Live Bait and Fishing Tackle Minnesota Lakes North Fred's Bait Shop Deer River MN

Archived Fishing Reports for Summer - Fall 2009 <<Back To Fishing Reports List

Fishing Report! 6-9-08 Jeff Sundin - Summer Peak Fishing Approaching Fast!
Bluegill and Bass are returning to the shallows with a vengeance as the water temps return to the mid 60 degree range. It's not too hard to locate the fish right now especially if you have a calm morning. We found a great school of Bluegill by moving slowly along the shoreline and looking for visual signs of activity in the shallow (1 to 3 feet) water. Once we spotted an area where fish were surfacing, it was all action. Throw in a 1/16 jig tipped with a cut piece of worm and a bobber set to a foot or so and you're in business.
As the day warmed up, the largemouth Bass found their way into the mix and for anyone fishing Bass, it would have been a respectable outing. Typical shallow locations like bulrush patches, wild rice or submerged branches are holding fish right now.
We've seen the fist serious insect hatches beginning now and while the Walleye action in shallow water continues, there are early signs of Walleye moving out to deeper water locations too. As long as we still have mid 60 degree water, there's no big rush to move out to the deep water. But in spite of the fact that water temperatures are staying cool, insect larvae are churning and maturing on soft bottom flats and will soon be a major influence on baitfish and Walleye location. As soon as the water temps reach around 68 or on some of those days that you don't have a decent drifting wind, it's probably a good time to start checking out some of your favorite main lake haunts.
My first choices are bars and sunken islands (reefs) that are located close to shore, but lead out into open water. These spots are often the natural runways that Walleye use to travel to and from the deeper main lake structures. These are the type of structures that tend to get "good" before the more isolated bars or humps that exist further out into the lake(s). On smaller lakes, the fish can change locations overnight. So if you were on a good school of fish recently and they're not there on your next visit, check the deeper structure.
My Crappie fishing really peaked last week, but we're still able to locate some fairly good schools of fish out on shallow, weedy flats. Cabbage weeds have been a good structure for me in the past few days. We've been fishing small 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with crappie minnows. The weeds are getting thicker now and we've been better off using bobbers set to about 3 feet, maybe a bit deeper if you find a cabbage patch on a deeper flat. Your best bet is to poke around slowly until you get one active fish to bite, then slow down and concentrate on that small area. When the bite slows down, start wandering slowly again until you pick up the next school.
Yellow Perch seem to be the hardest fish to stay on top of right now. We've had some decent fishing for them as we fish for Walleye, but I don't think I could get a consistent, repeatable pattern going right now. The fish that we're getting are generally a bit smaller than usual, 8 to 9 inch fish are common, but 10 inch or larger are less plentiful so we've released most of the fish we catch. Jig and minnow or lindy rigs tipped with minnows and fished in areas with mixed weeds and rock have been my best bet.
If you've been a fan of Leech Lake in the past but haven't been there in a while, it's time to get out your notebook and bone up on your favorite spots. Thanks to the efforts of the DNR, US Fish and Wildlife and a variety of sporting groups, the Walleye fishing on Leech has really rebounded. A combination of Walleye stocking, slot limits and working to get the Cormorant population under control have helped lead to the comeback. I'll be adding more comments about Leech Lake as time allows, but for now, if you have time to get over there, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Fish are still shoreline related, so you're best bet is the classic jig and minnow combination. We've had consistent action in water depths of 8 to 12 feet and as always on Leech, the windy days are the best.

Fishing Report! 6-7-08 Jeff Sundin - Walleye Opener in Northern Minnesota
We had a great warm up late last week that pushed the water temps up into the mid 60 degree range on most of the Deer River and Grand Rapids area lakes. As soon as the water temp hit 65 degrees we saw an immediate upturn in the Crappie action and anglers everywhere within a 50 mile radius began reporting good catches of shallow water, spring Crappies. We had limits every day until Wednesday when the cold front finally chipped away at the shallow water temperatures until they returned to the mid 50's.
I'm not sure if I expect to see the Crappies move back into the shallows or not. Typically, once we get the big run, the first cold front that comes along moves them back out and we rarely see a secondary move back into shallow water. If that happens this time, start looking for Crappies in the green cabbage weeds. Anytime you can locate a good Cabbage bed on a flat near a known spawning area, you'll find the Crappies. A great approach is to cast small 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with a 1-1/2 inch plastic tube, Beetle body or even a small 2 inch twister tail. let the jig fall into pockets in the weeds and when you feel a "tick", set the hook immediately.
Walleye fishing presentations are still primarily shallow water, jig and minnow offerings especially when you have a good drifting wind to work with. But even though the water temperatures remain cold, I've begun to see small schools of fish 'stacking up" on deeper rock points and some of the sunken islands or reefs located close to the shoreline. A couple of these schools of fish have been failing to respond to the jig and minnow so I've set my sights on leeches and night crawlers to begin working well during the next few days of fishing. At any rate, it's a good idea to start carrying some leeches and crawlers just in case the wind won't blow and you need to start scrounging.
If you find one of these schools of fish in a concentrated area like a small reef or point, remember that this is prime time to catch some fish using slip bobbers too.
Bluegill reports were okay, but not great last week and I think a lot of these fish were just beginning to move into the shallows before they were interrupted by the cold snap. I'm expecting to see a lot of movement as the water warms back up this week. We searched a lot of shallow water last weekend and saw no real sign of any large scale spawning run, so I think the best is still to come.
Perch fishing has been slow this week and they seem to be widely scattered in the shallow water flats as are the Walleye. We've caught a few Perch mixed in with the Walleye, but I have yet to find a really good school of keeper size fish. The weather seems to be playing a role too as the bright conditions and clear water are making the fish unusually spooky. When a find a small group of fish, they bite for minute or two and then quickly disappear. It wouldn't surprise me to see this behavior continue until we get a little "bloom" in the water, but I'll let you know if the action picks up.
This weekend is the Musky Fishing Opener and it will be really interesting to see how they respond in the below normal water temperatures. What if there's a "pre-spawn" feeding period associated with the late spawning season? it could be a pretty action packed weekend for Musky anglers if that's the case. We'll see how the reports come in and let you know.
Things are hectic right now so I'm struggling to keep the reports updated, don't be shy though. Ask a question if you need to and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Fishing Report! 5-29-08 - Jeff Sundin
A couple of warm sunny days have helped push the water temperatures up into the High 50 degree range on most of the major Walleye fishing lakes in the Deer River and Grand Rapids area. We've concentrated mainly on Lake Winnie, leech Lake and Bowstring this past week and fishing has been consistent. Due to the cold nights we've had, fishing has generally started out slower in the early morning, with action picking up as water warms during the mid day and early evening.
Walleyes have been located on the shallow flats in roughly ten feet of water sometimes shallower, sometimes a bit deeper. When the wind is fairly calm and conditions are bright, the fish seem to be scattered and our best approach has been to cover ground slowly and thoroughly. At times, we've struggled to keep them biting and there have been a lot of light hanging bites. But when the wind picks up and I can drift, the fish have been moving tighter to the shallow drop off in water depths of 7 to 8 feet and fishing tight to the structure becomes more important. Under breezy conditions the Walleye have fed heavily and we've had some fantastic action this week on this type of day.
Walleye fishing presentations are still primarily jig and minnow. During the calm periods, I've been switching back to the 1/16 ounce jigs and trolling very slow keeping my speed at .4 to .5 MPH with the MinnKota. When the wind blows we bump up to an 1/8 ounce jig and try to keep the drift speed under 1 MPH. When it gets really breezy and the speed gets out of control, I start backing into the waves with the outboard and use a large drift bag to help control the speed. We have been lucky to get plenty of minnows at Fred's every morning, so the shiners have been our primary minnow. But honestly, I carry the shiners more for my customers benefit than for the fishing. Lots of folks are convinced that you can't catch a fish without shiners, but I have done equally well with nice Rainbows, Fatheads and even small Sucker minnows. The real key is the quality and size of the minnow. Keep a nice "bright" looking minnow on the hook and you'll be fine. Incidentally, even dead minnows kept on ice can look very nice and work quite well.
Crappie reports are starting to trickle in from smaller lakes in the area. We spent a couple of hours checking spots yesterday on Cutfoot Sioux, but with water temps only at 57 degrees, the shallow water wasn't very well populated. Wherever water has reached the low 60 degree range, anglers are finding some active fish moving in to spawn. I'm still the odd man out on Crappies because of the demand for Walleyes during the early season, but hopefully we'll get zeroed in on some fish this week.
Perch fishing has been slow this week and they seem to be widely scattered in the shallow water flats as are the Walleye. We've caught a few Perch mixed in with the Walleye, but I have yet to find a really good school of keeper size fish. The weather seems to be playing a role too as the bright conditions and clear water are making the fish unusually spooky. When a find a small group of fish, they bite for minute or two and then quickly disappear. It wouldn't surprise me to see this behavior continue until we get a little "bloom" in the water, but I'll let you know if the action picks up.

New Fishing Report! 5-2-08 Jeff Sundin
With only 7 days to go until the Walleye Fishing Opener, folks that want to head out on their traditional opening weekend fishing trips are starting to ask whether or not the ice will be out in time. Yes, Ice is going out fast now. Red Lake is now open, Vermillion is at least half open and Winnie is breaking up fast. We'll get some photos together over the weekend, but you can be assured that there will be a spot to fish next weekend.
There are also complications on the horizon for folks who like to fish some of the well known, "prime spawning areas" like Little Cutfoot Sioux, Boy River and others. I talked with the DNR Area Fisheries Manager, Chris Kavanaugh this morning and they attempted to set nets at Little Cutfoot this past Monday. The DNR crew was forced to put the egg stripping project on hold because of the heavy ice cover. The Walleye are probably already moving through the river into Little Cutfoot under the ice. Even with the ice cover, fish will begin to stage into their spawning areas. But until the shoreline ice breaks up, they can't get out to the channel to set up the platforms and set the nets. The current plan is to try setting the nets again on Thursday (5-1) if conditions allow. If that doesn't work they'll try again on Friday (5-2).
The problem with a late spawning season is that there will be a need to protect some of the spawning fish by restricting certain areas during the early days of the fishing season. Although the final decision hasn't been made yet, it's likely that there will be some restricted areas on opening weekend. According to Cavanaugh, there's a better than 50/50 chance right now that the stretch from Little Cutfoot Sioux to the Williams Narrows at Big Cutfoot will be off limits. The talks with DNR Officials are scheduled for later this week and once a decision has been made, there will be a public announcement.
The late ice out might cause us to do a few things differently, but it's not a gloom and doom scenario. Some of us have been talking about past seasons where late ice out created the opportunity for some of the best "Pre Spawn" fishing that lots of us had ever experienced. The 1996 fishing opener is remembered by lots of folks as one of the best big fish bites we've ever seen in the Deer River area.
Anglers who head to places like the Rainy River or the Mississippi River at Red Wing during early spring know what the pre spawn season is like and that's why we race to be the first ones out onto open water. It's rare that we get an opportunity to fish pre spawn Walleye on Minnesota lakes because the season is almost always late enough to be assured that these fish are finished spawning. It's beginning to look like we might see the opportunity again this year and I expect to be adding some tips on strategies after we see how the weather breaks this weekend.

New Fishing Report! 3-25-08 Bill Powell
The calendar says its spring but there's no big signs of it showing yet other than a little water where the old roads were plowed. The ice conditions are very good and I'm not sure its not still making ice some nights. On a lot of lakes an auger extension is needed now. This seems to be confusing to the Crappie and Bluegills too, with a couple warm sunny days the bite starts to get real good but a couple cold nights slows them down and pushes them to deeper water. We have been finding very mixed results. Fishing gills one time they're in shallower water biting really good, next time they're in deep water and really have to work on them to get a few.
The Perch fishing has been a lot better for us with them starting to push shallow the bite is getting better every day with the bigger one sometimes coming ten feet off the bottom to hit a bait. We also made a run to Lake of The Woods last week and was happy with our results some of the reports have been kinda bad but the fish bite perty good for us we went out of Long Point resort the conditions were very good with most of the snow gone. I poked around till I got out past where the big crowds have been fishing all winter.
The fish seemed to come trough in spurts sometimes two or three fish caught at a time then we would get a while with one here and there but no big dry spells. The guys I went up with had enough fun to go back a couple days later and had the same results so I really have the itch to go back again but well have se what happens.
I was thinking earlier that maybe we might get a boat in the Rainy river this week but it don't look like its going to happen with the cold nights the ice seems to be holding on. - Hope to see ya on the ice or maybe water. - Bill

Sunfish jeff Sundin 6-7-08
Bluegills are moving into their shallow spawning haunts and the schools of fish are aggressive right now. It's rare for me to get into this shallow spring action, but I had a chance to do it this week and it looks like prime time is here now.

Crappie Larry Lashley 6-7-08
The Crappie that were in the shallows last week are moving back out onto the deeper flats near spawning areas. Look for patches of green cabbage weeds and you're likely to find some schools of Crappie.

Marty Franklin Walleye 6-4-08
Marty Franklin found the Walleye fishing pretty rewarding even if we did have to bundle up a bit. The cold water temperatures have kept a lot of Walleyes in the shallows and so far, the action has held up really well.

Matt Mattson Crappie 5-31-08
Crappies made a big move last week and anglers all over the area were reporting good catches. The action slowed with the cold front this week. We'll see if they come back in or not, but I expect we'll still be seeing the big Bluegill move this week.

"Gabby" Goettl 23 Inch Walleye 5-27-08
Here's eleven year old, "Gabby" Goettl with a nice 23 inch Walleye. She had a hot hand this week and almost won the prize for big fish until uncle Phil boated a 26 incher in the late afternoon. She still gets the prize for most entertaining angler!

Phil Goettl 26 inch Walleye 5-28-08

Geese on the Ice
This was a typical view around the Deer River area last Monday. Lakes were mostly ice covered except for shallows or current areas at inlets. Now with two days of rain and high winds ice is going out fast.

Birchdale Boat Ramp
Birchdale Ramp at Rainy River is one lane open as of 4-2-08. We made the trip up there on Wednesday and it was worth the drive.

Walleye Bill Powell 4-3-08
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Walleye Bill Powell

Tulibee March 2008