possible setting that still allows you to view your screen easily. By reducing the light level, you'll conserve power consumption and extend the daily life of your battery.

I can't speak to differences in quality between varying brands of batteries, but I do know that there are a wide variety of replacement options available. There are even batteries that provide higher amp hour ratings, but take care to be sure that the size dimensions are equal and would not require alterations to the base of your unit.

Try the background light adjustment first and if that doesn't make you happy, we'll explore some other options. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page February 22, 2018 - "Lake Winnibigoshish Walleye Populations Revisted"

image of walleyes under water Q) John Vander Louw wrote; “Jeff, I and my family of 14 have been vacationing and fishing Lake Winnie for 17 years.  The last few years fishing has been terrible (for us) on Winnie. 

The DNR Lake survey indicate much lower net rates of walleye than previous, if I read the reports correctly.

I am seriously thinking of going to another lake and resort. I would like your thoughts and opinion about this.

A) John, this isn’t the first time that this subject has come up. In fact, a similar question came to my inbox last spring and finding the answer led me to an interview with officials at the Grand Rapids Fisheries office.

That information, along with some anecdotal studies generated this report >>

I agree that of late, Lake Winnibigoshish has certainly dished out more than a fair share of headaches for walleye fishermen testing their skills on the gentle giant.

The problem is that the fishery has changed so much, so fast that it’s hard to know precisely where to point the finger of blame. I believe that most of us who fish the lake frequently do agree that it appears the lake has suffered a decline in the walleye population. This doesn't mean that all of the fish are gone and we can't catch any, we can. But imbalances caused by lower fish populations do tend to make fishing more difficult.

Personally, I’ve been hanging my hopes on an observation made by one of the DNR fisheries Staff who monitors populations on Winnie. It was his belief that a fairly strong population of small fish existed in the lake during the spring of 2017. Their fate rested on the strength of the 2017 growing season and the ability of those fish to survive this winter season.

We are about 2 months away from seeing whether or not those fish show up at the nets during the walleye egg harvest at Little Cutfoot Sioux. If they do show up in strong numbers, it would indicate another strong year class on the way and allow us to breathe a sigh of relief.

Statistics aside, there’s no doubt in my mind that the lake continues to hold reasonable numbers of catchable fish. Catching them requires some adaptations and I’ve located links to a few of the more pertinent articles from the past couple of seasons. If after reading these you have additional questions, let me know and I’ll take a crack at answering them for you. ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Walleye Population Outlook fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort February 21, 2018

image of walleye caught on bowstring lake "Over the past few days, we received 16 inches of new snow. Bill has been working hard, well into the night to keep our plowed roads open for those anglers who come. But we’re definitely playing catch up and we appreciate your patience and we get our fishing spots opened up again.

Thanks to a break from the snowfall and a sunny day in store today, we should have everything whipped into shape for the upcoming weekend.

As we approach the closing weekend of the Walleye fishing season, we hope that you’ll be inspired by the accompanying photo. Homer caught this dandy 26 inch walleye while ice fishing on Bowstring last weekend. Nobody can promise a catch like this one every day, but we can let you in a little secret, Homer released this fish, so we know it’s still in there. Who knows, maybe she’ll be hungry again when your lure drops into the water and lands in front of her nose?

If you’re headed up this weekend, drive safely and be sure to stop in a pay us a visit." - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 21, 2018 "Snowfall Changes Focus For Itasca Area Anglers"

image of perch Perch fishing will soon become the primary focus for most anglers visiting the Itasca region.

Due in part to the ending of the 2017-2018 Walleye seasons and the natural propensity of Perch to become increasingly active during late winter, greatly reduced mobility will force many anglers away from smaller waters.

The total snowfall from February 18th to 20th varied by region, but totaled roughly 1 foot for the greater Itasca Region of north central Minnesota. The combined effects of drifting added to the raw snowfall amounts increases the odds of finding areas of knee-deep drifted snow on many lakes. Until the next meltdown, anglers without access to a snowmobile or ATV will be depending on rental operators who provide road plowing services.

The wider availability of plowed roads on larger lakes combined with greater populations of Perch in those same waters makes the transition a logical one. Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish lead the pack in late winter Perch action. But don’t overlook smaller “big lakes” either. Lake Bemidji, Bowstring and Pike Bay are examples of smaller waters where anglers are likely to find passable roadways that lead to good perch fishing spots.

image links to Rays Marine Boat Show For me, other forces will keep me off of the ice and my focus for the weekend will be on spring, open water and boats; lots of boats!

Ray’s Marine is treating boating enthusiasts to an indoor boat show at their new headquarters at 895 NE 1ST STREET in Grand Rapids this week. The store’s Grand Opening event runs from Thursday February 22 through Sunday February 25, 2018.

Highlights of the event include free fishing seminars with James Lindner, Brad Hawthorne and yours truly, Jeff Sundin. There’s a FREE fish fry on Saturday from 11:00 AM TO 1:00 PM and this year, Lowrance University will be on hand to help you learn everything from selecting a unit to squeezing out every drop of performance from the Lowrance unit that you already have.

I, along with other top pros will be there to answer questions about everything fishing. Ask about electronics, trolling motors and everything from Jon boats to pontoons, there will be somebody on hand to help get you the answer.

image links to Rays Marine Boat Show As always, the best reason to visit the show is to see all of the new introductions and take advantage of dealer specials like Lund’s “Spring Catch” and Crestliner’s “Reel Deal”. Both programs off instant savings of up to $2,500.00 on boats purchased during the program.

With Ray’s Marine world headquarters located only 3 minutes from my home, I’ll be popping in and out every day of the show. But I’d really love to see you there on Thursday at 2:00 PM because that’s when I’ll deliver my fishing seminar about how to find and catch Crappies throughout the year.

I’ll cover winter, spring summer and fall crappie locations. In this intimate setting, there will be lots of time for Q&A; you’ll be able to ask anything you want about Crappies and Crappie fishing in the Itasca Region. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Shores of Leech Lake February 20, 2018

image of perch in a pail "We are on the west side of Walker Bay, so our customers mostly fish Walker Bay. These perch were taken this afternoon near Sand Point (north Walker Bay flats).

They are in an 11” diameter, 5-gallon bucket, not huge perch, but not bad either.

When the weather is warmer and nicer our customers catch fish in the afternoon and early evening in 8-13’ on the north Walker Bay flats.
When the weather is colder, if they find fish, it is in 35 to 40 foot range, on the bottom.

I would expect as we move toward spring there will be more fishing on the flats and less fishing over the deeper water." Mitch & Mara Loomis, Shores of Leech Lake 218-547-1819

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort February 20, 2018

"We’ve received about a foot of snow and Todd has opened the roads back up into the landing and all the way to clay Banks. Getting around on the lake is now tough at best, which is disappointing after the fantastic fishing action that our guests enjoyed last weekend.

It’s hard to say how the drifting will affect travel over the short term, but fishermen in vehicles should anticipate poor travel conditions until temperatures rise and the first spring thaw arrives." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 20, 2018

image of nice walleye caught by youngster "Anglers heading for the ice on Lake of the Woods this week should be optimistic. Consistent weather is typically good and the weather forecast calls for consistent conditions starting Wednesday with average temps in the mid 20's.

Right now anglers are working fish hard and putting fish in the pail. Electronics are playing a huge roll as some walleyes suspended as far as 10 feet below the ice.

Most resorts have their rental shelters place out in the 31 foot range. There are operators with some of their shelters placed a touch shallower too.

Anglers fishing in the deepest water, over soft bottom areas are catching primarily Sauger. Shallower structure like sunken islands and reefs are producing more walleyes. During evening and early morning, shallower areas produce action, during mid-day, look deeper for fish holding near the structure. Reefs to the west are also productive with a few perch being pulled in as well.

Rattle and flutter action spoons doing well. Gold, pink, and other glow colors are the best.

image of woman with big pikePike are already active in shallow water.

Auger extensions are needed if fishing on your own. Ice thickness now ranges 30 to 40 inches in most areas.

The Rainy River has been pushing out some bigger walleyes in the morning and evening along with an occasional sturgeon. Local fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay.

The NW Angle continues to put nice fish in the bucket. Anglers are catching both Walleyes and Sauger in good numbers. Early and late action occurs in 20-24' while 26-30' produces more fish during the day.

In Ontario waters, crappies in deeper holes of 28-32' on light tackle set ups. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on.

Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed. Snowmobilers stay on the marked trails; there are big ice chunks off of trail."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 20, 2018

"Suspended fish from 5-10 feet off the bottom has provided some great catches. Anglers continue to work the electronics and aggressively jigging and reacting to marks on the sonar are providing greater success. There were many nice bags of fish this past week. There are still many little ones taking bait. On average last week we had about a 50/50 split of Walleye and Sauger coming into the cleaning house, although one day everyone catches Sauger and the next day more Walleye.

We have houses spread out from 1 to 9 miles from Pine Island ranging in 24-34 feet of water. We continue moving our houses and searching for fresh locations. This February has been other than normal, we have been actually moving closer to Pine Island for 2 weeks now.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund. Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

The week ahead shows a mix of weather with daytime temps ranging in the teens to overnight temps to -10. This weather is excellent for ice fishing through the whole month of March, there is plenty of snow cover on the lake." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 18, 2018 "The Best Laid Fishing Plans …"

image of big bluegill … are no plans at all; at least that’s the way this ice fishing season has gone for me.

After a busy week of constantly having other plans, I and the Hippie Chick were chomping at the bit to get outside today. Fueled by the arrival of dozens fish photos coming from friends and family, we were bound and determined to get onto the ice today.

Winter storm warnings promising the arrival of heavy snow have already come to fruition. The snow is piling up outside of our kitchen window right now, so for now we’re in a watch and wait pattern.

If we do get lucky and manage a trip onto the ice today, we’ll be heading for one of our area’s shallow water, high fertility lakes. These are where reports of the best Panfish action are coming from; prairie lakes and flowages that have the feel of overgrown farm ponds.

Unlike pinpointing panfish on lakes that have well defined structure and isolated deep water holes, locating fish on shallow flats is much less pro-active. The fish are less likely to gather into large schools, but they will be on the move, arriving in small packs at random intervals throughout the day.

Typically, we’ll set up along the shoreline breaks in water depths of 6 to 12 feet. Weedy flats located adjacent to deeper, soft bottom flats are good starting places. Expansive flowages are good too; the slow moving water keeps the food churned up for easier feeding.

image of crappie caught on tungsten toad Flowages are important in another way too, the moving water, along with the presence of woody habitat like bulrush, cattails and wild rice provide ideal spawning habitat for panfish and perch. Even though it’s technically still winter, the fish are beginning to explore areas near their spawning territory. Every day we get closer to spring and this encourages fish to move rather than sit still; a moving fish is always easier to catch than a resting one.

Presentations vary day by day, so experimentation is called for. Last week a note From Austin Jones described panfish as being aggressive, striking on Rattlin’ Flyer Spoons tipped with wax worms. Yesterday their attitude was more subdued. “They shied away from lots of action and bigger spoons. But jigging Tungsten Toads tipped with wax worms to get their attention. Once they looked at the bait, teasing them with a slow rise triggered them to strike” Jones said.

Big lakes have anglers focused primarily on Perch fishing and it has been good, but anglers are reporting small average size.

Part of the trouble with finding larger fish is due to accessibility. Poor off-road travel conditions are hindering anglers from going where they want and on Winnie, large ice ridges isolate anglers from some of the more reliable late winter perch spots.

Removal of permanent ice fishing shelters isn’t required for another month. But the Walleye season ends next weekend anyway and the snow begins piling up today, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some folks removing them from area lakes today. Travel by snow machine will be back in vogue if the predicted snowfall arrives on schedule.

If you're out on the ice today, be mindful of the weather and allow a cushion of safety for getting back to shore safe and sound. We'll let you know if we manage a trip to the lake or not. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page February 16, 2018 - "Reducing Minnesota's Walleye Bag Limits"

image of anglers with walleye limits On February 15, 2018 Robert Klocker wrote; "Hi Jeff! I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts (about bag limits). They may not be parallel with your opinion, but I know that it also reflects the opinions that a couple of my regular fishing partners share.

At 58 years of age I’ve seen the evolution of both good and bad fishing. I believe the 2 biggest points that impact the fishing are Pressure and Habitat. 

I learned from your writings that you practice and preach catch and release. Unfortunately I’ve seen that we are a minority in this practice.
It is with reluctance that I find it more and more necessary to reduce bag limits and or size restrictions.

Our fishing world has evolved with more technology and advanced equipment than (we) ever imagined. On top of that, now we can fish 24 hours per day in minus 25 degree weather using a wheel house that provides (most of) the comforts we have in our homes."

A) Robert thanks very much for sharing your thoughts, they are in line with some of the other comments I've received and I hope that this response serves to answer most of the questions that came in.

Every point you raise is valid and I agree that collectively, we do need to take some wise decisions about how we utilize Minnesota’s fishing resources.

image of walleye under waterClearly, we need to pay attention to the changing landscape of fishing. Advances in technology, easier access to fishing information and higher skill levels all play into the discussion. But why should we assume that our capacity to capture fish outpaces our ability to produce fish? Why can’t we harness the same technologies to help provide anglers with increasing opportunity instead of demanding that they pay more and receive less?

From the very beginning, I’ve agreed with conservation minded anglers that selective harvest is a viable way to provide folks with fish to eat while also preserving catchable populations for the future.

During the late 70’s and early 80’s anglers agreeing to voluntarily restrict their harvest was in vogue. There were hats, decals and other awards passed out to anglers who released fish. Fishing programs, fishing magazines and newspaper columns all promoted the responsible use of fishing resources.

The concept of “selective harvest” caught hold and helped teach anglers that they do not have to pursue their favored species into extinction in order to enjoy eating some fish. By selecting which fish to keep and which ones to release, responsible anglers could have their fish and eat them too.

The word “selective” is important and to me it is the foremost thought on which every discussion about fishing and fish limits should hinge.

As an angler who has both access and opportunity to harvest a lot of fish, I am personally more than willing to “select” myself as a candidate for more restrictive bag limits. I voluntarily keep less than my legal limit because I know I can get more fish at a later time. Anxiety about when and where I can obtain my next meal of fish is unwarranted.

But what happens if I thrust my point of view upon somebody who does not have the same access to the resource as me? Can I expect a family to travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars on a single fishing trip to be held to the same standard as me?  Should I be allowed to dictate to your fishing buddies and you how many fish you need, based strictly my personal standards?
Personal opinion, this is where I think every discussion goes wrong. Opinions are formed and ideas are advanced based solely on personal experiences. Anglers base their decisions on whatever idea best suits their own needs and accurate scientific data is often overlooked, at times even outright ignored.

Let’s return to my original point about the specific discussion regarding walleyes and the use of rationing as a means of perpetuating healthy populations. If we intend to have a significant impact on walleye populations solely by restricting the harvest, then a bag limit of 4 walleyes simply does not go far enough to accomplish that goal.

Last summer I wrote; “Statistically, it would make more sense to drop the daily limit to 2 Walleyes and allow a possession limit of 6 Walleyes. This regulation would actually have an impact on the “local” harvest, which is the most intense. It would be especially limiting for me and for folks like me, stockpiling fish, would require multiple trips. In my mind that’s okay, we have the ability to catch more fish than average angler and if we need to gather fish for a meal, we may just have to spread it out over a few days.”

On a personal level, I know how tempting it is to disagree with me, but the scientific data supports the argument. Meaningful reductions in walleye harvest rates would require much more restrictive limits.

It would take another thousand words to recap the article I wrote last summer about the relationship between walleyes, tourism and rationing. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to read it now; it blends into the discussion very well. Read >> Let's Slash The Walleye Limit; Shall We?

All comments and questions are welcome! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 15, 2018 "The Unlikely Historian"

image of young lady with nice walleye When I was in school, I hated history classes. What could be more boring than listening to stories about old farts that did this, that or the other thing; I thought.

It’s ironic that I love history these days and even more ironic that I feel a sense of responsibility to be one of the old farts telling stories about this, that and the other thing. But I do and today is one of those days when a history lesson is definitely called for.

While I was conducting a quick Google search to double check the walleye season ending dates, I stumbled into another article about proposals to reduce the statewide walleye bag limits. In the article New fishing regulations spark talk about new walleye, panfish and catfish limits, author Tom Cherveny wrote; "The walleye group is again urging the state to consider a four-fish limit, with one over 20 inches allowed."

Citing discussions about walleye bag limits from the 2018 MN DNR Roundtable meetings Cherveny added; “No one raised alarms that walleye fishing is on the skids. Yet two issues were certainly on the minds of anglers at the Roundtable.” One of the concerns is that apparently, results of a recent evaluation of the state's accelerated walleye stocking program during the past 12 years found that walleye numbers have essentially plateaued despite the increased effort.

The problem with that argument is that the “Accelerated Walleye Stocking Program” never actually accelerated anything. It was intended to serve as a remedy for walleye populations that had already declined after the MN DNR had previously slashed stocking programs throughout the state.

As a founding member of the original “Walleye Advisory Committee”, formed in 2005, I can attest that the so-called accelerated stocking program was one of the hottest topics of the time. The use of the term “accelerated” was questionable because even though walleye stocking rates did increase under the program, they never returned to the levels that had occurred prior to the original slashing.

In some cases, stocking was accelerated significantly, but in others they increased from nothing to a little bit more than nothing. In any case, any new goals were always set to lower standards than before.

Basing any decision on the results of studies about the accelerated stocking program means that we are willing to accept data from a program in which the goals were set to the low bar position in the first place.

Reviewing my own website, I find references about reducing walleye bag limits that go back at least 10 years. In fact I had just returned home from a meeting with the walleye group in March of 2008 when I wrote; "Apparently the proposed statewide Walleye bag limit reduction from six Walleye to four is being brought about because it's "time for change". There are no charts, no statistics, just whistle three times as you roll through the train crossing and it's all over. There wouldn’t be any public hearing process because none of the normal rules apply. This change is being introduced through the legislative process instead of "officially" through the DNR. Read Full Article >> Walleye Bag Limit Reduction 2008

Obviously, the effort failed in 2008, but that doesn’t mean that folks aren’t still banging the drum.  

The question now is the same as it was then; who has the statics that prove a 4 fish walleye bag limit will result in any improvement in Minnesota’s walleye fishery? The short answer is that there aren’t any, statistically speaking, rationing at a 4 fish bag limit won’t change anything.

I do not favor further rationing because I believe once the limits are lowered; they will never be increased again.

In July 2017 I wrote; “If it was up to me, I would do everything in my power to maintain a supply of fish that’s adequate to satisfy demand. I would do my best to assure Roy that when he gets here, there will be fish to catch.

If that means more fish need to be stocked, then I’d stock more fish. If we need to adjust slot-limits, then I’d adjust them. I’d …” Read Full Article >> Let’s Slash the Walleye Limit, Shall We?

Admittedly, there isn’t anything to fight right now; there hasn’t been any official move by either the DNR or the Legislature to reduce bag limits.
I do think it’s important to keep the conversation open though because if there’s a change looming in our future, I want to be involved. I certainly wouldn’t want to sleep through the process and find out that somebody else made the decision without hearing my opinion. How about you? fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 13, 2018

image of Jace Luoma with big northern pike "Finally, warmer temperatures are predicted to begin today. With subzero weather, fishing was challenging to say the least. Making good use of electronics and working every fish has been crucial for success.

Resorts have most rental shelters over deep mud in 30 to 33 feet of water. However, there are some in shallower water ranging from 24 to 27 feet as well.

One rod rigged with a rattling type jigging lure, paired with a dead stick rod using live minnows on plain hooks is effective. Gold, pink, and other glow colors best.  

Pike are already becoming active in shallow water.  

Auger extension needed if fishing on your own with 3+ feet of ice in most areas.   Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Ice houses allowed to be left on Lake of the Woods through March 31st and the walleye season remains open through April 14, 2018. The season for Northern Pike is open all year.

Rainy River continues pushing out some nice walleyes and an occasional sturgeon.  Local fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay are doing the best. The morning and evening bite most effective.

The NW Angle continues to give up nice fish. Both walleyes and Sauger remain active in 20 to 24 feet of water. Pink and white or gold spoons have been good.  In Ontario waters, walleyes are located in 24 to 28 feet focusing on reefs and points.

Crappies are found in deeper holes of 28-32'. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 13, 2018

"We have our houses situated about 11 miles from Pine Island.

The fish that are out there are playing hard to get.  Those anglers who are constantly and actively working their baits are having more success.  The traffic is seeming to come by in smaller schools, so when they come by it is important to be working your baits, or at least have a good minnow on the hook of your dead stick.

There are many anglers marking fish on their sonars, getting them to bite has been the trick. We are still using the Lake of the Woods staple colors, gold, glow red and yellow.  The drop shots are effective on the dead sticks and a jigging rap works well for actively jigging.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers!  Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund.  Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

It looks like midweek will be warmer with a chance of snow, cooling down a day, then ending with a nice weekend." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 12, 2018 "Should Have Been There Yesterday?"

image of bluegill After a stellar trip to Lake of the Woods, we had our first small dosage of fishing close to home again. This time, the results were less than stellar, and I hope that the trend isn’t set to continue throughout the week.

I found myself remembering when the US Olympics were held in Norway, 1994 was the year.

There were some interesting stories about the Norwegian people in the media that year. The citizens of Norway were so eager to be helpful that they’d give folks advice about almost anything, even if it was wrong. They meant well, they were only trying to be hospitable, but sometimes the outcome that resulted from passing out bad advice was worse than if would have offered no advice at all.

I think ice fishermen might be a little bit like that too. Folks not only want to be helpful, but they want to show off a little too; tell their friends that they’ve had good experiences on the ice. In an effort to be “helpful”, they have drawn some roadmaps that when followed, lead to some pretty unimpressive results.

It’s worked that way more than a few times this winter; chasing somebody else’s “hot bite” leads nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just throwing out an observation about human nature. After all, there hasn’t been anybody twisting my arm to follow their advice, nobody ever made me go anywhere. It’s been my own propensity for wanting to broaden my horizons that leads me to follow their advice in the first place. So if there was somebody to blame, it would be me, not them.

The real lesson that’s being drilled into my head this winter is how important it is to have good timing. Some of the experiences that folks have shared with me are real; they actually did have really good fishing on one occasion or another. The problem is that after they leave, the next angler who tries the same lake finds nothing but phantom marks on the graph, fish that look, but don’t eat.

Some folks say that the cold weather is a problem; some say that that we’re in the “dog days” of winter. I’ve speculated that there may be imbalances in food supplies causing trouble as well. It could be any or some combination of all these factors and let’s remember that there are a lot more variables to consider too.

For me, the answer has always been to do my own research and cover as much territory as I can. So after I get caught up on paperwork and housekeeping, I’ll get back onto the ice to see what I can drum up this week.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming in from friends and family. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes fishing article by Greg Clusiau Greg Clusiau, "Greg's Guidlines" February 12, 2018

image of jeff nelson with big pike "The local bar contest took place last Saturday on Blue Lake and I was amazed at how few northern pike were caught. I don’t have an exact count but the six bars involved must have had well over a hundred entrants. I heard DeNucci’s Saloon had forty anglers sign up at their place alone.

I spent a few days on the big reservoir, prior the contest, looking for that little hotspot but came up empty-handed, not catching a northern. How is that even possible? Fishing there in the summer has one catching a fish about every hundred yards or so. It’s crawling with them.

One day, I had a couple of fish fly into the Vexilar cone and hammer my ..." Read >> Greg's Guidelines ebruary 12, 2018

image links to fishrapper home page February 8, 2018 - Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods

image of flag island resort Tim Gansmoe wrote; “Hey Jeff, you mentioned that you’re fishing at the Northwest Angle on Lake of the Woods. How are the ice conditions up there, can we go wherever we want with our snowmobiles?”

Tim, I’m not sure that anybody can ever go “wherever they want” on a snowmobile. But travel conditions for snowmobilers on Lake of the Woods are pretty good right now.

The snow cover is light, maybe 5 to 8 inches and that means problems with slush have been minimal. The groomed trails are in excellent shape and we were able to move quickly on them. Thanks to the cold weather though, the snow is packed really hard and traveling off of the main trails has been bumpy, but taking is slow, we’ve managed to move around freely.

The ice depth is probably close to 30 inches, so some fishermen are using extensions already. The drill on my Nils is longer than most standard units, so I haven’t needed one. I’d suggest packing yours though just to be prepared.

On Wednesday, the walleye fishing remained good for us and with stable weather, will likely be good again today.

image of pike at flag island lodgeCrappies were piling up on the fish cleaning table here at the resort last night. The guides had a big group out yesterday and put them on a good school of nice fish. I spoke with a couple of those anglers and they said that the best fishing was from 10:00 AM until about 1:00 PM. Coincidentally, our walleye fishing peaked at about that same time.

We’ve been doing great using Lindy’s Quiver Spoon and the Blue/Glow color has been reliable. Yesterday though, my fishing partner was using a Blue/Silver Wally Talker and the fish were crazy for it. I watched him catch a dozen fish in a half hour. I’d say that there was either a fish caught, or at least a strike on almost every drop. I’m pretty sure that’s close to the fastest walleye action I’ve seen on any of my trips up here.

As much as I like being comfortable and warm, the folks here at the resort like this cold weather. As long as it stays cold, the fish keep on biting they say. The couple of warm snaps that came in January were responsible for slowing down the action. Stability is usually more important that temperature, so as long as it stays cold, the fishing should remain consistent.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 7, 2018 - "Lake of the Woods, Northwest Angle"

image of jeff sundin with big walleye Yesterday I teased you with a comment about heading out to the Walleye hole on our snowmobiles. Knowing how observant most of you are, you probably already guessed that we are fishing up on Lake of the Woods. If you did, then you’re right, we are up at the Northwest Angle.

I can’t say that I was really looking forward to spending another day on the ice in subzero temperatures. Despite obvious challenges caused by machines unwilling to operate properly in the cold, our day turned out to be a good one.
Thanks to decent portable ice fishing shelters and the availability of propane, we were actually really comfortable and the fish kept us busy enough that the cold temperatures seemed to slip our minds.

Almost any trip to the angle is a good one; we always catch some fish up here. But I think yesterday was above average for us. We fished for Walleyes from 9:00 Am until 3:00 PM and for the most part, we were either catching a fish or on the verge of catching one for the entire 6 hours.

The morning run consisted primarily of smaller fish, sauger and walleye in the 12 to 14 inch range. But mid-day delivered a nice surprise, as the day wore on, the walleyes got larger and the action got better. In fact, I had my best run of the day at about 2:45, just before we packed up to leave the lake.

At the lodge, guides acknowledged that the trend has been ongoing this winter. They said that fishing for larger fish has definitely been better during midday. That said, the crepuscular periods still provide the best action. Upon their return to the lodge, one of the fishing groups reported “a wild run of fish” that occurred at sunset in shallow water.

image of jon thelen with big walleye The hot sunset bite occurred in 13 feet of water, while the fish we caught during midday came out of 25 to 28 feet. Those depths are important because on Lake of the Woods, knowing the right depth is crucial. It’s the most depth oriented lake that I’ve experienced and even when you are on the right structure, a one foot depth variation can make or break your fishing trip. So whether you’re on a snowmobile fishing 15 miles out, or using a rental shelter provided by the lodge, don’t forget to drill and check varying depths occasionally.

For us, traveling by snowmobile allows fishing in areas that haven’t been pressured, especially when we travel to the Canadian side of the lake. That means the odds of finding fish are fairly high and taking credit for finding fish isn’t really warranted. However, even if there are a lot of good spots, we do eventually have to pick one and try it. The spot we picked yesterday was a point that led into deep water. At the tip, there is a slow taper running into 35 feet of water and following the outer contours of the break allows fishing in almost any depth we would choose. Like I said, 27 feet was the magic number yesterday.

If you’re not set up with a snow machine and portable shelter, don’t be discouraged. The guides here at the lodge are taking guests to some very productive spots and from what we’ve seen; reports about great walleye fishing are completely justified.

Crappie fishing has been a little more hit and miss, some groups are doing well while others miss out on finding the right spot. We may try a little Crappie fishing while we’re here and if so, I’ll fill you in about how it goes.

For today though, we are going to take another ride to the walleye hole. In fact, I’m rigging up my walleye rods with Quiver Spoons right now. The 1/8 ounce size in the Blue/Glow color was the hot ticket yesterday.
Before I go, I want to share the post I added to my faccebook page this morning.

“They say that getting a second chance is a blessing and I can attest; IT IS!

But this is the only chance that will ever be the first chance to wish the “Hippie Chick” a Happy Birthday as Susan Sundin.

Anybody this warm, this cheerful, this loving and so absolutely beautiful surely deserves the warmest, sweetest, and most glorious Happy Birthday ever; don’t you think?
Happy Birthday, Jeg Elsker Deg!”

If you have a free minute, look up the post for Susan on facebook and share the greeting, she deserves it! image of fish smiley

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 6, 2018

"When fish are tight lipped, anglers who work baits constantly and use electronics are finding more success than those who let both lines sit. Sorting through numerous small fish to find right size keepers continues. The reward for the effort is beautiful keeper walleyes and sauger coming in to the fish cleaning houses.

Resorts have their guests fishing in 24-35 feet of water, with most fishing in 30-33'. The shallow morning and evening bite continues all along south shore and should for the remainder of the ice season. A rattle on jigging lure and a minnow on a plain hook on dead stick rod best options.

Gold, pink, and other glow colors best. Auger extension needed if fishing on your own. Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Ice houses allowed to be left on Lake of the Woods through March 31st and walleyes remain open through April 14; Northern Pike are open all year.

Rainy River is pushing out some nice walleyes in the morning and evening too along with an occasional sturgeon.  Local fish houses are located along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay.

The NW Angle continues to have solid ice fishing with Walleyes coming from 15 to 23 feet of water, with sauger and perch out a touch deeper.

Jigging with a rattle type lure and calling in fish for dead stick is still working well with pink and gold spoons.

Anglers are also icing some crappies in deeper holes of 28-32 feet, primarily in Ontario waters. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on.

Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 6, 2018

"Tight lipped has been the trend this past week. Those anglers who are constantly and actively working their baits are having more success. The traffic is seeming to come by in smaller schools, so when they come by it is important to be working your baits, or at least have a good minnow on the hook of your dead stick.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund. Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

We have our houses situated about 11 miles from Pine Island.

There are many anglers marking fish on their sonars, getting them to bite has been the trick. We are still using the Lake of the Woods staple colors, gold, glow red and yellow. The drop shots are effective on the dead sticks and a jigging rap works well for actively jigging.

The forecast is showing single digit day time temps for the week ahead with overnights going below zero." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ball Club Lake, Hundred Acre Woods Resort, February 3, 2018

image of northern pike c;aught on ball club lake "Ball Club Lake has 18” of ice average a crossed the lake. Much thicker on the south end, near the Crappie hole. The south public access was plowed but has since been drifted over.

We have been catching crappie in the 40’ hole with the fish suspended at depths of 30’-38’. We have been catching perch between 20’ and 30’ deep off our resort beach and holes both north and south of us on the west shoreline. Most perch have been small, but there are some keepers. Have not seen a walleye this winter but Northern have been a frequent catch with sizes from 28 to 40 inches.

I 'll be plowing a road today that runs from our beach to some better perch spots to both the north and south, primarily along the west shoreline.  Access will be open to the public, drive on-off for $20.00 per day." - Scott Gorsegner, Hundred Acre Woods Resort (218) 246-8520

image denotes link to fish rapper article Marcell Area - Edge of the Wilderness, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson February 3, 2018

image of rainbow trout "A cold front dropping down out of Canada and will stay with us into the end of next week.

Fishing as of late has been fairly good with Crappie, Sunfish and to some extent Jumbo Perch leading the way. Some anglers have been catching a few Walleyes in water depths of twenty to twenty-eight feet.

Probably the best bet for fishing action in our area would be Trout. Several of the Marcell area lakes have been giving up Lakers and in some cases even rendering a limit or two. White tubes and Savage Gear Sandeels Jigs have been doing the trick for these fish.

Don’t forget about the designated stream trout lakes either. In Itasca County alone there are eleven lakes that are managed exclusively for trout. Spoons with a salted minnow head, jigs and waxies and Berkley Powerbait Trout Bait have in many cases have produced limits the past several weeks. The fun thing about Trout is that fight very hard and they never give up until it’s too late.

The weather patterns for the next five or six days can only be described as cold. But after all, it is winter. Maybe a cold front is just what we need to kick the fish into high gear, then again maybe not. Have a Great Weekend Everyone!" - Paul Larson, Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Trappers Landing Lodge February 2, 2018

image of walleye fisherman on leech lake "Ice conditions have remained good out on our end of the lake. We have not seen any new cracks or pressure ridges form after the fast cool down. We are open to all vehicle traffic and there are no restrictions on where to go. We also have not had any significant snow accumulation over the past few days and are only seeing 4-6 inches of snow on the lake. Still look ahead when you are off road, there are some areas where there were ice houses that have large drifts.

Fishing has picked up this past week. The big walleyes were on the chow this past weekend and we had some great pictures sent in this past weekend. Thank you to all the guests that shared their pictures. Fishing for walleyes still remains random. We had reports this past weekend from guests catching walleye in 30+ feet of water on the bottom of the deep drop-offs near Rogers Point and Huddle’s reef areas, to guests catching walleye in 10 ft of water off of the shallow rock bars near Big Rock Reef, Mokeys Reef and Diamond Point.

The average best depth still remains in that 16-20 ft range. The bigger fish were all caught on set lines with Shiner and more of the keeper and smaller fish were caught using small jigging spoons with a minnow head. If you can travel and get away from the groups you will find more walleye.
Tullibee and Whitefish continue to be caught in the basins north of Diamond Point and Rogers Point areas. They are catching most of the fish on silver or gold jigging spoons tipped with a couple euro larvae or waxies.

Perch action continues to be sporadic around the area. Most anglers are targeting these fish on the shallow weedlines in Miller bay, Sucker Bay and the Sand point areas. Make sure it is a sunny day when fishing these fish. They prefer a full crappie minnow on a gold or orange jigging spoon.
Looking ahead

It looks like we are going to have some great weather again this weekend. The Restaurant will be open Thursday and Friday 4PM-9PM for food and Saturday 11 AM-9 PM for food as well. As always we will have all your fishing necessities and snacks at the lodge and a map showing you the hotspots. Good luck on your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the ice." - Josh Bullivant, Trappers Landing Lodge (218) 836-2500

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Shores of Leech Lake February 2, 2018 Mitch & Mara Loomis, 218-547-1819

“When the weather warms up, like it did the last couple of weeks, and especially when the sun is shining, the north Walker Bay flats turn on with perch and walleye. When it is colder, fishing gets tougher, any fish that are caught come from deeper water in Walker Bay.”

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2018

image of Red Daphnia In Water That note from Mitch Loomis at the Shores on Leech Lake this morning sums up most of the fishing reports throughout the area. In fact, this pattern has been persistent throughout most of the past year. We could label 2017 the year of the bite that came and went with warm or cold weather.

Still, the theory about this cold again, warm again pattern isn’t foolproof. There have been days when I get reports from folks who make good catches on days when the fish are not supposed to bite. Likewise, I have experienced days recently that fish do not bite despite weather that would appear to be ideal for fishing.

So there’s gotto be something more to it than just the cold and warm cycle. There must be something else that explains why some reports are good when they should have been bad and bad when they should have been good. I think it boils down to food.

I recall a conversation that I had with former DNR Biologist Dick Sternberg in which he explained the delicate balance between predators and their food sources. It was long ago and I can’t recall the precise statistics, but I do recall that I was amazed by how easily the balance can shift.

For the sake of discussion, let’s say that your lake suffers a slight supply shortage of forage, maybe the number is 10%. Predator species in that lake would be forced to work harder for their food. They would be aggressive, feeding both more often and for longer periods of time; it would be a “Hot Bite”. Sooner or later and for a number of reasons, the balance will shift the other way.

Take the same 10% supply shortage, but this time it applies to the predators and now you’ve got a whole new ball game. When there’s plenty of food available, predator species can feed most any time they choose. They now feed less often and for shorter periods of time and this can translate into long periods of slow fishing action. Any time that feeding conditions are less than ideal, i.e. a cold front, the action shuts down.

image of plankton on screenSomewhat experienced as an observer, it seems to me that I’ve seen a lot more images of “food” on the screen of my Humminbird lately. Viewing “The Death Cloud”, masses of planktonic food has become part of the daily routine these days. In fact I’m more surprised when I don’t see it than when I do see it. If you’re surprised by the term “Death Cloud”, don’t be, it’s just my way of saying that when you see this on your screen, it’s usually a signal that fish in that area are not active. In many cases the death cloud appears at the tail end of a period of good fishing, signaling that the bite has died.

I’ve been doing my homework, studying about the relationship between zooplankton and predator species like Sunfish and Crappies. The truth is that I don’t know much more now than I did a few years back when I first wrote; "The Death Cloud, What Is It?" . The winter season is under-explored by biologists, many of whom have simply regarded the ice-season as a dormant time.

What I do know is that there’s been a shift recently, an imbalance between predators and forage. That, in my opinion accounts for why our timing has to be perfect if we want to get in one great fishing these days.

Looking for something to blame for the imbalance is tricky because there are so many variables. A couple of springs providing poor spawning conditions, poor growing conditions during summer, heavy angling pressure; they all contribute.

Since not all lakes are created equal, it stands to reason that periodically, some lakes would have stronger predator populations than others. This would explain why some folks enjoy good fishing on their lake at the same time that anglers on a dozen other lakes in the same area are struggling. In my mind, these are likely to be lakes that have gone unnoticed by anglers, therefore escaping the consequences of a shortage of predators, at least temporarily.

Time will either prover or disprove my theory because cycles always come and go. Either way it won’t be all that long before we see the pendulum swing the other way.  

For now, focus on the weeks upcoming, late winter and early spring almost always deliver an uptick in fishing action. This year, its arrival will be a welcome reward for folks who have spent the winter working harder and smarter for less. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux, Eagle Nest Lodge February 2, 2018

"Our fishermen have had pretty good luck in Cutfoot the last week or so.  Walleyes are being caught in 21-25 feet of water and the Northern spearing guys have seen plenty of fish. It hasn’t been a good week for giants, but there are plenty of “eaters” out there. The crappie bite seems to have slowed down." Bryan Harris, Eagle Nest Lodge 218-246-8701

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort February 2, 2018

"I was out on the ice good part of the day yesterday and it was super cold and windy. We watched a few trucks out “Baha Driving” I think trying to find a way to cross the ridge. 
Todd plowed the roads all the way back to Third River after all of the wind we have been having. But you can still jump off of the trail and get around fairly well; just watch out for those heavier drifts.
Our anglers had good spearing last weekend and so have the few guys that were out this week. They all reported that the Northerns were hitting hard.
Got some nice Jumbo Perch out there, some sunnies too and we’re still seeing those huge walleyes swimming through the area.
There’s a pressure ridge that runs from Stony Point to Ravens point and there’s no getting around this one. Be safe out there and have fun fishing." Dixon Lake Resort has availablities right now, including dark houses and angling sleepers. Call 218-659-4612 for reservations.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2018

There hasn’t been much excitement about getting onto the ice these past couple of days. Cold temperatures combined with strong winds have held many anglers, me included, at bay. Since my most recent fishing trip was on Monday, before the weather changed, this information is already becoming outdated. Still, it’s better than no report at all, so here’s what I’ve got.

Considering the amount of time I had for exploration, I’d say that the fishing action was okay, but not great. The most notable development of that excursion was that the fish, Crappies in particular, were scattered both vertically and horizontally in the water column. In fact I never caught two fish from the same hole; each one came from different holes drilled approximately 25 yards apart.

Likewise, hardly any of the fish I caught came from the same depth of water either. The water depth below me was about 24 feet and I caught fish suspended at 10 feet, 12 feet, 15 feet, 18 feet and 22 feet. The fragmented school of fish was active and almost every fish I saw on my Humminbird eventually struck, I just had to keep moving to encounter the targets one by one.

One notable trend is that fish are showing up further away from the deepest water all of the time. Instead of finding fish in the centermost portion of a deep water hole, I’m finding Crappies along the edges, even on top of deep flats. Bluegills are moving evening shallower; I’ve found them in water depths of 12 to 16 feet.

image of bluegill More anecdotal evidence came via an email note from Jackson Whiton who adds; “Big bluegills bit during mid-day in water depths of 13 to 15 feet. We used a size 6 hook tipped with crappie minnows, basically dead sticking. Small tungsten jigs tipped with grubs worked as well.

If panfish action is too slow for you right now, then it’s probably time to cast an eye on some of the perch reports from around the area. Most of the Itasca area’s better perch fishing lakes are productive right now. On Winnie, the action is fast, but you’ll have to do some sorting to gather a bag of “keepers”. On Leech Lake, quality size fish are more common, but you should prepare for a longer search to find active schools of fish.

As we approach spring, perch will focus on areas where they can feed on bloodworms, the larval form of the Midge. For now, focusing on structures that lay near deep water is likely to be the most productive. Friends have reported good catches of perch in water depths of 22 to 34 feet of water.

For me, the weekend will spent in preparation for an upcoming trip to the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods. I'm not sure if I'll be doing a lot of fishing between then and now, but I'll keep you posted as best I can. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page 2018 - "TV & Magazine Guest Appearances" image links to fish ed tv air dates

Q) Last week Kevin Scott emailed; "Hello Jeff ! Hope all is great and you're keeping warm! Say, you mentioned you were gonna be either in a magazine or on TV in January! Can you update me? Thanks!

A) Kevin, sorry for the tardy reply, but it's been a busy year and I had to strain my brain to remember it all myself. Your question is a good one because it helps me deliver an answer to one of the most common questions folks ask me all year long which is; "What do you do during the off-season?"

I think that evidence of what I did with my “free time” is going to be pretty easy to find this year.

Let’s start with TV because the new season of Lindy’s Fish ED TV show begins this weekend. Occasionally, Jon has me tag along as his sidekick and this season I’ll be with him on 3 or 4 shows. I can’t say which segments air on which dates, so you’ll have to watch every week to see which ones I’m in. The shows air on Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Detroit and Wild TV. The air times Fox Sports North - Saturdays at 12:30, Fox Sports Wisconsin - Saturdays at 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Midwest - Saturdays at 8 a.m., Fox Sports Detroit - Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.; Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and Wild TV - Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
There’s a promotional video running on Facebook right now, click here to view >> Lindy’s Fish ED TV Season Opener

image of in-fisherman magazine The current issue (Dec/Jan/Feb 2018) of In-Fisherman magazine includes a feature article, "Less Is More" by Dan Johnson and I along with several of the top ice fishermen from the midwest share insights about panfish presentations. The article is quite extensive and well worth taking time to read.

Another In-Fisherman feature by Matt Straw will appear in the upcoming 2018 Walleye Guide. I'm not sure how many anglers Matt Straw included in the article, but I do know that he's including tips and tricks from me about my "wiggle worming" techniques. The Walleye will hit the newstands soon, but I'm not sure exactly when. Find out the publishing dates by visiting their website >> In-Fisherman Magazine.COM

image of jeff sundin There are also a bunch of new ice videos out on youtube too. I'll update this page with links to most of them as they become available.

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 16, 2018 "How to Identify All 9 Species of Black Bass" image links to fishing stories

"Black bass are the most popular freshwater gamefish in the world, largely due to their voracious appetites and outstanding pound-for-pound fighting power. It's important to understand, however, that there are many more black bass species than what many anglers might think.

There are actually 9 recognized species including Alabama bass, Florida bass, Guadalupe bass ..." Learn >> How to Identify All 9 Species of Black Bass


image links to article about Barotrauma What is barotrauma? Simply stated barotrauma is “injury caused to the body by changing air or water pressure.” In humans we know this as “The Bends”- a dangerous condition that divers experience when they come up too fast from deep water. Believe it or not, something similar happens in fish.
For example: When an angler angles walleye at the bottom of the lake, those walleye are experiencing a certain amount of pressure (air & water). When the angler yanks them up to the surface, that pressure is drastically reduced. This means that their gas filled cavities rapidly expand. This is particularly a problem for fish due to the presence of their ..." Read >> BAROTRAUMA AWARENESS