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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report April 18, 2018 "Mother's Friendly Game of Football"

image of ice conditions at grand rapids I’m learning that watching the weather forecast and anticipating its impact on ice-out is lot like watching a Vikings game. At the moment, it looks like we’re in the game, but we won’t know if we’re actually winning until after the 2 minute warning.

Right now, surface snow cover is melting really fast, feeder creeks and rivers are open and some of the ice around boat ramps or user developed landings is breaking up. But on the lakes, there are persistent reports of ice thicknesses ranging from 20 to 30 inches and we continue to see folks driving light trucks, apparently safely, on Grand Rapids area lakes.

Temperatures remain warm enough to reduce the supply of ice by a little bit every day, so that's the bright side. On the gloomy side, conditions throughout the area remain dry and the subsequent lack of runoff from melting snow is slowing down the ice-out process.

A good rain storm would really do wonders for those of us up here in north central Minnesota’s drought region!

With at least another 5 days of warm weather predicted, I am cautiously optimistic that we can still see ice out on a lot of lakes by my originally predicted date, May 3, 2018. Admittedly though, temperaures must remain warm for the next couple of weeks for this to happen.

Pitting Minnesota anglers against Mother Nature is hardly a fair contest, but occasionally, she does deliver conditions favorable to us. I’m hoping that’s what she does over the next couple of weeks. There’s still time for a late, but still fairly routine Walleye opener.

In other words, we appear to be advancing the ball up field and at the moment, it looks like we’re winning. A fumble, interception or any untimely penalty would be a huge setback.

So Mother, all you have to do is take this ball and run it into the end zone for a touchdown; OKAY? No more cold fronts! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report April 19, 2018 "On The Track Toward Ice-Out"

image of ice conditions at grand rapids I can’t say that finding signs of a spring meltdown was easy yesterday, but it was definitely easier than it was on Tuesday.

The most notable difference was the appearance of flowing water in small feeder creeks and rivers. It will only take a few days to get rid of whatever snow cover that remains in the bogs, so runoff from melting snow probably won’t last long enough to force the ice-out on most lakes. Still, the flowing water is a gift that is moving things along in the right direction and any progress is good progress.

South of Grand Rapids, we stopped at one small lake just as a couple of young fishermen were driving off of the ice. They’d been in town for a couple of days and reported drilling through 20 to 24 inches of ice in the area they’d been fishing. They reported that execpt for the top few inches, that were honeycombed, the ice was solid and dry.

They said driving their SUV was easy on Tuesday, but was getting a little dicey by the end of Wednesday. One of the men added that he doubted whether or not he’d try to drive on the same lake again today (Thursday) because the surface was beginning to get soft and slushy. Both of them appeared to be pleased that they made it off of the ice without incident.

image of ice conditionsPanfish were biting they said and the two anglers were sporting big smiles, appropriate for the occasion. Obviously, I din't know where they were fishing or what they were using, but just knowing that the fish were biting did give me a tingle. The news maybe even made me curious enough to get back onto the ice this weekend; we'll see.

Bill Powell at Fred’s Bait caught my comments on Tuesday including the mention that I found the store closed and wrote; “I’ve been fishing early in the mornings, still using the light truck and I noticed this morning that quite a bit of the snow has disappeared.

I don’t think there will be much change before the upcoming weekend, but after that I will probably switch to either my ATV or to walking. 
The shop will be open Thursday Friday and Saturday morning in case you need some Night Crawlers or ice fishing bait. From then on, we will be in and out until open water arrives.”

I agree with Bill that conditions on the ice probably won't change much before the weekend. Conditions at the landings might be another story though and I saw a lot of open water at ramps on Wednesday. There were enough trouble spots to convince me that counting on driving vehicles on the ice this weekend is not a good idea. If you're planning one last ice fishing trip, bring your ATV or else plan on hoofing it on your favorite little lake.

link to MN fishing Museum websiteIf you don't have plans for Friday night and want to get an earful about fishing, then come and join us at the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Fishing Hall of Fame Dinner.

They call the event "A Night With The Pros" and it's an opportunity for anglers to meet and visit with a group of pros who have amassed a lot of fishing knowledge and they're willing to share it with you. This year's event features names like Gary Roach, Kristen Merwin, Dave Genz, Steve Quinn and Mandy Ulrich, just to name a few. There will be 30 pros in all and yes, I will be one of them.

The event is held at the Little Falls Ballroom, 15879 MN Hwy 27, Little Falls. The doors open at 5:00 PM for the meet and greet, the dinner begins at 6:30 and there will be tons of door prizes, silent auctions and other fun stuff.

Tickets are available online here >> MN Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report April 18, 2018 "Thawing the Thawable"

image of ice conditionsPublic sentiment is obviously weighted heavily against ice fishing these days.

Despite ice thicknesses ranging from 24 to 36 inches and easy access available at public landings, I could only spy one group of anglers on the ice yesterday. That after driving past some of Deer River’s most popular late season fishing spots.

My first clue not to expect seeing much action was when I stopped in to say hi at Fred’s Bait and the store was closed.

I supposed that when the walleye season on the Rainy River ended, so did the flow of traffic and Bill was probably ready for a rest. I don’t blame him at all, but it does indicate that if you’re headed for the lake, call ahead to be sure your favorite bait shop will be open.

Highlights along my route were few and far between; most of the lakes I saw were still locked up with ice and the accesses were in very good condition. There were some areas of open water; both sides of the bridge at Little Cutfoot were open. That open water did not extend to the pipes where the DNR nets will eventually intercept spawning walleyes, but it was still a hopeful sign that spring is coming.

By the time I arrived at the north landing on Round Lake, my concerns about low water were heightened. Despite most of the state being dumped on by recent snowfalls, the north central region remains dry. Water at this landing is easily 3 feet low and looks just like it did during the peak of last summer’s drought. I know that there will be some relief from snow melting, but from what I could see, snow in the bogs is disappearing fast and there was little if any runoff heading toward small tributaries.

Dry conditions won’t help speed up ice out either, without some current flow and seepage from above the surface, ice will linger longer.

image of little cutfoot siouxAt Grand Rapids, the outside air temperature reached 52 degrees during the afternoon. It took most of the day to take ahold, but combined with sunny skies, the warm temperature did take a big bite out of remaining snow cover on area lakes.

During late afternoon, I could see standing water on the ice and that’s good news for anybody who’d like to see open water sometime in the near future.

For now, I’m watching the lakes and banking on one more opportunity to take the Hippie Chick ice fishing this weekend. After that I think it’s going to get dicey, with lots of warm weather heading our way, shoreline conditions will deteriorate fast.

On Monday, a friend told me that there’s no way my prediction of ice out by May 3rd could come true. Maybe not, but I’m sticking with it; I honestly don’t believe that our ice will last very long once the sunshine starts working on it. I do believe that even if the ice is not “completely out” on every lake, there will definitely be areas where opening day walleye anglers can pursue the elusive Sander vitreus. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 17, 2018

image of giant walleye "The walleye/sauger season closed April 14th with a bang.  Strong numbers of big walleyes caught on the Rainy River this past week. 

Rainy River setting up very nicely for MN Fishing Opener May 12th as big fish should still be there.  Some big fish also caught through the ice adjacent to Pine Island.  Reports of large cracks opening on the lake. Safety first. Ice roads closed to vehicles and are travel at your own risk. 

Big pike being caught in pre-spawn areas and shallow bays.  Live suckers, big smelt, or hot dogs working.  Minnows and other legal fish used for bait must be authorized through bait dealers. Auger extensions still needed.

Rainy River sturgeon fishing is hot right now. Many big fish being caught this past week. Finding deeper holes and laying a sturgeon rig (18" leader of 60 lb test with a 5/0 circle hook) with a crawler/shiner mix and a 4-5 ounce no roll sinker is the ticket.  

Around the lake, pike being caught in back bays and areas adjacent to spawning areas.  Again, safety #1.  If venturing on ice, have a partner, take precautions and have necessary safety gear. "  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge April 17, 2018

"The sun was shining a bit more this past week but the temperatures were still a little cool. We look forward to this coming week, with temps supposed to get into the 50’s.

Walleye season is now closed. However, Sturgeon and Northern fishing are open. Right now, the two landings open for river access are Birchdale and Frontier. Vidas has a good chance at opening this next week if we get those temps in the 50’s. We will keep you updated on those conditions. If you are looking to come up and do some northern fishing there is still plenty of ice on the lake to take advantage of.

We are still working on our spring remodel projects, with the Great Cabin close to done and the deck on the main lodge completely removed, we are set to start on site prep and the retaining wall for the new deck this next week.   

Burger Night is back and very popular, Friday nights 4.25 for a ¼ pound single, or 5.25 for a ½ pound double, build your own burger bar with chips.  Saturday is Taco Night!  7.50 for all you can eat build your own tacos. Both nights were a hit as we sold out of both Burgers and Tacos! Be sure to join us next week for these great specials!

Guided Sturgeon fishing packages are now available for April and May.  As soon as the Wheelers Point access is clear and we can put in boats, we will be guiding for Sturgeon through May 7th." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish April 15, 2018 "Lew's TLCP1H Reel Giveaway"

image links to fishing rod giveaway "High-end features include a one-piece aluminum frame, 11 bearings, Carbon C45 side plates, centrifugal brakes, carbon fiber drag and Zirconia line guide is just the beginning. The super low profile weighs an amazing 5.8 ounces and comes equipped with bowed 95mm carbon fiber handle and Winn Dri-Tac knobs.
This reel comes in both right and left-handed models and comes in 6.8:1, 7.5:1, and 8.3:1 gear ratios. They retail for $259.99. We are going to ..." Enter for a chance to win >> Lew's TLCP1H Reel Giveaway


April 15, 2018, Steven Maier, Great Lakes Echo Wrote; "People can once again kill cormorants"

image of cormorant "Control of the double-crested cormorant will return this spring when the bird returns from wintering along the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf coasts, according to federal authorities. Almost all culling was suspended last year after a federal judge ruled in May 2016 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to adequately assess its impact. With that study complete, the service can again issue permits to kill cormorants to protect property, habitat, airports, fish hatcheries and other birds.

“We’re trying to balance maintaining a stable cormorant population with managing them in the place where they’re causing damage,” said Tom Cooper, a region chief for the ..." Read Full Article >> People can once again kill cormorants


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 14, 2018 "Ice; If You're Not Making It, You're Losing It"

image of ice conditions at grand rapids Ice almost never stays exactly the same. If the weather is cold enough, the ice will get thicker and if it’s not, then the ice is melting; there’s no in-between. So in terms of both quality and thickness, looks can be deceiving. From a distance, the ice on most Itasca Area Lakes still looks really good.  But even if it looks like the ice on your favorite lakes looks just as thick as it did yesterday, it probably isn’t. When one goes out onto the ice and takes a closer look, evidence of an eventual melt-down is mounting.

Yesterday I wanted to get a firsthand look at the quality of ice near home, so I took a walk on a popular Grand Rapids area fishing lake.

The surface was covered by a couple of inches of wet, heavy snow, saturated with water caused by runoff from snow that melted on Thursday. There were some shallow puddles scattered randomly across the lake, but there wasn’t any evidence of significant flooding.

As I began drilling a hole, my auger blade encountered crisp, solid ice that was dryer than I expected. In fact, even as the blade came close to punching out the bottom of the hole, ice chips were still coming up fairly dry. I didn't like that because the solid, dry ice chips were a signal that we haven’t had enough water from surface melting to saturate the ice. Saturating the ice with melted surface water is one way to speed up the melting process. So the dry ice isn't good news for anxious fishermen who want to see the ice go away in time for the fishing opener in 5 weeks.

There was one glimmer of hope though, when I measured the thickness of the ice, my tape measure stopped at a little less than 24 inches. I know that's still fairly thick, but it’s a far cry from the 40 inches of ice that covered the lake a couple of weeks ago. The receding ice thickness also proves that the ice is melting, even if we can’t see it happening.

It’s 5:45 AM and as I write this, the ground outside my office is dry and the skies are clear. Apparently, we’ve been missed completely by the snow storm that blew through Minnesota last night. Unfortunately, we really could have used that precipitation up here.  Not only would the runoff have helped get rid of some ice, it would have provided relief for some of the lakes that remain low after last summer’s drought.

My ice out date forecast of May 3, 2018 appears to be in jeopardy at the moment. But I still have over 3 weeks and Mother Nature is full of surprises. So while I’m more cautious than I was before, I AM sticking with my prediction; May 3, 2018 Ice Out. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 13, 2018 "One Last Chance For Walleye Anglers"

image of ice fishermen I feel bad for everybody in south central Minnesota where yet another “storm of the century” is expected to arrive soon. It’s no fun being stuck inside while there are still so many fishing opportunities available. But the weekend weather forecast for us folks up north doesn’t look bad at all and I hope that some of you can take advantage of it.

Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-high thirties will be ideal for folks who’d like to ice fish for panfish or even take one last swing at Lake of the Woods Walleyes this Saturday. In fact, I spent a good part of Thursday checking the availability of lodging, hoping that I could take the Hippie Chick on an adventure to catch her walleye through the ice.

The folks at Border Bait advised me that the ice road going out of Wheelers Point was closed to vehicle traffic just a few days ago. But anglers using ATV’s and snowmobiles are moving freely across 4 mile bay and out onto the lake.

There’s a reason that they closed the road to vehicles, but it’s not because the ice is disappearing. Ice thickness continues to range been 40 and 60 inches, yes that’s right, I said as much as 60 inches of ice still covers certain areas of the main lake. In other words, if you can find your way out of 4 mile bay, you can fish almost anyplace you want on the main lake.

The Rainy River is an option for folks who’d rather fish from a boat on Saturday, but the walleye action isn’t likely to impress you. Folks are catching some fish, but the average size is considerably down from what it was a week ago and the numbers are not fabulous either. Still, the river current is very manageable and there are fish being caught. As long as you're on the water with a fishing rod in your hand, there’s always a chance that you’ll hit the perfect spot at the right time.

Closer to home, panfish lakes have plenty of good ice too and in most instances the accesses are in very good condition. There was some runoff from melting snow on Thursday, but this morning our roads are dry. I’d expect that we’ll have enough solid ice to carry us through the next week.

Both panfish and perch can be found closer to shore these days and that means walking can be a good option for anglers who don’t have ATV’s. With little or no snow cover, it will get slippery out there so don’t forget your cleats!

I've been hearing some rumbling about whether there will be open water for the fishing opener. Looking at ice covered lakes on April 13th doesn't exactly bolster confidence in my prediction that we'd have ice out by May 3rd, but it appears that Mother Nature is bringing some warm weather our way. As temperatures reach into the mid-forties, the quality of our ice will decline rapidly and I still believe that this will put us back on track for an open water fishing opener.

Response to the poll question about walleye bag limits that I posted yesterday has been robust; at the end of day one, there were already well over 3000 votes. The poll will continue to run for 6 more days and I’ll be sure to share the results at the conclusion. In case you missed it, you can learn more and vote here >> Fishing Reports Minnesota Walleye Bag Limit Poll fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Poll Question April 12, 2018 "Do you regard a 4 fish possession limit as "A Lot of Walleyes?"

image of walleyes at shore lunch On Tuesday, I wrote; "Referencing Bemidji Area Fisheries Manager, Gary Barnard's comments about Upper Red Lake Walleye bag limits, I found it interesting that he used the phrase "A Lot of Walleyes" to describe the 4 fish bag limit.

I can honestly say that for me, a 4 fish bag limit is fine. I have more than ample opportunity to catch enough fish to eat and I can usually accomplish it within a reasonable amount of time. But that said I still do not view a bag limit of 4 fish as “A Lot of Fish.”

Even the current statewide bag limit of 6 fish doesn’t stretch very far for folks who travel long distances to fish, or for those who have to wait for long periods of time between fishing trips. I suspect that folks who provide most of the tourism dollars to Minnesota’s economy come to our state because of “the promise” that they can take some fish home to eat. That is if they can find fish and if they can catch them.

I’ve written before that I’d love to see our state adopt a possession limit that favors tourism, but limits local consumption. I’d be more than willing to accept a lower bag limit for myself in return for a more generous limit for infrequent visitors.

In an attempt to gather information about public sentiment about the walleye bag limits, I set out to create a poll for the Fishing Reports Minnesota Page on Facebook. I’m afraid that the Facebook polls are very limited in scope, so this poll is admittedly a far cry from being scientific. Despite being allowed to ask only one question, we would still like to know your opinion.

Do you prefer a statewide, 4 walleye bag limit, or do believe that your needs are not met only by the current 6 fish bag limit? Answer Poll Question >> Fishing Reports Minnesota fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 10 , 2018

image of sturgeon "Ice fishing on the lake doing well. Reefs near Arnesen's and Long Point producing some nice keepers. Some big walleyes being caught along Pine Island. Rattles working well on all spoons. Ice roads all different open to trucks some only atv/sleds, and some closed. Call ahead and work through a resort / outfitter who is monitoring their road. Big pike being caught in pre-spawn areas. Live suckers, big smelt, or hot dogs have been producing best. Pike bait must be through authorized bait dealer to prevent VHS. Walleye Season Closes Saturday April 14. Auger extensions still needed.

Rainy River spring fishing was difficult on weekend anglers as temperatures were overnight temps were in single digits. Birchdale and Frontier landings are open to all boats. Open water line moving west more every day this week as a warmer forecast upcoming. Nice walleyes being caught, colder temps slowed bite a bit. Lots of mid 20 inch fish to some over 30 inches.

Sturgeon fishing season is open through May 15, 2018

The NW Angle walleye bite will continue to be good until the end of the season, April 14. Walleyes and saugers in traditional areas in 15-20 feet during morning/evening and 21-25 feet during the day. Pike in shallow bays. Make sure to get your new fishing license."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge April 10, 2018

"Cold was the norm last week. Some of the accesses were even refreezing. This week we are seeing warmer temps starting on Wednesday with highs into the 40’s. There is still plenty of ice on the lake (approximately 4 feet) and the shorelines are still frozen, 4 wheelers and side by sides are best for travel on the ice, there is a lot of ice with bumpy travel. The lake has provided more productive catching than the river so far. Frontier seems to be the busiest access the last few days.

Burger Night is back, Friday nights 4.25 for a ¼ pound single, or 5.25 for a ½ pound double, build your own burger bar with chips. Saturday is Taco Night! 7.50 for all you can eat build your own tacos.

The Great Cabin remodel is wrapping up, we are waiting on some of the new furniture to make it complete. We will be removing the old deck on the lodge as soon as weather permits for a new replacement deck.

Guided Sturgeon fishing packages are now available for April and May. As soon as the Wheelers Point access is clear and we can put in boats, we will be guiding for Sturgeon through May 7th." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report April 9, 2018 "Sorting the Sortable"

"Our past week, originally set aside for a fishing trip to the gulf to catch Redfish was diverted to a working vacation right here at home.

Merging two households into one is never easy, but pairing down into an 823 square foot house makes the process extremely interesting. Somehow though, the week of sorting the sortable and transferring cartons from one place to another has paid off. The once parallel lives of the Hippie Chick and me are becoming more singular every day.

With all of that moving and shaking going on, I’m afraid that playing catch-up with the latest news about fishing and ice conditions in the Itasca Area will dominate my schedule.  But I can definitely tell you that my trip up the learning curve will be a fast one. My next few days will all be spent fishing and they won’t be spent in a boat. No, ice fishing is still going strong and we are on our way to target some Super Jumbo Mega Magnum Perch and I really hope they’re in the biting mood!

However our trip works out, fishing reports and updates about ice conditions will become increasingly plentiful later this week. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits that came in over the wire this morning." fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper home page April 9, 2018 - Can We Comapare Walleye Spawning During 2013 vs 2018?

image of walleye egg harvest at Cutfoot sioux "Q) Alan Kirkpatrick wrote; "Do you happen to remember back to the spring of 2013 and what the dates were for the walleye egg harvest at Little Cutfoot? I am trying to make some comparison to this year's late spring and what will be happening up there, someday soon, I hope.

I do realize the length of days for the run, and their stripping operation greatly depends on the given weather conditions of each year, but I'm just looking for a starting date when things got rolling back then. Thanks for your thoughts and time."

A) Alan, as a matter fact I do remember that spring and recall that the dates for the walleye egg harvest at Cutfoot Sioux didn’t begin until well into May of 2013. I checked my own reports from that spring and found this one, dated May 13, 2013; “Surface water temperatures hovered at about 45 degrees today, warm enough to trigger a full scale spawning run. In fact, within one day of setting their nets, DNR fisheries staff at the Little Cutfoot Egg Harvesting Station found them chock full of plump walleye which were “ripe” for spawning. I expect that if the run is on at this location, then spawning runs will be nearly running full scale at most other spawning locations as well.”

There’s no doubt that we’re on a trajectory toward another late spawning run for 2018. But we’re still a long way from May and Mother Nature does have a way of dishing out surprises. The weather is forecast to take a turn toward warmer temperatures this week, the questions are how warm and how fast?

I made a prediction last Thursday on KAXE radio that ice out will occur on May 3, 2018. I am hopeful about that, but we’ll have to see how the rest of this week shapes up before I know how nervous I am about that prediction coming to fruition.


image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge April 9, 2018

"Cold was the norm last week. Some of the accesses were even refreezing. This week we are seeing warmer temps starting on Wednesday with highs into the 40’s. There is still plenty of ice on the lake (approximately 4 feet) and the shorelines are still frozen, 4 wheelers and side by sides are best for travel on the ice, there is a lot of ice with bumpy travel. The lake has provided more productive catching than the river so far. Frontier seems to be the busiest access the last few days.

Burger Night is back, Friday nights 4.25 for a ¼ pound single, or 5.25 for a ½ pound double, build your own burger bar with chips. Saturday is Taco Night! 7.50 for all you can eat build your own tacos.

The Great Cabin remodel is wrapping up, we are waiting on some of the new furniture to make it complete. We will be removing the old deck on the lodge as soon as weather permits for a new replacement deck.

Guided Sturgeon fishing packages are now available for April and May. As soon as the Wheelers Point access is clear and we can put in boats, we will be guiding for Sturgeon through May 7th." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge


image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 4, 2018

image of big pike caught on lake of the woodsIce fishing on the lake heated up this week. Reefs to the west produced some nice fish as did areas adjacent to the south shore. Shallows overall producing nicely for the morning / evening bite. Fish deeper in the afternoon.

Rippin Raps hot this week along with plain hook and live minnow. Some ice roads open to trucks some only atv/sleds, and some closed. Call ahead and work through a resort / outfitter who is monitoring their road. Big pike being caught in pre-spawn areas and on top of reefs. Live suckers, big smelt, or hot dogs have been producing best. Pike bait must be through authorized bait dealer to prevent VHS. Auger extensions still needed.

Rainy River spring fishing in full swing. Birchdale and Frontier landings are open to all boats with the open water line moving west more every day. Nice walleyes being caught despite chilly temps over weekend.

The NW Angle walleye bite will continue to be good until the end of the season, April 14. Walleyes and saugers in traditional areas in 15-20 feet during morning/evening and 21-25 feet during the day. Pike in shallow bays. Make sure to get your new fishing license.


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