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Archived Fishing Reports for Summer - Fall 2009 <<Back To Fishing Reports List
Grand Rapids Fishing Report 9-14-2008 Fall Patterns Starting To Progress - Jason Green
What a great time we have had on the water the last few days. Inconsistent weather has made it interesting but for the most part we are seeing Fall Patterns and steady action.Angling for Pan Fish and Jumbos have been a real treat lately. For the past week or so we have been able to find these fish in the same areas. Both have been schooling up in shallow water with thick cabbage. We have been slowly moving in 6'-8' of water working 1/16oz Fireballs tipped with a small shiner or a 2" Northland Swimming Grub. For Pan Fish we have been working the same areas but using a smaller jig with the same swimming grub or a small piece of crawler.
For the most part walleye action is back in the shallows. However, we have been able to pull a few on mid lake humps and bars with rigs or jigs depending on the day.
We have found most our eater size fish in 8'-10- of water. Working 1/16oz to 1/8oz Fireballs tipped with a shiner or chub has worked best for us. On calm sunny days the fish have scattered so we have had to really work for them picking them off one at a time. When the wind begins to pick up working both the inside and outside edge of shallow weeds has produced. On days with a good stiff walleye chop our best bet has been to target areas with rock and or gravel.
Now is the beginning to some of the best open water fishing we are going to see. Water Temperature on many of the area lakes have dropped into the low 60s.
We also have the Minnesota Duck Opener right around the corner. This is truly my favorite time of year. 60 days of bagging waterfowl at sunrise and top off the day pulling a few eyes. It doesn't get much better then that!
Fishing Report! 9-9-08 Jeff Sundin - Fall Fishing, Blowin' in the Wind!

The fall fishing season looks like it's here to stay as the surface water temperatures continue to trend downward. As of Sunday (9-8) were seeing temperatures averaging around 66 degrees and with the cooler than normal week predicted by the weather service, it looks like this will be enough to keep the fish moving in our direction. The initial impact of these cooler temperatures has been a noticeable increase in both Walleye and Northern Pike activity, especially in the shallow water, weedlines and wind blown rocky areas. There are lots of baitfish showing up on the flats adjacent to weedlines and this should continue to trigger good shallow water action.

Walleyes have begun to show up in larger numbers on the weedlines, but really good action still depends on the wind. To the extent that you can locate scattered schools of fish in areas where the wind is kicking a nice chop up on the water, drifting these shoreline areas will produce fish reliably using a jig and minnow. When the wind won't blow, these fish are split into smaller groups. Some of them are tucking into heavier weed cover and some moving out a few feet deeper on to the flats adjacent to the weedlines. During the calm times, we're still doing better on the weed fish by scrounging right up in the weeds with night crawlers. For the fish that move out a bit deeper onto the flats, we've had some success trolling crankbaits, but the Northern Pike have outnumbered Walleyes by 3 to 1. on the shallower weed edges in 6 to 8 feet of water, we've had great action on the #4 Salmo Hornets trolled about 60 feet behind the boat at 2.3 to 2.5 MPH. When the fish move out into the 10 to 12 foot range, we need baits that dig a little deeper and for me the #7 Shad Raps are just about right.

Crappies continue to gain momentum as they move into deeper open water haunts. Some of the deeper Cabbage or Coontail weeds still have fish in them, but steep pockets or holes close to the shoreline and any type of submerged wood you might be able to locate are holding the lions share of these fish now. Some of the schools of Crappie have even shown up out in more open water, further away from the shoreline in the 22 to 25 foot depth range. These deeper fish are fairly easy to locate if you keep an eagle eye on your electronics. Once a school is located, stop moving and hover over the fish with your electric trolling motor. Fishing with a jig and minnow in a s-l-o-w, vertical lift/drop motion will almost always do the trick. There are times when you'll see the Crappies spread out horizontally in shallower water, say 12 to 15 feet. For these fish it's better to troll or drift slowly using a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce jig head tipped with an action tail like the Berkley Gulps twirl tails or a beetle spin type spinner. You can tip these with minnows if you want to, but I think you'll catch plenty of fish using only the tails.
Bluegill action is holding steady but the fish are starting to shift away from the weedlines and show up out in a little deeper water. We're not finding the gills as deep as the Crappies, but the 15 to 20 foot range is starting to look pretty good. If you like fishing weeds better, you'll still find schools of fish on the weed edges too, so check some of these spots as well. We're sticking with the 1/16 ounce jig and chunk or night crawler and it continues to work great.
Northern Pike of small to medium size are much easier to capture right now and we've started seeing some better fish as well. Pike in the 28 to 30 inch range are moving on the better days. Breezy, cloudy or light rain will really pick up the action and this is when we've seen most of the better size fish. We're catching most all of the pike on the crankbaits as we troll the weedlines, but I've been watching other anglers casting spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and bucktails as well. Reports from the casters are nixed, but as these weedlines continue to get more active, Pike will continue to show up in better numbers.
Largemouth Bass fishing was fairly good last week and the location was what you'd expect for the late summer. Weedlines located in 8 to 12 feet of water with rock or gravel was the best for me, but, there were a smattering of fish located on the shorelines too. Shoreline spots were better if there were some deeper rock or wood adjacent to steeper drop off areas. We fished some of the shallow bulrush, wild rice patterns that would typically be good at this time of year and found that the fish with either not there or inactive. Due to higher water this year, I think some of these fish are just so far back in the slop that we can't reach them. Stick with the deep weed edges and at least you'll have some action.
Perch fishing continues to improve but we've continued to see lots and lots of small Perch out there. If you're getting hammered by small perch, leave the area because these giant schools of small ones are so aggressive, you'll never get your bait through them in order to discover larger fish. Some of the better size fish are using same weedline areas that hold Walleye. The main lake bars still have good schools of Perch as do the deep rocks located out on main lake flats. Jigs tipped with larger than average minnows will help you select for a better average size. Spinners tipped with minnows trolled along weed edges or on gravel generally helps get faster action.
Musky fishing has perked up this week too although I haven't been able to fish them. I've heard several reports from folks who have caught or seen multiple fish during the past ten days. I know of one angler who caught two Muskies on the South end of Lake Winnie this past Friday. Cass Lake, Moose Lake and Deer Lake have all been improving as well.

Fishing Report! 8-28-08 Jeff Sundin -"Temperatures Cool Down, Action Heats Up!
Our first taste of fall weather came this week with a night time dip into the 40 low degree range in Deer River and surrounding area. during the past five days we've had everything from calm, sunny days to strong gusty winds and even a couple of thunderstorms to boot. The surface water temperatures that were up in the mid to high seventies last week, have dipped into the high sixties as of Wednesday (8/27). The storms that blew through early on Wednesday morning did slow down the bite, but even with that, we had a fairly good mixed bag of Crappie, Bluegills and Pike. Walleye fishing that had been fairly strong for the past few days, did slow down, but we still saw folks picking up some eating size fish on Wednesday.
Bluegill action is holding steady with fish continuing to hold tight to the weed edges. This week we continued to catch fish using the slow troll or drift method. We just move slowly along deeper weedy areas until we hit a fish or two and if the area looks good, we toss out a marker and sit still over the school for a while. Presentation for me has been unchanged, I like a 1/16 ounce jig head, darker colors and a piece of cut night crawler.
A group of anglers that we fished with this week spent some time looking for 'gills in the shallow bulrushes and found a lot of action there too. So even it's worth taking a look at some of the "spring" type of cover too. Fish these shallower areas with a bobber set just above the bottom (typically two or three feet) and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm.
Walleye fishing started to show signs of new strength this week as the turbulent weather cooled down the water and "turned on" some schools of fish. I spent several days this week fishing with a large business group on Lake Winnie and had a chance to compare notes with a lot of great fishing guides. The walleye patterns (on Winnie) were varied and it seemed like almost everyone used their own twist for catching fish this week. What looked like the best patterns for the week were; 1) tolling crankbaits in shallow water. Best performers were the Salmo #4 Hornets. The hot colors varied but the Perch, Viking and Blues were all good at one time or another. 2) Shallow weedline fishing with jig and minnow or live bait rigs with night crawlers. Lots of the shallow (5 to 7 feet of water) Walleyes got moving during those really windy days and almost everyone fishing in the shallows found some fish. The only real secret was that you had to stay in the weeds. There were fish on both the inside and outside edges of the weedlines, but if you roam too far out into open water, you'll lose contact with the fish. 3) The deeper main lake bars staged a rally this week too and folks fishing with live bait rigs in the 16 to 24 foot range had some great walleye fishing out there too. This is a fairly typical late summer pattern and there were fish on virtually all of the main lake bars, so if you like to fish deep, now would be a good time to take a look at your favorite spots.
This early "pre-fall" spurt of action is really common at this time of year and the usual down side is that you have to have some fairly good breeze to keep the shallow fish active. If you happen to be on the lake on a calm day, this deep pattern might be a good way to salvage your trip.
Crappies are gaining a little momentum this week too and some of the fish that spent all summer in the weeds are showing up out on those deeper weedline edges. I still wouldn't call it an all out hot bite, but we have been able to consistently gather some mid size fish and even get our hands on a few nicer size fish too. The early fall/ late summer fishing spots are still the best. Deeper Cabbage or Coontail, Steep pockets or holes close to the shoreline and any type of submerged wood you might be able to locate. Branches, sunken logs or Crappie cribs are holding some fish.
Largemouth Bass fishing was fairly good last week and the location was what you'd expect for the late summer. Weedlines located in 8 to 12 feet of water with rock or gravel was the best for me, but, there were a smattering of fish located on the shorelines too. Shoreline spots were better if there were some deeper rock or wood adjacent to steeper drop off areas. We fished some of the shallow bulrush, wild rice patterns that would typically be good at this time of year and found that the fish with either not there or inactive. Due to higher water this year, I think some of these fish are just so far back in the slop that we can't reach them. Stick with the deep weed edges and at least you'll have some action
Perch fishing continues to improve but we've continued to see lots and lots of small Perch out there. If you're getting hammered by small perch, leave the area because these giant schools of small ones are so aggressive, you'll never get your bait through them in order to discover larger fish. Some of the better size fish are using same weedline areas that hold Walleye. The main lake bars still have good schools of Perch as do the deep rocks located out on main lake flats. Jigs tipped with larger than average minnows will help you select for a better average size. Spinners tipped with minnows trolled along weed edges or on gravel generally helps get faster action.
Northern Pike of medium size are getting easier to capture right now. We're still not seeing many fish over the 26 to 28 inch mark, but there are a lot of these 3 to 4 pounders out there. During the past week, we've had the better luck by trolling the larger rattle traps. The fish have shown preferences for certain colors, so keep experimenting with color and sizes. I generally prefer casting rather than trolling for Pike and there have been times that I've been able to get a few fish going on the larger M & G Musky Spinnerbaits, but we've had a lot of short strikes on these. I guess the trolling is the best strategy at least for now.
No Musky fishing for me this week, but some gossip from friends is that the Cass Lake fish are perking up a bit. I'm still hoping that with the water warming continually, we should see an increase in the action coming up soon. Maybe this will be the year of a great fall bite, who knows?

Fishing Report!  8-20-08 Jeff Sundin - "Stay Cool" to heat up the Walleye Action!
Yet another warm, sunny week in Northern Minnesota. Surface temperatures on a few of the Deer River area lakes are pushing up into the 76 to 78 degree range and I've seen it take a toll on the some of the popular Walleye fishing spots. I've fallen in to a couple of traps myself this week when I've gone to couple of lakes that had been producing well for me during the past month. With the warm surface temperatures and bright conditions, the Walleyes have started to show signs of a bad case of lock-jaw. Panfish and Bass don't mind the warmer water temperatures and for them, the action is picking up.
Even though the Surface water temperatures have been rising, there aren't any cases of summer fish kills that I know of so far. With fall temperatures due to arrive in just a few weeks, we may discover that the Oxygen depletion that usually forces larger Pike and Musky into the shallows, might night occur this season. With a cold front predicted for the weekend, I won't be surprised if the roller coaster ride gets even more unpredictable.
Bluegills continue to be my strong suit. We've had consistent action on several area lakes and with few exceptions the average size has been good. As the action continues to pick up, we continually find schools of fish in new locations, so searching for them has gotten a lot easier. Depending on the type of lake you're fishing, you may choose to fish for bass or Walleye along the weed edges and stop to catch some 'gills when you stumble across them. This has happened to me several times this week. Fishing a plastic worm along the deeper weed edges for Bass and you'll locate Bluegills as they nip at the tail of the soft plastics. the same concept is true when you're fishing weedlines for Walleyes and the Sunfish nip at your live bait rigs. Either way, it gets you into a nice "mixed bag" situation.
Presentation for me has been unchanged, I like a 1/16 ounce jig head, darker colors and a piece of cut night crawler. This week I had some folks who also did really well using a #4 plain hook and a split shot sinker.
Like I said, the Walleye fishing has had it's up and downs for me this past week and it looks like my strategy for the up-coming week will be to seek out lakes with cooler temperatures. I can't really explain why this happens, but during the summer, the closer surface temperatures get to 80 degrees, the slower the Walleye action on that lake becomes. Lakes that typically have good Walleye action in late August are the deeper, cooler ones like Cass Lake, Western Leech Lake, Deer Lake and others like this. Weedlines will still be key locations, but some of these lakes also have deep water structures that hold good schools of fish as well. For me, night crawlers are still the best bait, but I've had a little luck on jig and minnow combinations too. Trolling with crankbaits has also been somewhat productive, but it's been un-predictable. One day (or part of a day) it works, the next day it doesn't. Give them a try when the conditions look right and experiment with other offerings as the urge strikes. Even though I use the term "deeper lakes", I don't necessarily mean deeper fish. Walleye location has still been most predictable on the weedlines in 12 to 18 feet of water.
We had a couple of really nice experiences with Crappies this week as the early signs of a fall movement begin to show. It's a little early for a full scale "Crappie Bite", but we have been able to roam the steeper drop off edges and find some small schools of fish gathering. 16 to 20 feet of water has been best, 1/8 ounce or 1/16 ounce jig head tipped with a Crappie Minnow and fish vertically. Simple, slow lift and drop presentation works the best.
I lost track of the Largemouth Bass last week because we never fished them, but I did take note of a bunch of Bass that were caught and dressed out at the cleaning shack on Leech Lake. I presume this means that the Wild Rice and Bulrushes over there are producing some nice Bass right now. I have a Bass trip today and plan on fishing the deeper weed edges in 8 to 12 feet of water. If things are as I expect, we should locate some fish on these weedlines and I may post an update tomorrow.
Northern Pike of small to medium size are plentiful on the deeper weedlines and easy to catch on on jig and minnow or by trolling crankbaits. I haven't seen any evidence of really nice Pike moving into shallow water and the only fish that we've caught that were above average, were located on some rocks up on Red lake. We managed a 36 inch and a couple of 32 inchers up there, but no giants. The fish we caught (on Red) were by trolling the large M&G Musky Spinnerbaits. We've caught quite a few of the "eater" size Pike on the neighborhood lakes with a 1/8 ounce jig head and a 4 inch Berkley Power Grub. I've been rigging a 12 inch leader made from 17 pound fluorocarbon line and this has been enough protection against most bite-offs.
Perch fishing continues to improve. In fact when you get into a school of small ones, you may think it's improving too much! There are some schools of good size fish though and these are starting to show up on the shallower weedlines. Whenever you can locate weeds mixed with light rock or gravel, you will find some Perch. There are still some good schools of Perch in deeper water too, but we've been sticking with the shallower water to take better advantage of the mixed bag opportunities. Simple jig and minnow fishing will get you into some action.

Fishing Report! 8-13-08 Jeff Sundin - Mid Summer Mixed Bag!
This has been another typical mid August week with mostly sunny skies, calm seas and stable water temperatures. There have been a few ups and downs in the walleye fishing, but the panfish and Bass have taken up the slack and anglers open to the opportunities, have had some good action.
Surface water temperatures have been stable in the 73 to 74 degree range. We've seen a lot of new Algae bloom add color to the water this week, but still no evidence of any fish kill from Oxygen depletion. Cooler water and higher water levels probably explain the shortage of Larger Pike and Muskies in a lot of their typical late summer haunts. But with the Bluegill and Bass action picking up, we're probably just around the corner from a pick up in the pike and Musky action too.
Bluegills continue to be my strong suit. We've had consistent action on several area lakes and with few exceptions the average size has been good. As the action continues to pick up, we continually find schools of fish in new locations, so searching for them has gotten a lot easier. Depending on the type of lake you're fishing, you may choose to fish for bass or Walleye along the weed edges and stop to catch some 'gills when you stumble across them. This has happened to me several times this week. Fishing a plastic worm along the deeper weed edges for Bass and you'll locate Bluegills as they nip at the tail of the soft plastics. the same concept is true when you're fishing weedlines for Walleyes and the Sunfish nip at your live bait rigs. Either way, it gets you into a nice "mixed bag" situation.
Presentation for me has been unchanged, I like a 1/16 ounce jig head, darker colors and a piece of cut night crawler. This week I had some folks who also did really well using a #4 plain hook and a split shot sinker.
Walleye fishing continues to be "above average" for this period of the summer. But I've started having some trouble using night crawlers. Up to this point, it's been my favorite presentation, but with all of the panfish and small Perch on a rampage now, it's awful hard to steer a night crawler through all of the small fish and into the Walleye lair. To avoid this problem, there have been a lot of folks sticking with the jig and minnow combinations, but for me, the best bet has been to put up with the Perch and Bluegills until we find small schools of Walleye. When we do find active Walleyes, the Perch bite usually tapers off enough that we can concentrate. Leeches are also productive on certain days, or on certain spots, but the small fish are hammering these as well and I've chosen to conserve on my Leech supply and let the panfish eat up all of my worms instead.
On a search for Bluegills this past week, we discovered good schools of active Largemouth Bass using the deeper weed edges in 8 to 12 feet of water. It's been sunny, so these fish have been in fairly heavy cover and rooting them out was easiest with plastic worms. Fishing right in the heavy cover, put the most fish in the boat, but on overcast days, I'd guess that the fish would roam out away from the heavy cover a bit more and then you'd be able to fish a wider variety of baits. We also had a lot of action using Berkley's Power Bait Crawfish on a plain jig head. Northern Pike really like these as much or more than the Bass do. So if you want a good combo Bass and Pike gimmick, these things will really do the trick. We just toss the jig and crawdad into the deeper weed edges and make sure it has time to hit the bottom. Sharper jigging action with a pause between jigging will trigger plenty of fish. I don't bother using a steel leader, but sometimes a short length of 17 pound mono will help save your baits from getting snipped off by Pike.
Perch fishing continues to improve. In fact when you get into a school of small ones, you may think it's improving too much! There are some schools of good size fish though and these are starting to show up on the shallower weedlines. Whenever you can locate weeds mixed with light rock or gravel, you will find some Perch. There are still some good schools of Perch in deeper water too, but we've been sticking with the shallower water to take better advantage of the mixed bag opportunities. Simple jig and minnow fishing will get you into some action.
No Musky fishing for me this week, so I'll have to gather some gossip from friends. With the water warming continually, we should see an increase in the action coming up soon, but so far this hasn't been a banner year for Muskies.

Grand Rapids Fishing Report 8-4-2008 Jason Green
You would think by now we would be seeing a mid summer slow down but that is far from the truth. Water temperatures seem to be pretty consistent on many of the area lakes ranging from 71-74 degrees and many of the bug hatches have tapered off making for an excellent day on the water.
Recently I had the chance to spend another day on the water with Steve Ladany from Northland Fishing Tackle. We spent most of the day in search of Large & Small Mouth Bass. All though the day was a bit on the slower side it was quite the soft plastic educational day. Northland launched a complete line of new "Dean Rojas" Slurpies. The salted and spiced line of soft plastics offers more styles and colors.
I have been targeting Gills, Crappie and Walleye in low light periods and surprisingly we have caught all three on the same presentations pretty close to each other. We have been fishing shallow cabbage in roughly 8'-10' of water with deep open water near by. Northland Crappie Thumpers are still producing well for Crappie and Walleye. We have been moving the boat slow in the cabbage and pitching these vibrant baits in the small open pockets with a lot of success. For Gills and Sun Fish we have been fishing the same pockets but using Gypsi Jigs and Fire-flys. On a couple occasions we have had to tie on floats to keep our presentation in the strike zone longer but for the most part we are fishing the open pockets the same.
When the wind is blowing we have started pulling #4 & #5 Hornets with some success for Walleye and Pike on the outside edge of shallow weed lines. As the weeds mature and get thicker crank bait results should increase. Normally by now vegetation is reaching the surface but our cooler summer is stunting growth. On calm days we are still fishing walleye on small main lake humps that top off around 14'-20' of water. Vertically fishing a Roach Rig with a 3/8oz or heavier weight has proven to be an "Old Standby" that works time and time again.

Fishing Report! 7-30-08 Jeff Sundin - Mid Summer Walleye, Panfish, Bass and Pike
Except for an interrupting series of thunderstorms that moved through our area on Tuesday morning, the weather has been warm and sunny. The lakes surfaces temperatures continue to warm and we're looking at a lot of 73 to 74 degree water temperatures in the Itasca region. As waters warm, fishing action continues to swing toward the "mixed bag" and Bass and panfish have become more and more active during the daytime.
I'm hearing great Bluegill reports from lots of friends who tell me that the smaller lakes are really producing fish right now. These lakes are "turning on" at different times, so if you bomb out on one lake, don't be afraid to jump to another because you may easily discover a dramatic contrast from one to another. I've tried Bluegills a couple of times and so far, my old trick of vertical jigging on the interior edges of the weed line hasn't worked well for me yet. For right now, it looks like the best presentation is a small lead head, ice fly or teardrop type jig tipped with a small cut piece of worm or wax worm and suspended by a slip bobber. The fish don't want to see much movement, so anchoring the boat has worked better than passing through with the trolling motor.
After several attempts, we finally managed to boat a Musky and see a few more this week, so it looks like the warmer water temperatures are helping with the Muskies as well. Usually we fish with larger baits, but thanks to a suggestion from a friend, we scaled down to using the smaller Mepp's Musky Killer and that smaller size bait worked better than the larger baits. After a long period of of hearing gloom and doom from friends, we're finally hearing about a few fish being caught on several area lakes, so maybe we're heading for some decent action in August. A good second choice for us has been the spinnerbait style bucktails like the M & G. We've had some fish looking at these as well as two "strikes" this past week.
Walleye fishing continues to be "above average" for this period of the summer. Typically we have to have to poke around for a few fish on every spot. But by using this "cherry picking" method, we are catching quite a few fish. Thanks to a couple of really strong year classes, there are tons of small fish keeping us entertained as we look for 'keepers". Presentations vary wildly right now and we've caught some fish on almost everything you can think of. There are still fish out on deep structure so the live bait rigs with Leeches and Night Crawlers are performing. There are a steadily increasing number of shallow locations beginning to work right now too and for me, this seems to be the better action right now. There have been a few fish hitting leeches and even a few hitting smaller crankbaits. But on these weed edges, we've had better fishing using night crawlers. Our best depths have varied from lake to lake, but generally we've found fish in 8 to 12 feet of water.
With the weedlines developing nicely, the largemouth are establishing deeper water haunts on the outer edges of deep weeds. As you'd expect by now, Bass are schooling up on the points and inside pockets of these weed edges. We caught an awful lot of Bass on Leeches and night crawlers as we pursued Walleyes earlier this week and so even though I haven't been "Bass Fishing", I feel like we've been doing it. I think this would be a great time to head out for the traditional mid summer plastic worm bite.
Northern Pike fishing has been sluggish and fish of small to medium size have been available, but medium to large Pike have been elusive. Late last week we trolled some deeper water with larger crankbaits and lead-core line and did manage to catch a few pike. But. so far I haven't seen anything to get to worked up about. I'm hoping to get a chance to chase some better Northern's during the next several days and maybe I'll have a better report next week.
Finally, if you like PERCH, better times have arrived! These fish have caused me trouble all summer long, but we're finally starting to see them on some of the deeper, main lake bars and humps, in the weed beds and on the rocks. So far for me, the best quality fish have come from the deeper (20 to 30 feet) water. Jig and minnow has been about the best bet. One caveat, you need to be sure that you have located a good school of fish before you start fishing! If there are a lot of fish on these deeper spots, you will see them on your graph. If you're only seeing a few fish, or if the fish you see appear to be scattered along a breakline, don't bother fishing that spot. Do a little extra searching up front and you'll be happy that you did.

Fishing Report! 7-23-08 Jeff Sundin - Mid Summer Bass, Walleye and Panfish
The weather has stabilized, the insect hatches are running their course and the fishing has settled back into a more predictable pattern for mid-summer. Surface water temperatures are consistently in the 71 to 73 degree range on almost every lake in the Grand Rapids, Deer River area and the "warm water fish" are starting to respond. Panfish are still most active in the evenings, but we're catching more of them during the day. It's common to hook an accidental bluegill as we fish live bait rigs for Walleyes and this is usually a sign that the "day bite" is going to be starting soon.
Perch are starting to show up more regularly too. So far, we're not seeing huge schools of them, but again it's common to catch several nice size Perch as we fish for Walleye. In a few cases, we've been able to switch baits to a jig and minnow or spinner and minnow combination and catch enough Perch for a fish fry. As the water continues to warm and insects continue to disappear from the bars and humps, we'll see these Perch moving toward rocks and that will be a great time to get in on some Jumbo Perch fishing.
Weed beds are growing better now and the beginning signs of a good weedline, mixed bag bite are starting to emerge. Bass are still hitting surface baits, spinnerbaits and swimming type baits, but there are small schools forming in the deeper weed lines too. For guys like me who like to fish plastic worms, our time is almost here!
There's going to be a lot of variety in Walleye presentations for me this week. We're still catching quite a few of them on jig and minnow. It's unusual during July, but the cooler water temperatures seem to be extending this jig bite. During the past few days, Leeches have out-performed Night Crawlers but we have still caught several on the worms. On Tuesday, we moved in from the deep water and tried a test run with crankbaits and caught several fish on the weedline using the #5 Salmo Hornets. The fish appear to be building up on the flats adjacent to the weedlines and it looks good for the folks who prefer to troll. We caught a few smaller to medium size pike on these baits as well, but nothing to make me think that there's going to be a hot Pike bite in the shallows in the near future.
Water is still really clear for this time of year and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Pike and Muskies stay out in the deeper open water for a long time. As long as the prime baitfish like Tulibee, Suckers and Whitefish remain in the open water, the larger predators will stay out there too. We played around with some lead core line, trolling larger crankbaits on Sunday and we did find some larger Pike and Walleye in the 20 to 25 foot depth range.

Fishing Report! 7-16-08 Jeff Sundin - Mid Summer Bass, Walleye and Panfish
A turbulent week in Northern Minnesota has kept us on our toes! It had to happen sooner or later and I guess now is the time. A combination of stormy weather, insect hatches and the arrival of tons of "young of the year" baitfish have definitely made the Walleye fishing more challenging. But we're still experiencing some "highlights" every day and when the conditions swing in our favor, we're still even having some "above average" fishing for mid July. I've spent most of my time this past week on lake Winnie, Cass lake and Cutfoot Sioux.
The fishing strategies have been similar on all three, mainly live bait rigging with leeches and night crawlers except for the occasional, individual school of fish that prefer jig and minnow. I believe that it's really important that you learn to be a master at using your electronics, especially during mid summer, because sometimes you need to move from one point to another and "Cherry Pick" a couple of fish at a time until you're satisfied with your catch. There have been several times when we've marked LOTS of fish, but still couldn't get many of them to bite. By moving from one school of fish to the next, you can always get a couple of the most active ones to bite quickly and you're always increasing the odds of finding the one "hot school" of the day.
I've noticed this week that the Walleye have preferred spots that have a bit of rock on them. It doesn't have to be much, but a little harder bottom has been a key for me.
We fished last week on Cass Lake and did find the perch fairly active on a few spots. 12 to 20 feet of water was the best depth for the breaklines. There are some Walleyes on the same breaklines too, lots of small ones this year. Some better size Walleye were on the humps and smaller bars on the West side of the lake. There are tons of Mayflies and other bugs hatching, so we had to do a lot of searching and stopping for a couple of bites and then move on to new spots. By days end, we had done fairly well, but it wasn't non stop action. Leeches were fairly good on about a six foot leader and Jig and minnow (we had shiners at the time) were the best on the humps on the west side.
Panfish action has been heating up, especially for folks who fish the evening "mosquito run". Both Crappie and Sunfish are hitting during the evening, but so far mid day fishing has been tough for Crappie. Sunfish are hitting a bit during the daytime and apparently the action is going to improve as the water temps warm up. I've more to add, but I just ran up against the clock and I'll have to try and finish this on Thursday morning.

Grand Rapids Fishing Report 7-14-2008 Jason Green - Wind, Wind & More Wind
What a crazy week! We have had high winds blowing for roughly 4 days now. The only time it seems to let up is when the rain moves in only to start blowing again. The good thing is that the fish are still hungry and active.
This past Saturday I had the chance to spend some time in the boat with my favorite fishing partners, my boys. At age 11 and 5 they were determined to teach Dad a few tricks. Ryan, my 11 year old picked where we were going to fish and what baits we were going to use. Needless to say he was right on the money.

Fishing Report! 7-8-08 Jeff Sundin - Mid Summer Patterns Mixed Bag Strategies
I just returned from my annual "busman's holiday" up to International Falls and Island View Lodge on Rainy Lake. Over the past eight years, this has become a real favorite time of the year for me because it gives me a little breather and an opportunity to see some new shoreline. As an added bonus, I get to spend a couple of precious days fishing with my own family and friends.
This year's trip was really different for me because the cooler, higher water temperatures on Rainy have kept the fish in the shallows more active than usual. So I fished a lot of water where I haven't spent much time in the past. We discovered groups of fish in a variety of locations, but probably the best fishing areas we found were the shoreline breaks and small points around many of the islands. The best bet for me was to locate sand areas along the breakline. Watching the graph, you'll see your "color line" or "gray line" lessen in intensity when you move from rocks to sand. Almost always, we found the better schools of fish on this "rock to sand transition". Even when we marked good schools of fish they didn't always bite, so we had to continually search for new schools and experiment with the baits. There were times when the fish bit best on minnows, sometimes Leeches, sometimes Crawlers and even a few on crankbaits. We literally had one good day using Leeches, another good day using Crawlers and the last day of the trip we had our best success on jig and minnows. Timing was also really important. Maybe one out of three or fours schools of fish were active, so the more we moved around, the more we increased our odds of getting good action. To sum it up, change spots, change baits and change speeds a lot. Sooner or later you'll find an aggressive school of fish.
Returning to home water on Saturday, we're finding a similar scenario. So far this week I've had to do a lot of moving and scouting to find the more active Walleyes. The water temperatures have risen into the 72 to 74 degree range and there are insect hatches and young of the year minnows everywhere I look. So the old adage about "finding bait to find the fish" is sort of improbable at this point. Since there's food everywhere, the secret now is to keep finding more schools of fish until you hit the timing right. For the next several weeks, my advice will be to stay on the move and don't fish a spot unless you are marking fish on your electronics.
On Tuesday I had my first opportunity to try and catch a Musky, but it wasn't my lucky day. We caught a couple of mid size Pike, but the Musky activity was zero where I fished. We took a break from casting during the mid day and did manage to get in on a mixed bag of Perch and Walleye, so there were some 'highlights" for the day. From here on out, we'll be doing a lot more mixed bag fishing and I'll get some updates added as I get back up to speed.

Fishing Report! 7-1-08 Jeff Sundin - Summer Peak Going Strong!
This week I want to welcome a new sponsor. It's not very often that I go into "commercial mode", but sometimes I find something that I really like and take an opportunity to share my good fortune with you. I've been on the lookout for a Loki Landing Net ever since my first one blew out of the boat in a bad storm. I finally had the opportunity to link up with them.
Another week into the summer and the fishing action shows no sign of slowing down. I was a little worried about a string of thunderstorms the blew through the area on Friday night, but at least for the time being, these storms had little impact on the quality of fishing in the Deer River and Grand Rapids area over the weekend. If anything, it looks like it may have helped me on Saturday (6-28) as it apparently moved a whole load of "pre-spawn" Smallmouth Bass out of the shallow water and on to the first shoreline drop off. Thanks to this little shift of location, we had a great mixed bag of Walleye and Smallmouth.
Walleye location has continued to shift toward the deeper water. Shoreline related points that extend well out into deep water, reefs, sunken islands and main lake bars are all good right now. Key water depths for me have been 18 to 24 feet for the most active fish, but at times we are finding schools of fish in the 30 foot depth range as well. The deeper fish seem to be less active, but we've been able to trick some of them into feeding on healthy extra large or jumbo leeches. For me, the Shallower fish seem to be a bit more prone to take night crawlers. I'm not sure what the difference is, but that's been a good rule of thumb for me during the past few days.
There are still fish hitting the jig and minnow combinations too, but I've started having enough trouble keeping the minnows fresh that I'm ready to go into rigging mode for a while. I still plan on carrying a few minnows in the boat as a back up plan and when I have problems keeping them alive, I'm putting the dead ones on ice. The ice extends the use of the minnows for at least of full day and I'd suggest freezing some water in a one quart plastic container. Just toss the minnows on top of the ice chunk and you're in business.
The Smallmouth Bass I mentioned all appear to have fat bellies full of spawn. I've been concentrating on several of the deeper, clear water lakes that tend to warm up latest, so this would help explain the later spawning activity of the Bass. We had been looking for these fish in shallow water a few days ago and found most of them on rocks in 4 to 8 feet. On Saturday, they were down the edges in 16 to 24 feet mixed with the walleyes and they were very active. We fished with jigs/worms and caught these fish steadily throughout the day. When the weather returns to normal, I'd guess the Smallies will head back up onto those shallower rocks again. When those fish were shallower a few days ago, I had good experiences with the Berkley Gulp Leeches on a 1/8 ounce jig.
Bluegill activity in the shallow water spawning areas continues to be good. On Saturday I had to envy a group of fishermen who were anchored within easy sight of where we were Walleye fishing. These guys were hauling in some decent looking sunfish from a shallow patch of mixed weeds and bulrushes. They were fishing with jigs tipped with worms under a small bobber. The action for them appeared to be steady for at least a couple of hours.
There are some good Crappie reports floating around too, but I haven't had any first hand experience during the past week. What I've been hearing is that Crappie action has been heating up in the deeper water now. Deeper rocks and deep Cabbage Weeds have been producing for the Crappie anglers and the action has been best during the evening. From past experience, I really like looking for those isolated patches of Cabbage weeds and casting small 1-1/2 inch tube jigs or a similar size plastic beetle body on a 1/16 ounce jig head. This time of year you can get some great mixed bag fishing using this approach.

Grand Rapids Fishing Report 6-30-2008 Jason Green Pick Your Favorite Style Of Fishing
Another incredible week in Northern MN! This past week we have run into just about every situation in the 1000 Grand Lakes Area. From windy cool days like spring to mid summer HOT calm days. Each day has presented a style of angling that produces better. Mother Nature has also thrown us a curve ball with multiple bug hatches transpiring on many of the area lakes but the good news is that the fish are still hungry.
On days that the wind starts to blow we have had our best luck back on the shoreline. Targeting areas with larger rock has worked well for us with a 1/8-1/4oz Fireball tipped with a shiner. I have noticed that there are plenty of soft shell crayfish in these areas and walleye are binging on the small tasty morsels. The best producing color for us on the rocks has been Parrot.
On calmer days we have been forced to move out to mid lake humps and bars. Occasionally we have found a few fish that will bite on a jig and minnow but what these fish really seem to want are crawlers and leeches. If the weather stays consistent I believe the jig and minnow days are numbered.
The best presentation for these deeper fish for me has been a 6' Roach Rig with a 3/8oz Worm Weight or bullet style weight fished vertically under the boat. I like the bullet style weight because it is useful on just about any type of structure. The Worm Weight also allows you to change out the size easily if the wind suddenly changes on you.

Fishing Report! 6-24-08 Jeff Sundin - The Summer Patterns Begin
For a lot of folks, it seemed like summer would never come this year. But we've had quite a turnaround this week. On Monday (6-23) we happened to be fishing on Lake Winnie when the morning surface temperature began at 67 degrees. By day's end the temperature had risen to 74 degrees. There are currently several insect hatches going on at once. Fish Flies and a couple of other insects known to me only as "little green bugs" are crawling all over everything. As expected, the Walleye are responding to insect hatches by heading out into open water where the main lake bars, humps and reefs come in contact with softer bottom areas that harbor the insect larvae.
We found fish on a variety of structures that included some of the most popular and largest main lake bars. There were also a lot of fish showing up on the small "humps", especially the ones located closest to the shoreline.
Walleye anglers were catching fish on a variety of baits including lindy rigs with Leeches or Night Crawlers, jig and minnow combinations and live bait spinners tipped with minnows. For a week or so, you should be able to continue catching fish by jigging on the deeper structures. After that, the fish will get a little more fussy and start looking for the slower, live bait presentations. Lindy rigs with Leeches will be favored by lots of folks in another week or so. 
The Bass and panfish report is excellent right now thanks to the warming trend. I had a good experience with Bluegills in the shallows this weekend and talked with several friends who have been getting awesome shallow Bass action for both Smallmouth and Largemouth. If you like fishing surface baits, spinnerbaits or jerk worms. This is the time to get out and give it a whirl. I sent one friend out to a good Smallmouth spot and he reported catching about 40 fish in just a few hours. All of the fish are in the shallow areas like Bulrushes, mixed rock/gravel and around any kind of timber you can find.
We discovered that a few of the Bluegills are already beginning to move out of the shallows and set up shop on the deeper weed edges. I don't think I'd give up on the shallow water gills just yet, but with all of these insect hatches going on, they too will be attracted to the deeper, soft bottom areas to cash in on the bonanza. Try the shallows first and if that fails, move out to the outer edges of the deeper weeds and try a 1/16 ounce jig tipped with a piece of cut night crawler. For the best results, fish slowly trying to keep your jig almost motionless near the bottom. The really nice sunfish don't need to see much action.
The early signs of a Crawfish hatch are showing up now too and that will be good news to folks looking for some more consistent Perch action. The shallow areas with mixed rock, gravel and sand are the first to warm up and the first areas to look for some Jumbos. As the water continues to warm, the mid depth rocks are going to get productive. I'll be spending some time looking for Perch this week and should have a better update for the next report.

Youngster With Jumbo Perch
This Happy Little Camper Found Out How Exciting It Is To Get On A School Of Jumbos

Bluegill Jeff Sundin 9/9/08
Deep water panfish action is just so much fun we can't quit. Sunfish and Crappies have been keeping us busy on small lakes for well over a month now and with cooler temperatures, action will continue to improve.

Crappies on Lowrance Screen
Here's a good look at what your graph should look like when you find a school of panfish on these deeper breaklines. These are Crappies, notice the heavier, yellow appearance of some of the larger fish. That's a good signal that you've found an "above average" school of fish.

Crappie Katie Sundin 9-8-08
Here's the payoff, a nice Crappie caught on a 1/16 ounce jig tipped with a 1/2 inch long piece of night crawler.

Bass David and Chris Allan 8-20-08
Deep water Bass action is keeping us busy on small lakes. The father & son team of David and Chris Allan caught this nice pair on plastic worms fished on a mixed weed/rocky point.!

Largemouth Bass David Allan 8-20-08
Another good one, In Northern Minnesota we don't catch too many magnum size bass, but for average size, it's tough to do much better.

Bluegill 8-18-08 David Allan
Bluegill action continues to keep us busy. We've had some slower times, but overall the Bluegills have been cooperative and the quality has been good.

Walleye Marion Roberts 8-17-08
Walleye like this aren't always expected at this time of the summer, but they do come along. Marion Roberts fooled this one with a night crawler on the heavy weedline.

Walleyes 8-17-08 Jeff Sundin
A nice day's work! I've had some ups and downs in the Walleye category this week, but it looks like we had a good day in the weeds. For Walleye, I'm looking for lakes with cooler temperatures until the cooler fall temperatures begin to arrive.

Crappie Don Apling 8-15-08
Early signs of the fall Crappie bite are starting to show. We've had a couple of good opportunities already and as the schools of fish build in number, the action will continue to improve.

Crappies Mike & Marsha Maledy 8-14-08
When you hit a nice school of Crappie, the action is fast and furious! Mike & Marsha topped off their honeymoon fishing trip with a quick limit!

Bluegill Karen Hergaard August 2009
Bluegill fishing has been at the top of my list this week. There have been several lakes producing above average action, average size has been good.

Bluegill Kami Hamilton August 2008
We've been finding the Bluegills in 8 to 11 feet of water and relating close to the weeds. Start by cruising the weedline looking for schools of fish on your graph, test the action and move when necessary.

Sunfish on Graph Screen
Click to zoom in on the image of a school of Bluegills hovering above a deeper grass line. These fish were active, but we had to keep our baits high enough in the water to capture their attention.

Walleye Pokegama lake July 2008
Pokegama Lake Walleye

Steve Ladany Northland Fishing Tackle
Steve Ladany Northland fishing Tackle

Walleye Deer Lake, July 2008
Walleye schools are building up in the weeds. This 28 incher was caught on a main lake hump with a nice weedline in about 12 feet of water. Largemouth Bass are using the same structures, so action may be mixed.

Shallow Water Suspended Walleye
Click on this picture for a closer look. When you see Walleye suspended high above the bottom in shallow water like this, try running a couple of crankbaits through them. We've had some success with Salmo's #5 hornets this week and it looks like we might be headed for some good times in the next few weeks.

Bluegill, Vivian Straw
Reports of good Bluegill action have been floating around all week long. We've had a few hours to look for them too. So far, our better presentation has been small jigs and slip bobbers set to fish near the bottom.

Walleye Jeff Sundin 7-18-08 30 Inches
We've seen an above average number of large fish this month. This 30 incher hit a jig and minnow and she's still in the lake for someone to catch next year.

Walleye July 2008 McQuay Fisharoo
Here's a 26 incher than grabbed a Jumbo Leech on a live bait rig. The Walleyes have been adaptable this summer and we're catching them on a variety of presentations.

Walleye Bruce Champion 7-20-08
Trolling large crankbaits using lead core line in 20 to 25 feet of water produced a handful of "above average" fish like this 26 incher this weekend.

Walleye 7-15-08 Emery
Even on a slow day, moving from spot to spot and "cherry picking" the active fish will produce results like this. Sometimes you have to work a little harder, but it does pay off.

Crappie Ryan Green

Walleye Derrick mauser July 2008
Mid-Summer Walleyes aren't finicky, they're just well fed. Sometimes it boils down to being in the right place at the right time. keep checking spots until you find the one or two hot schools of fish and you're trip will be successful!

Mayflies On Water
Insect hatches like these Mayflies don't have to "kill" the action, but they do make your job tougher. It's important to keep moving and checking for schools of active fish. Sooner or later you will land on top of an aggressive school of fish, but you have to keep checking.

Smallmouth Bass Coming To Net
Action fishing for mixed bags of Bass, Pike and Walleye are here! I finally found a replacement for my favorite landing net! Click here to read a review about it.

Smallmouth Bass 6-28-08
Smallmouth Bass action kept us hopping on Saturday as we fished for Walleye. I had a great experience fishing with Valora Lundberg who fishes like a pro!

Walleye Joe Stevens 6-26-08
According to Joe Stevens we "found a good hole" on Lake Winnie. The deep water bite has been picking up steadily over there too, but don't overlook the "weed bite" on breezy days.

Jason Green Walleye
Walleye remain active in the shallow water. Breezy days still offer good jig and minnow fishing. Shallow weeds, rock bars and primary drop off areas continue to hold fish.