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April 2005

Fishing Report 4-24-05 Jeff Sundin – 20 Days Until The Walleye Opener!

An early jump-start of summer-like weather combined with the early ice out to produce a great run of spawning Walleyes at the Cutfoot Sioux Walleye stripping operation. The week passed quickly for the Minnesota DNR as they completed the operation in short order. In fact, one day this week was at or near record levels with a single day egg harvest of over 625 quarts. With an approximate total egg harvest of 1400 quarts, it’s off to the hatchery in Grand Rapids where the Walleye eggs will grow to barely visible fry before being released into Itasca Area lakes and rearing ponds. We’re about due for another strong year class, especially on some of the lakes that have struggled to produce a year class for the past few seasons. Now we have to hope for a nice warm up in water temperatures over the next couple of weeks so the fry will have good food supplies when they’re sent back into the wild to fend for themselves.

The ice is completely out on all of the Grand Rapids and Deer River area waters so anglers anxious to test their equipment are starting to show up in small numbers. Fishing action in the area is centered on folks fishing for Crappie and Bluegills in the smaller lakes or back bays of the larger ones. Bluegills in particular have been cooperative so far and some of the better action has been fishing from shore in heavily weeded areas with black bottom. Soft mud, coontail, cattails and boat docks are all good places to check. Keeping it simple with small floats, 1/32 or 1/16 ounce jigs and a wax worm is plenty to get you in the ballpark.

There are also some folks looking at the smaller streams and rivers for the spring Sucker run, which is one of my personal favorites. It’s too early to legally take the Suckers by archery or spearing, but when you find a river in the midst of a full scale spawning run, you can catch some of these scrappy fish with a hook and line. The best rig I’ve seen for angling would remind you of a Lindy Rig except using a floating jig tipped with small a worm. Using the sinker to hold your rig in place instead of trolling as you would for Walleyes. Cast your rig toward the edges of current breaks and drag the sinker into place by "feeling" where the current stops pulling on your rig. When you get the knack for finding these "current breaks", the fish do the rest of the work for you. Just let your bait sit still and occasionally one of the passing fish with grab your small worm.

For folks with a little bigger game in mind, the Sturgeon runs on the Rainy River are well, sort of under way. There are some fish biting, but hampered by high winds, cold temps and fast currents, only the toughest anglers are trying their hands at it so far. There are some fish being caught using the traditional bottom weights and night crawlers. River currents are reported to be strong, so prepare with some heavier than usual weights.

Stay tuned as the countdown continues!

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

Fishing Report 4-17-05 Jeff Sundin – 27 Days Until The Walleye Opener

In case you haven’t guessed by now, most of the smaller and medium sized lakes in the 1000 Grand Lakes Area free of ice again. Some of the larger lakes are holding on to sheets of ice, but it won’t last long. They have the Walleye Stripping operation set up at the Cutfoot Sioux Bridge and the Walleye Spawning run is under way.

Shore fishing for Bluegills
    provides anglers with opportunities during early spring

Anglers that want to get a jump on the fishing season are finding some panfish action from shore right now and to be sure, the back bays and narrow inlets of your favorite panfish lake are going to be worth a visit during the next week or so. The best bet has been to stick with small jigs tipped with waxworms about 8 inches below a bobber. The fish that move in early are looking for food, so they move into really shallow water. Many times less than a foot. So while it’s nice to get the boat out for a test drive, the shore anglers probably have an advantage right now.

We’ve been watching for the early signs of a Sucker run, but with water levels much higher than they’ve been in the past few years, it’s going to take a little longer for temps to warm up enough to get it started. Watch here for a report in the next few days and be sure to check on the Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Spawning Run to see how that project is going this spring. We should have some new photos and news about that tomorrow morning.

Walleyes in the holding pens
    at the Cutfoot Sioux Hatchery

Walleyes that swim into the nets at the Cutfoot Sioux stripping station are held overnight and the eggs are taken, fertilized and brought to the hatchery in Grand Rapids where the eggs will hatch and mature under controlled conditions. Later the fry will be stocked into area lakes, providing anglers with the promise of another good season in just a few short years.

Stay tuned as the countdown continues!

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

Fishing Report 4-6-05 Jeff Sundin

Spring Breakup Is Upon Us

Snow cover throughout most of the 1000 Grand Lakes Area is all but gone. We’ve had some really warm, windy weather during the past few days and although ice is still good for foot travel and ATV’s in some places, conditions are changing daily. Area rivers like the Mississippi, Ball Club, Prairie and Leech Lake River are entirely open including some of the backwaters. On lakes, the narrows and some of the shallow shoreline spots are breaking up already, in fact we’ve seen some of the smaller lakes getting pretty "Black" already, so double-check everything before venturing out for the final burst of spring ice fishing action.

Bluegill fishing is still the top pick in my book right now. Smaller lakes make walking easier and this is prime time for these offbeat Bluegill waters. Bluegill locations are along the weedlines with mixed cover. We’ve been finding most of our fish in Coontail weeds in particular. Water depths of 8 to 12 feet have been reliable, but we’ve found them even shallower if there’s good weed cover. Initially, the fish were located near the bottom and later moved up to about half way between the bottom and the surface. These suspended fish were the most active. Some fish were even caught just a foot or two below the surface of the ice.

Best baits have been the Glow Bug, Doodle Bug and Ants tipped with a fresh wax worm. Unlike past trips, a plain jig head or other horizontal type bait didn’t really get them fired up. Lately, all of the best baits have been vertical type presentations. Wax worms that stay on the hook too long and get waterlogged don’t produce as well. Changing the bait often really made a big difference.

Crappie fishing has also been generally good in the Grand Rapids area with anglers on several lakes reporting good fishing. There had been reports of good daytime fishing, but for one reason or another we’ve had to wait until nearly dark before the fish start moving. The depths have shown a clear shift toward shallower, soft bottom areas. OUR SEARCH in water depths of 23 to 30 feet yielded few results. But moving into shallower water of about 16 feet has paid off. Best baits were the now familiar blade type baits like the Demon tipped with a minnow hooked in the dorsal fin.

Perch anglers on Winnibigoshish; are now limited to ATV’s as most of the lake access roads are now closed. Perch fishing remains spotty, with most of the reliable fishing located in the Northwest corner of Big Winnie. There are some smaller lakes with fishable perch populations, so for the moment, Perch anglers might want to seek some new, smaller territory to test their skills.


On our trip to the Rainy, we didn't get many larger fish, but even on a slow day there's going to be some highlights like this 25-1/2 inch fish that Bill hogged for himself. The Sturgeon come along once in a while to liven up the action as well.


The Rainy River has drawn a lot of attention from folks with the itch to get out on open water, we made the run up last Friday and were treated to some of the longest lines of parked rigs that we’ve ever seen. The good news is that most folks were helping each other out with rides to their rigs and there were very few slow loaders at the ramps. Water conditions were generally good at that time. Unfortunately, several of the tributaries are now rising, sending lots of murky water into the Rainy. Rising, muddy water usually slows down the action on the Rainy, so some folks are heading upstream towards Pelland while others are pushing out into four mile bay in search of water that’s clearer.

Reports from folks who had been there before us were excellent and we talked to several people who had great fishing a day or two before our trip. For us, fishing was slow in the morning and we had relatively few bites, but as the day grew warmer and we moved further downstream, the action picked up. Eventually, we had a few hours of good fishing that remained steady until about 6:00 PM when it tapered off again. Most fish were caught in the deeper portions of the main channel from 16 to 19 feet of water. A ¼ ounce yellow fireball tipped with a larger fathead and fished with a lazy, lift-drop, produced the most fish. Average size of the fish was 13 to 15 inches with a smattering of larger 19 to 21-inch fish. We only caught one larger fish, although we heard reports from folks who caught some larger fish.

The early Bird - www.Jeff Sundin.com

March 2005

Fishing Report  3-28-05 Jeff Sundin

Early Spring Bluegill Action Is Stealing The Show

Snow cover is declining rapidly and travel conditions are fantastic for anglers who want to get in on the last round of early spring ice fishing. Ice is still in fairly good shape, but with all of the warm weather we had this weekend, it is starting to become wet from the melting snow cover. Some of the more popular landings are showing signs of stress too. There are several landings with water problems developing. Folks, if you want to travel on the big water, it’s time to start thinking about 4 wheelers. Even though there’s plenty of ice right now, it won’t take long to turn the corner if weather conditions remain stable. Smaller lakes have seen a lot less traffic this winter and there are some great opportunities now that the snow cover is largely gone.

Bluegill fishing is the top pick in my book right now. You don’t have to be a pro at fishing to find Bluegills in Minnesota. Our area is blessed with scores of good Bluegill lakes and most of the smaller lakes that have good size areas of shallow weed cover and some access to deeper weed edges will have Bluegills in fishable numbers.

Here's a nice mess of decent eating size Bluegills. No real whoppers, but a nice mix of fish averaging about 3 fish per pound. Vertical oriented jigs tipped with Wax Worms was the treat they wanted.

On an afternoon trip to a new lake (for me) our friends re-assured us that the Bluegills would become active during the last afternoon light. It worked like clockwork. At about 5:30 PM the locators started showing fish and once they got active, the action was as fast as we could handle. In fact, it’s probably the best fishing we’ve had this winter. The fish weren’t particularly large, but they were running about 3 to a pound and plenty good for a family fish fry. This is one example of the kind of reports that are coming in from all over the area.

Bluegill locations are along the weedlines with mixed cover. We’ve been finding most of our fish in Coontail weeds in particular. Water depths of 8 to 12 feet have been reliable, but we’ve found them even shallower if there’s good weed cover. Initially, the fish were located near the bottom and later moved up to about half way between the bottom and the surface. These suspended fish were the most active. Some fish were even caught just a foot or two below the surface of the ice.

Best baits have been the Glow Bug, Doodle Bug and Ants tipped with a fresh wax worm. Unlike past trips, a plain jig head or other horizontal type bait didn’t really get them fired up. Lately, all of the best baits have been vertical type presentations. Wax worms that stay on the hook too long and get waterlogged don’t produce as well. Changing the bait often really made a big difference.

Crappie fishing has also been generally good in the Grand Rapids area with anglers on several lakes reporting good fishing. We fished Crappies on Friday at a lake that’s been heavily fished this year and discovered that waiting for the evening bite was the only way we could get decent action. There had been reports of good daytime fishing, but for one reason or another we had to wait until dark before the fish started moving. In fact, we left at about 8:45PM and there were still some fish biting. It may have gone on for another hour or maybe longer if we’d stayed. The depth we located fish was different than in past weeks with a clear shift toward shallower, soft bottom areas. OUR SEARCH in water depths of 23 to 30 feet yielded few results. But finally following our friends into shallower water of about 16 feet finally paid off. Best baits were the now familiar blade type baits like the Demon tipped with a minnow hooked in the dorsal fin.

If this man ever tells you about a hot bite, follow him. A Mark Dorholt "hot tip" is as good as gold. We had to wait until after dark to get the Crappies going, but it helped.

Perch anglers in the area are talking about the "Morning Bite". Getting up early and hitting the first run of fish each morning is paying off for savvy Perch anglers. Daytime fishing has been spotty at best, with most of the better fishing isolated to spots that haven’t been heavily pressured this winter. Like other panfish, the Perch are also making a move toward shallower soft bottom flats where the early spring feeding centers around bugs wriggling on the bottom. Even though Fathead minnows are the usual choice for Perch, don’t overlook wax worms at this time of year. One of my favorite tricks for finicky fish is to use a super flexible (almost ropelike) soft rod and a small Perch-Eye imitation jig tipped with a wax worm. I lay the rod on a bucket and watch for the tip to move. It’s so soft that the fish don’t feel the resistance. When Perch get tricky, this usually outperforms most of my other approaches.

Current areas like this shallow channel between two lakes and some heavily traveled areas like the more popular landings are already opening up. There's still plenty of good ice on most lakes. One last chance for anglers.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

Fishing Report  3-22-05 Jeff Sundin

Stable Ice Conditions Offer Early Spring Opportunities

Ice conditions are stable with temperatures remaining below average for this time of year. Driving on the ice is generally good, but you’ll need to pay close attention to snow depths before leaving the plowed roads. Thanks to the snow that fell after our last meltdown, there is some drifting, on certain lakes. On a Perch fishing trip to Big Winnie on Monday, we discovered (the hard way) that snow is deeper on the North end of the lake than it is to the South. A couple of hours of walking and shoveling got us back on to one of the excellent roads and eventually some fish for a meal. Some of the other area lakes have relatively little snow cover and travel is a snap. For the time being, the landings are in great shape and most of the roads are free of slush or standing water. Afternoon temperatures are predicted to be getting higher this week, so folks who can get the four wheelers ready are going to have an advantage in the very near future.

Perch fishing has been somewhat better recently, but is still far from a sure thing. Our best action resulted from looking for new territory that hasn’t been fished this winter. One un-tapped deeper hole produced lots of fish, but mostly small in size after a couple of hours this area produced enough keepers for a family meal. Areas with heavy pressure appear to offer a couple of hours of decent fishing in the morning followed by a slow bite during the day.

Bluegill action is still good for local anglers working the weeds on smaller lakes. Simple but effective, 1/16 ounce jig head tipped with a wax worm will produce plenty of fish.Green and Black combinations have been a good combination, so has Glow/Green. Start at the weed edges and work into shallower water in the weed beds. Some Bluegills are coming from just a few feet, in heavy cover.

Tulibees are disappointing folks in the area right now, there are some reports of decent catches on off-beat lakes, but the powerhouse spots on Leech and other popular locations are fairly slow. According to the DNR this decline in Tulibee success is a statewide trend at the moment, but why it’s occurring is unclear.

Crappie fishing continues to be good in the area and several of the smaller to medium size lakes are producing good numbers right now. Crappie location is shifting in toward the drop off edges adjacent to the deep holes where they’ve been gathered for the past couple of months. Small blade baits like the Frosty or Demons are still catching fish, but plain hooks/minnows did a great job for one group fishing Bowstring on Sunday. Red Lake is a mixed story, while it continues to produce fish for anglers who keep in touch with friends on the lake, folks trying to locate the fish on their first visit are struggling to hit the better schools of fish. Tips from folks who have done well in the past day or two is about the only way to get an advantage, so if you can leave on short notice, get someone to call when they locate fish. For groups who arrive already knowing where the fish are, it’s been fantastic action. In fact lots of folks are filling their limit in short order. There are just not enough Crappies to find this kind of action everywhere, so research is becoming more important all the time.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

Fishing Report  3-16-05 Bill Powell

Late Winter Action Heating Up

You can't tell by looking out the window that spring is just around the corner but the way the fishing has picked up in the last week maybe it is closer than we think. Since we also raise beef cows I hope warm weather isn't to far away because on Sunday the cows couldn't wait any longer. Even though it was below 0 our first two baby's were born and everything came out fine. I'm lucky my kids were on the ball and got them in where it was warm and dry.
Chester and I were able to get out a couple of times in the last week. The first time we headed to Winnie and since off road travel is still tuff we brought along a snowmobile. Even though the resort roads are in good shape getting to where the fishing pressure has been minimal can sure make catching a lot easier. I drilled several holes along a sharp break and after finding several places where the fish just seemed to be sniffers we found some good sized hungry jumbos and Chester showed me how to catch a mess of Perch.

The next trip was to Long Point on Lake of The Woods, the fishing was a little slow for Walleye ending up with 13 for the frying pan but I kept having blips on my Vexlar that at first I thought were Walleye that wouldn't bite cause they were close to the bottom after an hour or so of frustration I put on my favorite Tulipie bait and fish on. What could have been a slow day of fishing ended up being a very fun one and at times fast and furious. Tulpie are a very fun fish to catch but I think a bunch of fishermen miss out on a whole lot of action by not targeting these scrappy fish.

My favorite bait is the smallest jigging Rapala but I've also done well on a small silver Swedish Pimple or a Rat Finkie tipped with a waxie most times light colorrs work best. Lake of The Woods, Leech, Ball Club, Winnie, and Bowstring all can be good lakes to target. Tulpie's on from now till ice out and also these hard fighting fish can be very tasty if you smoke fish or better yet can find a old pro that's experienced in this field.

In the last three days I've heard some of the best reports of the season coming off Winnie. Also many of the smaller lakes have started to give up fish which is giving me the feeling spring is just around the corner but the next couple weeks or so we have left will be the best of the hard water season.

A sure sign of late winter is when the Tulibee action kicks into high gear. These fish are great for smoking or pickling and provide lots of action when anglers get near the large schools.

Fred's Bait 218-246-8710

Fishing Report  3-3-05 Jeff Sundin

An early glimpse of Spring Fishing in Northern Minnesota

Ice conditions improved this week when Sunday’s blast of warm sunshine reduced snow cover on most area lakes. We saw certain areas of Leech Lake where snow was reduced to standing water on the ice. Perfect timing for the return to colder weather that blew in on Monday. For the first time in a couple of months, there are folks driving on the ice without needing any plowed roads. This has opened up huge amounts of new territory that was previously available only to the anglers clever enough to bring their snow machines. On a trip to the Wadena, Minnesota area this past Sunday, we saw lots of snowmobile trails now showing open grass or dirt, so it looks like early spring fishing is creeping our way. We saw vehicle traffic on many smaller lakes that were previously inaccessible.

Spring fever hits when the weather gets this nice. Here's proof that you can never be too early for spring shore fishing.

Bluegills are turning up in the creels of quite a few Northern Minnesota fishermen right now and we’re going to be hearing a lot more buzz about this in the next couple of weeks. The majority of the action is ice fishing of course, but believe it or not, there is already some shore fishing action available. A case of spring fever and an opportunity to fish in open water for a change inspired us to take a shot at some of the seasons earliest spring Bluegill fishing in an area adjacent to the river where the water opens up early. We had a reasonably good catch of fish ranging from 6 inches up to maybe 9 inches. No real whoppers, but some delicious eating size fish. One of the keys to keeping your favorite Bluegill lakes healthy is to get in the habit of harvesting some of the smaller fish and releasing larger ones. This can help avoid the over-crowding and stunting of the smaller fish, so we don’t get too concerned about the size anymore.

My Hero! Matt picked the right color, the right spot and the right bait that set us on the track. Some baits were better than others, so change them around until you hit the right combinations.

Our best baits were regular round jig heads tipped with wax worms. We caught some fish on Euro Larvae after the waxies ran out, but they were not quite as productive. Color combinations of green, green-glow, black and black-green produced well. Other colors we’ve been using for Crappies this winter were a bomb. Reds, pinks and brighter combinations failed to bring in a single Bluegill, so be prepared to switch away from some of the habits that formed earlier this winter. Our fish were holding tightly to patches of coontail weeds in shallow water, start your search in the weeds and don't be afraid to go really shallow.

Crappie fishing continues to pay off for anglers as well, the Red Lake bite has continued to pay for folks who really study it, but there’s easier fishing on the smaller local lakes right now. Crappies are still holding in the deeper holes but like the Bluegills, they’ll be moving toward the shallower drop-offs and into the weeds as well. On the smaller lakes, start looking for the Crappies near the deeper holes and then move toward the shallower breaks. As you search, watch for suspended fish, some spring crappies with be active just a few feet below the ice. Reports from friends are that minnow tipped blade baits continue to be the top choice. Late winter, I expect to catch Crappies on the grubs as well, so from here on out we’ll carry waxies as a backup on every trip.

Perch reports are still coming in mixed with some folks finding fish and others getting shut out. It sounded like the key for those who succeeded this weekend was to move into new territory. There’s been pressure on the deep-water haunts for most of the winter and with the coming warming trends, I’d expect to see better action by heading for the shallows. Most of the folks who did well over the weekend had moved back toward the shorelines. Although it sounded like the fish were running smaller than the deeper spots, the action was quite a bit better. So the trade off is action for size.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

UPNORTH Report 3-6-05 - Jason Green

March Melt Down

Even With A Slower Bite It Is Good To Be Outside Again!

The perch bite continues to be a bit off the past few days. Mud flats on area lakes are filled with larvae so fish have been having their Thanksgiving Dinner in March. If you work at it you can still pull a few good ones for a meal. Working deeper holes in 28'-34' with a smaller glo jig seems to be working best. Chartreuse, parakeet and watermelon is triggering them to bite. The best approach is hole hopping. Drill 12-20 holes in different depths and you should be able to pull a couple now and then.

Life Is Good, I Got The Minnows

Crappie action continues to get better with the stabilizing weather. The lack of schooling makes it more difficult but consistency is paying off. Larger Northland Doodle Bugs or similar jigs tipped with a minnow are producing best with Cherry and Watermelon having better results. Again, like fishing perch working multiple holes is your best bet. We have been seeing movement on what time the main bite is happening. The past several weeks has been a morning bite with now fish hitting in the middle of the day. It won't be long for the evening to accelerate.

It Doesn't Get Any Better, Beautiful Weather
And Slabs To Top It Off

Travel conditions continue to get better. The past few days you could venture off the plowed roads in the morning when the snow still had a solid crust but as the weekend approached enough snow had melted to allow us to move cross country in the truck without getting stuck.

The show season is upon us and if you are shopping for a new boat you can get an incredible deal. If you happen to be looking for a used boat take a look at www.upnorthinc.com

See You On The Ice! (218) 327-8183 jason@upnorthinc.com - www.upnorthinc.com

Fishing Report  3-3-05 Jeff Sundin

Stable Weather, Improving Travel Conditions and Crappies Cooperating

Ice conditions remain stable since the last report. There hasn’t been a lot of new snow, so driving conditions are gradually improving. There is a hard crust on the surface now and on our fishing trip yesterday we were able to drive off of the main roads for a short time in the morning while it was still cold. As the sun warmed the surface, the crusty snow softened and made off road travel difficult. The best news is that this harder surface has really improved the walking conditions. We covered a lot more ground and drilled a lot more holes because it was so much easier to walk while drilling holes. Some folks are talking about extensions for their augers, but this is due to the snow more than the ice thickness. If you shovel first, there’s no need for an extension at this time.

How can you beat this? Great weather and a chance to greet some of these magnums as they come through the hole.

Now that the Walleye season has ended, everyone has focused on panfish, Perch and the final bit of Lake Trout fishing for the season. Crappie fishing seems to be the most improved during the past week. Finding a school of fish is the main focus now and once located, fish are in a biting mood. Almost any time we saw a fish on our depth finders, we were able to get that fish to bite. The fish have been caught during the day, but we’ve noticed a morning run that tapers off during mid day. It might be better to say that they’re biting during the day but early and late periods are better. Crappie locations are shifting, showing early signs of a movement back toward earlier winter locations and slightly shallower than where they’ve been in recent weeks.

Blade baits with a minnow hooked parallel to the dorsal fin are still producing nicely. Most anglers favor glow colors with Glow Red, Glow Pink and Glow Green colors leading the way.

Locating small groups of fish is okay now, because they are biting aggressively. Even a few of these great fish adds up to a nice meal.

Perch fishing has been spotty for most of the winter and this hasn’t changed yet. There are some groups of anglers doing very well when they locate "NEW" schools of fish. After a day or two of working an area, the aggressive fish are caught and the remnants of the school become spooky and sluggish. The only really good strategy is to strike out and cover water that isn’t already being fished. There will be lots of holes to drill and plenty of walking, but it’s the only way to really make things happen right now. A movement toward the shallows will be heading our way in the next couple of weeks, so it’s a good time to start taking a look at some of that territory.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

February 2005

Fishing Report 2-25-05 Bill Powell

 This week we tried smaller waters and found that if you want to go with pickups, there are several spots that have frozen ruts to the community holes, but if you want to go to a favorite spot snowmobiles work. Good traveling on top of the crusty snow.

Lucky to have kids along to find the fish. Chester Powell located a nice mixed bag of Perch and Crappies while his dad drilled holes.

The most important part of your gear right now is a good ice auger. Those that drill lots of holes will be rewarded even if it seems like a lot of work Several times I've seen a hole give up one or two fish then its time to try another.

The Castellano Girls were obviously able to lead their father to a good Bluegill hole. Click here to see a couple on the tape measure.

The reports from everywhere this week have been on the fair to good side with many finding that the fish are starting to move shallow, looking for young minnows. Also have heard of some Blue Gills being caught in the shallow weedline breaks. When I start to hear this I know the late season hot bite is right around the corner.

Fishing Report 2-17-05 Bill Powell

 After two weekends of beautiful spring like weather the cold has returned this is just what we needed to get rid of some of the snow making mobility easer A lot of the lakes that we were down to snowmobiles or foot travel now have pickups on them.

We made two trips to Lake of The Woods in the past week the first one we rented a house from Long Point Resort and spent a day in luxury and had a good bite going on with the fish being aggressive . The total ended up with a combination of 45 Walleye and Sauger 1 Eelpout and 1 Tulipie; after throwing the little ones back we brought 30 good eaters home. On Sunday Three of us went back up bring our portables the fishing was slower with the total in the bucket being 15. One thing about those Lake of The Woods fish they are sure tasty.

The reports off of Red Lake lately have been a little mixed with some getting one or two while the next getting a bunch. The fishermen that really work at it and keep punching holes and moving around seem to get rewarded with some beautiful slabs.

Three locals that were determined to catch these monsters went up on Sunday and after a little searching found fifteen dandies with the biggest tipping the scales at 2.2 pounds.
The bite on Winnie is really improving lots of limits of jumbo's in the last week with jigging spoons such as the Buckshot, Swedish Pimple, or Jigs and Rigs Swimming Jig are the most popular tipped with either a minnow head or a tail hooked medium fathead. The Bite should keep improving as the sun gets higher I've already heard that alot of the fish when cleaned have small minnows in them this can be a hint that the bite will kick into high gear.
The smaller lakes such as Bowstring have been hard to get out on up to this point so I haven't any reports on them but after this weekend that will change with anglers chomping at the bit to get back to there favorite spots .

Fishing Report  2-17-05 Jeff Sundin

Partial Meltdown Improves Travel Conditions

Ice conditions are quite a bit better now than they were earlier this winter, with something of a meltdown eroding snow depths. It’s still not too easy for most of us to travel in vehicles unless we stay on the plowed roads like the ones available on Big Winnie, Red Lake and some of the other large lakes in the area.

Our fishing this past weekend proved that it’s still too early to try and cut cross-country in the truck, as we’ve seen lots of folks pushing their vehicles out of the snow when they ventured out away from the roads. The good news is that at the moment, there is a wonderful set of roads out there and most folks can find a spot or two along them where fishing pressure is light enough to make for a reasonable search. Snowmobiles are still the best bet, but 4 wheelers are starting to work out okay also. There’s a crust on top of the snow that supports the 4 wheelers fairly well, particularly on the colder days.

With the poor driving conditions, the H2O handheld GPS is saving me a lot of extra work. I’m using the Navionics map card in mine and since I can see the depth contours while I drive, I can just hop out and punch some holes anytime we drive near an interesting bit of structure. I had this in the boat last summer and it was helpful, but using it in the winter has been a real blessing and saved more than a few steps in the deep snow.

Fishing has been interesting. You could call it spotty. There are some days that the Perch are snapping nicely and others where the fish must be caught one by one. On our most recent trip, we found fish at almost every stop, caught a handful of biters and then were forced to make another move. We never did locate an active school but somehow, we accumulated a nice batch of fish while hardly realizing we’d caught them. There are huge schools of young Perch right now and the fish appear to be well fed. Nearly all of the fish we’ve caught have been eating these small Perch and this might explain the slight shift in their location. We’ve noticed that getting on the deepest edges of sunken humps or bars has been best. Unlike the deep-water pattern earlier this winter where we’d look for the fish further out on the deep flats. Find the top of the hump and drill out toward deeper water until you lose track of the structure and then fish your way back toward the top. 28 feet of water has been a magic number this week and that’s just a bit shallower than where we found the fish earlier. Just before dark, we move back up on top of the humps in about 20-22 feet and catch the half-hour Walleye run. It’s been reliable, but short. With this being the final weekend for Walleye and Pike fishing, it’s worth your time to stay out for the late show at least one more time before the season ends.

Crappie fishing has been steady and folks continue to make the run up to Red Lake. The timing and location are critical though and the results are varied. Some folks are literally filling their limits while others nearby get less than a handful. The best advice for a trip up there is to stay on the move and drill as many new holes as you can handle. There appears to be smaller schools of fish that are roaming the open water and when you can get over them, they’ll bite.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

January 2005

UPNORTH Report 1-31-05 - Jason Green

The Good Old Days Are Here Again


January has come and gone and temperatures are stabilizing the past few days.  Along with consistent weather the bite is progressing but unfortunately its still on the slower side.

Working mid lake humps and bars have been producing the best numbers.  When working structure, start on the top  and work your way into deeper water.  In low light periods fish are being caught on the top side in roughly 15'-20' of water and as the day progresses you will want to work your way deeper to 30'-35' while using a slower presentation.

Changing conditions have also changed what the fish are hungry for.  The key is down sizing your presentation.  Last week we were using a #2 Doodle Bug tipped with a minnow but best results the past couple of days have been on a #10 or #12 Lime Super-Glo Jiggle Bug tipped with a waxy.

Large pockets of slush and water are becoming quite common.  All the snow we have in the 1000 Grand Lakes Area is weighting down the ice so water is seeping its way on top of the ice

With fish being a bit finicky hole hoping seems to be your best bet.  If you punch 20 or so holes you should be able to catch a couple active fish from each hole/


See You On The Ice!  (218) 327-8183 jason@upnorthinc.com - www.upnorthinc.com

 UPNORTH Report 1-23-05 - Jason Green

The Good Old Days Are Here Again

Snow, snow and snow, and then more snow to top it off.  This past month has brought back many childhood memories.  It seems the past few years Minnesotan's have had it pretty good with the warm winters and light snow fall but those days are gone.

The 1000 Grand Lakes Area has enough snow if one is not careful you could lose a small child.  So if you are one that enjoys the hard water season from a comfortable seat racing through the pines we've got what you are looking for.


Changing weather has left fishing a bit inconsistent this past week but with warmer temperatures moving in and stabilizing the bite has been picking up.  We have been having better luck working deep mid lake flats and bars in 25'-30' of water.  Best approach has been Northland's Doodle Bug in Super-Glo Lime and Super-Glo Parakeet colors tipped with a Golden Shiner.  Fish have been somewhat finicky with the recent weather so a slower jigging presentation has been working best.

Several feet of snow is making vehicle traffic difficult and plowed roads to your favorite hole are few and far between, the good news is that there is plenty of ice underneath.  Just remember that no ice is totally safe.  Make sure to contact area resorts and bait shops to find out the best route to where your heading.


Locating Active Pockets Of Jumbos Can Keep Kids Going Most Of The Day!  Mom And Dad To!!!

See You On The Ice!  (218) 327-8183 jason@upnorthinc.com - www.upnorthinc.com

Ice Fishing Report 1-21-05 Bill Powell

Mother Nature put us to a test this week with -40 temps and more snow getting out on the lake was a adventure in it's self. Off trail travel is really being hampered with most lakes having over a foot of snow and some big drifts to boot but on a good note most of the slush has disappeared where I've been . On the smaller lakes that don't have plowed roads it's come down to foot travel or snowmobiles and sled houses to get to you're favorite spot.

Above: Snowmobiles & Portables are the best way to get around right now. It's been a while since we've said that, but this is one winter that reminds us of the old days. Right: Bill Powell shows off a nice set of Crappies. There are plenty of places to go and the fish are cooperating, so, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday we went to Red Lake it seem's this is the easy place to go fishing this winter with the plowed freeways and a good bite to top it off. I believe if we could have moved our houses we would have found a few more Crappies but with 25 mile per hour winds we tied the houses to the pick-up and setting them up once was enough. Never the less we ended up with 10 nice slabs and non-stop Walleye action.

Wed. I fished Big Bowstring and after moving several times found some Crappies and Perch on the edge of a break in 22 feet of water. The flasher showed fish most of the time. After switching jigs several times I found they wanted something green. Have never been able to figure out why just a little color difference can turn things around. At one time there was a long spell with no fish iced but a big red dot on the flasher and finally after twenty minutes of teasing I caught a 32 inch Northern lots of fun on 3 pound test line. There are not enough of these big pike in this lake so I let him go hoping he'd eat some smaller ones.

The high winds and cold weather made it rough for the Perch fishermen on Winnie but the ones that braved the elements found some fish in deep water with muddy bottom. Seems they are feeding on Mayfly larvae right now . If you've ever watched this on an underwater camera it can be a little mind boggling. It looks as though they dive in the mud so deep, that just the back half is visible. Now don't tell me they can't smell. I got the news this morning that they're shutting the dams down. Hopefully this will settle things down and bring on a hot bite.

Ice Fishing Report 1-11-05 Bill Powell

The warm weather really got everyone motivated from fishermen, snowmobilers, to sleddogs all going past are window made a fun weekend. The heavy snow last weekend waited down the ice and slushed up several lakes but they should be in good shape by next weekend.

I finally heard some good reports from Winnie. With the resorts now getting some drivable ice mobility is getting easier and the mid lake humps gave up several bags of nice Perch.

We ventured to Red Lake mid week after hearing several reports of limits being caught. The action was very good with the catch and release of lots of nice Walleye.  We didn't get our limit of Crappie but ended up with five and several nice Perch enough for two good meals and lots of smiles.

All the fresh snow has got my kids motivated so on Sunday we hit the back country of Kooch county for snowmobiling and site seeing we couldn't have asked for a better day with four inches of fresh powder falling while we were out. I'll have to admit there were a few days last week when it was -30 degrees and vehicles and water lines were freezing I was wondering why we live where we do. But it only takes a day on the lake or in the woods to bring everything into perspective that's why we live upnorth.

It looks like the Red Lake Crappies Like the one Chester Powell is hanging on to are going to last another season at least. Like last year, folks are reporting mixed results in the search for these slabs, but there are still enough to keep it interesting. Released Walleyes, keep the poles bending during the search and it's rare to go up there without having some decent action.

Fishing Report 1-10-05 Jeff Sundin

Welcome Back Winter!

Reminds me of the good old days. Snow, then cold, then warm, then snow and you know the rest. We’ve had most of the gifts that winter has to offer and in just a few short weeks. Thanks to the sub zero temperatures we’ve enjoyed, ice conditions are improving and while they’re far from perfect, there are enough opportunities to keep it interesting.

Anglers like me who have to choose between walking to our fishing holes or driving trucks, are starting to lean toward driving the truck. There are plenty of lakes with vehicle traffic right now as ice conditions continue to improve. There are at least three good roads plowed on Big Winnie right now. With Nodaks, Highbanks and Beckers Resorts are all maintaining roads and have Icehouse rentals available in decent fishing territories. Some of the other larger lakes have additional roads as well and most of the more popular winter lakes have at least some vehicle traffic in selected areas. Snow cover is becoming a factor because of some slush build up, but it’s not deep enough to be a major problem yet.

Plowed roads and Icehouse rentals are available now with more to come as ice conditions continue to improve.

Fishing reports are coming in mixed from around the area with relatively few reports of great action. It turns out that mixed bag fishing is probably about the best idea right now. On our family outing this weekend, we chose a lake known for having a variety of fish and it paid off for us. We caught some Perch, Crappies and a bonus Walleye all near the same spot. A good starting place was a shoreline point that ran all the way from shore out to the main lake drop off. At the tip of the bar, water depth topped out at about 16 feet with water of about 25 feet all around. The Perch and walleye came from near the top at about 18 feet and the Crappies from the deeper edge at 25 feet. The edge with the fastest (sharpest) break into deep water was the key location.

Watching the flasher like a hawk was the key to picking  off the fish one by one. Lifting the jig above the fish and holding it still was the key.

We tried a variety of baits and came up with two that worked better than most. A Jigs ‘n’ Rigs Rockin’ Spoon and the old standby Demons were the best baits for us. We had to watch the flasher like a hawk and whenever we spotted a fish on the screen, we brought the bait up about four feet above the fish. The more active fish that were willing to come up for a look at the bait could usually be teased into biting by gently wiggling the rod tip. Fast and hard jigging was a definite no-no and most of the time this would scare the fish out of view rather than attract them. Fathead minnows hooked near the dorsal fin was good for the Demons and just the head of the minnow was our best choice on the Rockin’ Spoons.

www.jeffsundin.com    jsundin@paulbunyan.net   Copyright © Jeff Sundin 2005

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