image of fishrapper logo

image links to trails end resort Bowstring Lake, Geiger's Trails End Resort February 21, 2018

image of walleye caught on bowstring lake "Over the past few days, we received 16 inches of new snow. Bill has been working hard, well into the night to keep our plowed roads open for those anglers who come. But we’re definitely playing catch up and we appreciate your patience and we get our fishing spots opened up again.

Thanks to a break from the snowfall and a sunny day in store today, we should have everything whipped into shape for the upcoming weekend.

As we approach the closing weekend of the Walleye fishing season, we hope that you’ll be inspired by the accompanying photo. Homer caught this dandy 26 inch walleye while ice fishing on Bowstring last weekend. Nobody can promise a catch like this one every day, but we can let you in a little secret, Homer released this fish, so we know it’s still in there. Who knows, maybe she’ll be hungry again when your lure drops into the water and lands in front of her nose?

If you’re headed up this weekend, drive safely and be sure to stop in a pay us a visit." - Bill & Erin Charlton, Trails End Reosrt

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 21, 2018 "Snowfall Changes Focus For Itasca Area Anglers"

image of perch Perch fishing will soon become the primary focus for most anglers visiting the Itasca region.

Due in part to the ending of the 2017-2018 Walleye seasons and the natural propensity of Perch to become increasingly active during late winter, greatly reduced mobility will force many anglers away from smaller waters.

The total snowfall from February 18th to 20th varied by region, but totaled roughly 1 foot for the greater Itasca Region of north central Minnesota. The combined effects of drifting added to the raw snowfall amounts increases the odds of finding areas of knee-deep drifted snow on many lakes. Until the next meltdown, anglers without access to a snowmobile or ATV will be depending on rental operators who provide road plowing services.

The wider availability of plowed roads on larger lakes combined with greater populations of Perch in those same waters makes the transition a logical one. Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish lead the pack in late winter Perch action. But don’t overlook smaller “big lakes” either. Lake Bemidji, Bowstring and Pike Bay are examples of smaller waters where anglers are likely to find passable roadways that lead to good perch fishing spots.

image links to Rays Marine Boat Show For me, other forces will keep me off of the ice and my focus for the weekend will be on spring, open water and boats; lots of boats!

Ray’s Marine is treating boating enthusiasts to an indoor boat show at their new headquarters at 895 NE 1ST STREET in Grand Rapids this week. The store’s Grand Opening event runs from Thursday February 22 through Sunday February 25, 2018.

Highlights of the event include free fishing seminars with James Lindner, Brad Hawthorne and yours truly, Jeff Sundin. There’s a FREE fish fry on Saturday from 11:00 AM TO 1:00 PM and this year, Lowrance University will be on hand to help you learn everything from selecting a unit to squeezing out every drop of performance from the Lowrance unit that you already have.

I, along with other top pros will be there to answer questions about everything fishing. Ask about electronics, trolling motors and everything from Jon boats to pontoons, there will be somebody on hand to help get you the answer.

image links to Rays Marine Boat Show As always, the best reason to visit the show is to see all of the new introductions and take advantage of dealer specials like Lund’s “Spring Catch” and Crestliner’s “Reel Deal”. Both programs off instant savings of up to $2,500.00 on boats purchased during the program.

With Ray’s Marine world headquarters located only 3 minutes from my home, I’ll be popping in and out every day of the show. But I’d really love to see you there on Thursday at 2:00 PM because that’s when I’ll deliver my fishing seminar about how to find and catch Crappies throughout the year.

I’ll cover winter, spring summer and fall crappie locations. In this intimate setting, there will be lots of time for Q&A; you’ll be able to ask anything you want about Crappies and Crappie fishing in the Itasca Region. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Shores of Leech Lake February 20, 2018

image of perch in a pail "We are on the west side of Walker Bay, so our customers mostly fish Walker Bay. These perch were taken this afternoon near Sand Point (north Walker Bay flats).

They are in an 11” diameter, 5-gallon bucket, not huge perch, but not bad either.

When the weather is warmer and nicer our customers catch fish in the afternoon and early evening in 8-13’ on the north Walker Bay flats.
When the weather is colder, if they find fish, it is in 35 to 40 foot range, on the bottom.

I would expect as we move toward spring there will be more fishing on the flats and less fishing over the deeper water." Mitch & Mara Loomis, Shores of Leech Lake 218-547-1819

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort February 20, 2018

"We’ve received about a foot of snow and Todd has opened the roads back up into the landing and all the way to clay Banks. Getting around on the lake is now tough at best, which is disappointing after the fantastic fishing action that our guests enjoyed last weekend.

It’s hard to say how the drifting will affect travel over the short term, but fishermen in vehicles should anticipate poor travel conditions until temperatures rise and the first spring thaw arrives." - Dixon Lake Resort has shelter rentals, including sleepers. Reservations 218-659-4612

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 20, 2018

image of nice walleye caught by youngster "Anglers heading for the ice on Lake of the Woods this week should be optimistic. Consistent weather is typically good and the weather forecast calls for consistent conditions starting Wednesday with average temps in the mid 20's.

Right now anglers are working fish hard and putting fish in the pail. Electronics are playing a huge roll as some walleyes suspended as far as 10 feet below the ice.

Most resorts have their rental shelters place out in the 31 foot range. There are operators with some of their shelters placed a touch shallower too.

Anglers fishing in the deepest water, over soft bottom areas are catching primarily Sauger. Shallower structure like sunken islands and reefs are producing more walleyes. During evening and early morning, shallower areas produce action, during mid-day, look deeper for fish holding near the structure. Reefs to the west are also productive with a few perch being pulled in as well.

Rattle and flutter action spoons doing well. Gold, pink, and other glow colors are the best.

image of woman with big pikePike are already active in shallow water.

Auger extensions are needed if fishing on your own. Ice thickness now ranges 30 to 40 inches in most areas.

The Rainy River has been pushing out some bigger walleyes in the morning and evening along with an occasional sturgeon. Local fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay.

The NW Angle continues to put nice fish in the bucket. Anglers are catching both Walleyes and Sauger in good numbers. Early and late action occurs in 20-24' while 26-30' produces more fish during the day.

In Ontario waters, crappies in deeper holes of 28-32' on light tackle set ups. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on.

Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed. Snowmobilers stay on the marked trails; there are big ice chunks off of trail."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 20, 2018

"Suspended fish from 5-10 feet off the bottom has provided some great catches. Anglers continue to work the electronics and aggressively jigging and reacting to marks on the sonar are providing greater success. There were many nice bags of fish this past week. There are still many little ones taking bait. On average last week we had about a 50/50 split of Walleye and Sauger coming into the cleaning house, although one day everyone catches Sauger and the next day more Walleye.

We have houses spread out from 1 to 9 miles from Pine Island ranging in 24-34 feet of water. We continue moving our houses and searching for fresh locations. This February has been other than normal, we have been actually moving closer to Pine Island for 2 weeks now.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund. Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

The week ahead shows a mix of weather with daytime temps ranging in the teens to overnight temps to -10. This weather is excellent for ice fishing through the whole month of March, there is plenty of snow cover on the lake." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge .

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish February 19, 2018 "T-H Marine G-Force Conservation Cull System Giveaway"

image links to fishing product giveaway "Fish care is a big deal to anglers, especially tournament bass anglers and they do everything they can to take care of their fish and release them back to the lake after the weigh in healthy and ready for another fight.
For years anglers have used a penetrating cull system that poked another hole in the fishes mouth. New rules are in place at the professional level that makes having non-penetrating cull clips mandatory. They still hold tight to the fish but doesn't poke a hole into their mouths. We applaud this change.
For our next giveaway we are going to give you a chance to win a G-Force Conservation Cull System from T-H Marine for them to use on their local waters." Learn More and Enter >> T-H Marine G-Force Conservation Cull System Giveaway

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 18, 2018 "The Best Laid Fishing Plans …"

image of big bluegill … are no plans at all; at least that’s the way this ice fishing season has gone for me.

After a busy week of constantly having other plans, I and the Hippie Chick were chomping at the bit to get outside today. Fueled by the arrival of dozens fish photos coming from friends and family, we were bound and determined to get onto the ice today.

Winter storm warnings promising the arrival of heavy snow have already come to fruition. The snow is piling up outside of our kitchen window right now, so for now we’re in a watch and wait pattern.

If we do get lucky and manage a trip onto the ice today, we’ll be heading for one of our area’s shallow water, high fertility lakes. These are where reports of the best Panfish action are coming from; prairie lakes and flowages that have the feel of overgrown farm ponds.

Unlike pinpointing panfish on lakes that have well defined structure and isolated deep water holes, locating fish on shallow flats is much less pro-active. The fish are less likely to gather into large schools, but they will be on the move, arriving in small packs at random intervals throughout the day.

Typically, we’ll set up along the shoreline breaks in water depths of 6 to 12 feet. Weedy flats located adjacent to deeper, soft bottom flats are good starting places. Expansive flowages are good too; the slow moving water keeps the food churned up for easier feeding.

image of crappie caught on tungsten toad Flowages are important in another way too, the moving water, along with the presence of woody habitat like bulrush, cattails and wild rice provide ideal spawning habitat for panfish and perch. Even though it’s technically still winter, the fish are beginning to explore areas near their spawning territory. Every day we get closer to spring and this encourages fish to move rather than sit still; a moving fish is always easier to catch than a resting one.

Presentations vary day by day, so experimentation is called for. Last week a note From Austin Jones described panfish as being aggressive, striking on Rattlin’ Flyer Spoons tipped with wax worms. Yesterday their attitude was more subdued. “They shied away from lots of action and bigger spoons. But jigging Tungsten Toads tipped with wax worms to get their attention. Once they looked at the bait, teasing them with a slow rise triggered them to strike” Jones said.

Big lakes have anglers focused primarily on Perch fishing and it has been good, but anglers are reporting small average size.

Part of the trouble with finding larger fish is due to accessibility. Poor off-road travel conditions are hindering anglers from going where they want and on Winnie, large ice ridges isolate anglers from some of the more reliable late winter perch spots.

Removal of permanent ice fishing shelters isn’t required for another month. But the Walleye season ends next weekend anyway and the snow begins piling up today, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some folks removing them from area lakes today. Travel by snow machine will be back in vogue if the predicted snowfall arrives on schedule.

If you're out on the ice today, be mindful of the weather and allow a cushion of safety for getting back to shore safe and sound. We'll let you know if we manage a trip to the lake or not. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page February 16, 2018 - "Reducing Minnesota's Walleye Bag Limits"

image of anglers with walleye limits On February 15, 2018 Robert Klocker wrote; "Hi Jeff! I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts (about bag limits). They may not be parallel with your opinion, but I know that it also reflects the opinions that a couple of my regular fishing partners share.

At 58 years of age I’ve seen the evolution of both good and bad fishing. I believe the 2 biggest points that impact the fishing are Pressure and Habitat. 

I learned from your writings that you practice and preach catch and release. Unfortunately I’ve seen that we are a minority in this practice.
It is with reluctance that I find it more and more necessary to reduce bag limits and or size restrictions.

Our fishing world has evolved with more technology and advanced equipment than (we) ever imagined. On top of that, now we can fish 24 hours per day in minus 25 degree weather using a wheel house that provides (most of) the comforts we have in our homes."

A) Robert thanks very much for sharing your thoughts, they are in line with some of the other comments I've received and I hope that this response serves to answer most of the questions that came in.

Every point you raise is valid and I agree that collectively, we do need to take some wise decisions about how we utilize Minnesota’s fishing resources.

image of walleye under waterClearly, we need to pay attention to the changing landscape of fishing. Advances in technology, easier access to fishing information and higher skill levels all play into the discussion. But why should we assume that our capacity to capture fish outpaces our ability to produce fish? Why can’t we harness the same technologies to help provide anglers with increasing opportunity instead of demanding that they pay more and receive less?

From the very beginning, I’ve agreed with conservation minded anglers that selective harvest is a viable way to provide folks with fish to eat while also preserving catchable populations for the future.

During the late 70’s and early 80’s anglers agreeing to voluntarily restrict their harvest was in vogue. There were hats, decals and other awards passed out to anglers who released fish. Fishing programs, fishing magazines and newspaper columns all promoted the responsible use of fishing resources.

The concept of “selective harvest” caught hold and helped teach anglers that they do not have to pursue their favored species into extinction in order to enjoy eating some fish. By selecting which fish to keep and which ones to release, responsible anglers could have their fish and eat them too.

The word “selective” is important and to me it is the foremost thought on which every discussion about fishing and fish limits should hinge.

As an angler who has both access and opportunity to harvest a lot of fish, I am personally more than willing to “select” myself as a candidate for more restrictive bag limits. I voluntarily keep less than my legal limit because I know I can get more fish at a later time. Anxiety about when and where I can obtain my next meal of fish is unwarranted.

But what happens if I thrust my point of view upon somebody who does not have the same access to the resource as me? Can I expect a family to travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars on a single fishing trip to be held to the same standard as me?  Should I be allowed to dictate to your fishing buddies and you how many fish you need, based strictly my personal standards?
Personal opinion, this is where I think every discussion goes wrong. Opinions are formed and ideas are advanced based solely on personal experiences. Anglers base their decisions on whatever idea best suits their own needs and accurate scientific data is often overlooked, at times even outright ignored.

Let’s return to my original point about the specific discussion regarding walleyes and the use of rationing as a means of perpetuating healthy populations. If we intend to have a significant impact on walleye populations solely by restricting the harvest, then a bag limit of 4 walleyes simply does not go far enough to accomplish that goal.

Last summer I wrote; “Statistically, it would make more sense to drop the daily limit to 2 Walleyes and allow a possession limit of 6 Walleyes. This regulation would actually have an impact on the “local” harvest, which is the most intense. It would be especially limiting for me and for folks like me, stockpiling fish, would require multiple trips. In my mind that’s okay, we have the ability to catch more fish than average angler and if we need to gather fish for a meal, we may just have to spread it out over a few days.”

On a personal level, I know how tempting it is to disagree with me, but the scientific data supports the argument. Meaningful reductions in walleye harvest rates would require much more restrictive limits.

It would take another thousand words to recap the article I wrote last summer about the relationship between walleyes, tourism and rationing. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to read it now; it blends into the discussion very well. Read >> Let's Slash The Walleye Limit; Shall We?

All comments and questions are welcome! fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 15, 2018 "The Unlikely Historian"

image of young lady with nice walleye When I was in school, I hated history classes. What could be more boring than listening to stories about old farts that did this, that or the other thing; I thought.

It’s ironic that I love history these days and even more ironic that I feel a sense of responsibility to be one of the old farts telling stories about this, that and the other thing. But I do and today is one of those days when a history lesson is definitely called for.

While I was conducting a quick Google search to double check the walleye season ending dates, I stumbled into another article about proposals to reduce the statewide walleye bag limits. In the article New fishing regulations spark talk about new walleye, panfish and catfish limits, author Tom Cherveny wrote; "The walleye group is again urging the state to consider a four-fish limit, with one over 20 inches allowed."

Citing discussions about walleye bag limits from the 2018 MN DNR Roundtable meetings Cherveny added; “No one raised alarms that walleye fishing is on the skids. Yet two issues were certainly on the minds of anglers at the Roundtable.” One of the concerns is that apparently, results of a recent evaluation of the state's accelerated walleye stocking program during the past 12 years found that walleye numbers have essentially plateaued despite the increased effort.

The problem with that argument is that the “Accelerated Walleye Stocking Program” never actually accelerated anything. It was intended to serve as a remedy for walleye populations that had already declined after the MN DNR had previously slashed stocking programs throughout the state.

As a founding member of the original “Walleye Advisory Committee”, formed in 2005, I can attest that the so-called accelerated stocking program was one of the hottest topics of the time. The use of the term “accelerated” was questionable because even though walleye stocking rates did increase under the program, they never returned to the levels that had occurred prior to the original slashing.

In some cases, stocking was accelerated significantly, but in others they increased from nothing to a little bit more than nothing. In any case, any new goals were always set to lower standards than before.

Basing any decision on the results of studies about the accelerated stocking program means that we are willing to accept data from a program in which the goals were set to the low bar position in the first place.

Reviewing my own website, I find references about reducing walleye bag limits that go back at least 10 years. In fact I had just returned home from a meeting with the walleye group in March of 2008 when I wrote; "Apparently the proposed statewide Walleye bag limit reduction from six Walleye to four is being brought about because it's "time for change". There are no charts, no statistics, just whistle three times as you roll through the train crossing and it's all over. There wouldn’t be any public hearing process because none of the normal rules apply. This change is being introduced through the legislative process instead of "officially" through the DNR. Read Full Article >> Walleye Bag Limit Reduction 2008

Obviously, the effort failed in 2008, but that doesn’t mean that folks aren’t still banging the drum.  

The question now is the same as it was then; who has the statics that prove a 4 fish walleye bag limit will result in any improvement in Minnesota’s walleye fishery? The short answer is that there aren’t any, statistically speaking, rationing at a 4 fish bag limit won’t change anything.

I do not favor further rationing because I believe once the limits are lowered; they will never be increased again.

In July 2017 I wrote; “If it was up to me, I would do everything in my power to maintain a supply of fish that’s adequate to satisfy demand. I would do my best to assure Roy that when he gets here, there will be fish to catch.

If that means more fish need to be stocked, then I’d stock more fish. If we need to adjust slot-limits, then I’d adjust them. I’d …” Read Full Article >> Let’s Slash the Walleye Limit, Shall We?

Admittedly, there isn’t anything to fight right now; there hasn’t been any official move by either the DNR or the Legislature to reduce bag limits.
I do think it’s important to keep the conversation open though because if there’s a change looming in our future, I want to be involved. I certainly wouldn’t want to sleep through the process and find out that somebody else made the decision without hearing my opinion. How about you? fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 13, 2018

image of Jace Luoma with big northern pike "Finally, warmer temperatures are predicted to begin today. With subzero weather, fishing was challenging to say the least. Making good use of electronics and working every fish has been crucial for success.

Resorts have most rental shelters over deep mud in 30 to 33 feet of water. However, there are some in shallower water ranging from 24 to 27 feet as well.

One rod rigged with a rattling type jigging lure, paired with a dead stick rod using live minnows on plain hooks is effective. Gold, pink, and other glow colors best.  

Pike are already becoming active in shallow water.  

Auger extension needed if fishing on your own with 3+ feet of ice in most areas.   Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Ice houses allowed to be left on Lake of the Woods through March 31st and the walleye season remains open through April 14, 2018. The season for Northern Pike is open all year.

Rainy River continues pushing out some nice walleyes and an occasional sturgeon.  Local fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay are doing the best. The morning and evening bite most effective.

The NW Angle continues to give up nice fish. Both walleyes and Sauger remain active in 20 to 24 feet of water. Pink and white or gold spoons have been good.  In Ontario waters, walleyes are located in 24 to 28 feet focusing on reefs and points.

Crappies are found in deeper holes of 28-32'. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 13, 2018

"We have our houses situated about 11 miles from Pine Island.

The fish that are out there are playing hard to get.  Those anglers who are constantly and actively working their baits are having more success.  The traffic is seeming to come by in smaller schools, so when they come by it is important to be working your baits, or at least have a good minnow on the hook of your dead stick.

There are many anglers marking fish on their sonars, getting them to bite has been the trick. We are still using the Lake of the Woods staple colors, gold, glow red and yellow.  The drop shots are effective on the dead sticks and a jigging rap works well for actively jigging.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers!  Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund.  Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

It looks like midweek will be warmer with a chance of snow, cooling down a day, then ending with a nice weekend." - 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image denotes fishing report submitted by Jeff Sundin February 13, 2018 Help Jeff Sell The Boat and Receive Free Fishing Weekend!

image of Lund 208 Pro V GLThat's right, help me sell this fabulous boat and you will receive a full weekend of free fishing with me. Even if the new home you find is your own, you can still get the free fishing trip.

I definitely love my 208 Lund Pro V GL, but it’s getting close to the start of a new season and it's time to make room in the shed for the next one.

Either you, or someone you know can cash in on big savings by picking up this luxurious fully rigged and ready fishing boat for $15,000 below the retail price.

If you’re reading this page, then you already know that I like to ... Learn More >> Lund 208 ProV GL Tiller For Sale

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report February 12, 2018 "Should Have Been There Yesterday?"

image of bluegill After a stellar trip to Lake of the Woods, we had our first small dosage of fishing close to home again. This time, the results were less than stellar, and I hope that the trend isn’t set to continue throughout the week.

I found myself remembering when the US Olympics were held in Norway, 1994 was the year.

There were some interesting stories about the Norwegian people in the media that year. The citizens of Norway were so eager to be helpful that they’d give folks advice about almost anything, even if it was wrong. They meant well, they were only trying to be hospitable, but sometimes the outcome that resulted from passing out bad advice was worse than if would have offered no advice at all.

I think ice fishermen might be a little bit like that too. Folks not only want to be helpful, but they want to show off a little too; tell their friends that they’ve had good experiences on the ice. In an effort to be “helpful”, they have drawn some roadmaps that when followed, lead to some pretty unimpressive results.

It’s worked that way more than a few times this winter; chasing somebody else’s “hot bite” leads nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just throwing out an observation about human nature. After all, there hasn’t been anybody twisting my arm to follow their advice, nobody ever made me go anywhere. It’s been my own propensity for wanting to broaden my horizons that leads me to follow their advice in the first place. So if there was somebody to blame, it would be me, not them.

The real lesson that’s being drilled into my head this winter is how important it is to have good timing. Some of the experiences that folks have shared with me are real; they actually did have really good fishing on one occasion or another. The problem is that after they leave, the next angler who tries the same lake finds nothing but phantom marks on the graph, fish that look, but don’t eat.

Some folks say that the cold weather is a problem; some say that that we’re in the “dog days” of winter. I’ve speculated that there may be imbalances in food supplies causing trouble as well. It could be any or some combination of all these factors and let’s remember that there are a lot more variables to consider too.

For me, the answer has always been to do my own research and cover as much territory as I can. So after I get caught up on paperwork and housekeeping, I’ll get back onto the ice to see what I can drum up this week.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming in from friends and family. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes fishing article by Greg Clusiau Greg Clusiau, "Greg's Guidlines" February 12, 2018

image of jeff nelson with big pike "The local bar contest took place last Saturday on Blue Lake and I was amazed at how few northern pike were caught. I don’t have an exact count but the six bars involved must have had well over a hundred entrants. I heard DeNucci’s Saloon had forty anglers sign up at their place alone.

I spent a few days on the big reservoir, prior the contest, looking for that little hotspot but came up empty-handed, not catching a northern. How is that even possible? Fishing there in the summer has one catching a fish about every hundred yards or so. It’s crawling with them.

One day, I had a couple of fish fly into the Vexilar cone and hammer my ..." Read >> Greg's Guidelines ebruary 12, 2018

image links to fishrapper home page February 8, 2018 - Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods

image of flag island resort Tim Gansmoe wrote; “Hey Jeff, you mentioned that you’re fishing at the Northwest Angle on Lake of the Woods. How are the ice conditions up there, can we go wherever we want with our snowmobiles?”

Tim, I’m not sure that anybody can ever go “wherever they want” on a snowmobile. But travel conditions for snowmobilers on Lake of the Woods are pretty good right now.

The snow cover is light, maybe 5 to 8 inches and that means problems with slush have been minimal. The groomed trails are in excellent shape and we were able to move quickly on them. Thanks to the cold weather though, the snow is packed really hard and traveling off of the main trails has been bumpy, but taking is slow, we’ve managed to move around freely.

The ice depth is probably close to 30 inches, so some fishermen are using extensions already. The drill on my Nils is longer than most standard units, so I haven’t needed one. I’d suggest packing yours though just to be prepared.

On Wednesday, the walleye fishing remained good for us and with stable weather, will likely be good again today.

image of pike at flag island lodgeCrappies were piling up on the fish cleaning table here at the resort last night. The guides had a big group out yesterday and put them on a good school of nice fish. I spoke with a couple of those anglers and they said that the best fishing was from 10:00 AM until about 1:00 PM. Coincidentally, our walleye fishing peaked at about that same time.

We’ve been doing great using Lindy’s Quiver Spoon and the Blue/Glow color has been reliable. Yesterday though, my fishing partner was using a Blue/Silver Wally Talker and the fish were crazy for it. I watched him catch a dozen fish in a half hour. I’d say that there was either a fish caught, or at least a strike on almost every drop. I’m pretty sure that’s close to the fastest walleye action I’ve seen on any of my trips up here.

As much as I like being comfortable and warm, the folks here at the resort like this cold weather. As long as it stays cold, the fish keep on biting they say. The couple of warm snaps that came in January were responsible for slowing down the action. Stability is usually more important that temperature, so as long as it stays cold, the fishing should remain consistent.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 7, 2018 - "Lake of the Woods, Northwest Angle"

image of jeff sundin with big walleye Yesterday I teased you with a comment about heading out to the Walleye hole on our snowmobiles. Knowing how observant most of you are, you probably already guessed that we are fishing up on Lake of the Woods. If you did, then you’re right, we are up at the Northwest Angle.

I can’t say that I was really looking forward to spending another day on the ice in subzero temperatures. Despite obvious challenges caused by machines unwilling to operate properly in the cold, our day turned out to be a good one.
Thanks to decent portable ice fishing shelters and the availability of propane, we were actually really comfortable and the fish kept us busy enough that the cold temperatures seemed to slip our minds.

Almost any trip to the angle is a good one; we always catch some fish up here. But I think yesterday was above average for us. We fished for Walleyes from 9:00 Am until 3:00 PM and for the most part, we were either catching a fish or on the verge of catching one for the entire 6 hours.

The morning run consisted primarily of smaller fish, sauger and walleye in the 12 to 14 inch range. But mid-day delivered a nice surprise, as the day wore on, the walleyes got larger and the action got better. In fact, I had my best run of the day at about 2:45, just before we packed up to leave the lake.

At the lodge, guides acknowledged that the trend has been ongoing this winter. They said that fishing for larger fish has definitely been better during midday. That said, the crepuscular periods still provide the best action. Upon their return to the lodge, one of the fishing groups reported “a wild run of fish” that occurred at sunset in shallow water.

image of jon thelen with big walleye The hot sunset bite occurred in 13 feet of water, while the fish we caught during midday came out of 25 to 28 feet. Those depths are important because on Lake of the Woods, knowing the right depth is crucial. It’s the most depth oriented lake that I’ve experienced and even when you are on the right structure, a one foot depth variation can make or break your fishing trip. So whether you’re on a snowmobile fishing 15 miles out, or using a rental shelter provided by the lodge, don’t forget to drill and check varying depths occasionally.

For us, traveling by snowmobile allows fishing in areas that haven’t been pressured, especially when we travel to the Canadian side of the lake. That means the odds of finding fish are fairly high and taking credit for finding fish isn’t really warranted. However, even if there are a lot of good spots, we do eventually have to pick one and try it. The spot we picked yesterday was a point that led into deep water. At the tip, there is a slow taper running into 35 feet of water and following the outer contours of the break allows fishing in almost any depth we would choose. Like I said, 27 feet was the magic number yesterday.

If you’re not set up with a snow machine and portable shelter, don’t be discouraged. The guides here at the lodge are taking guests to some very productive spots and from what we’ve seen; reports about great walleye fishing are completely justified.

Crappie fishing has been a little more hit and miss, some groups are doing well while others miss out on finding the right spot. We may try a little Crappie fishing while we’re here and if so, I’ll fill you in about how it goes.

For today though, we are going to take another ride to the walleye hole. In fact, I’m rigging up my walleye rods with Quiver Spoons right now. The 1/8 ounce size in the Blue/Glow color was the hot ticket yesterday.
Before I go, I want to share the post I added to my faccebook page this morning.

“They say that getting a second chance is a blessing and I can attest; IT IS!

But this is the only chance that will ever be the first chance to wish the “Hippie Chick” a Happy Birthday as Susan Sundin.

Anybody this warm, this cheerful, this loving and so absolutely beautiful surely deserves the warmest, sweetest, and most glorious Happy Birthday ever; don’t you think?
Happy Birthday, Jeg Elsker Deg!”

If you have a free minute, look up the post for Susan on facebook and share the greeting, she deserves it! image of fish smiley

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism February 6, 2018

"When fish are tight lipped, anglers who work baits constantly and use electronics are finding more success than those who let both lines sit. Sorting through numerous small fish to find right size keepers continues. The reward for the effort is beautiful keeper walleyes and sauger coming in to the fish cleaning houses.

Resorts have their guests fishing in 24-35 feet of water, with most fishing in 30-33'. The shallow morning and evening bite continues all along south shore and should for the remainder of the ice season. A rattle on jigging lure and a minnow on a plain hook on dead stick rod best options.

Gold, pink, and other glow colors best. Auger extension needed if fishing on your own. Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Ice houses allowed to be left on Lake of the Woods through March 31st and walleyes remain open through April 14; Northern Pike are open all year.

Rainy River is pushing out some nice walleyes in the morning and evening too along with an occasional sturgeon.  Local fish houses are located along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay.

The NW Angle continues to have solid ice fishing with Walleyes coming from 15 to 23 feet of water, with sauger and perch out a touch deeper.

Jigging with a rattle type lure and calling in fish for dead stick is still working well with pink and gold spoons.

Anglers are also icing some crappies in deeper holes of 28-32 feet, primarily in Ontario waters. Mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper, catch fish and move on.

Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed."  – Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge February 6, 2018

"Tight lipped has been the trend this past week. Those anglers who are constantly and actively working their baits are having more success. The traffic is seeming to come by in smaller schools, so when they come by it is important to be working your baits, or at least have a good minnow on the hook of your dead stick.

We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb 11.8oz plastic coffee can with lid we will donate $2.00 to the Willie Walleye Fund. Limit one per person on each reservation, so if you booked for 8 people and bring 8 cans we will donate $16.00 for the new Willie Walleye in Baudette.

We have our houses situated about 11 miles from Pine Island.

There are many anglers marking fish on their sonars, getting them to bite has been the trick. We are still using the Lake of the Woods staple colors, gold, glow red and yellow. The drop shots are effective on the dead sticks and a jigging rap works well for actively jigging.

The forecast is showing single digit day time temps for the week ahead with overnights going below zero." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image denotes link to fish rapper article Ball Club Lake, Hundred Acre Woods Resort, February 3, 2018

image of northern pike c;aught on ball club lake "Ball Club Lake has 18” of ice average a crossed the lake. Much thicker on the south end, near the Crappie hole. The south public access was plowed but has since been drifted over.

We have been catching crappie in the 40’ hole with the fish suspended at depths of 30’-38’. We have been catching perch between 20’ and 30’ deep off our resort beach and holes both north and south of us on the west shoreline. Most perch have been small, but there are some keepers. Have not seen a walleye this winter but Northern have been a frequent catch with sizes from 28 to 40 inches.

I 'll be plowing a road today that runs from our beach to some better perch spots to both the north and south, primarily along the west shoreline.  Access will be open to the public, drive on-off for $20.00 per day." - Scott Gorsegner, Hundred Acre Woods Resort (218) 246-8520

image denotes link to fish rapper article Marcell Area - Edge of the Wilderness, Frontier Sports, Paul Larson February 3, 2018

image of rainbow trout "A cold front dropping down out of Canada and will stay with us into the end of next week.

Fishing as of late has been fairly good with Crappie, Sunfish and to some extent Jumbo Perch leading the way. Some anglers have been catching a few Walleyes in water depths of twenty to twenty-eight feet.

Probably the best bet for fishing action in our area would be Trout. Several of the Marcell area lakes have been giving up Lakers and in some cases even rendering a limit or two. White tubes and Savage Gear Sandeels Jigs have been doing the trick for these fish.

Don’t forget about the designated stream trout lakes either. In Itasca County alone there are eleven lakes that are managed exclusively for trout. Spoons with a salted minnow head, jigs and waxies and Berkley Powerbait Trout Bait have in many cases have produced limits the past several weeks. The fun thing about Trout is that fight very hard and they never give up until it’s too late.

The weather patterns for the next five or six days can only be described as cold. But after all, it is winter. Maybe a cold front is just what we need to kick the fish into high gear, then again maybe not. Have a Great Weekend Everyone!" - Paul Larson, Frontier Sports 218-832-3901
Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR dealer.

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Trappers Landing Lodge February 2, 2018

image of walleye fisherman on leech lake "Ice conditions have remained good out on our end of the lake. We have not seen any new cracks or pressure ridges form after the fast cool down. We are open to all vehicle traffic and there are no restrictions on where to go. We also have not had any significant snow accumulation over the past few days and are only seeing 4-6 inches of snow on the lake. Still look ahead when you are off road, there are some areas where there were ice houses that have large drifts.

Fishing has picked up this past week. The big walleyes were on the chow this past weekend and we had some great pictures sent in this past weekend. Thank you to all the guests that shared their pictures. Fishing for walleyes still remains random. We had reports this past weekend from guests catching walleye in 30+ feet of water on the bottom of the deep drop-offs near Rogers Point and Huddle’s reef areas, to guests catching walleye in 10 ft of water off of the shallow rock bars near Big Rock Reef, Mokeys Reef and Diamond Point.

The average best depth still remains in that 16-20 ft range. The bigger fish were all caught on set lines with Shiner and more of the keeper and smaller fish were caught using small jigging spoons with a minnow head. If you can travel and get away from the groups you will find more walleye.
Tullibee and Whitefish continue to be caught in the basins north of Diamond Point and Rogers Point areas. They are catching most of the fish on silver or gold jigging spoons tipped with a couple euro larvae or waxies.

Perch action continues to be sporadic around the area. Most anglers are targeting these fish on the shallow weedlines in Miller bay, Sucker Bay and the Sand point areas. Make sure it is a sunny day when fishing these fish. They prefer a full crappie minnow on a gold or orange jigging spoon.
Looking ahead

It looks like we are going to have some great weather again this weekend. The Restaurant will be open Thursday and Friday 4PM-9PM for food and Saturday 11 AM-9 PM for food as well. As always we will have all your fishing necessities and snacks at the lodge and a map showing you the hotspots. Good luck on your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the ice." - Josh Bullivant, Trappers Landing Lodge (218) 836-2500

image denotes link to fish rapper article Leech Lake, Shores of Leech Lake February 2, 2018 Mitch & Mara Loomis, 218-547-1819

“When the weather warms up, like it did the last couple of weeks, and especially when the sun is shining, the north Walker Bay flats turn on with perch and walleye. When it is colder, fishing gets tougher, any fish that are caught come from deeper water in Walker Bay.”

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 2, 2018

image of Red Daphnia In Water That note from Mitch Loomis at the Shores on Leech Lake this morning sums up most of the fishing reports throughout the area. In fact, this pattern has been persistent throughout most of the past year. We could label 2017 the year of the bite that came and went with warm or cold weather.

Still, the theory about this cold again, warm again pattern isn’t foolproof. There have been days when I get reports from folks who make good catches on days when the fish are not supposed to bite. Likewise, I have experienced days recently that fish do not bite despite weather that would appear to be ideal for fishing.

So there’s gotto be something more to it than just the cold and warm cycle. There must be something else that explains why some reports are good when they should have been bad and bad when they should have been good. I think it boils down to food.

I recall a conversation that I had with former DNR Biologist Dick Sternberg in which he explained the delicate balance between predators and their food sources. It was long ago and I can’t recall the precise statistics, but I do recall that I was amazed by how easily the balance can shift.

For the sake of discussion, let’s say that your lake suffers a slight supply shortage of forage, maybe the number is 10%. Predator species in that lake would be forced to work harder for their food. They would be aggressive, feeding both more often and for longer periods of time; it would be a “Hot Bite”. Sooner or later and for a number of reasons, the balance will shift the other way.

Take the same 10% supply shortage, but this time it applies to the predators and now you’ve got a whole new ball game. When there’s plenty of food available, predator species can feed most any time they choose. They now feed less often and for shorter periods of time and this can translate into long periods of slow fishing action. Any time that feeding conditions are less than ideal, i.e. a cold front, the action shuts down.

image of plankton on screenSomewhat experienced as an observer, it seems to me that I’ve seen a lot more images of “food” on the screen of my Humminbird lately. Viewing “The Death Cloud”, masses of planktonic food has become part of the daily routine these days. In fact I’m more surprised when I don’t see it than when I do see it. If you’re surprised by the term “Death Cloud”, don’t be, it’s just my way of saying that when you see this on your screen, it’s usually a signal that fish in that area are not active. In many cases the death cloud appears at the tail end of a period of good fishing, signaling that the bite has died.

I’ve been doing my homework, studying about the relationship between zooplankton and predator species like Sunfish and Crappies. The truth is that I don’t know much more now than I did a few years back when I first wrote; "The Death Cloud, What Is It?" . The winter season is under-explored by biologists, many of whom have simply regarded the ice-season as a dormant time.

What I do know is that there’s been a shift recently, an imbalance between predators and forage. That, in my opinion accounts for why our timing has to be perfect if we want to get in one great fishing these days.

Looking for something to blame for the imbalance is tricky because there are so many variables. A couple of springs providing poor spawning conditions, poor growing conditions during summer, heavy angling pressure; they all contribute.

Since not all lakes are created equal, it stands to reason that periodically, some lakes would have stronger predator populations than others. This would explain why some folks enjoy good fishing on their lake at the same time that anglers on a dozen other lakes in the same area are struggling. In my mind, these are likely to be lakes that have gone unnoticed by anglers, therefore escaping the consequences of a shortage of predators, at least temporarily.

Time will either prover or disprove my theory because cycles always come and go. Either way it won’t be all that long before we see the pendulum swing the other way.  

For now, focus on the weeks upcoming, late winter and early spring almost always deliver an uptick in fishing action. This year, its arrival will be a welcome reward for folks who have spent the winter working harder and smarter for less. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes link to fish rapper article Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux, Eagle Nest Lodge February 2, 2018

"Our fishermen have had pretty good luck in Cutfoot the last week or so.  Walleyes are being caught in 21-25 feet of water and the Northern spearing guys have seen plenty of fish. It hasn’t been a good week for giants, but there are plenty of “eaters” out there. The crappie bite seems to have slowed down." Bryan Harris, Eagle Nest Lodge 218-246-8701

image denotes link to fish rapper article On Lake Winnibigoshish Dixon Lake Resort February 2, 2018

"I was out on the ice good part of the day yesterday and it was super cold and windy. We watched a few trucks out “Baha Driving” I think trying to find a way to cross the ridge. 
Todd plowed the roads all the way back to Third River after all of the wind we have been having. But you can still jump off of the trail and get around fairly well; just watch out for those heavier drifts.
Our anglers had good spearing last weekend and so have the few guys that were out this week. They all reported that the Northerns were hitting hard.
Got some nice Jumbo Perch out there, some sunnies too and we’re still seeing those huge walleyes swimming through the area.
There’s a pressure ridge that runs from Stony Point to Ravens point and there’s no getting around this one. Be safe out there and have fun fishing." Dixon Lake Resort has availablities right now, including dark houses and angling sleepers. Call 218-659-4612 for reservations.

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Ice Fishing Report February 1, 2018

There hasn’t been much excitement about getting onto the ice these past couple of days. Cold temperatures combined with strong winds have held many anglers, me included, at bay. Since my most recent fishing trip was on Monday, before the weather changed, this information is already becoming outdated. Still, it’s better than no report at all, so here’s what I’ve got.

Considering the amount of time I had for exploration, I’d say that the fishing action was okay, but not great. The most notable development of that excursion was that the fish, Crappies in particular, were scattered both vertically and horizontally in the water column. In fact I never caught two fish from the same hole; each one came from different holes drilled approximately 25 yards apart.

Likewise, hardly any of the fish I caught came from the same depth of water either. The water depth below me was about 24 feet and I caught fish suspended at 10 feet, 12 feet, 15 feet, 18 feet and 22 feet. The fragmented school of fish was active and almost every fish I saw on my Humminbird eventually struck, I just had to keep moving to encounter the targets one by one.

One notable trend is that fish are showing up further away from the deepest water all of the time. Instead of finding fish in the centermost portion of a deep water hole, I’m finding Crappies along the edges, even on top of deep flats. Bluegills are moving evening shallower; I’ve found them in water depths of 12 to 16 feet.

image of bluegill More anecdotal evidence came via an email note from Jackson Whiton who adds; “Big bluegills bit during mid-day in water depths of 13 to 15 feet. We used a size 6 hook tipped with crappie minnows, basically dead sticking. Small tungsten jigs tipped with grubs worked as well.

If panfish action is too slow for you right now, then it’s probably time to cast an eye on some of the perch reports from around the area. Most of the Itasca area’s better perch fishing lakes are productive right now. On Winnie, the action is fast, but you’ll have to do some sorting to gather a bag of “keepers”. On Leech Lake, quality size fish are more common, but you should prepare for a longer search to find active schools of fish.

As we approach spring, perch will focus on areas where they can feed on bloodworms, the larval form of the Midge. For now, focusing on structures that lay near deep water is likely to be the most productive. Friends have reported good catches of perch in water depths of 22 to 34 feet of water.

For me, the weekend will spent in preparation for an upcoming trip to the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods. I'm not sure if I'll be doing a lot of fishing between then and now, but I'll keep you posted as best I can. fish smiley image - Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page 2018 - "TV & Magazine Guest Appearances" image links to fish ed tv air dates

Q) Last week Kevin Scott emailed; "Hello Jeff ! Hope all is great and you're keeping warm! Say, you mentioned you were gonna be either in a magazine or on TV in January! Can you update me? Thanks!

A) Kevin, sorry for the tardy reply, but it's been a busy year and I had to strain my brain to remember it all myself. Your question is a good one because it helps me deliver an answer to one of the most common questions folks ask me all year long which is; "What do you do during the off-season?"

I think that evidence of what I did with my “free time” is going to be pretty easy to find this year.

Let’s start with TV because the new season of Lindy’s Fish ED TV show begins this weekend. Occasionally, Jon has me tag along as his sidekick and this season I’ll be with him on 3 or 4 shows. I can’t say which segments air on which dates, so you’ll have to watch every week to see which ones I’m in. The shows air on Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Detroit and Wild TV. The air times Fox Sports North - Saturdays at 12:30, Fox Sports Wisconsin - Saturdays at 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Midwest - Saturdays at 8 a.m., Fox Sports Detroit - Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.; Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and Wild TV - Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
There’s a promotional video running on Facebook right now, click here to view >> Lindy’s Fish ED TV Season Opener

image of in-fisherman magazine The current issue (Dec/Jan/Feb 2018) of In-Fisherman magazine includes a feature article, "Less Is More" by Dan Johnson and I along with several of the top ice fishermen from the midwest share insights about panfish presentations. The article is quite extensive and well worth taking time to read.

Another In-Fisherman feature by Matt Straw will appear in the upcoming 2018 Walleye Guide. I'm not sure how many anglers Matt Straw included in the article, but I do know that he's including tips and tricks from me about my "wiggle worming" techniques. The Walleye will hit the newstands soon, but I'm not sure exactly when. Find out the publishing dates by visiting their website >> In-Fisherman Magazine.COM

image of jeff sundin There are also a bunch of new ice videos out on youtube too. I'll update this page with links to most of them as they become available.


Join US On Facebook and Become A Duly Deputized Fishrapper Cub Reporter image links to fishrapper facebook page

Helping your fellow fishermen and women stay abreast of fishing conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!
You don't have to write a book, you don't have to share your secret fishing spots and you don't even have to mention your lake. But even a few words about general trends, seasonal patterns and local weather conditions can really help.

Fishing Reports Minnesota, the Facebook counterpart to this page is open to the public, so you can post your own fishing update or just share a photo of a nice catch. Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter", it's good for fishing! Contact Us

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish January 16, 2018 "How to Identify All 9 Species of Black Bass" image links to fishing stories

"Black bass are the most popular freshwater gamefish in the world, largely due to their voracious appetites and outstanding pound-for-pound fighting power. It's important to understand, however, that there are many more black bass species than what many anglers might think.

There are actually 9 recognized species including Alabama bass, Florida bass, Guadalupe bass ..." Learn >> How to Identify All 9 Species of Black Bass


image links to article about Barotrauma What is barotrauma? Simply stated barotrauma is “injury caused to the body by changing air or water pressure.” In humans we know this as “The Bends”- a dangerous condition that divers experience when they come up too fast from deep water. Believe it or not, something similar happens in fish.
For example: When an angler angles walleye at the bottom of the lake, those walleye are experiencing a certain amount of pressure (air & water). When the angler yanks them up to the surface, that pressure is drastically reduced. This means that their gas filled cavities rapidly expand. This is particularly a problem for fish due to the presence of their ..." Read >> BAROTRAUMA AWARENESS