Current Northern Minnesota Ice Fishing Reports

Recently, Lake Mille Lacs has been under the microscope, literally. Among the results of surveys, exams and studies, there appears to be a hopeful outlook for a strong 2013 Walleye year class. Don't get your Li'l Guys baited up just yet, but a strong Walleye year class on the big lake could be be just what the doctor ordered.
In the newsletter Hooked On MilleLacs Lake, the Aitkin MN, DNR Fisheries Manager Rick Bruesewitz says; "Expectations for this 2013 year class of walleye are running pretty high, but I want to caution everyone that this does not mean we are out of the woods quite yet. It takes time for this new year class to contribute to the spawning stock. The timing for that event starts a year from this coming spring with some males first reaching maturity. Then by 2017, nearly all males will be mature. However, for females, first maturity is ... read more >> Lake Mille Lacs Walleye
image of Walleyes Spawning
image of 2015 walleye

In case you missed the original reminder, Minnesota Fishing licenses expire Today, Saturday. I believe that you'd really like picking up your license the way I do, on the internet. At first, it takes a little getting used to, but once you're set up in "the system", the whole process really goes fast and for me ... read >> MN Fishing Licenses 2/20. By the way, you're getting an extra fishing day for free this year. That's right, 2016 is a leap year so your new fishing license will be valid until February 29, 2016.

image denotes question from reader Fishing Bluegills At Spawning Time - A question from Terry Nordstrom asks; "Jeff: planning a trip to Cutfoot or Bowstring to try and catch Bluegills when on their beds. Estimated dates for me to plan that trip?? Coming from Wisconsin, Was thinking first weekend in June, Thanks Terry.
A) Well Terry, that question puts me in a tough ... read answer >> Bluegills At Spawning Time

image of Bill and Gail Heig

February 27, 2015 Just because Bowen Lodge isn't open for business during the winter, doesn't mean that my friends Bill & Gail Heig haven't been active.
During the 2014 fishing season, they spent a lot of time recording video footage both on the lake and around the resort. After spending weeks in the editing room, the project is complete.
A note from the Heigs says; "We have something special to share with you; a video that we worked hard on and one that we're really proud of.
We'd love to have you take a look at this video about life and times on Lake Winnibigoshish and at Bowen Lodge. We really hope you like it and if you do, please share it with your friends.
View the video >> "Who We Are at Bowen Lodge".

image of bowen lodge logo

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/26) On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris Eagle Nest Lodge says; "Gunnar fished on Round Lake on Sunday, and said it was slower than before, but they still caught decent crappies. We had our last group of northern spearing guys at the resort and they did well. I know the perch and bluegills have still been biting on Little Cutfoot and I would think they are lurking under the ice in Big Cutfoot. We have openings every weekend through March." - Email Eagle Nest Lodge
image denotes link to wired2fish giveaway (2/26) This bait will kick almost 180 degrees to the right and left with minimal forward travel. It has a nose down appearance when stopped and can make sharp reversals when fished with a pop on slack line. The slight sinking emulates dying baitfish.
For our latest giveaway we will be offering you a chance at 6 Shadow Raps, 3 Regular Shadow Raps and 3 Shadow Rap Deeps, in colors hand chosen by the Rapala Pro Staff - Ott Defoe, Brandon Palaniuk, Randall Tharp, Jacob Wheeler and Mike Iaconelli who all fished the Classic. Enter >> Shadow Rap Giveaway

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 26, 2015 - Where Seldom Is Heard, A Discouraging Word and the Skies ...

You Know me, I'm an optimist and I really do prefer seeing the Sunny Side Up; I love delivering good news. But, you know too that I'm realistic and that I don't have any problem announcing life's little disappointments with equal enthusiasm, when I have to, so ... Start the trumpet fanfare and drum roll please ... without further ado, let me be the first to say... "Oops, it looks like we're gonna need a do-over".
Blown in by gusty Northwest winds, a major cold front arrived on Monday, just in time for the fishing trip we'd planned for Tuesday. On its heels, I don't think that any of us expected to have fantastic fishing, but we did hope that it would be "good enough" for us to accomplish a special project we were working on.
So even after hearing numerous reports about ... read >> Lake of the Woods Report 2/26

image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie On Lake Winnibigoshish (2/25) John Seekon, The Pines Resort; "Now that the walleye and northern pike season has come to an end, the focus on Lake Winnie will be on the late season perch bite. The classic deep pattern over the mud is always a good bet, but the shallow weed bite is also beginning as perch move in to feed on minnows and crawfish. The best areas are large flats of weeds and sand from 6 to 12 feet of water. You need to be on the move to find the active fish. The best thing about the shallow bite is that these fish are less affected by cold fronts. If you would like to give it a try , we have openings well into march." Contact The Pines Resort for lodging and ice shelter rentals on Lake Winnibigoshish .
image denotes fishing question from reader This question from Daniel Gorath (2/24) gives me an opportunity to explain what I mean; Q) I've had great crappie action so far this year. But as of the last 3 weeks it's been extremely tough. How should a fisherman's tactics change as we roll into March? I've been targeting deeper holes along shore line breaks so far; and trying lots of combination of bait and lures.
A) Daniel, One of the reasons that ice fishermen like fishing the deep holes is that they help force Panfish into tightly packed schools. The fish are out in the open where they become very easy to see on your electronics and because there are lots of them, there’s more competition for food. That’s been making it easier to get them to strike. As you've pointed out though, the problem is that this pattern doesn't last forever.
Over time, Oxygen in the deeper water begins to get depleted, the environment becomes less attractive. At the same time, ice fishermen have been working on these schools of fish, so many of the more aggressive fish have already been removed; that slows the action down too.
One of the challenges is that as Panfish and Perch begin to migrate away from these traditional mid-winter haunts, they split up into smaller groups, each selecting its own new feeding pattern. Some key on insect hatches, others chase schools of minnows and many just become nomadic, taking any opportunity to feed that comes along. They all have something in common though, they don't remain stationary, at least not for as long as they do during mid-winter.
This time of the season favors anglers who are nimble, making frequent moves into a variety of territory. If I had to put all of my eggs in one basket, I would ... read >> Ice Report February 24

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 22, 2015 - Wishing You Could DVR The Ice Fishing Season?

For me, fishing reports are fun to write, but sometimes trying to come up with something, fresh and creative can be tricky. That's especially true now, when we come to this "in-between" the part of winter. It reminds me of a movie that starts out great, then it begins to drag, your eyelids get heavy and...
... but wait, YOU KNOW that if you hang in there, just stay awake a little bit longer, we're gonna get to the really good part!
Yes, I admit it, waking up to a weather report that starts with -20 degrees and promises not to reach zero doesn't exactly make me feel like rushing over to Fred's to pick up a fresh container of Wax Worms. In fact without the ability to look forward, it could be tempting to ... read >> Ice Fishing Report Feb. 22 .

(2/22) Truck Driver Cited, Fined For Transporting Zebra Mussels - I was really reluctant to share the link to this story with you because I'm afraid that it could be mistaken as a form of finger pointing; believe me it is not. But I think it’s important to talk about this because it points out what an uphill battle we have when it comes to slowing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. What we have on our hands is a war against ... Read More >> Fined For Transporting Zebra Messels

image of Kyle holding Lake Trout on the ice image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/21) From Kakagi Lake, Brian Castellano and 5 of his fishing buddies just home from a 2-1/2 day Lake Trout fishing trip and says; "Even with the cold temps, we kept on the move and put a half dozen 3-6 lb lakers on the ice. Vertical presentations wouldn't hardly get a look, but horizontal presentations were the way to go as long as there was some "meat" on the hook. Set lines w/ a large dead minnow only produced 1 fish.
Tubes and flukes, Northland Airplane jigs, and Clackin' Rap type lures were the producers. Best depths were 40-60'. Every spot we tried had fish on it. Points, shoreline flats, and vertical rock walls. About knee deep snow on most of the lake and we only found one slush pocket. Wishin' the temps would have been better but we dressed for the weather and barely fished out of the portable."
image denotes mustang PFD Giveaway (2/13) Mustang Elite Inflatable PFD Giveaway; "Whether you fish from a boat or from the bank wearing a life jacket is good business. A quick slip in either location can turn a great day into a very bad one. Mustang Survival developed one of the lightest and most comfortable life jackets on the planet with their new Mustang Elite (MD5183 BC).
The new Bass Competition Elite inflatable PFD incorporates a 3D chassis that stays put at high speeds but yet allows you to move around just like your are not wearing one. This new design keeps your head up and out of the water with automatic inflation." ... Enter >> Mustang Elite PFD Giveaway

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 20, 2015 - Rounding The Corner Into Spring Ice Fishing - With the end of Minnesota's 2014 Walleye fishing season, I'm confident that we'll be seeing a lot of wheel houses on the highways this weekend. Some ice fishermen will be wrapping up their seasons altogether and others will transition to Panfish. But lots of Walleye purists will move toward Lake of the Woods where border water regualtions allow anglers to keep bagging Walleyes until April 14th.
Until now, Lake of the Woods hasn't produced the greatest ice fishing season; at least not for the masses. Anglers who are willing to travel 20 to 25 miles before wetting a line are doing okay, but for many, that's a long way to go and for folks who like to fish a little closer to their "home bases", it's been tough going.
Hit and miss fishing action aside, LOW is soon gonna be the only game in town for ice fishermen who want to ... read >> Ice Fishing Report February 20, 2015

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 17, 2015 - Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report

With less than a week remaining in the 2014 Walleye, Pike and Bass fishing season, ice fishermen are turning toward Pokegama Lake for some "eaters". It's a reversal of the situation that we heard about during the past couple of winters, there are numerous 12 to 14 inch fish running along the ... see >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report

image links to trails end resort (2/16) On Bowstring Lake Erin Charlton Says; "The cold snap turned the fish off for a few days, but as of last night the crappies starting hitting fast and furious from about 6 pm to 9 pm. During daylight, they rest, but they do seem to like the haze and an overcast, slightly foggy day encourages a better daytime bite. The Northern Pike are biting like mad no matter what you put in front of them and the Jumbo Perch don't seem to mind the bright skies either.
Crappies are nomadic right now and are not staying in one place. They are running along the deeper edges of the main lake drop at water depths of 23 to 26 feet. Ice fishermen who follow the breakline and keep drilling holes are routinely finding fish. Once located, they are cooperative and fast fishing action helps make up for time lost during the search. The fish appear to be very fixed on their preference of water depth. The key for finding consistent action is to focus on the depth where you first find active fish. If you find a school of Crappie located at ... read more >> Bowstring Lake Ice Report
image of pressure ridge in the ice at Bowstring Lake

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/16) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "We started out having a non-typical winter season and it continues to be true. Still we find ourselves searching for, what is it that will get us back to normal? We soon realize normal does not really matter. What makes fishing so great is developing skills, knowledge and perfecting the art of adapting to the season and patterns to create success.
We continue to make the long travel each day but are spreading out to cover more area and find better schools. The catching has been steady through the season with ups and downs most likely related to weather changes and pressure.
Some of the best Minnesota has to offer is yet to come this winter. We are excited to continue fishing through March and are glad to be gaining more daylight each day. Also, this week starts the greatest High School Sports Tournament in the nation which culminates early March.
Forecast shows changing weather each day with above zero days and below zero nights ranging from +10 to -20. This type of weather pattern generally creates snow. Be prepared for the colder temps if you are coming up this next week."
Spring and Summer rates are out. If you plan to come up and have not locked in your dates it’s time to plan as they are booking in fast. Take advantage of the May Charter Specials while you can." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 15, 2015 - Deer River Area Lakes Ice Fishing Report

On Saturday, I was surprised by how many people shrugged off the cold weather and headed for the ice. I started by sneaking over to look at one of the area's more popular "secret ice fishing spots". Expecting to find an image of the Dead Sea, I was surprised to discover that there were a half dozen ice fishermen already set up there. So the tour continued, this time travelling further north, yep there were fishermen there too. West? yep, east? yes, there were fishermen set up at almost every stop. I'd put it this way; all of the spots that were ... see more >> Ice Fishing Report February 15 .
image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie On Lake Winnibigoshish (2/14) John Seekon, The Pines Resort; "Perch fishing action continues to be good in Tamarack Bay. Fishing in 12 to 18 feet of water with tradtional jigging baits will produce plenty of action.
It's true that you'll be doing some sorting, but there are good fish in the mix and using larger baits, whole minnows and fishing higher off of the bottom will all help you target larger Perch.
The Northern Pike action continues to be strong too and right now they seem to be everywhere. The deep weeds in our bay are holding fish and so are the steeper breaklines out on the main lake. There are probably more Pike beign caught by accident than there are caught on purpose. But if you're angling for Perch, setting tip ups rigged with quick set rigs and large minnows would be a great idea.
We wouldn't count on a great Walleye bite right now, but there are still some fish on the humps. Fishing Perch and Pike during the day, then moving to the mid-lake structure at twilight could be a good strategy. During lakte winter, Walleye begin moving shallow again as they stage in feeding areas ahead of their spawning run. Fishing the deep Cabbage patches and shoreline points is a good strategy too." Contact The Pines Resort for lodging and ice shelter rentals on Lake Winnibigoshish .
image denotes fishing news (2/14) Strikemaster Lazer Lithium Ice Auger Recall - I got a heads up this morning that the switches on some of Strikemaster's electric augers are being recalled. The switch can melt during operation causing the auger to continue running. Draining the battery, possibly overheating the motor and course posing some problems with safety. If you've purchased the Lazer Lithium Auger, contact your dealer for more details about the recall. -OR- You can learn more about the recall at >> Strikemaster Lithium Lazer Recall

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 14, 2015 - Lake Winnie Area Ice Fishing Report

Well on this cold, crunchy morning, all I can say is Happy Valentine's Day!
As we enter the final week of Walleye and Pike fishing on inland waters, I can see spring out of the corner of my eye. In fact, I glanced at the calendar last night and really saw spring in the air.
The Ray's Marine Boat Show is only 4 weeks away, The Northwest Sportshow is only 6 weeks away and the Minnesota Fishing Opener is only 84 days from today. Even though we're rounding the corner into the home stretch, there's still some ice fishing in our futures. In spite of Knowing that today is not one of them, it wouldn't surprise me to see some really warm, beautiful days on the ice very, very soon.
For today, I think I'm gonna have to settle for being hunkered down inside of a nice warm portable ice shelter with the heat turned up to high! ... :)!!
image denotes fishing question from reader (2/14) Tom Hubbard wrote; "I'm coming over to Bemidji to visit family Feb 18-23, and was looking to do a little fishing. Just had a few quick questions I was hoping you could answer. I'll be fishing solo at the end of the week, and was eyeballing Six-Mile Lake by Bena. Do you know if it's accessible by truck off Six Mile Road? I looked at my Navionics map, and was surprised to see how deep it was. I wasn't sure where to start, but was thinking of the 25' saddle in the middle just south of the boat landing. Looking for basically anything, but walleyes & crappies would ... read more >> Fishing on Six Mile and Winnibigoshish

image of Tom Glinski hold Walleye on Lake Winnie

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 13, 2015 - Hello Hello Hello Is There Anybody In There?

Incoming reports from the area continue to point toward Lake Winnibigoshish as the "hotspot". Perch fishing on the big lake is getting the most attention, but Walleye and Pike remain cooperative for some ice fishermen. Although they haven't staged a full scale assault yet, Tulibee out to be providing high speed action any day now.
In a note from Lake Winnibigoshish, Tom Glinski mentions that he ..." read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Report

Crappies on Ultra-Light Jigs - When you're ice fishing crappie with light line and micro ice jigs, the gear you choose can make this fishing very efficient. Choose a rod with a light tip but enough backbone to take up the line and move the jig. But more importantly the line you choose can make all the difference. "The lighter the line, the less resistance there will be when the fish sucks the bait in." The fish might suck the bait in from 4 inches away or from 4 millimeters away and you've got to be able to detect that. For that reason, Hammill sticks with 1 pound line even sometimes opting for 1/2-pound ice fishing line. Of course with light line, anglers must tie a good knot and check it often. But more important is the ... read >> Crappie Fishing With Ultra Light Jigs

image of Crappie with jig in mouth

image of Melinda Hays holding Northern Pike

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 12, 2015 - Quest For Quality Northern Pike In Minnesota?

That's a question that's been on my mind for a long time and since Doug Smith's Northern Pike Article in the Star & Tribune put us BACK on the subject, whatd'ya say we take a little history lesson?
Finding trophy Pike isn't rocket science, in fact that's part of the trouble, almost anybody can do it and when the fishing is good, they do! When they're feeding, large Pike are their own worst enemy, they're aggressive, hard fighting and delicious. That's why they are pursued much more heavily than most folks realize. When a good Pike lake is discovered, people do show up and the pressure can become intense.
These days, the only way to ensure that we'll continue to have opportunities to catch large Pike is to take the bull by the horns and tackle the problem like we mean it.
Understanding what makes these fish tick is crucial to solving the problem and until we anglers get a grasp on some facts, we're not going anywhere. That means that we're gonna have to do our homework.
Luckily, I've already done some of it for you and in ..." read >> Ice Fishing Report Feb. 12

Ice Auger Updates (2/12/15) - If you followed the original article about my search for an ice auger; one that I could rely as the perfect tool for my style of fishing, then you remember that I promised an update. So after a couple of month on the ice, living with my own decision, here's a look at how the facts "Drill Down".
One new auger that I hadn't mentioned in the article, caught my attention this winter; this one is Jiffy’s 4G, model 41. It’s a 4-stroke engine that runs on plain, un-mixed gas and it seems to be better at shrugging off cold weather than the LP Gas 4 stroke.
If you’re one of those fanatic drillers who can’t fish without 100 holes, you’re gonna get a workout because at 33 pounds with the smallest drill available, it’s a beast to lug around. If the heavy weight isn’t a factor, then I think you will like the way this auger feels in your hands. After a couple of months in action, the one that I’ve been watching has held up very well.
Re-visiting my own decision about buying the Nils auger and Tanaka Power Head this year, I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself. The Tanaka engine is living up to their reputation about being a little bit cold blooded and I frequently need to give 4 or 5 pulls to start it. But it ALWAYS starts and when it does, it cuts through the ice like it’s drilling into warmed butter.
Austin Jones turned me on to a product that helps with the cold starts; a pre-mixed, 50-1, 92 octane read >> Auger Wars Update Feb. 12, 2015

image of woman drilling hole on ice

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/12) On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris Eagle Nest Lodge says; "As you know, the ice is in fantastic shape, and we only got about 3" of snow yesterday, so I would guess travel is still pretty easy. This weekend, Gunnar tried perch fishing off of High Banks, but only caught a BUNCH of little ones. They moved to Cutfoot and caught a few nice perch and a couple walleyes. We had guests who had really good fishing on Cutfoot on Friday...slowed down on Saturday." - Email Eagle Nest Lodge
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/12) From Third River Flowage, Lake Winnibigoshish, Dixon Lake Resort reports; " It sounds like there is a gap in the ridge toward Malard Point so a few guys ventured over to the humps. Did good on jumbos and some walleye.
On the third river the northerns have been running again for the last week. Nice sizes 13lb,12, some 10ns and then nice eaters. Crappie, Sunnies and perch still fun in the spear houses. Jumbo perch are running with the smaller schools so  you do have to work for the bigger ones. Did get about 4 inches of snow, no plowed roads on the ice still watch for ice blocks there are a lot of them out there. Have fun fishing. Dixon Lake Resort." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including a sleeper available for this weekend. Reservations 218-659-4612

image of Gus' Place Logo (2/11) Gus' Place Resort, Ball Club Lake; "As we come into the final days of Walleye & Northern season lake conditions remain exceptionally good with near 30 inches of great ice and little snow.
The bite is a little more fickle than it was in January when it seemed we could do no wrong. Now that we are headed into the middle of Feb. there are both great days and just average days fishing.
The barometer has seemed to play a more significant role in fish activity, especially any new Low barometer, slows the bite down for a day or two.
It’s hard to plan a fishing trip around what the barometer will do next week. The best advice is to fish your way through the slower times, stay mobile, drill more holes and move around! change depths as well as baits both in size and presentation.
I know ice fishing is more work than drifting, anchored or trolling in your boat, but if something isn’t working; don’t keep doing it, gun and run, move and fish it.
As a resort owner I have seen a growing trend toward the ice fishing Day House and of course the Sleeper. Both are easy for any angler to ... read more >> " - Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort 1-888-246-8520
image of Gabe Sheker with Northern Pike

image of snowplow on Cass Lake

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 11, 2015 - Drifting In To A Snow Day!!

"The snowfall that landed near Deer River on Tuesday didn't amount to much, 3 maybe 4 inches. But strong northwest winds are predicted for today and I'm expecting that drifting snow will become a limiting factor on some lakes. In several of the Itasca areas heavily pressured small lakes, it won't hurt for fish to get a break from vehicle traffic. On Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Cass and others, ..." read >> Ice Fishing Report Feb. 11

image links to trails end resort (2/10) From Bowstring Lake, a quick update from Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort; "Howdy, Exciting news on the homefront. Bill is coming home and we will be back open for business starting next weekend. Word around home is that the fishing has been good and we'll be getting a fresh update together over the next few days. See you on the lake!". - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt .

Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 2/10/2015 - Back from his trip to Clear Lake Iowa, Gregg Clusiau writes about his encounter with a feisty, aggressive little fish that goes by the name of yellow bass.
Clusiau says; "I wanted to catch one through the ice. I wanted to physically hold and study it. A brilliant yellow color with black off-set bars, they just looked so darned cool.
“Yellows”, an invasive species, taste great, and there is no limit. Think about it. If you’ve got a hankering for a fresh fish dinner and live fairly close to Clear Lake there’s absolutely no reason not to have one. ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .

image of Yellow Bass with ice jig in its mouth
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (sticky) If you’re an ice-fisherman, you’ve almost certainly debated this question: Sit tight and wait for the fish to come to you or pick up and start drilling holes to go to the fish? Staying put may result in a day spent just out of the fish’s range. Go mobile and you might leave just before the fish arrive.
If this indecision is bugging you, here are a couple guys who know a thing about staying or going, and their advice can help you make better fishing decisions on the ice. Read story >> Should I Stay or Should I go ?
image links to ice fishing article should I saty or should i go?
image of Chester Powell with Jumbo Perch

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 9, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Update

As spring approaches, the days get longer, the air gets thinner and baitfish become more scarce. Add to that the natural instinct to feed more heavily as the spawning season approaches and you have the ingredients for good late winter Perch fishing.
Over the weekend, ice fishermen found schools of Perch roaming shallow water weed flats, feeding primarily on minnows. That's good news for anglers who like fast action, but the key is to keep searching. Remember this advice given by Bill Powell at Fred's Bait in Deer River; "When the fish move in, they're hungry, they'll bite as fast as you can get your lure in the water. But these fish are always on the move and as they feed, they're forcing the forage fish to move in an effort to escape being devoured."
That means that ice fishermen who want to stay on top of the action need to be ready to make a move. Powell says; "Keep driving, searching your chart for nooks & crannies along the shallow breaklines and if you drill enough holes, you will ... " read >> Ice Fishing Report Shallow Water Perch Fishing

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 8, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Update

Perch fishing on Lake Winnie remains good and yes, you will have to weed through a lot of small fish. The reward for doing that though is a realistic expectation of gathering a robust catch of fish in the 10 to 11 inch range. A handful of 12 inch fish even found friends of mine that were on the lake this Saturday. According to their report, the morning action was very good and their group of 8 was easily able to capture 100 keeper size fish, while catching and releasing a couple of hundred more in the process.
The Perch were located along large, mid-lake bars in 16 to 22 feet of water and were vulnerable to a variety of presentations. By the time I arrived at the scene, it was past 2:00 PM and the action had slowed considerably. Even then, I was able to call in and catch some fish of my own by using 1/4 ounce 360 jigs. The thumping vibration of the rotating body helped me get the fishes attention. The large size of the bait made it harder to hook small fish, but I ... read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report

image of Lindy 360 Jig in Perch mouth
I was able to call in and catch some fish of my own by using 1/4 ounce 360 jigs. The thumping vibration of the rotating body helped me get the fishes attention.
image of Cass Lake Winter Challenge image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (2/8) On Cass Lake, Max Loewe of Cass Lake, MN gets kudos for winning the Cass Lake Chamber/Palace Casino Winter Fishing Challenge. The winning fish, a 4lb 12 Oz Northern Pike was caught within minutes of the opening bell and held an easy lead for the duration.
For many at the event, fish were in short supply, especially large ones. But sunshine, warm breezes and loyts of smiles helped make it a fun event.
Not everyone needed a big fish to win; cash prizes awarded for 1st, 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th places leveled the playing field. For a full list of prize winners, contact >> Cass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce .
image of ice fisherman with bluegill in hand (2/2) Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish, Lakes aren’t the only bodies of water that carry safe, fishable ice in the winter. Big rivers like the Mississippi, Niagara, and Rainy also get safe ice, and produce some of the best catches of panfish you’ll see anywhere in the country. “There are a lot of places where you can go catch big perch through the ice, big bluegills through the ice, or big crappies through the ice,” Weber said. “I’ve never seen any place other than the Mississippi where you routinely catch all three through the same hole on the same day. I’ve caught numerous perch measuring more than 13 inches, crappies up to 2 pounds, and bluegills that easily hit ... read >> Ice Fishing For Big River Panfish
Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 2/2/2015 Flowing North To Trout Fishing On Burntside Lake - "Arriving at the next destination, several holes were punched at the preferred depths with each of us picking a spot. Normal circumstances had us fishing each hole for twenty minutes or so before moving on to the next fresh hole, sort of like “winter trolling.” Moving from spot to spot allowed me the luxury of catching and releasing two more nice trout.
I never get tired of having a fish come on the screen of my Vexilar and chase my bait up and down in a hurry to inspect it. There are times when you have to really work them into committing but then again there are times when the seemingly come out of nowhere and wham! Such fun. When drilling holes, a 10” auger is preferred with two holes drilled together, over-lapping each other. This is done mainly to aid in turning the head of a big fish, making it easier to ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .
image of Lee Lane Flow North Outdoors holding Lake Trout

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2015 - Twilight; Perfect For Mid Winter Panfish

The pursuit of Big Sunfish, Crappies and Perch will make a man do crazy things. For instance, who in their right mind would ever get up at 3:00 AM just to be sure that his fishing report is wrapped up, so as not to delay a pre-dawn arrival at the "Bluegill Hole"?
A guy like that would probably do other silly things like dragging his friends along too; You Know, just to be sure that he'd have an extra good incentive to roll out in the morning. Well, some of us know guys like that and I for one defend the philosophy, especially during mid-winter.
These days, ice fishermen who show up too late or don't stay late enough, might just drive away from their ice holes believing that the action on their favorite lake is dead. It's not dead though, it's just that Panfish are beginning their transition from mid-winter to late winter patterns. It's especially noticeable on Itasca area Lakes this winter because of the ideal ... read >> Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2015

image of Jace Swanson holding Big Sunfish on ice
image denotes question from reader (1/31) Relaxed Walleye Slot Limit On Lake Winnibigoshish - Tom Crosby wrote; Q) "With the adjustment to the slot size on Winnie, I was wondering what your thoughts are on keeping a 23 + inch walleye. Do you feel the DNR did this in hopes we take some (larger fish) out? Just curious what your thoughts are?
A) Tom, there is little doubt that the new 18-23 inch protected slot is definitely going to result in a greater harvest on Lake Winnie this season. How much the harvest increases will depend an awful lot on how the weather breaks this spring.
Based on my conversations with fisheries officials, I wouldn't necessarily say that they are "Hoping" that we remove these larger fish. Rather, I think it reflects more that they believe the population of spawning size female Walleyes is strong enough that allowing some harvest of these larger fish is not likely to damage the fishery ... "Too Much". One thing that I DO KNOW is ... read >> Winnie Walleye Slot Limit
image of Jon Thelen with giant Crappie

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 29, 2015 - The Ups and Downs of Fishing Nomadic Panfish

On Wednesday, a mixed bag of Crappie and Jumbo Perch took us for their version of a roller coaster ride. They appeared on the screen, and then disappeared off the screen, then they were on the bottom, then off the bottom; here one minute, gone ... you get the idea.
What's going on? Well for us, the schools of fish that we were targeting had their hearts set on eating young of the year Perch minnows for breakfast. They chased schools of forage along the breakline, occasionally, pinning down baitfish just below our ice holes. Whenever that happened, we had action, it was the perfect scenario for “hole hopping”.
What I've noticed, is that even though the fish gather near the mid-lake deep water basins, they still relate to the breaklines adjacent to deeper flats. Once we find the fish, I make note of the depth and then try to drill most of the holes in that target depth. By moving between them until we land in the right one at the right time, we can increase our percentage of ... read >> Crappie Fishing Report

image denotes news release (1/29) IMPORTANT! AIS Training and Trailer Decal On Hold!

"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will postpone the new aquatic invasive species training and trailer decal program that was due to launch at the end of the month while legislators consider changes to the program.
Under a law passed by the state Legislature in 2012, anyone trailering a boat or water-related equipment such as docks and lifts in Minnesota is required to take aquatic invasive species training and display a decal on their trailer. The effective date is July 1, 2015.
“With the legislative interest in this educational program and ongoing discussions about possible changes, we are postponing the launch until we see if the Legislature acts this session to modify the program,” said Bob Meier, DNR assistant commissioner.
The DNR supports the education that would be provided under this law, but recognizes there are some concerns with the way the law is currently written. For example, people transporting boats on trailers through Minnesota to another destination are required to learn more here >> MN DNR NEWS RELEASE AIS Training and Trailer Decal On Hold

image denotes question from a reader (1/23) Naming Names Of Favorite, Smaller Fishing Lakes? - Every week or so, I'll get a comment like this one from Tim Rodemeyer; "Jeff, I am from Iowa and fish in northern Minnesota a couple times each year during the summer months. My family has a place in (withheld) and we spend most of our time fishing on (witheld).
My Brother in-law and I like to try new places once in awhile when we are up there (and our lake) is not producing.
I notice on your site that when you review your recent fishing you never reveal the name of the lake when you fish smaller bodies of water. We don't have a large fishing boat so we spend most of our time on smaller lakes. Just wondering why you don't reveal the name of the smaller lakes you may have recently fished. I know there are a lot of them in the area but would like to know where some of your favorite small lakes are and how you like to fish those particular lakes? Read Answer >> Naming Names Of Favorite, Smaller Fishing Lakes

Helping your fellow ice fishermen and women stay abreast of the ice conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!
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image denotes question from a reader (1/22) Fishing Rods For Hard Water? - James Friedrichs asked; "Watched your latest video on Upper Red. Curious, what are you using now for hard water rod and reels? More curious about the rods actually but might as well ask about the reels too. For walleye and Panfish, what length and action do you like? What make rod was that in the video? Thanks".
A) James, I'm not exactly a purist when it comes to ice rods. I really have a Hodge Podge of different brands and actions. I don't get rods from a sponsor or receive any special treatment. I shop the same way you do, comparing features and benefits to the price. I do my best to stay in the $20 to $30 price range, but will occasionally spend a few extra bucks for something really cool.
The rod you saw in the video is a fairly inexpensive ... Learn More >> Fishing Rods For Hard Water?
image denotes question from a reader (1/22) Lund Alaskan For Rough Water? - Kevin Scott Wrote; "I have a good friend, early 60s who fishes Minnesota-Wisconsin and Canada on medium size lakes like Bowstring. He's contemplating purchasing a new boat and fishes for walleye and Panfish mainly. I recommended the Lund Alaskan in a tiller but he has had a console and is leaning that way. Easy trailering and easy in and out of water is important and being able to troll and work structure with the right equipment.
A) Kevin, Everyone has their own ideas about what they "NEED" in a boat. The Alaskan is one boat that makes a lot of sense for anglers who want to have all of the right tools for fishing, and don't mind ... >> Read Answer
image of Lund Alaskan

image of caricature of jeff sundin Auger Wars: Update (2015) For everyone who's been wondering; the Nils auger that I wrote about last week did an impressive job on its first fishing trip this Tuesday.
I ordered mine from Cabela’s on line where the item description is a wee bit confusing. So it wasn’t until after I had already ordered the unit that I fully understood how the Nils augers are marketed.
When you order one, you are going to receive a hand auger. That’s what they make, that’s all that they make, hand augers. Yes, there is an engine, a very good one, but that is sold as an accessory. The engine comes separately and includes all of the tools and adapters you'll need to fit it to the auger. Mine was very easy to assemble.
On the ice, it appears that the Tanaka engine is going to be a little bit cold blooded. Starting the motor after a pause lasting more than a few minutes required using the choke to start it. But start it did and when it's running, it sounds great. It has a lower pitch sound than most augers I've used, very business-like and easy on the ears.
Drilling holes with this auger was literally effortless. The 6 inch blades cut with the speed of the Lazer style blades that I used to use, but without the sensation that I'm being dragged into the hole behind it. Granted, the blades are new, smaller and the ice is only 15 inches thick, but I think that this auger is going to be really fun to use.
For years, I’d been intrigued by augers that drill smaller holes. For someone who spends most of the time fishing for Panfish, the 6 inch holes are perfect. They are large enough to pull a fish out even when the transducer is still in the hole. That said; I can see the time coming when I will want the extra size of an 8 inch hole. At some point, I will add the 8 inch size to my arsenal and be ready for any scenario. DNR REGS
Now, let’s see how she holds up. Learn More >> Auger Wars


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