Minnesota Fishing Reports
The NOAA forecast predicted Thursday to be the first dry day in over a week. That gave my buddy Jon Thelen, who like me, was suffering from an ailment called coopedupedness, a reason to give me a call. “The weather looks good for Thursday and I got a heads up from a friend who caught some crappies; you want to go give it a try?” he said.
Asking me that question was like walking up to a kennel and asking a hunting dog if she wanted to go out in the field for a walk. “Yes, of course I do, I’ll be ready to go on Thursday morning,” I said.
The lake could have been any one of a hundred north central Minnesota waters. A moderately deep, 300-acre lake managed primarily for bass, crappie, and sunfish. When I looked at a map of it, I ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 16, 2021
"Minnesota’s popular warm weather stream trout season opens Saturday, April 17, 2021 with quality fishing opportunities in every region of the state. Brook trout and splake fishing also open April 17, 2021 on Lake Superior and its tributary streams.
Minnesota has some excellent trout fishing, and anglers help pay for trout habitat and access improvements with their fishing licenses and trout stamps. Anglers fishing on designated trout waters must have a trout stamp validation in addition to an angling license."
When I read that press release from the MN DNR, my first thought was yeah, that's great, but I wish I knew how to find out about good trout streams in my region. As I continued to read, the idea of stream trout fishing this weekend became more exciting when I saw that the DNR added a new StreamFinder tool to ..." Learn More >> Use new DNR StreamFinder to find places to fish
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, the lake is still ice covered with big stretches of open water which is expanding daily. Some anglers have been fishing the lake and are fishing in front of the Lighthouse Gap where the Rainy River enters LOW.
Until today (April 14, 2021) anglers have been allowed a limit of walleyes and saugers on the lake, but catch and release only on Four Mile Bay and the Rainy River. Today marks the conclusion of the spring walleye season which will idle all walleye fishing until the Minnesota walleye season opens again on May 15th, 2021.
Pike Fishing. Open water is available in the back bays such as various Four Mile Bay, Bostic Creek, Zippel Bay and backwaters on the Rainy River where pike spawn. Some nice pike being caught in ..." Read >> Rainy River Fishing Report April 14, 2021
"At the moment, only a few fishing-related bills have been introduced and/or discussed in the legislative committees. The most significant is a bill to change Minnesota’s walleye limit statewide from six to four fish, daily and in possession.
Your MN-FISH board voted to support this bill largely recognizing the impact of our advanced angling skills and how social media attracts angling crowds to hot walleyes lakes in a matter of hours.
It should be noted a four-walleye limit is not likely to make walleye fishing better, but may reduce exploitation of walleye populations as angling pressure increases. If you have an opinion about walleye limits, please ..." Read and Learn More >> Full MN-FISH Newsletter April 2021
"Installing a fish finder is a manageable DIY job as long as you have a little know-how and some essential tools. And even if you're not up for the job, knowing what a proper installation looks like allows you to assess and troubleshoot your setup. Professional boat rigger Andy Kratochvil of Fishlectronics walks us through a detailed step-by-step fish finder installation covering everything from the initial unboxing and parts layout, transducer placement and mounting, to wiring up the head unit.
Although the featured graph is a Humminbird SOLIX, Andy's tips and tricks are aimed squarely at making your install smooth and technically correct regardless of your fish finder's make, model, new or used. He starts by ..." View Video and Learn More >> How to Install a Fish Finder | Pro Tips and Tricks for All Models
It was not much more than a week ago that anglers visiting Wally Hunter’s Coffee Shop were speculating about low water levels in north central Minnesota. “Gonna have a heck of a time getting that big sparkle boat in at some of the landings”, one said.
Nine days ago, the sun was out, the temperature was 72 degrees, and I pulled my Pro V out of the garage. After washing and polishing, vacuuming, and tinkering, I had her hooked up to the truck and ready to go. A half hour later, I heard thunder, then I ..." Read >> Floating the Float-Able April 13, 2021
On 4-7-2021, Ryan Fox wrote, “Good afternoon! Several questions that are on my mind and I’m sure many others in the Lake Winnie area too.
Q) Why is the water level so low and why did the Corp keep the Dam wide open all winter? (The last two winters!)
Why the last two springs has the water level been so low? Was there not an agreement between the Fisheries and Corp to maintain a higher water level in the “spawning” season?
Two and a half years ago our fisheries department determined that higher water levels in the spring translates to stronger year classes of Walleye. The next two springs in a row, low water. This Spring lower than I’ve ..." Read >> Winnie Water Levels For Spawning April 9, 2021
On 4-7-2021, Gene Heise wrote; “Just seeking info and I know you are a guide so maybe you can help me or maybe not. Been fishing around Cass lake for many years, but last year upon taking a drive, my son and I discovered the beauty around the Wabana and trout lake area. Can you recommend any favorite resorts or walleye lakes in that area for my family?”
A) You're right Gene, many of the lakes in that region are beautiful, quiet and truly joyful to be on.
Most of them offer opportunities for mixed bag fishing. Panfish, bass, pike and rock bass dominate the populations of many lakes in that region. You mentioned Wabana specifically and that does indeed have both fishable numbers of walleyes and ..." Read >> QnA Good Walleye Lakes in the Wabana Region?
The term “slow news cycle” was invented for times like these and for me, it is a weird feeling. There’s open water everywhere, but for the most part, there is nothing happening. That is, except for folks heading toward the Rainy River, which by now, is not news either.
Little Cutfoot has been ice free for nearly a week already, so I figured the least I could do would be to drive up for a progress report about the DNR walleye egg take operation.
I didn’t figure on finding it fully staffed, but I did expect to see the docks set up in preparation. But no, there weren’t any people, no docks, no boats, no camper, nothing.
Even if the DNR staff would have been there, I wouldn’t have ..." Read >> Fishing Updates April 7, 2021
"Open water is expanding daily, but except for large, open patches of water adjacent to inflowing tributaries such as the Lighthouse Gap (Rainy River) and Morris Point Gap (Bostic Creek) areas, most of the south side of Lake of the Woods is still ice covered.
Anglers are allowed a limit of walleyes and saugers on the lake but catch and release only on Four Mile Bay and the Rainy River through April 14.
Open water is becoming available in many of the back bays around the lake where pike spawn. The pike season is open year-round on LOW and the Rainy River. 3 fish per day, 30 to 40 inches must be released, one over 40 inches allowed.
Fishing on the Rainy River ..." Read >> Fishing Report April 6, 2021
On Saturday, I and the Hippie Chick took a short drive around the Grand Rapids area. Under calm water, sunny skies, dark, soft looking ice was the norm on larger portions of most big lakes in the Itasca Region.
There was open water in virtually all of the shallow, back bays that we observed. We saw a few anglers testing their luck from shore, but if they were catching fish, we didn't stay long enough to see that.
I'm guessing that you've already seen enough open water to pique your interest and I'm sure we'll see more lakes open soon to fuel your interest in boating even more.
I'll tell you all about it, but today we're taking some time off to celebrate Easter. So, Happy Easter Everybody, see you soon. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
I was curious to learn if the early ice-out conditions that I observed in the McGregor area earlier this week had advanced further north. So, I drove west from Grand Rapids to check out some of the popular lakes near Deer River. To say that I was surprised by what I saw is an understatement!
Moving north on Hwy. 46 from Deer River, Little Ball Club is the first lake I saw, and it was wide open, there was no visible sign of ice anywhere. My next stop was at the Winnie Dam, as you see in the accompanying photo, The Dam Bay was wide open. Tamarack Bay was still ice covered, but from my vantage point, I could not assess the quality of that ice.
Further up Hwy. 46, I .." Read >> Expanding Choices For Weekend Anglers April 1, 2021
"Competitive anglers need the best tools. They look for the best and try to stretch their hard-earned money to get there. Most look at a value-to-cost ratio when selecting their gear. Finding quality at an attractive price is sometimes tricky. More and more companies see that type of product as a substantial competitive advantage to sustain buyers and enhance their expectations.
Savage Gear has a stellar line-up of rods in their portfolio that is ever-increasing, and for this giveaway, we are giving five lucky Wired2fish followers a chance to win a 7'3" MH Battletek casting rod. Made from 30-ton high modulus carbon blanks, these rods are lightweight but will also stand up to the most challenging demands of even the hardest hook setters.
The first one, Pokegama near Pine City, still had a few ice crystals floating in the whitecaps, but was essentially at ice out.
Further up County Road 11, Mud Lake was wide open and by the time I arrived at the Crow’s Nest on Hwy 65, Knife Lake, from what I could see, looked like it would soon ..." Read >> Fishing Report March 31, 2021
"Ice fishing is all wrapped up on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Now, the focus is on back bays and tributaries where big northern pike move in to spawn. The pike season is open year round on both Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. Anglers are allowed 3 pike per day, but all fish between 30 and 40 inches must be released, anglers may possess one over 40 inches.
On the lake, there are areas of open water and anglers are out there focusing on catching walleyes. Anglers are allowed a limit of walleyes and saugers on the lake, but catch and release only on Four Mile Bay and the Rainy River through April 14, 2021.
A limit of walleyes and saugers is a combined limit of ..." Read >> Rainy River Fishing Report March 29, 2021
Bill Powell wrote; "The boat traffic (headed toward the Rainy River) has started out way slower than normal this spring. I was a little bit confused why because I was hearing about so many accesses open up on the Rainy River. So when Chester asked if I wanted to go I was very happy to go fishing with him and see what was going on.
I was thinking it was odd on the way north how we didn’t have one boat pass us or see any. Then a really big surprise when we turned into the Vidas landing and only a few rigs parked along the road.
The conditions were good the river is a little bit low water is clear for this time of year. We landed around 8.30 and as usual the fishing was ..." Read >> Rainy River Walleye Report March 25, 2021
Early-season walleye anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will be able to keep one walleye 21 to 23 inches long or one longer than 28 inches. Summer will bring catch-and-release walleye fishing, with a mid-season closure, before the potential for a one-fish limit returns in the fall.
“Lower walleye harvest this winter is allowing us to ..." Read >> Walleye harvest to be allowed on Mille Lacs in 2021
Outside, blustery north winds combined with snow and a 31-degree air temperature are combined to help me not miss fishing today. On the ice, in a boat or anyplace between, it would not be much fun anyway.
What I do miss today, is what I would typically be doing instead, loading up the truck and heading toward Minneapolis for the Northwest Sportshow. Anticipating catching up with friends and acquaintances, seeing the new gismos and gadgets and chatting with industry experts about everything from fishing trips to training dogs usually offers a clear-cut transition between winter and spring.
With the ice fishing season behind us and a little freer time than usual, I may wind up being among the masses fishing on the Rainy River. Or you might spot me in the driveway polishing up my Pro V or wiring the new Alaskan. Or you might want to throw me some reminders about questions that I didn’t get to this past winter. Or you may just wait to see what I come up with, I’m sure it will be something interesting. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Resorts have pulled all ice fishing shelters off the south end of Lake of the Woods for the season. There was some ice fishing happening over the past weekend, but ice conditions are deteriorating quickly. Big pike and some nice walleyes were caught.
Big pike are setting up adjacent shallow water areas of bays, streams and shorelines setting up to spawn. Soon those open water areas will turn on. The pike season on LOW is open year-round. The limit is 3 pike. Pike between 30 and 40 inches must be released. One pike allowed over 40 inches.
It's Thursday afternoon and I'm on may way to the lake, hopefully to catch a meal of sunfish. Before I go, let me throw out a couple of late breaking updates that might influence your fishing plans for the weekend.
Dixon Lake Resort sent an email this morning letting me know that we can no longer access the northwest corner of Winnie. Karen, DLR, "The US Forest Service has closed the road that leads to the Third River Landing. You can no longer get around the gate with 4 wheelers. We had a great ice season. Thank you to all that donated towards the road fund and big thanks for keeping our ice clean. See ya next year out on the ice." — Dixon Lake Resort
Jay Gould Lake, a popular destination for panfish anglers in the Grand Rapids area ..." Read >> Late Breaking Ice Updates March 19, 2021
No tour would be complete without stopping at Fred’s Bait in Deer River. So, on Tuesday, I started there and had a talk with Bill Powell. “It has definitely slowed down this week, but there is still some traffic out there. There were a couple of groups in early this morning and a few more have trickled in since then.” Powell said.
My assumption was that most folks would have been headed toward small, walk-in panfish lakes. Powell, “Actually there are still a lot of guys driving out on Winnie. I wouldn’t do it myself and I tell them I don’t think it’s a good idea; but that doesn’t always stop them. Over the weekend, one group drove onto the lake using the Trapper’s Landing Road at the west side. While they were out there, a crack opened near the landing and blocked their exist from the lake. It was a long detour, but they drove east and found a way off at Richard’s Townsite.”
I’d already seen an image of ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report March 17, 2021
"Big pike are active and staging adjacent to spawning areas. Most fish are being caught on tip ups with live sucker minnows or a dead bait like a tullibee. Most pike angling taking place in 5 to 15 feet of water.
Walleye anglers are finding fish in 15 to 30 feet of water. There is a morning and evening bite in shallower water too, walleyes and saugers during the day in deeper water.
The Rainy River is starting to open! Some small boats pushing over shoreline ice at Nelson Park in Birchdale. The middle of the river is open with the boat ramp still ice covered as of 3-16-21. It may ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Updates March 17, 2021
Okay here is the deal, I have a stack of emails from readers and what they all have in common is curiosity about ice fishing conditions for the upcoming weekend. The problem is that the inquiries are about a variety of lakes, ranging from one end of the state to the other; more territory than I can cover by myself.
So, this morning, I'm heading out on a tour of my "home territory", the greater Itasca Region. And while I'm out an about, I'll be checking in with friends that live in areas that I can't get to myself. This is one time that I could use all the extra help I can get. So, if you are driving past a public access on any one of the more popular lakes, swing in, take a look and let me know what you see.
Most folks who ice fish during the early spring already have ideas about where they want to go. So, nobody will ask you to give up your closely guarded secrets, they only need a basic heads up about ice conditions, public accesses, and general trends. If you can help, it will be greatly appreciated! — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Somebody else had the same idea before me and by the time I got to the lake, there was a sweeping, slushy grey snowmobile track that went out about a ½ mile, 180 degrees and returned to shore. That told me everything I needed to snow about traveling by snowmobile.
I didn’t have opportunity to take a photo of that snowmobile track because I was on a busy road when I spotted it. An alternate photo op came along when I spotted a man ice fishing solo on a Grand Rapids area lake. The accompanying photo does a nice job of illustrating what conditions look like on ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Ice Fishing Update March 12, 2021
Many sunfish and crappie anglers know that there can be an uptick in the action at this time of the season. In many of this weeks DNR Conservation Officer reports, a common thread was that panfish action has picked up and not just in one isolated area. Statewide, anglers on many of the better panfish lakes in Minnesota are experiencing particularly good fishing.
A few years back, I asked one of the DNR biologists about the phenomenon and why he thought panfish action improved so much during early spring.
It was his view that as the snow melts, runoff from the surface of the ice helps to re-charge oxygen levels in the upper layer of the water column. Fish, he said have a way of finding comfort and they begin moving toward areas that are more richly oxygenated. Their instinct to feed may not change at all, but the simple fact that they are on the move makes it more likely that they will ..." Read >> North Central MN Panfish Updates March 11, 2021
... Verdegan went on to explain that he’d been using his underwater camera to assess the effectiveness of adding the 2nd fishing line and that it appeared to support his theory. I agree, whenever there are panfish in the area, I too try to keep someting in from of them to hold their attention.
In his wrap up, Travis mentioned staying out later in the evening, hoping for a run of crappies to come through after the sunfish bite faded. Verdegan wrote; “It worked! They really started snapping after about 6:30 and the action on my tip down was constant. I left the lake by 7:20 PM with a limit of decent crappies; just in time for lent.”
Some of my experiences this week, paralleled Travis’ observations. On Monday, I fished only in the late afternoon and evening. From 4:00 PM to about 6:00 PM, I caught and released sunfish steadily. But toward the tail end of my trip, crappies began to ... Read >> Early Spring Panfish Update March 10, 2021
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, there is still a lot of ice fishing happening in certain areas. At the same time, operators in other areas are dealing with ice upheavals due to recent temperature fluctuations.
For now, the best idea for anglers is to call ahead and get up-to-date guidance from the resort or outfitter you are fishing with. They can advise you about areas that remain accessible and the best modes of travel
Fishing reports are coming in mixed, some folks are catching lots of fish, while others are catching one here, one there. Anglers who do find the best action report that they ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report March 9, 2021
After contacting several resort and shelter rental operators on Sunday, it's evident that access to Lake Winnie will be restricted for the remainder of this year's ice fishing season. Here are updates about Lake Winnie Ice Accesses and travel conditions as of March 8, 2021.
Almost all of the lake's accesses remained open through Sunday March 7, 2021, but some of them were closed at the end of business Sunday. With air temperatures in the mid-50s and full sunshine, snow cover over the ice was almost fully melted and there was standing water everywhere.
Access ramps were heavily stressed by the meltdown, forcing resorts that remain open, to limit both the size and number of vehicles using their ramps. A few continue to provide limited access for travel by ATV or foot traffic and a couple still allow pickup trucks, but only for guests staying at their resorts.
Anglers using ATVs and light vehicles can still move around on the lake, but use caution. Snowmobiles are not recommended, but could be used in a pinch if necessary. Click on the accompanying map which identifies the access points around the lake and provides updates about their current condition.
Q) On March 7, 2021 Mike Nolan wrote; "Please post a photo of what the "Wonder Bread Color" is.
A) Mike, brightly colored polka dots over a white backdrop make up the color commonly called "Wonder Bread". That's because it is reminescent of the original packaging from a loaf of Wonder Bread.
Originating in the early 1920s, Wonder was one of the first pre-sliced, packaged breads to come along. That development led to the popular phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread".
With dozens of lure brands copying and offering their products in the "Wonder Bread" color, it would appear that lots of anglers agree; "Wonder Bread" is the greatest color to come along since sliced bread. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
For today, there are a couple of fresh updates on the Winnibigoshish access report, so if you're interested in another Winnie perch trip, check that out here >> Lake Winnie Ice Access Update March 9, 2021.
On Monday, I took advantage of the nice weather and went for a walk to try my luck for some panfish. They were biting for me, and I've been hearing good things from readers about their panfish experiences as well.
This morning, I'm heading out again, this time with a friend who wants to get in on the action before it's too late. So, you can expect a full, firsthand panfish report from me on Wednesday morning. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
It sure was fun while it lasted! I think the winter of 2020-2021 offered folks more fishing opportunity than any of us have experienced in a long time. Lake access were great, on-ice detours, like pressure ridges and slushy spots were minimal and for the most part, fish were biting.
There is still a good 20 inches of solid ice on most north central Minnesota lakes, more than enough for driving vehicles. But I think for many, ice fishing season will be over after this weekend.
Despite more than adequate ice thicknesses on the lakes, conditions at the accesses will be greatly diminished after today. So, while I agree with folks when they say, “It Ain't Over, 'Till It's Over”, folks depending on travel by pickup truck will need ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report March 7, 2021 It Ain't Over, 'Till It's Over
Travel conditions are excellent. The network of plowed roads is in excellent shape, high, dry and wide. Off road snow cover is 2 to 4 inches over the top of a solid, 20 inches of clear ice. There are scattered snowbanks in areas that were plowed for parking wheelhouses throughout the winter, but these are easily avoidable. Anglers on the lake were were traveling by pickup truck, freely, to and from any spots they wanted to fish; that’s the good news.
The bad news is that we had to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Update March 6, 2021
On Thursday afternoon, I met my buddy Arne Danielson on Bowstring for a few hours of casual fishing. The perch action was good enough to gather a meal of fish, Arne picked up one crappie too, but I wouldn’t head back up there today expecting to get in on any sort of “hot bite”.
Travel conditions on the ice were good, with only a few inches of soft snow on top of the solid ice, we drove wherever we wanted without running into any detours.
The ice was solid, but not much thicker than it was the last time I fished there, in fact I was still able to ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Update March 5, 2021
The weather has been just warm enough to reduce snow cover, but not so warm as to produce a fast melt or heavy run-off. Creeks and small rivers, for the most part, remain frozen. Larger rivers are opening, but water levels are low. All the lakes in north central Minnesota remain frozen and the ice thickness ranges from 18 to 16 inches, depending.
This all adds up to travel conditions looking good for the weekend. There is still plenty of ice and with low snow cover pickup trucks are currently the preferred mode of travel.
At Fred’s Bait in Deer River, Bill Powell told me that he thinks folks are driving most everywhere. “There are a few old snow drifts and ice ridges to watch out for, but on most lakes, anglers can ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Update March 4, 2021
The new regulations lower limits on specific waters as part of a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources initiative to protect and improve sunfish sizes. These changes are in response to angler-driven concerns over the declining sizes of sunfish in Minnesota.
“Robust public input and support helped us move forward with the Quality Sunfish Initiative. We had more than 3,700 comments and over 85% of them were in favor of trying to improve sunfish sizes,” said Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor. “It’s clear Minnesota anglers ..." Read >> New sunfish regulations in effect on nearly 100 waters March 4, 2021
"I've been a bass boat owner for the majority of my life. I've restored older fiberglass boats because of my limited budget and I've also been able to save to buy a shiny, 21-foot fiberglass rig that made me feel like a total hotshot.
I got to thinking the other day and for whatever reason, I grew up thinking that you had to have a fiberglass bass boat to be a "real" bass fisherman. It's what I saw on television and in the magazines, so it's really all I knew to be honest.
But man, there's a trend happening in recent years that we can't really ignore much longer. A bunch of anglers, whether they're weekend guys or full-time touring professionals, are flocking to aluminum bass boats. The number of newer tin boats I'm seeing on my local fisheries is absolutely blowing my mind. I've talked to boat dealers and they're having to drive thousands of miles to other states just to ..." Learn More >> The Aluminum Bass Fishing Boat Trend: There Just Might Be Something to It
Minnesotans can learn about and comment on fisheries management goals and objectives proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for Mille Lacs Lake.
Public review of a five-year lake management plan is taking place now ..." Learn More and Take Survey >> DNR invites public review, announces meeting on Mille Lacs Lake fisheries
"Experienced open water anglers, Todd, and Reed, hailing from central Iowa, told us that neither of them had spent much time ice fishing. They said too that before reading about KAB Outdoors, they hadn’t even known how to pronounce the word Kabetogama. But learning about our Sno Bear rental combos, the idea of ice fishing piqued their interest. So, they booked a trip and drove on up to give ice fishing on Kabetogama a try.
During the pre-trip run through, I mentioned that if you can run a riding lawn mower, you’re qualified to run our SnoBear. Okay, so operating the machine is simple, but what about figuring out where to go and fish, they asked?
That is simple too, I already have the key fishing depths highlighted on the ..." Read >> Kabetogama Ice Fishing Update March 2, 2021
"The deep cold weather from the previous weeks made the water column temperature drop significantly from the top of the lake all the way to the bottom. Then there was a major warm up last week which changed the ice conditions of the area we had been fishing. So, what happened when we warmed up to a 70–80-degree temperature change after a long cold spell? The ice shifted, heaved, cracked and moved. So, we get out the bridges and change locations. Currently we are spread out across 6 miles of good ice and have schools traveling through.
The snow and ice cover on the lake are seeming to make an effect by creating less light and oxygen in the water. We are seeing the bite is now becoming more of an aggressive reaction, instead of feeding bite. The schools are moving around slowly and Anglers are seeing a lot of traffic on ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report March 2, 2021
Q) “You were 20 miles out from shore, why do you have to go so far to catch fish?”
A) Mike, thank you, this is a great question, and it ties into the morning update I promised yesterday about our Lake of the Woods fishing trip.
First off, Lake of the Woods is over 950,000.00 acres with a total surface area of roughly 1450 square miles. So, put in perspective, a 20-mile snowmobile ride is about the equivalent to motoring across one small bay on Cutfoot Sioux or some of the other small lakes I know that you've fished in my region.
On Lake of the Woods, large populations of fish migrate throughout the seasons and may be located deeper or shallower depending on both the best combination of food and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report February 26, 2021
Before I arrived at Lake of the Woods, word on the street was that anglers enjoyed good fishing last weekend. By the time we finished fishing on Wednesday, judging by what I saw on the screen of my Humminbird, it could have been fantastic. There were a lot of lookers, compared to takers though, so in the end, my personal Cub Reporter, Staff #003-IHBFBB rating was a rating of “good enough”.
There was always good reason to be optimistic, in fact from 8:00 AM until Noon, there were fish showing up on my graph every few minutes. It just took a lot of coaxing to get them to strike, I’ll bet I saw 20 fish before I iced my first walleye.
The good news is that many of the fish that did strike, were nice ones. The ratio of “keepers” to little fish had ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods On Location Report February 25, 2021
"The great 2021 mix-up continues on Lake Kabetogama. Every day presents us with a fresh fishing pattern, every day brings us a different mix of fish species and most days, we target more than one depth range to find them.
During the past couple of weeks, our guests have caught crappies, jumbo perch, walleyes, pike and sauger, all in no sequence. The one constant has been that when folks are persistent, they wind up being rewarded.
Throughout this entire season, fish have been more likely to roam over softer bottom flats than to hug tight to structure. Still, they will occasionally move onto ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report February 24, 2021
Northern Pike anglers continue to report a very steady pike bite happening on many area lakes. Lively suckers fished under a tip up has been very consistent for many anglers. Key areas to find pike has been river mouths and large weedbeds in 4 to 10 feet of water.
Lake trout fishing improved as anglers returned to the area and were able to move around and find fish.
Key this week was to find fresh spots and unpressured trout. Bucktails and tube jigs in 1/2 oz to 3/4 oz was the most popular sizes and baits in pink, blue and red/white. Anglers found the most active trout in ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report February 24, 2021
"A warm up triggered some nice walleyes and saugers on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Anglers caught a mix of walleyes and saugers with some pike, perch, eelpout and tullibees being caught in 29 to 33 feet of water.
Using a bait with rattles or vibration to attract fish is helpful. On the deadstick, try a glow hook with a live minnow or even a glow bead above the hook. Set bait 6 inches to a foot off of the bottom.
Try gold, glow colors, chartreuse and pink, these are all good color choices and ..." Rerad >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 24, 2021
Mother Nature did a little more yesterday than hint at the notion that spring is just around the corner. Air temperatures in the 40s gave anglers a nudge in the direction of removing ice fishing shelters from area lakes.
The deadline for removing ice shelters in northern Minnesota is still a few weeks away, March 15th, 2021 for lakes north of the east-west Hwy 200, Hwy 34 boundary. But some folks have learned that it’s a lot easier to move their fishing shelters before the first meltdown and subsequent re-freeze. So, there has been a steady southbound stream of pickups towing larger ice fishing shelters back home over the past few days.
Anglers who fish south of the east-west Hwy 200, Hwy 34 boundary must ..." Read >> Sundin Report February 23, 2021
"Anglers and others interested in management of fisheries resources in the Grand Rapids area are invited to comment on fisheries management plans for selected lakes in Itasca County through Wednesday, March 31.
Fisheries information is being updated for the following lakes: Bass (near Effie), Big Too Much, Burns, Dock ..." Read More >> DNR Seeks Public Input on Grand Rapids MN Fisheries Plan
For me, this weekend quietly ushered in the first signs of spring. At Grand Rapids, MN, visitors to the Ray's Marine in-store boat show were small in number, but high in interest. For the most part, folks that walked in the door were what I'd describe as boat buyers, not boat shoppers. The same thing was true of folks shopping to upgrade their current rigs, trolling motors and electronics were a hot topic of conversation too.
You're probably going to hear some rumors about backlogs, delays and shortages of boats, outboards and marine electronics; they are true. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still buy a boat, dealers still do have some inventory and shipments of boats that they ordered last fall are being manufactured and will ..." Read >> Sundin Report February 22, 2021
"On Lake Winnie, this email note from Tom Feyder sums up the observations made by several who have fished the lake in recent weeks.
Q) “I have been out ice fishing Winnie several times this winter (after not so much last year with the bad ice conditions) and have had some great fishing, but am concerned with the size of the walleyes. I had been told to expect many in the 1-to-2-year age class based on a couple good years of positive conditions for spawning success. But am still surprised that with over 150 walleyes iced that I have zero walleyes caught between 14.5 and 18.5 inches. Only 4 fish at 18.5” or bigger (one 23 inches that I let go is my biggest)...
Can you explain what might be going on with the mid-size walleye age classes, what the implications for long term walleye health are for Winnie, and if I should ..." Read Answer >> Lake Winnie Walleye Size, Why So Small? February 22, 2021
Follow up on yesterday’s report about the legislative proposal to reduce Minnesota’s walleye bag limit is going to take a little while. That’s because somewhere in my piles of saved stocking reports, DNR meeting agendas and notebooks filled with jotted notes, are some facts. Facts, in this case, facts about average walleye angler catch rates in Minnesota. I know they’re out there though because I’ve seen them with my own eyes. I just can't put my fingers on them and I don’t want to start spewing information, relying only on my memory.
The reason I am searching high and low for facts about walleye catch rates, is because nobody else is doing it. Advocates for walleye bag limit reductions cite plenty of “social reasons” for making the change. But statistical information and biological facts are harder to come by than an autographed ..." Read >> Walleye Bag Limits "Following The Follow-Able February 18, 2021
"The cold set in this weekend for many anglers, and it showed. Not as many people were out and about chasing fish this weekend. There were some, like myself, who did get out and brave this colder weather. The name of the game was moving. Drill, locate, fish, and repeat. Again, the Aqua-Vu camera was the star of the show in locating suspended crappies and bottom hugging bluegills. My clients this weekend went home with a good mess of crappies and gills for dinner!
As the winter progresses, we see fish moving to higher concentrations of oxygen and warmer water. The crappies were suspended at or below the thermocline, a layer of water which the temperature is different on each side, telling me they were looking for the warmer water. It was about 42 degrees Fahrenheit below the thermocline, and lots of fish were loving that temperature gradient. I noted crappies, bluegills, walleye, perch, and suckers all in the area.
It’s worth noting that which side of the issue anglers argued, depended on which medium their comments came from. Virtually 100% of the commentary from those in favor of reducing Minnesota's walleye limit came via the “social” media page where I posted links to the original article. Conversely, 100% of the anglers in opposition to the regulation change are those who took the extra time to write their comments and send them via email.
I’ll let you be the judge of what made that happen, but I think it’s interesting. I'll have to think about it for a while and I'll let you know if I develop any solid theories.
Of the social comments from folks in favor of limit reductions, the most credible, in my opinion, came from MN DNR Brainerd Area Fisheries Manager Marc Bacigalupi who ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Bag Limit Reductions February 17, 2021
"Diehard anglers have been few and far between, so this week's fishing report is a little light.
Lake trout fishing was slow overall last week as cold temps kept many anglers at home or limited them to their permanent house. Many anglers reported marking several trout a day, but trout would only give a half hearted chase, if they would chase at all. Smaller buckshot spoons or tingler spoons, tipped with a ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report February 17, 2021
"Despite the cold weather, there have been some good fishing reports on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. There's been a nice mix of walleye and sauger being caught in 29 to 33 feet of water.
The cold weather made some of the fish less active, so coaxing them was key. Electronics are helpful to show suspended fish as well as how fish are reacting to your presentation. Some bait shops and resorts will rent units for the day.
Using a jigging line in one hole with lures that put out vibration or noise was helpful. That combined with a deadstick in your second hole with either a glow jig or plan hook and a minnow. Keep the jigging line moving to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 16, 2021
Sifting through emails on Wednesday, I found a note from Vern Wagner, organizer of Anglers for Habitat, a conservation based angling group. The message carried a copy of the organization’s position on the proposal, S.F. 12, which would reduce walleye limits statewide from 6 to 4 fish.
The letter penned by AFH President Lance Ness is offered to MN Senator Carrie Ruud as “testimony” to be considered during hearings about the bill. In its conclusion, Ness writes, “While Anglers for Habitat neither supports nor opposes the legislation, we suggest a lively discussion.” Let’s backup a minute and break down what that discussion would be about.
Within the body of the testimony, AFH appears to be leaning in the direction of slow walking this legislation and asks for proof that the proposal is based on scientific ..." Learn More >> AFH Weighs In On Walleye Bag Limits February 11, 2021
"As we roll into the final few weeks of the walleye season, we’ve generally been pleased with the fishing on Kabetogama. While there haven’t been many “hot bites”, there haven’t been many totally down days either. Most every group have been able to parley their catch into a fish fry for the family.
Walleyes, like we reported last week are coming from a wide range of depths and have been caught on a variety of presentations. When push comes to shove, a combination of tip-ups and jigging lures, all in action at the same time will produce results. Use large lively minnows on the tip-ups to produce both large walleye and big pike.
Set a tip up out and away from structure, but near sunken reefs or underwater points. Drill holes nearby, but closer to structure for using the jigging presentations. Periodically re-position your tip ups and ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report February 10, 2021
"It was a good week of fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Cold weather is welcomed as the fish houses are warm and the cold temperatures help reinforce ice thickness! Remember, ice fishing is open through March.
A nice variety of walleyes and saugers being caught in 29 to 33 feet. Use a jigging line in one hole and a dead stick with a live minnow in the other. Keep the jigging line moving to attract fish. Try gold, glow white, glow red and pink. Lures that glow or with a glow stick effective in the stained water.
Fish range in size, a typical day will usually include small fish, eaters, some slots (19.5 to 28 inches to be released) and even ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Reports February 9, 2021
"Making a comparison between the fishing on this trip and our last one is not completely fair because we fished a different area of the lake, 10 miles or more further west than before. That said, the patterns, depths and presentations were nearly the same as last time. And the fishing, in my opinion, was better than it was on our previous trip. It was a day of catching, releasing and sorting fish, but in the end, we all had enough fish for a meal at home.
If you ask me, the idea of snowmobiling a few miles out from shore, drilling a few holes over the mud and expecting fish to swim over and find us seems farfetched. But on that lake, that’s what they do and on Wednesday, that’s what happened. We went to one spot, plopped down our tents and started fishing; the fish, at random intervals, found us.
The secret, according to my buddy Nate Altendorf is to ..." Read >> Short But Sweet Trip To Lake of the Woods February 4, 2021
"Lake trout fishing picked up late last week and continued to improve throughout the weekend. Anglers reported catching lakers in 20-40 feet of water with blue and white bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow or gulp minnow as the most successful technique. Dead bait laid on the bottom, accounted for almost half of the lakers caught over the weekend, so be sure to set out tip ups!
Stream trout fishing was a little slow, but steady for anglers. Anglers focused their time early and late in the day, as they are finding trout are most active during those times. Small panfish jigs tipped with soft plastics produced the most consistent bite, but spoons tipped with wax worms also accounted for their far share of trout caught also.
Panfishing was very slow last weekend. Anglers are struggling to find active crappies during the day and had very limited luck catching them after dark. Anglers targeting sunfish reported better ..." Read >> Ely Area Report February 3, 2021
I happened upon them when I was looking for the edge of a drop off. The Aqua-Vu helped me spot one holding tight to the bottom muck of the lake. As I observed its motions, I noticed it was ruffling up the bottom and eating small mollusks, which were everywhere!
I proceeded to tie on a Coach Dog (gray and black) colored Lindy Tungsten Bug and a brown plastic with the tail pinched off flush with the bottom of the hook. Down the hole it went and began pounding the muddy silt to make a stir. The bluegill proceeded to ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report February 3, 2021
Most walleye anglers do their best to get in on the early ice season. There's no doubt that on many inland waters, the first wave of early ice action is as good as it gets. But don't give up on "deep-freeze walleyes", they're still providing some great action for persistent anglers.
Just because it turns cold, doesn't mean that walleyes turn off. Often times, sub-zero temperatures also happen to coincide with extended periods of stability and stable weather is what fish love. Stable weather patterns are the key to a consistent bite. This is equally true for ice anglers looking to target walleye during the “DEEP FREEZE” months of January and February.
Follow Jon Thelen as he explains a few adjustments you can make to catch more walleye during a cold snap. View Video to Learn More >> Mid-Winter Deep Freeze Walleye
"There's been a nice mix of walleyes and saugers being caught on the south end of Lake of the Woods in water depths of 29 to 33 feet. Most anglers catching various sizes of fish, sorting through a lot of small fish to get the keepers.
Keeper walleyes running on average in that 14 to 17 inche range with saugers in the 12 to 15 inch range. Lots of slot fish (19.5 to 28 inches) being caught, photographed and quickly returned to the water to reproduce and fight another day. Some big walleyes over 28 inches are also being caught.
The limit of walleyes and saugers on Lake of the Woods is ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2021
"It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun! Today, the 1st of February marks the beginning of Minnesota’s last full month of walleye fishing. Ironically, our sense is that the season is just beginning!
Walleye action has not been the greatest this winter, but persistent anglers are catching some fish. Last week we mentioned the effectiveness of combining tip-up fishing searching the surrounding territory using more active jigging presentations.
This approach continues to be effective and is contributing, we think, to the wide range of ..." Read >> KAB Outdoors Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2021
"Lake trout fishing was slow overall last week. Anglers that had good success, caught fish in 25-35 feet of water on 3/8 to 1/2 oz bucktails, tipped with a gulp minnow or minnow. Tip ups also accounted for a good number of lakers caught.
Dead suckers or dead smelt laid right on the bottom accounted for just about all the lakers caught with tip ups.
Stream trout fishing has remained good on many of the stream trout lakes in the area. Angling pressure continues to be high, but anglers that have down sized their baits and tipped them with just a ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report January 27, 2021
"Minnesotans can apply to serve on committees that advise the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about fisheries and wildlife topics. The DNR seeks to fill open seats on the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee (MLFAC), and the Minnesota R3 Council.
MLFAC is the stakeholder group that advises the DNR on fisheries management for Mille Lacs Lake. Seats are available for a business representative and multiple at-large members.
The advisory committee has representation from resorts, guides and other businesses; property owners; county government; DNR work groups that focus on walleye, bass, and ..." Learn More >> MN DNR applications for fisheries advisory committees
Walleyes and saugers are being caught in 30 to 33 feet of water and there is a mix of different size fish being caught with sorting taking place to find the keepers.
Jigging with lures with a rattle or vibration has been effective in both catching and attracting fish. Use a deadstick as your second line. Normally a jig or plain hook with a live minnow under a bobber just off of the bottom will ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 26, 2021
"Walleye fishing has been peculiar this season, if the fish are concentrated anywhere, we don’t know about it yet. Our search has taken into shallow water, deep water and everything in between, plus we’ve fished sand, rocks and mud. Results are pretty much the same wherever we go, walleyes are scattered, and the bite is finicky.
Anglers visiting the store echo our reports, most of them catch some fish, especially those who check a lot of territory. But nobody reports getting into any large school fish.
Thanks in large part to the effectiveness of our Sno Bear, Kent’s search has taken him into more new territory than ever this winter. And one of the payoffs has been his discovery of active crappies. When the walleyes are sluggish, crappies are a nice way to give our guests something to do. While not considered a “Crappie Mecca”, Kabetogama does have modest populations of nice size fish which have not ..." Read >> KAB Outdoors Fishing Report January 24, 2021
Unlike many other species of freshwater fish, crappies can be found in a wide variety of locations up and down in the water column. Feeding preferences, oxygen levels and water clarity all play a role in where crappies will be found.
Knowing where to psotion your offering can make the difference betwen a boom or bust on your next crappie fishing adventure.
Want to catch MORE crappies ice fishing? Understanding where and how crappies are feeding in the water column is the key to a consistent bite. Follow Jon Thelen as he breaks down a variety of tips & tricks that will help dial in your presentation and catch more fish! View Video and Learn More >> Jon Thelen's Crappie Fishing Tips and Tricks
"Crappies and bluegills were schooled up together this week on the lake I happened to pull up on this past Wednesday. I had walked to one spot and drilled eight holes from the 20-foot depth down to 8 foot near shoreline and dropped my camera down each hole. It seemed like an isolated underwater desert, not a fish in sight.
I walked about a mile or so across the lake to another shoreline and approached it the same way as the first site. The third hole was in 16 foot of water and the crappies decided they wanted to be movie stars, crowding around my camera in a mass hoard! I pulled the camera, got my Vexilar FLX-30, two rods, and headed to the hole.
Barometric pressure was at 30.10 in HG so I started light, using a 1/32 ounce ..." Learn More >> Boeshart Central Minnesota Report January 23, 2021
The long-awaited Northwest Angle Ice Road is open, with limited capacity. A news release from the media arm of the road’s organizers says, “This week is our soft launch, we’re opening the road in a limited capacity for resort guests with a reservation while we finish up some preparations.”
Folks should work directly with resorts and lodges who offer rentals in the Northwest Angle. Once you make reservations, you can coordinate your travel plans with the resort management.
To purchase the $145 round trip ticket, administrators require users to login to Facebook and search the ... >> Learn More Northwest Angle Ice Road Open
With all that gear comes the need to be well prepared and organized in order to maximize success on ice. Wired2Fish staff McKeon Roberts is a total ice nerd with a collection of ice gear that is borderline unnecessary but as he explains, everything has a purpose and is always on hand wherever the chase leads him.
McKeon's arsenal revolves around a deep tackle bag that houses a variety of on-ice necessities including headlamps, tools, ice picks, bait pucks, and ..." Learn More >> 8 Storage Tips For Your Ice Fishing Gear
"Walleyes and sauger are sliding into a bit deeper water on the south end of Lake of the Woods, with 26 to 30 feet being where most are fishingl Good numbers of fish continue to be caught with a lot of sorting the future small fish in the system and choosing just the right ones for a fish fry.
Make some noise! Jigging with lures with a rattle or vibration has been effective in both catching and attracting fish. Use your second line, use as a deadstick, a jig or plain hook with a live minnow under a bobber set at 6 inches to a foot off of the bottom.
Note: The ice road leading into the Northwest Angle is now open, guests with reservations at lodges and resorts located in the angle can use the road for ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report January 19, 2021
Snow and slush have not been much of factor on the bay this winter, but just in case, we were braced for complications from yesterday’s snowfall. It didn’t turn out to be much of a problem and the few inches of snow that did fall, are already cleaned off of our roads.
Our guests continue to report good fishing in Tamarack Bay. Walleye and perch are roaming the edges of large flats using a soft breakline at ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report January 15, 2021
There are a few slush pockets since the warmer weather has started, but nothing too concerning. We do highly advise people to be careful around ice heaves with all the above average temps we have had lately, and always remember, “NO ICE IS EVER SAFE ICE!”
Walleyes: Walleye fishing has continued to improve across the area. Key areas to focus on are sunken humps and weed edges. In deeper, or heavy structured lakes, like Leech, the rocks ..." Read >> Wheezy Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 15, 2021
Walleye anglers all around the midwest agree, spoons probably account for icing more walleyes than any other category of lures. But, not only do spoons come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, they all provide a different balance between attracting fish and triggering them to strike.
Rattles, glow sticks, subtle colors, vibrant colors, heavy, light, big and small; every spoon has it's own place in your tackle tray.
Knowing how to select the right spoon for the right circumstances can make the difference between a modest catch and a magnificent one!
This week on Fish ED TV, join Jon Thelen as he walks you through some of the factors he uses to decide which spoon to use and when to use it. View Video and Learn More >> Walleye Spoons Selection Explained
Northern Minnesota’s recent run of unnaturally nice weather appears to be fading out. But even after the incoming storm runs its course, weekend forecasts appear to favor another busy weekend on area lakes.
The open question now is whether access to area lakes will be more restricted by the weekend. With light snow cover, folks have gotten used to driving their pickup trucks on most of the popular lakes. 3 to 6 inches of snow could increase their dependence on plowed roads provided by resorts and rental operators.
If snow does cause travel restrictions, then Winnibigoshish is liable to be the hot spot for north central Minnesota anglers. The system of plowed roads there is better than anything you will ..." Read >> Fishing Report January 14, 2021
"Fish are scattered all around on the lakes this week. Searching became the norm for almost everyone I spoke to looking for walleyes and bluegills. Many anglers found the bite to be “tough” when fish were located. After checking the forecast and seeing it was full of high barometric pressure, I rigged up a few set-ups that have always treated me well and set out to put them to work.
Bluegills: I like to use the smallest jig I can get away with during high barometric pressure days, but I want it to get down to the bottom as quick as I can get it. Lindy 1/32 oz. Tungsten Toads in Glow Pink are my favorite to use because they have a smaller profile, and they get down to the fish hugging the bottom, quickly. The reason tungsten is preferred over the 1/32 oz. lead version is because tungsten ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 13, 2021
"We’ve had some success using a lot of presentations but haven’t seen any one of them really stand out.
Aggressively jigging with loud, flashy lures like Glow Streaks calls fish into the area, but sometimes triggering a strike from them requires a 2nd rod rigged with a more subtle lure.
Maybe because of what the walleyes are feeding on, tiny, young of the year perch in the 1-inch size range, smaller lures and smaller minnows have proven to be effective this winter.
While walleyes fill their gullets with tiny perch, a crappie size jig tipped with small fatheads or a couple of waxworms goes down easier than larger lures, at least that’s one theory. We are also catching some walleyes on ..." Read >> Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report January 13, 2021
"Walleye fishing has remained slow overall this last week. Seems fish are there one night then gone the next. Anglers continue to find them in 18 to 25 feet of water, off of points, sunken islands and transition areas.
Deadsticking a lively minnow was the top producer last week, but loud buckshot spoons and rippin raps are calling them in.
Lake trout fishing was a little slow overall, but there were stories of some excellent fishing happening out there. Anglers caught trout along weedlines to 40 feet of water, but the 40 foot range was the most productive.
Tube jigs were the most popular way to ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report January 13, 2021
"Good numbers of walleyes and saugers are being caught on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Anglers are doing a lot of sorting as small fish in the system continue to dominate the current catch. But there were some larger walleyes, some stretching over 28 inches also caught this week.
Most ice fishing is taking place between 23 to 31 feet of water. Jigging one line on one line and using a bobber with a live minnow on the other is the goto strategy. Electronics are helpful to show suspended fish coming through such as walleyes and tullibees.
Popular colors are gold, glow-red, glow-white, pink and orange. Lures with a ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 13, 2021
In several of my recent reports, I’ve shared observations about fish, roaming flats rather than stacking up on structure. That theme played out again last Saturday when we were fishing on Lake Winnie and then again on Monday when we checked out another one of the region’s popular crappie lakes.
Anticipating crappies would be located in and around the deep-water holes in the lake, we used our GPS coordinates to check spot-after-spot where we had caught fish before. Every move we made turned out the same, drill al hole, stare at a blank screen for a minute or two and then move to another spot.
One-by-one, we eliminated our favorite areas and by lunchtime, the only thing we had to show for it was a lot of snowmobile tracks and some holes in the ice. Part of the crew bailed out, “if we can’t find in 4 hours of fishing, then this just isn’t the day”, one said. In a lot of ways, he ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report January 12, 2021
There’s been a lot of buzz about Winnie this winter because reports of good fishing have been the norm, rather than the exception. For me, the timing has not been the greatest, I seem to get there on the day before everyone else gets in on a great bite.
Fish were in the neighborhood, in fact one of us or another had an image of a fish on our depth finder all day long. They were just finicky, and it took finesse to turn a looker into a biter. By days end, we had amassed a bag of fish that included some walleye, some perch and ..." Read >> Family Fishing Day on Lake Winnie January 11, 2021
In recent years, support for reducing Minnesota's walleye bag limit has grown among Minnesota anglers. In fact, results of an informal FishRapper poll conducted last year, indicated that anglers in favor of reducing Minnesota's walleye possession limit could be upward of 75%.
This year, supporters of a bag limit reduction could be in luck, because Minnesota Senate Bill SF 12 would do just that. If passed, the bill will mandate the MN DNR to reduce the statewide walleye possession from 6, down to 4 walleyes.
The bill's author, MN Senator Carrie Ruud spoke with me about the proposal. “In the past, discussions about reducing walleye limits have centered more around the social aspects of the issue rather than statistical ones.” Ruud said. Anglers who have a high conservation ethic would naturally ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Bag Limit Reduction January 8, 2021
"Zippel Bay Resort's 1st ice road map of the season. We have 2 wheel house roads out deep 29 to 31 feet of water and one in shallow at 21 foot. Spots are plowed for easy access. Not alot of snow on the ice. Please stay clear of the resort fish houses, don't go long distances off the road or go plowing your own road.
The ice is rough this year. Please drive slow 10-15 mph, we all saw what happened to the roads west of us last weekend when people didn't drive slow.
There are 15 to 19 inches of inches of ice out there and we're asking slide out units and the extra large wheel houses to wait another week for more ice. Road passes are $25 a day buy two days and the 3rd is free. Thank you and drive slow!" — Zippel Bay Resort, 1-800-222-2537
On Wednesday January 6, 2021, Kim Leonhardt wrote; “Our lodge opens tomorrow, Jan 7, 2021 and we now have 14 to 16 inches of ice, covered by 4 to 6 inches of snow.
We have an extensive system of roads already plowed, including almost 200 spurs plowed open for parking wheelhouses. Wheelhouses and truck travel are permitted starting today, Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021. Use your best discretion about weight restrictions with the total weight of your truck and fish house combination.
Access fees $15/day or $40 for a 3 day weekend pass. Ring doorbell for assistance. One person per group permitted inside. Covid rules apply. Social distancing/masks expected."
Nodak Lodge also posted an update on January 7, 2021. "We currently have ..." Read >> Sundin Fishing Updates January 7, 2021
"Many smaller lakes around the area have gained a couple more inches of ice in the last week. An influx in ATV, snowmobile, and wheelhouse traffic has showed where many of the “community” holes can be found. These areas will hold fish, but the amount of traffic can make fishing a little slower.
If you start in one of these areas, my advice to you would be stick to the steepest break on shoreline areas and work around the crowd. Your success will increase by doing this. This will hold true to walleye, perch, and other panfish.
Crappies have started to move from some of the weedy structure out to..." Read >> Central Minnesota Fishing Report January 7, 2020
One panfish lake we were on recently provided a good example. Hole hoppers, drillers who like to find schools of fish by covering an entire sheet of ice with holes, were working against themselves. Crappies that would usually be located near structure at the edges of deep, mid-lake basins we forced to split up and move by all the commotion.
I’ve seen it happen in the fall, maybe you have too. A good-looking school of crappies appear on my Humminbird, I stop the boat, drop in a lure and for a minute, there’s some action. Then, the pack of fish gets spooked, splits up and the screen goes blank. I’ve learned that sometimes, even dropping a marker buoy into the water will split them up and they leave before we can even drop a line. Most of the time, this sort of finicky behavior is due to 1 of 2 things. #1 ..." Read >> Sundin Ice Fishing Report Jaunuary 6, 2021
"At KAB Outdoors, 2020 was an amazing year. Despite the obvious challenges, our customers, guests, and staff all pulled together to make it an enjoyable and productive fishing, hunting, and boating season.
A growth year for us, we acquired lots of new gear, updated our fleet of rental ice fishing shelters and made a lot of progress updating the grounds and facilities. In fact, the slower-than-typical start to the ice season allowed us some extra time to make even more progress and in 2021, our customers and guests will enjoy more comfort than ever on their next visit.
That is why we’re so excited to, drum roll please … RING THE OPENING BELL ON THE 2021 FISHING SEASON! Yes, that’s right, the lake is locked up, our rentals are in place and customers have ..." Read >> Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report January 6, 2021
"Walleye fishing continues to be hit or miss on many of the area lakes this last week. Loud rippin raps and buckshot spoons continue to call in aggressive fish during the early morning and evening hours. Key depths have slipped a little deeper to 20-26 feet of water.
Northern Pike were very active this last week, with several mid 30” and up, caught this last week. Interestingly, walleye anglers seemed to find more pike then walleyes. Pike were found anywhere between 10 to 30 feet of water during the day. Live minnows suspended just off the bottom was very productive.
Panfishing remained slow but steady for many anglers. With weeds dying back, panfish continue to slide deeper and deeper. Both crappies and sunfish are being found in 20-30 feet of water. Small the bait the better. Small tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms or small soft plastics has been best." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
When it starts to feel like you're stuck in a rut, subtle changes in location, technique and fishing style can add up to big differences in your daily catch.
Follow Jon Thelen as he explains some key tips on finding and catching walleyes as they move to midwinter structure.
View Video and Learn More >> Find and Catch More Mid-Winter Walleye
"It was a great week of walleye and sauger action on the south end Lake of the Woods. There have been a lot of small fish to sort through to find keepers, but there are enough in the mix for a good fish fry.
There have been some big walleyes caught too, sizes ranging from 28 to 32 inches have caught this week. Also in the mix, Jumbo Perch, Sauger, Pike and Tulibees, with an occasional Eelpout coming along too.
So far this winter, most ice fishing is taking place between 23 and 28 feet of water. Using one set line, or "dead stick" with a live minnow suspended below a bobber while jig fishing with a ..." Learn More >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Updates January 5, 2020
To say that it was a crazy weekend on Winnie, could be the fishing world’s understatement of 2021! At one point, we had ice fishing rigs lined up from our ramp, all the way out onto County Road 9 waiting for their turn to get on to the lake.
On Tamarack Bay, the scene, according to lifelong residents was reminiscent of the crowds of perch anglers from the 1970s and 1980s.
Some of the folks were here because they had heard the fishing is good in our bay. Others were here because our plowed roads are in excellent shape and afforded this season’s earliest access to Winnie via pickup trucks at a time when they could not drive out on many other area lakes. Still more anglers showed up midway into the weekend because they ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report January 4, 2020
"Happy New Year! Cheers to 2021 and many fun adventures on the ice and open water for all reading this!
Lakes in the Sherburne and Wright County areas have ice thicknesses between six and ten inches, pending location and lake depth. The geese and swans had kept some of the local lakes open in areas up until last weeks cold snap, so I haven’t checked those areas quite yet, and I’d proceed with caution if venturing out.
In the early ice season I like to ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 1, 2021
In the December 30, 2020 Upper Red Lake Report, I mentioned using Lindy's Foo Flyer to coax in neutral to neagtive walleyes.
After reading the article, Brad Slye wrote; "Hi Jeff, I've been fishing up on Upper Red and remembered picking up some Foo Flyers when you were demonstrating them at the Lindy booth at the St Paul Ice Show several years ago.
I've been fishing with them because I ..." Read >> Remembering The Foo Flyer
Also referencing the December 30, 2020 Upper Red Lake Report, Luke Lucas emailed with comments about his recent experiences on Upper Red Lake.
"My party of 3 stayed in a sleeper rented from an outfitter based out of Waskish the night of Dec 28, 2020. From noon until 6:00 pm we ..." Read >> Reader Comments Recent Upper Red Lake Fishing Trip
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So far in 2020, I’ve looked forward to the beginning of each new month hoping that it would be better than the last one. So far none of them has and now the month of May did not even make me wait for a single day to find out that it won’t be any better either.
I’ve been pouring through the details of the recent changes to Governor Walz’ Executive Orders. From what I can see, yesterday’s signing of Emergency Executive Order 20-48, will keep fishing guides and charter operators in dry dock until the 18th of May, at least.
The order, “Extending and Modifying Stay at Home Order, Continuing Temporary Closure of Bars, Restaurants, and Other Places of Public Accommodation, and Allowing Additional Workers in Certain Noncritical Sectors to Return to Safe Workplaces” was good news for certain retailers who can set curbside pickups and home deliveries. But does not relax restrictions on any face-to-face business activity, like fishing.
Launches, charter boats and fishing guides are expressly prohibited from conducting business as was spelled out in EO 20-38 on April 17, 2020. In every revision, they include a section that spells out the penalties for ..." Read >> Walz' Minnesota Fishing Guide Ban Update May 1, 2020
A lot of ice disappeared over the weekend; we saw for ourselves that the east side of Pokegama was wide open. On Saturday, Cub Reporter Will Layland wrote;” Little Cutfoot is open, Little Jessie is mostly open and Big Jessie should be open by Monday.”
With the warm weather, some anglers emerged from their Covid Virus hiding spots and began testing the shallow bays and inlets for panfish. We saw folks fishing in several likely panfish locations around the area.
I aspired to getting in on some early action too, I wanted to get some suckers for the smoker while I have the free time to prepare them. But my goal of finding a spot where suckers were running, looked better on paper than it did in practice. My favorite spots showed little sign of any fish movement and the best report I heard was from a young man who ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Updates April 27, 2020
On Wednesday April 22, 2020, I received an email from Explore Minnesota. It contained the most comprehensive list of the types of lodging services that are available, or not available to anglers in Minnesota right now.
Long story short, resorts are (and always have been) allowed to remain open. However, while Governor Walz’ “Stay at Home Order” is in place, anglers will continue to be discouraged from traveling to them.
By now, most resort and campground owners have probably received the same email, so they likely already have this information available. But anglers everywhere continue to ask for updates about this confusing aspect of the executive order and its impact on the fishing opener.
According to the newsletter, even though resorts will be “allowed” to remain open, they are not obligated to ..." Read >> Minnesota Resorts Remain Open — With Caveats April 23, 2020
Responses to Saturday's column, Governor Allows Certain Outdoor Businesses To Re-Open.
Thomas Kotula wrote; "How far you go away from home is subjective and I doubt many people, including myself, are going to worry about that. Not to mention this is a suggestion by the governor not a law.
A) Trying to stay on top of all the rules is getting worse than keeping up to date with Minnesota's Fishing Regulations Book.
The best place to look for clarity on changes to these executive orders is on Governor Tim Walz' website, so that's where I checked. Under the NEWS tab, there's a complete list of all executive orders including the most ..."
As doctors and nurses wage the primary battle against the coronavirus, a secondary conflict is gaining intensity: how to ease the price paid by closed businesses, schools and idled workers. Since mid-March, more Americans lost their jobs more quickly than any time in history. Minnesota just six weeks ago was one of the strongest economies in the country, but now nearly one in five people in the state’s labor force is jobless.
Pressure grew all last week for government leaders to chart an end to their stay-home orders and nonessential business designations — and to allow businesses and consumers to ..." Read >> Minnesota business leaders say Walz's next move could make or break them
If you have an itch to go fishing, and you live close to a bait shop, then you are in luck. Governor Tim Walz’ most recent executive order 20-38, allows bait stores to re-open beginning today, April 18, 2020 at 5:00 AM.
That’s right, Minnesotans are now allowed to stop for live bait on their way to the fishing hole.
That is as long as the fishing hole isn’t too far away from home, and they don’t bring anybody from outside of their own household, and provided they don’t stay overnight, and as long as they pledge to stay at least 6 feet away from the nearest human.
Executive Order 20-38 also relaxes restrictions on certain other outdoor facilities such as marinas that rent seasonal docking spaces or provide repairs, sell fuel and the like. Folks that install docks and boat lifts are in luck too, they can ..." Read >> Governor Allows Certain Outdoor Businesses To Re-Open April 18, 2020
In the past month, some public officials in northern Minnesota have said visitors aren't welcome, worried metro vacationers might tote the coronavirus with them. But resorts need customers. Or some won't survive.
Three weeks from today, on the eve of the Fishing Opener, Minnesota resort owners near and far from the Twin Cities will swing open their cabin doors and hope people show up.
Already many of these small-business operators have developed new ways to clean their cabins, sell bait from their shops and keep anglers safe distances from one another while launching boats — all because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now they need customers. Or some won’t survive.
“A lot of resorts are getting by now only on their ..." Learn More >> April 17, 2020 Northern Minnesota resort owners make clear they want anglers coming their way
I mentioned yesterday that I’d been soliciting information about lodges, resorts and bait shops about their current plans for the fishing season opener. I learned quickly from early responding resorts and bait shops that response to the Covid-19 situation is going to be all over the map.
Most of those early answers to my questions were clear; the proprietors either said we’ll be open, or they said we’ll be closed, there wasn’t much grey area.
Later in the day though, the responses began getting more thought provoking and complex; like this one from a regular contributor.
Lee Nupson at Oak Point Resort on Leech Lake asked as many questions as it answered. "Nupson; “We will be open but I am a little confused about our ability to ..." Read >> MN Fishing Opener Update April 16, 2020
On April 10th I wrote about the 2020 walleye opener, "For many, fishing closer to home is probably going to be the best bet. A day trip to any lake that allows comfortable travel time to and from our own homes would be ideal. Folks with well stocked cabins or campers that require little interaction in the community will probably be just fine too.
The situation is fluid, so I’ll be adding frequent updates as information about lodging and fishing supplies become available. In the meantime, stock up your tackle box and tune up your outboard, the opener is only 28 days away!"
Well as of today, the fishing opener is only 23 days away and Governor Tim Walz' Emergency Executive Order 20-35 places yet another roadblock for Minnesota anglers.
After reading my Thursday update about the Minnesota fishing opener, Nate Altendorf wrote; “The question I have about the MN fishing opener is can we travel outside of our community to fish?”
A) Nate, the direct answer is yes, we are allowed to travel anywhere in Minnesota to fish. But bear in mind that while we are legally allowed to fish anywhere in the state, some locations will be more practical than others.
Recalling yesterday’s comment from MN DNR Spokesperson Kim Pleticha; “All we ask is that anglers observe the safety practices described in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order.”
According to the stay home order, we definitely are allowed to ..." Read >> MN Fishing Season Update April 10, 2020
Pleticha assured me that the DNR has no plan to cancel, postpone or otherwise interrupt the 2020 opening of Minnesota’s walleye fishing season.
“All we ask is that anglers observe the safety practices described in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order;” Pleticha said.
“Ramps and parking areas owned and maintained by the Minnesota DNR will be open. But we cannot give assurances that local accesses owned by counties or municipalities will ..." Read >> Fishing Opener Update April 9, 2020
Since this Covid-19 stay home order was implemented, all my usual spring routines have been wiped out. Reporting the report-able has been fine for the gloom and doom crowd, but optimists like me have had to turn over a lot of stones to find a good story.
Take the Northwest Sportshow for example. According to the plan, it would have ended last Sunday. By now, I should have spent several days telling you about all the cool stuff that I found at the show; but that was cancelled, so I couldn’t.
After that, I should have been giving you reports from the Rainy River and talking about all the great walleye fishing that’s been going on. But we can’t get on the river with a boat so that’s been off the table too. Last week, I was able to at least ..." Read >> Fishing Update April 8, 2020
By now, you’ve likely heard about Koochiching County’s decision to close the 4 county owned boat ramps on the Rainy River this spring. That decision, controversial at the time, appears to have been made moot by Governor Walz’ shelter in place order; or is it?
I went to Governor Walz’ website, clicked on the StayHomeMN Frequently Asked Questions sections and selected “When is it okay for me to leave my home?” Among the listed exceptions to the travel ban; found this. “Permissible activities during the stay at home order include: Outdoor activities, such as walking pets, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing.”
Apparently, Governor Walz or someone at his office has the good sense to understand that we’re better off outside than staying cooped up. So, if we can navigate the rest of the restrictions in the shelter in place order, they are encouraging all of us to get outside and be active.
I’m assuming that it will be tough to obtain live bait. But even if bait and tackle shops are closed because of the restrictions, I think too that most of us can cobble together some lures that will work well enough to keep the fish entertained.
I’d rather go fishing without my favorite bait, than sit at home working myself into a tizzy over the media coverage of this bizarre event. So, that’s what I’m going to do and if I see you out there, I will keep my distance; I PROMISE! — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Wired2Fish's Ryan DeChaine faces such a situation on a small lake and walks through how to map an offshore hump using Humminbird's AutoChart Live and Zero Line SD Card.
Using Humminbird's AutoChart Zero Line SD Card, DeChaine uses a circular survey method instead of traditional transects to quickly and accurately map the structure. He then describes how to display and adjust bottom hardness data on top of the custom map; bottom hardness in conjunction with accurate 1-foot contour intervals reveals previously hidden spots on the ..." Learn More >> Custom Mapping Tips For Humminbird Users
Q) On January 11, 2020 Shannon Poppinga Wrote; "I live in South Dakota and fish the river and many NE lakes. We cast most of the spring and summer for walleye in some high wind days.
Currently, the boat that I have is a Ranger 618 tiller and my current engine is a Yamaha 90 HP with the variable RPM button to help get the proper power I need.
I am interested in a larger 20 foot tiller boat but I am concerned about not being able to use a larger motor on a 20 ft tiller to put the butt of the boat into the waves, be able to idle down slow enough so I can sit in one place and cast.
I was looking on the internet to see if I could find any info on this and stumbled onto one of your reviews of Lund Tiller Boats. I’m more interested in knowing if you feel I would be able to get a larger Mercury tiller motor to do what I need?"
A) Shannon, my history with 20-foot tiller boats goes back a long time, I’ve owned about 25 of them. These days, I have ..." Learn Morde >> Reader Asks About Mercury Pro XS 115 HP Tiller Performance
"Side imaging sonar reveals an entirely new underwater world to anglers interested in learning the technology. It produces highly detailed readouts of the water column and bottoms off both sides of the boat; this has some major benefits, one of which being discovering sleeper or hidden spots missed by most anglers.
Jeff "Kolo" Kolodzinski demonstrates this perfectly. While driving to one of his "known" spots, side imaging reads a bottom composition change - it's a hard spot covered with fist-sized rocks and some larger boulders mixed in. Of note, there's no appreciable change in depth, so mapping doesn't ..." View Video >> How to Use Side Imaging to Find Hidden Spots
Fishing The Fall Turnover In Natural Lakes - Jeff Sundin
... "This probably means that for most fishermen, "The Turnover", I mean the absolute scientific event is probably not really what influences fish locations and feeding patterns during the cold water period.
Jeff Sundin is a full time, professional fishing guide, outdoor writer and photographer. Book Jeff for guided fishing trips, for fishing seminars, fishing promotions and media events. Click here >> learn more about Jeff Sundin.
"The Early Bird Fishing Guide" Jeff Sundin - Fishing Blue Books, LLC 715 Byington Ave, LaPrairie, MN 55744 218-245-9858
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