Minnesota Fishing Reports
Thunder has been rumbling in and around the Grand Rapids area all night long. In fact, as I write this report, I’m still seeing my back-yard light up under the occasional flash of lightning.
When it comes to walleye fishing, I am not a fan of unstable weather and this is especially true when it comes on the heels of an already “tough bite”. The negative effects of unstable weather had already been noticeable on recent fishing trips, walleye have been sluggish and hard to locate. Even when we have found them, there has been no guarantee that we could make them ..." Read >> Fishing Report July 9, 2020
"Hot, sunny weather and calm winds have allowed surface water temperatures to sky rocket on both Cutfoot and Winnibigoshish. It doesn’t matter where we go on either lake, 80 degrees is the current minimum temperature and we’ve see a few readings pushing the 85 degree mark.
Generally speaking, fish are active but typical of the post zebra mussel era, clear water conditions do not favor anglers who target walleye during the daytime. For die-hard walleye anglers, fishing during the early morning and late evening is the secret to consistency.
If you hang around the fish cleaning shack, you might over hear anglers talking about searching for fish on mid-lake structures like bars and humps. The consensus among many is that the fish have ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 8, 2020
"The Walleye Master Guides have been working fishing grounds on the North side of the lake. This past week has been either on the East side or West side of Garden Island. Great success continues. There were many fresh meals of Walleye and limits of take-home fish with a great number of trophy size Walleye caught and released.
The restaurant has been busy and it has been difficult having some items regularly in stock. It is amazing to say, sliced ham and Miller Lite are hard to get, say it isn’t so Bob Uecker!
The anchor and jig bite has been slowing down this past week. There has been a lot of drifting with spinners and live bait. Same usual colors, hammered gold, chartreuse, glow red.
Big news this past week for the lodge, we ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Reports July 7, 2020
Knowing that fishing conditions would be sunny skies and calm seas, I hedged my bet by selecting a lake that also had good populations of sunfish, walleyes and above average size pike. I figured that if we couldn’t get the crappies to go, that there would be another species to serve as a backup.
When we arrived at the landing, there were only about 3 rigs in the parking lot. But on the lake, there was already a boat on every weed bed, the shoreline was surrounded by resident anglers who appeared eager to get an early jump at the “morning bite”. Obviously, we would have our work cut out for us, but the odds of finding anyplace quieter, that also had equal fishing potential were low. Our best bet was to ..." Read >> Fishing Report July 6, 2020
"The fishing this past week can be summed up in one word "hot". We saw temperatures that were way above normal and calm winds. That made for some hot fishing. Catching had its moments, as well.
Walleyes are finally showing up on the mid lake structure. The bugs are hatching and the fish are eating. Look for a sunken island that has less fishing pressure for best results. Rigs and leeches or crawlers is working the best. Some walleyes ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Report July 4, 2020
I imagine most folks have their holiday weekends well planned out by now. I know we do, as usual, we are taking a couple of days off to help Annalee celebrate her birthday. Before I go off the grid for a couple of days, here’s one last update, hopefully this will bring you up to speed about current conditions,
Surface water temperatures are skyrocketing, on Thursday we began our fishing day at 74 degrees and by days end, easily found 82-83-degree surface readings.
The effect of those warm temperatures on the lake we fished was dramatic and for many, not at all what many anglers might expect. Often, I get questions like the one Mark Gerdes, my fishing customer asked yesterday. “How warm does the water have to get before the fish go deep?”
The answer, at least the answer for shallow, dark water lakes like the one we fished yesterday was that they, the fish, NEVER ..." Read >> Fishing Report July 3, 2020 - Location, Location, Location
"Beginning July 1, 2020, Mille Lacs Lake is closed to walleye fishing for the month of July, with the anticipation of a fall walleye season ahead.
Working with local anglers and the community in March, the Department of Natural Resources determined a July closure would provide the best chance for walleye fishing this fall by reducing walleye mortality when water temperatures are the warmest.
“Even with the good walleye fishing Mille Lacs anglers have experienced this year, we have not exceeded our allocation and we don’t expect to,” said Brad Parsons, the DNR’s fisheries section manager. “We know many people really enjoy fall walleye fishing and we heard from folks that this was their priority. So we made plans this spring for the July closure to ..." Read >> Planned Mille Lacs walleye closure implemented to protect fall fishing
If you are planning to fish over the July 4th holiday weekend, you should feel optimistic. There are reports of good fishing action coming in from almost everywhere my friends are fishing. And except for one lake that threw me a zinger on Monday morning, my trips have been going very well this week as well.
Surface temperatures on every lake I’ve fished over the past few days are pushing 75 degrees. It hasn’t mattered if the lakes were large, small, deep or shallow, temperatures have been fairly uniform.
Along with warmer water comes an increase in fish metabolism and this is when mixed bag trolling patterns really start taking off. Comments like “the sunfish and crappies were going nuts”, “largemouth bass were blowing up everywhere” and “the pike have ..." Read >> Fishing Report July 1, 2020
"Walleye fishing is slowly starting to improve on many area lakes, as mayflies wrap up their annual hatch. Locations where anglers are finding walleyes vary as much as the anglers. Shallow weedbeds, deep mud, around sunken islands and trolling over deep water for suspended walleyes, all have been working for anglers.
Anglers finding them shallow are catching them by ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report July 1, 2020
The Lighthouse and Morris Point Gaps in 8 to 10 feet of water have been good and also around Garden Island. Big numbers of walleyes are also staged over deep mud in 25 to 31 feet of water.
Most anglers are either drifting or trolling, using night crawler harnesses with spinners or using single hook spinners with crawlers or leeches. Hammered gold is hard to beat but glow, pink, chartreuse and orange are also popular in the stained water.
Some fish are still being caught on ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Report June 30, 2020
Mid-summer fishing patterns are gaining momentum as surface water temperatures rise. Surface temperatures have risen above 75 degrees on the lakes I’ve fished over the past few days. Granted, the lakes I’ve selected to fish recently have all had dark, tannin stained water. So, I’m seeing the warmest surface readings available in the north central region. Deeper, clear water lakes are somewhat cooler, ranging between 71 and 74 degrees.
As temperatures rise, fast moving presentations are fast becoming my mainstay. In fact, I haven’t pulled out anything except the spinner rods since last Friday. Little Joe Spinners tipped with fatheads or night crawlers have produced every fish we’ve caught over those 3 days.
For the most part, we have been fishing weeds and if you want action, that’s probably the best way to go. The mixed bag approach has delivered everything, pike, walleye, bass, crappie, perch, rock bass and sunfish. The only limitation on varieties of species have depended on whether they inhabited the lakes or not.
Walleye purists, I think, could ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 29, 2020
"Surface water temperatures have pushed above 70 degrees and mayflies are emerging everywhere on Kabetogama. You know what means, baitfish are on the move toward deeper water, so are other gamefish, especially walleyes!
In-Fisherman, the original authority on seasonal feeding patterns referred to this as “The Summer Peak” period. It is the time when food supplies are the most abundant and fish metabolism reaches its peak. Over the next several weeks, fish will focus on one thing: feeding!
During this period, anglers can catch walleyes using a variety of presentations and that’s been the trend we have seen out on the lake.
Our guides have been attacking the weed lines, catching lots of fish wiggle worming using both 1/8th and 1/16th ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs. Not only are the “Wiggle Worms” catching walleyes of all sizes, but we also ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report June 28, 2020
"Jason Sealock: "I get asked about specific items I use for bass fishing all the time, and that can get overly detailed when it comes to terminal tackle. While there are always new things being developed in terminal tackle to make lures do different things, I keep my terminal box real simple, small and easy to travel with.
Generally speaking, I like a heavy duty 3600 size single tray box to store my terminal tackle. Because of the weight of the box, I went with the Bass Mafia 3600 Ice Box Casket. I like that size, as it fits in a bag as easy as my boat. That box can be dropped and not spill everywhere, and you can jump up and down on it and not hurt it or yourself.
"Walleye fishing this season is kind of like the rest of the year has gone, kind of out of sorts! There are no signs of life out on the midlake structure. That is totally out of whack! A normal year would see bugs hatching on the mid lake structure of Lake Winnie. That hasn't happened so far.
We are catching some fish along the shoreline drops in low light conditions, morning and evening. Rigs with leeches seem to be the best presentation. Look a little deeper than ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 28, 2020
On Thursday, the forecast called for sunshine and calm seas. From a fishing guide’s point of view, the safe strategy for walleye fishing would have been to head for Upper Red Lake. That’s the mid-summer plan that has worked well for me during the past few fishing seasons. The nutrient rich water helps block some of the sunlight and fish tend to be more active than they would be in clear water lakes.
When I’m fishing with Craig B. Anderson though, there’s a little more latitude for risk taking; I can test ideas, rather than heading for what I hope will be “guaranteed bites”. Fishing with Craig on Thursday gave me a chance to try another theory on for size.
My idea was to find a lake that ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 26, 2020
Recently, cooler weather and below average water temperatures have taken my mind off the fact that it’s summer now. But the fish and the weeds do remember and summer fishing patterns are emerging despite chilly surface water temperatures.
On Wednesday, my crew was really hoping to catch some crappies and I wanted to do my best to help with that. But where to go and how to do it would be challenging, at this point of the season, those fish are famous for making folks wait until sunset before they go on a feeding run. When they’re not feeding of their own volition, they hunker down in weeds and often times are un-responsive to ordinary methods of persuasion.
Naturally, I was blessed with calm water and sunny skies on Wednesday, so our success became even more dependent on our ability to root them out of the vegetation.
The lake I chose ..." Read >> Crappie Fishing Report June 25, 2020
Like every fishing method, it's good to know the fine points of how to present spinners in a way that triggers the most strikes from the most fish. Knowing how to adapt spinner presentations during periods of unstable weather is critcal for success too.
In this episode of Fish ED, Jon Thelen is literally dealt a blow buy the weather! But watch as he shares with you some simple changes to help beat a windy day and still catch plenty of good walleyes.
Weather always influences our fishing plans, but don’t let it keep you at home! View Video and Leran More >> Early Season Spinner Tactics For Walleyes
"Walleye fishing has begone to cool off as Mayflies have begone to hatch in large numbers on many area lakes. While some anglers continue to catch walleyes shallow with slip bobbers, in the evening, that bite has cooled off as walleyes continue to become more scattered.
Anglers have adjusted to lindy rigging or trolling crankbaits to find these scattered walleye. Anglers are now finding walleyes in ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report June 24, 2020
There were fish being caught all around the lake. There are a lot of fish on the south shore right now near the Lighthouse Gap, Morris Point Gap, Zippel Bay, Long Point, Rocky Point and Pine Island anglers all reporting good catches.
Two main techniques, drifting with a snelled spinner with a crawler or leech and jigging with a frozen shiner or fathead are the way to go.
Gold-pink, glow red, glow-white are all working well. Anglers arevcatching plenty of ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Updates June 24, 2020
"Walleye anglers who love to fish mid-summer, mid-lake patterns on Lake Winnie have renewed enthusiasm today. A much anticipated period of calmer, warmer weather, which will allow easier access to mid-lake fishing structure is in the forecast for this week.
Surface water temperatures have been receding, now in the mid-to-upper-60s. It happened so slowly that we barely noticed, but the lake’s water temperature went from being slightly ahead of schedule early this month, to now being lower than average, for this time of summer.
Insect hatches have not been heavy so far, but as water temperatures rise, they should intensify. Mid-lake structure adjacent to soft bottom areas will continue to attract and hold walleyes until ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report June 23, 2020
I get the feeling that most fish in the greater Itasca region want to move into mid-summer feeding patterns, the only thing holding them back has been a recent series of storms and cold fronts.
Surface temperatures that had already crossed the 70-degree mark over a week ago, had slipped back into the mid-60s over the weekend. While it didn’t stop fishing from feeding entirely, it did take the edge off of what had promised to be the beginning of a full-scale trolling bite, on some lakes.
Crappies and sunfish have begun to migrate away from shoreline spawning cover into deeper water, where vegetation is maturing. Crappies, bluegill, pike and perch have all ..." Read >> North Central Minnesota Fishing Report June 22, 2020
"Fishing this week seemed like an episode of "Deadliest Catch"! The south and southeast wind howled most of the week 20-30 mph making fishing a real challenge.
Most of the success focused on the perch. Fishermen were finding perch in the weeds in 5-6' of water. Backwater areas were the main focus to find these fish.
A myriad of methods were used including: jigs and minnows, bobbers and minnows, bobbers and a piece of worm, jig and a piece of worm, jig and leech, spinners and minnows, shad raps, etc. Basically, they bit on whatever you put down there.
Walleye fishermen had an ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Update June 21, 2020
Not unlike a lot of anglers who visit Kabetogama, catching a trophy pike was on this year’s “to-do” list for this guy. For most folks, catching a fish like this 43-1/2-inch monster could easily be the fish of a lifetime and if you would like a shot at it, this one was released. Who knows, could your next cast be the one that entices her to strike again?
Kabetogama is part of Minnesota’s northeast pike zone, an area where trophy pike still exist and can be caught by anglers who pursue them. The pike regulation here allows anglers to keep 2 pike. All from 30 to 40 inches must be released and only one over 40 inches is allowed in possession. According to the DNR, “The approach here is meant to maintain harvest opportunity and protect large fish already present.”
While we can’t promise that everybody who fishes here will catch one, we can definitely say that the fish are here. Your odds of catching a giant pike are better here than they are in ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report June 19, 2020
As I mentioned on Wednesday, our mission was to explore another one of Grand Rapids’ clear water lakes. The walleye, bass and panfish combo experience is what we’d hoped for, but the bass and panfish didn’t show up in large numbers for the party; we caught mostly walleye and pike on this trip.
Ranging between 66 and 70 degrees, the surface temperatures were drawing a few largemouth bass toward deep weeds, one of their mid-summer favorites, but there was no evidence that panfish were heading that way. In fact, except for some rock bass, we did not catch any panfish, presumably they must still be in shallow water.
Walleye were located in and around ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report June 18, 2020
"Walleye - Another large cool front, cooled off a extremely hot walleye bite on area lakes. Stable warm weather has helped get the bite back on track and the evening bobber bite, in 5-10 feet of water, remains popular and effective, but walleyes are beginning to move away from rocky shorelines and out over mud flats and near shore, sucker islands. Out here anglers are trolling lindy rigs tipped with a leech or a crawler, and catching walleyes in ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report June 17, 2020
"Water temperatures really took a plunge after last weekend's cold front. In fact, on Monday, surface water on the lake I fished was only 59.5 degrees. The clear, deep water lake was the coldest I have seen in a while. Temperatures on a couple of other lakes I checked were warmer, but also down considerably, 63 to 66 degrees was range I’d observed before the hot air rushed into the area on Tuesday and began moving them upward again.
For me, that plunge sent walleyes packing and last Friday marked the beginning of an unpredictable period for establishing solid fishing patterns for catching them. The unstable atmosphere and strong, gusty winds have either forced a short-term change in fish behavior, or those conditions simply made it too difficult to present lures effectively.
For walleye, my most reliable presentations have ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report June 17, 2020
There were a few prominate fishing patterns this week. Some walleyes are shallow, 4-10' of water being caught with crawler harnesses and crankbaits.
Anglers are still anchored up on or near structure with a jig and frozen shiner or leech in 15-30'. Others drifting crawler harnesses in 23-28' with good success. Gold / pink / orange / yellow / gold or combo of these colors still working well.
Lots of eaters with larger slot and trophy walleyes being caught. Some big pike showing up in ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Reports June 16, 2020
"Strong winds have been blowing from the southeast at 20-30 mph and that's made fishing difficult for our guests. Despite the rugged conditions, fish have been caught by the guests.
Perch continue to be the best bet for a fish fry. Deeper shoreline breaks 20-25' using jigs and fatheads have been a good reliable perch pattern. Some guests are venturing into Sugar Lake and finding perch, as well.
The walleyes seem to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Reports June 16, 2020
After reaching 70 degrees or higher, many lakes in the Itasca Region fell back into the 64 to 68-degree range during the cold front that blew in late last week. That cold front should end today if the forecast of warm, gulf air from the south rushes into the northland plays out. Surface water temperatures should rebound this week, marking the start of mid-summer presentations week.
Catching fish with fast moving presentations like spinners and crankbaits had already begun. In fact, we began catching fish last week using Little Joe spinners tipped with night crawlers and minnows. That said, there were also fish caught using both jig and minnow and Lindy Rigs with crawlers. By my account, the Lindy Rigs were more effective, especially during mid-day, for walleye, while spinners accounted for a larger number of pike.
The lakes I fished late last week have good populations of ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Report June 15, 2020
"Like most Minnesotans, we weren’t too thrilled with the turbulent weather in recent days. Going from sunny and stable weather with air temps in the high 80s to thunderstorms, cold-fronts and blustery northwest winds is not the recipe for consistent fishing patterns.
Fortunately, a more stable weather pattern appears to be setting in and that will help us pin down more consistent, predictable locations and presentations.
We find surface water temperatures consistently above 61 degrees everywhere on the main lake right now; still cool enough to encourage fish to remain in traditional spring and early summer locations.
Pike are still shallow and they are hitting anything and everything, especially lures that have ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report June 11, 2020
"The incredible walleye bite has returned and gotten better, as several very big walleyes have started coming to the boat, for many anglers. Anglers continue to catch as many as 50+ walleyes a evening, while using a slip bobbers in 5-15 feet of water. Leeches are accounting for the majority of walleyes being caught right now. Top colors continue to be pink, purple and blue.
Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass have largely rapped up spawning and are starting to ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report June 10, 2020
June is a great month to fish in Minnesota. But it’s also a volatile month, a time of changeable weather and ever-expanding sources of food for fish, like emerging insect hatches and the like. An angler can never be too sure if the presentation that worked well today will be the same one that works well tomorrow.
In a recent report, I wrote about the importance, in my opinion, of how it’s better to have a little bit of every kind of bait, than it is to be “all-in” on any one type of bait. I couldn’t ask for a better way to illustrate my reasoning than to recap my last 5 or 6 days on the lake.
Last Friday I fished on Cutfoot Sioux, the wind was blowing stroke and walleyes were hungry. They chomped Live Bait Jigs tipped with shiners, which was lucky for me because the wind was blowing so hard that I could never have ..." Read >> Diversify Your Presentations and Catch More Fish June 10, 2020
For many, trips out to nearby structures like Plughat Point, The Three Sisters and along the NE shoreline of Tamarack Bay, (area known as the Satellite Dishes) have provided all the action they’ve needed. Northern pike, walleye and perch are mixed and located along the breakline in water depths of 8 to 12 feet.
For some of our more adventurous guests, Winnie’s mid lake bars are attractive now as well. Well-known structures like the Bena Bar, Horseshoe, Moses, Sugar and other large bars, closely related to steep shoreline breaks are the best. These areas are particularly productive for larger fish right now and would be good spots for “Catch Photo Release” walleye fishing.
Pike and perch still inhabit ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Walleye Report June 9, 2020
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, it was an excellent week of walleye fishing. Great to have charter boats running again. Best success in 13-28 feet of water. Anchored up and vertical jigging on structure areas very effective.
Drifting or trolling crawler harnesses effective this week on flats or basin areas. Spinners cover water when fish are spread out and not stacked. Gold / pink / orange / glow all working well.
Most anglers catching limits of eaters. Larger walleyes are also being caught in good numbers. Nice pike and jumbo being caught while walleye fishing.
On the Rainy River, most walleyes ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Report June 9, 2020
Many anglers would rather sit it out at home than try to catch fish during a major bug hatch. The trick though, is to figure out where the maturing insect larvae is located. Once you know that, you'll have the chance to cash in on one of the best walleye bites of the summer.
This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen shows you a great technique to beat a bug hatch and put tons of walleyes in the boat.
Don’t let a bug hatch on your favorite lake keep you home, get out there and cash in on the soft bottom, walleye bonanza!
Spinners are becoming a more important part of my daily routine. That’s not to say they are the only way to catch fish right now, but with warming water temperatures, their effectiveness is on the rise.
Over the past few days, we’ve caught walleye, pike and crappie, primarily in shallow water, in the weeds. Some of them have been caught on jig and minnow; others have been caught wiggle worming and some have been caught using jigs with plastic action tails. But in every case, these presentations were implemented only after I located fish by trolling the weeds with spinners.
On the lakes that I’ve fished so far, pike have been the most responsive to the spinners. Once I’ve located a school of crappie or walleye, I’ve stopped the boat and fine-tuned the presentations to focus on catching them. Beginning early last week, any walleye, crappie or bass had come along as bonus fish, but on Saturday that began to ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 8, 2020
"Q) Jim Dressler wrote; "I keep seeing on FISHRAPPER where authors are referring to "slot length" in regards to walleye. It was my understanding that you could keep anything (within reason), so long as you only had 1 fish over 20" in your possession. Please clear this up for me, And keep posting, I find your reports and banter very helpful.
A) Minnesota's "state wide" walleye regulation does allow for an angler to possess 6 fish, with a total of one fish over 20 inches in possession.
However, there are some lakes that are managed individually and have "special regulations" on walleye harvest. There are upwards of 2 dozen Minnesota lakes that have either "protected slot size" limits, reduced bag limits and in a few cases, like Big Sandy Lake "keeper slot size" limits.
At every public lake landing, there are signs posted to advise anglers about any special regulations in effect on that body of water. If you see no signage, then the lake likely falls under the blanket, state wide regulation.
Another way to learn about a specific lake is to look it up on the DNR Lake Finder website. Search for your lake by name and county, then at the bottom of the page, read the section for special regulations. If there are none listed, then the lake falls under the blanket, statewide regulation."
Sunny and hot describes the weather pattern that settled over Lake Kabetogama this week. Surface water temperatures have risen above 70 degrees in some of the shallow water bays and most of the main lake surface readings now range from 65 to 68 degrees.
Beating the heat has become the focal point not only in terms of fishing patterns, but also in terms of personal comfort on the water.
Walleye anglers have reported that the most comfortable and productive fishing occurs early in the morning. Start fishing as early as you can, and you will find steady action in shallow water until about 9-9:30 AM. After 10:00 AM you will feel the beginning of a slow-down. That’s when you’ll want to switch to fishing another species, or maybe ..." Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report June 4, 2020
Water temperatures are warm, we’ve seen 70-degree readings in a number of locations already. In fact, on Thursday, I noted 72 degrees on the small lake I fished. To me, any self-respecting crappie that intended to spawn, should have completed the mission by now.
But I had been on the fence about whether crappies were in pre-spawn or post-spawn mode this week. Mainly, the fish that we have kept consisted of black faced male fish that were caught in cabbage weeds, not on shallow water spawning beds. So when I clean them, there isn’t any evidence to indicate how far along in the spawning process they are.
A few days back, we did capture a few females and when I cleaned them, they ..." Read >> Crappies In Transition June 5, 2020
Over the years, folks have mentioned that they notice me dropping little clues about lakes where I fish and spots within them. Some like to read between the lines or examine the photos for hints about where to go.
Well, if you looked at the accompanying photo of Keith and Diane Eberhardt and didn’t figure out where we were yesterday, call me; I will confess to you that we were on Upper Red Lake. I was there the day before too with my fiends Marty and Janet Christensen, but we didn’t take many photos because we were too busy reeling in fish.
Surface water temperatures touched 70 degrees during the afternoon, but for most of the day registered between 66 and 68 degrees. Sheepshead are in full-scale spawning mode and were present in large numbers both days, but there were still lots of walleye which ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Fishing Report June 4, 2020
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, it was very successful week for walleye anglers. Great walleye fishing continues with best success in 17-28 feet of water, with walleyes also being caught shallower.
A number of areas along the south shore from Pine Island, Morris Point, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point are producing. Knight & Bridges Island area also still holds good numbers and size of fish.
Anchored up and vertical jigging, drifting crawler harnesses and pulling crankbaits all working. Best colors are gold, pink, orange and glow all combinations are working well. A nice mix of eaters and slot fish to be released between 19.5" and 28" and a good number of ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Update June 3, 2020
"The incredible walleye bite, that many anglers experienced last week has cooled off, thanks to a large cool front that blew through the area late last week. Anglers are continuing to find walleyes shallow in 5-13 feet of water, early and late in the day.
More and more cabin owners and lake side campers are catching walleyes right off their docks or campsites, fishing a leech under a bobber during the evening hours. Leeches and crawlers are quickly becoming the bait of choice, as water temps continue to rise. Hot colors continue to ..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report June 3, 2020
All of the leading indicators point toward one of my favorite mixed bag fishing experiences. It occurs every season when crappies move into cabbage weeds during early summer. Walleye, bass, pike and panfish often inhabit the same weeds at the same time. When they do, my customers get to pick and choose which fish they love and which ones they don’t; but not before catching them all.
Recently, crappies have shown up in the cabbage in good numbers and while the walleyes haven’t been thick in them, there have been enough of those to make a good game out of it. There have been plenty of pike too and a smattering of ..." Read >> Fishing Report June 2, 2020
When the Lilacs are in bloom, crappies are in the peak of their spawning season. Whenever there’s a dragonfly hatch, sunfish find their way to the shallows and begin fanning their spawning beds. Those proverbs are obviously true because panfish action has really taken off over these past few days.
As you can see by the photo, this male crappie is wearing his Sunday best, his black spawning outfit. You can see too by the wear and tear on his tail fin that he’s been working hard, fanning the silt out of a depression in the soft, marl bottom.
Female fish do not ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 1, 2020
On Thursday, strong west winds blew into our bay and interrupted our ability to check up on them, but before that, the gamefish had moved shallow enough so that we could see them. Cruising over the shallow sand flats, it was easy to spot fish roaming around.
That’s the good news; the bad news is that when we can see them, they can see us. When fish are that shallow and the water is this clear, you need to come up with an approach plan that won’t spook them.
On Winnie, anglers are still learning how to deal with clear water, so for guidance, we’ve researched some tricks of the trade employed by pro anglers who ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigosish Fishing Report May 29, 2020
"Water temperatures on Kabetogama got a jump start this week under flat and sunny conditions. Move into the shallow back bays and you can find 70 degrees, check out the center of the lake and 58 to 59 degrees will be the norm. The gap between those readings will narrow as cooler, more turbulent weather breezes in for the weekend.
The summer-like conditions have heightened the importance of fishing for walleye early and late in the day. Some anglers have managed to catch walleye during the daytime, but most agree that fishing the crepuscular periods is the way to go.
During the daytime, you’ll have more fun fishing for northern pike, smallmouth bass and if you’re persistent, maybe even some crappies.
Smallmouths are up in the shallows and active, this is the pre-spawn period for them and the time when you can ..." >> Read >> Lake Kabetogama Fishing Report May 28, 2020
"The weather was great on the Memorial Day Weekend. The fishing was good, also.
Walleyes are not hard to come by using jigs and minnows. Walleyes you can keep are a different story. Most of the fish that are caught are either in the protected slot (18"-23") or small, 6-11". The future of walleye fishing looks very bright on the horizon. We have two huge year classes that are being caught in ..." Read >> Four Seasons Lake Winnie Report May 27, 2020
I mentioned yesterday that I planned to re-visit Red Lake and promised a quick update this morning, so here it is.
The water levels, already high, increased again after the all-day rain on Tuesday. We launched the boat at Roger’s Campground and docks that were above the water line on Tuesday, were partially covered by water.
Surface temperatures had not changed much, still ranging between 65 and 66 degrees. The warm water has triggered the sheepshead to move in for their spring spawning migrations. I mentioned yesterday that we caught lots of them on Tuesday, but if anything, the drum action actually intensified on Wednesday. The warmer it got, the faster they bit and the faster they bit, the fewer walleye we found in the mix.
A comment from a reader on my Fishing Reports Minnesota facebook page said that they had fished the same general areas using crankbaits. According to his report, trolling at 6 feet of water produced a better catch of walleye and practically eliminated strikes from the sheepshead. If you’re headed up there, this may be a trick to remember.
Other than that, I didn’t observe any significant change, walleyes were still on shallow rock ridges and humps that I mentioned in Wednesday’s report. For details about that, follow this link to >> Upper Red Lake Fishing Report May 27, 2020
Upper Red Lake has gone through quite a transformation in the week that passed since my last visit. Surface water temperatures ranged between 64 and 66 degrees on Tuesday, about 12 degrees warmer since then.
Freshwater Drum, AKA Sheepshead, were thick along the south shoreline. In fact, on Tuesday we caught one drum after another without as much as a sniff from any walleye.
That doesn’t mean that the walleyes were gone from the shoreline, but the population of drum in that area was overwhelming. I did not want to wait around, feeding the sheepshead all our bait while I searched for a random pack of walleyes.
A move away from the shoreline and onto the flat improved our outlook. In about 8 feet of water, there was a small rise, a 20 to 30-yard stretch of gravel and mixed light rocks that topped out at 6 feet deep. On it, we found a decent school of Walleyes milling around along the ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Fishing Report May 27, 2020
It is good to remember, not all walleyes do the same thing. Some schools are deep, some shallow. Some may be feeding on minnows, others critters in the mud. Good reports in various areas along the south shore of the lake as well as Knight & Bridges Island area.
Anchored up and vertical jigging a jig and minnow or frozen emerald shiner has been very successful. Gold, pink, orange or a combo hard to beat. Drifting with spinners and trolling crankbaits also catching fish. A nice mix of ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Reports May 27, 2020
Upper Red Lake held up to heavy pressure, delivering limits to most anglers who fished there. After returning from a day trip, my neighbor reported that traffic moved smoothly both on and off the lake despite having an overflow crowd at the Washkish landing.
Walleyes are still on the shoreline and will likely remain there for the next week. Jig and minnow is the presentation of choice for most anglers, but there were quite a few fish caught by anglers trolling crankbaits this weekend too. Experiment with shallow running, minnow style baits and fish in water depths of 6 to 8 feet.
For me, Leech Lake served as the office and while the walleye bite wasn’t wide open, it was definitely good enough for us. The attraction of fishing on Leech Lake is the ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 26, 2020
"Walleye fishing was excellent to unbelievable for many anglers this last week. Walleyes have largely pulled away from current area and relocated on large shallow shoreline flats, in 5-12 feet of water, looking for spawning bait fish during the morning and evening hours.
Anglers have been throwing 1/8oz and 1/4oz pink, blue, purple and white jigs, tipped with either a shiner or rainbow minnow. Dock owners have also been experiencing excellent fishing right off their docks during the evening hours. Here, floating jigs tipped with a minnow or a jig suspended under a lighted bobbers is proving very effective!
Very large pike continue to..." Read >> Ely Area Fishing Report May 26, 2020
The walleye year class of 2018 is among the best ever for Winnibigoshish. Not only were there huge numbers of fish hatched, but they had both good survival and great growth rates during their first year. We’re seeing anecdotal evidence that they must have also had a great survival rate over this past winter because anglers are catching them left and right this spring.
The ‘18s aren’t ready for the creel yet, at an average length of around 11-12 inches, they’ll for sure be eaters by next spring. Some of the really fast growers may even reach an acceptable size by ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 21, 2020
Memorial Day weekend is upon us and it looks like a great time to be out on the water! Most of us who plan to fish already have a good idea about where we’re going, but in case you’ve been on the fence about which way to go, here are a few notes that may help.
Shiners are available, but not yet plentiful. Most of the bait shops across the north central region have supplies delivered by trappers from Red Lake. The Red Lake shiner run is in full swing already, but other popular shiner lakes like Winnie, have not yet begun to produce. With water temperatures warming, the more clear lakes should begin producing soon.
As I reported on Wednesday, the Red Lakes shiner run has ..." Read >> Planning For Memorial Weekend May 22, 2020
Traffic on a lot of lakes has been light, partially because of campground closures. But according to this MN DNR News release, that is about to change.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will reopen its campgrounds at state parks, state forests and recreation areas in a phased approach beginning June 1. Gov. Tim Walz announced that public and private campgrounds may reopen beginning June 1, if they create a Preparedness Plan and follow State of Minnesota campground guidelines.
“We look forward to welcoming overnight visitors back to ..." Read >> DNR to phase reopening of its campgrounds June 1, 2020
Upper Red Lake shiners, according to my friend, professional shiner trapper, Chad Benson, began their full-scale spawning migration the day before yesterday, May 18, 2020. The accompanying photo of his shiner haul that afternoon was all it took to get me fired up about heading there for my first offical workday of the 2020 fishing season.
I hooked up with my crew at the Winnie Trading Post at 8:00, picked up some bait and they followed me to the landing at Washkish. By the time we arrived, about 9:15 AM, the parking lots on both sides of the bridge over the Tamarack River were filled. There was still room in the overload lot, the sand lot adjacent to the main landing, but that was filling too.
What we learned on the lake was that even if the bite wasn’t “on fire”, Upper Red Lake was at the very least, a reliable place to gather walleyes for a fish meal.
For me, the secret to finding early season fish on Red Lake is usually to ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Report May 20, 2020
Any fear you have had in anticipation of running into a shortage of shiners can be laid to rest. Spring runs of spawning spottails are in full swing and right now, we have an unlimited supply at KAB Outdoors.
We find surface water temperatures are in the high 40 to low 50-degree range, depending on the area we fish. With those temperatures, one might not expect to have fishing action as good as it has been, but the stable, warm weather pattern has really helped fire up the fishing action.
Walleye location varies wildly right now, we have reports of good fishing in ..." Read >> Kabetogama Fishing Report May 19, 2020
The fishing was great this weekend but the catching was kind of spotty. Walleyes continue to relate to the shoreline drops with the points on the west and north side seeing the most action.
The evening offers some opportunities to do a little casting into the very shallow water where the shiners are moving toward the shoreline.
The great year-classes that we have heard about for the last two years can be experienced. It is quite a challenge to hook a 6 inch or 11 inch walleye! But you can get a bite every cast, you just have to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 18, 2020
After a busy and productive fishing opener, traffic on the lake got quiet during mid-week. Between cold, windy conditions and a little bit of rain, folks opted to hold off until better weather arrives.
The anticipated warmup did arrive on Thursday and sent outside air temperatures up into the high 60s. Surface water temperatures began rising too, strong afternoon winds churned the surface, bring water temps back down, but the trend will be upward over the next few days.
The reason we’re monitoring water temperature is that shiner minnows are waiting for a warmup before they’ll move away from the weedy flats and onto shallow water sand and gravel. The beginning of shiner spawning definitely allows bait trappers an opportunity to gather supplies of our favorite minnows. But for anglers, the shiner runs offer a chance to ..." Read >> Pines Resort Lake Winnie Walleye Report May 15, 2020
I am finally allowed to go back to work today, so this will be my first guide trip of the 2020 season. I'm looking forward to getting back on the water, but getting ready for the trip has cut into my early morning writing time.
Yesterday, I pre-fished Leech Lake and while there were some walleyes biting there, I decided no to stage the 2020 fishing opener re-do on that lake. Tomorrow, I'll let you know where I did decide to open up and how it works out for I and my crew.
Along with that, I'll have updates about what happened on Leech Lake yesterday, plus reports from Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. See you on Tuesday morning. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Just a little over a decade ago, I was a college angler who didn't have two pennies to rub together. As much as I loved buying fishing tackle, I also dreaded seeing my online cart when it came time to enter my credit card information.
I honestly felt like I was at a disadvantage if I didn't spend as much money on gear as my competitors did. It was an overwhelming feeling at times, if I'm honest.
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So far, most shiner traps in north central Minnesota are collecting more seaweed than minnows. Cold, gloomy weather persists and until we see some sunshine and warmer temperatures, it is unlikely that bait supplies will improve.
In a typical spring, shortages are usually limited to spot tails, but right now, even rainbows have been harder than usual to come by. A friend who traps his own minnows got some rainbows last week when it warmed up, but since this cold snap struck, they’ve disappeared.
Leeches are a problem too; cold water has slowed their delivery rate as well. Right now, that is more of a problem from the sales point of view than it is from an angling perspective. Most of us could get by without them for a week or two and there are enough of them around to keep hard core leech anglers satisfied.
I got the bad news out of the way first so I could end on a more optimistic note. I just walked outside, and the sun is up, the sky is blue and it’s already warmer than ..." Read >> Fishing Report May 14, 2020
It’s been a couple of weeks since spawning walleyes made their move through Little Cutfoot With the spawning run completed, female walleyes have already moved out and were found migrating away from Cutfoot and into the big lake. At this stage of the season, fishing can be a little “hit and miss” and that’s what we’ve observed so far.
Because of the cold water temperatures, there was little incentive for most of the migrating fish to move shallow and feed. Instead, they closely followed traditional migration routes along shoreline breaks and along the river channels. Anglers who found and fished along those migration routes were rewarded with good catches.
Areas that produced well for our guests, included ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 14, 2020
A fishing guide without work is a fishing guide with time to go fishing; so that’s what I do. But for me, working and not working can look a lot like the same thing unless I go someplace out of my usual “working” territory.
Infrequently, I fish at Lake Mille Lacs; it is just far enough away that it always feels like new water. The walleye bite was good there over the fishing opener weekend; my friends all told me that. And with plenty of free time to gather fish for my own freezer, there was no worry about releasing any fish I’d catch, not on this trip anyway.
I’ll give you my report from Mille Lacs, but not before I tell you that none of the info actually originated with me. I didn’t drive down there and search the sand bars ‘till I found the motherlode and I didn’t develop any special techniques or presentations either; I just made a phone call and ..." Read >> Mille Lacs Fishing Report May 13, 2020
"Fantastic fishing opener follows a great bite this winter. A clicker is needed to track the numbers by the hour for some anglers. Water Temps in the Mid 40’s to low 50’s depending on location.
Most areas of the lake put out good numbers of Walleyes and quite a few Smallies too. When i say most areas I mean fish coming in from all depths and areas from North end sand to south end rocks. Crank baits absolutely demolished fish on opener from midnight on.
Mille Lacs Lake “ where GREAT FISHING is a Problem”. — Steve Johnson, Johnson's Portside 320-676-3811
"Dock fishing is a huge part of what attracts customers to Driftwood Lodge. For many, gathering on the pier for “the evening run” is as important a part of the tradition as is fishing out on the lake. After a day on the lake, guests love to unwind as they watch for the slow-but-steady pull down of their bobber.
The tradition began anew for 3-1/2 year old Des Yeager on opening morning. On the dock, using the brand new fishing outfit that Dawn helped set him up with on Friday afternoon; the youngster landed his first fish using the new rig.
As the accompanying photo illustrates, Des was more than pleased with his catch, a healthy 20-1/2 inch walleye. Way to go Des, that’s a nice looking fish you caught!
Shallow water locations are producing ..." Read >> Kabetogma Fishing Report May 12, 2020
"The opener is here, and we are happy to be helping people get out on the water! Bait has been decent so far this year. We are seeing signs of spot tail shiners, but limited quantities. Fatheads and rainbows have both been very popular as they have been running at a great size.
We are hearing reports of ..." Read >> Grand Rapids, Bowstring Area Reports May 12, 2020
"Opening Day of Minnesota fishing finally came and went. One thing I noticed is that the fish didn't know about or care about Covid 19! Everyone who wet a line caught some fish.
The best reports for keeping fish were on the perch front. Lots of nice 10-12" perch were caught along the primary breaklines.
Anglers reported fishing 15 to 20 feet deep seemed to be the best depths. Jigs and minnows worked very slow were the best presentation.
Walleyes were caught in good numbers, but ..." Read >> Four Seasons Lake Winnie Report May 11, 2020
"It will be known as the Great Opening Weekend that almost wasn’t. With all the planning and organization, many extra phone calls, uncertainty, anxiety, and so many things which made trips considered to be on again and off again while having years of tradition at stake, it’s great to say we did it! Opening weekend was a great success!
We did not get the snow like central Minnesota saw. It became a little breezy Saturday afternoon and put most Anglers in the river. The morning reports were great and the action slowed into the afternoon as the boats came back into the river. That tells us that the spawn is over.
The forecast shows we will have some low 20’s overnight this week, but also shows some days having highs in the 60’s." — 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
Creel results varied from lake to lake and so did the weather conditions. We dodged the worst weather, finding calm seas and middle 40 degree air temperatures on Splithand Lake, south of Grand Rapids. Some of my friends spent chillier days fishing in snow and sleet, but by their accounts, caught more fish than we did.
From our point of view, the trade-off, exchanging less fish for better weather was a good one. It allowed my mom the chance to spend another Mother’s Day weekend in the boat. She was bundled her up in my Striker ice fishing suit which provided warmth and allowed her to ..." Read >> MN Fishing Opener Early Report May 10, 2020
Jon Thelen fished there last spring with Charlie Nelson and found a pattern that worked great.
Trolling shallow water, back bays along the river using Little Joe spinners and planer boards worked like a charm.
Here’s a neat video that shows you how to dial in the bite and it works wherever walleyes, rivers and shallow water estuaries are found.
While you’re pondering the fishing opener, watch this video and learn how to get onto a spot and find your own school of hungry walleyes this spring. View Video >> Hot Spring Pattern For Shallow Water River Walleyes .
OH OH, the 2020 Minnesota Citizens Fishing Opener has finally arrived. I haven't even left the house yet and I've already had to change my game plan!
Hoping that we might enjoy the same great fishing that we had on Upper Red Lake last year for the 2019 fishing opener, I called my friend Bill Lundy at Mort's Dock. Lundy; "Have you been up this way lately? Nobody in this region can ever remember seeing the lake levels this high, there's water up into the trees along the shoreline." "You could probably use the ramp, but the water is so deep that we were only able to get one dock section set in place."
The campground and lodge were already closed because of the Governor's stay home order. If they had bait to sell, they could be open to do that, but Lundy said ..." Read >> Upper Red Lake Update May 9, 2020
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"We’re ready for the fishing opener and we have an announcement that will please many of you. Spottail Shiners arrived at the store this morning and we have them in the tanks, ready to help you catch fish on Kabetogama tomorrow morning!
Besides the shiners, we have excellent an excellent stock of nice fatheads and plenty of Kent’s favorite minnow, the rainbow chub. No matter your preference, we’ll have you covered for the opener.
Water temperature on the lake remains cold, so it won’t surprise us if some anglers find walleyes in their shallow water spawning locations, especially early in the day on Saturday.
On your way to the lake, stop by the store and we’ll ..." Read >> KAB Outdoors Report May 8, 2020
This is another day to watch for late breaking updates about bait supplies. They will be posted as they become available.
I was on Highway 169 yesterday for the weekly trade-off of my mother and between Grand Rapids and Onamia traffic was light, I thought. There were some crowded spots, where trucks towing boats stcked up a little bit, but far fewer than I expected to see.
Of course, it was only Thursday, today could bring larger crowds, but my early sense is that the number of folks travelling to fish this weekend will be way down compared to a typical opener.
Tomorrow morning is liable to play out differently. Fellow guide Jason Alto was on the phone with me yesterday, running some scenarios that might play out. He thinks that traffic will be heavy at ..." Read >> Fishing Opener Report May 8, 2020
"Another fishing opener is upon us, and even though we’ve been through a lot of them, this one seems to have thrown us a curveball with the Coronavirus.
So to help keep everyone within the guidelines, we are going to give everyone a couple of options. We will have a cash and carry table set up outside with prebagged minnows and a few trays of USA made jigs for those that just need the essentials.
The doors will also be open to the store for those that want to do a little shopping and get minnows inside, or to pay with plastic. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable fishing opener and we will do our best to make it happen!." — Bill Powell, Fred's Bait, 218-246-8710
"It feels good to be back on the water again. Unfortunatrely, Shiners have not run yet on Upper Red Lake, so we cannot offer them as a choice of bait. We are located at Morts Dock on Upper Red Lake and the Campground has been closed due to covid-19 orders. So we are currently shut down until May 20th, when we hope to resume with summer rentals and fishing guides.
Walleye spawning has declined and walleyes staged in rocks around 4 to 8 feet deep. No deeper spots will be active until water warms. Best bait: spinner-tipped with minnow. Best depth 3 to 6 feet morning and afternoon. Evening bite, first drop contour at about 8 feet. Bobber fishing with minnows or leeches will out fish trolling as walleyes are slow this time of year.
Our business phones are currently off until government lifts ban, but we will provide updates when the shiners begin to run. We will be on the water Friday night at 11:59 PM for midnight fishing opener and report back about that too." — Northwoods Fish Houses, Shane and Samantha Youngbauer 218-308-0766
The monster size year class of walleyes that hatched in 2018 had already begun showing up late in the 2019 season. Over the winter, we heard numerous reports from guests and friends who fished the lake and caught lots of 11 to 12-inch walleyes. Granted, they were small then and still will be this spring, but as our summer progresses, we anticipate seeing those fish begin maturing, rapidly moving toward the keeper size range.
We know that the growth rate in Winnie is typically really great, but we’re not making any assumptions. The current growth rate may be somewhat diminished by the larger size of that year class. That’s okay with us because if it happens, that would probably help keep those fish in the keeper size range for a longer period of time. In the meantime, these fish are likely to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Opener Outlook May 7, 2020
My phone rang off the hook yesterday and it’s already started this morning, I think it's gonna be another one of those days. Most of the calls are from folks asking questions about what they can do, and in some cases what they can't do for the fishing opener this weekend. I am a little frustrated because most of the information I've disseminated is already available right here, on this page.
Frequent readers of my reports already know that I’ve gone to considerable effort to make sure that I accurately report the dos and don’ts of fishing during the “coronacrackdown”. Not everyone is familiar with me though and the hardest part of my day yesterday was attempting to provide corrections to compensate for inaccurate or misleading information that folks have been picking up on the social media pages.
I checked some of them myself and was astounded by what passes for information on some pages. That’s why I need to ask you for a favor, especially if you ..." Read >> Fishing Report Updates May 7, 2020
"It sounds like shiner minnows will likely come at a premium for the next couple days. There will be some around but certainly not an over abundance of them. Everything else seems to be running pretty darn nice crappie, fatheads, rainbows, suckers, crawlers, and leeches are all available! Good luck this weekend. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!" Andy Walls, 1000 Lakes Sports 218-999-5992
The great Minnesota Fishing Opener is this weekend! We finally made it! So now, what do we do when we head into this weekend? A good start is to have a list of what is important on the trip, whether you’re headed to your cabin or just out on the lake for a day. Plenty of snacks, beverages, and bait should be on your mind along with your favorite rod and reel combo.
It will also be a little cooler this weekend, so pack some warm clothes. Layer up as you can always take off layers, but when you don’t have them, it is hard to add warmth!
Another aspect to this weekend is that Governor Walz has ..." Read >> Shane Boeshart Heading Into Fishing Opener May 6, 2020
I have a busy day planned checking with bait stores and resorts about supplies and services available for the fishing opener weekend. Updates will be posted as they come in, so you may want to check these pages more often than usual over the next few days.
Bill Powell at Fred’s Bait in Deer River is always my first go-to guy about bait supplies. Among the best minnow trappers anywhere, Powell has his fingers on the pulse of Mother Nature’s ebb and flow.
“I got the shiner traps out late last week, but the water was still cold and after a couple of days, only had a few shiners. The big winds that blew over the past weekend trashed the whole setup, now I’m hoping for calm conditions to get the flow started again”; Powell said. “I do have some rainbows and really nice ..." Read >> Minnesota Walleye Fishing Opener Updates May 6, 2020
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I hadn't thought of it until just this morning when I was getting paperwork together for my insurance agent. But the boat I picked up from Ray's Marine on Monday represents a milestone. It's been 20 years since I picked up my first 2000 Alaskan Tiller. That's right, for the past two decades, I and my customers have caught fish from one of these efficient and versatile boats.
As the accompanying photos reveal, I still have some rigging to do if I'm gonna have it ready for the fishing opener, but something tells me that I'll meet the deadline.
I am really excited to see if this rig lives up to the standards set by my 2019 Alaskan. Last I wrote about that rig was late summer in 2019 when I reported that in my estimation, the 20-foot Alaskan, paired up with the Pro XS 115 HP engine constituted the perfect fishing setup. I've been happy with every one of these boats that I've owned, but last year's boat was the best ever and I'm hoping that I'll feel the same way when this one hits the water.
In today's report, I've got a few updates about lake accesses and availabilities for the fishing opener.
Yesterday, I talked again with Hunter at the US Corps of Engineers office at Federal Dam. He confirmed that ..." Read >> Fishing Updates May 5, 2020
With everything that’s happened this year, we’ve been so wrapped up with stuff to do that The Hippie Chick hadn’t had a chance to fish. In fact she hadn’t held a fishing rod in her hands for nearly 7 months. Saturday was our first chance to change that.
We knew it would be windy, but maybe we could tuck ourselves into a quiet corner, all we really hoped for was a nice afternoon. So even if the wind was blowing at 30 MPH, we were bound and determined to find a lake, we made a rough plan, prepared the prepare-able and headed toward the bait shop to pick up some minnows.
When I walked into 1000 Lakes Sporting Goods on Saturday Andy Walls was beaming with happiness. “Crappie fishing has been really good around the area; everybody has been coming in with good reports”; Andy said. He gave me a few pointers about shallow water spots where folks had been catching Crappies, advised me about the habitat and key depths and then..." Read >> Fishing Report May 4, 2020
Q) "Did I read right a couple of weeks ago that the Walleye harvest was not taking place this year at Little Cutfoot? If not, what do you thing the impact will be on the DNR stocking program?"
A) Yes Larry, you did read correctly, MN DNR fisheries staff did call off the egg take, not only at Little Cutfoot but they cancelled all of the walleye, northern pike, steelhead, sucker and musky egg takes statewide for 2020.
How it will impact fishing in Minnesota will vary from region to region. Some regions of the state are blessed with lakes that have good natural reproduction. Other areas are not as fortunate and have higher percentages of lakes that are dependent on stocking.
In my home territory, Lakes like, Winnibigoshish, Leech, Bowstring, Bemidji and ..." Read >> May 3, 2020 QnA No Fish Stocking In Minnesota, Really?
I am guessing that most didn’t really care much about catching fish, but it served as a reminder that I should whip up something for the handful of anglers who really were in serious pursuit of panfish.
Last spring, I shared a report about an early season crappie trip that the Hippie Chick and I went on. That fishing trip taught me a lot about where to look for spring crappies. Since I and Susan are planning another crappie fishing trip this weekend, I looked back to that article for another look at some of my own advice about how to get started.
The reason I needed the refresher course is ..." Read >> Planning An Early Spring Crappie Trip April 30, 2020
So far in 2020, I’ve looked forward to the beginning of each new month hoping that it would be better than the last one. So far none of them has and now the month of May did not even make me wait for a single day to find out that it won’t be any better either.
I’ve been pouring through the details of the recent changes to Governor Walz’ Executive Orders. From what I can see, yesterday’s signing of Emergency Executive Order 20-48, will keep fishing guides and charter operators in dry dock until the 18th of May, at least.
The order, “Extending and Modifying Stay at Home Order, Continuing Temporary Closure of Bars, Restaurants, and Other Places of Public Accommodation, and Allowing Additional Workers in Certain Noncritical Sectors to Return to Safe Workplaces” was good news for certain retailers who can set curbside pickups and home deliveries. But does not relax restrictions on any face-to-face business activity, like fishing.
Launches, charter boats and fishing guides are expressly prohibited from conducting business as was spelled out in EO 20-38 on April 17, 2020. In every revision, they include a section that spells out the penalties for ..." Read >> Walz' Minnesota Fishing Guide Ban Update May 1, 2020
"This past week, MN Governor Tim Walz began allowing resorts and hotels to open with numerous guidelines for safety.
Many Lake of the Woods resorts and hotels are welcoming guests back. Properties are taking a variety of safety measures in many aspects of their businesses to ensure guest and employee safety.
The US and Canada have agreed to keep the international border shut until May 20th. Residents of the NW Angle and necessary supplies can travel across, others including visitors and land owners for the time being cannot. Some resorts are offering transport service via boat across the lake in MN waters to ..." Read >> Lake of the Woods Fishing Update April 30, 2020
"Since the end of the ice fishing season, we’ve used our time wisely; so the cabins are cleaned, the store is stocked up and our rental boats are rigged and ready to go. For the most part, everything is ready to go for opening day.
With a slightly later ice-out and a fishing opener earlier than usual, predicting a shallow water bite is fairly certain. We’re betting that anglers will encounter some walleyes that are still spawning, and some that are in the post spawn period. This should provide opportunities for catching good numbers of eating size fish along with chances to catch larger females along the way.
Anglers have asked if there’s a way to zero in on one or the other. The answer is yes, female walleye behave much differently during the spawning period than male walleye do. Females, typically larger, are performance oriented; they ..." Read >> Kabetogama Fishing Opener Outlook April 29, 2020
At Lake Winnibigoshish (pictured), all that was left of the ice on the east side of Tamarack Bay was this small pile of slush. From there out, there was nothing but open water as far as I could see. At the Winnie Dam, water flow out of the lake was relatively slow, but there was enough current to attract a couple schools of suckers onto the apron. I did not see any walleyes or other game fish at the dam on this trip.
I was happy to see that the gate at the entrance of the boat ramp and parking lot was open. While the campground will remain closed during the opening week, the open gate may be an indication that the US Army Corps of Engineers intends to leave the boat ramp and parking lot open for ..." Read >> Fishing Opener Updates April 28, 2020
Folks have gotten so confused about what they can and can’t do, that I think this is a really good time to let them know what your plans are. Open or closed, ready or not, taking a break or whatever, if you want to let folks know what their options are, this is the time, and the place to do it. The note from Alice and Justin Wiese below is a perfect example of what we need. If you have updates like this one, then drop me a note with a few words and I’ll get them into the report. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
“Justin and I plan to resume our full fishing service from opener and beyond.
We offer full day or half day reservations, fully equipped, and target multi-species. We have limited our group size and now will offer only up to 4 people/boat. We clean and sanitize boat and equipment thoroughly after each trip. $100 deposit is required at time of reservation, with a 48hr cancelation policy. We are looking forward to getting on the water!" — Justin & Alice Wiese, Wheezy Guide Service 218-275-7525
"The bass fishing is, or is about to become, red hot throughout much of the country. With big bass finally leaving their winter haunts and heading for shallower water, they will soon be much easier to catch and locate.
Whether your particular area is early prespawn, spawn or freshly post-spawn right now, you have an excellent chance of catching your personal-best bass over the next few months.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows, though. As the weather continues to warm and more anglers begin to flood their favorite lakes, the increased fishing pressure can make the bite pretty slow at times. It might take some creativity to differentiate your offerings from what the fish are seeing nearly every day.
A lot of ice disappeared over the weekend; we saw for ourselves that the east side of Pokegama was wide open. On Saturday, Cub Reporter Will Layland wrote;” Little Cutfoot is open, Little Jessie is mostly open and Big Jessie should be open by Monday.”
With the warm weather, some anglers emerged from their Covid Virus hiding spots and began testing the shallow bays and inlets for panfish. We saw folks fishing in several likely panfish locations around the area.
I aspired to getting in on some early action too, I wanted to get some suckers for the smoker while I have the free time to prepare them. But my goal of finding a spot where suckers were running, looked better on paper than it did in practice. My favorite spots showed little sign of any fish movement and the best report I heard was from a young man who ..." Read >> Grand Rapids Area Fishing Updates April 27, 2020
John Keprios emailed on April 23, 2020; "One quick question, I have never tried fishing for perch on Winnibigoshish just after ice out and would like to know if you have had any luck trying to catch perch on the open water between ice out and the walleye opener. Any advice like best depths to find them in and general locations?"
A) The short answer is that after ice out, everything is about spawning.
By the time Winnie, or any other good perch fishing lake is ice free, pike have already made their move into shallow, back water bays and creeks. Walleyes are next, moving toward their preferred spawning habitat even before the big lake is completely open. Perch are next to spawn, following closely behind the walleyes in timing, but not location.
While walleyes move toward shallow gravel on the main lake, or into the flowages and small rivers, perch head toward areas that contain woody cover. The spawning structure could consist of ..." Read >> Ice Out Perch Fishing Lake Winnie April 24, 2020
On Wednesday April 22, 2020, I received an email from Explore Minnesota. It contained the most comprehensive list of the types of lodging services that are available, or not available to anglers in Minnesota right now.
Long story short, resorts are (and always have been) allowed to remain open. However, while Governor Walz’ “Stay at Home Order” is in place, anglers will continue to be discouraged from traveling to them.
By now, most resort and campground owners have probably received the same email, so they likely already have this information available. But anglers everywhere continue to ask for updates about this confusing aspect of the executive order and its impact on the fishing opener.
According to the newsletter, even though resorts will be “allowed” to remain open, they are not obligated to ..." Read >> Minnesota Resorts Remain Open — With Caveats April 23, 2020
I don’t need to catch many fish to be happy, but I do like seeing one come in occasionally. That’s one reason I love going over to Superior, if you look far enough down the shoreline, you’re going to see somebody catch a fish. Sometimes we can see them moving around in the water too, they don’t always bite, but it feels good to see them and know that they are nearby.
Rigging up to fish the shoreline is easy, a slip float suspended a few feet about a small jig tipped with waxworms is what most folks use. There are some folks who fish on the bottom using Lindy Rig type setup. The rig includes a ½ to ¾ ounce bottom weight and a leader with either a plain hook or a floating Lindy Rig leader. Again, tip the hook with a few waxies, cast the sinker and let the rig lay on the bottom.
After our first couple of trips over there, I learned that when you’re fishing from shore, the angler with the most reach has an advantage; so I ..." Read >> Report Ultimate Shore Fishing Setup April 21, 2020
Responses to Saturday's column, Governor Allows Certain Outdoor Businesses To Re-Open.
Thomas Kotula wrote; "How far you go away from home is subjective and I doubt many people, including myself, are going to worry about that. Not to mention this is a suggestion by the governor not a law.
A) Trying to stay on top of all the rules is getting worse than keeping up to date with Minnesota's Fishing Regulations Book.
The best place to look for clarity on changes to these executive orders is on Governor Tim Walz' website, so that's where I checked. Under the NEWS tab, there's a complete list of all executive orders including the most ..."
As doctors and nurses wage the primary battle against the coronavirus, a secondary conflict is gaining intensity: how to ease the price paid by closed businesses, schools and idled workers. Since mid-March, more Americans lost their jobs more quickly than any time in history. Minnesota just six weeks ago was one of the strongest economies in the country, but now nearly one in five people in the state’s labor force is jobless.
Pressure grew all last week for government leaders to chart an end to their stay-home orders and nonessential business designations — and to allow businesses and consumers to ..." Read >> Minnesota business leaders say Walz's next move could make or break them
If you have an itch to go fishing, and you live close to a bait shop, then you are in luck. Governor Tim Walz’ most recent executive order 20-38, allows bait stores to re-open beginning today, April 18, 2020 at 5:00 AM.
That’s right, Minnesotans are now allowed to stop for live bait on their way to the fishing hole.
That is as long as the fishing hole isn’t too far away from home, and they don’t bring anybody from outside of their own household, and provided they don’t stay overnight, and as long as they pledge to stay at least 6 feet away from the nearest human.
Executive Order 20-38 also relaxes restrictions on certain other outdoor facilities such as marinas that rent seasonal docking spaces or provide repairs, sell fuel and the like. Folks that install docks and boat lifts are in luck too, they can ..." Read >> Governor Allows Certain Outdoor Businesses To Re-Open April 18, 2020
In the past month, some public officials in northern Minnesota have said visitors aren't welcome, worried metro vacationers might tote the coronavirus with them. But resorts need customers. Or some won't survive.
Three weeks from today, on the eve of the Fishing Opener, Minnesota resort owners near and far from the Twin Cities will swing open their cabin doors and hope people show up.
Already many of these small-business operators have developed new ways to clean their cabins, sell bait from their shops and keep anglers safe distances from one another while launching boats — all because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now they need customers. Or some won’t survive.
“A lot of resorts are getting by now only on their ..." Learn More >> April 17, 2020 Northern Minnesota resort owners make clear they want anglers coming their way
Folks in the southern half of Minnesota are lucky, the ice has been gone for good a while. Most of the lakes have been open long enough to become re-oxygenated and before this past cold spell struck, panfish had already begun early, pre-spawn feeding runs into small bays and shallow areas.
Somewhere south of the twin cities my nephew had already begun catching some good crappies and sunfish before the cold front interrupted. With warmer weather headed our way, I’ll bet those panfish will begin feeding again, they may even begin moving toward spawning locations if warm temperatures persist. If I know my nephew at all, those panfish are in trouble!
In my home territory, we still have lots of ice, but winter is beginning to lose its grip on my favorite fishing lakes. So far, I can’t report any lakes that are ice free, but almost everywhere I have checked, ice has ..." Read >> Ice Out Report April 17, 2020 418 200 300
I mentioned yesterday that I’d been soliciting information about lodges, resorts and bait shops about their current plans for the fishing season opener. I learned quickly from early responding resorts and bait shops that response to the Covid-19 situation is going to be all over the map.
Most of those early answers to my questions were clear; the proprietors either said we’ll be open, or they said we’ll be closed, there wasn’t much grey area.
Later in the day though, the responses began getting more thought provoking and complex; like this one from a regular contributor.
Lee Nupson at Oak Point Resort on Leech Lake asked as many questions as it answered. "Nupson; “We will be open but I am a little confused about our ability to ..." Read >> MN Fishing Opener Update April 16, 2020
On April 10th I wrote about the 2020 walleye opener, "For many, fishing closer to home is probably going to be the best bet. A day trip to any lake that allows comfortable travel time to and from our own homes would be ideal. Folks with well stocked cabins or campers that require little interaction in the community will probably be just fine too.
The situation is fluid, so I’ll be adding frequent updates as information about lodging and fishing supplies become available. In the meantime, stock up your tackle box and tune up your outboard, the opener is only 28 days away!"
Well as of today, the fishing opener is only 23 days away and Governor Tim Walz' Emergency Executive Order 20-35 places yet another roadblock for Minnesota anglers.
If you’re like me, then you may tend to always have a handful of unfinished details on your plate. I admit it, I am famous for always running behind, having to get one last little thing done on my way to work.
Sometimes it’s because I didn’t have time to finish all of my chores the day before, but often, procrastination is the culprit. I could have been caught up, but for one reason or another, just didn’t make time to take care of little jobs when I had the chance.
For me, getting a new fishing license has never been a last minute detail. But I have witnessed a lot of folks who hadn’t planned ahead and were forced into scurrying for their new license on their way to the lake.
Waiting until the last minute is not a good idea this year, if you procrastinate, you might not get to ..." Read >> Fishing Opener Update April 14, 2020
After reading my Thursday update about the Minnesota fishing opener, Nate Altendorf wrote; “The question I have about the MN fishing opener is can we travel outside of our community to fish?”
A) Nate, the direct answer is yes, we are allowed to travel anywhere in Minnesota to fish. But bear in mind that while we are legally allowed to fish anywhere in the state, some locations will be more practical than others.
Recalling yesterday’s comment from MN DNR Spokesperson Kim Pleticha; “All we ask is that anglers observe the safety practices described in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order.”
According to the stay home order, we definitely are allowed to ..." Read >> MN Fishing Season Update April 10, 2020
Pleticha assured me that the DNR has no plan to cancel, postpone or otherwise interrupt the 2020 opening of Minnesota’s walleye fishing season.
“All we ask is that anglers observe the safety practices described in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order;” Pleticha said.
“Ramps and parking areas owned and maintained by the Minnesota DNR will be open. But we cannot give assurances that local accesses owned by counties or municipalities will ..." Read >> Fishing Opener Update April 9, 2020
Since this Covid-19 stay home order was implemented, all my usual spring routines have been wiped out. Reporting the report-able has been fine for the gloom and doom crowd, but optimists like me have had to turn over a lot of stones to find a good story.
Take the Northwest Sportshow for example. According to the plan, it would have ended last Sunday. By now, I should have spent several days telling you about all the cool stuff that I found at the show; but that was cancelled, so I couldn’t.
After that, I should have been giving you reports from the Rainy River and talking about all the great walleye fishing that’s been going on. But we can’t get on the river with a boat so that’s been off the table too. Last week, I was able to at least ..." Read >> Fishing Update April 8, 2020
By now, you’ve likely heard about Koochiching County’s decision to close the 4 county owned boat ramps on the Rainy River this spring. That decision, controversial at the time, appears to have been made moot by Governor Walz’ shelter in place order; or is it?
I went to Governor Walz’ website, clicked on the StayHomeMN Frequently Asked Questions sections and selected “When is it okay for me to leave my home?” Among the listed exceptions to the travel ban; found this. “Permissible activities during the stay at home order include: Outdoor activities, such as walking pets, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing.”
Apparently, Governor Walz or someone at his office has the good sense to understand that we’re better off outside than staying cooped up. So, if we can navigate the rest of the restrictions in the shelter in place order, they are encouraging all of us to get outside and be active.
I’m assuming that it will be tough to obtain live bait. But even if bait and tackle shops are closed because of the restrictions, I think too that most of us can cobble together some lures that will work well enough to keep the fish entertained.
I’d rather go fishing without my favorite bait, than sit at home working myself into a tizzy over the media coverage of this bizarre event. So, that’s what I’m going to do and if I see you out there, I will keep my distance; I PROMISE! — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
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
Wired2Fish's Ryan DeChaine faces such a situation on a small lake and walks through how to map an offshore hump using Humminbird's AutoChart Live and Zero Line SD Card.
Using Humminbird's AutoChart Zero Line SD Card, DeChaine uses a circular survey method instead of traditional transects to quickly and accurately map the structure. He then describes how to display and adjust bottom hardness data on top of the custom map; bottom hardness in conjunction with accurate 1-foot contour intervals reveals previously hidden spots on the ..." Learn More >> Custom Mapping Tips For Humminbird Users
Q) On January 11, 2020 Shannon Poppinga Wrote; "I live in South Dakota and fish the river and many NE lakes. We cast most of the spring and summer for walleye in some high wind days.
Currently, the boat that I have is a Ranger 618 tiller and my current engine is a Yamaha 90 HP with the variable RPM button to help get the proper power I need.
I am interested in a larger 20 foot tiller boat but I am concerned about not being able to use a larger motor on a 20 ft tiller to put the butt of the boat into the waves, be able to idle down slow enough so I can sit in one place and cast.
I was looking on the internet to see if I could find any info on this and stumbled onto one of your reviews of Lund Tiller Boats. I’m more interested in knowing if you feel I would be able to get a larger Mercury tiller motor to do what I need?"
A) Shannon, my history with 20-foot tiller boats goes back a long time, I’ve owned about 25 of them. These days, I have ..." Learn Morde >> Reader Asks About Mercury Pro XS 115 HP Tiller Performance
"Side imaging sonar reveals an entirely new underwater world to anglers interested in learning the technology. It produces highly detailed readouts of the water column and bottoms off both sides of the boat; this has some major benefits, one of which being discovering sleeper or hidden spots missed by most anglers.
Jeff "Kolo" Kolodzinski demonstrates this perfectly. While driving to one of his "known" spots, side imaging reads a bottom composition change - it's a hard spot covered with fist-sized rocks and some larger boulders mixed in. Of note, there's no appreciable change in depth, so mapping doesn't ..." View Video >> How to Use Side Imaging to Find Hidden Spots
Fishing The Fall Turnover In Natural Lakes - Jeff Sundin
... "This probably means that for most fishermen, "The Turnover", I mean the absolute scientific event is probably not really what influences fish locations and feeding patterns during the cold water period.
Jeff Sundin is a full time, professional fishing guide, outdoor writer and photographer. Book Jeff for guided fishing trips, for fishing seminars, fishing promotions and media events. Click here >> learn more about Jeff Sundin.
"The Early Bird Fishing Guide" Jeff Sundin - Fishing Blue Books, LLC 715 Byington Ave, LaPrairie, MN 55744 218-245-9858
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