Minnesota Fishing Reports
"As the end of walleye season on Mille Lacs Lake nears this weekend, you might want to think of where the fish have been known to spawn during early spring. I noticed this around Mille Lacs on Sunday evening when a few friends and I pulled up on the break of a gravel bar for an evening bite.
The temperature was chilly and we were running and gunning to find fish before dusk. The barometric pressure was sitting around 30 in of Hg most of the weekend, so pressure had been stable for 24 hours and I figured they wouldn’t be far off the bar. Ten minutes into drilling and checking holes, we hooked up on ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Fishing Report February 20, 2020
A friendly reminder about the Ray's Marine Open House Boat Show coming to the Grand Rapids location this weekend. The show opens Friday morning and runs through the entire weekend.
All the new Lund and Crestliner Boat models will be on display. And now that many of the Ray's Marine Pro Staff have had their chance to run the new ProXS line of Mercury Outboards, you'll have a chance to hear firsthand reports about their performance and learn more about Mercury's 2020 special event "Refresh • Repower • Rebate."
Whether your question is about electronics, trolling motors, how to tie fishing knots, whatever. I, along with many of Minnesota's top fishing pros will be there to help answer questions and talk about the upcoming open water season.
This is your opportunity to learn from folks who really know what they're doing. They're eager to help set you up for a great 2020 fishing season, so be sure to join us at Ray's Grand Rapids Boat Show. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Lake trout fishing remains excellent for many anglers this last week. A few really lucky anglers reported back to back days of putting more the 10 lakers on the ice, while at lease two anglers landed a laker over 15 lbs!
Wicked Tinsel jigs accounted for the high numbers of lakers caught, while spoons accounted for the biggest lakers landed this week. Key depth was 30-50 feet of water. Larger sucker minnows tipped on a jig or fished on the bottom, under a tip up accounted for many of the trout caught.
Backcountry stream trout fishing was good for number, but excellent for size! Anglers were finding the trout just off ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report February 19, 2020
Ice conditions on LOW remain excellent at around 30 inches where most are fishing.
Best colors vary but on sunny days gold has been consistent. On cloudy days, glow pink, green, orange and chartreuse good colors. Don't be afraid to downsize presentation if fish are not active. Use a small spoon with a ..." Learn More >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report February 18, 2020
I have decided to try and take my panfish knowledge to another level. I would like to start keeping a fishing journal. What do you suggest are the important factors to be logging?
I was recently on an active crappie lake. The first time I stumbled on them they were like piranhas and the second time same thing. Third time, very slow. This was over the course of a week.
I think the full moon has something to do with it, but I don’t have enough data to make that assumption. Do you know of any apps, articles, podcasts or other reads that would be helpful?
A) Using your own crappie fishing story as an example, I can think of a few obvious observations that I’d ..." Read >> Q&A Important Factors For Fishing Logs February 13, 2020
"For many years, I've constantly heard about Falcon fishing rods. I never got an opportunity to try one until this year and I must say that they're definitely living up to, if not exceeding the hype. I've been having a blast catching fish on 'em.
Most recently I've been playing with the Falcon Expert casting rods. I've used them for pitching, flipping and moving baits with outstanding success.
I wanted to quickly share my thoughts and explain to you what, in my opinion, makes this rod series so darn special.
I've tested a lot of lightweight rods throughout my career, but I've had serious durability issues with most of them. Whether I'm swinging fish or setting the hook, I've had my fair share of these ultra-lightweight rods shatter like glass and sound like a .22 rifle when they break.
After talking with several resort owners, it's evident that access to Lake Winnie will continue to be restricted. But as rental operators regain control of their plowing, options for anglers are improving.
Some of the accesses have been re-opened, but only provide limited access to the better fishing areas. Others offer anglers a chance to get into some fresh, previously un-fished territory.
The accompanying map with numbered descriptions identifies the access points around the lake.
Some of the county roads leading to public landings are not plowed and remain closed. some of the closures are temporary, but some are closed permanently and will likely not re-open during the early spring ice season.
Snow on Lake Winnie's ice is hard packed and ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Ice Access Updates February 12, 2020
"Lake trout fishing was good to excellent for many anglers last week, with some groups reporting double digit catches in one day. Just about every group reported marking a lot of lake trout all day.
Anglers with the best luck have been using Wicked Tinsel bucktail jigs or Venom tubes in white/pink or white/blue. Laying dead bait on the bottom was also effective, but many anglers ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report February 12, 2020
To get in on the better fishing, many resorts are traveling 16 to 22 miles out on the ice. Ice conditions on LOW remain excellent.
Jig one line and don't be afraid to use noise such as rattles or vibration to draw fish in. Have a dead stick with a live minnow in the second hole for neutral fish.
There were a lot of big walleyes caught last week and pike anglers are already pulling in some trophy fish as well. Big fish action should only get better as the month progresses and fish begin the early stages of migrations toward the river.
Best colors vary but gold, glow, green, orange and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Update February 11, 2020
"Yesterday, we had someone driving a track machine bust through the surface crust of ice. Getting stuck in the slush trapped between the layers of ice left them in bad shape.
They weren't anywhere close to our plowed roads, but we do want to revise our previous statement about the crust being thicker.
If the track machine can't make it without breaking through, then no one should try. Travel off of the main, plowed roads is not advised at this time. Our roads and the ice in our area is still good. Thanks!" — Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. For last minute updates about ice conditions, use the “Ice Hotline” 218-659-4002. For reservations, Dixon Lake Resort 218-659-4612.
Questions about the Voyageurs National Park ice road included whether there is a fee to access it. The answer is no, there isn’t a fee for using the road; that’s the good news. The bad news is that right now, large stretches of the ice road are under water. With cold overnight temperatures, some stretches of the road freeze up overnight, but daytime traffic breaks up the ice and wet areas return.
Looking ahead at the forecast, we’re hopeful that the incoming stretch of colder air temps will help improve the surface of that road. We’ll keep you posted about the road conditions, but in the interim, this leads to another popular question.
If my fishing party rents a fishing shelter from KAB Outdoors, will you ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report February 7, 2020
Now, we have all our rental shelters on the lake and there’s space available for up to 20 more customer wheelhouses for the upcoming weekend.
Customers at the resort right now are catching perch in good numbers and there are fish of very good quality in the mix of sizes. It hasn’t been uncommon for our guests to catch upwards of 200 perch in a single outing.
Whenever you catch that many fish, there are bound to be a ..." Learn More >> Good News From Lake Winnie February 7, 2020
As we were leaving from Deer River, we got a last-minute phone call advising us that the fish at our destination were not biting. That combined with reports about slushy conditions up there was enough to convince us that the last-minute cancellation was the smart thing to do.
Luckily, we’d already received another call from my buddy Reed Ylitalo. He told us that he’d a couple of spots close to home that have become more easily accessible.
Earlier, he’d found a school of active crappies and offered us the chance to go spend some time on the ice with him. Without a better plan, Reed’s offer sounded great, so we took him up on it.
The fishing action was typical of any mid-winter fishing trip. Crappies were active enough to ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report February 6, 2020
"This past weekend was filled with warm weather across the state of Minnesota. There were lots of anglers out on Saturday, but not so many on Sunday, my guess was the big game kept most on their couches with snacks and beverages.
Many reports of people struggling for fish came across my social media feeds Saturday and Sunday, so, this week I decided to add a little education in my report for everyone reading. The following is my interpretation of (barometric) pressure on fish and how it changed the bite over the course of the weekend.
The (barometric) pressure was low this weekend, but it hadn’t been stable long enough for most fish to adapt. I always look at it this way, if someone was pushing on your belly (high pressure) you don’t want to ..." Learn More >> Central Minnesota Fishing Report February 6, 2020
"The conditions of the ice have improved across the area significantly over the past few weeks. The smaller bodies of water which were just a mess of slush not too long ago have healed up for the most part and attracting anglers back out.
The snow has settled; however, travel is still best using sleds or track machines since many lakes still have no plowed roads. You can still find a few pockets of slush on larger bodies of water such as Leech Lake, but there are plowed and maintained roads on Walker Bay and out of Pine Point and Trappers Landing Lodge.
FISHING HAS PICKED UP!
The bluegills have been biting great along the weed lines Tungsten jigs and small spoons tipped with waxies have been the ticket. The Venom Outdoors tungsten jigs have ..." Read >> Wheezy Outdoors Fishing Report Febraury 5, 2020
"Lake Trout - The lake trout bite continues to be slow for many anglers. Anglers continue to find biters in somewhat shallow water. 20-30 feet remains the best depth to find biters.
Anglers catching fish are down sizing their baits down to 1/8 or 1/4oz, to get fish to bite. Dead baits laying on the bottom has also been effective for catching trout and should not be over looked.
Stream trout fishing has improved this last week, but many anglers are reporting watching many trout come in to inspect their baits, but turn away. Again anglers watching that, simply down size their bait and have been able to ..." Read >> Ely Area Report 2-5-2020
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, it was a great week of ice fishing with good numbers and some very quality fish.
Ice conditions on LOW remain excellent. Resorts working hard to keep fish houses on walleyes and saugers. Most anglers fishing 27' - 36' with ice roads 7 - 20 miles long. Resorts traveled farther out which improved fishing.
Jig one line to draw fish in and get them excited. Have a deadstick with a live minnow in the second hole for neutral fish. Rattles and vibration can help in the stained waters of LOW. Gold, glow, wonder bread and pink good colors. Electronics a big plus and can be rented from some resorts, bait shops.
The Rainy River ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Updates February 5, 2020
It may be that warmer air temperatures helped to saturate the snow cover, facilitating a re-freeze. Or it may be that water in certain high traffic areas found a way to drain into holes drilled by anglers and allowed the surface to dry out. Either way, the list of lake that feature “decent” travel conditions is growing.
In the Grand Rapids area, Pokegama Lake offers good travel conditions and so do some similar large size, late freezing lakes. Small waters, especially ones that haven’t had much pressure continue to be problematic.
From northwestern Minnesota, Austin Jones reported; “Caught some nice 'gills tonight in 21 foot of water on ..." Read >> Improving Ice Conditions On The Horizon February 3, 2020
Close to home, travel conditions on the ice make finding places to fish difficult right now. So, the search for a lake where we could catch some panfish led away from Grand Rapids and closer to the metro region, where friends had reported good action over the weekend.
They live and fish about an 1-1/2 hours north of the Twin Cities. So, the lake they took us to isn’t exactly part of the metro area, but it’s also not a remote lake either.
I’ve wondered it before, but I never even bothered to look it up. It is literally right on the highway; we watched a steady stream of traffic passing by all day long. Maybe that’s why I haven’t fished there before, I’ve driven right past it hundreds of times thinking that anyplace this handy has to be fished out.
One thing the small has going for it is better ice conditions. I guess there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on top of 16 to 20 inches of ice. There was very little slush on the lake and that made travel by ATV, Snowmobile and on foot very easy. The county plows had ..." Read >> Ice Fishing Report January 30, 2020 ml
"The past week has been nothing but gloomy, cloudy, days across Minnesota. While it makes for a long day at work, it provides some good angling opportunities after you leave the site, especially when the temperatures have been stable!
Lakes across Wright and Sherburne counties have 16 to 20 inches of ice and are beginning to see plenty of traffic. A lot of families were out, which is great to see! Bluegills and crappies were the name of the game on some of these lakes.
When I checked in with a few anglers, they all had identical answers; fish were suspended where the basin met a weedline. Their tip for bait: medium sized tungsten jigs tipped with a minnow head were attracting crappies, while the bluegills preferred ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 30, 2020
Shallow spots to target include transition areas of hard/soft bottom such as rock and sand, or sand and mud in 10-16ft of water during low light conditions and 28 to 32 feet of water on mud flat points or inside turns.
I've been finding Walleyes schooled up in most locations, so if you're not finding fish in a short amount of time, dont be afraid to move and continue to hole hop until you connect with fish.Northern pike continue to ..." Read More >> Lake Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Reports January 30, 2020
“A joint committee of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists and fisheries biologists from the eight Chippewa bands that retain fishing rights under terms of an 1837 treaty reached agreement on the 2020 Mille Lacs Lake safe harvest level for walleye.
The committee established those levels on Jan. 22, setting the walleye safe harvest level at 150,000 pounds, the same as last year.
State-licensed anglers can harvest 87,800 pounds of walleye during the 2019-2020 ice fishing season and the 2020 open-water season. Tribal fishing is subject to ..." Read >> 2020 Mille Lacs Lake Safe Walleye Harvest Level Set
We’re watching the weather forecast and it appears that we can assume that any significant change in travel conditions will be happening soon. That means that with moderate snow cover and scattered slushy spots, travel by snowmobile and tracked ATVs will be the only way to access the better fishing spots on Kabetogama.
For us, fishing patterns and locations haven’t changed a lot over the past week. During the daytime, walleyes move on and off the shallower structures. That produces occasional short spurts of action that occur periodically throughout the day.
Those short daytime spurts have produced some nice size fish for our customers. At twilight, the feeding intensifies as greater numbers of fish move toward feeding shelves. This is when we get a greater number of ..." Read >> Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report January 29, 2020
"The lake trout bite slowed for many this last week, but for a few the bite was excellent!
Successful anglers downsized their baits to turn lookers into biters. Small rattling jigging spoons, small jigging raps and small bucktails tipped with a minnow was key to catching Lakers.
Anglers also noted that Lakers were being found shallower, in 15-25 feet of water.
Stream trout fishing continues to be good to excellent for ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report January 29, 2020
Many of north central Minnesota’s businesses that depend on tourism from ice fishing and other related outdoor sports have had a hard winter to say the least. In fact, finding good news about ice conditions in north central Minnesota has been all but impossible during the 2019-2020 ice fishing season.
Thin ice, deep snow and moderate temperatures have combined to produce treacherous, slushy conditions that have effectively scared away the lion’s share of would-be ice anglers from our region. The scene has been eerily quiet as I’ve traveled from lake to lake in search of fishing news to report. Many of the area’s most popular fishing areas have had little or no traffic. Bait suppliers and tackle dealers report dismal sales of ice gear as well.
The folks at High Banks Resort on Lake Winnie have organized a meeting with Sen. Justin Eichorn to discuss emergency relief for area businesses affected by poor conditions. If you can …" Read >> Emergency Relief For Area Toruism January 28, 2020
Warmer weather turned the bite on for many anglers, resulting in a good week of fishing. There were good numbers of big fish caught this week.
Resort houses continue to move constantly following the fish. The ice roads now extend 7 to 12 miles or more. Most anglers are fishing 27 to 36 feet of water.
Both jigging line and deadstick with a live minnow producing based on mood of ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Report January 28, 2020
Stream trout were active, and the action was, well … good for Joelle. Bellamy; “I got 4 rainbow trout and 1 lake trout; Justin got 1 rainbow trout and pat was skunked.”
The most bites and activity on the graph came in the morning. “We got out by like 8:45 AM and the first bite was at 9:15 AM. We hardly saw anything after 12, except there was one caught at 3:00 and one more at 5:00 PM, as we were trying to pack up.
We were fishing in ..." Read >> Gunflint Trail Area Fishing Update January 27, 2020
"Last Friday’s snow brought about 5 to 6 inches to the Central Minnesota area, but thankfully, it happened after the ice was able to thicken up from the cold temps during that week and previous week. We are seeing about 14+ inches of good ice in the area now.
I’ve been seeing smaller cars and trucks on the lakes around Big Lake, Elk River, Zimmerman, and Buffalo. This is allowing anglers to get to some of the deeper breaks on lakes. Walleye are hanging around these break lines and off humps during the daylight hours, sliding up as the light deteriorates.
They have been a little bit pickier this week wanting smaller baits with less aggressive approaches. The best luck has been a fathead minnow below a bobber rig, or a deadstick set-up.
Look for fish in the 12’ to 20’ regions and slide out from there. It’s best to have a few friends and check multiple depths until active fish have been found.
Panfish have ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 24, 2020
There's about 2.5 miles of open road now. Because of wet spots and saturated snow, they were unable to make an additional plow pass heading back toward shore. So there's still no access for "wheel houses", but snowmobiles and tracked machines should be able to use access.
It will be interesting to see how the lake reacts to the warm weather heading our way.
For More Information >> Contact KAB OUTDOORS or Call 218.875.2281
"Fish lake has a nice trail off of the dam. good crappie action, also tim at hi banks has plowed roads off of hi banks. Most lakes have 10 inches of clear ice or more, w. 10 inches of frozen slush on top.
Not much reports of much snow or slush anywhere. thanks for getting those reports out there!" Scott, Fisherman's Corner, 218-729-5369
"Dixon Lake Resort still has good plowed roads on the Third River Flowage of Lake Winnie. Big wide area with plenty of pullouts for your wheel houses as well as parking areas for you to wander into the snow with your portables.
Fishing has been pretty good here of late. Plenty of panfish and the northen pike have been in a frenzy here lately. We're getting a lot of nice ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Ice Update January 24, 2020
Fishing in the bays has been good most days and has been very good at night. A few people have been going out to the flats and they also have reported good fishing." — Terry Thurmer, Terry's Boat Harbor – 320-692-4430
Looking back, the commitment to purchase it turns out to be one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made. That’s because while anglers all over the state struggle to get onto the ice, we’ve been moving our customers on and off Lake Kabetogama with ease.
To date, snowmobiles and lightweight snow machines with wide tracks are the only good way to move around on the lake. Last week, Voyageurs National Park staff attempted to plow open the ice road. They did get it partially opened but were forced to hold off when some ..." Read >> Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report January 22, 2020
"Lake trout anglers were greeted by excellent ice conditions and active lakers. Lakers as big as 15lbs were landed over the weekend. Anglers reported having the best luck in 20-40 feet of water with bucktails, wicked tinsel jigs and white/red core tubes. Multiple groups reported that lakers would fly in and crush the bait before even marking them.
Stream trout anglers too we’re greeted with very active ..." Read >> Ely Area Ice Fishing Report January 22, 2020
"Variable conditions seems to be the trend this season. This past weekend we had yet another snow storm which dumped approximately 10-12 inches in the Remer, Longville, Outing, and Walker area.
Travel has been best still with sleds or track machines. Colder temps the past few weeks have firmed things up on some bodies of water which were once heavy laden with slush, however there are still several lakes that unfortunately we would not advise to travel on until things improve, and with the "January thaw" approaching that might be a while.
If you are planning on traveling to the area, ..." Read >> Wheezy Outdoors Ice Fishing Report January 21, 2020
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, ice conditions are excellent. Resorts are reporting 24 to 30 inches of ice most places being fished.
There are good numbers of walleyes and saugers being caught, and many of them are small, so anglers are having fun sorting through fish to get eaters and occasional trophy walleye.
Most anglers are fishing in 27 to 36 feet of water, gaining accdess via plowed roads. Resort rental houses continue to be moved constantly as operators follow the fish. Some of the ice roads now extend 10 miles or more.
Both jigging line and ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Update January 21, 2020
"We're on Stony Point in the central part of Leech Lake. The snowstorm over the weekend only made the ice conditions worse. We snowshoed the shore line on Saturday afternoon at Stony Point campground. The snow cover is 12-20" with 6-8" of slush under it. There's 10-14" of ice from shore out ~1/2 mile. No signs of any vehicles along the common access places; walk out fishing only."
"While stock jerkbaits catch bass right out of the box, there are times when simple modifications add up to more bites. Pro bass angler Randy Blaukat shares his top jerkbait tweaks to adjust buoyancy, hook short strikers, and adjust for larger fish and fishing around cover.
Randy prefers a suspending or slow sinking jerkbait during the cold-water months. If the bait is too buoyant, it'll float toward the surface. Blaukat counteracts this by using suspend strips (lead) with adhesive backing. He shares a few pointers on how to secure the weight to the belly of the bait using an abrasive, pocket knife and a dab of super glue.
When it comes to short strikers, Randy explains the importance of ..." View Video To Learn More >> Catch More Bass with These 4 Jerkbait Modifications
Getting good news about ice fishing in Minnesota's north central region hasn't been easy this winter. And just when conditions showed signs of improvement, another snowstorm brought us reason to doubt that a recovery will occur this winter.
In the Grand Rapids area, we received another 8 to 10 inches of fresh snow over the weekend. As you can see in the image of my front yard, that new snow lies on top of a couple feet of snow that was already piled up.
Fishing activity around the Itasca region was already low, so this development really can’t make things much worse; but it surely didn’t make things better either.
On a positive note, more snow on top of the ice could be helpful if we do receive a “January Thaw”. Theoretically, more snow could turn to more water which could help facilitate a more dramatic meltdown. For the moment, lets just hope that Mother Nature has something like that planned.
Over the next couple days, I’ll be gathering fresh reports from folks around the region. As always, you are more than welcome to contribute. Don’t wait for a gold engraved invitation, a few words about ice conditions in your area are always appreciated. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"The colder temps over the last week have really solidified the area lakes up in Central Minnesota. Most lakes around Mille Lacs, Sherburne, and Wright counties are seeing ATV traffic along with a few wheelhouses.
Ice thicknesses were in the 10 to 14 inch range on many of the smaller lakes I checked on Sunday morning.
Panfish have been steady across the smaller lakes. You really have to be mobile to find the pods of larger fish. Fish are still being found near structure such as weeds, timber, and rock piles holding larger boulders. Look for fish around the ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 16, 2020
"Dixon Lake Resort still have our roads open on the Third River Flowage of Lake Winnie.
Ice is at 18" with frozen slush and some not frozen slush. Seems like anglers are getting around pretty good off the main roads, but there are still plenty of pockets of slush out there, so cautious travel is advised.
Fishing was great the last two weekends. There were a lot of ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Report January 17, 2020
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
Fish ED Video Devils Lake Perch January 16, 2020
Winter Perch are considered some of the best eating fish ever.
Jon shares many tips and tricks to help your next Perch fishing adventure regaurdless of whether it is too Devils Lake or any other perch lake.
"Ice conditions on Lake Kabetogama remain largely unchanged since last week. Ice thickness remains stable, varying between 10 to 15 inches and there’s just about the same amount of snow piled up on top of it. In most areas, snow depth is about 15 inches, but there are areas of deeper drifted snow as well.
There are still some new slush pockets forming around the lake. The slush has made travel by anything with wheels on the ice almost impossible. But travel by snowmobile and ATVs with tracks isn’t too bad.
Last week we mentioned being overwhelmed with calls from folks asking ..." Read More >> KAB Outdoors Lake Kabetogama Report January 15, 2019
"Ice conditions have improved dramatically this last week. Slush conditions too, have improved dramatically and is largely a non issue on the majority of lakes in the area.
Double ice is being reported on ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report January 15, 2020
Fishing has been up and down with the changeable weather. The toughest period was during one cold front that brought -31° air temperatures.
Overall though, there were some great walleyes and saugers caught this week. Anglers have had plenty of fish for fish frys and they've caught some trophy walleye, big sturgeon and jumbo perch. There's been an occasional pike, crappie or tulibee in the mix as well.
Most anglers are fishing 25 to 30 feet deep if they're on structure. They're fishing deeper over the mud flats, focusing on ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report January 14, 2020
"Conditions seem to be improving in the last week. I’ve been on three smaller lakes minnow trapping and they are now frozen up good with no slush.
Billy and I walked out on a lake Saturday that on Tuesday had six inches of slush and it was healed up good and didn’t see any issues while we were fishing. I even got lucky and caught a couple dandy’s for supper.
We are getting lots of calls about where people can drive there trucks out with wheel houses and we don’t have many opportunities yet . But if you have track machines I don’t believe you will have to many problems now getting to spots that haven’t been fished yet this winter." — Bill Powell, Fred's Bait, 218-246-8710
Planning a winter trip to warmer climes? Then check out this article about fishing open water crappies during mid-winter.
"When I find crappie on deep swings in the winter, I will often catch them by penduluming, or tightlining a jig down the slope. The trick is to get it to swing down the bank without actually hitting and snagging up in the rocks. So I will reel it some, but most of the time I just keep my rod up at about 10 o'clock. Then, with a slight bow in the line, I will stutter the fall or pop the slack and get the jig to stay up and then let it start swinging again.
I do this over deep brush too. It works wonders on those brush piles that are right on a break. It's how I catch most of my crappie out of brush honestly. I hardly ever get right over the crappie. I sit off of them and "swing" a jig down through them. I have caught many limits out of big schools over the ..." Learn More >> Winter Crappie Fishing Secrets . .
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
"Slush has been becoming more and more of a issue for every lake in the area. While it was mainly limited to bays, it has now spread to just about everywhere on the lake and every lake in the area.
Amount of shush varies from 3” to more then a foot. Snow conditions also varies from as little as a foot, to almost much as 3’ near shore.
Ice conditions have ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report January 10, 2020 HB DNR
When the ice gets thick and the snow stacks up, crappie location begins to shift. Heavy snow cover prevents sunlight from penetrating the ice, robbing oxygen from many early season, deep water crappie spots.
Crappies become more nomadic, moving shallower and hunting for food over soft bottom flats. Keeping your bait in front of feeding fish becomes one of the secrets to success during this period.
Jon Thelen shares some of his favorite tactics for catching crappies under thick ice and heavy snowpack. Learn More >> View Video Snow Covered Crappies
"The Department of Natural Resources is looking for passionate and dedicated college students interested in learning more about possible careers with the DNR through paid summer internship opportunities.
DNR summer interns will not only gain valuable experience and training, but will also ..." Learn More >> DNR seeks to fill up to 200 paid summer internships
Most of the affected areas remain accessible by snowmobile, unless they’re overloaded with too much gear.
We observed one angler attempting to travel while towing 2 ice fishing shelters in tandem and that resulted in the sled getting bogged down and stuck. If you’re planning to snowmobile on the ice, we’d suggest cutting back to the bare minimum amount of fishing gear.
We’ve been overwhelmed with calls from folks asking about driving up with private wheelhouses. We have ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report January 9, 2020
I am seeing more hardened snow packed lakes in Wright and Sherburne counties this week, so it appears the dreaded slush has frozen with the below freezing temps at night. Ice thicknesses are in the 6 to 10 inch range and lakes are seeing some spear houses appear.
Panfish are biting well right now along the weed lines and up inside your oxygen rich areas, such as bays with inlets, which attracts their food sources. Crappies can be found roaming right up against the weed lines as well as off into the deep basins. Use a slow falling spoon tipped with wax worms or spikes right at the ..." Read >> Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Report January 8, 2020 .
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, there's been lots of ice fishing happening this week. Overall, good reports with a mix of saugers and walleyes. Some very small fish, lots of eaters, some huge fish.
Most common depths 28-31 feet of water. Best colors gold, pink, glow red and UV glow colors. Use combo jigging line and deadstick with a live minnow.
Electronics very helpful. Watch for suspended walleyes. Rattles and noise within lures can be effective.
The Rainy River is frozen over, but there's been ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing Update January 8, 2020
For now, snowmobiles are really the only means of transport that can be considered reliable. But we plan to do some plowing today in the hope that getting some water to flow will allow re-freezing in whichever areas that we can open up.
Bob Cass, a friend, spent the weekend at his cabin on Cutfoot Sioux and passed along some observations about his fishing trip.
Cass; “I have been here fishing since last Friday and using my snowmobile, I have been able to get around a bit; it is a wade track which helps.
Right now, travel conditions on McCavity bay are ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Report January 7, 2020
Q) On January 7, 2020 Brian Asked; "Have you been out on trout lake fishing? Or have you heard of anything about it. Also where is a good place to go if your walking out? Thanks Brian
A) Trout Lake was barely frozen, if at all, prior to the first snowstorm. I would be extremely cautious about moving very far from the shoreline in most areas of the lake.
Folks do walk out and fish the breakline from the public landing on the north end and also from the city park in the northwest corner near the school. It's a much longer walk, but some folks also access the lake from the east side, off of the dirt road by the old farm house.
I would be extremely hesitant to venture out into mid-lake structure and limit my travels to the first breakline off shore.
"We have had our hands full with the storm that got us last weekend. We finally got all our rentals out from slush and sunken houses. We are opening up new roads around slush areas.
Sorry for slow response from Mother Nature, but for this weekend, we are allowing only rental clients through Northwoods; there are no ..." Read More >> Upper Red Lake Updates January 3, 2020
"The only way you are getting around on Leech Lake is with snowmobile or tracked vehicle. You have to have something that will keep you on top of the snow.
I tried to blow an ice road with my small tractor and blower and broke through the ice. There's about 8" of slush and 3" of crusted snow on top of the ..." Read >> Leech Lake Update January 2, 2020
"The snow is causing lots of fun out on Winnie as it probably is on all area lakes.
Todd's been plowing and has gotten the ice road put back in this week. We had Fishermen's road plowed by a county truck so it's way better. The landing road is in great shape, but the Third River road is not plowed. The best access is to come in off of MN Higway 46 onto County Road 33 and then head down ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Ice Updates January 2, 2020
The news about ice fishing conditions has been grim so far this week. I've been behind the snowblower myself a half dozen times since we returned from Mexico on Monday and it's snowing again right now.
The heaviest part of the "snow belt" runs on an east-west line covering about 50 to 75 miles either side of US Highway 2, all the way from Duluth to ..." Read >> Ice Conditions Updates January 2, 2020
In this episode of Fish ED, Jon Thelen reminds us about an ice fishing presentation that integratres a unique combintaion of sight, sound and vibration.
Lindy's Walleye Talker attracts fish by appealing to both their sense of hearing and vibration. Then the unique combination of colors triggers them into strking aggressively.
Join Jon as he walks us through the how-to's of attracting and triggering walleye strikes using the Wally Talker. View Video To Learn More >> Unique Sound and Vibration Helps Catch More Walleye 200
"This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen chases Jumbo Perch.
Winter Perch are considered some of the best eating fish ever. Jon shares many tips and tricks to help your next Perch fishing adventure.
Grab some Lindy Perch Talkers and get in on the action, they are biting now all across the ice belt!
View Video and Learn More >> Fish ED Perch Fishing Tips and Tricks
For me, the quote of the day at the December 3, 2019 meeting of Minnesota’s Panfish Workgroup was; “I’m not happy, but I’m less unhappy than I was last winter.” And as far as I’m concerned, Dave Thompson, owner of Fisherman’s Village Resort does have good reason to be less unhappy these days.
MN DNR fisheries staff rolled out the timeline for a plan that moves one of Thompson’s longtime goals, helping preserve quality sunfish populations in Minnesota is moving a few steps forward.
Minnesota’s “Quality Bluegill Initiative” came about after the MN DNR ..." Read >> Minnesota Quality Bluegill Initiative Update December 4, 2019
Making your bait easier for fish to see definitely increases the number that will come over to look at your offering.
We all know that “lighting up” an ice fishing lure can make a tremendous difference in terms of visibility. But we know too that just lighting up the lure isn’t the only thing that triggers fish to strike. The combination of colors, patterns and natural appearance provide convincing detail that give fish a reason to strike.
Jeff Sundin shares his thoughts about how combining light with subtle changes in colors and patterns helps him put more walleyes on the ice.
View Video and Learn More >> Subtle Glowing Colors Catch More and Bigger Fish Through The Ice
For me, getting the most value out of every piece of fishing gear is important. That’s why many of the fishing reels I use during summer, double as ice fishing reels during winter. All I do is remove the reel from my summer rod, put it on one of my shorter ice fishing rods and I’m ready to fish; almost.
In my particular case, the line I love for summer fishing is not really suitable for ice fishing. My summer line is tough, it has an exterior coating that allows me to work lures in weeds or rocks without getting too dinged up. But when it gets cold that tough exterior coating works against me, it tends to feel “stiff” and gets coiled up, making finesse presentations difficult.
Beyond that, the 4 or 6 lb. test lines that I use in summer is ..." Read Article >> Re-Spooling and Recycling For Winter Fishing
For many, gathering fish for a meal is the primary goal and when it is, catching them in deep water really isn’t a problem. As long as we capture what we need; put ‘em in the cooler and head home for the fish fry, it doesn’t matter whether we catch them shallow or deep. In fact you could say that catching fish in deep water isn’t a problem at all.
But releasing fish that are reeled in from the depths, now that's a whole new ball game. It can be a big problem, especially when the fish are hungry and the angler believes that they ..." Read >> How Barotrauma Affects Released Fish October 23, 2019
We found that by lifting up gently on the jaw and holding the mouth closed for maybe 5 seconds before returning to the water resulted in the vast majority of the crappies swimming off rapidly for the depths and not floating stunned on the surface. Try it and let me know what you think.”
Thanks for the tip Loren; I applaud the fact that you two have done some thinking about barotrauma. The fact that you’ve cared enough to come up with ways to help mitigate part of the risk to the fish is admirable. To be sure, fish that swim away quickly after being released do definitely have a “better” chance of ..." Read >> Releasing Deep Water Crappies October 23, 2019
"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
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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.
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