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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 31, 2019 "The Passing Of An Arctic Blast"

image of cold air map I wish I could tell you a story about how I braved the wicked, negative 30 degree temperatures and still caught a bunch of fish, but I can’t. Under different circumstances, I may have gone out this week, but I didn’t have any high level projects scheduled, so I didn’t. Instead, I’ve been hunkered down, catching up on paperwork, writing and other fun stuff, like going to the dentist.

Today I see a brighter outlook though, we’re being promised a warmup for the weekend and my family is inkling that a day on the ice might be nice. See how easy it is to make 10 degrees above zero sound like nice weather?

As long as we’re comparing the relative niceness of one sort of weather over another, let me throw out a few more rays of light about the days that lay ahead.

  • Groundhog Day is this Saturday and no matter whether what’s his name sees his shadow or not, it’s a signal that we’re in the home stretch, winter will be behind us soon.
  • Walker Minnesota's Eelpout Festival opens on February 21, 2019. That's only 3 weeks from now and even if it doesn't signal spring, it does offer a fun, fast-paced weekend that will make winter feel a lot more fun.
  • The Northwest Sportshow opens on March 21, 2019 and that’s only 49 days from now. Hey, that’s just one day after the Vernal Equinox, the official first day of spring.
  • Open water and warmer temperatures will attract anglers to the Mississippi River, The Rainy River and other “border waters” by then too. Within the next 60 days, we’ll be seeing photos of anglers holding fish in their boats!
  • The Minnesota Walleye Opener isn’t that far off either, only 101 days from now, more about that later.

I’ll step out on a limb and predict that there will be three more arctic blasts before winter is over, two of them will be really cold and one of them not so bad. The cold snaps will be sandwiched between warm weeks like the one they’ve predicted for next week and these warm ups will make the time pass more quickly too.

So if you’ve felt like winter is getting old, cheer up, spring is just around the corner! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL >> Feb 2, 2019

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 31, 2019 "2 Casting Methods to Become a Better Shallow Bass Angler"

image links to bass fishing video "One of the fastest ways to become a better shallow water bass fisherman is through mastery of casting mechanics. Jacob Wheeler gave Wired2Fish an excellent flipping and pitching tutorial in this video and expands that lesson with 2 additional techniques: 1) the roll cast, and 2) pitch skip.

The purpose of both is to get baits into tight areas in and around cover -- think docks, flooded bushes, laydowns or any overhanging cover. Wheeler goes into detail on how to execute each with emphasis on the pitch skip, which allows you to skip baits in tight quarters deeper than any other technique. Whereas the roll cast uses wrist rotation, the pitch skip requires whole-body momentum and follow through to pull off.

Equipment is very important. Wheeler recommends rods in the 7-foot range and under when you're just getting started. He details how to calibrate your casting reel magnetic brake and tension dial for reduced backlashing, a key step when getting started." Learn More View Video >> 2 Casting Methods to Become a Better Shallow Bass Angler

image links to fishrapper home page January 30, 2019 - "Minnesota Walleye Stamp, What's The Big Idea?"

image links to article about walleye stamp On January 30, 2019 Elliot Nelson wrote; "Good morning Jeff, I visited Minnesota to ice fish last weekend and when I bought my fishing license, they asked me if I wanted to buy a Walleye Stamp.

I didn’t want to spend the extra $5.00, but I started wondering what the stamp is used for and if it’s a good investment. What’s your opinion, does buying the Walleye Stamp actually help anything?

A) Elliot, The original idea for establishing Minnesota’s Walleye Stamp came about during discussions with members of the members of the original "Walleye Advisory Committee who ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Stamp, What's The Big Idea?

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 29, 2019

image of boy with nice walleye "Despite very cold temperatures, the walleye and sauger bite stayed consistent on the south side this week. There were bonus jumbo perch, tulibee and eelpout in the mix as well.

Ice thickness is pushing over 24" in most areas being fished, setting ice up nicely for March walleyes and pike fishing. Key depths are 25 to 32 feet of water. Some nice walleyes again suspended this week.

Your favorite ice fishing electronics to mark fish is very helpful. Jig one line, dead stick the second with a live minnow under bobber. Vary jigging lures, try glow colors, gold, green/white and pink/white. Try rattles and sometimes a Rippin’ Rap or other noisy bait to pull in fish.

Ice roads are open and snowmobile trails across lake and around area staked and groomed with fresh snow.

On the Rainy River, there are some reports of morning and evening walleye action on the river and Four Mile Bay.

Steer clear of the area around the International Bridge in Baudette; it’s not safe due to construction of new bridge. Snowmobile trail on river is open and marked from Baudette (downstream from bridge) to lake. Stay on the trail for safety.

Up at the Northwest Angle, it was a good week of ice fishing for a mixed bag of walleye, sauger, perch, pike, tulibee and eelpout mixed in.

Most fish are coming from 24 to 29 feet of water. Pink/white, gold and glow have been strong colors.

Nice crappies are being caught, but remember the mortality rate is very high for crappies caught and released in 25' or deeper. Don’t linger in good crappie spots, catch and keep a few fish and then move on.

Snowmobile trails from south shore across lake to Angle are marked and are open. The ice road from Young's Bay to Flag and Oak Island resorts is open."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge January 29, 2019

"We are continuing our trek across Big Traverse Bay, currently we are 12 miles past Pine Island.

The bite has been steady. We are days into the current cold front and are having some nice catches of keepers and put back Walleye and Saugers. There has been some Perch and Tulibee action. We are in the 32 feet of water area and will progress North throughout the week.

We now offer Wheelhouse access by reservation, $15.00 per night, we will plow out a spot and provide access to our dumpster before you leave. Space is limited.

Having electronics is important, we are seeing more suspended fish. Also, getting the fish to chase has been part of the game. You may not get them to bite at first chance, but if you can coax them up from the bottom a bit they may take hold of your bait.

Cold temperatures are in the forecast! We may get to a high of -10 this week.

Our summer rates are out and now is the time to get your reservation in before the best dates are booked. We still have some availability in February and March for a winter getaway." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 29, 2019

"Lake Trout - Lake trout fishing remains good to excellent for the few anglers that braved the cold last weekend. Anglers even fishing from permanent house reported having good luck. Most lakers continue to be caught with red and white tube or bucktails.

Saddle areas with deep water around it have been the key areas to focus on for active lakers. For you permanent house anglers, be sure to have dead bait laying on the bottom, even over night. We did have a few reports of people catching some big lakers in the middle of the night with dead bait laying on the bottom.

Stream Trout - Stream trout to has been good to excellent on many area lakes. Small rippin’ raps, black hair jigs or panfish tubes with or without waxies, have been triggering trout. Anglers have been finding rainbows anywhere from 10 feet under the ice to 40 feet down. Splake and brookies have been mainly located in 15 feet of water or less.

Walleye - Walleye fishing has been slow with only a handful of fish caught per trip. Shiners fished under a bobber has been best, but a few have been caught on jigging spoons. Areas around sunken islands and the mouths of shallow bays are where anglers are focusing their efforts.

Crappie - Some anglers did report going out after crappies and having some luck. Crappies we’re located in their classic wintering holes. Fishing wasn’t fast and furious, but rather slow and steady. Tungsten jigs tipped with waxies or crappie minnows accounted for the majority of crappies caught." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 28, 2019 "Old Dogs DO Learn New Tricks"

image of Dustin Monson with Mille Lacs walleye I am so thankful for the folks who have shared their knowledge of fishing with me. Whether I’ve had a fishing rod in my hand or not, there’s scarcely been a day passed by without somebody teaching me something about one kind of fish or another.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few days, not the least of which is that fish will bite, even when we don’t think that they want to. Of course triggering them to strike depends on us knowing the “right trick” and remembering to use it at the “right time”. Over the weekend, I had the chance to learn a few new tricks, now it’s my turn to pass them along.

On Friday, we started fishing during the wee hours of morning on Lake Mille Lacs. The air temperature was -17 degrees; cold I know, and it worried us that the fish might be sluggish because of it. Still, we had the trip planned and we figured that the least we could do was give it a try.

I was the new guy on this trip, so I waited for instructions about where to drill a hole and set up my portable fishing shelter. I didn’t realize it at the time, but a single hole drilled along a shoreline break in about 14 feet of water would be my home for the next 12 hours. Most of those 12 hours would be spent looking at fish on the screen of my Humminbird.

The first one swam in to look at my bait around 6:15 AM and when it did, I made a mistake; I jigged my Quiver Spoon and scared it away. The next few fish that swam in were lookers too, it seemed like they wanted to strike, but something was holding them back, they were in a negative mood, most would say.

“Drop your Quiver spoon about half way down the water column and just let it sit still. If you see a fish move up to it, just wait; let him stare at it for a minute and then start inching it up slowly”. That’s the advice Dustin Monson gave me. So the next fish that moved toward my bait got a taste of the “Monson Remedy” a 60 second stare down ahead of one S-L-O-W speed chase.

I thanked Dustin for the advice while we were taking pictures of that fish.

image of walleye caught on lindy glow spoonYes that’s right, Monson’s trick worked, not only once, but several times throughout the day and it’s likely the reason that either of us caught any fish that day. In fact later on I thanked him again and asked him if he’d be willing to share the tip with you in the form of a video. He agreed and I can hardly wait for you to see what happened during his video, but I’m not at liberty to share it with you today. When I can, I will and I’ll remind you about today’s story when I do.

The 1/4 ounce gold Quiver Spoon, Monson's "go to lure" for ice fishing Mille Lacs produced at least half of the strikes that day. But for me, the 1/4 ounce blue scale Glow Spoon was effective too and the fish responded to the "Monson Remedy" equally well while I was using it. We used minnow heads to tip the lures, fatheads in this case.

Sometimes when I've driven past Mille Lacs, I've seen fish houses set up close to shore. I've wondered if those anglers were catching fish and after Friday, I can say that many of them must have been.

"Everybody pays a lot of attention to fishing the mud on Mille Lacs"; Monson says. "But I catch a lot of nice fish on the shoreline breaks too; fish move along the shore all winter long. You'd be amazed at how often there are big walleyes located in shallow water, shoreline habitat".

That's how it worked for us on Friday, we straddled the breakline adjacent to shore. I was in about 14 feet of water and Dustin fished a bit higher, maybe 12 feet deep. Walleye moved in and out of view at random intervals all day long. There was about an hour when I didn't see much of anything, but otherwise there was a fish on my screen every 10 minutes or so. I would love to see what happens on a spot like this when fish are in a positive feeding mood!

I don’t want to make it sound like the fishing was awesome because it wasn’t. The cold weather and bright blue skies definitely had affected the fish. Their mood was negative and we had to work for every strike. But for me, it was a still a great day; we caught a respectable number of fish and I learned a new trick.

I think you should remember the name Dustin Monson because he might share more advice one day and if he does, I think we should all take it!

image of tiny crappie caught on lindy glow spoon Saturday January 26, 2019 - After Friday’s 12 hour fishing day on Mille Lacs, my evening at home was a short one. A trip to fish for crappies in northwestern Minnesota was my agenda for Saturday and we rolled out of the driveway, headed toward Crookston shortly after sunrise.

I would have needed to leave earlier, except I and my fishing partner Bob Bohland had discussed the weather forecast ahead of time. His message to me was that his wife had “strongly suggested” not starting too early in the morning. We’d concluded that she was right; the timing for our fishing trip did not depend on an early morning arrival when the temperature was -20 degrees.

We figured that we could do just as well by fishing mid-day and late afternoon after the air temperature rose closer to zero.

By the time I arrived at Crookston, picked up my son-in-law Austin and hooked up with the Bohland’ s it was 12:30 and the air temperature was -6 degrees. There was a big plowed road on the lake and it led us to within a block of the area Bohland wanted to fish.

After drilling half dozen holes, I found one school of fish in about 26 feet of water, Bob found another one is shallower territory and it looked like we were in business. By 1:00 PM we were all set and fishing.

There were a lot of crappies in this little lake and it was obvious. The Humminbird showed fish constantly and many of them were “biting”, that’s the good news. The problem was that the lake’s larger fish had apparently taken the day off and left the kids in charge. Occasionally, someone would reel in a 10 to 11 inch fish to prove that they existed.  But even though we caught fish almost constantly, 7 to 8 inches was about furthest any of them would stretch on the ruler.

Again though, I learned a new trick on Saturday and I’ll bet it will come in handy later this winter.

During the afternoon, crappies hit every lure we dropped into the water. Tungsten Toads, Perch Talkers, Quiver Spoons all worked. But at about 4:30 PM the action really started slowing down. Just when you’d think it should have been getting better, it was getting worse; for everybody exception Austin Jones.

image of Austin Jones Austin was using a Lindy Glow Spoon and when the rest of stopped catching fish, he never skipped a beat. For him, the crappies just kept on biting; I watched him reeling them in one after another.

The obvious takeaway is that some combination of the lure’s visibility and sound made it easier for the fish to find his lure. But when you think about it, one less obvious point is that even small fish strike the Glow Spoon a lure that some folks would consider too large for panfish, particularly small panfish.

Jones told me that he’s been using Glow Spoons all winter long and that he’s caught lots of panfish on them. Crappies, perch and as you can see in this photo from last week, even sunfish have struck the lure aggressively.

For whatever reason, this lure has really struck a nerve with fish. Small and large fish alike, they are not at all intimidated by it and its ability to trigger strikes is very convincing.

For the rest of this winter, I’m going to pay close attention to the twilight period at sunset. I’m going to keep a glow spoon rigged and ready so when the panfish bite begins to fade, I can test to see if what happened on Saturday is unusual or not.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, have you had any similar experiences during the crepuscular period? fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 24, 2019 "Preview Of Weekend Travel Conditions"

image of ice road on bowstring lake On Wednesday, I drove to a few of the more popular stops for ice anglers heading into north central Minnesota. Most of what I learned was already expected, but for me, no report is a good report unless it contains facts, so I didn’t want to make assumptions.

At Fred’s Bait in Deer River, Bill Powell said; “It’s been a good winter so far, but the traffic really dropped off during that cold spell last weekend. There are still quite a few groups passing through, but they come in spurts; we’re busy for a little while, then slow for a bit.”

According to Powell, travel conditions on the ice have improved somewhat. Slush had gotten really bad just before the cold snap, but it’s healed some since then; he said. That echoes the sentiment I heard from others yesterday too, most folks said that anglers in pickups can move around fairly well, but there are still some trouble spots.

In my own case, I have fishing trips planned at opposite ends of the region on Friday and Saturday. In both cases, the men who will be hosting the fishing trips advised me to bring my snowmobile. It sounds like we can get to some spots using a pickup, but if we really want to find fish, especially in un-tapped areas; we’ll need to be more mobile.

Moving around Lake Winnibigoshish, all of the rental operators are doing a great job of keeping their roads plowed. Access to the lake is very good and folks can drive a long way out onto the lake.

Until recently, Perch anglers struggled to find a really great bite out there. But over the past week, that’s changing, there are more perch being caught and the quality is improving too. I’m not in the loop about the precise locations, but when I asked around yesterday, I got some nods and grins. The fish are definitely biting, but you might have to do a little exploration to find them.

The Winnie Ice Access map that I shared a few weeks back is still up to date. So if you don’t already know where you’d drive out, check the map for some ideas.

image of Erin Charlton fishing From Winnie, I drove over to Bowstring and stopped in at Trails End Resort. Bill was just leaving in his plow truck to check up on Erin who was out on the lake fishing; I tagged along for a chat.

The plowed roads out of Trails End were in great shape. Bill has one spur leading east, and two spurs headed south; all of them lead to popular perch and crappie spots.

There are folks moving around on the ice in pickup trucks, but it’s questionable whether I’d do it myself. Slush problems have definitely improved since my last visit, but there are still some trouble spots. Now that we fresh snow again, snowmobiling looks like more fun to me.

We caught up with Erin on the lake where she was fishing from the driver’s seat of her car. Looking at her flasher, it was obvious that she’d gotten the attention of some fish. But seeing them and catching them were two different things. While I was there, a dozen fish rose to her bait, looked at it and then swam away. “That’s the way it’s been lately, one day they bite as fast as we can drop our lure in the water, the next day, all they do is look”; Bill Charlton said. “Last week, while the weather was warm, fishing was tough. When the temperature got cold, then they started getting active and fishing was good. It will be interesting to see how this weekend goes, with another cold front coming in; maybe they’ll turn on again.”

If cold weather is the secret, then we’ll all be in good shape this weekend. I’m looking at the forecast and it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing any temperatures above zero for the next few days.

The saving grace for this weekend it appears is the predication of calm winds. I can handle fishing outside when its -10 degrees and calm, but not when the wind is howling. That’s why I’m gonna sit it out today and get ready for tomorrow. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort January 24, 2019

"The ice is at 24 or so inches now with about 8 inches of snow on top of it. A lot of the snow had either blown off of settled down, but we did get about 3 to 4 inches of new snow on Tuesday. 

Most folks with 4 wheel drive pickups are traveling off road pretty well. There is some slush here and there, but not that much. The pressure ridge is pretty much non-existent right now and there guys crossing the little bump and heading out onto the big lake. 

Todd has good roads out to the ridge area with fingers and off shoots for fishermen. We’re expecting some high winds over the next few days, so we’re not sure what will be left of them by the weekend. Drifting could become a problem if the winds happen to be strong.

Fishing has had its highs and lows, but sounds like Walleye are being caught in about 8 foot of water and there are some pan fish and northern pike still running. Water has cleared up nicely for the spear fishermen and they are still getting some nice pike and seeing quite a few each day as well. 

We still have spear houses out for rent until the last day of spearing, also cabins for rent up at the resort. The sleeper house is out on Walleye this year and has plenty of openings. 

Stay warm over this cold weekend and have fun Fishin’." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including dark houses and sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

Fish ED January 24, 2019 "Catch More Walleyes In Stained Water Lakes"image links to crappie fishing video

"It can be a bit intimidating when you’re on a big, stained water lake like Lake of the Woods. The sand flats stretch out for miles and it can feel like it will take forever to find the best places to catch walleyes.
It may look like a big flat, but there are all sorts of little sloping points, ripples and sand dunes down there and fish follow those subtle contour changes. So even though you’re fishing big flats, you can still narrow your search to find areas that offer a higher percentage for a better catch.
No matter how good looking the spot you’ve chosen is, the water is still stained. Now is the time to select the right lure; one that will call ‘em in and trigger ‘em to strike.
Join Jeff Sundin on Lake of the Woods, where he’ll share some tricks and tips that will help you locate and catch more walleyes on in stained water lakes." View Video >> Catch More Walleyes In Stained Water Lakes

image links to Kabetogama Outdoors On Lake Kabetogama, KAB Outdoors January 24, 2019

image of woman with nice walleye "Working in the Voyageurs National Park definitely has its advantages, but the “government shutdown” has not been one of them.

Travel without use of the “government” ice road forced us into acquiring some new equipment for moving our rental shelters. As nice as they are, the side-by-sides we use for transporting our guests really weren’t intended to haul heavy ice shelters over miles of snow and ice. So we picked up a new track vehicle to handle the heavy lifting and we now have excellent mobility.

Fishing on Kabetogama remains steady. We still have our rental houses on deep water structure where our guests are catching a mix of nice walleyes, perch and pike. We’ve done some exploring for crappies, but typical of most winters, the fish haven’t formed into tight schools so far. During most winters, the crappie action doesn’t pick up until later; mid-February should bring more reliable fishing for panfish.

Dead sticking with live bait is producing some of our better fish. Jigging with one rod and watching a set line is probably the best approach right now. Focus on water depths from 26 to 32 feet and expect most of the action to occur during early morning and late afternoon.

Like we mentioned, travel on the lake is tricky right now. So if you’re not set up with a track machine or snowmobile, it could be tough going. We can help though, we do still have some rental availability and we can provide transportation to and from our shelters. Click here to >> Contact KAB Outdoors for information about an ice fishing package soon." Kent and Dawn Keeler - KAB Outdoors, 218-

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 23, 2019

"Stream Trout - Stream trout bite has slowed some and has turned into more of a morning bite. Ripping Raps in Silver, gold, and pink have been getting the attention of rainbows and splake. Key depths have been 10 feet under the ice to 40 feet under the ice.

Lake Trout - Lake trout fishing was excellent for many of the people who braved the cold over the weekend. Red and White tubes fished in 30-50 feet of water produced good numbers of lakers. Close second were JLG Bucktails tipped with some smelt or sucker meat.

Panfish - Panfish interest remains low, but the few anglers targeting them are reporting nice catches. Small jigs tipped with wax worms remain the bait of choice. Pink, white and red also the colors of choice. Anglers looking for crappies should continue to look for them over 25 to 35 feet of water. Some sunfish are mixed in but the majority of them being caught are still shallow in 10 of water or less. Green weeds are really key to finding them this time of the year.

Walleye - Walleye fishing has been slow, but anglers are still catching enough fish to make it worthwhile. Shiners and rainbows fished under a bobber have been getting the most bites. Red and chartreuse glow jigs fished in 20-35 feet of water has been best. Main lake humps and neck down areas have been best.

Pike - Pike interest has slowed, but the bite was excellent just before this last cold snap. Anglers have been finding them still shallow in 15 feet of water or less. Mouths of bay, rivers and weed edges have been the areas to target. Large Alewife’s, smelt and heavy suckers fished under a tip-up is the way to go.

Eelpout - Eelpout have started to show up in some anglers catches. We have had some anglers even trying to target them with mixed results. The new JLG Eelpout jigs tipped with minnow heads and pounded on the bottom has been the best technique.

As we draw closer to the next months full moon, the eelpout bite will really pick up and become more consistent." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

What's The Best Way To Contact Jeff Sundin?

caricature image of jeff sundin Because of being away from my computer this weekend, I had to login to facebook using an alternate device. When I did, I stumbled into something that I didn't know about, there were a couple of dozen messages from folks who had tried to contact me using “messenger”. I was horrified that I never knew about their attempts to get in touch and that their attempts had failed.

If you’ve ever tried to contact me using facebook and failed, please accept my sincere apology. I honestly did not even know that the messages existed. The problem is that I don’t have facebook on my phone and I don’t use “messenger”. I’ve had some rough experiences with it in the past and because of that, I have shied away from installing it.

On my computer at home, I don’t even find those messages again, the ones that I stumbled into over the weekend. So I’m honestly not sure how many have gone unanswered over the past several years.

I’ve tried to make it easy for folks to reach me by adding a link to my contact page at the end of every fishing report or fishing article that I write. If you ever want to get in touch, this is absolutely the best way to do it. I check my emails every day during the wee hours of morning and do my level best to respond within a day or two.

So once again, if you’ve tried and failed to reach me using facebook, I am really, really sorry! If you ever do need to reach me again, please use this link to find my contact page. >> fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 22, 2019 "Ice Fishing Updates January 22, 2019"

image of Joelle bellamy with nice sauger Propane sales were up in the northern half of Minnesota over the weekend!

With overnight low temperatures dipping into -30 degree range and daytime highs barely reaching zero, some folks concluded that catching up on honey-do’s and stoking the fireplace was a better use of time than ice fishing.

For us, a family gathering in the Twin Cities gave us a break from the deep freeze, allowing a couple of days in the relative warmth of 10 to 15 degrees above zero.

Despite the cold temperatures, there were still healthy crowds heading up north to fish for walleyes. Most of the action these days is on Lake of the Woods where both walleye and sauger continue to provide decent action. The bite for either species is off from its peak, but most folks are still catching enough fish to be happy.

My step daughter Joelle, along with a group of friends spent the weekend on LOW and reported catching “good numbers” of fish. The mix of fish was typical for mid-winter, lots of small fish, a reasonable number of “keepers” and the odd “good one”. Sauger typically occupies the smaller end of the size spectrum on LOW. This winter has been different though, the average size sauger has been really nice.

When we fished up there a few weeks ago, we caught numerous sauger in the 14 to 16 inch range. In the accompanying photo, Joelle has her hands on a nice one too. Other photos from the big lake this weekend show anglers with piles of good size sauger and there’s even an 18.5 inch sauger in the report from Sportsman’s Lodge. In my opinion, those are really nice fish; a super nice bonus for folks fishing on the US side of the lake.

Like I said, we were in the Twin Cities for a family gathering this weekend and I noticed that there was barely enough snow to form a snowball down there. It’s not that way up here at all, in fact we have 4 or 5 inches of new snow in the driveway right now and it’s still coming down. If you’re a frustrated snowmobiler, thinking that there’s nowhere to ride, then hook up the trailer and bring your sled up here, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

After I take a few hours to catch up on paperwork, I’ll be moving the snow. Then I’ll be headed out to see if the weekend cold snap helped clear up any of our slush problems. It’s hard to imagine that conditions wouldn’t have improved, but it’s been an odd winter, so I’m ready for surprises.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 22, 2019

image of angler with big sauger "Anglers on the south end of Lake of the woods are reporting nice mixed catches of walleye and sauger from the basin in 28 to 32 feet of water during the day. There's a shallower morning and evening bite occurring in water depths of 15 to 22 feet as well.

Nice walleyes were suspended this week. Jigging one line with small to medium sized jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head or tail effective. Deadstick (bobber) second line with a plain hook or a jig with live minnow. -31 degree air temp this past week building ice nicely for March walleyes and pike. Ice roads open. Snowmobile trails across lake staked and groomed from south shore up to NW angle.

On the Rainy River... Some reports of morning/evening walleye action on river and Four Mile Bay. Heavier than normal current. Area around International Bridge in Baudette not safe due to construction of new bridge. Snowmobile trail on river is open and marked from Baudette (downstream from bridge) to lake. Stay on trail for safety.

Up at the NW Angle... Good fishing continues as walleyes are sliding a bit deeper. Walleyes with nice saugers, perch, pike, tulibees and eelpout mixed in. Most fish coming from 24-29'. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on. Snowmobile trails from south shore across lake to Angle are marked and are open. The ice road from Young's Bay to Flag and Oak Island resorts is open."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge January 22, 2019

"Many big Walleyes caught this past week. Some days we had a strong morning bite and others were in the evening. We have had more suspended fish this week. The ice road is good and we continue to be on the move.

Our houses are currently situated 9 miles from Pine Island in 32 feet of water.

We are just coming out of some -30 degree overnights and the week ahead looks like we are mostly above zero until the weekend comes and then back to the -20’s.

Settlers Point has some great openings in February and March for groups of 10-18 people with unbeatable package prices. The facility is great for keeping the group together. 9 large bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms with all meals onsite. Some rooms have fireplaces and there are two great rooms with poker table and fireplaces.

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

image links to fishrapper home page January 17, 2019 - "Suggestions For Walleye/Perch Combo Fishing On Winnibigoshish"

map of lake winnie Mark Ross wrote; “I am heading to Lake Winnie the first weekend in Feb and staying in a sleeper out of High Banks. Just wondering if there is a good depth to settle in on to try to catch both perch and walleye? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for some great fishing videos and fishing reports.”

A) Mark, in my opinion, fishing patterns for Lake Winnie walleyes are more precise and narrowly defined than are patterns for locating and catching perch.

Walleyes, for the most part, will still be holding on mid-lake bars and humps during mid-winter. Ideal water depths typically range from 18 to 26 feet. The best structures are large and feature well defined points, inside corners and saddles.

Perch on the other hand could be found almost anywhere. We’ve had some of our best luck smack dab on top of the lakes largest flats. Your question triggered my memory of this Fish ED video that we filmed a few years back; we were fishing high on top of Sugar bar in about 17 feet of water. It was loaded with perch, but I never remember catching a single walleye out there.

We’ve caught good perch in deep water too; sometimes soft bottom areas in 30 to 35 feet of water produce great catches. Again though, it is rare to catch walleyes using this strategy.

I guess that if I was going to try and find one spot to catch both species, I’d first select the best walleye spot I could find and then let the perch come to me. I’d settle for catching whatever perch happen to be in fairly close proximity to my primary walleye spot.

For this strategy to work, you’ll need to pick spots that have a lot of habitat. I just took a quick look at this map and spotted this hypothetical scenario. I can’t say that I’ve been to this spot recently, or that I have any firsthand information, but for all I know, there could be both walleye and perch located there right now!

Study your charts and you’ll find numerous spots that fill the bill and they're located within easy reach of Highbanks system of plowed roads. Focus on large flats like this one that have prominent corners, points or dips between two humps or areas that separate two segments of the larger structure. Good spots will have access to large shallow flats, but also lay adjacent to fast breaks into deep water.

Once you find a likely spot, fish with lures that encourage strikes from both species of fish. One lure that comes to mind immediately is the Wally Talker and another great multi-species lure is the Rattl'n Flyer Spoon; tip either lure with a minnow head.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Marcell Area — Edge of the Wilderness, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson January 17, 2019

"January has done a 180 weather-wise when compared to December. While everyone was worried about the ice thickness on the area lakes this past December, January has had snow, high winds and the ever not so popular… Slush!

Very few vehicles have ventured out onto the ice and many of those that have ended up encountering slush with some getting stuck and spending the day digging out instead of fishing.

But now things are turning around. The slush trenches dug by sleds and four wheelers out on the lakes have by what I saw this morning …Well they appeared to have frozen tight overnight and that’s a good thing.

Temperatures will be falling into what is normal for this time of year. Fishing has been somewhat slow but that too is normal for January. This weekend looks like a good one to get out there and try their hand at catching some fish. 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 From Bowstring Lake, Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort January 17, 2019

"Fishing has been improving. Perch have been in the 18 to 25 feet. Panfish have been better also. Small hooks and a lot of jigging seems best on the panfish.

Travel has been better. I have seen pickups drive around on the lake. But there is still slush out there as of this morning (Wednesday). In some spots, there is 18+ inches of ice, but no ice is safe ice.

We do have access to the lake and our roads are plowed." - Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort. 218-832-3101

image reader comments Reader Comments January 16, 2019 "Lund Alaskan Rod Storage"

Josh Fjeld wrote succinctly; “Hey Jeff, tell Lund to make the Alaskan with center rod storage.” 

REPLY: Thanks for the note Josh and thank you too for believing that I might actually have the authority to tell anybody to do anything.  

The truth is that when it comes to buying a boat, I’m a lot like you. I walk into Ray’s Marine showroom, get a quote on my next rig and then run over to Woodland Bank for a loan. My ability to influence anything depends on the few folks who I get to talk to while I visit sport shows or during my visit to the dealer.

I would like to weigh in on your comment though because as you know, I’ve had quite a few Alaskans over the years, in fact I still have one right now.

What has helped the Lund Alaskan gain such a loyal following is the boat’s ability to carry large loads. When folks need a boat that can carry anything to anywhere, using this boat is one of the best ways to accomplish it. It is the wide open floor plan that allows the Alaskan the ability to haul cargo. So while adding center rod storage seems like an attractive idea at first, doing that would actually diminish one of the boat’s best features, its wide open floor plan.

That wide open floor plan is what attracted me to the Alaskan in the first place. As a guide, it allows me to organize a lot of gear and offers my customers plenty of room to fish. I can use any presentation I want and there is always a way to get my customers lines into the strike zone. I can ask everyone to fish of the port side, starboard side, off the bow; anyplace, it all works.

It’s true, the rod storage in my Alaskan is rudimentary compared to what’s in my Pro V, but it works. I have about a dozen rods in my boat at any given time and I only use the port side locker to store them. I have rod sleeves on every rod and I point half of the rods toward the bow, while the others are facing the stern. That system allows me to get them in and out easily, and they are always protected and safe.

Lund offers lots of other options, but in my opinion, folks who like the simplicity of the Alaskan, want a tiller boat, but still want more features like the center rod storage, the Pro Guide is the way to go.

If I ever find myself in a position to do it, I certainly will pass your suggestion along. But for what it’s worth, I am pretty darn happy with the design of my Alaskan just the way it is.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 15, 2019 "My First Ice Fishing Trip To Lake Mille Lacs"

image of Jeff Sundin with Lake Mille Lacs perch Let’s see, how many times have I driven past Lake Mille Lacs during winter, without ever stopping to wet a line there? Has it been one hundred, two hundred, a thousand times, who knows? I’ve fished it during summer, but in winter I’ve been driving right past all 132,516 acres without ever stopping a single time during my entire adult life. Yes that’s right, until yesterday, I had never ice fished on Mille Lacs Lake a single time.

In my own defense, I do live pretty close to some awesome ice fishing lakes. So I haven’t really felt “the need” to drive south during the ice fishing season, I’ve been content staying closer to home.

That all changed when my friend and frequent fishing partner Jon Thelen invited me to tag along on Mille Lacs yesterday. “It’s going to be a reconnaissance trip”; Jon said. “I’ve been hearing mixed reports about the ice fishing and I just want to check it out and see for myself”.

Only an idiot would turn down an offer like that because Thelen is among the foremost authorities on the subject of fishing Lake Mille Lacs. He’s guided there, fished tournaments there and spends most of his summer weekends there, at his cabin. If anybody could put me over the right spot, at the right time, it would be him.

We arrived at the lake during early morning; it was still dark as we unloaded our snowmobiles and portable shelters. By the time we moved toward the first spot, it was light enough to see, but under a grey, drizzly sky, it was still plenty dark enough to say that we’d be in time for the early morning bite.

image of Jon Thelen with Lake Mille Lacs walleyeWe parked at the first spot, Jon walked along, cradling his Humminbird and watching the chart. “Drill your first ice hole right here, there should be some fish moving back and forth between that deep point and this shallow flat. After we get set up, we can drill some more holes along the break and move between them.”

We hadn’t been there a half hour when Jon called me over to snap some photos of his first fish. It was a fat, healthy walleye just like the one’s I’d imagined, or at least hoped that we might catch. After an impromptu photo session, I got back into my shelter and dropped my Glow Spoon back into the water. It wasn’t long before I started marking fish; I caught a couple of Tulibee and a small walleye, but the action on this spot faded.

At the second spot, there was another wave of activity, I hooked and lost one nice walleye, had a few more sightings and then caught a rather large Yellow Perch, the first one I’ve ever caught on Mille Lacs. Yes that’s right, six decades had elapsed and Jeff Sundin never caught a single perch from Lake Mille Lacs, but I have now and I’ve seen what all the fuss is about.

I’d love to make another trip down there just for perch and when the time is right, I will. But Monday wasn’t the time; we wanted to check out as many walleye spots as we could, so that’s what we did.

Fishing mid-lake bars, we spent the majority of our time focusing on water depths of 23 to 28 feet. It seemed like the fish liked the shallow side of that range the best; 23 to 25 feet is where the better strikes occurred.

I’ve had Lindy Glow Spoons tied on most of my walleye rods all winter, yesterday was no exception and obviously they work on Mille Lacs as well as they have everywhere else.

For me, the ¼ ounce, Blue Scale color tipped with a minnow head worked out best. I can’t say for sure because we were fishing in separate fishing shelters, but I think Jon was using the emerald color.

The fish were semi-active, so the best way to fish the lures was slowly. Instead of jigging sharply or keeping the bait moving, it was better to use a shorter, more subdued lift-settle-lift jigging motion. I’d say moving the spoon up and down within about a 6 inch range was the best, allowing the spoon plenty of time at rest, so the fish could make their own decision about when to strike.

I wouldn’t want to give you the impression that we had hand over fist action, we didn’t, but the day was an interesting one. Between the fish we caught and the ones we spotted on our Humminbirds, there was plenty enough activity to hold our attention. I am very happy that we spent the day there and I’d love to see what happens during a “hot bite”. With luck, that day will come sooner, rather than later!

Before I go, let me add that travel conditions on Mille Lacs are much, much better than are the lakes closer to my home in the north central region. There were only a few inches of snow on top of the ice and the lake was virtually slush-free. There were some scattered patches of rough ice to steer around, but travel by snowmobile was really easy.

There were lots of pickup truck tracks on the ice too, mostly from the past weekend. While it didn’t appear that anyone had problems travelling off road by vehicle, I’m not sure that I’d feel great about driving my truck on the 13 inches of ice we measured out there. There are plenty of plowed roads out there though, so I guess that the rental operators feel pretty good about the conditions.

We’ve got a cold snap in the forecast this week and it will be interesting to see if it gets cold enough to help clear up slush problems around the Itasca Region. On Sunday, the Hippie Chick and I fished on Cutfoot Sioux and I was extremely happy to get on and off that lake without burying my snowmobile in slush. In fact, after the trip Mrs. Sundin said; “You don’t have to take me on any more trips like that one honey; I’ll be okay remembering this experience.”

I’ll be closer to home this week, so I’ll try to keep tabs on whether or not cold temperatures help re-freeze slushy areas. Feel free to get in touch with your own reports though, helping keep our fellow anglers safe is a worthy cause, I think. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Dial-in Your LCD Fish Finder Readout for Ice Fishing"

image links to video "Factors such as depth, cone angle, battery life, size of lure used and even variances from lake to lake can affect how well your sonar is reading. Luckily, today's electronics have powerful settings to help dial in the ideal target separation to find fish and see your bait with little interference.

Grant Prokop of Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods demonstrates how to adjust the gain setting on Humminbird's ICE HELIX 7 to get the desired signal return on different sized lures or when searching for fish.

Grant prefers a small signal on lures to get the best target separation possible between the lure and fish. This has the added benefit of eliminating clutter in the water column. When searching for fish, Grant increases the gain to identify fish at greater distances and depths." View Video To Learn More >> Dial-in Your LCD Fish Finder Readout for Ice Fishing

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 15, 2019

image of walleye caught on lake of the woods On the south end, anglers continue to catch good numbers of both walleyes and saugers of all sizes.

Most fish are coming from water depths of 28 to 31 feet, with an early morning, late evening bite occuring shallower. Water depths of 15 to 22 feet along many shoreline areas are best for the prime time feeding runs.

Jigging one line, deadsticking with a second using with lively minnows is the best strategy. Gold, glow red, pink and glow colors have been consistent.

Some anglers using noise and flash to attract and catch fish, but don't overlook using a plain hook and minnow under bobber; this provides consistent results too. As always, electronics are very helpful because larger fish, like this 28 inch walleye that Helen caught while fishing out of Sportsman's Lodges are suspended.

Ice gaining inches, resort ice roads open to various size rigs. Snowmobile trails on lake staked from south shore up to NW angle.

On the Rainy River, be careful on river as heavier than normal current. Some areas good ice, some not good ice. Work through local resorts for safety. Morning and evening walleye action.

Up at the Northwest Angle, excellent fishing continues. Nice numbers of walleyes with saugers, perch, pike, tulibees and eelpout mixed in. Occasional trophy.

Snowmobile trails from south shore across lake to Angle are marked and are open. Most fish coming from 17-26'. Crappies being caught on Ontario side on wax worms and minnow heads in 30'. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge January 15, 2019

"A daily switch, one day the dead stick catches the fish, the next day it’s the jig stick. Having two lines allows you to try both techniques. Some days it’s the noise making that calls them into the dead stick. Other days a plain hook and bobber is all that is needed.

We are out 8 miles about 30 feet of water. Action remains steady. Nice eaters and a lot of little ones. There are a number of big fish, once you get them to bite getting them through the hole becomes the challenge. Patients usually wins in those situations.

The beginning of the week will have highs in the mid-twenties. The rest of the week will be cooler with highs around 10 below.

Settlers Point has some great openings in February and March for groups of 10-18 people with unbeatable package prices. The facility is great for keeping the group together. 9 large bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms with all meals onsite. Some rooms have fireplaces and there are two great rooms with poker table and fireplaces.

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

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 15, 2019

"Stream Trout - Stream trout fishing was excellent for many anglers this weekend. Flashy spoons, hair jigs and crappie tubes, accounted for the majority of trout caught. Lures tipped with waxies seemed to out produce salted minnows. Rainbows were found 10-15 feet under the ice. Brookies and Splake were caught around main lakes points, downed trees and large shallow flats.

Lake Trout - Laker fishing was slow for some, but good for others. Anglers fishing in 30-50 feet of water, around neck down areas and deep humps had the most action. Red and white tubes, Soturi Disco Tumbler and plain white tubes were the top baits.

Walleye - Interest in walleyes has fallen to the wayside with trout opener, but some walleye fishing did happen over the weekend. Anglers still fishing for them are reporting slow but steady action in the evening, then followed by a second wave coming in at about 8pm. Red glowing jigs, tipped with a shiner or rainbow has been the go to setup.

Pike - Nothing to report with pike as interest in them, has dropped.

Panfish - Panfish interest too has dropped to only a handful of anglers. They have reported the some large sunfish were biting in shallow weedbeds on small jigging raps, tipped with waxies." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image reader comments Reader Comments January 12, 2019 Big Pike Chasing Crappies

image of Carl Gaalaas with big pike Carl Gaalaas was on the ice, fishing for Crappies when he caught this large Northern Pike. Gaalaas says; "I was out fishing by noon and crappies were hungry this afternoon caught about 15 little ones. They were suspended about 12’ off the bottom in about 30 feet of water.

I really think that this fish was watching me toss those little crappies back and finally took a hit at my demon jig #6. Hopefully the weather pattern will settle a bit for a consistent bite.

Carl, thanks for the note and for the photo. You're probably right; whether that pike was watching the fish you released, or keeping his on the rest of the fish in the school below you, it was highly likely that he had a crappie dinner in mind.

Pike frequently follow and feed on schools of suspended crappies. In fact, on numerous occasions, we've watched pike on the underwater camera as they lurk on the the outskirts of a school of crappies. I remember seeing upwards of a dozen lurking pike on a small crappie lake in the Marcell area several years ago. Have a great weekend on the ice!

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Trout Fishing Opener Ice Report January 11, 2019

"Ice was checked straight out from the access at each lake.

Slush was present at each lake, but it was clear that it is freezing and packed trail are nicely frozen solid.

High winds the last two days, seem to have helped blow some of the snow off, but this also means some areas will have a lot more snow. Particularly near the shoreline and around islands.

Miners Lake - Miners lake had 12” of good ice with only about 4” of snow in the area of the access. Slush was present, but was not very bad and may not be even be present by opener if temps stay cold and snow stays away. Parking area was plowed.

Hanson Lake - Hanson Lake has 13” of good ice. 3” of slush was present in the area of the access, it was not a issue. Snow wasn’t much of a issue either at about 6-8”. There was exposed ice in the middle of the lake. Parking lot was plowed.

Tofte Lake - Tofte Lake had 15” of ice. Slush was present and showed little signs of freezing in the area of the access. Snow was also deep in the area of the access, but I am sure the further from shore you get the thinner the snow will be. Access road and parking area was not plowed as of 1/10.

Glacier Pond One and Two - Parking area at the county brush dump is plowed, but there are no signs of any travel to the ponds and conditions are unknown.

Ojibway Lake - Ojibway lake access road is not plowed as of 1/10. Conditions are unknown

Snowbank Lake - Snowbank Lake had 15” of good ice. Slush was present here also, but snow was not deep. Slush showed signs of freezing, but 4” of water was below the frozen slush. Good news is anglers have been fishing out there with snowmobiles and there tracks were frozen solid. If temps stay cold snow stays away, conditions out there will improve and slush will become less of a concern out there. Parking area at the main access is plowed.

Burntside Lake - Burntside Lake is reported to have between 10-15” good ice. Slush is present in areas, but with the high winds earlier in the week, some of it has been exposed and frozen. Still areas around islands has some heavy drifting. As of 1/10 Van Vac access is only plowed to the top parking area.

No roads have been plowed for vehicle travel on any of the lakes, so snowmobiles will be the best form of travel on the ice." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 11, 2019 "A Day Without Sunshine Like Gold on Lake of the Woods"

image of walleye A day without sunshine is … worth its weight in gold!

I’ll bet that’s the way a lot of walleye fisherman view the world; in fact, most of the time, that’s the way I see it too. It’s especially true today as I compare the fishing action on Lake of the Woods last Wednesday, a sunny day, to the action we enjoyed on Thursday, a cloudy one.

We caught fish both days, but the difference in their behavior was dramatic. On Wednesday, fish that I observed on my Humminbird were lazy and slow; they’d look at my lure for several minutes before finally deciding to strike. On Thursday, those same fish, on that same reef took one look at my bait and … WHAM!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the action was fast and furious, or that I caught a fish every time I dropped my bait in the water. What I mean is that for several hours in the morning, whenever I marked a fish, they struck almost every single time. The lull that usually occurs during midday occurred on Thursday too, but the slowdown was brief, lasting only a couple of hours before the fish began moving in anticipation of the even feeding run.

Lake of the Woods fish are some of the most “depth sensitive” fish that I’ve encountered. So it’s important to note that the fish we caught were coming out of 25 to 26 feet of water; that seemed to be the sweet spot. I’ve heard from others that the range was a bit broader for them, more like 24 to 28 feet. Either way, it’s easy to check that entire range without having to drill too many holes.

I’ve been using Glow Spoons a lot this winter and over the past couple of days I caught a lot of fish on them again. But yesterday’s extended period of activity gave me time to pull out some of my other favorites lures too. I did really well on the Orange/Green Wally Talker and the Blue/Glow Quiver Spoon was killer bait too. The heads snipped off of frozen shiners is the only meat I added to any of the lures I fished with.

Admittedly, we’ve given ourselves an advantage by using snowmobiles to travel. Our ability to find spots far away from plowed roads and easy access makes finding aggressive fish easier. But I watched the guides in Flag Island’s fish cleaning shack last night and their guests were plenty busy yesterday too. I saw lots walleye, sauger and crappies being wrapped up for their fishing customers.

In the lodge, there was a standing room only crowd and like Wednesday, there were a lot of guests having their catch of the day cooked and served to them. Others were taking advantage of the Thursday ½ price burger special as well, what they all had in common is that they looked pretty darn happy.

The takeaway form today’s report is simple. The reports you’ve been hearing about Lake of the Woods are true; the fish are biting. Weather plays a role though, so if you’re here on a bright sunny day, plan on getting up early and staying out late, the primetime bite will be a godsend. If you need a little extra sleep, wait for a cloudy day when the window of activity is larger. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page January 11, 2019 - "Weighing In On Ice Fishing Line Options "

Alan Kirkpatrick wrote; “Hi Jeff! I have gotten the opportunity to use the Lindy Glow Spoons in both 1/8 and 1/4 ounce sizes and in a few different colors. (I’ve had) some fairly good results on the Walleye at both Red Lake and Lake of the Woods so far this winter.

My question for you is with the mono (line) I use; do you recommend a direct tie on, use of a swivel, or both ways? If you could chime in on this I would surely appreciate it. Thank You! Alan
Alan, in most cases, I think a small, #10 swivel tied about 18 inches above the lure is a good idea. My friend Jon Thelen fishes with mono line too, but always uses one on his rigs both winter and summer.  I also use mono line and for me, tying direct usually works just fine.

When I was out at Devils Lake a couple of weeks ago, a friend chastised me for not joining the 21st century and switching over to braided line. Admittedly, the braid is more sensitive, but the added sensitivity comes at a price, especially if like me, you prefer fishing out in the open, on the ice.

For my buddy out west, using braid is no problem because they always fish out of the door of their vehicle or in a shelter, nothing freezes up. For me though, braided line holds too much water and freezes too fast, that slows my fishing down too much.

If I did use braid, then I would definitely add the swivel and I’d use an 18 inch clear fluorocarbon leader too.

I don’t think I need fluorocarbon these days because the line I use, Gamma’s Copolymer ice line is really clear already. By the way, Gamma’s Copolymer is a very nice, very supple and if you haven’t tried it, it might be a good time to experiment.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 10, 2019 "A Great Mediocre Day On Lake of the Woods"

image of walleye at ice hole Lake of the Woods treated us to what my fishing partner called “a great mediocre day” on Wednesday.

On the ice, travel conditions are pretty good; plowed roads are wide, smooth and fast. Snowmobile trails were okay, but they weren’t smooth; Tuesday’s wind formed a lot of snow drifts, so we had to take it easy.

The winds had subsided by Wednesday morning and became calmer throughout the day. So while the 3 degree air temperature still felt cold, it was manageable at least.

Slush problems are minimal up here and that’s the big blessing. I’d much rather travel at 20 MPH knowing that I won’t get my machine stuck, than to be moving faster, but living in fear of bogging down into the slush yard. The long snowmobile ride ended safely at a spot where we’d had some fun in the past.

Setting up on a submerged reef, we tried 3 or 4 locations before getting comfortable. I marked some fish at 30 feet, but the only fish that ever struck was a Tulibee. The move shallower to 27 feet did produce some fish, but they were run of the mill 12 to 13 inches; not what we were looking for. One more move, shallow again and at 25 feet, the fish sighting became more frequent and the average size was better.

I wouldn’t call the action fast, but every half hour or so, one of us would pick up a fish. The size was all over the map, the largest fish we caught was about 25 inches, the smallest about 10 inches. If we had chosen to keep all of them, fish in the 16 to 17 inch range would have given us a legal bag limit. As it A

We experimented with several lures and caught some fish on most everything we used. By the end of the day though, the observation was that larger baits worked better than smaller ones. The ¼ ounce Glow Spoon came out on top because of its ability to call fish in from a distance.

At the end of the day, the word around camp from other anglers was similar. Everybody was catching fish, but there weren’t many reports of stellar action. Many of the groups were in the lodge having their day’s catch prepared for dinner, so that tells me that they were confident that they’d catch more today.

If you add it all up, it was a darn good day, we travelled safely, nothing broke, and we caught enough fish to be satisfied. It was “a great mediocre day!”

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort January 10, 2019

"The Third River of Winnie is looking pretty good. We did not got the extra snow they were talking about. Did get a warm up that put a nice crust on the snow we already have. There is about 8 inches of snow on the ice with higher drifts here and there.

Ice is at 20 to 22 inches. Have had quite a few wheel houses out. Todd has nice roads plowed down to the clay banks and in that direction the wind sweeps it clean. Some folks are still 4 wheeling out to the pressure ridge area. Is some shush up close to shore and a few other areas so watch for that.

The water has cleared up down at the banks area, though cloudy you can see the bottom and the fish moving through. Gotten some nice northern, a few perch and a few crappies they have been slow for a week or so." Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image denotes link to fish rapper article From Bowstring Lake, Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort January 10, 2019

"The bite has slowed. Both crappies and perch. Northerns not so much. Travel on the lake is ok. I have seen guys drive trucks across the lake today. But you have to drive. I do have roads plowed and access on the lake." - Darv Oehlke, Bowstring Shores Resort. 218-832-3101

image links to fishrapper home page January 9, 2019 - "Ice Fishing Rod Case Recommendation?"

image of ice fishing rod case Grant Beatty wrote; Q) “Hey Jeff, I’m getting ready for a fishing trip up on the Minnesota/Canada Border. We’re planning to do quite a bit travel by snowmobile and I need to pick up a good rod case. I remember you mentioned picking one up earlier this winter, but don’t remember which one it was. How about giving us an update, it working out for you and would you buy the same one again or suggest something else?”

A) Grant, the rod case that you’re referring to is from Ice Fishing Innovations and I wrote the original report about it back on December 10, 2018. Since then, that rod case has traveled with me to lake of the Woods, Upper Red Lake, Devils Lake, Kabetogama and a half dozen smaller, local lakes.

Every time I’ve opened the cover, my rods have been resting safely, nestled in the exact spots that I place them before I’ve begun travelling. I haven’t had a tangled line, there haven’t been any snagged lures inside and most importantly, nothing has been broken! My tackle has been organized and easy to reach as well.

One feature that I’ve really come to love is how easy the latches open and close; they are absolutely sooth and effortless to use. The importance of that feature wasn’t obvious to me in the beginning, but it is now. It’s amazing how much easier life is when you want to make a quick lure change or trade one fishing rod for another and the box opens and closes easily.

As it happens, my friend Jon Thelen and I have a snowmobile fishing trip planned for the near future too. After seeing my rod case in action, Jon decided that he really needed one for the upcoming trip.

In my opinion, you’ll be equally impressed with the Ice Fishing Innovations rod case. The fit and finish is excellent and it is built solid as a rock, it’s the perfect case for the trip you have in mind. Let's not forget that you'll be supporting a local business run by a fellow ice fisherman too; that means something to me. For More Information Go To >> Ice Fishing Innovations

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 9, 2019 "Ice Fishing Update"

Slush remains a problem for anglers who want to fish on the majority of small to medium size north lakes in north central Minnesota. While slushy areas did start cropping up on some of the big water lakes too, these remain a better bet for anybody heading toward the ice this weekend.

Better access to wind helped blow snow off of the surface of larger lakes before the January Thaw. That was apparently enough to minimize flooding in open areas. Smaller waters, protected from the wind weren’t so lucky, deeper snow became more severely flooded, making travel difficult.

At Northern Acres Resort on Bowstring Lake, Dave says; “Bowstring’s northwest access is horrible; better stick with snowmobiles.”

On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris at Eagle Nest Lodge draws a distinction between Big Winnie and Cutfoot saying; “Cutfoot has a bunch of slush and only has about 10" of ice under the snow and slush.  I think there's more ice in McAvity Bay and, of course, there are no roads up here.  Several resorts on Winnie have been plowing roads and they have decent ice out there.”

Pat O'Reilly, Northland Lodge added; “Roads out of High Banks Resort are great! Travel off road is tough though and Tamarack Bay has a lot of open slush, be careful out there!”

Over on Leech Lake, Tim from Spirit of the North Resort said this; “Ice is great on Leech Lake! Hopefully we will not be getting any more snow for a while!

Be careful around ice heaves, with the snow’s weight there is some flooding around them! Over all it is wonderful out there! Pine point and Trappers Landing both have great plowed roads. Come enjoy Leech Lake with us.”

Further north, we arrived at Lake of the Woods yesterday afternoon. The conditions that greeted us were harsh; the wind was blowing at about 20 MPH and the air temperature was 12 degrees.
That was a bit of shock to my system after preparing for the trip in the 35 degree weather at Grand Rapids. That said the colder temperatures have apparently been an advantage up here. Travel conditions on the lake are reported to be good. The plowed roads are in excellent condition and slush on the ice is minimal, off road travel for snowmobiles is smooth sailing, we’re told.

I’ll know a lot more about that later, after we spend the day fishing, watch for an update tomorrow.

image links to fishrapper home page January 9, 2019 - "Gearing Up To Fish Bowstring Lake"

image of Lindy Frostee Jig Darin Chambers wrote; “Jeff, some friends and I are coming up to bowstring at the end of the month fishing.
I’m just checking to see if there are any “must haves” in our tackle box, lures that you would recommend.  We already have Frostee spoons, lindy glow spoons and teardrops jigs. 

We will be fishing for mostly crappie and perch (I hear that bowstring is a tuff walleye lake in the winter) and hopefully a few northern.  Thanks for the time and any input would be greatly appreciated.”

A) Darin, you’re already off to a good start. The #4 Frostee is one lure I would never be without on Bowstring, in fact I was just on Bowstring last week and in this photo, you’ll see the Frostee I was using at the time. By the way, its cousin, the Frostee Jigging Spoon is also a good choice and so is the Lindy Quiver Spoon the spoons and blade type baits cover your bases when fish are feeding on minnows.

On Bowstring, you’ll catch a lot of fish over soft bottom areas that contain marl. Many times fish in these areas will be feeding on small bloodworms. Situations like these often call for smaller lures with smaller hooks that can be covered with a single wax worm or spike.

Tungsten is the way to go for fish when they’re feeding on bloodworms or other small insects. I like Lindy’s Tungsten Bug and Tungsten Toad in these circumstances. For perch, colors like orange/black and green/black are suited well. For crappies, the yellow/pink, red/glow and blue/glow are my favorites, but throw in a couple of your own favorites too.

Keep an eye on the reports over the next couple weeks, Bowstring comes up fairly often and that will help you dial in patterns that are working closer to your arrival. Don’t worry too much about being fully stocked up before you get here either, all of these baits are readily available at the local shops near Bowstring.

Good Luck on your trip! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge January 8, 2019

image of women with big walleye "Great start to 2019! We are at least 8 miles past Pine Island and continue to be on the move. This past week had some great action, with plenty of big Walleye and nice keepers. Of course, nothing beats a fresh Walleye dinner or appetizer.

An active jig stick and a strong minnow on the dead stick has been very productive. The Drop Shots continue to do well on the dead stick and Rippin Rap is a good active jig weapon.

Another roller coaster forecast for this week, we will have to wait and see what actually happens.

Settlers Point has some great openings in February and March for groups of 10-18 people with unbeatable package prices. The facility is great for keeping the group together. 9 large bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms with all meals onsite. Some rooms have fireplaces and there are two great rooms with poker table and fireplaces.

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

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 8, 2019

image of rick rone and joe henry with big walleye "On the main basin, walleyes and saugers being caught in depths from 19 to 31 feet. Most anglers are fishing 27 feet or deeper.

Jigging one line, deadstick second with lively minnow, keep jigging line moving. Plain hook and minnow under bobbers was a good presentation this week. Morning/evening bite in 13-18'. Electronics very helpful with some larger fish suspended.

Gold, pink, glow colors, and blue hot colors. Some big pike 40+ inches this week. Ice ranges from 14-20" where resorts are fishing. Resort ice roads open to various size rigs. Snowmobile trails on lake staked from south shore up to NW angle.

On the Rainy River, stretches of the river and bay ice unsafe with heavier than normal current. Work through local resorts for safety. Morning/evening walleye action in Four Mile Bay.

Up at the Northwaest Angle fishing is excellent. Nice numbers of walleyes coming through with an occasional trophy. Sauger, perch, pike, tulibees and eelpout mixed in too. Most fish coming from 18 to 26 feet of water. On the Ontario side, there are some crappies being caught as well.

The snowmobile trails from the south shore across the lake up to the northwest angle are marked and are open. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 8, 2019

"Lake Trout - Lake trout fishing in the BWCA has been excellent. Lakers are being found anywhere between 30-80 feet of water. Blade baits, tubes and dead smelt laying on the bottom, we’re the top baits over the last week. Deep humps, main lake points and deep water near shallow bays were the places to fish.

Stream Trout - Stream trout fishing inside the BWCA was also good for many anglers. Flashy spoons fished in 15 feet of water or less, near weedbeds or downed trees proved effective for many anglers. Waxies, salted minnows or salmon eggs have been effective on trout.

Panfish - Crappie fishing remains consistent for many anglers, but slush is starting to limit their ability to move and stay on fish. Crappie remain deep in 24-30 feet of water. To locate fish, anglers need to punch holes until fish are marked. Fish have been easy to catch after found, but will often move after a few have been caught. Anglers able to keep moving with the fish have been reporting the best catches. Waxies have been the best bait as of late. Chartreuse, Pink and Red are excellent colors for jigs.

Walleye - Interest in walleye’s has fallen this last week as many anglers switched to trout or have had slush become a issue in the area they were fishing. Still some anglers are going out and finding walleyes in 20-30 feet of water. Best time remains during that last hour of light and late into the night. Shiners or rainbows have been catching the majority to walleyes. Jigging minnows and spoons have been working on active aggressive fish.

Pike - Pike fishing has remained good to excellent for many anglers, but again slush has made fishing some spots a challenge. Heavy suckers or Alewife’s remain the bait to have if you want a big pike. Lite suckers and smelt result in better numbers, but smaller fish. Shallow bays and weedbeds are the area to target for pike." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 7, 2019 "A Perchy Pattern For Crappie"

image of crappies on screen of ice helix 7 I’ve had a chance to get some crappie fishing under my belt over the past several days and its felt good. As much as I like walleyes and walleye fishing, I spend so much time in hot pursuit during my guiding season that it’s nice to have an occasional break during my off season.

Whenever I’ve located fish, I’ve been able to catch them, but only on their terms. Some parts of some days have definitely been better than others and there’s no rhyme or reason to the timing their pattern.

On Thursday, I found my first school of fish at 9:30 AM and caught a half dozen in just a few minutes. After that, the school went dormant, they didn’t move, but they just stopped feeding. I moved a little further up the line, found another school of fish, caught and released a couple, but then struggled to get another strike. After more exploration, I decided that it was gonna be a long day, I’d seen more fish, but they had lockjaw; until high noon.

That’s right, for whatever reason, the fish decided that the best time to feed was smack dab in the middle of the day. For about a half hour, I moved back and forth between several spots I’d found, caught a fish or two at each of them and then they quit again; until 2:30 PM.

That’s right, for whatever reason, the fish decided that the next best time to feed was mid-afternoon, well before prime time. Look at the photo of my Humminbird and notice the time that nice looking school of crappies began to feed aggressively. They acted like it was prime time and I moved back and forth between several spots I’d found, catching a fish or two at each one of them until they quit again; this time forever.

That’s right, for whatever reason, the fish decided that they didn’t need to feed during prime time. The period from 3:30 to 4:30 PM featured a screen filled with baitfish and small schools of crappies moving through at random intervals, but not a biter in the bunch.

image of crappie feeding on perch minnowsMy best guess is that the crappie’s erratic behavior had something to do with the baitfish that they were feeding on. Gigantic schools of perch minnows moved in and out of range throughout the day and when they did, crappies took after them with a vengeance. Look close at the photo and you’ll see that this crappie had a rather large perch minnow in its throat. It was not uncommon for some of those fish to cough up 2 or 3 perch while I unhooked them.

When crappies are feeding on minnows, their behavior is a lot more nomadic than it is when they find insect hatches. Insects have a much harder time moving away from predators than minnows do. So crappies, most panfish for that matter tend to stay put for longer periods of time when they’re feeding on insects.

The takeaway from this report out to be that if the fish are feeding on minnows and you know it, then you should be prepared to fish all day long. You should expect to have short spurts of action, followed by lulls when you and the baitfish lose track of each other.

Every lake is different, but depth trends from one lake to another can be very similar. Where I was fishing, the maximum depth is about 28 feet and my key depth was 23.5 feet of water. The fish were relatively far away from the deepest holes, relating close to the lakes breakline.

Let’s say that the maximum depth on your lake is 35 feet deep and there are fish feeding primarily on minnows, then you might expect a similar trend. Try fishing away from the deepest holes, tighter to the breaklines, that’s where it’s easier for fish push schools into corners and trap them there. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort January 7, 2019

"Anglers visiting Bowstring Lake over the past few days enjoyed reasonably good travel conditions. The ice is about 16 inches thick now and we’ve been able to make some progress with the roads. Bill has been opening up longer stretches of passable territory and they lead in a wider variety of directions.

Caution is advised, there are patches of slush, some of them large, including a few areas where water creeps across our roads. There have been some pickup trucks on the ice, but so far we’ve discouraged anglers with big rigs towing wheel houses. The cold snap that’s predicted for this week should help push the ice into more favorable condition for larger rigs.

According to reports from visitors, it sounds like travel conditions on Bowstring are still better than they are on many of the smaller lakes in our area. There have been folks on the ice using snowmobiles and ATV’s are getting around with few problems.

Crappie fishing has been good, but spotty. It’s not that hard to find a school of fish, they show up on our electronics throughout the day. Feeding patterns have been odd, they bite whenever they want, sometimes right in the middle of the day.

Perch have been active at times too, sometimes moving through the same areas with crappies, but most times they have been more isolated.

Key depths are 23 to 26 feet for both perch and crappie. Walleyes when we find them, are located shallower, 12 to 18 feet has been  a more reliable range for them.

We're watching the weather today, snow that was forecast to fall in the region overnight hasn't hit yet. What we are experiencing right now is some freezing rain and drizzle. We'll try to post an update later, once we see how much precipition rolls into the area today." - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Resort

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 3, 2019 "Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Access Map"

image of lake winnie map "On January 2, 2019, while answering a reader question about ice fishing locations on Lake Winnie, I promised an update about lake accesses and travel conditions. The accompanying map, along with numbered descriptions should give anglers a fairly good idea about where they can go and where they can't go this weekend.

The word from resort owners and rental operators around the lake is that every road onto the lake is either already open, or will be open this weekend. Travel conditions on the plowed roads are generally good, but I'll reiterate yesterday’s comments about off road travel on the big lake.

Snow on Lake Winnie's ice is hard packed and ranges in depth between 12 to 15 inches. There are areas of slush under the snow, particularly in areas where anglers have drilled holes for fishing. If you’re depending on a pickup truck for travel, stay on plowed roads and/or well travel user developed pathways. If you’re travelling by snowmobile or ATV, steer clear of ..." Learn More >> Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Access Map January 3, 2019

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report January 2, 2019 "It's O-Fish-All, The New Year Has Begun!"

image of the Hippie Chick with big CrappieI and The Hippie Chick rang the New Year in right on Tuesday. We spent the afternoon on one of Grand Rapids’ smaller lakes, catching crappies while a stunning sunset shone through the window of my portable ice fishing shelter.

This was the first time I’d been on the lake since the snowfall that arrived early Monday morning and wasn't sure what to expect. There's about 2-3 inches of fresh snow on top of the 10-12 inches that had already fallen late last week. Since I wasn’t sure what travel conditions would be like, I loaded the snowmobile and fully expected to use it.

When we arrived at the lake, I was surprised; there was already a user developed, plowed road that led most of the way to a reasonably good fishing area. There were half dozen pickup trucks on the ice, along with a dozen or more un-occupied permanent shelters. Obviously folks had been taking advantage of their holiday time way from work.

The air temperature was - 3 degrees and looking at that plowed road gave me ideas. It was a lot warmer inside the truck than it was outside, so I decided to drive out, save some loading/unloading time and be comfortable.

While we may have been warmer by driving onto the lake, saving time was the last thing I did. Driving fairly close to a fishing spot wasn’t a problem, but figuring out where to turn the truck around was. By itself, the snow was deep enough to cause trouble diving. But the hard packed berm created by the snow plow added another layer of complication and I came very close to high centering the truck on it.

Luckily, we made the turn and got situated, but I was nervous doing it. But then we still had to drag the portable shelter across that same berm and then through a foot of snow to get set it up. Behind the snowmobile, my portable is actually portable, but draggng it through deep snow by hand, that’s not as much fun.

image of jeff and susan with big crappieLong story short, if I was doing the same trip again today, I would save myslef some trouble and definitely use the snowmobile instead.

By the time we got set up, it was close to 3:00 PM and panfish were already on the move. In fact Susan had a nice crappie to her hole before I had even wet a line; it looked like we were really getting into a bonanza! In a way, we did, there was always a fish or two on our screens and they were fairly aggressive, something bit every few minutes. But we had to work a little to trigger each strike, nothing came super easy.

We experimented with lures, colors and sizes and I’m not sure if there was an “O-Fish-All” best one. We picked up some fish using the smallest size Tungsten Bug, we caught others on a #6 Pink/Glow Tungsten Fat Boy and by days end we were both using the larger, #4 size Frostee Jigs.

For bait, we only used wax worms and didn’t try minnows or artificial tails; the waxies were handy and they worked.

I can’t remember the last time I passed up a chance to photograph a stunning sunset, but on Tuesday I did. As you can see by the photos, there was a warm glow shining into the portable. It was gorgeous all afternoon and the later it got, the prettier it was. But between the fish biting, the warmth of the heater and the company I was keeping, I was more content staying inside this time. Next time, I’ll brave the elements and walk back outside for the sunset, especially if the temperature is above zero.

Now that the holidays have passed, there’s more ice time on my schedule again. In fact I’ll probably be fishing most every day this week and the Hippie Chick was inkling clues about wanting to fish again next weekend too. As always, fresh reports will be posted often so that you can be in the loop. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page January 2, 2019 - "Ice Fishing Pointers For Lake Winnibigoshish?"

Eric Haken Emailed; Q) “Hi Jeff, I am a deputy sheriff here in Windom, MN and my dad is the retired sheriff.  I got him hooked on ice fishing and am taking him up to Winnie sometime next week. He's never really gotten into a good walleye bite or crappie. 
I will be pulling a 26 foot Ice Castle up there and I am not familiar with the lake at all. So I’m just looking for a point in the right direction to try and get him on some fish.
I have all the electronics including the new Garmin Panoptix and I am not looking for a guided trip, just wondering if you can point me in the right direction?

A) Greetings Eric, Generally speaking, you're headed in the right direction for both Walleye and Crappie. Unfortunately, it's doubtful that you will find both species in the same place, at the same time.

Walleye fishing on Winnibigoshish is typically very good during early January and most of the better fishing will be found out on the "main lake". Deep water structures like humps and bars produce good action during the early morning and again at sunset. I look for inside corners, tips of points and gently sloping breaklines where structures with sand or gravel taper down into the deeper, soft bottom basin. Key depths range between 24 and 30 feet, more often than not, I settle in somewhere around 26 feet of water.

Jigging lures like Lindy's Rattl'n Flyer, Quiver Spoon and Glow Spoons are all good choices. Rig one rod for jigging and tip the treble hook with a minnow head; work these baits steadily. Rigging a dead stick is a good idea too, the size #2 Frosty Jig tipped with a whole, live minnow will give neutral and negative fish a longer time to decide whether to strike. Fish that don't strike your jigging spoon will often grab the 'dead stick" instead.

Crappies can be caught on Winnie, but typically won't be found mixed with the walleyes. They are sometimes caught in the shallow water flowages on the lake’s fringes. This may force you to decide whether walleye fishing is more important than crappie fishing and vice versa.

You could abandon the mid-lake walleye structure on Winnie and set up over deeper water in Cutfoot Sioux. Or you could set up in shallow water near Third River where you may well find a mix of perch, pike and panfish, but catching significant numbers of walleye is unlikely.

Having all of that equipment is a blessing, but at the same time, it’s a hindrance. The problem you’ll run into is accessing good fishing spots with your Ice Castle. While there are several rental operators that provide really nice plowed roads onto Winnie, there are few, if any providing road service on Cutfoot Sioux. With a foot of snow on the ice, I would advise against going “off road” with your wheel house.

In my opinion, your best bet would be to focus on the big lake and make it a walleye, perch and pike weekend. That way you’ll have a better chance at keeping yourselves busy and you’ll only have to find one or two spots to park that wheel house.

A few years back, I published a map of access points on Winnibigoshish and today, I’ll dust it off, make some updates and add it to the report. Check back again for a re-vitalized version of that map, it will be helpful for you this weekend.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism January 1, 2019

image of woman with big walleye "On the main basin, there are good numbers of walleyes and saugers being caught of all sizes.

Most anglers focused in 25-31' of water, but during the morning and evenings, there is a shallow water bite in 13-18 feet of water too. Jig one line, deadstick the second. Gold, glow red, yellow and orange hot colors. Electronics very helpful, especially with some of the larger fish being suspended.

Every resort ice road is different but pickups and wheel houses of varying sizes allowed on various ice roads. Ice ranges from 12-20" where resorts are fishing. Snowmobile trails on lake staked from south shore up to NW angle. Please stay on marked trails, don't go off on your own and exercise safety precautions as ice conditions vary.

On the Rainy River, stretches of the river and bay ice unsafe with heavier than normal current. Some walleye action in Four Mile Bay early and late in day. Most river fishing currently being done by locals who know ice.

Up at the Northwest Angle, the ice road is open from Young's Bay to Flag Island, but no further as of yet. Snowmobile trails from south shore across lake to Angle are marked and are open. Stay on trail for safety!

Excellent fishing with good numbers of walleyes being caught. Most fish coming from 18-24'. Crappies being caught on Ontario side. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge January 1, 2019

"We continue our trek North to deeper water. We are around the 31 feet mark which seems early in the season to be this deep. We have had many great catches this past week. Even the girls from down under in Australia got in some ice fishing action!

Of course, the gold and glow red are important, but mostly something that glows regardless of color. An active jigging rig is important.

This weeks forecast looks like a roller coaster, lows to -20 and highs at 34. We will have to wait and see what actually happens.

Settlers Point has some great openings in February and March for groups of 10-18 people with unbeatable package prices. The facility is great for keeping the group together. 9 large bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms with all meals onsite. Some rooms have fireplaces and there are two great rooms with poker table and fireplaces.

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

Fish ED January 1, 2019 "Catching Walleyes During The Dog Days Of Winter"

image links to crappie fishing videoHere's the thing, even during these cold fronts, even in these " Dog Days" of winter, walleyes still have to eat.
Catching fish consistently is just a question of adapting to what a fish really wants and figuring out what you need to do to trigger a strike.
During mid-winter, you sometimes have to get a little bit more subtle and play the game the walleye's way. Find out what he's comfortable with and match your presentation to his mood.
Don't let the dog days of winter keep you off the ice! This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen shows you how to still put tons of walleye on the ice, even when conditions are brutal.
Watch as Jon explains the adaptations you need to make to keep putting good walleyes, and big walleyes on the ice. View Video >> Catching Walleyes During The Dog Days Of Winter

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 1, 2019

"Panfish - Crappies and Sunfish fishing has remained good to excellent for many anglers this last week. Crappies are being found in 25-35 feet of water and are hitting tear drop jigs, tipped with wax worms or small soft plastic. Pink glow, Chartreuse glow and Red glowing jig are working best.
Some sunfish are found mixed in with the crappies, but have generally been located in 20 feet or less. Sunfish too are preferring waxies the most, but small soft plastic baits are catching their fair share of fish too.
Both fish have been biting best during the day with some lakes having the bite shutdown by noon.

Walleye - Walleye bite has slowed some for many anglers the last week, but some good fish are still being caught. The best time remains that last hour of light, but a second wave of biters moves back in around 8pm. Rainbows and shiners under a bobber and/or a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head and actively jigged has been working best. Red glowing baits remain the best glow color at night. 20-30 feet of water, main lake points and around sunken islands have been best.

Pike - Pike fishing has ranged from “OK” to excellent. Live heavy suckers have been getting the most hits, but more often then not, a simple Alewife under a tip-up, has resulted in the biggest fish for the day. Shallow bays, with weeds, has been best.

Lake Trout - Heavy snow just before lake trout opener in the BWCA made many people think twice about going out and many just stayed home. Reports are very limited, but for the truly hardest core laker anglers that went out, only found ok fishing. Dead smelt on the bottom in neck down areas, worked best.

Hope you have a happy New Year! Steven Renneberg" — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358