Ice Fishing Report January 25, 2015 - Itasca Area Perch Action Heats Up During Transitional Period

A glance at the calendar is all it should take to remind anglers that late winter is upon us. Time moved slowly over the past 30 days, the length of daylight only increased by 45 minutes. But looky here, during the next 30 days, we are going to pick up an extra 105 minutes of added daylight and 30 days after that … Ta-Dah; the first day of spring. You KNOW that’s it’s not long after that when the spawning season will begin.
During this transition, forces of nature are hard at work encouraging Perch to change feeding and travel patterns in preparation for the open water season that lies ahead.
As the population of forage minnows dwindles with every feeding spree, Insect larvae continue to mature, becoming increasingly important as a food source to both Perch and other small baitfish that Perch prey on.
Here's the equation; Longer Daylight + Shorter Food Supply + Changing Food Sources + Spawning Instincts = Great Late Winter Transitional Perch Fishing!
"Early Birds" already notice an uptick in Perch action; anglers on the sidelines should ... >> Read Fishing Report

image of Annalee Sundin with Jubo Perch on ice
image of pickup truck breaking through ice on Pokegama Lake

January 25, 2015 A word to the wise for ice fishermen on Pokegama Lake, Grand Rapids MN

It wasn't a good weekend for driving on Pokegama, especially not between Stony Point and the islands. Luckily, there were no injuries because the the pressure ridge opened up over shallow water. The truck bottomed out on a 4 foot sand bar that bridges the gap between the shoreline and "Battleship Island". Still, the expense of removing and replacing the truck won't be much fun for the owner.
It doesn't matter who the owner is, or how it happened. I post the photo here only in the hope that the rest of us can learn from the experience. It's that time of year, changing conditions can catch anybody by surprise.

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 23, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Perch Fishing Report

YOU KNOW that I've spent a lot of time looking around the Itasca area for "untapped opportunities" and usually, especially this year, that's a lot easier to say than it is to do. Luckily, after a couple of days trucking around on Lake Winnie, I have to say that the big lake might be one of them. In fact, judging by the light traffic out there, I think that it's one of the better kept secrets in the region right now.
The ice is solid, nearly 30 inches thick and snow cover is very light. Except for some areas of drifted snow near shore, plowed roads are virtually unnecessary. There are 3 or 4 pressure ridges on the lake; rental operators have staked out paths around a couple of them.
Finding and catching Perch wasn't automatic; I've had to do some exploring. But with travel conditions this good, moving around the lake has been very easy. As always, if you cover enough territory, you're gonna find some Perch. On Thursday, we found one school of Perch that provided non-stop-action for several hours. There were enough Jumbos to make it interesting and with a goal of sorting 10" ... read >> Winnie Perch Fishing Report .

image of Jon Thelen holding Jumbo Perch
image denotes field report (1/24) From The Marcell Area, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson said; "The Crappie bite has picked up the last several weeks, with the best times being an hour before dark to an hour after. It seems the panfish bite just keeps getting better. Perch and Sunfish are more consistent now with soft plastics being very productive. Walleye have been somewhat slow but as always, the pike are only too glad to take your sucker minnow or as quite often happens, snip off your Crappie minnow along with your jig and beat it to parts unknown or just sit still and wait for the next one to come down the hole. The big news this week was the opening of Trout season. Last Saturday saw many anglers on the 14 trout lakes in Itasca County. Eight of these lakes are designated Stream Trout lakes with the remaining six holding Lake Trout. Reports from various lakes were promising. The general perception was that fishing was good, with most people catching a few or at least hooking a few. Lake Trout fisherman did well and as expected, lost more fish than they landed but had a great time all the same. Be sure to drop by the store on your way to the lake. The bait and tackle departments are fully stocked. Ice combos and augers are on sale".
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer. Frontier Sports 219-832-3901 or Email .
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!
Fishing Reports Minnesota is the Facebook counterpart to this page and it's open to the public.
Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter" and post your own pics and comments. It's good for fishing! Click >>

image says become a duly deputized Cub Reporter
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 denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 21, 2015 - Mid-Season Upper Red Lake Walleyes

(1/21) Every winter, there's a rush to be among the early arrivals for the hot, prime time Walleye bite on Red Lake. Most anglers ALREADY KNOW that during the early season, Catching Walleyes on the big pond is as close to "No-Brainer" fishing as you can get. But later, after the crowds have gathered their bounty and Walleye migrations begin, it takes a solid strategy to stay in the action. You can catch fish more consistently during the late Walleye season by following a few simple tips.
In this week's episode of Fish ED., Jeff Sundin shows how fishing the Foo Flyer and Slick Jig together provides a great one-two punch for Late Season Walleyes on Red Lake.

In this week's episode of Fish ED., Jeff Sundin shows how fishing the Foo Flyer and Slick Jig together provides the perfect one-two punch for late season Walleye

image links to trails end resort (1/21) From Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort Erin Charlton wrote; "This winter, the weather has been driving the fishing. For us, fishing action has been slow, but it has been steady.
Signs of mid-winter migrations that will help anglers by allowing them to take advantage of more stable fishing patterns are cropping up. Crappies are beginning to show up in greater numbers along the steep shoreline drop offs. Walleyes are following the shoreline breaks adjacent to weed growth and just yesterday, we began seeing some good numbers of Jumbo Perch coming into the resort. Creative anglers are finding the Jumbos in some off-beat locations and we have some additional information to share with customers who stop in for a chat". Trails End Resort has plowed access to the lake and remember; we'll even deliver you a Pizza while you're fishing. See you on the ice". - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt .

image of ice fisherman with nice Pike on Ball Club Lake image of Gus' Place Logo (1/20) On Ball Club Lake Gus' Place Resort Gus Sheker; "Ice conditions remain very good with 23 inches of clear ice and light drifted snow, 4-wheel drive trucks are recommended for lake travel.
Perch fishing remains excellent in 16-20 feet, live minnows and jigs along shoreline drops. I consider a keeper fish to be 8 inches or more and with this as my standard, about every 4th or 5th fish is a "Bucket Fish". We definitely are having to sort through some smaller fish, but we're having fun catching a lot of Perch. Northern fishermen are also doing very well and it is a good idea to fish Perch and Pike at the same time in the same spots. The bite falls off for both Perch & Northern after dark. Customers have been hooking nice Walleye in 16-18 feet on Shiners and Fat Heads on the humps along the East shoreline, but there are periods of inactivity and you need to be patient and wait for the schools to move through." - Gus Sheker, Gus' Place Resort 1-888-246-8520
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/21) On Cutfoot Sioux, Bryan Harris Eagle Nest Lodge says; "We had fishermen this weekend all over the area. Gunnar caught crappies on Round, Bluegills on Little Cutfoot, and walleyes and northerns on Big Cutfoot. Our guests fished mostly Winnie and Big Cutfoot and caught perch, walleyes and northerns. Friday was a little slower, but Saturday and Sunday, they had good luck. A good 2' of ice and just a few inches of snow on top makes it easy to get around. We have openings most weekends this winter. " - Eagle Nest Lodge 218-246-8707

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 20, 2015 - Small Water Walleye, Narrowing Down Options

(1/20) For me, Walleye fishing has had its ups and downs recently; some days have been really good, some ... zzz.
On Monday, a quick trip to one of my favorite backyard Walleye Lakes helped remind me that nobody guesses the perfect spot every time. But if you give it some thought, even your slow days will have their rewards.
This was my first visit to the small lake this winter, so when we arrived at the lake, I was amazed by how many people had already acted on the same idea. Looking around the landscape, I spied fishing shelters already set up on the majority of the lakes mid-lake structures. So the head scratching began with the idea of picking a spot that had potential, but was still available. It was already near 3:00 PM so whichever one we chose; we'd just have to hope that it would be a good pick.
A prominent shoreline point that lies adjacent to a large, shallow flat is the spot that got the nod. It looked good on paper; there was nobody there, and if that spot failed, there was a deeper, open water hump nearby. So with plan A figured out, we began to ... Read >> Lake Winnie Ice Fishing Report

image of Arne Danielson holding Walleye

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/20) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "Great times being had here at Border View Lodge! The week has been another success, filling buckets with fish and the lodge with laughter!
We have been battling some pressure cracks and have had to reroute the road in areas. However, our guides work hard to continue to keep the road open for the drive out availability. We have houses ranging around the 30 foot mark. Some of the houses are surrounding structure while some are just off and a little deeper. Standard Gold, Pink and Red glow colors are working great!
Light snow showers early on in the week but turning to a greater chance of accumulation towards the end of the week. Temperatures remain in the upper teens to mid 20’s." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/20) 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 denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 19, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish Ice Fishing Report

(1/19) An afternoon trip to the West side of Lake Winnie ended nicely for Danny Martin and me on Sunday. We found some fish and proved to ourselves that sometimes, there really is a "Lucky Bait".
The goals that we'd set were not lofty ones, we just wanted to do some exploring; find out if there were some interesting things to do. Neither of us was in the mood to clean fish, so we'd be happy going home empty handed, but obviously hoped to first tangle with some rod benders.
A mixed bag of Perch, Walleye, maybe even Tulibee, sounded good, so our first stop was on a prominent point, near deep water on Moses Bar. Tiny Perch were all that we could muster at that spot though; maybe we'd do better by fishing a couple of "The Humps"?
Now we had fish looking at our baits, still, small Perch were all that struck. By now, it looked like we caught the big pond on a bad day. Thanks to the fire kept burning under my butt by my senior navigator, we opted to make one more move.  This time I asked Danny if he was feeling lucky, he said Yes, this time I ... report >> Lake Winnie Ice Fishing Report

image Danny Martin holding Perch on Lake Winnie
image Rainbow Trout on the ice

Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines (1/19) - "Each new fish and game season brings with it highly anticipated expectations. No matter the quarry. It could be whitetail, small game, or Minnesota’s general fishing opener. Such is the case with the first day of our winter trout season.
Several of my fishing friends headed to their favorite trout waters last Saturday morning for this annual ritual. Planned partner, Chad Peterson, had something come up at the last minute and couldn’t make it so I would be going solo. It didn’t matter, as I would be joining friends and relatives out on the ice.
Leaving home a little after 5:00 am assured me of getting to the lake well before the sun came up. Most serious trouters like to get there plenty early, as parking spaces are at a premium as well as prime fishing spots.
Pitch black, moving right along, and pulling a snowmobile trailer, I drove right on past the access road and by the time I got stopped it was just too far to back up down the highway. Nervously driving the other direction, it seemed like five miles before I found a turnaround but in reality was only ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report January 18, 2015 - Big Pike In Minnesota, Tackling The Issue In 2015

(1/18) Speaking only for me, the job of catching quality size Northern Pike has become more difficult every year. It really doesn't matter why it got this way, it only matters what we do about it. That's why I was thrilled to see the topic on the agenda at the Minnesota DNR Roundtable this weekend.
The presentation by Gary Barnard, Bemidji Area Fisheries Supervisor features a review of the Northern Pike Technical Committee report that helps explain how we got into this mess. Barnard's presentation focuses on taking a fresh look at how we approach Northern Pike management in the state.
Minnesota's habitat differs greatly from North to South and following Barnard's suggestions could mean that instead of sticking with our current "one size fits all" statewide regulations, the state be divided into zones. Pike within each of these zones would then be managed according to its own unique set environmental factors.
Regulations would be designed using a specific set of goals intended to increase the quality of Our Northern Pike and to enhance the experience of fishing for them. Following the ... read more >> Fishing Report January 18

image of Chuck Wailor holding big Northern Pike

image denotes link to fishing article Outdoor Writer Jeff Samsel, Clarkesville Georgia caught up with us this winter and took some notes. Samsel wrote; "With only two augers available, I figured I’d help the cause the only way I knew how. I grabbed my graph, a rod rigged with a Lindy Fat Boys ice jig and a scoop. The holes were all the same from what I could see from the surface, and I knew all had the potential to produce or Sundin and Thelen wouldn’t have drilled them. So I cleared ice from the nearest hole, turned on my Humminbird and slid the transducer into the hole. What showed up on the screen brought surprise and delight. I was ..." read article >> Bluegils Throughout The Ice Season image of Jon Thelen with large Bluegill
image denotes question from a reader (1/15) Handheld GPS For Winter - Steve Sykes asks; "I was wondering what you use for a GPS in the winter time? In the summer I use my Hummingbird 900 Series fish locator with the GPS and maps built in, which works great. In the winter I have a Marcum LX7 I use for my graph and I have a handheld Lowrance I-Finder but I find the Lowrance is not accurate. I was wondering what you would recommend to use for ice fishing and trying to find the hot ice fishing hole from the week before." - Steve Sykes
A) Steve, Thanks for giving me an excuse to get back on the subjcet. We got started on this question back in December and somehow allowed it to get sidetracked because of the early and hectic way that ice fishing season stormed in this year.
For me, my Humminbird 597 has taken the place of a handhled GPS. Having the Lakemaster Charts and my sonar all in one unit is just so convenient that I can't see doing it any other way. When I'm travelling I just ... read more >> Handheld GPS For Winter
image denotes link to Pines Resort on Lake Winnie (1/13) On Lake Winnibigoshish John Seekon at The Pines Resort says that the perch are biting in tamarack bay and the secret to catching keepers is to fish in water depths of 15 to 17 feet. Seekon says; "If you fish any shallower water right now, all you see are small ones. It seems that the harder the winds blows, the more active the bigger perch are." Lake travel on Winnie is good right now with over 2 feet of ice and only patchy snow drifts.
In addition to more fishing reports, John and Doreen Seekon provide winter lodging, ice shelter rentals and access to Lake Winnibigoshish via plowed roads. There are still some openings remaining during February and March. Contact The Pines Resort on Lake Winnibigoshish .
image denotes field report from a fishrapper reader (1/13) On Lake Winnibigoshish, Dixon Lake Resort reports; "Ice is great on Winnie's Third River Flowage. Fishing action dropped off with the arrival of cold temps last weekend, but all and all this has been one of our better years for the spear fishermen. There have been lots of fish in the 6 to 10 pound range, all the way up to the monster that currently holds this winter's size record at 22lbs.
Most of the snow has blown off the ice, so getting around is pretty good. Watch for Ice Blocks as some folks have not marked their discarded fishing holes or replaced blocks back into the holes.
A friend and neighbor of the resort tells us that the ice ridge is about 3 feet high and runs from the shore on the east side of Stony Point to the north side of Mallard Point. That description tells us that the ridge is a lot farther out from our side than is normal.
Our guests have reported good action on the Crappie and Sunfish. They are catching lots of perch, but not finding the jumbos. There have been lots of Walleye seen up in the shallows, from our spear houses, but they have been lethargic and and not hungry." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including a sleeper available for this weekend. Reservations 218-659-4612

Greg Clusiau Fishing Report Greg's Guidelines 1/5/2014 - " If you haven’t ever experienced driving on ice and watching a gps unit with a lake map now is the time to try it. It’s amazing, much like running a boat and watching the graph. It makes things so much easier in finding those little known hotspots or even community holes for that matter.
I also use the Navionics app in my smart phone and the detail on some of those maps has really opened my eyes. I’m now finding a few spots that I never knew existed. Running this app non-stop does however eat up batteries so you’re best to leave it plugged in while scouting around.
Last week’s fishing action found bluegills preferring somewhat large spoons over finesse rigs which tells me conditions were right and the fish were on the bite, hungry and wanting something substantial to ..." Learn More >> Read Greg Clusiau's Full Report .
image denotes field report (1/12) From Lake of the Woods, Mike Kinsela, Border View Lodge; "We have had success this past week! The weather has given us a run but the fishing has been good. People are catching nice size eater fish and even getting to catch and release some bigger fish.
We are in the same area we have been 25 miles out from Pine Island. We have had to reroute our road in some areas but as of today we still have driving out as an option. Weather and road conditions play a role in the driving ability so stay in touch with the office daily.
Looks as though we are going to get a warm up in the temperatures! Starting Tuesday temps will be in the mid teens to low 20’s and even reaching 30 by the end of next week" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image denotes fishing report from Jeff Sundin (1/11) On Leech Lake, Watch That First Step, It's A Doosie! - I was heading for Reed Sports in Walker on Saturday and that presented a good opportunity to check up on the ice conditions at the South end of Leech Lake. For the most part, travel conditions on the ice remain perfect for anglers who wish to travel by truck.
At the Whipholt landing, drifted snow on the shoreline has presented a road block for trucks. There's still plenty of parking and snowmobilers have been traveling the shoreline freely. It would be very easy to park your rig and head onto the lake with a snow machine, but not a pickup truck.
The landing at Whipholt was the only problem spot though; there are still a lot of trucks on the ice. From my vantage point, I could see that they're accessing the south end of the main lake by using the plowed road provided by trappers landing resort.
Further west, access to the ice is not a problem and the traffic on Walker Bay was heavy. There were ice fishermen strung out along the shoreline breaks and on the md lake bars everywhere from the city of Walker, all of the way down to Shingobee Island.
When I got into Reeds, Kevin gave me a briefing about the fishing on the west side of Leech Lake and from his assessment it sounds like most anglers are enjoying good ... read >> Leech Lake Ice Report
image of Leech Lake at the Whipholt landing on Jan. 10, 2015
image of trucks on the ice at Leech Lake

image denotes question from a reader (1/11) Sand Lake Walleye Fishing - A Question from Nick Hagness; "Thank you for all of your great tips, articles, and fishing reports. From the reports it sounds like the walleyes have been tough. I'm heading up there on Friday to fish Sand. I'm hoping the warm up will energize the walleyes. Do you ever get reports for Sand? What type of minnows do you like to use for dead sticking and tip ups for the walleyes? My buddy is worried if shiners are used during the day we will be catching a lot of 16 inch northerns. What is your favorite bait shop in the area? Tight Lines, Nick
A) Well Nick, let's see, first things first. Sometimes I do get reports about specific lakes, Sand Lake included. I also get questions like yours, sometimes lots of questions, almost every day. So, answering all of them is a little bit tricky; I have to ask for your understanding about me trying to maintain a healthy balance.
I do my best to be helpful and encouraging and I do my best to pass along information that will help you. But sometimes I need to use my own judgment about being too specific about a lake that may not be large enough, or may not host a robust population of fish that can handle some extra attention. Sand is one of the lakes that have developed a knack for winding up on lots of radar screens.
In recent years, Sand has received a lot of attention from the kind of fishermen who really know how to fish and can tend to put a lake under intense pressure. In many ways, it's a miracle that it's held up as well as it has.
At the moment, the Sand Lake Walleye population is fairly strong, but it is in a re-building mode. There are fish in there, but the majority of them are smaller size. Fish in the 12 to 13 inch range a fairly easy to come by, but 14 to 18 inch are much more difficult to find than they should be.
The lake has a fairly even split of deep fish vs. weedline fish, so depending on your preference, you can probably find a couple of spots that allow you to fish "your own way". For me, shallow water points and weed edges along the shoreline breaks have been consistent and I tend to gravitate toward this type of structure.
The question about Shiners vs Northern Pike is a good one. In my opinion, using shiners on lakes that have such high Northern Pike density is asking for trouble. Shiners offer no particular advantage in capturing Walleyes, especially during the winter, but they do tend to get the attention of more Pike.
For me, Rainbow Chubs are the preferred minnow for the "dead sticking that you mentioned. Use blade style baits like Frostee jigs in the #4 or #2 size ranges. For aggressive fish, the Rainbow can be hooked just above the tail, which will force it to swim a lot. For neutral fish, I like to insert the hook just below the skin, parallel to the dorsal fin. That allows the minnow to sit in a natural, horizontal position and helps minimize their movement. When the fish seem to need time to think, this is the best way to trigger a strike.
We are blessed with great bait shops in the Grand Rapids and Deer River area. For me, Fred's Bait is located so close to my home that on most days, I'd be dumb to drive further. That said; there are at least a half dozen good bait shops that I visit as often as I can. For the most part, my ordinary travel routes are covered pretty darn well by visiting the Winnie One Stop, River Rat Bait, West End Bait, Ben's Bait, the Max Mini Store and Frontier Sports.

image of Jeff Samsell with big crappie on ice

Jeff Samsel wrapped his year with; "A Dozen Delightful Days". In it, the writer from Clarkesville Georgia counts a day in the Grand Rapids area among his favorite fishing experiences of the past year.
"I quickly forgot about my nine bonus hours in MSP airport after I got on the ice. The first crappie came moments after I dropped a line in a hole, and the crappie/sunfish action never let up." Read More >> A Dozen Delightful Days

image denotes question from reader (1/1) A question posted to facebook on Wednesday piqued my interest, so it's re-posted here with permission. I caught this fish while I was ice fishing, but I've never seen one before. What is it and are they good to eat?
image of Rock Bass
A) The Rock Bass, AKA "Goggle Eye" like the one you have here can be a very desirable fish. Opinions vary depending on where you catch them, but they do have a loyal following among many anglers.
For every ten anglers who won't touch them, there is someone who loves them! In fact, I have some fishing customers who are very fond of Rock Bass and will go out of their way to catch and bag them.
They are very scrappy fighters and in some lakes, they'll grow to 13 inches, maybe more. As far as eating, under most circumstances, they are very much like eating a Crappie.
The specimen in your photo looks healthy and plump; I don't believe that eating this fish present a problem at all.
The Rock Bass have heavy rib bones, making them harder to clean and less desireable in some peoples view.
They can, in some waters, also develop unpleasant looking skin blemishes. Anglers who have encountered this, tend to hold it against all of the "Goggle Eyes" everywhere.
Once, we fished with a large group of men and one of the guides, with his fishermen caught and brought back dozens of Rock Bass from Cass Lake. The fish and the fillets were beautiful and when we used them to prepare a very large shore lunch, they received rave reviews.
I would definitely hold off on making a final judgement until after you give them a try, then make up your own mind. If you like 'em, you will find lots of good fishing territory and have most of it to yourself.

image of caricature of jeff sundin Auger Wars: Update (2014) 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.
Now, let’s see how she holds up. Learn More >> Auger Wars
image denotes question from a reader (12/5) "Hello Jeff. I'm looking to buy a handheld GPS unit for Xmas for my dad. Once a year we go to big Winne, and fish open water. Whenever we can, we fish hard water here in Wisconsin.
I'm looking to get a unit that we can use to start marking spots where we find structure, catch fish, etc. I would assume if I wanted detailed lake maps of Minnesota and Wisconsin I would have to buy that after correct?
Don't need the most expensive on the market but I would like a decent unit that will help is ultimately catch more fish.
A) While I'm thinking this one over, I wish that you would weigh in with your ideas too. Do me a favor and check the post (12-5) on the Fishing Reports Minnesota page and then add your ideas to the discussion.

image of ice auger on ice

Auger Wars? NO! Just Drilling For Answers

When the going gets tough, some augers quit going.
We found that severe cold temperatures worked against our 4 Stroke models, idling them just when we needed them most.
Sundin says; "Luckily, every manufacturer has some tried and true models, machines that have been around for a while and have a proven track record. I believe that there are plenty of good choices out there. Answering a reader's question forced me into ... >> Drilling Down Answers About Augers .

image denotes fishing question from reader (10/29) Kevin Scott asks about Ice Fishing Line; "Hey Jeff, I have a question for you! I am re-spooling my "ice fishing" reels and what do you feel is the best fishing line out there for my panfish reels and also my walleye and perch reels? There are many options so hoping you can give your thoughts.
A) Kevin, I use and love Lindy's Ice Line. I have 2 lb test on my panfish rods and 5 lb test on my Walleye rods. I've suggested it to people before and sometimes they report that it can be tricky to find at local tackle shops. I checked Lindy's website and at the moment, they say that it's out of stock.
A very good alternative is to use a line produced by Silver Thread that they call "Silver Thread Trout". It's a copolymer line that resists being saturated by the water, making it much less likely to freeze up during the cold weather.
The Silver Thread is readily available online through the Lurenet website so here's a link to Silver Thread Trout fishing line.


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