Field Report 4-25-2013 Jeff Sundin - The Minnesota DNR, Region 2 Fisheries Officials announced last week that May 21, 2013 will be the the first ever, ban on minnow harvesting on Lake Winnibigoshish. The ban is in response to the discovery of Zebra Mussel veligers in the popular fishing lake. The ban is intended to help prevent the spread of the veligers, which remain dormant in cold water, to other area lakes.
The idea is to cut off the minnow harvesting before the water temperatures reach 50 degrees. That wouldn't be all that bad, except for the lion's share of the minnows don't even begin their early spawning movements before the temps do reach 50. In other words, there's little chance that even the best bait trappers will be in a position to "stock up" enough minnows to carry them through even the early days of the season.
It's unlikely that most anglers have ever realized how many of the minnows purchased in the Grand Rapids and greater Itasca Area come from Winnibigoshish, but it has been a major source of Spottail Shiners for as long as anyone can remember. I can't tell you how many bait dealers have come and gone, living their entire lives, trapping minnows on Winnie, but it's been plenty.
It's going to have an impact; Shortages? Price Increases? Yes, more than likely and for most of us, it's going to force us to re-think our entire early season game plan about what we fish with and where we do it.
Okay, now that I've said all that, there is still going to be fishing. There will still be places to go and there will be some kind of bait that catches fish. The trick is to keep an eye cast toward learning some new tricks, trying some new spots and breaking some old habits.
Reaction to the news about the restrictions on Spottail Shiner Trapping for Lake Winnibigoshish is strong . I've received several comments from anglers who are rightly concerned about the impact that the bait harvest ban will have.
Without doubt, it's going to impact all of us who fish for Walleyes, especially those anglers who steadfastly believe that the Spottail Shiner is the only live bait worth buying during the early part of the fishing season.
But what concerns me even more, is the economic viability of the live bait industry. Few, if any realize just how dependent on the supply of Spottails our bait dealers really are. It's easy for any bystander to say that all we need to do is make an adjustment, switch to a different kind of bait. I'd probably be in that camp myself, if I knew for sure that there would still be an open bait shop where I could go buy them.
On Monday, I had a long talk with Bill Powell, owner of Fred's Bait Shop in Deer River. Carrying on a family tradition, Bill continues to find and trap live bait on Lake Winnie and he's one of the few remaining sources for live bait trapped on the Leech Lake Reservation. For dealers like Bill, the decision to ban minnow harvesting on Lake Winnie is going to be more than just inconvenient, it could be life threatening.
Like a lot of guys in Northern Minnesota who have made a living outside, Powell is already facing an uphill battle. In recent years, many of his days have been filled with concern over the ever-tightening noose of governmental Red Tape. Piles of papers that dictate what he can do and more importantly, what he can't.
Bill isn't a flashy guy, not some blow-hard letting off steam. Quite the opposite, this salt of the earth, hard working guy has done what he had to do, scratching out a living using elbow grease and farmyard ingenuity. In fact, he's ingenious enough to come up with some good, solid ideas about how to work around these veligers and still have a viable minnow business. That is, if he can get anyone to listen, anyone to trust him; That's the hard part, the conversations with the DNR have gone nowhere. Now the rules are set, the date is announced and it's time to look ahead.
Knowing that it's too late for arguing, Powell has been crunching some numbers, looking for viable alternatives and crossing his fingers and so far it's not looking good. In Bills own words; "I'll know for sure by the end of this summer whether I can make it or not. We might wind up having to turn the store into a candle shop".
Here's the rub; While there's a mile long line of anglers who want the "Spots" for fishing, few, if any of them ever realize the economic importance of the shiny little critters. They're so important to Bill's business that they can literally, make or break his entire year.
Using a rough estimate, purposely low-balled to reduce accusations about the B.S. factor; Powell figures that Shiner sales at his shop combined with sails at he other stores within the affected Lake Winnie region, somewhere around $500,000.00 worth of Spottail Shiners are sold each season.
Using only his own, in-store sales numbers, the facts are that Shiners alone, account for 33% of his current annual store volume. That doesn't include any estimate for the walk out factor, fishermen who open the door, ask for shiners and quickly leave if he doesn't have 'em.
Most of those walk out anglers would have bought other gear too. Who knows for sure how much, but we've all seen it happen. In one door and out the other, no Shiners, no purchase. There's not many worse customer service experiences than being forced to deal with "the disgruntled shiner shopper"!
It's hard to know where we go from here, but we need to go somewhere. Nobody wants to see the Zebra Mussels spread from Lake Winnie to other nearby waters. Not Bill Powell, not me, not anyone. But there are solutions, good solid ideas about how to work around the problem. What we really need is a governmental agency that's willing to be creative. Maybe more importantly, an agency that's willing to let someone else be creative. An agency strong enough to trust folks with good intentions, who just happen to inhabit the private sector.
You need someone to roll up their sleeves and get to work? Well okay then, how about getting out of the way a little bit? **You can add to the discussion click >> Follow News About The Shiner Ban at Facebook, Fishing Reports Minnesota .
Field Report 3-31-2013 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; Wed, and Fri, we made trips to Lake of The Woods conditions at Long Point resort were great. We caught good numbers of fish but most were below 12 inches but the big ones showed up to on Fri. we caught 4 over 20 inches
thats why we go this time of year and throw in some hard fighting Tulipie we had a fun time. The weather looks like it will cool again Mon. so you might be able to drive trucks for a while yet. - Bill
Field Report 3-25-2013 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; I've been on the ice twice in last week and conditions are improving quite
a bit. Thursday I trudged through a lot of snow and slush Saturday we could walk right on top of my old sled tracks and I was able to open up a lot new area without getting my boots wet. If you had a pair of snow shoes right now you would have so many lakes to yourself in fact I was on a popular lake both times and had the whole lake to myself but then Ive also been known to walk through cattails higher than my head for a Phesant or trudge decoys and blinds across a muddy field for a shot at a duck. Im hoping to get out some more in the next week. - Bill
Field Report 2-25-2013 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; What a beautiful weekend for fishing! There were lots and lots of Perch fishermen and
reports of lots of fish being caught on the shore line breaks. The roads are getting better every day so the next week should be great. Billy and I got a little time to try our luck at a Crappie and Blue Gill and was able to scrounge up enough for supper felt good to spend a evening on the lake. Hope to see you on the ice , Bill
Field Report 1-14-2013 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; Conditions went from marginal to excellant this weekend Sat. when I was on the lake I watched trucks bore through 8 inces of slush and snow Sun we drove right on top making mobility a breeze. Just what the fish dr. orderd for those wanting to bounce around in search of Perch, Pike, and Walleye. We have been on the water a lot this winter in the last week Chet spent most of 5 days fishing trout on Lake of The Woods sending back reports of perty good numbers of Trout and some nice Pike. Lynne Billy and I have been sticking closer to home having alot of fun with the Perch and Pike on Winnie. - Hope to see you on the ice. Bill
Field Report 1-1-2013 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; "Happy New Years! We ended 2012 with 4 trips to Red and 1 to Winnie. We ended the year with some great Walleye fishing and great memiories too.
Red was very good to us with many nice fish caught. While most fishermen were going out at least a mile, we stayed on the shoreline, fishing the first break and were very satisfied with the results. Some days you had to jig aggressively and the next day, the fish would hit a set line only.
The last trip of 2012 was to Winnie targeting Perch and tipup fishing Pike in search of a spot to set up a spear house. The tipups were the hit of the trip with a nice bunch of Pike caught we caught lots of Perch but most seemed to run on the smaller size this time. Hope to see ya on the ice. Bill Powell
Field Report 12-18-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; "Sunday morning we got up early to clear the snow from the driveway and walks then started loading our fishing gear and snowmobile into the truck. Winnie was our destination with some good reports coming in from some of the mid lake humps there was already half dozen trucks in the lot when we arrived, Conditions were good on the lake for snowmobile travel a few slushy spots but not bad and where we went we found around 10 inches of ice. Red jiging spoons in 25 feet of water was what worked for us. Hope to see you on the ice , Bill
Field Report 11-29-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; "Ice Fishing is underway with Dixon Lake resort opening today we had 4 groups headed for Third River flowage to try there hand at spearing. And also 3 groups headed for Red Lake hoping to get in on the early ice bite there. Other then that not many going yet just alot of inquiring about ice conditions.
The Perch King went and checked his early ice spot on Winnie today and reported back 4 inches of ice 200 yards out and plans to fish on Friday with a buddy". Be safe out there. Bill Powell, Freds Bait
Field Report 8-20-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; Chet and Cassie did ok Sturgen fishing the next day we tried Sand and had fun poking around in the weeds getting a mix of Bluegill, Perch , And Walleye on a small jig and Crawler. Tues. Chet and I went to Leech in search Musky we did get 2 fallows on rocky points and ended with cautching 4 nice Pike.While resting our arms we did a little Bass fishing Chet got his biggest to date casting buzz baits deep in the reeds.
The Walleye fishing on Winnie most days this week has been perty good trolling spinners with Crawlers . Lynne and I are going to try our luck this weekend out there Im hopeing we might be able to find some nice Pike. Starting to hear some good reports of Crappie being caught on the edge of the weeds. Bill
Field Report 8-7-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; The boat has been staying busy latley Sun, we put another notch in or belt fishing another new lake targeting bass we only had a few hours and was a fun afternoon most of the bass were on the smaller size but there were 3 nise sized ones in the mix sinking worms hooked whacky style got most of the fish. This morning the boat left at 4.30 am for a early Musky trip its Billy's birthday today when Chet asked him what he wanted for his presant he wanted to go Musky fishen. Tomarrow Chet and Cassie are headed for Rainy River to try and put a Sturgen in the boat and im sure there will be a few more plans this week. Even though the Walleyes have been biting perty good on most of the lakes running spinners on the weed lines there are so many other fish to chase theyve been getting most of our atenshion latley. Bill
Field Report 7-16-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; The heat seems to have got the fish hungrey Ive heard good reports the last few days from Walleye and Musky fishermen and we snuck out a couple nights ago to try our luck with the pan fish they were hungry too. We found slipping along the weed edge with a small jig tipped with a crawler or leech got us a nice mix of Crappie and Bluegill.. The Walleyes have been good with a spinner tipped with a Crawler or minnow along a weed edge.
Field Report 6-5-2012 Fishing Report Bill Powell, Fred's Bait; At last a few hours in the boat with a fish pole instead of minnow equipment. Lynne , Becky and I headed to Bowstring to scratch up enough fish for a afternoon fish fry. We had 4 hours to get the job done in and if the Walleys would have been bigger it would have been so easy but most places we found lots of 10 to 13 inchers that we let go we kept moven and found a mix of perch and bigger fish along a break in 20 feet of water. A jig and minnow worked good for us but I think we could have used leeches and did good too. It looks like the Shiner cautchen is on the down hill slide so im hopen to have a fish pole in my hand more from hear on out. - Bll
Field Report 4-13-2012 Fishing Report Brian Castellano; Eric (Hutchins) and I did make another run up to the Rainy River yesterday.
We were in a trolling crankbait mindset so we didn't even buy any minnows, but did have some Gulp and Ripple Shads along.
The water temp was 38 degrees..................3 degrees colder than last Wed. The rice paddies south of Baudetter were almost completely froze over, except were the waterfowl were keeping a small hole open. I bet they're wondering where the warmer weather is too? LOL
We caught about a dozen fish, most of them on bright colored #8 or #9 Shad Raps. We also caught a couple on jigs and 4" Pearl Ripple Shads.
I saw Pete and Mike up there again in the same area as last week (east of Vidas). Per his daughter, they had a slow day on the water as well.
From what we saw, we were wishing we would have brought some live bait along as the jig fisherman were doing pretty good in the afternoon.
I stopped at the nets at Cutfoot today and per the guy there, they have only got 200 qts of eggs of the 1,500 qts they want to get. They have had the nets in for 15 days, so this cold weather is really stringing out the spawn.
I'm impatiently waiting for the water to hit that 50 degrees so than I can get out after some crappies. Might have to chase some suckers around till then.
More reports >> Go To >> Northern Minnesota Ice Fishing Reports
Fishing Report 4-9-12 Sunday we decided to make a run to the Rainy despite chilly weather and 20 mile per hour winds we went anyway Chet was staying in Kellier so we picked him up on the way and headed for the Birchdale ramp. We got to the ramp and I relized we had our work cut out for us with 3 foot rollers up the middle of the river but we had luck in our pockets with a good tip from Jeff Sundin who had been there the day before and as we were putting in a long time customer that was camped there gave us some more help. After a bumpy mile ride we coasted in to our first whole while I was getting stuff ready for first pass Chet was showing Lynne how it should be done and she says like
this and reeled up her first fish by the time I was ready she was reeling up her second the action slowed a bit after that but every pass seemed to put fish in the boat. Fishing the first big break in 8 to 12 feet where there was gravel and nice big Rainbows brought most of the fish to the boat but Chet did get some nice fish pitching big plastics to the shore and working them back. Hope everyone had a great Easter. - Bill
Ice Report 3-25-2012 Well the ice fishing has come to a end I was lucky enough to get invited to get out one more time with the Wilcraft team. Ive been wondering about these machines for some time but this is the first time to get a chance to ride and drive one all I can say is if you get the chance jump on it. These machines are great for early ice late ice and all the ice in between what a great and safe invention. And o by they way the big crappies like them too. - Bill
Ice Report 3-18-2012 Sat. we fished Winnie for a few hours conditions surprised me the were still very good with no problems getting out. There were lots of fishermen out there and most headed in around 3 pm. with there limits of fish. We are now getting boat traffic headed to the Rainy Big Rainbows and Fat heads are whats on the menu. Bill
Ice Report 3-15-2012 Things are shaping up nice for a great weekend on the ice most of the water is leaving I was on a small lake last night that was high and dry. There was still trucks out yesterday but ATV travel is advised I think we will be good through the weekend with just a few trouble spots. Go slow there are some big holes from whirpooling and water running down cracks. - Bill
Ice Report 3-14-2012 - Brian Castellano has been out on Pokegama the last 2 days. He's been catching in his words; "TONS of perch w ith some 'Gills, Crappies, and Largemouth Bass in the mix."
Brian added; "There was alot of water on top of the ice Mon. but Tue. the ice was dry. I was using my ATV, but guys were still driving trucks/cars out of the Tioga Bay access. I measured an average of 18" of ice in the 3 different spots that I fished. Depths were anywhere from 6 to 20 feet, mainly sight fishing out of my portable. Hoping the ice is fishable through next week, but I'm getting some long rods ready just in case it isn't." - Brian
Ice Report 3-13-2012 Field Report Bill Powell added a note from one of their customers. Lake Winnibigoshish has about 6 inches of water standing right now. He drove all over the lake looking for a spot where he could fish, but finally gave up and left. It should dry up before long, but for now, be ready for a wet one out there.
Ice Report 3-12-2012 Field Report Bill Powell - Wow what a beutifull weekend which really changed conditions in a hurry and its raining as I write this. I think if youre maken plans to come and fish you should now bring a ATV it didnt freeze last night so landing are going to get muddy. We fished this weekend and the ice pack seems really good but if this keeps up getting on to it will be the challange should be a really good week of fishing most had a really good weekend. Bill
Ice Report 3-10-2012 Field Report Bill Powell - The phone is ringing like crazy from guys wondering about ice conditions on Winnie. As of Right now we got around 30 inches of ice and conditions are great It didnt get above freezen hear yesterday 12 this morning not sappose to get above freezen today and cold tonight around 0 I think. So should be a good to go for weekend might want to have a little sunscreen. - Bill
Ice Report 2-29-2012 Field Report, Brian Castellano; The fishing was sloooooow for us, when I, Eric Hutchins, his girl friend Tessy Brooks and Mary stayed at Bayview Lodge on Lake of the Woods this past weekend.
That's the first time in 10 years that's happened to me, but I guess it's inevitable, even on Lake of the Woods.
We fished out of resort houses about 15 miles North of Pine Island, out in the mud, in 34' of water. We ended up keeping 7 nice walleyes in the 15-18" range and 5 saugers that were all around 14". There was no one hot bait or color, but bobber fishing was the way to go. We also threw back a dozen or so small ones, but did CPR 2 nice walleyes that were both around 19.75".
I actively jigged a wide variety of lures and couldn't keep the tulibees away. I probably caught 20-30 of them in 2 days.
The Sunday morning drive out to the fishhouse was quite the experience. The blowing snow made for very poor visibility. We decided to leave the fishhouse and head to shore around 3pm and it took us 2 hours to get off the lake. Stuck vehicles, stuck plow trucks, drifting snow........quite the adventure! Brian C.
Ice Report 2-14-2012 Field Report, Bill Powell - The colder weekend seemed to slow the fishermen through the door this weekend but most seemed happy with the bite. The Perch seemed to have moved a little bit deeper even though some are sticking with the weed edges most seem to be fishing the 15 to 25 foot breaks now. With mobility being so good the guys that put a little work in seem to get there fish.
Chester and I had Sunday afternoon reserved to do some fishing together and he said hed like to get some Crappie so we meet for a good breakfast at 10 cause we new we had our work cut out for us and glad we did from noon till 3 it was constant drillen holes and moven and when we thought we had been whipped we drilled one of them holes that made the bottom six feet of the Vex light up and by the time I could get another hole drilled Chet had 3 crappie floppen on the Ice. For half hour it was a dream trip realing them up slow so they could be realesed we kept what we wanted and left lots go back and as fast as we had found them they dissappaerd leaving us with one of those days that we will remember for years. What a great day Thanks Chet. - Bill
Ice Report 2-2-2012 Field Report, Bill Powell Wow what a great winter for fishing im not sure what more you can ask for most places im finding 20 to 24 inhces of ice and just a little snow other than a few drifts mobility is great. For me fishing the shallower water is still worken I havent fished over 15 feet for Walleye and Perch all winter yet. Seems kinda strange most years we are fishing the deep mud by this time of year . Im hoping the fish stay shallow its alot of fun getting a bite and never knowing what you will pull through the hole. Bill
Ice Report 2-2-2012 Field Report, Brian Castellano; The past week or so has found me fishing walleyes on Deer and Pokegama Lakes. Same story on both lakes, a fish or two hit the ice and then the lookers and sniffers show up. Tip ups have been producing better than jigging, so it might be time to do more bobber fishing than jigging I think. I did ice 2 nice 'eyes on Pokeg though.....a 24" and a 27" so that was definitely worth the trip! I'm still waiting for one of those mysterious Pokegama lake trout to show up on the end of my line. It's very hard to get decent pics when I'm by myself. I have to work on that!
I hit Caribou Lake last Friday and found about 18" of ice out there. I ended up catching 2 small lakers that I put back, a 10" and a 15". Also graphed another 8-10 fish that I'm sure were small ones like I had caught.
A buddy and I chased some bluegills today and found the fish in 15-18' of water just wanted to look and sniff our presentations. We made a move onto a shallow flat, 6-7' of water and it was game on! The majority of our gills were in 9 to 10.50" range. GREAT FUN on the ultralight rod! Brian
Ice Report 1-19-2012 Field Report, Bill Powell; We had a good weekend very busy most of the guys fishen Perch that stayed shallow sorted through the little ones and got there limits of nice fish
very easily. On winnie by this comen weekend the ice should be around 20 inches in most places and with not mutch snow mobility is good. On some of the smaller bodies of water Blue gills and Crappie were very active this week I snuck out Sunday arternoon for a couple hours and got a nice mess of fish for supper useing small jigs and waxies and crappie minnows.- Bill
Ice Report 1-10-2012 Field Report Brian Castellano; "Mary and I hit Winnie yesterday afternoon from 2:00 to 6:00pm.
We tried to use the public access at The Birches, but there's a big crack right at the bottom of the ramp. I'd say it's impossible for a truck to get out from there and iffy at best for a ATV or snowmobile. So we headed over to Highbanks Resort, who had a bridge over the crack at their access.
We jumped on the wheeler and head North to a spot that "looked good" on my GPS. There was 2 humps that topped out around 22 feet w/ a saddle in between them that bottomed out around 27'.
I punched about a dozen holes and started scouting them. I was graphing fish in every hole and soon learned they were small perch. We figured with bait in the area we'd stick it out for the evening.
It was slow going till about 5:00pm when I iced a small walleye that I threw back. Then they turned on and we caught 9 more in then next 50 minutes and missed another 6 or 8 fish. We had 3 nice keepers, a 19.50" slot fish, and 6 in the 10-12" range. Looks like a good year class coming up.
I was jigging using a Rattl'n Flyer w/ a minnow head and Mary was bobber fishing w/ a glow demon jig and frozen shiners from Lake of the Woods. I'd "call" them in with the Flyer and then her bobber would go down. She ended up catching 7 and I caught 3. - Brian
Ice Report 1-4-2012 Field Report, Bill Powell; "I just took my light stuff to take a little walk even though many are starting to drive out now. Ive had good results in the past by fishing the weed edges during the early season so thats where I figured to try my luck. Catching wasn't fast and furious, but had some good spurts with some nice fish. It was just what the doctor orderd. Some of the resorts have opened up to truck traffic in the last week but I think im gona wait anther week before I put my fat trucks on the lake yet some of the places ive been there is 12 inches of ice yet still not enough for a 3/4 ton yet. Bill
Ice Report 12-31-2011 Field Reporter Brian Castellano; Four of us made the trek up to Lake of the Woods yesterday, 12/29. We used the public access by Wheelers Point and headed out, across Pine Island, and set up in 26' feet of water.
We had lines in the water around 10:00 am and a couple nice saugers right off the bat kept us here till about 11:30. After no more activity, we packed up and headed north to the end of Adrians Road. We found some virgin territory and set up on the north edge of the permanent houses in 29' of water.
This time we found the sweet spot and after fine tuning our presentation, started to consistently put fish in the pail. The hot presentation was jigging a gold and orange rattle spoon w/ a piece of minnow. I caught my fish on a Tom's Tackle Charmer spoon in the above mentioned color. For some reason my ol' reliable Lindy Darters would bring the fish in, but all they would do is look and head back down to the bottom.
We quit around 3:00 pm and had out 32 fish limit. All saugers were in the 13-16" range and a couple of 16-17" walleyes rounded out our limit. We figured we caught about 60 fish, alot of the throw backers being small saugers w/ a couple of small walleyes.
It was a great day on the ice and better yet, we didn't even have to set up our portables. We just punched a bunch of holes and hole hopped around. It's not very often you can do that up there at this time of the year!
We found 13" of ice where we were at. We did see small SUV's and trucks on the ice, but more people were using ATV's/UTV's. Lots of bare ice up there still so, cleats would be a good idea.
On the local scene, Mary and I hit a small local lake on 12/28 and found a great panfish bite. We got on the ice around 2:00pm and the bluegills were ready and waiting. Jigging small Frostee spoons tipped w/ a eurolarve produced the best results. We caught 20-30 gills and 10 crappies before we packed it in at 5:30pm. While the crappies were a little too small to keep, we sorted through the gills and kept 10 nice ones in the 8-9" range for the pan. We found 12" of ice and used the ATV to get out, although some people were using small trucks. I'd still err on the side of caution and go the ATV route for lake travel. Good luck, Brian
Comments about fishing reports? Join Us On Facebook. More fishing reports>>> | link to Here-Fishy Northern Minnesota Ice Fishing Reports |
Ice Report 12-19-2011 Billy and I made a trip to Bowstring Sunday afternoon to see what we could scratch up for supper. We took the ATV out to 12 to 18 feet of water put our backs to the wind and had a heck of a good evening. Ending up with 3 Walleye 6 Pike and 4 Perch we had both Fatheads and frozen Shinners but the fish took the Shinners on a spoon 12 to 1. The ice is still really moven around with some pressure ridges being very active where we were I mesured 10 inches of ice. Bill Powell, Fred's Bait
Ice Report 12-8-2011 This afternoon I went for a look at conditions.They are taken ATV's out to the first drop on Bowstring. There were portables i think they walked out on Bowens flat on Winnie. There was portable spear houses on Cutfoot by Williams narrows. Becarefull out there. Bill Powell
Ice Report 12-4-11 I went fishing Sunday afternoon out on winnie. I found the fish in about 11ft of water and they were willing to bite what ever I dropped down the hole. I had to sort through a lot of small fish in order to get some big enough for supper. The ice is about 5 inches this and this cold weather should help get things rolling. - Chester Powell
7-29-11 We went out last night to a small lake in the Deer River area last night in search of some panfish for supper. That is Just what we found. We kept 31 bluegills and 2 crappies with many more of each being caught and realeased. The average bluegill size was 8.5" to 9.5" and We were sure to release all of the biggest bluegils in hopes to help maintain the great fishery. Bill Powell, Fred's Bait
6-16-11 Chester Powell, Fred's Bait I finally was able to drag Bill away from the bait shop on Sunday and we headed out to Bowstring for the evening. We found the fish in 10ft to 12 ft of water on top of a breakline. A jig and a shiner were the bait of choice for the evening. There were a few guys pulling leeches and crawlers getting fish but they were small. The shiners help weed out the small ones and get you some nice eating size fish..
Tuesday Cassie and I went back out to Bowstring for the day. All we managed to pick up were a few smaller pike. They might be small but darn good to eat.
I went out last night to a small local lake in search of some bass. I didnt find any bass but a ton of northerns in ranging from 15 to 25 inches. I kept the three biggest I caught and they cooked them for supper. Im headed off to Leech Lake for the weekend after work tomorrow. I will be sure to give a report of how I do this weekend.- Good Fishing, Chester Powell
5-24-11 Bill Powell, Fred's Bait Well ya, Im slow at getting a report out. Yesterday was my 30th day on the water chasen minnows and from the reports Ive heard off Winnie and what I seen on the water yesterday Im thinken were gettin ready for two weeks of good fishing. Yesterday was the first day Ive seen fat female Shiners in the traps not many but some did show up with the warm weather forcasted and some gental winds they are going to start there push into the shallows. So look for some great Walleye fishing in the next two weeks also have just heard of a few panfish starting to show up in the shallow water this is the time of year i feel really left out and wish i was fishen instead of chasen minnows but gota make hay when the sun shines. Good luck out there and cautch one for me. Bill
3-24-11 Bill Powell, Fred's Bait We missed all the snow and with the cold weather conditions are very good on all the lakes just bring youre creepers its very slippery. The perch have been good on Winnie and leech Ive also noticed a spurt of afternoon traffic for Crappie minnows so they must be bitting good. Also many reports of Tulipie action will be lots of smokers going this spring. Im headed to Crow Lake this weekend for a Trout fishen trip I was lucky enough to get invited along on so hopefully I will have some pictures of me holding huge trout next week. Good luck this weekend Bill Powell
3-7-11 Bill Powell, Fred's Bait Our favorite time of the year to ice fish is finaly hear conditions are good and weather is nice so we can ice troll. Saturday afternoon we hit Bowstring we were able to get around good with a truck. There were several groups out there taking advantage of the nice afternoon in 4 hours we were able to get enough Crappie and Perch for a good fish fry for 6 people and we had a lot of fun introducing a newby to Perch fishen. Sunday we tried our luck at Trout fishen on Caribou the conditions are good for walken atvs or snowmobiles we graphed a few fish but as my trout fishen goes we didnt ice any on this trip.
Ive had a few groups in this morning and by the sounds of it fishing the north end of Winnie is good right now they said as long as you watch for old roads you can get around good. Ive also heard good reports from Ravens area and in Haubrichs Bay so im looking for a great bite from now till we cant get out on the ice any more. Hope to see you out there Bill
2-21-11 Bill Powell, Fred's Bait I was able to slip out Sat. and Sun. Wow have conditions gotten good where weve been mobility with a pickup is as good as it gets with bare ice and small snow patches. The only real big snow patches is along the shore line and where old roads have been.I havent heard many reports yet from the weekend but ours was good even though Chester really out fished me yesterday I'd holler I got another one he'd say I got three more geez I guess all those lessions Ive gave him have finnally got through. Hate to admit hes just that good. Hope to see ya on the ice now that its good theres no excuse. Bill
2-21-11 Chester Powell, Fred's Bait Dad and I went out yesterday out looking for some walleyes and we ended up spending the day fishing for bluegills and crappies. The wind didnt allow us to move much. I got lucky and only had to drill one hole and thats where I caught my fish. The hot bait was an orange and chartruese diamond jig tipped with a soft plastic tail and a few eurolarve. The fish that did bite usually bit hard with a lot of fish that would come up and look and not bite. We ended the day with 12 bluegills, 8 crappies, 12 perch, and 1 soon to be smoked tulibee. Good luck out there --Chester Powell
2-6-11 Chester Powell, Fred's Bait I was talking to the Vollhaber family tonight and they had just retuned from a day on Upper Red Lake. There were four men fishing and between them they caught 11 walleyes they could keep and 27 that were either in the 17" to 26" slot or were under 14" that were released. This is an exceptional day of fishing. Congradulations Vollhaber men and hopefully I will have pictures to put up soon. Chester
1-30-11 Chester Powell, Fred's Bait Last friday I was lucky enough to be invited on a great Canadian lake trout fishing trip. I was invited by the Vollhaber family to spend a 3 day weekend fishing for numbers of trophy lake trout. We arrived saturday evening and prepared for our 10 mile snowmobile ride in the morning. We woke to a balmy -36 degrees but that didnt slow us down one bit. We were set up and fishing by 8:00 a.m. and It was a productive morning for 2 of the member in our group who had caught 7 respectable size trout by noon. Cassie had a slow morning with only 2 tulibee and about a 7lb northern landed. Cassie and I moved and that made the difference. We ended the day with Cassie catching a 6lb trout and I caught 2 in the 5lb range. We continued to have a great weekend ending with Cassie catching 4 trout with the biggest one weighing in at 9lb 6oz. I too had a great weekend landing 7 trout with the biggest weighing in at 8lbs. The baits that came out on top to be the best fish catchers were Luhr Jensen Loco spoons, Bay de Noc Do Jiggers, and a 5" berkely jerk shad rigged on an orange long shank jig head. Thanks again to the Vollhaber family for bringing me on a fishing trip will not be soon forgotten.--Chester Powell
1-10-11 The New years weekend storm is still effecting us with most lakes still haveing slush problems and to much snow for of road travel. The resorts that plow are getting things opened up and the reports are starting to tricle in some are doing good some are not. Some of the smaller lakes are starting to get enough travel that there are spots to get to with snowmobiles that you dont have to stand in slush any more.The best report has come from the Vollhaber family and they are on a trip to Canada trout fishing with many nice fish caught.
12-22-10 I was able to hit the ice two times in the last week the first was a trip out of the Birches to one of the humps on Winnie. We found very good conditions with over a foot of ice its always a gamble if youre going to pick the right hump the one we chose gave up 3 Walleye and 2 Pout. I stopped at Gosh Dam afterwards and talked to some guys that did very well but thats how the cookie crumbels.
Sat. Chester and Cassie went Crappie and Bluegill fishen and found a decent bite so we headed back out on Sunday to give it a try the stars must have been lined up right because it was one of the better bites Ive experinced with the fish coming in small bunches of Crappie and Gills it was very fun. The ice was only about 10 inches on this body of water so becarfull just cause trucks are on one body of water dont mean they are you can drive everywhere. Happy Holidays to every one and hope to see ya on the ice. Bill Powell
12-6-2010 We tried a small lake for spearing and angleing yesterday found the ice to be from 6 to 8 inches I fished out to 20 feet of water and ice thickness didnt vary much. The spearing didnt go that great they saw 7 fish on small side but they were wild and to fast for them but we were able to get 4 angling enough for a meal of fresh fish. There has been a couple big ones speared that ive seen pictures of and most are reporting at least 5 inches of ice. There hasnt been many guys angling yet but will probably change this week with Red and Lake of the Woods getting a good sheet of ice and a few guys Perch fishing on Winnie. To me conditions seem to be on the same track as last year so Im thinking we will start to see traffic pickup. Bill
10-16-2010 Field Report Bill Powell I got to slip out a couple times in the last week and neither one was planed witch made it seem a little cooler. I was about to finish my shift up in the store and a buddy stopped by on his way to leech and asked if I'd like to go along and away we went. When we arrived there wasnt even a ripple on the water witch was a little dicorageing but poking around in the weeds found a slow but steady bite of Perch, Walleye and Pike. The next day I asked a buddy if he could gracesly show Chet and I around Cass to see if we could maybe stir up a Muskie and again the weather was just to nice but the company was great even though the fishing was slow the only fish we did see seemed to be just enjoying the sunshine as well. Dad called me this morning and said he and a partner had a good evening bite on Cutfoot ending up with a nice mess of fish .It looks like the weather will be nice again this weekend so good luck its sure been a good fall for fishermen. Bill
9-29-2010 Field Report Bill Powell Been kinda crazy around here trying to keep up but finalley got a couple short trips in Chet and I slipped out to Cutfoot on SAt. afternoon. Finding fish seemed easy but it took us three move to find active fish but when we started to get bites it was Walleye Perch and Northern all throwed together for some fast action. Mon. afternoon Kally and I made a run to Cutfoot I felt like I was under pressure having only a couple hours to get her some fish but on the second move we found the agressive biters and every drift put two or three in the boat. I havent realy heard anyone complain about the fishing lately with most talking about the big numbers they are cautching and with the rate the big Fatheads and Rainbows are leaving the Shop I would say this is fall fishing at its best. With a nice forcast for the upcoming weekend I look for another good week or so of fast action. Bill
9-4-10 Field Report Bill Powell Saturday I was able to sneek away in the morning and hunt the early goose opener. Fred and I met up and set up in a clover field. There has been geese in that area since the begining of summer and to my surprise only two geese were drawn towards our spread of decoys. I managed to get of the two and that was it for the morinings shooting. We could hear others on the roost still but none of them decided to fly. I have heard that report from several different hunters know that the geese are around but not flying. With some luck maybe this colder weather will get them flying.
8-21-10 Fishing Report Chester Powell Dad and I decided to go and try a new lake last friday. We were in search of panfish with hopefully a walleye or two. We started by casting beetle spins and Mister Twister's into the weeds with just a few perch and one nice bluegill to show. After about anhour we decided to explore the lake and cover some water so we tied on Salmo Hornets and in the first 100 feet of trolling we caught two nice 16" walleyes and that is how the day continued. We ended up keeping 6 keeper walleyes and threw 3 smaller fish back. We also had 3 nice bluegills also caught on the hornets and countless perch and little northerns to keep us busy. We were fishing in anywhere from 11' to 13' with size 4 blue and silver hornets. We have also had luck with the same baits on winnie in the same depths lately.
8-9-2010 Fishing Report - Chester Powell Fishing has been spotty lately with all of this hot weather. The best fishing has been in the evening and on into the night. Walleyes have been bighting good on winnie. The north shore has been the best with spinner rigs during the day and crankbaits in the evening. The other area lakes have been producing as well with leeches and crawlers on calm days and minnows when the wind is blowing.
Muskies and pike fishing has been good. I have heard of several guys seeing and even catching several muskies in one day. Double 10 bucktails and bulldawgs have been the big fish catchers. Pike are starting to move back to the shallows with big minnows or spinnerbaits being the preferred baits.
I have not heard much of a bass or panfish report but with all this hot weather most of the bass are going to be out on the deep rocks or deep in the thick weeds. Catching panfish is going to be just a searching game in the evenings along the weed edges. - Chester Powell
8-8-10 Field Report Brian Castellano Mary and I hit Winnie yesterday, 8-8-10 from 3-7pm. Luckily we were smart and were home before the storm came through.
We headed up to the NW side of the lake and found the walleyes in 10-12 feet of water. We used 1 oz bottom bouncers, bright spinner crawler harness's, crawlers, at around 1.5 mph. The wind was out of the SE and when it picked up the fish really turned on. I did try running raps for a bit, but Mary was doing so well with the bouncers that I changed over. We ended up with our limits and let a few others go, including Mary's twin 21 inchers. - Brian Castellano
7-22-10 Field Report Chester Powell - Dad and I went to Deer lake on tuesday after work looking to catch a few smallies and hopefully some walleyes for supper. I decided to throw the musky gear in the boat just incase we saw a good spot. We started rigging creek chubs and leeches on the humps with a couple of walleyes and lots of little perch to show for it. When we came to the top of the hump we started casting for muskies and to our surprise I hooked and landed a beautiful 47 inch muskie ( my personal best). We also had another muskie follow that was in the 45 inch range. Muskie and pike fishing is just starting to pick up and will only continue to get better as the summer progresses. The fish are being seen on a variety of baits with the big one being caught and seen on the double 10 bucktails. Chester Powell
7-20-10 Field Report Brian Castellano Mary and I hit Spider Lake on Thursday afternoon, the 15th. We trolled 5-7" sucker minnows on steel leader/spinner rigs w/ a 3/4 oz weight. A piece of rubber worm threaded on after the minnow helps to keep the minnow in it's spot and from falling off the hook.
The fish we caught were in the 9 to 15' range. We ended up catching about a dozen gators and a bonus muskie that will hopefully be a 50 + incher one day.
Mary had the best luck, catching a 30" & 29" northerns, her personal best's, along with her 1st musky, a 23 incher.
She refused to hold the fish for pics, after the 30" gator gave me a "love bite" on my right pinky while I was getting the hook out of it.
We've have yet to see a loon chick while we've been out this summer, very odd? - Brian
7-13-10 Field Report Brian Castellano On 7-12-10 my 2nd cousin, Paul Castellano and I hit Pokegama. We fished northerns from 9-1. We targeted the 17-25' range w/ heavy duty spinner rigs, 3/4 oz slip sinkers, and 4-6" sucker minnows. We backtrolled and ended up with 5 nice eater sized northerns in the 3-5 lb range. We also lost a couple of fish and had a couple hit n misses.
We graphed alot of fish on the deep weedlines and I'm gonna try to get back out there this week and drag a rig/leech or rig/crawler around to see what else is down there. Water temps were around 75 degrees.
7-9-10 Field Report Chester Powell Dad and I have gone out after work the past few night on the smaller local lake in search of panfish. We have good success with all of our fish being caught on beetle spins and like baits. The fishing has been really slow until the sun hits the top of the trees ( about 7:00) and has continued until its dark enough so you can no longer see what you are doing ( about 10:00). The walleye bite has been good with most guys still pulling rigs and leeches. There has been a good evening crankbait bite also. I have not heard any good northern or muskie bites. Bill and Brian are supposed to go on tuesday and we will see how that turns out. - Chester Powell
7-8-10 Field Report Chester Powell The Powell boys returned from our tenth annual week long fishing trip to Oak Island, MN on Lake of teh Woods on June 26 with smiles on our faces. There were six of us that went this year and the fish didn't stand a chance. We got up there on the 19th and after we unloaded the boats we went out to catch supper. Mine and Dads first fish of the trip was a beautiful 39 inch northern pike. We caught several other 20 plus pound pike throughout the trip. Dad and I were mainly after muskies and we had good success. We had 31 follows and Caught 7 with the biggest being 40 inches. The other two boats in our group mainly fished walleyes with several 100 fish days. The average walleye size was smaller this year at about 15 inches. We think this was due to the massive mayfly hatch that occured all week. Over all it was a great trip and I am already counting down the days until next year. Hope to see you on the water - Chester Powell
7-5-10 Field Report Brian Castellano My brother and I hit our "home water" this past Monday, 7-5-10. It's been 15+ years since we've fished it. We waded the Prairie River and fished for smallmouth bass. The water levels were perfect. My brother loves to top water fish and had numerous misses on a Heddon Devil Horse.
I ended up catching a couple smallies in the 14-16" range. I had the best luck on a split shot rig w/ a 4" Berkley Power Minnow. I also caught some on Yo Zuri jerk bait. - Brian
7-1-10 Field Report Brian Castellano We had a tough time on Winnie Tuesday. We caught a couple of walleyes and boy were they puking up mayflys! Rigging leeches w/ floating jigheads worked best for the couple of fish we caught.
With the wind blowing today (Thursday), I decided it was time for my 1st musky trip of the season. I hit the Mississippi River from 9am till 2pm. Casting produced 6-8 northerns and 1 4 lb largemouth.
After no luck casting, I decided to throw on a crankbait and troll the main river channel. 10 minutes later and WHAM! Fish on!! It was a mid 30" musky that shook off at the boat when I reached for the net. Typical of my luck with muskys! I trolled for another hour or so and packed it in. - Brian
Lake Winnie Spottails are more than just minnows, they're the life-blood of regional live bait shops.
The problem is, you can't fish with 'em if your bait dealer can't go get 'em.
Billy Maki with on of several lake of the Woods Walleyes he caught on Friday. Travel conditions are good and fish are getting aggressive!
Conditions on area lakes are improving daily. Bill Powell, Fred's Bait found plenty of places to fish, no competition and good fishing.
An afternoon to get out on the lake turned out well for Bill Powell and his young sidekick Billy. They managed a meal of panfish and had time to enjoy the great warm warm weather.
While most anglers pushed out a mile or more, our group stayed close to the shore and had good action on the shallow breakline.
Lake Winnie's mid-lake humps are producing Wallyes right now. Travel conditions are fair.
Sturgeoun Fishing wasn't too bad for Chester Powell. He's kind of tight lipped about where he caught it, but it looks like he was having fun!
Chester Powell shows off the results of some "New Lake Testing" Wacky rigged worms accounted for most of the fish.
Rainy River is still kicking out a few larger fish. Eric Hutchins (above) caught this 27 incher on 4-12-12, trolling Shad Raps. Brian Castellano (below) CPR'd his 25 incher fishing the same way.
In spite of blustery wind and big waves, Walleye fishing on the Rainy River held up on Easter Sunday.
Ive been wondering about these machines for some time but this is the first time to get a chance to ride and drive one all I can say is if you get the chance jump on it.
Perch fishing and ice conditions are still good on Lake Winnibigosh. On Saturday, access and travel was by ATV instead of trucks, but there were lots of anglers catching limits.
Eric Hutchins with a nice Lake of the Woods "slot fish". Fishing may have been slow, but there are always a few highlights.
Panfish continue to be the top story in the Deer river area. Arne Danielson admires a nice days work caught using Lindy's Frostee tipped with Waxworms.
I havent fished over 15 feet for Walleye and Perch all winter yet.
Sunfish and Crappie action has been good. Small jigs tipped with Waxworms or small minnows are producing well.
Perch from Lake Winnie didn't come fast, but there were some good action spurts.
Billy shows off a nice Walleye caught Sunday on Bowstring Lake.
Ice fishing shelters are showing up on Bowstring, Winnie and other Deer River area lakes.
Chester Powell with a bonus Tulibee.
Billy Maki with a nice Cutfoot Sioux Crappie. Feb. 19, 2011
Cassie Vollhaber Shows off a great Lake Trout.
Chester Powell with another nice Laker!
Grace Durbin with her best Walleye so far.
Bill Powell with mixed Crappie and Sunfish.
First winter fishing trip of 2010 and Cassie Vollhaber had a good start to the ice fishing season. December 5, 2010
6 to 8 inches of good ice on 12-5-2010.
Bill Powell getting set up for the first ice fishing of 2010.