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Fishing Report September 30, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Colors, Fall Fishing Hitting Full Stride - Walleye action in the Itasca area continues to be good, promises to get even better.
Surface Temperatures on the lakes that I've fished over the past few days are ranging between 62 and 64 degrees. I just poured through some of the archived fishing reports from last fall and found a note from 9-27-12 in which I wrote; "There may be a few lakes that did "Turn Over" during our recent cold snap. Most of the lakes in our area have not turned over yet, but are on the verge of doing it." Yes, a year ago on September 30, surface temperatures were 8 to 10 degrees colder than they are right now. That means that in spite of our current trend toward good fishing, the best fishing of the season still lies ahead.
On Sunday, it would have been hard for the Higgin's crew to figure out anything to complain about. It would have been hard for anyone to gripe about anything. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, the breeze was just right, the Walleye were biting. It was even good for those guys who wear the Purple Shirts. It Was A Beautiful Day, at least I thought it was.
And that was good, because for me, fishing with Tim Higgins goes all the way back to before I was ever even a fishing guide. In fact, Tim was frequently in my boat as a Guinea Pig whenever I was heading into some unknown territory "Just To Try It Out". Sometimes it worked better than others, but we usually had a blast, even on the days when we broke stuff.
Yesterday, we found some of our fish on the weedlines in 8 to 10 feet of water. But on this day, the fish were active, hungry and holding on shoreline related points. The lion's share of them were most active on the very outer tips of points that dropped into deeper water. That meant that we had to figure out how to cover small territories without drifting away before the fish could find us.
Under slightly different circumstances, it would have been an ideal day to drop the anchor and fan cast to the points. In fact that idea ran through my mind more than once. But the spots we fished had lots of rocks on them and with 4 fishermen casting, getting snagged in the rocks, it could get to be a little expensive. I chose instead, to use the MinnKota to hover on the points, just working our way back and forth around the outer edges. That way, whenever someone got hung up, I could just ease them back over the rocks and get out of the jam without losing too many lures.
That presented the fishermen some challenges, but they were very skilled and had an excellent awareness of which direction that I was moving the boat. The benefit was that we were able to give the fish more than one angle to spot our baits from. The fish had a chance to strike in one direction as we slip-drifted with the wind around the points. That allowed us to work the breaklines thoroughly. Then, as we back-trolled upwind to rework the area, the fish had a chance to strike from other directions too. That allowed us to fan cast, covering the tops of the rocks from a variety of angles.
The result was that were able to cover almost 100% of the area. The system turned out to be highly effective for us and I would highly recommend that you try it on your next trip to the lake.
Most of us used 1/8 ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with 3 to 4 inch minnows. Unless somebody pulls a rabbit out of their hat and finds some Spottail Shiners, from here on out, I'll be using mostly Rainbow Chubs. I could find them, large Fatheads are fantastic too, so are Golden Shiners, Small Redtails and Dace.
For jigging, the size of your minnow is what's most important. Fish are hungry now and will strike a larger minnow more eagerly than a small one. Measure them, between 3 and 4 inches is the best size overall. You can use larger minnows too, but for that I'd suggest Lindy Rigging instead of jigging.
The jig and minnow bite has become reliable on a number of area lakes in my territory. There are good reports coming everywhere from Leech Lake, all the way over to the Iron Range. No, the Walleye are not biting on every single one of them, but they are active enough for me to be confident that I can tell you that your next week of fishing is gonna be good.
Looking at my calendar, I see a lot of Walleye fishing in my future. But the Perch, Crappie and Sunfish action has heated up too and I'll do my best to stay on top of the panfish reports.
(9/30) BOOYAH, YUM Partner With Alabama Bass Trail - “BOOYAH and YUM are proud to partner with Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series,” said Marketing Manager Melinda Hays. “Alabama features some of the best bass fishing in the world, from working a hollow-body frog across the mats at Guntersville to catching Coosa River spots, and we’re delighted to join forces and ensure anglers continue to make memories of a lifetime.” Read Full Press Release Click >> .
(9/30) While I was Bass fishing a couple of weeks ago, I had my mind made up to become a better jig fisherman. On a 3 day stretch of Bass fishing trips, I spent as much time as I could, throwing nothing but jigs. For me, working heavy weeds has always been the most mysterious part of jig fishing. I went searching for some ideas that would help and found this article, you might pick up a few ideas too. Click for >> How To Pitch Deep Grass With Bass Jigs .
(9/30) On The Iron Range, From Greg Clusiau; "Recently, I have been doing well on the crappies by fishing a shallow lake that has fish scattered across a huge 12' flat. Come winter, these fish just may seek out deeper water but for now they are totally content with their skinny water digs. Having not ice fished this body of water yet, I guess I’ll have to wait and see where they hole up when ice puts a lid on the lake.
This particular body of water has a ... " >> Read Greg's Full Report .
(9/30) On Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "This past week we had some nice daytime temps which warmed up the water some. The water temperature in the river is now 64.4.
We have been fishing outside the Lighthouse Gap in 27-29 feet of water. It has been really good with many limits and nice large Walleye caught and released. The big Sturgeon have still been active, with only one day left of the keep season there is not much chance to fill this year’s tag if it has not been filled yet. We are seeing more Walleye action in Four Mile Bay and the river as the temperatures drop we expect to see this get better and better as there are large schools just outside the gap on the lake.
Best approach for the week has been anchored while jigging with a live or frozen Shiner minnow.
The forecast for this week shows the temperatures are going to be dropping with a high by the end of the week to 49 degrees and a low of 35. That should really get those Shiner minnows running!
Winter dates are filling in, it’s time to make your plan if you don’t already have one!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Fishing Report September 29, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Rain Dampens Sneakers, Not Spirits! - Well it had to happen, this was one of the very few "all day soakers" that I've been in throughout the 2013 season. For some strange reason, this always seems to happen on days when I'm with people who I really care about, Like my good friend "Mister. C".
If you're a frequent reader of this report, then You Already KNOW ... Mr. C's image has appeared many times. Most of them featuring a big Walleye, A Big Smile and his collectable, Red "Little Kid Going To Kindergarten Jacket". Sometimes though, days like today like today, his Grey rain suit.
Our soggy mission to capture Mr. Big on Grand Rapids' Pokegama Lake wasn't exactly spectacular in terms of the payoff in poundage. But we did manage to catch a half dozen pike and a couple of really nice Smallmouth Bass that always find us while we're Pike fishing on Pokegama.
The surface temperature on the lake was 64 degrees, the vegetation remains green and by all appearances, some of the fish are still in late summer patterns. Most fish that I could see on the Humminbird were located in water depths of 20 to 30 feet. Since we weren't searching for Walleye, there were a number of spots that I didn't check, but of the places I did scan, it appeared that shoreline related points and weed edges held many more fish than did the isolated bars or humps.
We only used one presentation, Lindy Rigs tipped with large Creek Chubs. I could tell that the fish we encountered were hungry, because I had the largest Creek Chubs I could get and they were attacked robustly, even by the Bass. It was just a matter of time before I'd have landed on the right spot at the right time, but by early afternoon, wet sneakers, chilled fingers and water running down into private places was enough to force an early dismissal.
The wet, windy conditions kept most of my fishing buddies away from their phones during the day yesterday. But there were plenty of anglers out on the lakes and I'll be getting more updates from some of them during the day today.
Fishing Report September 28, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Walleyes, Big Lake Action Heats Up - I love it when someone asks me to check up on an interesting lake, I make a few calls and all of the reports I get are good! Leech Lake is both interesting and good, especially for Walleye and Perch. That's where we wrapped up day 4 of the Reynolds' annual fall trip on Friday.
When we arrived at the lake, surface water temperatures were 65 degrees, up from 62 degrees just a few days ago.
Our original mission was to try and bag 6 Pike for Karen's winter stash and we did get a few. But hampered by a howling wind, we were forced to tuck into a calmer spot and entertain ourselves by catching some Perch. The strong winds had the weed beds all stirred up and the Perch were aggressive. The size was all over the map, ranging from "teeny weeny" to "super jumbo" to "magnum".
Windy conditions had me holding onto the tiller for dear life
and we never took the camera out of it's case, but we should have. I'll have to see if I can recruit somebody to go back over and help me with a photo shoot.
Yesterday, I wrote about the presentation that we'd used for Perch on Cutfoot Sioux. Today's approach was virtually identical, so for the rest of that story, click here and jump to >> fishing report from September 27 .
Meanwhile, about 5 miles down the shoreline, my buddy Roy Girtz was having a bang up day fishing for Walleyes. He and his fishing customer we fishing the rocks in 6 to 9 feet of water and caught plenty of Walleye, also ranging in size from small to magnum. Roy reported his best fish of the day crossed the 28-1/2 inch mark on the yardstick.
Presentation for Walleyes was a jig and minnow, but he wasn't specific about size or colors. He did mention that the fast drifting speeds caused by the strong wind, produced mainly small, eater fish. Their best work for larger fish was accomplished by back-trolling.
On Lake Winnie, there was good Walleye action too. Most anglers were trapped on the South end and found ample supplies of Walleye in the shallows.
There's been a school of fish in the Southeast corner of the lake for most of the summer. Those fish keep moving in a circular pattern, staying on the south end, but roaming anywhere from Musky Bay, all the way across the Bena Bar and over to Horseshoe bar. You just need to stay in that loop, watch your electronics and sooner or later you find 'em.
After high winds and storms forced my buddy Grant Prokop and his fishing guest to abandon Leech Lake, the pair of Musky Warriors wound up fishing right underneath the Eye-Full Towers. The saw some Muskies but Prokop said; "The Musky follows were lazy, even the one that they landed didn't seem all that fired up to eat, it just did. All of the action occurred during the last two hours of daylight".
Not known as a Pike producing lake, it did give up a trophy the 39-1/2 inch Pike today. It was an unexpected bonus and a welcome one for his guest who released the fish.
Fishing Report September 27, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Perch Fishing Patterns Emerging - If You're following the fall progressions, wondering about gathering some Jumbo Perch, you should be in luck soon.
My agenda for day 3 of the Reynolds annual fall fishing trip was to locate and gather Perch for the family fish fry back home in Iowa. As usual, my original plans needed to be set aside. Because of strong winds, fishing on big water promised to get too wild and wooly for us. So I was thinking about some of the smaller lakes that might fit the bill. Remembering a pattern that developed last fall on Cutfoot Sioux, I decided to swing over there and see what we could drum up.
Shallow water weed flats hold Perch and other game fish all summer long. The problem is that these fish are scattered and tricky to pin down. Most folks get tired of snagging weeds before they find a good school of fish and simply give up the search.
In fall, the search becomes easier when cooling water temperatures combine with shorter daylight hours, forcing the weeds to begin a natural winter die off. That's good news for Perch fishermen because it encourages both the forage and the game fish out into more open water, where they are easier to pin down.
The shallowest, hardest to reach places on these flats have provided sanctuary for tiny fish that were born this spring. As the weeds die, the Oxygen that they once provided, disappears from this shallow water and these tiny fish move deeper, toward healthy, Green vegetation. It's an open invitation for Perch to hustle in for the smorgasbord.
Last fall we examined stomach content of some of the fish we bagged and found tiny Sunfish, Crappies, Bullheads and of course, lots of tiny, young of the year Perch.
Back to our fishing trip. The surface temperatures ranged from 62 to 64 degrees, baitfish were still scattered all over the weed flats and finding Perch was easy. But finding Jumbo Perch, that wasn't so easy. At least not in the early stages of the search.
We checked a half dozen likely spots. Weed flats with water depths ranging from 5 to 7 feet. Judging by past experience, I recalled small open areas in these weeds and stopped to fish each of these small "bald spots". They're not all the same, some are gravel, some are clam beds and some are rocks. It's good to find anything that causes an open patch within the heavy weed cover, because that gives the Perch an ambush spot.
At every single stop, there were some Perch, but they were mostly small and it could have been easy to give up. In fact, it wasn't until about 11:00 AM that I finally got lucky and stumbled into the right place. A small stretch of water where the concentration of fish was good and the size structure was good as well.
We had our sights set at a minimum of 10 inches and stuck to our guns. So it took all day long to gather their bag limit, but we did manage to do it. I'd estimate that 3/4 of the fish were between 10 and 11 inches. The remaining 1/4 were about 11 inches or just barely larger and there was one 12 inch fish.
The lion's share of the fish were caught using a 1/8 Orange/Green Lindy Jig tipped with a small fathead. For me, the high winds made holding the boat in position tricky and I didn't have time for live bait. Instead, I used a 3/16 ounce Orange/Brown Whatsit Spin without adding live bait. If you're like me and you're willing to trade action for quality, then you should try this. It's the small blade helps attract fish into the area, but it's the cupped "Whatsit" tail that allows me to give the bait a life like Crayfish action. I just flick the rod tip and let the bait settle about a foot above the bottom. When I feel the strike or see the rod tip load, I simply lift the rod and pull the fish in like I'm using a cane pole.
There's no doubt in my mind that using the Whatsit Spin accounted for larger fish, even if I had to forgo catching the 8 inchers. But with one arm on the tiller, one arm taking off Karen's fish and the other arm... Oh wait, no wonder I was so busy, I only have two arms. Luckily, I now how to use 'em both!
Fishing Report September 26, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Walleye Fishing Patterns - Are doing their best to kick into high gear. Persistence will get you to the right spot at the right time.
Over the past few days, it's been obvious
that Walleye have been feeding. That's easy for me to say because no matter how long I have to search before finding them, when I do find them, they are responsive and we have been catching them. Also obvious though, is that they are not found everywhere and we have to keep moving, being persistent, in order to stay in the action.
Small schools of fish can be
located in the shallow water weeds at depths of 8 to 12 feet. The weeds are still thick and Green and there's not much evidence a major die off. So key locations are going to be weed flats that are adjacent to deeper water. The presence of points that contain rocks, Clam beds or even a hard sand bottom will sweeten the deal even more.
When the wind blows, these fish will move toward the points or rocks. On calm days though, Walleye have been tucking into the inside corners and holding on the deeper weed edges.
Surface water temperatures are now in the 62 to 63 degree range and the cooler temperatures have encouraged Walleye to respond to the jig and minnow presentations that are typical of fall fishing. For me, 1/16 ounce or 1/8 Lindy Jigs tipped with 3 to 4 inch chubs have been effective and we haven't had to make any adjustments. But, at this time of the season, I still carry Night Crawlers for those "Zingers" that come along. On days when the fish won't seem to move for a jig and minnow, you can often revert to long lining a Lindy Rig and crawler to pick up some of the more finicky fish.
on the lake and have fished a few spots without finding a school of active fish, don't get too anxious. Just keep chipping away until you land on the right spot. I've had a few slow stretches lately, but sooner or later, we find a group of active fish.
Mixed bag fishing is getting more interesting too. Perch, Pike and Largemouth Bass are becoming active on the deeper weed edges too. Smallmouth Bass have been working the shallow rocks and Crappies are moving into typical, deep water fall locations.
Most of what you need to know is contained within the reports from the past week, so I'll just ask you to keep on scrolling down the pasge to view the past reports.
Today we'll be venturing into what I hope will be Jumbo Perch territory and that's gonna give me a look at some new water. If there are any major departures from current trends, you'll be the first to know!
Fishing Report September 25, 2013 Jeff Sundin - When The Lake Says "Have A Crappie Day" We Listen - At least that's what we did on Tuesday, when the lake we were fishing had a mysterious appearance of Crappies, everywhere.
Starting a 4 day run of fishing with Kyle and Karen Reynolds, the agenda was wide open. We could fish for anything and everything, so for me, everything sounded like a good plan. We'd start off with a nice relaxing mixed bag day to help get back into full scale fishing mode.
When we got to the lake, the surface water was 62 degrees and there was still a strong Algae bloom. It all looked fairly normal for this time of the season. As we rolled across the lake, I remember thinking that I knew about this secret little spot where we could bag some Crappies. We could sneak over there before we tried to gather some Perch, maybe even a few Walleyes. Secret? Little? Hardly!
I've never seen anything quite like it and I hope that I'm not supposed to be reading too much into this. But for some reason, a lake that has been routinely good to me over the years as Walleye and Perch fishery, suddenly wouldn't stop giving us Crappies. Not only were they at the "secret little spot", there were Crappies at every stop. In the weeds, on the breakline and in the deep. It really didn't matter, this lake had Crappies on the brain.
For the moment, I'm chalking it up to some sort of anomaly that must have occurred a few years ago. A bumper crop of Crappies that apparently inhabit many of the Itasca area lakes right now. In fact, just ask around; Everyone has been catching Crappies on a variety of lakes and their stories are all really similar; Lot's of numbers, but not many big ones. Like one of my friends said; "good eaters", "lots of action". It all points the same way, there must be lots of lakes where Crappie populations are high, but smaller than average in size.
By early afternoon, we figured out that we might just as well take advantage of our discovery. There were a ton of fish in depths of 10 to 12 feet, so we didn't have to worry about giving them the bends like we do when fishing in deep water. The small fish were still good and healthy as we released them and after a few hours we had sorted out 20 fish that ranged from 10.5 to 11.5 inches. You could say that they were small fish compared to a typical year, but I think we tend to remember the biggest ones the best and that this is basket of fish approximated a typical bag of fish, minus the half dozen bonus jumbos that we'd usually catch.
Our presentation would have give folks the impression that we were Walleye fishing. Trolling along the breakline in 9 to 12 feet of water, at speeds of .6 to .9 MPH. For us, a 1/16 ounce Fuzz-E-Grub tipped with a medium to large size Crappie minnow worked the best. I think that we could have caught fish using spinners, maybe even crankbaits too. But the jigging was working and whenever one of those little Northern Pike snipped one off, it was a lot less hassle to get re-rigged.
(9/25) Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "Lakes in the Bemidji area continue their fall cool down, with most lakes now having surface water temperatures in the low 60s and dropping.
Arguably, the best ten degree period for fishing in the fall would be as the surface water temperatures drop between 60 and 50 degrees. That means we are approaching some of the best fishing of the season in the next couple of weeks.
An added bonus for anglers who stick to fishing in the fall is many “would be” anglers are doing other things, whether it is hunting, school, sports or a plethora of other fall related activities.
Walleyes and muskies seem to be the species of choice for many of the boats still on the lakes, but there are also many great opportunities for catching jumbo perch, big pike, large and smallmouth bass as well as crappies and sunfish in the fall.
Lakes like Winnibigoshish and the shallow bays of Leech Lake have been excellent for walleyes on the days with light to moderate winds on the windward shorelines in 6 to 9 feet of water on jigs and minnows.
Deep lakes like Cass and Bemidji will have some walleyes using the steep breaks in 20 to 28 feet of water. Walleyes can easily move shallower or deeper, depending on the conditions.
Anglers targeting perch in most of the larger lakes are finding perch in many of the same areas as the walleyes, with the perch usually a little shallower than the walleyes.
The Bemidji area is also a great destination for people wanting to do combination hunting/fishing trips, where they hunt waterfowl, grouse or even bow hunt for deer part of the day and fish the middle of the day, when fish often bite best in the fall." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, firstname.lastname@example.org - 218.759.2235 .
Fishing Report September 24, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Falling Water Temps, Rising Walleye Action - It was a good day to hang 'round on the lake with Dick Williams and Paul Kautza. The grand finale of the "Fun With Dick and Paul", fall session was a good one, even if we did have a little trouble hearing each other talk over the roaring wind.
The cool, 62 degree surface water was completely stirred up by the whitecaps and holding the boat in positions made it a busy day for me. But Walleyes and Perch responded to the turbulence by heading out for the weedline buffet. Heavy on the veggies!
I would have thought that the heavy seas might have encouraged fish to roam in more open cover, but weeds, heavy weeds were still the best place to find 'em. In fact, we had to use 1/16 ounce jigs in order to keep us from getting snagged too often. Keeping the boat moving slowly was the key to keeping the light jigs at the proper depth.
For me, the best way to accomplish that is by keeping the OptiMax in reverse and making sure that my hand stays on the Big Tiller. It's not drifting, it's more like slipping. The same system that a river fisherman would use to control the speed of his boat in river current. I let the Wave Wackers protect the crew from the whitecaps while I use the engine to slow down our drift speed. Whenever the angle gets tricky, I use the Drift Control Sock to help keep the bow of the boat in proper alignment.
They key is to hold your drifting/slipping speed below 1.0 MPH. I prefer to hold at about .6 or .7 and I keep fine tuning the accessories I use until I have the desired result.
Paying attention to details and forgetting that it's hassle to fish in the wind, can lead you into some of the most fantastic fishing you'll ever have. That's just the way Walleyes are, they like the turbulence and ya gotta be there to get in on the action. No matter how you look at it, fishing in big waves is a job, but for me, it's a darn good job!
(9/24) On Bowstring Lake, Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort; "With water temperatures cooling, more and more fish are showing up on the outer edges of shoreline weedbeds. The push into deeper water gives our guests a new opportunity to find fish that have been hiding for most of the summer.
Jig and minnow combinatrions are producing Walleye and Perch on the weed edges in 7 to 10 feet of water. There are some fish located on the deeper breaklines too, but these are more nomadic. Paying close attention to electronics
will reveal trheir location and while you're searching, Crappies are going to turn up on these deeper spots as well.
Don’t forget we are open. AWESOME Fall Fishing and Colors! It's a great time to treat your spous to a nice quiet weekend on the lake!- Erin" - Erin and Bill Charlton, Trails End Resort .
(9/24) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "For fishing people, angling action this fall will only get better as September presses on with consistent cooler nights and days dropping our area water temps into the low 60s. This will start a movement of fish into traditional structured areas that will create larger schools of active fish. This is when the classic jig and minnow bite on shorelines and rock structures will begin. Because our spring was so late this year, this timeline will ... Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report .
Fishing Report September 23, 2013 Jeff Sundin - The Third Time Is A Charm - At least that's the way it worked out for us on Sunday.
Day 3 of the Fun With Dick and Paul, fall fishing trip was supposed to be an easy day. Already having their Walleyes and Crappies caught, packaged and frozen. This would be a fun day, I would follow up on a hot lead about a great "Sleeper Bass Lake", we'd catch a bunch of fish and then maybe even go try for Pike afterward.
The Sleeper Lake never got the memo though and if there were any Bass in there, they are still a secret to us. Stong, gusty winds, cold morning air temperatures and a general lack of interesting cover were working against us and by 11:00 AM we were on the road, heading for lake number 2.
When we arrived there, the water was so low that there were weeds growing in places where I had never ever seen a single weed before. Trying a handful of tradtional presentations, we figured out that if we were going to fish at all, we'd have to get rigged weedless. We did, and we caught a few fish. But the ones we broght in to the boat were small and the better fish that we hooked were escaping in the weeds.
With the wind pounding on us and the weeds winning the war, It just was not a good day to be me, at least not yet. When Dick asked if I wanted to quit early and call it a day, it was just like putting a time bomb under my chair.
Quit? We can't quit, I'm not finished with you yet and I'm not done myself. We cannot quit until we win!
Luckily, lake number 3 loved me a little bit more than the first two had and Yes, we won. The Bass were still fickle though, scattered by the falling water temperatures and acting like we were interrupting their nap time.
We pulled them out one by one, using Texas rigged Yum Dingers on the deep weed edges. This was the only Bass fishing trip this season, where every single Bass was caught on the bottom, in deep water. The average depth was about 16 feet, but we caught the most fish, and had the fastest action on a rock pile that lies adjacent to a weedy point in 21 feet of water.
We didn't put a lot of action on the worms, it was best to just let them sit still and wiggle 'em a little until the Bass picked them up.
With surface temperaures still in the mid 60's and lots of good healthy weed cover. It's going to be at least a week before we start to see many of the Largemouth school up. But the calendar will take us there, we just need to hold on an keep plugging.
Fishing Report September 22, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Sloppy Fishing, Offbeat, But Neat For Crappies - It's an early fall pattern that I stumbled into a few years ago; Dabbling in heavy, shallow water weeds for Crappies.
Lakes with good Crappie populations and lots of shallow water weed growth are the place to start your search for this pattern. Actually, we catch other fish besides Crappies fishing this way, it really is a multi-species method. But since that was our focus on Saturday and Crappies were mostly all we caught, that's the story.
With high sunny skies and flat calm surface conditions, early fall Crappies that might otherwise be found in deeper, open water, will sometimes retreat into the weeds. That's what happened on Saturday.
After a failed attempt to locate fish in more traditional, deeper water haunts, we high-tailed it back to the weeds. Water depth was 6 feet or less and the weeds we fished were patches of Cabbage. Crappies show a high preference for Cabbage over other weeds and seem to snub heavier Coontail or Matted Milfoil patches. Different lakes yield different results and after you've tried this a time or two, you'll get the knack for picking the right weed patches.
The system is simple. There's not too much casting, no drifting and no bobbers anywhere in sight. moving the boat at a snails pace with the MinnKota, we begin poking around right in the weed patches, not on the edges, right in 'em! We fish by dropping the jig straight down into every pocket we can spot, treating every individual plant as it's own structure. If you compared it to fishing brush piles or Crappie Cribs, you'd be right on.
Our best resultscame by using Lindy's 1/16 ounce live bait jigs tipped with Crappie minnows. But I held my own using some artificial baits too. Crappies are fickle and change their preference for artificials, so experiment with baits and you're likely to stumble into some good ones.
I can expand on this tommorrow, but one thing that is really neat about this system, is that when you find this pattern on your favorite Crappie lake, you're likely to be the only one fishing it.
Yesterday I said; "For Walleye fishing, there are a group of colors that I have really got a lot of faith in and I'm going to show them to you. But first, as usual, I'm up against the clock and I need to take a quick break to take today's crew fishing first. I'll back in the morning with a color chart and a description of why I use which ones and when I use them. "
Okay, here's the chart of colors that I am most likely to tie on when we're Walleye fishing. There are others that I use too, but these 8 are considered, by me, to be essential. If I spot an empty compartment in my jig that is supposed to have one of these colors in it, a panick attack could soon follow. Photo Chart Courtesy Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle.
||Green & Orange 2 tone
||Green & Yellow 2 tone
||Orange & Yellow 2 tone
|Pink & Yellow 2 tone
||Pink & Glow 2 tone
||Blue & Glow 2 tone
||Black/Chart Green 2 tone
Day in and day out, the first 3 colors on the chart are the most popular. If I hand my jig box to almost any of my fishing customers and tell them to grab the one they like, it's likely to be one of those 3. Chartreuse Green, Yellow and Orange are all effective and can be used under a wide variety of circumstances.
Colors #4 and #5 are my personal favorites for lakes with water that has a little color. Water that's Tanin stained, or where an Algae bloom gives the water "that Green look". For some reason known only to the fish, the yellow bottom/orange top 2 tone is a "big fish color".
Colors #6 , #7 and #8 are favored for clear water. By the way, the water in lakes like Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake are getting clearer all the time. For most of this summer, I would have classified both of them as "clear water lakes".
In the fall, most of my customers have seen me use the glow/blue 2 tone as my go to jig color. I love that one and if you don't see it in a photo this fall, it's because my supplies are exhausted. The green/black 2 tone is a dual purpose color. A little darker, it can be used in both clear or dark water. In lakes with Perch and Walleye inhabiting the same territory, this one is a mult-tasking crowd pleaser.
Fishing Report September 21, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Getting The Color Just Right - Remember yesterday? I mentioned that I'd comment about selecting jig colors. The whole idea came up when on Thursday, one of my crew seemed to be lagging slightly behind the rest of us in terms of producing strikes. Noticing that the color of his jig head was different than ours, the Ramrod suggested changing jig colors.
Within seconds of changing the jig to "The Right Color", our crew mate had a strike which resulted in his catch of a nice Walleye. Yup just like that, no sooner said than done, the results were immediate and edible. Case closed, changing the jig head to the chosen color
made all the difference, right?
Not so fast,
did it really? For anyone who knows me, YOU KNOW that the suggestion was equivilent to me receiving an order from high atop Mount Olympus. I didn't have any choice now, I just had to take the failed jig under my wing and train it to perform correctly. I did - it did and then we all had a few laughs.
Here's what I think really happened. When I swapped out the jigs, trading mine for his. It forced him into a heightened sense of awareness about his technique. He was paying a lot more attention to every detail now and because he was, his reward was imnmediate, the fish responded and he was happy.
Okay but now, I do need to admit something. I had inside knowledge, it was just the day before that I'd been using the failed color
myself and it was performing like a champion. In fact, it's been one of my "Old Reliables" for a while now and although it might have seemed a little off beat to the crew, for me, it's a trusted friend.
Notice that I haven't mentioned either of the two colors? That's because I don't want to poison your mind in either direction. In fact, this conversation
could really stretch out for a long time, because I think that sometimes, there are color choices that do make a difference. Especially when it comes to fishing for Bass and Crappies. I just believe that Walleyes are a lot more color tolerant than anglers give them credit for being and that paying attention to technique is a lot more important.
For Walleye fishing, there are a group of colors that I have really got a lot of faith in and I'm going to show them to you. But first, as usual, I'm up against the clock and I need to take a quick break to take today's crew fishing first.
I'll back in the morning with a color chart and a description of why I use which ones and when I use them.
Fishing Report September 20, 2013 Jeff Sundin - When Waters Calm, Tuck In And Get Cozy - On lakes with mixed weed and rock habitat available, anglers should be ready to switch structures when the wind tells you to. Fishing where the fish are is better
For most of this week, there's been enough wind to encourage fish out of the weeds and onto nearby rocky points and rock humps. The combination of current, reduced light penetration and vulnerable baitfish allow Walleyes to feed easily and we've been there to take advantage of it.
On Thursday though, the lake went flat and except for a few stragglers, so did the action on the rocks. Luckily, I already knew where to look next, in the weeds.
Walleyes that had been roaming the points and rocks were now snuggled up on the inside turns of deep weed lines instead.
I thought that their location was interesting in that the fish were still active, feeding heavily, But that they were not located on the points. Instead, they were located on these inside turns (or corners) along the deep weed edges. More than once, I tricked myself into thinking that if I moved the boat away from these pockets and headed toward the points that I'd find more fish. Sometimes I did find a few, but I never found any spot where the point was more productive than the corners.
So what's the big deal about that? It's that it flies in the face of traditional thinking about Walleye fishing and that it could be the reason why some anglers might drive right past a productive spot while they're searching for more traditional Walleye spots like points, bars and rock humps.
I remember seeing this same pattern, earlier this summer on the North side of Winnibigosh. When the spinner bite was going hot and heavy, the most productive territory was the pockets and inside corners along the deepest weed edges.
The rest of our presentation was typical. An 1/8 ounce Lindy Jig tipped with 3 to 4 inch minnow and jigged fairly aggressively. A sharp hop, followed by allowing the jig to settle back on a tight line.
When you're fishing in weeds for Walleyes, one key point to remember is that making long casts and "finding the bottom" are both completely unnecessary. In fact, both of those little habits are problems that I spend a lot of time trying to help folks correct. If you want to improve your odds of catching Walleyes in the weeds, follow these two simple bits of advice. Then sit back and prepare to be amazed!
1) Keep your casts short. As far as Walleyes are concerned, the outer edges (either the outside or inside) of the weeds are as far as they need to go for security. Most often, they'll be within the first 20 feet or so of the weed edge. Making long casts, deep into the interior portion of the weed bed will only get your lures hung up and will make you frustrated. Pay close attention to the edges where weeds begin to thin out and focus most of your attention on that portion of the breakline.
2) Quit worrying about finding the bottom! Anglers have been way too over-trained about this notion that Walleyes are only on the bottom. Think about this; To a Walleye living in a weed bed, the weed tops are the bottom. As long as they are in adequate shade and feel secure, they could be positioned anywhere in the water column.
On a cloudy, soupy day like we had yesterday, they were located high atop the vegetation and they were feeding aggressively. On a sunny day, they might bury into thicker weeds, but still not be positioned "on the bottom".
Using lighter jigs will help, 1/8 ounce is typically the maximum weight that I use. Sometimes we've scaled down to 1/16 ounce and that allows your bait to fall slower and settle more softly into the veggies. That gives the Walleye more time to spot the bait and pick it up before it settles below it, where it becomes virtually invisible, lost in the grass or moss.
Okay, because I gotta go, class is dismissed for today! But tomorrow, I'm going to mention something about a little discussion we had regarding color.
September 20, 2013 - On Cutfoot Sioux; Mixed bag and mixed presentations, are producing results for guests this week. Crappie and Sunfish have begun to move into deeper water, but don't be shocked when you find them on the weedlines too.
Is there a doctor in the house? No, but there were plenty of nurses this week when Phil Goettl and his friends from the VA showed up. Silliness ensued, including an appearance by the "Lucious Sisters", who had busted out and boated accross the big pond to catch us.
Northern Pike fishing
on Lake Winnie has been consistent, Bowen Lodge guests report good action for good size fish. We think that it's been one of the better seasons for folks fishing Pike on the big lake. There are still healthy stands of deep weeds and the adjacent flats are teaming with baitfish. Pike have ... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
Fishing Report September 19, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Full Moon, Turbulent Weather = Toothy Time! - I can't believe that I'm missing out on this perfect opportunity to go hunting for Mr. Big. But, since I'm going to be stuck fishing for Walleyes, at least let me live vicariously through your fishing experiences.
If you're a Pike or Musky fisherman, then I don't have to tell you that the conditions are ideal for bagging a trophy right now. Deep weedlines are still green and healthy. Grey skies, full moon, storms coming our way. What the heck are you waiting for? Get out there! By the way, did you know that you can post your own pictures to my fishing reports page on facebook? YES! You Can! You don't have to tell us your secrets, just go ahead and brag a little when you get a whopper! >>> Click Here >>> Fishing Reports Minnesota .
Fishing Report September 18, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Walleye Presentations Shifting, But Old Habits Die Hard - The truth of the matter is; I can hardly wait for the feeding preference of every single Walleye in the entire Itasca region to switch over to a jig and minnow diet.
On some lakes and in certain areas, they have. But there are still some stubborn fish out there and they won't give up their sweet tooth for summertime presentations.
On Lake Winnibigoshish,
Surface temperatures in the mid 60 degree range are encouraging the shift, but so far there is little sign of a mass migration of Walleye toward shallow, shoreline areas. So far, there hasn't been enough really cold weather to force many weeds to die and that's one of the key factors in getting the fall bite really ramped up. Lush, green weeds encourage many fish to hold tight, hanging on to their summer habits. As the weeds die, baitfish and predators are forced out to the edges where they will become more vulnerable to anglers.
Deep weeds, mid-depth flats and even the upper portions of breakline areas of the lakes large bars are holding fish. Key depths have been ranging between 10 and 15 feet, but there are some fish in shallower water.
In the weeds and on the flats, trolling
single hook spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawlers remains a reliable pattern. Rocky areas, especially in shallow water can be fished with jig and minnow combinations already, but we are still waiting for a really good rock bite to emerge. It will, probably sooner than I think, so keep an eye on your favorite rock spots, especially when there's a good breeze.
Crappie reports have been coming in mixed over the past couple of days. I hear the most chatter about fish being caught in the 19 to 22 foot range. There are still shallow areas producing fish too though and one report from Monday mentioned catching an easy limit of Crappies by fishing the weeds in 7 feet of water.
Perch, at least the ones that I can find have been in the weeds too and most of them are running too small to get me excited. The report from Four Seasons about nice size Perch is the best news that I've heard, But there are some nice fish to be found in both Cutfoot Sioux and Little Cutfoot. If you don't mind sorting, jig and minnow presentations in the 5 to 8 foot range will yield some results.
Right now, I'm running on fumes after a hectic couple of days and the clock is working against me too. But tomorrow morning, I'll be working on the full story about the past couple of days, including the "2013 Luscious Sisters Bust Out"!
Fishing Report September 17, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Have You Ever Noticed that sometimes, the only good way to answer a question, is with a question? That's what happened to me this morning.
Preparing to re-cap Monday's fishing experience, I checked my email for comments and discovered this question. Perfect! I'll just answer my own question by answering this question. Oh and by the way, Did I Ever Mention that I just might have the answers to a lot of questions? Yes, that's right, I do and the only way you can find out is by whispering it in my ear. - Or you could just click here to Contact Me .
(9/17) From my In Box; Mike Swanger - Q) Hey, Jeff. I work with Mattson. He said he should have taken you up on your offer to fill the open date and gone with you yesterday. His roofing project fell through.
I am going to be on Winnie tomorrow and Wednesday. I see it's going to be a south wind both days (windier tomorrow). We'll be coming out of the Mississippi River as one of the guys has a shack there.
Should we venture to the North end to try Stony Point? Any other North end spots you could recommend? Or do you think we could pick some up closer to the river? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Mike
A) Actually Mike, I for the next couple of days, I think you'll be better off staying on the West/South sides of the lake. The wind is predicted to gust as high as 30 MPH today and that will be horrible conditions for fishing near the Stony Point area.
Aside from the windy conditions, it just so happens that I and my crew fished the stretch of water from the Rock Pile, all the way West to Third River on Monday and we didn't find anything that reminded us of a "hot bite" in that area at all. There are fish beginning to inhabit the weed edges and it wouldn't surprise me to find some decent action after the next shift in wind direction. For right now though, I'd stick with some of the areas already known to be producing fish.
Duck Pass, Little Stony, Evinrude Bay and The Bird Houses are places that I'd check out. For most of the summer, Walleyes have been moving in and out of these areas. Weedlines in the 6 to 9 foot range have been productive. So too are the deeper weeds that can be found in the 11 to 13 foot range. Mid depth flats, like the one on Center Bar that they now call "Riley's Flat" since Todd Riley's AIM Tournament win there a few years ago. Similar flats can be found on the South end, between Horseshoe Bar and the Bena Bar.
Lots of guys are still pulling spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawler. Some, like me have switched over to jig and minnow presentations and a few others are using night crawler tipped, Lindy Rigs. Most of the anglers who fish the flats have been trolling with spinners. But in the past, we've had good results fishing with Jig presentations too. Large Jigs tipped with artificials and/or minnows should be given a good test out there too.
(9/17) At Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson says; "The West Side of Lake Winnie continues to provide fishermen with a diverse fishing experience. The Northern fishermen have been smiling for over six weeks, and there will be no end to their smiles until they can't get on the water anymore. Perch fishing continues to be very strong. Some really nice (12") perch have been coming in the past couple of days. Walleye fishing is picking up, with the fish moving into the weeds along with the perch and northerns. Jigs and minnows right in the weeds will get the job done for all of these fish right now. It is a typical fall pattern. There is no motherlode of walleyes, but if you locate a spot where you can get one once in a while, you will be happy at the end of the day.
This is a great time to be fishing Lake Winnie. We have our fall special, 20% off all cabin rental. Give us a call and get in on the fun!" >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie .
Fishing Report September 16, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fall Fishing Patterns Emerging - Anglers armed with Jig and minnow combinations are in the drivers seat.
Thanks to surface water temperatures that have fallen steadily over the past few days, now ranging from 67 to 69 degrees, Walleyes are moving toward fall haunts. Most migrations haven't gone full scale yet, so depending on the lake you're fishing, it's likely that you'll find Walleye in small packs, instead of large schools.
On Saturday, fishing with my long time friend Bob Carlson, we actually did stumble into one larger school of fish, but even on that day, most of the spots we fished were holding small numbers of fish.
The evidence of a good fall bite was strong though, because even when my Humminbird revealed only a few fish, they were active and feeding. Getting them to strike the baits was made easier by a brisk wind and overcast sky. But over the next couple of weeks, anglers who keep their eyes on their electronics will certainly be able to locate active fish.
The Harvest Moon is this week and a full moon is often the catalyst for seasonal changes. Be prepared for some major shifts in fish location and feeding preferences too. Night prowlers will be happy, because the full moon of September is almost always great for Walleye fishing after dark. The weather forecast for later this week has a few wrinkles in it, but generally looks good. Especially up until Thursday.
If the rainy weather arrives on schedule, Northern Pike and Musky fishermen could be in for a real treat on Thursday. The combination of stormy weather, full moon and steady water temperatures could send a tingle up the spines of those toothy critters and make them easier to trick than usual.
Crappies are on the move too, slowly disappearing from the weed edges and turning up in deeper water. They are definitely not fully shifted into fall patterns, so if you try a few of your favorite spots without success, don't rule out fish on the weedlines.
When you do find them schooled and stacked up, keep in mind that most of these are "fresh spots". For now, you can be confident that aggressive presentations will produce Crappies. My favorite "go to" bait for these early stacks of fish is the Whatsit Spin. The flicker of the blade attracts their attention and the cupped tail gives the bait a twirling action as it falls. Most often, you can just drop it into the water without adding bait and that speeds up the action and saves lots of wear and tear on your hands.
By the way, there is a trick for healing those cracked hands, caused by too much exposure to water and dry, cold air. Walgreen's has a product that they call "Medicated Hand Healer Lotion". It looks like water in the bottle and smells like it's main ingredient, Ammonia. If you're already suffering from cracked skin, then I promise that you will not like putting it on your hands. In fact, it could send some folks into orbit. But I also promise that it will heal your cracked skin faster than you can imagine. No Pain, No Gain!
I'd love to have given you a first hand report from Baudette this morning, but I can't. My trip to Lake of the Woods would have gone a lot better if I'd actually gotten there. Our plans were dashed when the trips head honcho had an outboard engine failure and canceled the outing. We'll have better luck next time I guess.
At least that gave me a day off to clean up my rig, harvest some stuff from the garden and fix a nice Walleye dinner.
(9/16) On The Iron Range, From Greg Clusiau; "I thought about Swan Lake northern pike and walleye, along with Oxhide’s largemouth bass, before hesitantly making the right-hand turn on highway 65. Back in my guiding days, I had northern pike in the 42-43" range make their way into my boat while fishing on Swan Lake. Clients were scared to death. One time, three Illinois anglers all ran to the front of the boat to get as far away as possible from a 15 pound northern pike that lay thrashing around on the floor of the boat. You would have thought it was an alligator! They wouldn’t even ... " >> Read Greg's Full Report .
(9/16) From my In Box; Q) Rick Syverson
Jeff, I have gone to your website a few times and have enjoyed your reports. But yesterday, I came across a couple of YouTube Videos during my research for Tullibee.
Your videos were awesome and they really helped me with trying a couple areas for Tullibee. The smoking video was great, too. My friend and I have been planning for the next annual ice fishing trip to Winnie.
I was wondering if you could give us assistance for finding Tullibee? From your video & other info, 24' to 30' is the depth to search. Am I on the right track? Are there other areas that I should be trying?
Some have said that I might have luck in Cutfoot Sioux finding Tullibees. When it comes to fishing Tullibee, I have caught them out of Highbanks while fishing for Walleye. Are these two fish often in the same area? We were using Walleye Jigs and Live Minnows. Many people say Grubs, Waxies and Fish Heads; were we just lucky that day?
A) Rick, that's a lot of questions, but let's start here. Lake Winnibigoshish, along with all of it's connected water has the potentential to produce Tulibee (Northern Cisco) in excellent numbers. The presence of Walleye and Tulibee in the same spot is more coincidental than anything. Typically, Tulibees would be found suspended over deep, soft bottom areas where the water produces lots of insect larvae. Virtually any deep water area of Winnie or Cutfoot Sioux could produce fish for you and many of the areas you've already described could be perfect.
The Tulibee Video you mentioned was taken along the Western edge of the Bena Bar, where the water drops off into the lakes main basin. Almost any of the deep water adjacent to the lakes main bars has potential and I'd suggest selecting a quarter of the lake, studying the deep portions within that quarter and concetrating your efforts there.
Presentation is a no-brainer for me. Over time, you'll realize that Waxworms and other small grubs will out produce minnows. In spite of the fact that we all catch some Tulibees while we're fishing for other species, anglers who pursue them exclusively have perfected a system.
Be sure that you have one rod rigged up with a large, flashy, noisy jigging spoon. The bigger the better and the flashier the better. You won't be using it to catch fish, only to attract their attention and get them to move into your territory. The flashy spoons give Tulibees the impression that there's a feeding frenzy in the neighborhood. Jig the spoons wildly, lifting it up and then letting it free fall back down.
Once you've started seeing them on your electronics, small but heavy jigs tipped with a grub will trigger them to strike. There are a number of small jigs that would fill the bill, but Lindy's Ice Worm is perfect for this type of fishing. Other lures to consider would be small size blade blades and small jigging spoons like the old reliable Frostee, and Rattlin' Flyer Spoon.
If you're bound and determined to fish with minnows, tip any of these lures with small size Crappie minnows and I'm sure that you'll produce some fish using those too.
(9/15) On Bowstring Lake, Erin at Geiger's Trails End Resort; "Fishing action on Bowstring Lake remains centered around the weeds. Fishermen are finding a mix of Walleye, Perch and Crappie in water depths of 5 to 7 feet. There are fish scattered around all four corners of the lake, but recently, the East side has gotten the most attention.
We're watching the surface temperatures drop and expect that many of these fish will begin to abondon their summer patterns and head toward the lakes numerous deeper breaklines to set up for their fall feeding patterns.
Stay tuned for more info. Don’t forget we are open for some AWESOME Fall fishing and Colors! Great time to take the wife or Husband out for a nice quiet weekend on the lake!- Erin" - Erin and Bill Charlton, Trails End Resort .
Fishing Report September 14, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Surface Water Cools, Walleye Action Heats Up. Welcome To September! - Jig and minnow fishing produced our first day of solid fall fishing on Friday. The action was steady, not super fast, just solid and by being creative and covering water, we were able to catch some fish at every stop. First ...
A Quick Thank You! To everyone who got in touch about the cancellation and open date that I posted this past Thursday. The date has been filled and so has the ride share that I posted for later this month. There's a chance that we'll be postponing our fall Duck and Pheasant hunting trip next month and if we do, there will be an extra week of fishing dates available. Insiders, watch for an email announcement sometime next week.
Pulling away from the boat landing, trolling toward our first fishing spot, I leaned forward and said; "Watch me pull a Rabbit out of my hat". Those words, spoken to my friend Joe Stevens, purveyor of StevensMagic.com. Words that not only fit the circumstances, but that would turn out to be "Magically Accurate" as well.
Before we ever arrived at the lake; Joe, a man who knows a lot about magic, had already pulled a Rabbit out of his hat. He had done it by hoodwinking another long time friend and fishing customer Bill Linder, into believing that they were going somewhere mysterious and magical, somewhere really special. They accomplish this by fishing with Joe's top secret fishing guide, "Merle" who's last name had somehow escaped Joe. I'm not sure how he pulled that off, but either he did it, or Bill is one heck of a good actor.
But now I was feeling a little pressure. Early this summer, Joe had enlisted me to figure out such a place. Somewhere that Bill and I hadn't fished before. Someplace pretty, but still a place where we could catch Walleyes and of course we'd have to perform this trick without getting sea-sick. Oh, Yes, the fishing would have to be real too, not an illusion.
From a very short list of lakes that Bill and I hadn't already fished, I selected a lake that was within reach and had potential to meet Joe's parameters. When we arrived, the surface temperature was 69.2 degrees and the water still had a good algae bloom. The South wind was steady, causing small waves to tickle my Wave Wackers, but wasn't strong enough to stir up any whitecaps.
The first spot, a shallow patch of Cabbage weeds produced a Walleye, a Bass and a missed strike or two. The second spot, 8 feet of water with a weed patch mixed with rock produced a couple more. The third, a few more and the 4th, 5th, 6th .... They all produced a little something and they all had something in common.
Good patches of heavy weeds, adjacent to areas of rock were all holding fish. I made a point of selecting areas where the wind was blowing onto the spots and used the MinnKota to hold our depth as the wind slid us along the weedlines.
The key depth at most spots was about 9 feet of water, but there were some fish holding deeper too. I think that our deepest productive spot was about 15 feet deep and had a sharp breakline that rose onto the top of a rock hump.
This was my first trip of the fall season that allowed an entire bag limit of fish to be produced on jig and minnow. Using 1/8 ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with minnows in the 3 to 4 inch range produced consistently throughout the day. We didn't vary our colors that much, but using Yellow/Lime, bright Green and Chartreuse Yellow worked out just fine.
For me, the arrival of the jigging season is happy news! Stock up your jigs boxes, polish up jigging rods and get ready to get serious. It's time for saying goodbye to the spinner rigs, biting bugs, sweat and all of those 3 inch Perch that have been nipping at your tails!
Fishing Report September 13, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Crappie fishing was our goal and the whitecaps forced me to work a bit harder than usual. Luckily though, by switching lakes halfway through the process, we found fish on some calmer water and the mission wound up being easily accomplished.
Our search started on Bowstring Lake where good Crappie action had been reported by more than a few folks lately. Surface temperature had barely dipped below 70, dialing in at 69.8 degrees. Still warmer than average, but moving in the right direction.
The Crappies were active, but we had to take a number for a spot in the waiting line to fish for them. It was far from a secrect mission. Crappies were being pursued by tourists, locals and lake residents. Still, there were enough to go around and most of the boats were bringing in fish.
With the warm surface temps, water depths of 5 to 7 feet remain the key location for Crappies. Weeds and rocks are the best structure, but finding fish in the weeds is probably going to be the best way to find a school of fish that haven't already been beaten up.
By the time we'd bagged about 2/3 of a 2 man limit, the whitecaps were rolling in and boat control became problematic. We bagged the mission here and took a short trip up the road to a smaller, calmer location and that put us back in the game.
Here too, the surface temperatures was just below 70 degrees and shallow weeds were the key to finding fish. Same scenario exactly, 5 to 7 feet of water, cabbage weeds and Crappies.
Presentaion is simple, 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with a small minnow. Fish the baits vertically, right under the boat and don't worry about the fish getting spooky. They won't care that you're hovering above them, even in the shallow water. The heavy weed growth is excellent cover and makes them feel secure. Trying to fish the heavy vegetation is nearly impossible to fish
unless you do it this way. Casting, trolling, even using bobbers, anything that allows your bait to move horizontally, will just get you tangled up and frustrated.
Walleye fishing didn't rank high in our priority list, but we did spend an hour or so jigging the breakline from 8 to 10 feet of water. We caught a couple and missed a few too, making me believe that a day spent jig and minnow fishing is on my horizon, soon!
And ... in case you're wondering, Yes, I Know that it's Friday the 13th. But I don't think of that as an un-lucky omen, in fact, you never know, there's always a chance that this could be my lucky day!
September 13, 2013 - On Cutfoot Sioux; Crappies are in the early stages of moving toward their classic fall locations. In fact, Little Cutfoot Sioux Crappies have apparently already moved away from the shoreline weeds and have spread out across the lake's flat basin. Anglers expecting to find them "stacked up" in vertical schools should be prepared to make adjustments.
That, according to Jeff Sundin, who fished for Crappie with some of our guests on Wednesday.
Sundin says that these fish that are spread out horizontally, can be more easily caught by trolling or drifting, than by the typical fall presentation of hovering overhead and fishing vertically. Adding that the fish location may be a departure from the norm, it doesn't mean that they are any harder to catch. In fact according to Sundin, these fish are actually going to ... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
Fishing Report September 12, 2013 Jeff Sundin - A Quick Heads Up! My customer for September 18th has lost his fishing partners and will be forced to cancel the date. With the Full Moon occuring on that very day, it could be a really great date to snap up. If you can make it, then shoot me an email.
Lake Winnibigoshish was productive for Walleye anglers fishing shallow water on the lake's South end this Wednesday.
With surface temperatures remaining warm, 71 to 72 degrees,
fishing presentaions continue to reflect late summer patterns more than fall patterns. But when you locate the fish, they are cooperative and most anglers who find their way into the right territory, are coming home with fish.
Trolling the weed edges using spinners tipped with either minnows or night crawlers and fishing in water depths of 5 to 8 feet have been the most productive. Brisk trolling speeds of 1.1 to 1.5 MPH help anglers cover territory fast and has been a reliable way to locate schools of fish.
In my travels on Wednesday, Pike and Crappies were the goal and while we caught some of each, there's still plenty of room for improvement. The good news, is that there's already been a definite shift in the patterns emerging. With the predicted cold snap moving in, I'd expect to see fish enter some of the classic fall locations soon, maybe even before this weekend.
The folks at Bowen Lodge caught up with me yesterday, so just follow the link to Bowen Lodge fishing report for more details.
(9/12) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "The thing we have to keep in mind, however, is that there is a big difference between remembering “fishing” memories and actually “fishing memories.” In other words have fun remembering, but don’t get married to your past successes.
Just because you caught fish last year at this time at a certain place, don’t think it is a lock the same thing will happen this year. Each year is a horse of a different color and this year that color is cold, a late spring being the main culprit. We are actually two weeks behind last year’s weather patterns.
This year’s walleye and panfish transition has" ... Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report .
(9/12) Bemidji Lakes Area, Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service says; "The fall cool down has begun in the Bemidji area after a hot beginning to September. Surface water temperatures were in the low 70s in most lakes, but rain and cooler weather this week will likely drop the lakes back into the 60s pretty quickly.
Walleye fishing has been slowly picking up in most of the larger lakes. There are still walleyes using several different patterns, so anglers may have to try several different things to see where the most active fish are located each day.
There are some walleyes feeding in shallow water using the weed edges or on the shallow rocks. Anglers targeting perch are often catching walleyes and northern pike by “accident” while fishing jigs and minnows for perch.
Walleyes feeding in shallow water in the mornings and evenings will move off the sides of structure during the day. Anglers can fish bottom bouncers and spinner rigs for the walleyes on the sides of structure.
Anglers are also finding walleyes in deeper water, with some walleyes all the way down to the upper edge of the thermocline.
Anglers are catching walleyes on jigs and minnows, but live bait rigs with leeches, night crawlers or larger minnows are also producing fish. There are also anglers catching walleyes on spinners, plastics and other hard baits, so it may depend on where anglers are fishing and what presentations they like to use in different situations.
Muskie anglers have been finding more active fish recently, with the fall usually some of the best muskie fishing of the season. Anglers are also finding northern pike in most of the same areas as the muskies.
Anglers are catching sunfish and crappies on the edges of the tall standing weeds. Panfish will bite well most of the fall, so they offer another option for anglers that don’t want to fish for walleyes or muskies." - Paul A. Nelson, Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service, email@example.com - 218.759.2235 .
(9/12) On Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "Choices, Choices, Choices! Walleye, Sturgeon, Goose Hunting, bear hunting, Grouse, Duck and Deer hunting coming soon, how do you choose? What a great time of year!
We have had a fantastic week, many big fish caught and released. Possibly the greatest number of big fish caught in a week so far this year. The Walleye are still out in the middle and near some of the rock areas. We have been staying closer to the lodge in our charters this week but still on the main lake, deeper the better.
The Minnesota Tournament Trail is here this week for their year ending event. By Friday night we will know who their Champion will be!
We are getting back to a cool down mode again this week with highs in the 70’s and low’s to 40. As the daylight hours are getting shorter we expect to see some color changes on the trees soon.
Winter dates are filling in, it’s time to make your plan if you don’t already have one!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
Fishing Report September 11, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Parallel Presentations Produce Results On New Water - After 28 fishing seasons of daily life on Grand Rapids Area Lakes, there aren't too many curve balls left to toss my way.
The question is; "What happens when I load up and head into new territory?" Does any of that experience help produce results when I visit new water?" Well the past couple of days provided me with a fantastic opportunity to prove whether I've learned anything, or not. I'm going to tell you all about it too, but first I've got a little catching up to do. Including an early start this morning.
I'll be back in the morning with an update about the Park Rapids trip, combined with whatever we happen to learn today. Meanwhile, around the area.
Fishing Report September 9, 2013 Jeff Sundin - On Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux - Walleye, Crappie and Bluegill action was good on Sunday.
Anglers seeking fish in typical "Early Fall Locations" could be disappointed by the lack of fish movement into these areas. But don't make the mistake of thinking that they're not biting, the action is actually really good, once you figure out where the fish are.
Still firmly rooted in late summer patterns, the key to locating most of these fish continued to be finding shallow water cover. Shoreline related points, rock rises on mid-depth flats and weed cover are all producing fish.
Our Crappie fishing experience on Sunday was like reading a page out of the mid-summer playbook. Crappies were located on shallow weed edges along the shoreline in 7 to 10 feet of water. There were small groups of fish in a variety of locations throughout the lake. Casting small jigs tipped with 2 inch shad bodies into the weeds produced spurts of action. The first ten minutes in each spot produced the best flurry of action, then as the fish were worked over, the action dropped off.
For me, a good Crappie strategy would be to get on the lake early, cast the small jigs toward any and all weed edges that I could find. I'd stick with the Crappies until about 9:30 AM and then head out for some Walleye or Pike.
On Sunday, there were reports of good Walleye fishing from anglers who fished Cutfoot Sioux. Roy Girtz, Grand Rapids area fishing guide already had 9 Walleyes in the live well when I talked to him at 9:30 AM. Roy and his crew were fishing shallow water rocks, using spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawlers.
My crew had been fishing Cutfoot for 20 years or more and had more interest is seeing some new territory out on the big lake. I had a game plan in mind, but when we ran into my buddy Vern Valliant, he gave me a heads up about a productive spot that he'd fished on Saturday. I know that you've heard this a lot lately, but it's still working; "Weed flat, 12 feet of water, trolling spinners tipped with crawlers". Another page right out of the mid-summer playbook. A strategy that I should have stuck with because my biggest mus-calculation of the day came when I attempted to find fish in a "typical fall location".
With a brisk East wind blowing straight on to the rocks on Raven's Point, what would have ordinarily turned out to be a "no-brainier" turned out to be a flop. Knowing that my crew was still hungry to see fresh territory, I made the run from Tamarack Bay, all the way over to the West side. We caught a couple of straggler Walleyes and a handful of small Perch, but in spite of the ideal conditions, the fish just weren't there.
Now that I was caught out of position, there wasn't too many good choices to make. I could either pound my way across the lake in the whitecaps, or take the long way around and stop on the Bena Bar i\on the way back. This time, I made a better decision, heading back home we stopped on the weed flats located between The Bena Bar and Horseshoe Bar. Except for a lack of time, this was a good move. The fish were in these weeds too and they were willing to bite, especially if your name was Tom, it was a good time to be him.
Let's see, have you heard this one before? "Weed flat, 12 feet of water, trolling spinners tipped with crawlers". It was Deja Vu all over again!
Fishing Report September 8, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Click Here For >> Grand Rapids Fishing Report, Pokegama Lake .
Fishing Report September 7, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Good Morning!! Hoping to beat the heat again, we're doing a pre-dawn, re-run of yesterday's game plan. Early to bed, early to rise, miss a few phone calls, but end up with Walleyes! :)!!
Full reports on their way soon! OH, and if you see us out there, be sure to flash us a smile!
Fishing Report September 6, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Good Morning :)!! With a couple of trophy hunters on their way to meet me, I'm sneaking out of here during the wee hours of morning. We're hoping to get a leg up on Mr. Big before the sun gets too high in the sky.
Around the Itasca Area, fishing can best be described as spotty. There are a few anglers that have located specific schools of fish and they are nursing their spots and doing well.
Many, if not most anglers have observed a certain randomness to fish location though. Comparing notes with several of my fishing buddies during the evening yesterday, the consensus was that fish appear to be behind schedule arriving at some of their late summer/early fall locations.
Like me, Dick Sternberg has observed that covering a lot of water has been about the only way to pick up
Walleyes consistently. Each time we move to a new location, we mark fish, catch a couple of them and then the action fizzles out. It could be frustrating, unless you focus on the hunt, that's what keeps it interesting.
On Thursday, we spent our day Bass fishing and discovered much the same thing. There were a half dozen possible patterns and all of them produced a few fish, none of them were wild and crazy.
We caught several fish using wacky rigged, YumDingers and overall, I'd say that these accounted for the lion's share of the fish that we actually landed. The Booyah A Jigs that I've been throwing for the past few days were producing some consistent action too, until the Pike finally liquidated the last one I had left at about 3:00 PM.
The most fun we had all day, maybe even the highlight of the whole week, was when we found some Bass in the Lilly Pads. Once we started throwing Money Frogs and a pair of unidentified weedless frogs that Bill had in his tackle box, things started getting giggly. We had probably a dozen fish blow up on the weedless baits, hooked about half of them and lost all of those except one. The problem was that our equipment was under-matched for the conditions and we couldn't turn the fish out of the heavy cover fast enough. That's okay though, it was still the most fun that we'd had all day long.
According to his recent conversations with some of the Grand Rapids area guides, Roy Girtz says: "It doesn't sound like there's a real hot Walleye bite going on for anyone". Smaller lakes in the Deer river area are producing Crappies, Sunfish and Pike.
On the North end of Portage Bay, there are still anglers catching perch consistently with an occasional bonus Crappie thrown in. Not too many Walleyes in the mix, but there are a few.
Leech Lake Walleye fishing has generally been a struggle for many, especially anglers looking for "keeper fish". Walker Bay and other locations on the West side of Leech is producing some "slot fish", but even they are not in their usual locations. The deep water structure appears to be void of fish at the moment and the Walleyes that are being caught have come from shallower shoreline points and weedlines.
Fishing Report September 5, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fish On The Move - A couple of weeks ago, during the Full Moon of August, I talked about how there would be an uptick in the fishing action. Remember? I mentioned that the fishing would get really good for a while and then just when you think that the fall fishing action should start really picking up, there would be a lull in the action. Guess What?
We're in it, there has been a lull in the action over the past few days, at least for me there has been and anecdotal stories of grumbling by anglers around the lake seem to bear this out.
It's not like we've been getting skunked, it's just that no matter what we do, it always seems like it's not quite good enough. We're getting a fish here, a fish there ... Grinding them out, one by one. Industrial strength, blue collar fishing.
Oh and I Know, every single day, there's somebody getting lucky, finding the magic spot and cashing in. That's just the way it is during these transitions and it's just a matter of time before we get back into the mother lode.
With surface temperatures remaining in the mid to low 70 degree range on almost every lake in the Itasca area, it's still going to be a few days before we see a full scale migration of most fish, but there are early signs that some of these migrations have begun.
One signal that times are changing was that the presentations we've been using for a month or more, were not the best that we used on Wednesday. Jig and minnow and jig and night crawler presentations have begun putting some fish in the boat.
Fish in transition might make life tricky for another week or so, but soon, the fall bite will start up and when it does, the next time it will be for real.
September 5, 2013 - On Lake Winnie, Walleye are beginning a transition from their late summer haunts into traditional shallow water locations. Over the past few days, Walleye anglers have reported good catches by fishing the flats in 12 to 14 feet of water using Little Joe Spinners tipped with Night Crawlers.
The flats are areas located between the shallow water breakline and the deep breakline that falls into the lakes main basin. As the fish move across these flats, they can be fickle. Sometimes they'll stop, but many times they roam continuously, feeding their way toward their fall destinations. For Walleye fishermen, it's important to keep moving, exploring and watching for the signs of a "good fishing day".
Perch action has picked up, as cooler water temperatures signal them to put on the feed bag. Panfish remain locked into their late summer patterns, but show some signs of movement into deeper water. Crappies are ... >> Read Full Lake Winnie Fishing Report .
(9/5) At Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thmpson says; "Fishing this past week has changed, once again! The walleyes have gotten into the biting mood, finally. Spinners and crawlers on the flats in 12-14' of water has been the best presentation. Lots of keeper size fish were caught as well as some slot size fish. The walleyes have been so aggressive they have been biting large muskie type baits, as well. Paul Thompson caught and released a 27" fish on a Wade's Wobbler. Mark Thompson caught and released a 23" walleye on a 6" yum money minnow. I have caught several larger walleyes on Suicks.
Northern fishing has continued to be very good. Trolling, casting, or still fishing have all been effective ways to catch Northerns.
Perch fishing is steady, with alot of nice perch being caught in the weeds, as well as along the breaklines. Jig and minnows the best presentation."
Our fall special starts on Monday, September 2. 20% off all reservations of three days or longer. The weather has been great, and so has the fishing. Give us a call and we will get you in on the action! >> The Four Seasons Resort on Lake Winnie .
(9/5) From the Lake Winnie Region, Nik Dimich says; "Walleyes and perch, on the other hand, have been in the transitioning mode from the deeper flats to the shoreline veggie beds of thick submerged weeds and areas with sand grass and shallower mid-lake structure that holds forage for feeding fish. Perch have gone to the “crayfish” buffet and can be found on most rock bottoms. The northern pike will also be ... " Read >> Lake Winnie Region Fishing Report .
(9/5) At Frontier Sports in Marcell, Paul Larson says; "After a week of intense heat, another cold front moved in yesterday with severe thunderstorms and wind gusts to 75 mph. This front will have moved on by tomorrow morning, with the rest of the week looking great! The fishing has been very good for Walleye almost everywhere. Crappies continue to be on the bite and Bass fishing with top water baits and buzz baits has been exceptional. Quite a few Pike were caught last week as well. Some of the best fishing of the year is just around the corner but it’s really good right now, so get out there and enjoy!
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET dealer." Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
Fishing Report September 4, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Mixed Bag, Mixed Results - On the heels of Monday's cold snap, I'm not sure that a calm, sunny day would have topped my list for special requests. But in spite of the tricky conditions, we did manage to get enough fish for a meal, a few big ones to CPR and a couple of stories about the ones that got away.
When we arrived at Pokegama Lake, the Labor Day traffic was gone, the kids were back in school and a calmer, cooler surface awaited. 71 degrees was the surface reading at the dock in Tioga Bay, down almost 6 degrees from what we found just a few days ago. There was a slight breeze, just enough to drift the boat, but not enough to muster a chop on the water.
The fish were easy to find, spotting them on the Humminbird was no big problem. I found some schools of fish, mostly Walleye, along with a few Pike in the 30 to 35 foot range. There were some Bass and smaller Pike in the 12 to 17 foot range too. They weren't exactly hungry though, picking at our offerings like an upset 1st grader sitting in front of a plate of Broccoli.
Long story short, we poked around a bunch of spots, tried a bunch of presentations and in the end, settled in with the old reliable, Lindy Rig and Creek Chub presentation. No matter what we caught with any of the artificial baits that we tried, the Lindy Rigs out produced 'em all. Virtually every single one of the "better fish" that we caught, came on the rigs and live bait.
On this day, most of the better fish happened to be Walleyes. A 27 inch fish for Bill Moore along with a 28 inch fish for me, gave us the start of a highlight reel. Then with a fish fry in mind, a couple of smaller Walleyes, suitable for the table, would give the boys a leg up in their pursuit of happiness back at the cabin.
There were some Pike, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass captured along the way too. None of them especially noteworthy, but none of them UN-welcome either. The most impressive fish of the day was a Bluegill who ate Bill's 1/2 ounce Rattlin' Spot as he ripped it through the weeds. All I can think of is that the heroic Bluegill must have been trying to impress some cute little Pumpkin seed who was watching from the the Cabbage patch.
Late in the afternoon, around 5:00 PM the action began to pick up a little and I'm sure that fishing in the evening would have been better. That was not in the cards this time, especially when the crew needed to high-tail it back to Wildwood Resort to fix the girls their fish fry.
(9/4) On Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge, Mike Kinsella wrote; "We are starting to see some of the fall season transition start. Bait fishing is picking up and the plug fishing is still providing great action but we are moving towards more bait. The crawler bite is changing to minnows and there are reports of people seeing Shiners starting to congregate.
This past week we have been fishing along the east border and in the middle of Big Traverse Bay and also north of Garden Island around Hay or Little Oak islands.
It was a great cool down the last couple of days as the heat was growing old. Unfortunately today the cool weather brought strong winds with it, or maybe the winds brought the colder temps. The week ahead looks great with highs at 80 and lows into 50’s.
The excellent fall fishing is still to come, dates are filling in fast. Winter rates are out. Check out our website and give us a call. Don’t get left out in the cold!" 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .
(9/2) Mercury OptiMax vs. Mercury 4 Stroke
For Fishing From Dale Parker, an email question; Jeff, I don't know if you'll remember me, but I saw you out at the boat dock on Lake Winnie last week. I'm the one that asked about your 4 stroke, that turned out not to be a 2 stroke. Your engine was really quiet and that got me interested in a 2 stroke, but what do you think about the fuel economy and performance compared to a 4 stroke?
A) Dale, this question comes up a bunch of times every summer. First of all, I would never
try to steer anyone away from a 4 stroke if I knew that's what they wanted. The true answer is that they're both good. For me though, speaking strictly as a fishing guide, one with tunnel vision about my goal of helping my customers catch the most fish; Choosing the OptiMax is a no-brainer.
Here's a re-print of a lengthy answer that I wrote earlier this spring. I hope this answers your question and be sure to let me know if you need more information. click to read >> Mercury OptiMax vs. Mercury 4 Stroke
For Fishing .
Fishing Report September 3, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Fishing Provides Interesting Lessons About Life! - Especially on days when the weather throws a curve ball at you.
That's what happened on Monday in the aftermath of a cold Northwest wind that abruptly ended our warm summer. Everyone who fishes knows (or should know) that when the weather does a 180, saavy anglers are gonna need to make an adjustment. If they want to catch fish, that is.
Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining! Not a single bit, I had a fantastic crew on Monday. They were happy, fun to be with and all really tolerant of the conditions. In fact, that's my point. Maybe they were too tolerant of the conditions.
The game plan was to work the Bulrushes around the edges of the family favorite Bass Lake. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits ... They've all worked great before; Why wouldn't that work this time too? I don't know, there were, at least a little bit. We weren't getting skunked, it's just that the action wasn't real fast and when the action isn't fast, you tend to start dwelling on why it's not and when you start dwelling on why it's not, then it gets worse and the circle keeps repeating.
Well, I've spent the first 30 years of my guiding career trying to figure out why these weather changes disrupt fishing patterns. Guess what? I'm still not too sure. So I'm gonna spend the next 30 years trying not to figure it out. Instead, I'm only gonna go with the flow and try to figure out ways work around the conditions. After all, when you flip on a light switch, do you really need to know that it's the electrons moving through the wire that cause heat in the element inside of the glass, which in turn generates light? Or are you just happy knowing the if you flip the switch, the light comes on?
Fast forward >> I had a light switch and it was working pretty darn good. I was using a Jig and Pig. A Booyah A-Jig tipped with a pork rind. I was fishing it almost motionlessly on the bottom in 20 feet of water and it was producing a fish or two at every stop we made. On the tip of one point, it even produced a nice size bonus Pike for a picture.
Initially, I was forced into using jig because there wasn't any other place for me to fish. With 5 lines in the boat, the shallow Bulrushes were getting plenty of coverage and the last thing I want to do, is to compete with my own customers for space in "kill zone".
Remember what I said now; I Am Not Complaining! but when I realized that the fish were holding deep, I tried to make some adjustments by re-rigging the crew with Texas Rigged Yum Dingers. That way everyone could work on those deep fish and we would have a blast reeling them in, right? Hmm..., it didn't work out that way too much. Fighting the weeds was a problem, figuring out the timing was a problem, lots of little stuff added up and the crew decided to just go back to using the spinnerbaits. It wasn't the best way to catch a fish, but it was a lot more comfortable.
I remember grumbling about tough Deer Hunting one time to my friend Joe Cannella. He told me that if I still didn't have a Deer after I came back reporting that I had hunted every sigle day that I had available and after I tried every single spot I could find, then he'd listen to my grumbling.
Okay, No Worries! If you want to be comfortable, then be comfortable, but be happy about it. Don't worry if they're "not biting", at least not your way. If you want to catch something and you're willing to figure out how to do it. Then go for the Brass Ring, work on it and you will figure it out!
Joe Cannella was right when he told me; "If you try, you will succeed, then you won't need to grumble"! Oh and by the way, I don't grumble any more, I just try my hardest to figure it out.
I am up against the clock, but I still have a stack of stuff. It's all gonna be here eventually, but before I go, look at the picture of Sean Colter, who has caught the first Pokegama lake Musky that I have seen. It's hard for me to imagine that the fish that were recently stocked are growing this fast. But if they are, then "Whoa Nellie!" There are gonna be some good times ahead on that lake!
Fishing Report September 2, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Happy Labor Day and Welcome To September! - As it happened to work out, I didn't fish on Sunday. However, starting today I'm rolling into the marathon stretch. With fall fast approaching, the final 1/3 of the season is likely to be the best fishing of the entire year!
YES! There's a lot more to come! So keep your eyes peeled and you might discover an amazing opportunity to land your trophy of a lifetime! It happens to someone every single day and it might just as well happen for you!
Fishing Report September 1, 2013 Jeff Sundin - Sending August Out In Style! - Having a plan can sometimes work against me. The weather changes, the fish move, it gets too windy, too calm, you know ...plans unravel sometimes.
Luckily, just this once, the plan came together (mostly) and I got the chance to help bring some cheer into a guy's life, a good guy, someone who really deserves it!
Responding to a notice that I sent out last week about having some last minute availabilities, a phone call from a man known to me, even now, simply as "Dino" would turn out to be my lucky break.
We couldn't connect on all of the dates he wanted, but my friend Jeff Skelly could and the two of them had already fished for the past two days. Jeff (Cubby) Skelly always catches fish for his customers so Dino already had lots of fish to take home with him. Knowing that, I offered a suggestion; "How about if we go after something big?" It might be fun to fish the evening bite and see if we could bag a trophy. Even if we didn't bag a monster, we would surely find some eating fish to catch during the evening bite. We could always convert to Crappies, Sunfish, something. Dino agreed and the plans were made, pick him up at Rutger's, 2:00 PM.
By the time we got loaded and arrived at Pokegama Lake, it was almost 3:00 PM. The weather was warm, the sun was high in the sky and there were one million, seven hundred thousand recreational boats on the lake. At least it seemed that way, it was like a zoo and all of the critters had gotten loose. I was as wound up as I ever get. Anxious about whether or not I'd made a big mistake, hoping that I didn't just lead Dino on a wild Goose chase.
Luckily, the fish really like this guy and we'd only been fishing on the first spot for about 10 minutes before we started getting strikes. Fishing Lindy Rigs with big minnows can be a little bit tricky at first, there was a learning curve, but Dino is a quick study. After a couple of minor glitches, fish started getting hooked and boated. A 22 inch Walleye, then a keeper Pike, a 27 inch Walleye and .... A gigantic Black cloud heading our way.
As a precaution, I headed toward the Hwy 169 bridge where we would be prepared to hide out if the storm hit. we were going to stop and fish close to the bridge while we studied the storms path, but we never got a chance. In just a few minutes we found ourselves under the bridge, waiting for almost an hour as the lightning and thunder rolled through. Yes, we tried to catch a fish and Dino hooked a Smallmouth, but it got away.
After the storm passed, it was going on 6:00 PM and we switched gears hoping that some shallow fish might be active. We tried a nearby weed bed using spinners tipped with crawlers and found active Sunfish, a Crappie and lost two rigs to drive by attacks by Pike, no Walleyes though.
When asked whether Dino was ready to return to the hunt for a big one, or to go looking for some more action? He said he was ready to pursue Mr. Big, we both hoped that the storm hadn't disrupted the activity.
Fast forward to the play-by-play; (Roll Tape) - There's time for one last stop before the sun falls in the sky. Sundin makes his move and positions the boat. He's hugging the 30 foot breakline, just where it drops off into 45 feet of water. Dino is dragging the bait, he gets the strike, he's feeding out the line, he's taking up the slack and he sets the hook, Holy Cow folks he landed a nice Pike, a 30 incher, his largest to date! The crowd roars, way to go Dino!!
Sundin says; "Hurry Dino, get a new Creek Chub and drop it back down!" Minutes go by, Sundin hugs the breakline but gets nervous when nothing happens. Looking around for one last spot, Dino says; "Calm down, relax, I'm having fun and besides that, I'm feeding out line again". The countdown starts again, he's taking up the slack, he sets the hook and this time folks, he's got a dandy on the line. Easy does it, don't get nervous, back-reel when you need to. The fish arrives at the surface, sundin slips the Beckman under it and WOWEE! Mr. Big was in hand! A 29 inch Walleye Dino's largest ever, again!. The crowd erupts into cheers, the cameras flash and Dino beams! Sundin grins, realizing that the plan came together, luckily. - Okay,
I'll sit back down and be quiet now. See You!
OH! By the way. Since I had some un-expected time to kill on Saturday morning, It seemed like a good chance to get my boat cleaned up and organized. After I did, I snapped some photos and last night, I was teasing when I put the picture of my sparkling clean OptiMax on my facebook page. Teasing maybe, but it lead to a serious question from a friend.
(9/1) From Sean Bielejeski; "Awesome job Jeff. What do you use to clean the lower unit where the hard water builds up?"
A) Sean, if you really want to make your whole rig sparkle, a trip to the bathroom will probably help. I have been using a bathroom cleaning product called Lime Away to clean my boat, motor and trailer for nearly 25 years. Believe me, it works so well and it's too easy for you not to give it a try.
All I do is get the rig wet with the garden hose and then liberally sponge on the Lime Away. By the time you finish applying it to one side, it's already done working and you can hose it right back off again. If it's been a long time since you cleaned your rig, it might need two applications to get rid of all the calcium and scale that builds up, especially on your lower unit. But it will definitely get it off for you.
If you don't already have a bottle in your bathroom closet, I get mine at WalMart. I'm sure that most big box stores that sell cleaning products would have it too.
For best results, clean your rig in the morning when it's cool, or on a cloudy day so that the rig doesn't dry too fast. It won't hurt anything if it does, but it might force you to do a second application to remove any residue that dries on the finish.
I KNOW, you're going to ask if its safe. I have been using it for 25 years and it has never harmed the paint on any boat, motor or trailer that I've used it on. Once, a long time ago, it discolored some metal accessories that I had installed on one of my Pro Vs. Since then, I have never had another incident.
Bruce Champion (above) and Steve Gallay (below) saw for themselves how effective Lindy Rigs with large minnows are for catching a mixed bag of Walleye, Pike and Smallmouth Bass.
Fishing depths of 25 to 35 feet has been most effective, for larger fish. For eaters? Try the weeds.
Lindy Rig, Creek Chub, 30 feet of water. Sound familiar? For Bill Moore, it does now, especially after that presentaion, a Pokegama Lake favorite, produced this, his largest ever Walleye.
A Booyah A-Jig, tipped with a pork chunk and fished in 20 feet of water was supposed to help me bag a Bass. This old girl wanted her picture taken though, so we did that first and then got back to the Bass fishing.
Photo Courtesy Sean Colter: Who has caught the first Pokegama lake Musky that I have seen. It's hard for me to imagine that the fish that were recently stocked are growing this fast. But if they are, the "Whoa Nellie!" There are gonna be some good times ahead on that lake!
For Dino, sitting under the bridge, waiting out a thunderstorm was worth the trouble. After the storm passed, he boated his largest ever Pike, followed by this 29 inch Walleye back to back. Lindy Rigging with big minnows in 30 feet of water.
A trip to the bathroom will help you keep you outboard sparkling clean. Swipe the bottle of Lime Away out of the cleaning cabinet, sponge it on and hose it off. You will be amazed how easy it is and how well it works!
Lindy Rigs set up with 1/2 ounce No Snag sinkers, 5 foot fluorocarbon leaders and a 1/0 hook. Tipping the hooks with medium size Creek Chubs triggered strikes.
Deep points near adjacent weed flats produced Pike. Chris Fitch pulled this quality Northern Pike up from 25 feet of water.
Photo coutesy Four Seasons Resort: Mark Thompson "Showed Us The Money" on Friday. YUM's 5 inch Money Minnows continue to produce Pike and Bonus Walleyes on Lake Winnie's West Shore .
Promoted to "Pro-Staff" on her first day by the special Blue-Ribbon committee on fishing. Isabella Amore had a knack for putting her spinner in just the right spot. 10 feet of water on the weed edges at Bella's Bar.
Frank Amore did his best work on the Bena Bar. Lindy Spinners trolled in 15 feet on the uppers edges of the deep breakline. Just enough breeze, just enough clouds, just enough time.
This handsome Pointing Lab is looking for a new home. My friend Robby Ott spent a lot of money and a ton of time getting her started. Now he's run up against a time problem of his own and has to find her a new owner. HEY! How about you? email me
Photo Four Seasons Resort : "Trolling at a little over 3mph with the larger troll-devle was the ticket. We boated over 20 northerns in a few hours using this presentation. We ended up keeping nine nice ones between 24-26".
Lindy Spinners tipped with a morsel of bait and fished vertically produced more and larger fish than other presentations. Mike Nolan (Above) shows off some of his better work using the secret weapon (Below) in 15 feet of water, just outside of the weed edges.
A 1/4 ounce Green Lindy Jig tipped with a small Redtail produced this great Leech Lake Walleye for Charlie Fletcher. Soon to be known as "Jiggin' Charlie", as he leads us into our "11th Inning Rally" on Saturday!
Photos courtesy Brian Castellano: Mary Castellano shows of a nice Walleye caught on Namakan Lake. (Below) The view from Kettle falls, looking South into Canada.
Rocky patches located on the inside edges of weeds were not only the best locations, they were the only locations. The 6 inch size, Green Pumpkin Yum Dingers got most of the attention.
Photo Four Seasons Resort: Pike action has been good, especially in deeper water. Nick Ortloff shows off one of his better fish from the West side of Lake Winnie.
Mike and Atcha Nolan mastered the art of casting the weedlines for Crappies. 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with 2 inch action tails produced lots of Crappies ranging in size from really small, to really big and a ton of them in-between.
Small action tails like YUM's 2 inch Money Fry (above) or their Panfish Size Wooly Curltail (below) are perfect for fishing panfish on the weed edges. Cast toward the weed edges and fish with a fall-swim-fall action. Crappies tend to take the bait as it falls.
Jason Alto snuck his kids onto one of his special Bass lakes and found some action. Grant Alto pictured to the right of Jason, caught this hefty Largemouth using a jig and minnow in 10 feet of water.
Photo Grant Prokop: Muskies are active and for the first time this season, looking at a variety of baits. The full moon and warm temps should encourage action, but be prepared to fish early and late in the day.
Like the idea of a mixed bag of Sunfish and Wallye? If you
have a family outing planned for Labor Day, I think that taking a spin on this pretty, clear water lake could make a lot of sense. A little fishing, a little swimming, a fish fry and maybe even a nap on the beach. Mmm ...
The highlight of our trip to Pokegama came early for "Uncle Pete" as he landed this hefty Smallmouth within sight of his own dock.
John Hauschild (foreground) and his brother Fritz made a good fishing team. The push-pull of sibling rivalry has a way of working it's magic on fish production. This Smallmouth put John on the leader board for about 15 seconds. There was just enough time in between, to snap his picture (above) while Fritz reeled in a nice Kashabowie Walleye (below).
Try a few crankbaits with different wobbles. It won't take long to figure out which lures the fish will react to on a particular day. When you've located active fish, staying on them can be as simple as following a contour line on your GPS. Click to view >> Lead Core Trolling For Walleyes .
Joe Cleavenger shows off a heft Pokegama Walleye. Lindy Rig, No Snagg Sinker and a fat Night Crawler tricked this one.
There were Walleye and Pike mixed, most of them tucked into small, inside corners on larger, shoreline related points. Most of the fish were in 25 to 30 feet of water, adjacent to many of Cutfoot Sioux's most popular fishing spots.
Both Kristin Hastings and Brooke Hastings Cheatham know their way around a fishing boat. They were using Lindy Rigs tipped with medium size Creek Chubs and getting fish on the line. Like Kristin said; "There are fish down there and they are eating things".
Photo Grant Prokop: Who's been on a roll lately, at least when it somes to catching Muskies, Another example of the late evening Musky pattern paying off.
For Bob Churack (above), catching fish wasn't as important as learning something about his lake. For Jeff Sundin (below), catching fish wasn't as important as teaching Bob something about his lake. Hmm ... So maybe if we quit worrying so much about catching a fish ...
Fishing on submerged weed points in 6 to 8 feet of water, Largemouth Bass were all over Brian Wiese' 5 inch Money Minnow.
Photo courtesy Nik Dimich: Joshua Ward, 11, of Fargo, North Dakota, is thrilled with his first walleye ever, a 28" Pokegama trophy, which he released. Joshua and his father, Ron, found time to fish while his mother attended a business conference at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids, MN. ( Read Report )
Lindy Rigs, No Snagg Sinkers and healthy Creek Chubs helped Brian and Brian Wiese land their first, most and biggest Walleyes ever.
How'd ya like to be on your first ever Walleye fishing trip and land twin 28 inchers? Talk About Lucky!
Not a bad effort for first time Walleye fishermen, Brian and Brian Wiese of Nashville, TN . The father son duo caught caught their first shore lunch too!