Fishing Report Library Northern Minnesota Fred's Bait Deer River July and August 2006

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Minnesota Fishing Archived Fishing Reports July and August 2006

August 2006

Walleye and Northern Pike Steadily Improving, Fall Patterns Emerge 8-31-06 Jeff Sundin

    Cool nights and moderate temperatures during the day have combined to help gently push the lakes toward some of our favorite fall fishing patterns. For the first time in nearly two months, water temperatures have fallen below the seventy-degree mark on many of the Grand Rapids, Deer River area lakes and Walleye, Northern Pike and Perch have responded fairly well.

    Walleye are getting active again as the fish continue to move back into shallow water. The typical late summer/early fall haunts are getting more reliable every day. Weeds are still holding the greatest number of fish, but on windy days youíll find fish on the rocks and also using the cleaner lip areas just outside the weedlines. In fact, thatís been the key to my fishing during the past ten days or so. Look for the weedline on the shallow breaks, then move to either the deeper or shallower sides looking for clean areas adjacent to those weeds. Whenever the fish get active, youíll see them on your Lowrance around these clean lip areas. For me, these have been the best schools of fish to concentrate on because theyíve been more active than fish buried in the heavier cover.

    Even though Iím recommending the shallow bite, there are still a lot of fish on deeper, main lake structures too. Especially the larger bars that connect directly to the main shoreline and have access to deeper water. In late summer these longer bars or points tend to act as runways for fish that are moving from deeper water back in to the shoreline. Youíll find these deeper spots are more "hit and miss" because the moving fish are seldom in one location for more than a day or two. But, if you like to fish deep, itís still a good option providing you donít mind looking around until you locate a decent school of fish. Any given day, you can really hit a good bite if the fish are moving when you find them.

    Musky action has slowed down a little and has been replaced with a pick up in the Northern Pike action. Weíve done a fair bit of casting this week and the medium to smaller Pike of 25 to 30 inches are showing up in fairly good numbers. At the moment, I canít see any real advantage to casting over trolling except that itís more fun to see the fish hit the baits and it keeps us in the hunt for a bigger Pike or Musky. Folks that are trolling the weed edges are doing just as well, maybe even better at times when the Pike go deeper and get reluctant to hit the higher riding jerkbaits or bucktails weíve been throwing.

    For folks with more patience, bobber fishing with larger Sucker minnows has been producing a nicer average size fish with several Pike in the mid thirty inch range caught just this week. Itís also possible to combine the bobber fishing with casting by making a slow drift along the weedline. One or two people can drift a bobber/Sucker combo on the upwind side of the boat while the others cast down wind. At times, the casters get some of those Pike riled up and the ones that follow or flash at the jerkbaits will spot that Sucker minnow and grab it instead. This isnít a bad approach when youíve got some anglers willing to cast and others that arenít.

    The Bluegill action has tapered off with the cooler water temperatures. Active fish are less common and it takes a bit of "scrounging" to get a nice fish fry together. As water temperatures continue to drop, fish will move out toward the deeper weed edges again and the action should start to pick back up in the next couple of weeks or whenever there is enough die off of weeds to force those fish out into the open water.

    Crappie are just starting to move into some of the better fall haunts with a few fish showing up on the deeper breaklines adjacent to shore. Crappies that use the heavier weed cover during the hot part of summer begin looking for open water during the fall and winter. Weíve had a few fish showing up in water depths of around 20 feet and Iíve been able to tease out some of the more active ones. But, we have a way to go before Iíd call it a hot bite. If you happen to be lucky enough to know about some cribs, brush or deeper cover on a good Crappie lake, Iíd start looking there first and then follow the fish out into open water as the water temps continue to fall.

    Largemouth Bass continue to use the deeper weed edges, but spinnerbait fishing in the bulrushes has been producing some great action too. Especially for folks fishing early or later in the day. Early, look for the Bass on the shallow side of the weeds and up into the bulrushes wherever you can locate them. As the sunís brightness moves fish deeper, move out to those weed edges and pluck some more Bass using soft plastics or crankbaits. The water temps are still fairly high for this time of year so you can fish the weedlines fairly fast. When you hit a better school of fish on a point or corner, stay put for a while because there are some fairly good schools of fish stacking up.

    Perch fishing has shifted back into the shallow water and weíve had some fairly good action in water depths of 3 to 6 feet. When I find shallow areas with rock or gravel, there are Perch there. Jig and minnow has been the best approach. Weíve had to move frequently to stay in the larger fish, so donít get too hung up on any one location. Just cover some water, fish some weeds and shallow rocks and youíll start finding schools of active fish scattered along the shoreline. In most cases weíve found enough Perch to satisfy us while weíve been searching for Walleyes.

Vic Mancinelli with a nice crankbiat Walleye

Walleye fishing presentations during the past week have been widely varied and anglers have been reporting fair to good catches on everything from crankbaits to bobber fishing. Weíve had our best action trolling crankbaits during the active periods and fishing with crawlers during the slower times. But, there are still good numbers of fish being caught on live bait rigs with Leeches (providing you can still get decent Leeches) at your favorite bait shop. Spinners with minnows and jig & minnow combinations are catching their share of Walleye as well. Itís fair to say that you can fish your favorite style right now and expect to catch at least some fish, adapt a little bit and youíll do even better.

Bill Block showing off a nice Walleye




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Countdown to Fall Fishing, Walleyes on the Rebound 8-17-06 Jeff Sundin

    In spite of another week of clear, warm summer weather during the daytime, lower nighttime air temperatures are bringing surface water temperatures down noticeably. During the past week, water temperatures have fallen from around the 78 degree range down to about 71 degrees. That change probably isnít dramatic enough to kick the fishing into high gear right away. But lower surface temps combined with a few windy days have been good enough to clear up some of the heavier algae blooms and relieve a lot of the fish kill problems that peaked a couple of weeks ago. As in the past, weíre starting to see the early signs of a trend where some fish return to the deeper main lake bars. As the waters continue to cool, weíll see fishing action pick up as the countdown to fall ticks away.

    Fishing the mixed bag or "action bite" is probably the best way to go right now. Iíd rather have a handful of several kinds of fish, than to spend my time trying to concentrate on any one species right now. But thatís me, I like action so Iíve gone out of my way to find that type of opportunity.

    Walleye fishing for me this week has continued to be a hit and miss proposition. At times, there have been spurts of great fishing, especially in the shallows. The problem is that you never know when itís going to be good until it happens. You have to have faith and keep on fishing until you finally hit the right spot. Heading into the heavier weed cover to scrounge fish on the calmer days and working mid depth flats on breezy days have helped put some fish in the boat. There have been an ample supply of fish in both types of locations, but they are very well fed and itís been tough to keep them biting very long once you find them. Iíve had to fish a spot, gather the "cream" and move on to find another group of fish and catch what I can before they spook or move into heavier cover.

    There are still some Walleyes being caught on Crankbaits trolled near the weed edges and on the shallower flats, but the "crankbait bite" is not as reliable as it was a couple of weeks ago. Live bait has become more important during the past few days with a fair number of Walleyes caught on a jig and minnow. Weíve also had reasonable results fishing with a small jig and leech combo. We stumbled into this little gem while fishing for Bluegills, troll slowly with your MinnKota just inside the weedline and work the jig vertically letting the leech do all of the work. Fish located in the heavy weed cover have been tolerant of the boat passing overhead and weíve caught several really nice Walleye in 5 to 7 feet of water directly under the boat. You can use the same approach with a small jig tipped with a night crawler, or lip hook a lively minnow like a Creek Chubb, Rainbow or Redtail.

    For Lake Winnie Walleye anglers, start to look at the main lake bars again too. The cooling water typically helps to start up a late summer "bar bite" that can hold up well into September. Reports are that a few fish are using these deeper bars again already and while itís not anywhere close to a peak, there will certainly be some more movement in that direction in the next couple of weeks.

    Musky and Pike action peaked during the hot weather and full moon period a couple of weeks ago. There are still some small to medium size Pike active on the weedlines, but lots of the larger fish are located on mid depth flats where Tulibee, Suckers and other baitfish have gathered. Trolling the weed edges with crankbaits, fishing with Bobbers and Sucker minnows or using a live bait rig with an above average size minnow will catch you some fish. If we get a trend toward cooler, rainier weather, it will help spark some action in the shallows again.

    The fantastic Bluegill action that took place during our hot weather period has slowed. Cooler water temps, fishing pressure and sunny weather have combined to make it tougher to get in on a really "hot bite". But, there are still some very nice fish being caught and itís worth the effort to look for them. Concentrating on the heavier weeds and getting your boat further into them (the weeds) has become more important. Creep along very slowly and work the weeds with a small jig tipped with a tiny leech or piece of a worm. Once you locate fish, stop the boat and fish vertically to fine-tune the location.

Bonnie Baird with a great Late Summer Smallmouth

Weíre still enjoying some of the best Smallmouth fishing that weíve seen in recent years. Theyíre grouped up on the deeper portions of rocky points, reefs and even on a few weedlines where there are rock/gravel stretches present. Our most consistent action has been in water depths of 15 to 25 feet and live bait rigs tipped with minnows or larger leeches will produce nicely. We have not had to feed line to catch these fish and itís best to set the hook as quickly as possible to avoid damaging the fish.

    Largemouth Bass are using the deeper weedlines and are especially concentrated on points in 8 to 15 feet of water. A fast approach is to cast a six-inch plastic worm rigged on a 1/16 to 1/8-ounce jig head. This combination is great for the active fish and has helped us locate lots of Bluegills too. If you have to fish the heavier cover to root the Bass out, a plastic worm rigged Texas Style (weedless) can be fished down into the weed mats. The Texas rigged worms have been good for larger fish or where the active fish have been caught and weíre picking up those last few bites on a spot.


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Come Out, Come Out Wherever you are. Fishing the Dog Days 8-10-06 Jeff Sundin

    As the south wind drags another blanket of warm, humid air across the Northland, rising surface water temperatures and Algae blooms are triggering some fish kills on some of the Itasca Area lakes. In particular, the shallower lakes, lakes with darker water and the ones that have a reputation for above average Algae bloom. Surface temperatures are generally hovering in the high seventy-degree range, with a few lakes showing temps back up to about 80 degrees. From here on out, weíre depending on a cool down to trigger movements and lead us into the heavier feeding times of the fall period.

    Some Walleye continue heading into the heavier weed cover, while others are scattered across meandering mid depth flats where they wait for perfect feeding conditions, then feed quickly in spurts. Your timing has to be pretty good right now to get in on a "hot bite", but it is possible providing youíre willing to put in some time and fish enough prime locations to swing the odds in your favor. If you want to keep fishing on the shallower lakes right now, the key areas will continue to be heavy weed cover and rock areas located on wind swept flats. When the Walleye (or any other fish) take up residence on the flats, locating them can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So using a variety of faster moving baits that you can troll will help put some fish in the boat. On windy days, working the weed edges or rocks with Crankbaits will put some fish in the boat. Calmer days are going to be tricky, but try working the flats in water depths of 10 to 14 feet with spinners tipped with either minnows or night crawlers. Watch for small packs of fish, troll through them a few times and then move on toward another new school.

    A good strategy for this warm water period is to switch over to fishing the lakes where fish are located in deeper, cool water. Lakes like Cass, Walker Bay (Leech Lake), Pike Bay and others that donít suffer the affects of thermocline. These lakes have deep structure in cooler water where Walleye spend this late summer period. Donít be surprised to find fish in 30, 40 or maybe even 50 feet of water. Fish the deep reefs, points and steep shoreline points by first finding fish on your Lowrance, then working the area slowly with jig and minnow or live bait rig combinations. Remember one simple rule, if you donít see fish on your screen, donít stop. Locating fish before you wet a line will pay big dividends.

    Musky and Pike anglers are catching fish in the heavier weed patches, especially the ones with access to deeper water. If you can find weeds with rocky areas mixed, it will be even better. Unfortunately, high, blue skies have taken the fun out casting because the fish donít want to move out of the cover. If you want to get them, youíll have to go in and root them out with live bait. Bobber fishing with Sucker minnows is one option, jig and minnow will work as well as fishing with a live bait rig tipped with a larger Creek Chubb, Sucker or Redtail. If youíre using live bait, be sure to use a 17 to 25 pound fluorocarbon leader. These leaders are almost a tough as steel, but wonít get kinky every time to catch a fish or get wrapped up in the weeds.

    Bluegill fishing continues to be good, but this week weíve noticed that even the Bluegills are getting a lot more particular about where they locate. Maybe some of the bug hatches have run their course, maybe itís just the sunny weather. Either way, weíve had to locate schools of fish and then fish them very slowly, even stationary in tiny areas to keep them biting. One interesting note about the panfish though is that weíre starting to see more Crappies on the deeper weed edges. Areas that have been primarily filled with Bluegills are becoming more mixed and itís probably an early sign of the late summer/early fall movement of Crappies back out to the deeper drop of areas and eventually out into open water. Iíd be watching for that move to start up in the next week or two.

    Bass fishing is probably the best action you can get right now. With the fish using the steeper drops and deep weed edges, itís been common to find good size schools of fish. Weíve been catching an awful lot of Bass on our live bait rigs while we search for Walleyes, especially Smallmouth. When I get a chance to fish Largemouth, Jig worms six-inch lizards and crawfish imitations are all working well. Fish the weedline anywhere from eight to 16 feet.

    Perch fishing continues to be a great way to put some fish on the table for folks fishing on Lake Winnie. The secondary drop off from 14 to 18 feet of water contains small schools of fish and so do the small rocky spots located on the mid depth flats. Some of the main lake bars and humps still have Perch on them as well. I usually like a jig and minnow for the Perch, but right now I think a spinner and minnow is probably a faster approach. Moving along that secondary drop off at a good clip will enable you to locate some fish. If you find a better than average school of fish, stop and jig fish for a while.

Alex Estee, Smallmouth Bass 8-9-06


Jeff Estee, Smallmouth Bass 8-9-06




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Weather Cools Down, Walleye Action Heats Up - Jeff Sundin 8-3-06

     Okay, so itís not exactly a feeding frenzy. But the storms that moved through the Deer River region earlier this week did provide us with some relief from the heat wave that was threatening to scare away even the toughest Walleye anglers. Surface temperatures are now in the mid to high seventy degree range and this drop in water temperatures of three to five degrees has already perked up the Walleye bite just enough to make it interesting.

    Itís likely that weíll have a couple of false starts, but weíre on the verge of another major seasonal change that will take Walleye fishing in a new direction. At this point in the summer, most of the insect hatches that affect Walleye fishing have run their course and baitfish are once again the main target of hungry Walleyes. That means that Walleyes will be getting more active on the weedlines, rocks or shoreline flats. Contrary to popular opinion, what makes Walleye fishing sluggish in late summer isnít that theyíre not feeding, but rather that they are feeding so heavily that it gets harder to interest them in our baits. Over the next few weeks, weíll need to use faster, flashier presentations to get their attention. Trolling with spinners, crankbaits and jig/spinners like the Beetle Spin will produce better results than using the slower traditional Lindy rig or jig/minnow combinations.

    Even though there will continue to be fish in deep water for several weeks to come, the emphasis on shallow water, shoreline related areas will become increasingly more reliable. The dependence on wind to produce better feeding opportunities will also be evident. Donít miss an opportunity to fish on breezy days right now. Walleye feeding periods are based more on opportunity than on the time of day. A good drifting wind will perk up the bite in the shallows. One good way to start your search is to troll the shallow weedline with small, fast moving crankbaits. Salmoís, Shad Raps, Husky Jerks and RattleTraps are all good. Experiment with colors and mix up the assortment until you find a combination you like. Once youíve covered enough ground, youíll find some areas that have better groups of fish. Now concentrate on those areas with live bait spinners or the Beetle spins to fish them more thoroughly.

    Devoted Musky and Pike anglers already know whatís coming, but in case you havenít heard, the full moon of August is upon us. If the weather remains stable, this full moon period is one of the best opportunities of the season to fish for larger Pike and Muskies. Go ahead and laugh if you want to, but anyone who devotes some time casting or trolling the "big baits" this weekend and early next week is going to have a better than average chance of catching that trophy. This is my favorite time of the season for big fish and in years past, weíve had lots of really great fishing days during this period. Donít mess around! Use the big stuff giant Red Eyes, Daredevils, Musky size tandem Bucktails, crankbaits or my favorite, big wood jerk baits. Try it, youíll like it.

    Over the past few weeks Iíve said so much about the Bluegill and Bass fishing that I canít think of much new to add. Even though weíre a little past the peaks of the hot Bluegill bite, theyíre still very, very active and catching a nice meal is no problem. They continue to inhabit the weed edges and small clear spots within the weed beds. Weíve had good action with the 1/16 ounce jig tipped with a small piece of worm. For larger Bluegills and to improve the odds of catching Walleye and Bass, try using a conventional live bait rig with a large leech. For some reason this bait is really turning them on right now and weíve had some really great mixed bags by using this approach.

    Perch fishing on the rocks, gravel and mid depth flats is also holding up well. Weíve had to do more scouting than usually to find the better schools of fish. But the average size has been great when we find them. I think trolling a spinner/minnow combination is the best way to locate a school. Once you have them pinned down, switch to a jig & minnow and fish vertically, hovering above the school.

Walleye Cam Sundin 7-29-06


Northern Pike Jared Sundin 7-29-06


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UPNORTH Fishing Report 8-1-2006 Jason Green


Giant Walleye!
This 11 lbs 6oz. 32" Walleye Was Caught Just Before
Dark While Rigging With A Crawler

What a great week on the water but boy is it hot!  Unfortunately it doesn't look like it will change much for the next few days.  Daytime highs have been in the upper 80s to low 90s making for uncomfortable outings.  With the unbearable heat, recently we haven't been hitting the water until 5:00-5:30pm.

The walleye weed bite is still been pretty descent pulling a roach rig with a crawler or leech.  It seems every day they are looking for something different.  With starting our days later the shoreline weeds have been more productive then the deep water cabbage.

While looking for Walleye this past week we have run into a few incredible pan fish bites.  These same shoreline weeds have been holding good numbers of larger

Bluegills and Sunfish.  Once these schools are located we put away the rigs and dig out the slip bobbers with a piece of crawler or medium sized leech.  The problem with the crawler is the small ones can rip it away. At the same time we have been running into some nice sized Perch.  It seems lately the smaller pesky ones have been holding in the shallows but there are plenty of 10 + inchers in the deep cabbage.  Once these schools are located we have been switching to small 1/16oz. jig tipped with a minnow or Northland's (Slurpie) Silver Shiner Pan Fish Tube.  The Salted and Spiced plastic is much more durable allowing you to fish longer instead of constantly keeping your hand in the minnow bucket.


Jumbo Perch
Perch Are Showing Up Again In The Deep Weed Lines.
This 14 Incher Was Caught Rigging With A Leech While
Looking For Walleye

See You On The Water!


July 2006

Another Hot Week, More Hot Bass and Panfish Action - Jeff Sundin 7-29-06

    What a week! The heat keeps on coming and surface water temperatures in the Itasca area are firmly established in the upper 70ís and even into the low 80 degree range on a few of the darker water lakes. Even though the heat has worked to slow down the Walleye action in many of the areaís better lakes, fishing opportunities for Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Panfish and Muskies is probably as good as it can get!

    Bluegill lakes all around the Grand Rapids area continue to produce both quantity and quality fish. I expect that as long as the water temperatures remain warm and the weather stays relatively stable, these scrappy fish will continue to bite. Weíve had a great time with them this week and discovered that every lake has had a little different twist when it comes to choosing the best baits and presentations. On a few of the lakes where both Bluegills and Walleye are present, my favorite approach has been to use live bait rigs tipped with large Leeches on the deeper weed edges. The larger leeches are attractive to the best Sunfish and itís really helped to cut down on the little fish. Keep on rigging those weed edges and itís just a matter of time before youíll find a school of Walleyes to keep the trip interesting.

    Bluegill lakes that donít have great deep water weed edges force us to get up into the heavier weed cover. Then I switch the fishing style over to a small 1/16-ounce jig head tipped with a cut piece of night crawler, small worm or leech. Thereís a little searching to do before we find the better schools of ĎGills, but if we move slowly through the weed beds and fish vertically, weíll find pockets or clear spots in the weeds. These small harder bottom areas have been the best spots for better schools of fish and itís been well worth the search. More than once this week, weíve been able to locate fish using the live bait and then switch to small plastic baits. My favorites this week has been a small plastic crawfish and tiny 2-inch plastic worm fished on a 1/16-ounce jig head.

    Bass fishing for both Largemouth and Smallmouth canít get any better than itís been. With the warm water, the Largemouth Bass seem to have gone on a full time feeding frenzy and if Iíve ever seen better action, I canít remember when it happened. The deep weed patterns are always my favorite and thatís been the key to success throughout the last month. I always like a six inch plastic worm fished on a jig head, this summer Iíve come up with a new twist on the jig heads that really works great. The lightweight "slow fall" jigs (by Jigs Ďn Ď Rigs) are Non Toxic and weigh about half of what the standard lead heads used to weigh. So now you can fish a larger hook and bulkier profile bait without plowing to the bottom. My favorite has been a six-inch Lizard on a "slow fall" jig with a 1/0 hook. The Bass are really tearing up that combination.

    Smallmouth Bass have been just as active, but deeper points containing rock, gravel or clam beds have been better producers. Fishing deeper structure has been better with live bait rigs tipped with Jumbo Leeches or lively minnows leading the way. A six-inch Creek Chubb or even an extra large Golden Shiner on a live bait rig really gets their attention. Try not to feed line, just let them snuggle up a bit and then set the hook. Waiting too long will result in fish swallowing the bait. Then you run the risk of damaging the fish before you can release it. Early and late in the day, Smallmouth can be caught too by casting a jig worm combination up onto the shallow flats adjacent to these deeper points. Work the bait down the drop with a twitching motion and hold on to the rod!

    The better Walleye fishing action has become centered around Weedline and shallow structure on a lot of the areaís better known lakes. But there are some exceptions and one tip Iíll pass along is to look for opportunities on some of the deep water, clear lakes that have decent Walleye populations. You know the ones, lakes with a reputation for being "night lakes" or known as tough to fish. At a time when the best Walleye lakes have been fished hard, there are several lakes that receive much less pressure and donít really turn on until the water gets warm. You might have to stay out and fish the evening bite on these clear water lakes, but the best fishing of the season is happening now while the water temperatures are keep those fish active. Deeper points and main lake humps in the 20 to 40 foot ranges are the best daytime or early evening locations. Youíll find that itís fairly easy to see fish on your electronics, rigging with leeches or vertical jigging has been the best way to go. Iíve tried rigging with crawlers, but between the Sunfish and small Perch, itís awful hard to keep a crawler intact long enough to attract a Walleye.

    On the more traditional Walleye lakes in the area, there are enough fish going on the "crankbait bite" to make it worth taking a look at. Fish the outside edges of the weedline with a number 5 Shad Rap, Husky Jerk or RattleTrap. I like to keep my speed around 2.5 MPH or so. Sometimes a bit faster or slower, depending on the depth and weed cover. Fishing the same weedlines with live bait rigs and spinners will also produce some fish right now, particularly if you get a decent drifting wind.

    Perch fishing has greatly improved especially on Big Winnie and weíve had some great catches of the true mid summer jumbos and even magnums this week. Itís been slow to come this year, but the deeper fish are showing up on not only the mid depth flats, but on the lakes deeper bars and humps. At times weíve had to work an area fairly hard to get them started, with the first few fish coming in slow and sluggish. But once we get the ball rolling, the bite keeps picking up as fish in the area jump on the bandwagon. Itís been fun to watch the screen on my Lowrance fill up with fish as they gather around some of these deeper humps. I really like a simple jig head tipped with a minnow for catching these fish. Once you get a school started, fish vertically hovering about the fish or just barely moving around them. Usually youíll get an hour or so on the better spots. If the bite fizzles out, move on to greener pastures.

Smallmouth Bass Double, Jeff & Jeff


Walleye Bob Carlson 7-22-06


Bluegill, Betty Hanus 7-23-06


Northern Pike, Jeff Sundin 7-12-06

    With early signs of a summer fish kill looming, Tulibees, Suckers and other cool water fish have moved onto the shallower mid depth flats. Larger Pike and Musky have started following their preferred baitfish into the shallows and action has started picking up. Reports of several Muskies caught this week on Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux tend to make me think that weíre on the verge of my next happy time of summer, where casting for Pike and Muskies leads us into the fall bite.

Fishing Report 7-20-06 Hot Bluegill Action Right Now! - Jeff Sundin

    Grand Rapids, Deer River and the Itasca area have been blessed with several days of great summer weather and the fishing for Bluegills, Perch and Bass has really heated up. After a heat wave last weekend that threatened to make wimps out of even the toughest anglers in the region, a cool down delivered relief from the heat and sparked an enthusiastic response from the fish. For folks like me who enjoy the "action bite", this is prime time to load up the family and get out on the lakes while the weather is perfect. The water temperatures are at or near the highest they will ever reach for the season. Some area lakes have surface temperatures well above 80 right now and even the coolest waters are consistently showing temps in the mid to high 70 degree range.

    Bluegills have been the highlight of the week as they are on what Iíd call a ravenous bite right now. These scrappy fish seem to be everywhere and Iíve seen lots of good quality size fish in the past several days. The size of the fish varies from lake to lake, so your own research and experience is going to dictate where you look for them. But, on virtually every lake Iíve been on, the pattern is the same. Look for the same structures you would fish for Walleyes like deep weedlines points, gravel/rock bars and sunken islands with weed cover on top. This has led to many mixed bag catches that included Walleye, Bluegills and Bass all on the same structures. The fish have been most active on the deepest edges of the cover, so weíve caught many of them on live bait rigs tipped with leeches while weíve been fishing for Walleyes. The larger the leeches, the larger the bluegills so stop at the bait shop and get a good supply. Once weíve located a school of better fish, weíve switched over to a 1/16-ounce jig and a small cut piece of worm or night crawler. This speeds up the action and reduces the number of fish injuries from deep hooking. I donít know how long this bite is going to last, but you owe it to yourself to pack up the kids and get out there this weekend.

    Walleye fishing is in the classic mid summer pattern right now. Theyíre biting really well at times, but with huge supplies of baitfish, insect larvae and other treats, the fishing has its ups and downs. One thing Iíve noticed this week is that the fish are in a slightly different location every day. Iíve had to coach myself to keep looking in new areas and Iíve had to forget about some of the "good spots I fished yesterday". I really think that thereís enough food in the lakes right now to keep the Walleyes satisfied 24 hours a day, so the best bet is to keep searching until you find yourself in the midst of a school that happens to be feeding now. Youíll find lots of fish on your Lowrance, but if you canít get the walleyes in that school to bite, move on to another spot. It might seem like a lot of work, but there is almost always a place where you can get them going if you keep after them.

    Once you find the Walleyes, the best baits are still Leeches and Night Crawlers fished on either a live bait rig with a five to six foot leader. Adding a spinner to the live bait rig is simple and it seems to be just the ticket at times when you find active fish. One thing to remember at this time of year, is that the warm water can really get the fish moving and itís possible to miss fishing opportunities by moving too slowly and using an aggressive approach like spinners or crankbaits moved quickly through a school of fish can sometimes trigger more hits than using the classic slow presentations we rely on most of the season.

    Weedline Bass action is at its best right now and like the Bluegill fishing, warm water has triggered a hot bite. Weíve had good action on a variety of soft plastic baits. A couple of great producers have been soft plastic Crawfish imitators and standard six-inch plastic worms. The fish have been plenty aggressive so the jig head with an exposed hook is perfect. Cast toward the weed edges, let the bait fall, give it a twitch or two and hold on!

    Perch fishing is finally getting into high gear and fish that have been absent for the past six weeks are showing up in good numbers on rocky/gravel flats, rock humps and on deeper open water humps and bars. There are an ample supply of keepers and even a few borderline "magnums" to sweeten the pot. Weíve caught quite a few Perch on Leeches while weíve fished for Walleyes, but switching over to a jig and minnow combination has been a better way to catch numbers of fish. There are enough reliable spots holding Perch now that the search for a good school wonít take long.

    Larger Northern Pike continue to use open water, but there are some early signs of movement back into the shallows. With increased Algae blooms, higher water temperatures and depleted Oxygen levels in main lake areas, habitat in the shallows starts slowly filling up. First the baitfish arrive, then the Pike and Musky. There are already some average size Northern Pike using the deeper and/or heavier weed edges and Iíd expect to see the numbers increasing during the next week or two. For now, fishing these weedlines with deeper running baits is your best bet. Jigs rigged up with a short piece of heavy mono leader are good and so are live bait rigs using a 1/0 hook tipped with a six to eight in Creek Chubb, Sucker or Redtail. In some of the better weed patches, anchoring and using a slip bobber, 1/0 hook and large minnow is also a good idea. Soon, weíll be into the casting season and big baits will work even better. But for now, stick with the live bait approach.

Bluegill 7-19-06 Vivian Straw


Walleye Heather Graves 7-13-06


Pete shows off another nice Sunfish!


Largemouth Bass, Larry Lashley 7-11-06




Fishing Report 7/12/06 Mid Summer Weed Patterns Are Reliable - Jeff Sundin

    Northern Minnesota summer weather patterns are squarely established with surface temperatures now ranging from 73 degrees to 76 degrees . During this mid summer, warm water period, itís common for our better Walleye fishing lakes to have a variety of patterns going on at the same time. Itís particularly true this year because our relatively warm and stable conditions have created perfect conditions for hatching insects and producing abundant young of the year minnow and game fish hatches. With all of this "food" in our area lakes, Walleyes, Perch and Panfish are finding it easy to chow down. To get in on the best summer fishing, we have to adjust our fishing style to the conditions and look for smaller groups of active fish, move frequently and use a variety of styles.

    Walleye fishing remains fairly good out on mid lake bars and humps, but on several of the areaís better known Walleye lakes, these fish have been heavily pursued by anglers. For the better part of a month now there have been folks fishing on the best spots and the fish have "wised up" to a lot of our tricks. Even though these mid lake bars, reefs and sunken islands will continue to produce fish, your timing will have to be good when it comes to being at the right spot at the right time. Make frequent moves and keep a sharp eye on your electronics. Weíve had a lot of instances where we find a group of fish, catch a few of them and then "spook" the school. Once the action slows down on a spot, I think itís best to fire up the engine and move on to another one. Occasionally, weíll locate a better group of fish that allows us to work a spot for a bit longer and we take advantage of that opportunity, but always be ready to move at the first sign of a slow down.

    A more reliable Walleye pattern right now has been to fish the shallow water weedline. With lots of good green weeds and an excellent supply of baitfish, these weedbeds are holding decent numbers of fish and the bite has been fairly predictable for the past week or so. Weíve had our best luck fishing with Leeches and Night Crawlers. There have been a few fish caught on jig and minnow as well, but Iíd classify that option as more of a mixed bag approach. If youíre interested in catching a bit of everything, the jig/minnow approach could be good. But if itís Walleye or bust, go with the leeches and yard bait. Fish as far into the weedline as you can get away with. If you have sparse weeds with lots of open spots and holes, donít be afraid to go right into the cover with your boat and fish slowly with your MinnKota. If the weeds are too heavy for that approach, fish as near the edge as possible and try to keep your baits within easy reach of the outside (or inside) edges of the weed growth. Water depth will vary from lake to lake because water clarity and bottom content will produce weeds at differing depths from one lake to the next. The best rule of thumb is to move your boat shallow until you find the heavier cover and then back out to edges. Once you find the depth where the weed edges occur, itís likely to be fairly uniform everywhere on your lake.

    Weedline action has also been improving for the Bass and panfish that we love to catch during mid summer. Weíve had some excellent mixed bag fishing on the deeper weed edges, especially where we can find rocks mixed with or adjacent to the weedline. Some of this rock/weed mixed structure will be holding 5 or 6 species of fish at the same time. On a recent trip we caught Smallmouth, Walleye, Pike, Largemouth, Crappie, Bluegill and Rock Bass all on the same spot. I really like to start fishing these areas with a jig and plastic worm. A simple 1/8-ounce jig and a black or purple 6-inch plastic worm will work great as a starter or "search bait". Once you figure out what kind of fish a weedline is holding you can refine your presentation to better suit the fish you locate. If you continue to catch Bass, stick with the soft plastics and experiment until you find ones you really like. If you find Crappies, you might want to switch to smaller jig/minnow or jig/soft plastic baits, Walleyes? Try fishing smaller jigs with night crawlers or leeches. You get the idea, match your bait to the fish and cash in on whatever opportunity presents itself.

    Perch fishing for me this summer has been hit or miss, with a lot more misses than hits. Even though there have been some fairly reliable spots on a small number of lakes, there is no real widespread action bite that I can report on. The best approach I can find is to fish the secondary drop off areas where shoreline flats meet with the deeper water of the main lake. In other words not the shallow drop off areas that youíd find in 5 to 8 feet, but the areas where water drops from 12 to 18, maybe a bit shallower or deeper depending on the lake youíre fishing. Cruising along this secondary drop off area with a spinner/minnow combination is a good way to find the Perch. When you find a better school, they will frequently be on a small patch of gravel or rock located on these flats. You can slow down and fish these areas with jig/minnow combinations as well.

    Larger Northern Pike continue to use open water where cooler temperatures and larger baitfish roam at or just above the lakeís thermocline. On several of the area lakes weíve been able to recognize this thermocline setting up at 22 to 26 feet deep and when you watch your Lowrance, you can actually see the line where deeper cold water meets with the warmer surface water and creates a "barrier" called a thermocline. Most baitfish and game fish will hold at or just above this barrier and these fish are what you see represented on your Lowrance. Not all of the Grand Rapids area lakes have a thermocline, but when you find the ones that do, you can troll deeper diving crankbaits over open water to catch some of these larger Pike. Walleye and Musky if theyíre present in your lake can also be caught with this open water trolling approach. A deep diving bait like the Salmo Perch or Deep Diving Shad Rap could be all you need. But if you find fish deeper than 20 feet, youíll probably need to add some weight. The simplest way to do this is by adding a snap weight, bell sinker or even the rubber core type sinkers to your line a few feet ahead of the crankbait. Experiment with weights and keep track of how much line you let out by counting how many rod lengths of line you have out. If you start getting serious about the deep trolling, you can buy reels that keep track of the line with a counter. But for starting out, counting the rod lengths will get you in the ballpark.

Smallmouth Bass, Elizabeth Reardon 7-8-06


Walleye, 7-5-06 Dale Etter


Walleye, BD Etter 7-5-06

    Weíve had some decent Crappie fishing this week and Iím optimistic about the prospects for the next week or two as well. Heavy cover is the secret during the day. On one Deer River area lake we found a nice school of Crappies using a heavy patch of coontail weeds mixed in a larger patch of Cabbage weeds for cover. On another, weíve found them among brush piles. In either case, weíve had to fish vertically (up and down) from an almost stationary position to catch them. If youíre fighting the wind, moving too fast or fishing too far above them, they will let you pass right on through without striking. Hold the boat still and get the bait in their face, then youíll start catching some. For faster action, fish these areas at twilight with a slip bobber. Crappies are notorious for that "evening run" along and above the deep weeds.

    Bluegills arenít too far from the same type of structures and to help catch more of them, switch to a jig with a cut piece of worm as bait. Fish closer to the bottom along the weed line and the Bluegills are active enough to find you. Once you locate a school, try moving in (shallower) and out until you fine-tune the location. Then stay close to that area and fish it thoroughly.


UPNORTH Fishing Report 7-12-2006 Jason Green

Weeds And Walleye

Walleye 7-10-06
Weeds And Walleye, The Perfect Combination

As the summer progression enters full swing water temperatures are consistently in the mid 70 degree range making for some great fishing.  The down side is fish are always on the move making each day different.

This past week we have been moving away from the deep humps and working our way back to the shoreline weeds.  The best bite the past couple of days has been from 10:00am till 2:00pm with another run in the evening as the day cools down.

During the mid day bite we have concentrated on deep cabbage.  Locating cabbage in 20' of water and seeing growth up to 16'.  When working the weeds we have been using a short Roach Rig tipped with a leech on most days.  A 1/16oz bullet sinker will allow you to work through the vegetation.

As the sun sets to the west we find ourselves moving shallower in roughly 10'-12' of water near the shorelines first main break.  The Roach Rig is still working well at this time but we have had to add some length roughly to 8' and tipped with a whole crawler.

This can be a great time of year!  You never know what you might find in the weeds so come prepared for every situation.  Good Luck!!!

Walleye 7-10-06 Jason Green

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