As you can see by the photo, we’re planning to spend some time talking about Lindy’s new Glow Spoon and the experiences we had during the testing process last winter. That’s going to be a lot of fun for me because after holding my breath for most of a year, I finally get to tell some fish stories!
I know, you’re not going to come all the way over to the St. Paul Ice Show just to listen to me tell stories. But you really should plan on coming because if ever there’s a chance to get questions answered, this is it. There will be more experts on this show floor than anywhere else you can go for the rest of the year.
I’m guessing that ice augers are going to make a lot of news down here this year. It’s pretty much settled that electric ice augers are going to be with us for a long time. Now that every manufacturer has their own electric model, the question to settle this year will be which one of them is the best one for you.
Ice fishing shelters have always played a prominent role in the ice show and this year won’t be any different. Wheel houses, permanent shelters, flip-overs and hubs were pouring into the building yesterday. I can’t imagine how anybody could walk away from the show without knowing everything there is to know about any kind of ice fishing shelter. As a matter of fact, I’m anticipating getting answers to my questions own about selecting a new lightweight portable that I can use for exploring on foot this winter.
Whatever other gizmo or gadget you’re interested in, it, along with an expert who knows how to use it, will be there. No matter how many other versions of “ice shows” pop up around the Midwest, this show is and will always be the one that they are hoping to copy.
Like I said, we have our own mission this year, to let the whole world know about how cool and unique the new Lindy Glow Spoon is. So if you’ll swing by the show and check them out, we have a “show special” to sweeten the deal for you. Buy 4 Lindy Glow Spoons from any retailer at the show, bring the spoons, along with your receipt to booth #331 and we’ll give you a free promo pack of ice jigs along with a free Lindy hat.We’re hoping that we have enough to last, but supplies are limited so come early if you can. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
There are no shortage of fishing videos, fishing articles and fishing news. Folks around the Midwest have plenty of chances to “get information”, but it’s a one way street, you have to glean whatever you can from the material whenever you see it.
Opportunities to exchange information don’t come along as often, but they do come along. The St. Paul Ice Show definitely provides one of the best opportunities for anglers to learn anything they could ever want to know about ice fishing.
Remember the time you were watching that ice fishing video and you saw something intriguing? Maybe it was the certain twitch of the rod tip, or the particular way a lure was presented, just for a moment, you wished that you could ask one quick question.
Well there’s a darn good chance that whoever produced that ice fishing video, article or commentary will be at this show. This is your chance to ask that question, along with a lot more. You’ll be on a two way street where information is exchanged, not just presented. I’ve been at a lot of “sport shows” and I can tell you that this one is high on my list of favorites. The people who work this show know what they're talking about and they're more than happy to share the info with you.
I might add that I’ll be working the show myself, so you can drill me with all the questions you want! These shows are a lot more fun when we have new and exciting information to share and this year we definitely do have new and exciting information for you. That’s why I hope you’ll mark your calendar and make some time to pay us a visit.
St. Paul Ice Show, Friday November 30, thru Sunday December 2, 2018. ST. PAUL RIVERCENTRE, 175 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, MN 55102 Click Here To Learn More >> St. Paul Ice Fishing Show
The plot, along with the ice is definitely thickening! Ice anglers are showing up in larger numbers at the bait shops. While the majority is still headed for Upper Red Lake, ice fishing shelters are becoming more numerous on local lakes as well.
I didn’t need to travel very far on Wednesday, because fishing updates were flowing in from resorters on Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish and Upper Red Lake. The following updates will help give you an idea about how the ice is shaping up and like I said on Wednesday morning, there’s going to be one heck of a surge in traffic this weekend.
If you’re out and about, don’t be shy, we’d love an update from your neck of the woods too. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"We have had quite a few people pushing out on the ice already. Of course lots of groups are pointing the truck north to Upper Red Lake in search of early ice walleyes, but a lot of local area lakes have been seeing some great pan fishing action as well.
Most people have been reporting back that they have been finding 3-7 inches on lakes that are on the smaller, shallower, and protected from fall winds.
No matter where you plan to fish every early ice, we recommend not going alone, bringing important safety gear like a rope and spikes, and taking your time and checking the ice as you go. Good Luck and BE SAFE!" Grant Prokop, 1000 Lakes Sports 218-999-5992
As of Tuesday, Becker’s Resort had 6 inches of ice out past the weed line on Lake Winnibisgoshish, their spear houses are out on the ice and ready for action. An email update today says; "Tom just returned to lodge and said there is now 9 inches of ice." - Tom & Jessica, Becker's Resort 218-665-2268
"Hi Jeff, yes we have ice, 10 inches staight out from the Third River landing and 7 at the clay banks. Water is clearing up, but still cloudy. So far, guests have gotten a few nice northern and some good sized perch too. Be safe out there." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612
"We have had a few people walk out in front of the resort and they said there's 8 to 12 inches of ice in the Pine Point area.
We have a lake access at Andersons Pine Point Resort near Pine point and the walker narrows. Thank you!" Jeff Anderson, Grand Vu Lodge 218-547-1632
"On Nov 19th when I cut some holes we had 6-1/2" of ice on steamboat bay, on the west side of Leech Lake. I haven't cut any new holes since, but I have to believe that we've added another couple of inches. The ice appears clear and solid. I won't vouch for the whole bay but Steamboat Bay typically stays pretty consistent." Lee Nupson, Oak Point Resort 218-335-2993
"I think this is the earliest date we have ever started our season. It has been a bitter cold November. We currently have 8-11 inches of ice as of today on the bay and lake in the areas we fish and travel. Other than a little bit of rough shore ice the ice is looking pretty smooth this year.
Our first day of ice fishing is just a couple days away Friday, November 30! We have day houses out now. No sleepers yet. The forecast continues to look ideal for ice making! We don’t have much snow yet so be sure to bring your ice cleats. Let the fun begin! Openings for fish houses and lodging available, be sure to ask about our hot deals November 30th, Thru December 5th, 2018!
Fishing Tips — Gold and pink 3/8 oz. jigs, buckshots, stop signs, charmers and flash bangs are always good go to tackle to start the year with in shallow under 20’ of water. No equipment? No problem! Our day houses are equipped with jig sticks, jigs, bait and we clean your fish for you, too. We even supply the transportation to and from the house and can bring you a lunch too!
Plowed Roads — Adrian’s Road out of Four Mile Bay and Morris Point’s road just a few miles away from the lodge are now open for ATV’s, Snowmobiles and Side by Sides. Keep safe, please stay on marked trails and keep speed slow. No travel is advised on the Rainy River.
At Oak Island — We are making ice by minute! Currently in the islands where we fish and travel we have anywhere from 5”-12” of ice right now. Rumor has it the mail man is making his first trek to us by snowmobile today. We are checking ice daily and working on getting the equipment ready. Check back for update, we plan to get our season kicked off soon!" — Sportsmans's Lodges 800-862-8602
"A judge has properly convicted a fishing guide for helping his client cheat in a Wisconsin salmon fishing tournament, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. Guide Michael Cefalu took Orylynn Helt fishing during the Kewaunee/Door Salmon Tournament back in 2013. They were fishing for a prize of $10,000 cash and nearly $1,500 in various merchandise.
The client, Helt, weighed in a 30.27-pound Chinook salmon at the tournament scales. The tournament director scanned the fish with a metal detector, which alerted him to the presence of metal inside of the salmon. Cefalu, the guide, was instructed to cut the ..." Learn More >> Wisconsin Anglers Convicted of Cheating in Fishing Tournament
But with all of the great gear and fishing lures out there, how can anybody do it? It seems like everything’s been done, it’s all been invented and re-invented; until now.
The Lindy Glow Spoon is both “New” and “Great” and this lure is going to knock the ball out of the park during the 2018/2019 ice fishing season.
Let Jon Thelen walk you through the features and benefits of the lure that’s setting the ice fishing world on fire. View Video >> Introducing Something "New and Great" - Lindy Glow Spoon
The ice fishing traffic on Grand Rapids area lakes is building as travel conditions improve. With ice thickness in the 6 to 8 inch range, folks have begun using ATV’s to get fishing shelters into their favorite spots.
Always in a hurry to get in on the early wave of shallow water pike movements, dark house anglers are in the lead in terms of who’s got their shelters on the ice. But on Tuesday, there were folks using portables to fish some of the areas smaller waters for panfish as well.
Typical of the early ice season, the traffic is building slowly, but I think that's because like me, a lot of folks have had other things on their schedules. By now, there are lakes that have been frozen for a couple of weeks already and I think there’s going to be a surge in activity this weekend as folks start “finding” areas with the best ice conditions.
Caribou Lake on highway 38 was the only one where I saw open water on my driving tour yesterday. Pokegama, Deer, Bass Lake; all of the later freezing waters were ice covered. I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but Paul Larson at Frontier Sports reported that Turtle Lake locked up a few days ago as well.
We all know the pitfalls of trying to get out on large, deep water lakes too soon, so don’t rush the large lakes this weekend. That said, I do believe that it’s safe to say that anybody who wants to go ice fishing in the northland this weekend can find a relatively safe place to do it.
There’s no doubt that I’ll be behind the curve when I start ice fishing next Tuesday. But until the St. Paul Ice Show closes on Sunday evening, my plans are locked in; I’ll be at the show. There’s going to be a lot of buzz at the Lindy booth this year because we’ll be showing off the new Glow Spoon and sharing stories about using them last winter.
I’d love to see you down there too, so I can show them to you in person, so do your best to drop by! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
The St. Paul Ice Show opens this Friday, November 30, 2018 and I’m sure that there will be a lot of buzz about folks who have already been fishing on the ice. The news, for the most part, will be from anglers who have travelled to Upper Red Lake. The early ice reports have been flowing in from the big lake for over a week already.
In North Central Minnesota, there are folks finding “decent” ice on small lakes, but there’s less ice on most of them than I expected to find. There’s 6 inches, give or take on the majority of shallow lakes in the Grand Rapids region. Larger lakes, especially the deeper ones like Pokegama are frozen over, but still have wet areas where thin ice has been flooded. It’s doubtful that you’ll find more than a couple of inches of ice over the mid-sections of the deeper lakes.
The next big wave of fishing news will be coming from Lake of the Woods. Rental operators are moving ice shelters into position right now and many of them expect to be opening for business this weekend.
The walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods was very good this fall, heightening expectations about the upcoming ice fishing season.
Several years back, dramatically fluctuating water levels forced baitfish away from the south shore. Now that abundant bait supplies have returned to the south, walleye and sauger are far more likely to remain in the southern side. If this theory holds true, then it’s likely that the early ice fishing action will be better this winter than it has been for several years. That’s what I’m hearing from experts who know their way around the giant lake; time will tell.
For me, the next few days are all about preparation. I’ll have the snowmobile and portable shelter loaded on the trailer today. After my weekend trip for the St. Paul Ice Show, I’ll hit the ground running and be ready to start the ice fishing season in earnest next Tuesday. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Without going overboard today, I wanted to say a few words about something else, something really good that we stumbled into, the Brookgreen Gardens at Murrel's Inlet, SC.
Originally a rice plantation, Brookgreen was converted in 1931, by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington to a sculpture garden intended to showcase the work of Anna Hyatt Huntington. Since its founding, Brookgreen has become a cultural center that combines art, history and nature.
Travelling on a budget, we turned into the driveway at Brookgreen expecting to find a place where we could burn up a few hours looking at some flowers and trees. What we found instead were miles of trails leading to scuptures, flower gardens and wildlife. In fact there was so much to see that we had to make a return trip a couple days later just so that we could take it all in. After the 2nd day, we finally felt like we'd seen most of it, but I know that there are still features that we overlooked.
I imagine that everybody who visits has a little differnet experience. Some folks like the scuptures, some like the trees; others may find the history of the plantaion most interesting. I'm a sucker for wildlife, so the critters tickled me the most, especially the birds. We took so many pictures that there's now way to show them all, but every once in a while, I'll stick one in, just for fun.
At $18 per ticket, you'll feel like you got your money's worth in about a half hour. But you don't have to rush, the ticket you purchase allows access to the place for 7 days; I can't imagine anyone not thinking that's a great bargain. If you're anywhere close to the area, visiting Brookgreen is a must, at least that's my opinion.
"Lake of the Woods. Spearing for pike in bays. Some resorts reporting ice fishing on the lake will begin towards the end of week. Initial test fishing by guides was excellent with good numbers of walleyes.
Water clarity looks good and where resorts are staking ice trails, reports of 5-7" on Four Mile Bay, 7-10" on the lake. Ice thickness varies. Resorts access lake in different spots and will get houses out when they feel safe. Please use resort marked trails and exercise safety precautions as ice thickness varies.
On the Rainy River... The Rainy River and Four Mile Bay is frozen over. Currently, higher than normal current makes river ice more dangerous. Reports of pike coming from Baudette Bay and other bays.
Up at the NW Angle... The NW Angle is locked with ice. Higher than normal current. As always, neck down and other areas with current are iffy. Some resorts have begun ice fishing with success. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails when ice fishing begins. Safety first." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"We're Starting MUCH Earlier Than Expected, It's Ice Fishing Time! The cool fall has been great for ice making. The guides checked ice over the weekend and said Nov. 30 is the day we will start fishing in our day houses! Make your plans now, day houses for the weekend are already filling FAST!" - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
Traffic was brisk at Fred’s Bait in Deer River on Friday. “I was really surprised”, Bill Powell said. “I didn’t sell many crappie minnows; most folks are going up to Red Lake for walleyes. I heard that there were some long lines of people waiting to purchase trail passes at Roger’s on Red.”
My friend Bob Bohland has already been up there and reported 8 inches of solid ice. The photo you see here came with the advisory; “First walleye of the season on Upper Red Lake, fishing out of West Wind Resort. The fish absolutely smoked the Porchlight color Lindy Glow Spoon. With this kind of glow, these Upper Red Lake walleyes don’t stand a chance!"
Generally speaking, fishing reports from Red Lake have been good. Not everybody is bagging their limit, but most folks are catching respectable numbers of fish. If you have friends who have already been to Upper Red, it probably won’t be hard to find photos of more early season walleye catches.
Locally, dark houses are going out on a variety of lakes in the Itasca Region. Some of them are going out onto better ice than others; there were reports Friday of some anglers placing their spear houses onto 3 inches of ice. That’s too thin for me, but the clamor to be in on the early action draws folks into some risky situations.
There are numerous reports of better ice in the area though. Shallow water lakes have been frozen for a couple of weeks already and ice thickness ranges from 5 to 7 inches on many of them. Deep water lakes have reasonably good ice over the shallow shoreline flats, but the ice over mid-lake basins cannot be trusted. Anybody setting out to fish this weekend should avoid most areas where fish are expected to be located in deep water.
I feel like I’m going to be the last person to get out on the ice this winter, but between family obligations and next week’s opening of the St. Paul Ice Show, time for fishing will be scare. Luckily, I’ve got a lot of friends who are already out there and we’ll all be able to live vicariously through their experiences over the next week.
I can always use a hand, so if you’re on the ice this weekend, please do get in touch with a quick update. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just a few words about the conditions you find in your neck of the woods.
Good luck out there, play it safe and have fun! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
A few weeks back, I mentioned that we had a lot of fun testing and perfecting the lindy Glow Spoons last winter. By now, you’ve probably seen at least some of the videos or seen some of the photos, but there are still a lot more to come.
In this short video, I do my best to explain how important color is to crappies, and give you a closer look at the Glow Spoon.
Do me a favor and take a few minutes to watch it, I think you’ll see that this lure will change the way you think about "GLOW" colors forever! View Video >> Glow Spoons And Giant Crappies
Most of you, I’ll bet, are thinking Myrtle Beach? Nobody goes there except to play golf. True, there are a lot of golfers around there, but not everybody in the area has a golf club in their hand, some folks carry fishing rods and personally, I’m happy to say that I was one of them.
How we wound up there is a long story. But basically it boils down to the Hippie Chick and me searching for a place to spend our timeshare week before our deadline on December 31st. Knowing that we had to “use it or lose it” put some pressure on us to sandwich in a trip between the end of Minnesota’s open water fishing season and the beginning of the ice fishing season.
So I’m checking the map, rejecting most of the obvious winter destinations for tourists when out of curiosity, I clicked on Myrtle Beach. HEY, this is interesting, look at all of the inland waterways, there must be someplace to fish nearby, I thought. So I did some more searching and sure enough, there were places to fish, lots of ‘em!
I mentioned the resort to the Hippie Chick and asked if she’d look it up. She did and that’s when I heard; “guess what honey, there’s a place where we can go horseback riding on the beach, can we do that too?” “Of course we can sweetie”; I said and from then on, we were both in.
Fishing for Red Drum, aka Redfish has been on my bucket list for a long time. So I overlooked the fishing charters that offer deep sea fishing and ones that offer fishing for other species.
It took a few tries before I found a captain who looked promising. A few of them never replied to my inquiries, others did reply, but then never stayed in touch to “close the deal”. Somewhere along the line, I contacted Captain Jordan Pate, Carolina Guide Service, his credentials looked good, his equipment looked good and he actually replied to my messages; that put him number 1 on my list. We worked out the date(s), got the trip scheduled and the countdown began.
I’ll get to the fishing report soon enough, but the way it worked out, the trail rides came first. So let’s start at the Inlet Point Plantation near North Myrtle Beach, where we spent our day last Friday.
Inlet Point doesn’t just have a handful of horses and a few trails to ride on. No, the plantation spans over 9000 acres and they have dozens of horses and enough trail guides to show folks around their trails that run long the Little River and others that follow the ocean beach as well.
We wanted to get every minute in the saddle that we could, so we signed up for both the ocean beach and the inland trail rides. The ocean ride came first, then after a short break, the river trail ride came after that. The scenery was beautiful on both rides, the horses were super nice and everyone on their staff was friendly and helpful.
So the Hippie Chick’s “bucket list beach ride” was a huge success, the weather was sunny and the scenery was fabulous, the only way the rides could have gone better is if we wouldn’t have had to come back.
Saturday morning, our first look at the Waccamaw River at Georgetown was a steamy one. With temperatures in the low 40’s, our ride out to the “Redfish Hole” with our Captain, Jordan Pate would be chilly. But Jordan was ready to go, he already had his 16 foot flats boat tied up at the dock when we arrived; all we had to do was settle in and enjoy the ride.
I guess it took about a half hour to reach the first spot, a grass covered point that lay adjacent to a wide spot in one of the back channels off the river. Jordan handed me a spinning rod that was rigged with a jig head and soft plastic tail rigged weedless. “Cast right up into the grass, give it a couple of hops and the work it back out into the channel. If you don’t get a hit, get it back to the boat and fire it out there again”; he said.
It took a little practice to get used to the heavier gear and to get the timing right, but it wasn’t all that long before I got my first strike. It took me a while to get the hooksets down too, but eventually Jordan’s advice paid off and Redfish began showing up at the edge of the boat.
The Hippie Chick was having too much fun taking pictures, but eventually we coaxed her into wetting a line too and that’s when the fun really started. The fun thing about watching my wife fish is that she gets excited whenever she hooks one. For me, listening to her giggle and watching her get all excited while she’s reeling in a fish is better than catching one myself!
As the weather warmed up, our day just kept getting better. The action came in spurts, but there was never a time when the action went dead. Spot by spot and cast by cast, we worked our way toward a total count of a couple of dozen fish.
We released almost everything we caught, but we were interested in a taste test, so we did bag a couple of fish for a meal. A Speckled Trout caught toward the end of our trip was added to the Redfish for comparison.
Jordan advised cooking the Redfish fillets on the BBQ grill. With the skin left on, the fillets were basted with melted butter, lemon and minced garlic and then sprinkled with Tony Chachere's creole seasoning. Cooked flesh side down on the grill, it doesn’t take long to prepare them, maybe 5 or 6 minutes.
The Speckled Trout were sautéed using butter, garlic and a splash of lemon without any coating or batter. The flesh of the trout is delicate, so they don’t need to be flipped or handled a lot, just let them cook for a few minutes on each side.
Both of the fish were delicious, my preference leaned toward the trout, but the Hippie Chick liked the Redfish better. I’m glad that we tried them, but I don’t have any regrets that we released most of the fish. Fresh seafood is both abundant and inexpensive in the region, so we didn’t need to fill a cooler. Instead we ate shrimp, flounder and scallops until they were coming out of our ears. It was the best of having our fish and eating them too!
There a lot of my friends who’d guess that I’d have hard time fishing with a guide, but honestly, nothing could be further from the truth; I had absolute blast fishing with Jordan. Without his knowledge of the area, we wouldn’t have had a clue what to do. His advice about how to attract fish and trigger them to strike was invaluable too.
As a matter of fact, the only regret I have is that we haven’t done this sooner and we are already studying the calendar to figure out when we can do it again.
How we found our way to the Myrtle Beach area is a story all by itself, but I’ve already gone on long enough about the trip. We found a lot more to do down there than just ride horses and go fishing. I’ll be sharing some photos over the next several days, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
I can’t honestly say that we’re too proud of the timeshare deal that we have. But I have to say that if it wasn’t for our “use it or lose it” stress planning, we never would have wound up staying at Myrtle Beach. Then we would have missed out on our delightful experiences with Captain Jordan, the Inlet Point Planation and a bunch of other adventures too.
If you’ve ever scratched your head about finding nice places to visit, then think about adding the Myrtle Beach area to your list; we don’t think you’ll be disappointed. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"On the main basin... Ice is making progress and now covers Lake of the Woods. Satellite images from 11-17-18 show the majority of the lake locked up with various pockets of open water. A very welcomed sign, but way too early to be on the main lake.
Some spearing for pike is taking place on Bostic Bay. Spearers are often the first on the ice. Please use resort marked trails and exercise safety precautions as ice thickness is varied.
On the Rainy River... The Rainy River and Four Mile Bay is frozen over with various pockets of open water. Currently, higher than normal current. Areas of the river locked up earlier in the week.
Up at the NW Angle... The NW Angle is locked with ice. Higher than normal current. As always, neck down and other areas with current are iffy. Mainly airboat traffic between islands thus far. Work through resorts and stay on staked resort ice trails when ice fishing begins. Safety first. We are getting closer!" – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
You won’t have to search very hard to find photos and stories about folks who have already been out fishing on the fresh ice. I really want to say something about ice fishing too, but I don’t want my words to just blend into the clamor. And I especially don’t want to lead you into a dangerous situation after getting you all hyped up about ice fishing.
If you really want to get out on thin ice this weekend, you can find a place to do it. But for me, there’s still too much going on in the woods and fields that I will regret missing if I don’t do it now. Opportunities for Pheasants, Grouse, Deer and some great photography are all still going on in the woods.
OH and then there’s the special mission that I’m on right now, the one that I have to keep quiet for a few more days. I can’t just wrap this project up and head out onto the ice; I’d never forgive myself if I did that!
The St. Paul Ice Show provides a nice natural break from one season to another for me. So after Thanksgiving and after the ice show, we plan to hit the ice hard and cover a lot of ground. Until then, I’ll keep you posted about what I do know about ice conditions and I’ll share reports from friends who do decide to get into ice fishing mode earlier than me.
The ice that’s formed on most of the smaller, shallow water lakes in north central Minnesota is pretty solid stuff. Thickness ranging from 4 to 6 inches is not uncommon and a diligent search could easily lead you ice in the 7 to 8 inch range by the weekend.
Larger lakes have skimmed over, but on many, the ice has been broken up by strong winds. Unless you know about a spot in a protected area that lies within walking distance of shore, I would rule out large lakes for now, there are just too many variables to predict a safe range of travel.
Further south, the ice is thinner, but even in Minnesota’s southernmost region; there are still lakes with fishable ice. I’ve seen numerous photos from and about folks who have already fished on lakes in the metro area. Lake Washington, one of the larger lakes in the Mankato area was already frozen on Tuesday, by this morning there’s likely 3 to 5 inches of ice covering the 800 acre lake.
Looking at the forecast, I can’t see any reason to discourage you from planning an ice fishing trip this weekend. Even though daytime temperatures will reach the mid-30’s, overnight lows in the single digits will keep making ice.
The only thing I wouldn’t do is to try and make too big of a trip out of it. Stay close to home and pick on lakes that have fishable structure within walking distance.
The only thing I would advise is that you do your own research; I would NOT TRUST ANYBODY. Not me, not the folks on faceblock, not even the guy who’s sitting on the ice already; check the conditions yourself as you travel.
Like I said, I’ll wait until after the ice show before I get serious about ice fishing. But I’ve resigned myself to the notion that I’ll be seeing and hearing reports about folks getting a head start, that’s okay, have a great time and feel free to keep us in the loop.
I need all of the readers I can get though, so just do me a favor and travel light. Please carry safety gear like a spud, ice picks and cleats and if you haven’t considered it already, think about picking up a float suit, they really do work.
Walleyes aren’t just going to swim up and stop under you’re your ice shelter though. No matter where you’re set up for the ambush, you need a lure that gets their attention, convinces them to stop and then triggers them to strike.
The new Lindy Glow Spoon does all that, it combines sound, color and light in a way that no other ice fishing lure has ever done before.
Let Fish ED host Jon Thelen show you how the Glow Spoon works and why it’s going to help you put more walleyes on the ice this winter. View Video and Learn More >> Catch More Walleyes Using Lindy Glow Spoon
"On the main basin... For those fishing the lake, fishing has been good. Most bays and harbors locked up with ice this past week, which has put a halt to the open water fishing. At last report, there are good numbers of walleyes and saugers staged in traditional early ice locations across Pine Island and the entire south shore. With fish location, numbers and fall success, LOW is primed for good early ice fishing.
On the Rainy River... The Rainy River is still loaded with walleyes. Some anglers made it out this week but single digits locked up any water not moving and it is pretty much done. Anglers that got out had big numbers of walleyes to reward them, similar to previous week.
Up at the NW Angle... Ice is formed in back bays, harbors, on the angle inlet, from Young's Bay to Flag Island and across most of Flag Island flats. Larger stretches of water or current areas still open. Ice fishing will be here soon, but not yet. Stay on staked resort ice trails when ice fishing begins. Safety first." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"With single digit temperatures overnight, the water is cooling down. It is still a bit early but gets us excited to see some skim ice in the docks and bays. If you look closely at the picture there is a boat it that mist fishing on the river.
We are continuing with the projects and getting things ready to go for the winter season. We are expecting some big news at the end of next week, stay tuned for details!
We have had a couple cancellations; your dates may now be available for this winter. We are booking for winter, give us a call to lock in your dates!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
"Commercial grade electric ice augers like the StrikeMaster 40V have taken the ice fishing world by storm.
Rugged build quality, reliability and long lasting battery life good for more holes than you can drill in a day deliver ice anglers exceptional value without any downside.
Wired2Fish's Ryan DeChaine walks us through two popular electric auger configurations and when to use each. He starts by providing an overview of a full-sized electric auger equipped with an 8'' drill. This is the go-to setup when targeting bigger fish like walleye and pike.
A smaller and more compact cordless hammer drill paired with a 5-6'' drill is often favored when chasing panfish; this setup is extremely lightweight and fast." View Video to Learn More >> Why Electric Ice Augers are the Best Buy
On Saturday, we found some of the smaller lakes in the Grand Rapids area frozen over already. This image of Hale Lake was taken at about 4:00 PM on November 10th and except for some wet spots on top of the ice, it was frozen from shore to shore. With a maximum depth of over 50 feet, I wouldn’t have expected the ice to cover the whole lake yet, but it did.
Not far down the road, we found ice covering about 60% of Splithand Lake, but there was still a large section of open water over the lake’s mid-section. With a maximum depth of less than 30 feet, I would have expected the entire lake to be ice covered, but it wasn’t.
My takeaway from these sightings was that it’s cold enough for most of the small to medium size lakes to freeze up right now. The ones which are protected from wind are simply a couple of days ahead of the ones being subjected to steady breezes.
I saw an image from one of the rental operators on Upper Red Lake yesterday. In it, there was lots of ice cover and no visible open water in sight, at least not from his vantage point. I’m sure that there’s still open water in the center of the giant lake. But once the clamor to be first on that big lake begins, it’s hard to hold back.
It’s understandable that folks anxious to get out there, I am too. But I hope everyone will remember the tragic start of the 2017/18 ice season on Upper Red. You may recall that we had a similar early blast of super-cold air during the 2017 deer season too. But shortly after that, there was a warm front that blew in and stalled out the ice making process on a lot of lakes.
There were lots of doubts about where we could go and where we couldn’t. Anglers travelled over a variety of risky areas and some of them, including friends of my family lost their lives because of it.
I can’t say that drowning is the best way to celebrate being in the first wave of anglers to venture across risky stretches of ice. It might be okay to give the lakes a few extra days this year, the fish won’t go anywhere and holding off for those extra hours could save a few lives.
Chris Andresen shared a photo of his lake in southern Minnesota yesterday too. Ice forming around the shoreline is forcing him to get his dock out of the water today and I’m guessing the ice will span his lake within a few days too.
From what we know now, it would appear that “good ice” could occur a little earlier this season than it did last year. Cold temperatures are forecast to persist over the next week. The pitfall would be another significant period of warming over the next couple of weeks. Let’s hope that the ice forms a solid base early and that there’s enough to withstand warmer temperatures and/or windy conditions.
Our winter temperature and precipitation forecast, according to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), is expected to follow a typical El Niño pattern.
“Wetter than normal conditions across the southern United States, with above normal temperatures across the Central and Western Great Lakes extending through the Northern Plains to the Pacific Northwest.
Drier than normal precipitation is shifted a bit further north from the …” Read >> Winter 2018-2019 Outlook for the Northland
No matter how fast or slow the ice forms, our 2018/19 ice fishing season is upon us. I’ve got the snowmobile at the shop for its annual checkup, the portable ice fishing shelters are all cleaned up and the ice rods are ready for action.
With less than two weeks so of relaxation left, I better hurry up and relax; I’ll be doing my best! - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
Every year there’s a clamor to discover which ice fishing lures promise to be both “new and great!”
But with all of the great gear and fishing lures out there, how can anybody do it? It seems like everything’s been done, it’s all been invented and re-invented; until now.
The Lindy Glow Spoon is both “New” and “Great” and this lure is going to knock the ball out of the park during the 2018/2019 ice fishing season.
Let Jon Thelen walk you through the features and benefits of the lure that’s setting the ice fishing world on fire.
View Video >> "Introducing Something New and Great" Lindy Glow Spoon
Don’t reach for your ice cleats just yet, but it wouldn’t hurt to get them ready; you’ll probably need them fairly soon.
It was calm yesterday and the air temperature never warmed above 20 degrees. I expected to see ice on some tiny ponds yesterday and I did. I wasn’t expecting to see very much ice on any of the larger lakes and I didn’t. But … some of the mid-size lakes had ice around their shorelines, more than I anticipated.
The ideal freezing conditions won’t last; in fact blustery winds predicted for today will prevent most lakes from glazing over. Still, I don’t expect that we’ll make it to Thanksgiving without hearing about folks walking out on fishable ice in the Itasca Region.
An interesting read for anyone who wants to know the scientific ifs ands & buts about freeze up is the Ashton Ice Growth Prediction Method. Essentially, it will tell you that once the lakes freeze over, the first 5 to 8 inches of ice form really fast. In many instances, once a lake freezes over, it can become fishable in less than a week.
The forecast for north central Minnesota doesn't show a single reading above freezing for the next week. For us, a slow and steady freeze up would be a blessing and a welcome departure from the wild freeze up we experienced last year. I'll be keeping an eye on conditions and keep you in the loop, so stay tuned. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Lew's announced several new rods for 2019, and the first one I got my hands on was the new Lew's Custom Speed Stick Super Grip Rod.
It's unique selling point is a custom flat sided grip that keeps the rod inline on the back cast to prevent rod roll and black twist. This is said to produce a more fluent, longer cast and better overall handling while fighting fish. These are my experiences with this new bass fishing rod for 2019 from Lew's.
Not only did Lew's launch a new line built around new Winn Grips, but they also borrowed some engineering from the golfing world to ..." Learn More>> Lew's Custom Plus Speed Stick Super Grip Rod Review
Those words turned out to be a fair assessment of what we found during our trip to North Dakota last week. Although there were a lot of farmers harvesting Soy Beans, Corn, for the most part was still standing.
Pheasants could be heard chattering from the innermost reaches of those huge corn fields. That made access a problem for us because hunters are not allowed to work in un-harvested crop fields. So most of the time all we could do was listening to the roosters cackling at us from a distance.
Ducks were largely off limits for us too, mostly because we ..." Read Article >> Hunting The Hunt-Able November 7, 2018
"On the main basin... For those fishing the lake, fishing has been good. Mixed schools of fish from 10-25' along south shore. Activity around both Lighthouse and Morris Point Gaps and along Pine Island. Most anchored up and jigging with frozen shiners with good success. Gold, pink and chartreuse working well.
On the Rainy River... The Rainy River is loaded with walleyes. Anglers having success in key spots up and down river. Jig and minnow (shiners, rainbows) continue to be go to method. Gold, glow, pink and chartreuse for jigs.
Anchoring up most effective. Jig over side or flip out and work to boat in low current. In main channel, good amount of current, 1 ounce jigs may be ticket. On edge of current and eddy areas, 3/8 ounce. Strong reports in 8-15'. Many trophy walleyes being caught along with eaters. When you find them, anglers reporting big numbers of walleyes. Move around until you find fish.
Up at the NW Angle... Fall fishing continues to be excellent. Walleyes are in early ice up areas. Limits of walleyes being caught in 12 - 25'. Jigging still producing best. Muskie trollers catching big fish." – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
At first glance, it appeared that completing my weekend work assignment wouldn’t be that hard. How could it be, we’d be hunting at a management area where hunters can legally fill up to 3 tags, surely we’d at least see a few.
Access isn’t a problem either; there are public hunting areas practically everywhere one looks. There are state management areas, federal ones and even county ones. There would be plenty of room for everybody, apparently.
The plan was set, my son-in-law Austin would take me to a little spot where he’d rattled in a couple of bucks on Thursday evening. We’d sit together and he’d try to rattle ‘em back up again on Saturday morning and we’d be back at home base in time for breakfast.
We arrived at the spot in plenty of time to secure a position. There were other hunters in the area, quite a few of them in fact. But nobody had thought about that one little area, surely this was a sign that we’d be in like Flynn!
The horizon was slow to brighten, but eventually it did and I said; “I can’t believe that we haven’t heard a shot yet. There’s almost always somebody who fires one off at the crack of legal shooting, sometimes even before that.” Austin agreed; it was sort of odd that we never heard an early first light volley, but we didn’t.
Austin spotted a deer moving down the hill on the other side of the creek, but that one went out of sight before coming into range. So we waited, but after about 15 more minutes, the element of doubt started entering my mind. We still hadn’t heard hardly any shooting and the woods were quiet, there wasn’t even a squirrel rustling the leaves. It reminded me of the opening scene on lot deer openers, we know there out there, but they’re not moving.
Long story short, not moving was the buzz word of the weekend in the areas we hunted. Deer sightings were few and far between. The ones we did see came into the open at last light and were out of range.
Most of the deer that did move during daylight were moved by groups of hunters who pushed through thickets and sloughs. I’d never been exposed to a lot of “drives” for deer, but it was definitely interesting to watch. There were people from all walks of life walking across though fields. I saw moms, dads, grandparents and kids; there was a lot of family tradition.
Unfortunately there were some real cowboys out there too and that was a little scary; that’s a story for another time though.
I wouldn’t say that the deer hunting season is over for me, but it’s definitely not gonna nip and tuck from here on out. There are only few weeks left before the St. Paul Ice Show and the schedule in between is loaded with both honey dos and making preparations for the ice fishing season.
Yes, I KNOW I can’t believe it either, but it’s already here, our first ice fishing trip is only 28 days from now and the weather forecast shows no reason that the trip won’t take place as scheduled. - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Lakeville artist Stephen Hamrick won the Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest. Judges selected his painting from among 11 entries for the annual contest that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sponsors.
The 2019 walleye stamp will feature Hamrick’s painting of a walleye swimming at night under a full moon near an angler’s leech-baited hook and slip bobber. Hamrick has won a DNR stamp contest 11 times; he also has won the waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, trout and salmon, and walleye stamp contests.
The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5 but the DNR does not require anglers to buy it to fish for or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, the DNR will mail the pictorial stamp to purchasers. The DNR also sells a pictorial collectable stamp without the validation for $5.75, and sells walleye stamps year-round. Customers can purchase walleye stamps at any time, even if they already have a fishing license.
Judges also selected Stuart Nelson of Cloquet and Josh Evan of Mapleton as finalists in the Oct. 25 contest at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.
The DNR uses revenue from stamp sales to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. All license vendors still have the 2018 walleye stamp available for purchase. The DNR website at mndnr.gov/stamps has more information about stamps."
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