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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 29, 2022 "Minnesota Fishing Updates, Countdown To Walleye Opener"

image of open water at the shoreline on Sturgeon Lake near Moose Lake MN After a week on the beach at South Carolina, I and the Hippie Chick made our way back up north on Thursday. Overall, the scenery hadn’t changed much while we were away, but there were a couple of developments that we could see.

For us, the most notable change was the decline in snow cover. We didn’t see any standing snow in ditches, or anywhere within view of the highway until we were north of Moose Lake. From there north, we did see an increasing number of snow drifts and standing piles of snow in low-lying areas. But fields, ditches and open areas were pretty much snow-free all the way back to Grand Rapids.

The water level in all the rivers and streams was high, many were flooded into the woods adjacent to main river channels. The current flow was strong in all the streams and rivers we saw, but frankly, based on some of the social media accounts I’d seen throughout the week, I expected to see even more water and stronger currents than we did.

Ice cover on many of the lakes had obviously declined, but the ice vs no-ice delineation hadn’t moved too far north from what we observed on our way south last week. On April 21, I wrote that we spied open water lakes in the Pine City region. Yesterday, all the lakes we spied were ice-free until we reached Moose Lake. Sturgeon Lake, pictured, had a band of open water that spanned about 50 yards out from the shoreline. From there on, every lake we saw had similar swaths of open water along shore, albeit declining in width as we moved north.

The walleye fishing opener, now only a couple of weeks away, is far from threatened. There are already lots of good walleye fishing lakes open and there will be many more opening up before May 14th. That said, there will still be ice floating around in some of the most popular fishing opener destinations too. I’ve seen a couple of videos posted by Jens Heig at Bowen Lodge on Lake Winnibigoshish. In the most recent one, Jens reports ice thickness of about 23 inches on Bowen’s Flats, out front of the resort.

image of water levels at Williams Narrows on Cutfoot Sioux via the live webcams located at William's Narrows Resort At Williams Narrows Resort, the accompanying Live Web Cam images reveal a swath of open water extending a short distance into the First River, through the narrows and slightly into the main lake. Up at the at the Mosomo Landing, there’s open water flowing under the bridge and into the bay by Cutfoot Sioux Inn. On the west side, Mississippi River water is flowing fast into Winnie and shoreline areas are dissolving rapidly, access to the lake has been cut off.

So today, there is already more open water than there was on the actual fishing opener back in 2013. So, if you’ve heard folks making a comparison between this year’s opener and that one, rest assured that no matter how ominous the images of ice on the main lake look today, there will still be a lot more open water for the upcoming 2022 opener than there was back in 2013.

The late ice out will certainly affect the walleye spawning run into Little Cutfoot Sioux. But I won’t comment on that until I’ve had a chance to touch base with the DNR Fisheries Staff about how they plan to handle the situation this year. Further south, the walleye spawning run at xxx, near Brainerd, may offer a better opportunity for folks who love to view the walleye eggs being stripped and fertilized, then shipped off to the Brainer Hatchery. I visited that operation myself a few years back, you can follow this link for more information including a map and how to contact Brainerd Area Fisheries.

Now that I’m home, and entering the final countdown to the fishing opener, there will be plenty more observations, assessments and guidance about preparing for the fishing opener, so stay tuned. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 21, 2022 "Minnesota Fishing Updates, Countdown To Walleye Opener"

"It’s an odd sensation to be talking about folks fishing on open water in the southern half of Minnesota while at the same time, folks in north central Minnesota are drilling through 2 feet of ice, but that’s what’s happening.

On our drive to Minneapolis on Tuesday, I and the Hippie Chick began noticing open water someplace in the Pine City neighborhood. We don’t get to see a lot of lakes travelling along Hwy 35, but of the of the ones we did see, pickup trucks and boat trailers were parked at many of the landings.

Anywhere north of that, it was hard to tell that the arrival of spring was even close. There were still folks ice fishing on a few lakes, but mostly, we saw nothing but miles of desolate looking ice cover.

There's no way to know how thick the ice was on some of those lakes, bu I do know that in the Grand Rapids region, I’ve measure ice thicknesses between 20 and 26 inches as late as last Thursday. On Lake Winnie, Jens Heig reported 26 inches somewhere near Bowen Lodge on Wednesday, 4-20-2022.

Regarding ice conditions evben further north, Steve Brousseau, from Arrowhead Outdoors in the Ely area wrote, “This has become a common question for both anglers looking to fish late ice crappies and anglers looking to fish walleye opener this year. Ice thickness currently ranges from 27” to as much as 37”. Current areas are very slowly starting to open up, but other than that there is very little signs of ice out coming anytime soon.”

Brousseau (pictured) has still been ice fishing himself and added this, “Late ice crappie fishing slowed this last week as colder than normal temps and several fronts brought several more inches of snow to the area. Crappies continue to only be found in small groups of 3 or 4 crappies and they seem to be on the move. 20 feet of water and around the edges of deeper holes has been the place to be if you’re going to find them. Anglers have been marking crappies close to the bottom and catching them with soft plastics, waxies or crappie minnows, tipped on a small tungsten jig.” — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

As you may expect, the late ice out has caught the attention of MN DNR fisheries staff. They have begun announcing closures of fishing in certain walleye spawning areas on many of Minnesota better walleye lakes. In a news release, DNR says, “To protect spawning fish, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has begun to close certain portions of some Minnesota waters. The closings are routine and based on local conditions.

Closings occur each year as ice-out begins and waters begin to warm. The DNR closes the spawning locations to fishing only where habitat is limited and fish are very concentrated in one location, such as a river or the bay of a lake where fish are congregated during spawning.

Areas closed to fishing are listed and updated on the DNR website ( Portions of waters closed to fishing also are posted at access sites and in other visible areas. Anglers may fish in areas that are not posted.”

For anglers in the north central region, the late ice out may be a blessing. If all the snow and ice had melted “on schedule”, then we might be talking about flood stage water in some areas. That’s right, after spending the last half of the 2021 open water season wringing our hands about drought conditions, streams, and small rivers, even the open portions of the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids, are high now. Lakes in the region when they do open will have a lot of water in them as well.

Not long ago, I wrote that anglers further south in Minnesota have yet to receive relief from the drought. From what I can see that that’s changed since then. Except for rivers that receive water from the north, low water conditions appear to persist for land-locked lakes in the southern half of the state. Conditions change fast and often at this time of year, so we’ll be watching and posting updates, when available.

Ordinarily, this would be the time for updates about walleye spawning from one of the state’s DNR walleye egg take operations. With only 22 days remaining before the opener May 14, 2022, walleye fishing opener, I may not spy any spawning walleyes this spring. That is, unless we see a re-run of what occurred during the 2013 fishing season. If you were out there, then you’ll likely recall floating amongst the ice chunks, reeling in 1 walleye while 3 or 4 others chased behind it.

I never thought I’d see that situation again in Minnesota, but it is beginning to look like it could happen again this year. There’s a part of me that hopes it does, we learned a lot that spring and it would be fun to put my knowledge to good use again. If it does happen, I’ll be sharing some tips about what to do and where to do it, so stand by. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "5 Common Bass Fishing Weights and How to Use Them"

image links to article about rigging and using popular bass fishing weights"Once upon a time, there were just a couple options when it came to weights for bass fishing; a simple lead bullet weight and maybe a little split shot. Over time, however, technique-specific weights were added as new ways were invented to target bass. Those weights then evolved, time and time again.

New materials like denser tungsten were tested and tried to replace the older, softer lead and in many cases they did. Then there were paint jobs applied to some and an ever-increasing number of sizes of weights added option after option after option. Now, there are dozens of different style weights, each in roughly a dozen sizes and a handful of colors. In other words, there’s a lot to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming.

Today, we’re going to ..." Learn More >> 5 Common Bass Fishing Weights and How to Use Them

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 14, 2022 "Soggy But Gratifying End To My Ice Fishing Season"

image of Steve Kusske holding big perch on ice fishing trip Well, it happened, my ice fishing season came to an end on Wednesday and for I and my buddy Steve Kusske (pictured), the end was a soggy one! The rain that was predicted to stop at mid-morning did not. The wet and humid conditions didn’t make finishing up my photography project any simpler, but luckily, we caught enough fish and had enough dry towels on hand to get the job done.

The soaking rain that began late on Tuesday and lasted throughout the night knocked the snow cover down to nothing. Despite the added water, ice conditions had not changed much over the past few days. My K-Drill had about 8 inches of free play left when it plunged through the ice and found water. I guess that works out to ice thickness of about 26 inches, give or take.

Ironically, I planned the last trip of the season for Wednesday because to the rain and snow that was supposed to arrive today. Now it’s 27 degrees outside my door, there is no wind, and the surface of my driveway is bone-dry. If I’d known that, I might have paid my taxes and shuffled my papers yesterday and fished today, in drier conditions instead. No matter, yesterday’s trip is water under the bridge for me, literally. But if you had in mind making one last trip onto the ice this weekend, ice conditions up here in the Itasca Region will remain favorable.

One thing that could complicate your plans though is the availability of live bait. With today’s closure of the walleye fishing season on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River, many bait shops that were already trimming back on open hours will be transitioning into a semi-shut-down mode between now the open water fishing season.

Bait stores that do remain open, have limited supplies. For example, I knew Tuesday evening that we’d need minnows for our tip on Wednesday. Knowing too that every bait shop between me and Kusske’s house would be closed, I drove down to the L&M Store in Grand Rapids. In their bait tank, I spied a few fatheads still swimming and watched the attendant chase them down one by one to get me a half scoop. So, don’t make any assumptions about getting minnows on short notice this weekend, be sure that you plan and get them now, wherever you can.

The only other complicating factor will be ice conditions at the landings. Some of them are in fabulous condition, others are deteriorating. Use your imagination about some of the landings at lakes you like to fish. Popular spots that received heavy traffic this winter are liable to be trouble. Off-beat landings, especially ones that are not located close to flowing streams or rivers will offer better odds.

Anglers in southern Minnesota might have different plans this weekend. Lakes that lie south of the metro region are either already open, or in the process of opening soon. I expect that the appeal of getting boats onto the water will attract some, if not a lot of folks prior to the Easter celebration on Sunday.

Even though we’ll soon be “between seasons”, there’s always something to report about. But I do anticipate that reports will be more sporadic for a while as I and the Hippie Chick find excuses to relax before the ship hits the sand prior to the walleye fishing opener on May 14, 2022. That’s right, only 30 days between now and fishing opener, the countdown has begun.

Travis Verdegan contributes from time to time and emailed yesterday, with this. “Hey Jeff, I’ve been watching your prognostications on ice conditions with interest over the last month and lately I’ve been contemplating the potential of some intrepid souls’ ice fishing on the opener this year. Looks like if you want to start placing bets you might have some data to base it on. I came across this link that provides information about both ice-out and ice-in here on the >> Minnesota State Climate Office Website

I see they appreciate citizen reporting and have similar info on ice in. Maybe an opportunity for you to put some extra meaning into those drives you seem to like to take when you’re waiting for a switch from one season to another?

I’ve been able to take advantage of the extra ice time this year, but don’t have much in the way of observations that you haven’t already captured.  Unlike you, I tend to have to focus my time where I can get it and that often means fishing after work and staying after dark.  I’ve had mixed results with that, from catching a limit of crappies shortly after dark to spending the night on the ice and not catching a fish till sunrise.
Things look good for me this weekend, depending on rain and snow this week, but at some point, I need to focus on some projects around home and fixing up a few things on the boat.”

A) Travis, thank you for the heads up about the climate office, I’m sure folks will find this to be an asset, I know that I will. Thanks too for not gloating about my failed prediction for this season’s open water date in the northland. As you likely read last week; I’ve already long given up on my April 27th prediction for ice out on the South end of Leech Lake. I can’t imagine any short-term weather scenario that could lead to that conclusion. Usually, I get close, but this year, Mother Nature simply never moved a single step in the direction I anticipated.

Thanks to everyone who followed along during the long, cold, and snowy winter. In terms of getting my work done, this one will go down in the captain’s log as one of the toughest winters ever.  

That said, there was a silver lining, with all the time I spent hole up, watching the wind whip by, I feel more relaxed than usual. I’m a lot more caught up than usual, there are a lot more papers in the out box, than the in box right now and the new boat is already parked safely in the garage. By the time our lakes open, I’ll be chomping at the bit to get out on the water!

Finally, one of the coolest things about the past few days has been the opportunity to make some new friends. As we’ve been ice fishing, there are lots of Bald Eagles flying in from down south and they have been very sociable. For most of the past few days, there have been at least one, sometimes several, within range for some decent photographs.

OH, and by the way, if you’ve ever worried about seeing a dead fish, frozen into the ice during winter, don’t worry any more.

These amazing birds are conducting a full-scale yard clean up on the ice and doing it very effectively. If you have one minute to spare, watch the short video for a great idea about how to dispose of your unused live bait.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, I hope you can spend part of it outside. Good Luck! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "5 Common Bass Fishing Weights and How to Use Them"

image links to article about rigging and using popular bass fishing weights"Once upon a time, there were just a couple options when it came to weights for bass fishing; a simple lead bullet weight and maybe a little split shot. Over time, however, technique-specific weights were added as new ways were invented to target bass. Those weights then evolved, time and time again.

New materials like denser tungsten were tested and tried to replace the older, softer lead and in many cases they did. Then there were paint jobs applied to some and an ever-increasing number of sizes of weights added option after option after option. Now, there are dozens of different style weights, each in roughly a dozen sizes and a handful of colors. In other words, there’s a lot to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming.

Today, we’re going to ..." Learn More >> 5 Common Bass Fishing Weights and How to Use Them

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 12, 2022 "Ice Fishing Update"

image of the hippie chick with big perch caught near grand rapids "Ice fishing traffic in my region is minimal now and appears to confirm that there aren’t a lot of folks left who are, or plan to do much more ice fishing this spring. I know that it’s getting late in the season and by now, a lot of folks read the fishing reports for entertainment, more so than for hard news about fishing. But for those few of you who would like some “hard news” about ice conditions and fishing, I do have some.

First though, let me share one of the more entertaining phone messages I’ve received recently, that seems like a good way to start today’s report.

Stating first that she and her husband had read a recent report about Bowstring Lake, Monica’s message goes on to say; “We’re placing bets on whether my husband is going to break through the ice if he goes up north to ice fish this weekend. I’m hoping that you can call back to clarify whether he’s gonna live or die”, she adds before leaving a phone number.

Just when I began wondering what I’m going to do with this one, Todd, her husband, picks up the phone and continues adding to the message. “Disregard the worried wife message,” he says. “She didn’t read the article all the way to the end. I’m going to fish a tiny lake for crappies and I’m not driving, I’ll be walking out.” After some very complimentary commentary, Todd let me off the hook of having to call back.

This goes down as one of the only messages I’ve ever received that presented a problem which solved itself before I had to do anything about it; Thank You! But let me say Todd, that my wife, Susan is a safety planner by profession and there is virtually no activity planned, discussed, or conceived, that does not first merit the exploration of all safety aspects in complete detail, so, I can relate!

Thanks to both of you for getting in touch and all joking about the cute phone message aside, I do have an observation. Todd, without knowing you, but reading into the tone and tenor of your message, I’m guessing that all banter aside, you feel the same way I do. I’ll bet that you’re feeling blessed and warmed beyond belief to know your wife cares enough about you to had made that phone call. And I’ll bet that like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way!

Last week I mentioned that I’d be attempting to make up for lost time in my photography schedule by ice fishing a lot. I have been out almost every day for the past week and have found ice conditions to be very good. The ice ranges in thickness from about 18 inches to 24 inches on some lakes. I noticed on Monday, that it was beginning to get more saturated with water, but it’s a long way from becoming a problem. In fact, the only limitation for anglers in our region is access to the lakes. Areas that have received high vehicle traffic and landings located where ice melting has created significant runoff are the only problem spots.

Every place I’ve gone, the fishing has been good too, crappies, sunfish and perch have all cooperated for me, and reports from others who are still ice fishing in the region are equally good.

We’ve noticed that panfish in the smaller lakes are avoiding the bottom of the water column. On Friday, we caught sunfish about 10 feet below the ice, over 16 feet of water. Crappies were somewhat deeper, but still suspended about 4 to 5 feet above the bottom. I caught them fishing at about 13 feet, over 18 feet of water.

The past 2 days, we’ve been perch fishing on Winnie and the action hasn’t been bad at all. I can’t say that they’ve been fast and furious, but the average size fish has been good. The average size ranges from 9 to 11 inches, but I’ve been able to catch a few jumbos, in the 12-inch range, in the mix as well.

Even though I made some headway on the photo shot list, I do still have some work to do. I’ll expand on details about the fishing in the next day or two, but this morning I’m looking at the forecast and feeling rushed. I need to try and beat the rain that’s predicted for later on, so I’m out the door." fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 7, 2022 "Predicting the Predict-Able, Or Not?"

image of grand rapids fishing guide jeff sundin holding big blugill caught near grand rapids mn I usually come close to guessing an ice out date for lakes in my region, but this year, I think my prediction is in trouble. You may have missed hearing my prediction on the KAXE Morning Show a few weeks back. But in it, I suggested that the main bay of Leech Lake, as viewed at the Whipholt public boat ramp, would be ice free by April 27, 2022. Considering that yesterday, I was still drilling holes through almost 2 feet of solid ice, 20 days until ice-out is looking less realistic all the time.

In some ways, late ice out works out to benefit anglers. In other ways, it’s not too good of a deal.

The good news is that there’s evidence suggesting that walleye spawning success may have actually improved in 2018 by the combination of late ice out, high water and quickly warming water temps as walleye fry began searching for food. And if you’re like me, and didn’t get enough ice fishing earlier this winter, the late meltdown is allowing extra time to squeeze in some last-minute ice fishing.

Some of the bad aspects include winter kill, which routinely occurs on some lakes. Obviously, an earlier ice out helps forestall that problem by getting freshly oxygenated water to the fish faster. An early ice out would benefit minnow trappers too, the warmer the water gets before the fishing opener, the better the odds of laying in good supplies of minnows, particularly Spottail shiners.

I’m not ready to declare any emergency, or start ringing my hands in worry, not yet. Mother Nature always seems to work things out, eventually and I’ll be keeping a close eye on how conditions progress, watch for that in future reports. Today, I can tell you that ice fishing can still be on your calendar for the weekend if you want it too.

link to Lindy Glow Spoon link to Lindy Tungsten Toad link to Lindy Quiver Spoon link to Lindy Frostee Spoon Travel conditions on the ice are good, we did receive a couple inches of wet snowfall during the wee hours yesterday, but that did not cause major trouble on the lakes. In fact it helped me, I was able to use my snowmobile because there was a fresh cushion at the boat ramp at the lake. On the ice, the slush was only a couple of inches deep and under it, the ice was hard and solid, travel on the ice was easy. The trouble for snowmobilers will occur at the landings, sooner or later, the run-off will degrade ice at the edges. Maybe today, possibly tomorrow, getting snowmobiles on and off the lakes will be more trouble that its worth.

ATV owners on the other hand, will have it made this weekend. Even if there are some puddles at the shoreline, the ice at the edges of most lakes is still sound. Overnight lows below freezing are predicted for the next several days, so mornings should offer easy travel. Low 40 degrees and sunshine are called for during afternoons, so the edges will deteriorate late in the days.

As far as fishing is concerned, I’d describe the action as on and off. On the lakes I’ve fished, small packs of panfish move through the edges of shallow flats at random intervals. One minute there are small sunfish under my ice-hole, the next minute there are large ones. Crappie, perch and as you can see by the photo, even the odd bass roam in and out of the territory.

Presentation has been a conundrum, the Glow Spoon that I caught that bass on was also used to pull in a couple of nice crappies yesterday. But some of the crappies liked the smaller Tungsten Toad better. The sunfish preferred spoons though, I caught a few of them using a Quiver Spoon, but I caught several using a Frostee Spoon. It seemed like every time I changed lures, I’d pick up a few fish and it appeared that none of them had a strong preference.

That’s good I think because it indicates that the fish are generally in a feeding mood. If there are slowdowns in the action, it can be blamed on the fish moving more often, not on a negative attitude. In fact, I didn’t figure it out right away, but getting set up along the break between a shallow, weedy flat and the lakes deeper water was all I really needed to do yesterday.

image of largemouth bass caught ice fishing using a Lindy Glow SpoonLike most anglers, I began by moving and drilling, trying to locate a “school” of fish. Every time I found some, I’d drop in a lure, catch a couple, and then watch them disappear. By about 9:30 AM, I just quit moving and set up the portable ice shelter. After that, I sat in the same spot until 2:30 PM, the whole time seeing one species of fish or another moving through.

The key depth for me was 14 feet, but that will change from lake-to-lake. It seemed that setting up on the high side of the break was best. At 16 feet, I caught small perch and tiny sunfish and at 13 feet, I caught more small perch and tiny sunfish. At 14 feet, I could see the predators moving through, so that’s where I stayed.

For me, the weekend won’t work out for fishing, but today and tomorrow definitely will. I’ve focused on crappies and sunfish lately. But now I must get serious about finding some perch, I’m anxious to make starlets out of a few of them. One more report tomorrow, then I’m taking a break to celebrate my granddaughter’s 1st birthday on Saturday, can't miss that! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Female High School Duo First to Win State Bass Fishing Championship"

image links to video review of Lund 1650 Rebel by mckeon Roberts"Not only did an all female high school bass fishing team win a high school bass fishing state championship but they backed it up with another win in Louisiana. And they are headed to the High School National Championship for the first time ever too. Oh and by the way they are only in the 8th and 9th grades. Look out boys!

Alexis Virgillito and Taylor Bacot fishing for Parkway High School made history by becoming the first all-girls team to win a high school fishing state championship. In addition, they are also the first all-girls team to win a North Louisiana High School state fishing tournament and the first all-girls team to win a Bass Federation (TBF) event in the nation as well.

Their first event on March 13, 2022 was the state championship at ..." Learn More >> Female High School Duo First to Win State Bass Fishing Championship

image links to fishrapper home page April 6, 2022 — "What's Up With Bowstring and How Thick Is The Ice?"

image of snowmobile and portable ice fishing shelter on the ice Q) "On April 5, 2022, Barry Bliven wrote; "Jeff, I was surprised to read your assesment that fishing was slow on Bowstring for you this week. We were up there a couple of weeks ago and we thought the fishing was really pretty good. Maybe you're just losing your touch?"

A) Well Barry, you never know, maybe I am losing my touch. Or maybe the answer is simpler than that, it’s more likely that I just gave up searching before I found a school of active fish. Or maybe your fishing party was in the right place at the right time.

During the meltdown that occurred a couple weeks ago, the reports about the fish being on a “hot bite” at Bowstring were all over the place. One friend of mine used the word “aggressive” when he described the fish he found up there. At the time, Bowstring wasn’t unique, reports of an uptick in fishing action were widespread, coming from large lakes and small ones alike.

During past fishing seasons, we’ve noticed that there’s an apparent correlation between flowing water and increasing fish movements during early spring. Anecdotal evidence isn’t easy to prove because of all the variables, but we’ve experienced fish “moving” toward areas where there’s fresh water. For the past week or more, the meltdown has been on pause, the surface of the ice became dry, and the water stopped flowing.

As it happens, I was talking with a friend who happens to be a DNR Biologist on the phone yesterday and asked him if there was a correlation between melting water and increased fish activity. “Well, fish do move toward fresh water, he said. But we don’t know that it’s food or feeding related. One explanation might be because fish sense better oxygen levels in the areas where drain water is entering the lake.”

Late winter, early spring commonly coincides with low oxygen levels, especially during winters when snow cover is heavy, like this winter. My relatively short search on Monday took place in all the spots where I’d been accustomed to catching fish in past seasons. If I was headed back up there today, I’d skip the deeper water and start my search over shallower flats near the lake’s flowages. Like I said, the theory isn’t easy to prove, but my guess is whenever I find more moving water, I’d find more active fish too.

Of course, there’s always a chance that I just didn’t figure out the right spot, fast enough. For all I know, there were other anglers on that lake at the same time who were having a great fishing day. Maybe if I’d tried just one more …

It won’t be long before we get a chance to test the theory again. We have a couple inches of fresh snow on the ground already and the forecast calls for more snow throughout the day today. I think there’s enough to cause another fairly robust melt, so it will be fun to see if the fish respond by getting more active when then it happens.

Another Question, this one from Chris Regas came via the comment section on Fishing Reports Minnesota Facebook Page on April 6, 2022

Q) How thick is the ice?

A) Chris, in case you missed seeing it, comments about ice thicknesses were also included with the Tuesday fishing report (link 04-05-2022). In summary, most lakes in the Grand Rapids region have 16 to 20 inches of solid ice, some have more. On Bowstring, I was able to drill holes using the K-Drill without an extension, but there wasn't much room to spare. Over the past couple of days, water is flowing in larger rivers and streams, flowage or necked-down areas and high traffic shoreline spots are beginning to open up. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism April 5, 2022

image of Candyce Sindelir with nice walleye caught on the Rainy River "Most of the ice roads are closed on the south end of Lake of the Woods. A few ice anglers are still venturing out with ATV's or snowmobiles, mostly in search of big pike. But travel with cautiion, ice conditions vary greatly and safety first has to be the consideration.

Pike activity increased for many this week and lots of pike over 40 inches were caught. Tip ups with a quick strike rig, live sucker, frozen smelt or cisco have been the most successful in 5 to 15 feet of water.

Walleye and sauger season remains open through April 14, 2022. The Northern Pike season remains open year round. Minnesota walleye fishing opener is May 14, 2022.

The Rainy River is open and anglers are now fishing open water walleyes on the Rainy River! The Nelson Park access in Birchdale, MN opened up this weekend and the Frontier Boat Ramp opened April 4, 20222.

Next boat ramp to the west is Vidas, which is near Clementson followed by Timber Mill Park which is in Baudette and finally Wheeler's Point at the mouth of the river adjacent to Four Mile Bay. Things are opening up quickly, so check back frequently for updates.

Fishing is good with both walleyes and sturgeon being caught. Good number of walleyes with some big fish. As water warms, more big females will make their way up the river. The water is still a bit cold for big females, but It should only get better. All walleye fishing is catch and release only on the river and Four Mile Bay through April 14, 2022.

Jigs and frozen shiners or live minnows or a jig with a plastic are the goto presentations. Slowly trolling crankbaits upstream can be effective to find big walleyes this time of year.

Lots of sturgeon being caught, mainly by unsuspecting walleye anglers. Sturgeon are active. Sturgeon season Oct 1, 2022 through April 23, 2022, Catch and Release only, no tag needed.

April 24 through May 7, 2022 anglers are allowed to harvest 1 fish (per calendar year). For harvest, sturgeon must either be between 45 to 50 inches inclusive, or over 75 inches in length. Harvested fish must be immediately tagged and registered within 48 hours. No tag needed for catch and release only. May 8 throiugh May 15, 2022, Catch and Release only, no tag needed. May 16 through June 30, 2022 Sturgeon fishing closed.

Up at the NW Angle, resorts have pulled fish houses off for the year. Some residents are still ice fishing with collapsible houses.

COVID testing requirements to drive through Canada were dropped as of April 1, 2022. Travelers still need to be vaccinated and use the ArriveCan App to enter.

There are various ways to travel to the Angle. Drive through Canada to the Angle • LOW Passenger Service (charter boat service across the lake staying in MN) • Lake Country Air (stays in MN, planes land on ice or water) • Take your own boat (Safety first, this is a 40 mile ride over big water)."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH"  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Snagging Your Fishing Lures

image links to video review of Lund 1650 Rebel by mckeon Roberts"Getting snagged is one of the most frustrating things about bass fishing; it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time, too. I’ll come up to the perfect laydown, see a beautiful casting lane where I just know a big one is laying, send my spinnerbait soaring perfectly through the branches above the water, land it in the sweet spot… only to hang a limb before I even reel the bait a foot.

It’s frustrating, yes. But getting hung up is part of it. And if you’re not getting snagged every now and then, you’re not likely throwing where the fish are. Fish often relate heavily to cover, so you have to throw close to that cover, which leads to some inevitable snags. But there are some ways to avoid getting hung and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

When it comes to a bass fishing lure, fresh ..." Learn More >> 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Snagging Your Fishing Lures

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 5, 2022 "Magical or Heavenly, How Can You Tell The Difference?"

image of the Hippie Chick holding big crappie caught ice fishing near grand rapids Surely, any angler whose spouse loves to tag along on ice fishing trips would have to consider themselves lucky, I know I do. But what if your spouse referred to a simple evening ice fishing trip as “magical”, how would you react to that? That’s what mine did and for me, that’s almost as much gratification as I can handle, I might even call that heavenly! Whether it was magical, or heavenly can be debated, but either way, it sure was fun.

The only bad thing about spending a few hours in heaven is that it makes you want to spend a few more hours there too. Now, the problem for me is trying to figure out a way to squeeze in another trip with the Hippie Chick before the ice melts.

She’s working every day this week, so I’m solo on the ice through Friday. Saturday is our first granddaughter’s birthday, so you can bet we won’t be fishing that day and on Sunday, we’ll probably be recovering from Saturday. So, that means Mother Nature would have to keep things frozen for almost 2 more weeks. Even if I was selfish enough to hope for that, I don’t think its likely that either of ice would willingly give up Easter weekend for ice fishing, especially if all the kids are going to be in town. Hmm maybe she was right, maybe this was the grand finale’ of her ice fishing season?

For everybody else who has the time, lakes in the north central Minnesota region still have plenty of ice fishing to offer. On our Sunday trip, there was at least 20 inches of solid ice and the snow cover on top of that was minimal. A light layer of slushy snow provided some cooling water for the snowmobile, but just barely. It did snow Sunday evening, but that only amounted to an inch or so and most of that melted already.

As you can see in the photo, Mrs. Sundin caught some beautiful crappies, but the presentation was a departure from her typical one. For reasons known only to the fish, her favorite lures were failing to activate strikes from the lethargic fish. For most of the afternoon, they would rise to the lures, stop, and then slowly drift away. When I rigged up a Tungsten Toad and tipped it with a single waxworm, things changed. She still had a lot of lookers, but now she could entice some of the fish into striking and on this day, the difference was huge.

When she’s catching fish, I usually get too busy to be effective, but I tried to be the “control group” by using a larger lure tipped with 3 waxworms. I caught fish, but ironically, they were almost all small in comparison to the ones Susan was catching. Big bait, little fish? That’s not the typical scenario for me, but it goes to show why experimentation is required, even when we think that we know what we’re doing.

The fish we caught on Sunday were in water depths of 13 to 15 feet, actively roaming the flats. I can’t think of any time during the afternoon when one of us wasn’t seeing some on our graphs. Some of them, perch in the 8-to-9-inch range did strike my Rattl’n Quiver Spoon and that’s what encouraged me to keep using it. If I would have tried the tiny Tungsten Toad sooner, I may have picked up more of the crappies.

On Monday, I was hoping to get some photos, so I headed to Bowstring for the early bite. I arrived at the south landing at about 6:45 and was on the ice by 7:15 AM. There was a little more ice there than what we found in Grand Rapids on Sunday. There was 2 or 3 inches of semi-hard snow, better for the snowmobile, but not enough to be a problem for ATVs without tracks. The ice was thicker on Bowstring too, I was able to punch holes using my K-Drill without an extension, but just barely.

As it turned out, travel conditions were a lot better than the fishing. I caught one nice crappie, one keeper perch and got my favorite Tungsten Toad bit off by a pike. There were a bunch of tiny perch on the bottom, but even they were not very active, biting only occasionally.

I didn’t get my photos on Bowstring but in a way, that slow morning of fishing did me a favor. Now I don’t have to worry about mucking my way into the landing using that long muddy road. By noon yesterday, it was getting soft, gooey, and rutted. I’m sure that folks will keep using it for a while, but the more traffic it sees, the less fun that road will become.

Today, I'm still playing catchup and hoping to get some photos before I run out of time. I may be able to make another trip or two on the snowmobile. But if the warm weather keeps coming, I'll be hoofing it before long.

I respect folks who like to keep their fishing spots secret. That's why I don't usually ask for a lot of help, but since we're running out of time, I'll throw this out there. If you have a little fishing spot tucked away, and have a bit of free time and want to get your picture taken with some pretty fish, reach out. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 3, 2022 "Ice Conditions Good, Birchdale Ramp Open"

image of men chopping and cutting ice away from the boat ramp at Birchdale on the Rainy 
RiverWhether you prefer ice fishing or would choose to fish open water in your boat, there are more options every day.

Traffic was brisk at the Birchdale landing at the Rainy River on Saturday. Volunteers worked hard throughout the day, chipping, sawing, and chiseling at the sheet of ice until anglers with larger boats could launch them safely.

Sometime shortly after dark, Kevin Hinrich wrote, “Thought I better let everyone know that the mighty ice chippers were successful and have cleared a path for all boats to walleye heaven!!  May you now be Birchdale bound in full confidence!! It was a scene of true grit at the landing today!! Let the games begin! For those about to fish, we salute you! I'll see you on the water! The Dutchman signing out!

With all the traffic on the river, I expected to see a flood of walleye pictures this morning, but so far, haven’t seen hardly any. I’m sure that will change soon, but if you were fishing the river this weekend and you’d like to accelerate the process, shoot us over an image and we’ll add it to the reports on Monday morning.

As anxious as I am for open water, I still can’t let go of the ice fishing season. There are still lots of lakes that have great ice conditions in north central Minnesota and wherever folks are fishing, they are catching fish. Friends of mine were fishing Winnie for Tullibees on Saturday and as the photo shows, had a good time doing it. Perch anglers are doing well on both Leech Lake and on Pike Bay. Panfish anglers are doing well on small lakes in the Itasca Region too.

Ice conditions vary from lake-to-lake but reports from almost everywhere are good. There’s a little bit of soft, slushy snow on top of the ice. Under that, 12 to 16 inches of hard ice and under that, 4 to 8 inches of softer, water-soaked ice. Travel by snowmobile is still a viable option, but ATVs are all you’ll really need right now. Narrow areas, small rivers or creeks and "high-traffic" shoreline areas are opening up. So, those areas are the exceptions that will limit access to certain areas and on certain lakes.

Later today, the Hippie Chick is going to come fishing with me, so I’ll be taking the snowmobile. I don’t have a 4-Wheeler, so it’s my only choice for longer trips. But for the rest of the week, I’m planning to walk instead, which forces me to stick with smaller lakes, but I just like it better that way. I'm fairly confident that conditions should hold up for another week, but we do have warmer weather predicted. By next weekend, there are liable to be more problem areas and I'll do my best to let you know about them. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 2, 2022 "Rainy River; Birchdale Close To Open, Don't Get Over Excited"

On the Rainy River, the image of an opened boat ramp at Birchdale got a lot of attention on Friday. But Kevin Hinrichs of Royal Dutchman Resort cautioned against showing up with large, deep draft boats this weekend. From the original "social media" post, Hinrichs said, "Not yet sure how launch-able (the Birchdale Ramp) is, I plan to go launch my boat right after The Duchess get her fishing license! Stay tuned!"

In an update, Hinrichs mentions that he did manage to get his boat on the river, but even though the launch ramp itself has been plowed up, there remains an underlying sheet of ice below the water’s surface. Small boats should be fine going in the morning (Saturday 4-2-22) but anglers with fiberglass rigs, or bunk trailers are liable to encounter difficulty.

As of Friday evening, the ramp at Frontier was not open. But water is flowing now, and the circumstances will be changing rapidly. It shouldn't be long before warming water, current flow and traffic on the river combine to accelerate the breakup. I don't plan on adding to the traffic jam myself, but I'll be lurking, and will share news as it becomes available. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 1, 2022 "Say Good Bye To Winter, Hello to "Trooper Stickler!" You're never going to believe this one!

image links to fishing column by Jeff Sundin On my way home from the Twin Cities the other day, I was minding my own business, grooving on some tunes over the stereo when I noticed a trooper, running his flashing lights behind me.

I thought he was just going to pass me, but to my suprprise, he pulled me over. He approached my truck and asked for my license and insurance information. As I handed them over, a conversation began. “Nice truck, he said, is that one equipped with the 6.0 liter engine? Sure looks shiny, he added, did you just get it?” No, I said, in fact it’s actually an older model, but I have a friend who has a body shop in Grand Rapids and they just fixed it up for me and yes, it does have the 6.0 liter engine.”

Hoping to drill down to the reason for being puled over, I asked if there was a problem. I wondered if I was speeding, or if my headlights weren’t working, or if I’d committed some other safety violation. Nope, he said, as far as I could see, you were doing everything by the book. But, you just wait here while I run your license and I’ll be back shortly.

After a few minutes, the trooper returned to the window of my truck, handed me back my driver license AND to my amazement, slapped me with a big fat ticket for speeding. “HEY, wait a minute, if I wasn’t speeding, my paperwork is all in order and there are no equipment violations, then why am I getting a ticket?” I asked. How can you give me a ticket for a violation that I haven’t committed?

"Well, he said, we’re seeing a lot more and bigger, shinier trucks, on the highways these days. Ones like yours with big engines and high horsepower . Everybody knows that it’s just a matter of time before guys like you are going to violate something, so I’m giving you a pre-emptive citation. You should think of it as my way of saying …." >> See More

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin April 1, 2022 You're never going to believe this one! "Say Good Bye To Winter, Hello to "Trooper Stickler!"

I AM SOOOO Sorry for pulling that April Fool’s Day prank on Friday, but I just couldn’t help myself! Besides, approaching Friday's column with some humor was especially important to me because I'm hoping you'll accept my next words with an open mind and happy heart!

Folks who know me these days, know too that I do not take myself so seriously that I'd let my ego squelch my hunger for knowledge. I’ll admit that some days I do need to stuff it, my ego that is, in an empty cigar box for safe keeping while I go about my daily duties. That said, I am not shy about sharing my opinions, but you already knew that. No matter what though, I do not for a second believe I can force that opinion on you, or anybody else.

Over the past week or so, folks have been asking me for my opinion about a video that's floating around on the so-called "social" pages. The subject of the video, reducing Minnesota's Walleye POSSESION limit from 6 to 4 fish is one that has been covered, in my opinion, more than enough already. So, I really didn't want to write another article about it and to be fully truthful, I still don't. But in the spirit of serving my readers who are asking for my thoughts, I'll take one more spin around the block with it. After that, I leave it up to you and your state legislators to influence the final decision.

Since I wasn't born with enough knowledge to shoot from the hip like some folks can, I find that I need to study, a lot. I think that's part of my problem, I've been studying this subject too much and, in my writing, have tried to tackle the issue based on scientific facts.

The problem is supporters of reducing Minnesota’s walleye possession limit reduction aren’t concerning themselves with scientific data. They'll tell you that themselves, and have, many times. Everybody from the state fisheries manager on down has used the term “socially based regulation” when describing their heartfelt and emotional pleas to pass this legislation.

LogicThat’s where I’ve gone wrong, I’ve tried to combat an emotional appeal by using logical arguments. 

I don’t discount the value of an emotional appeal and that’s why today, I’m going to try using an emotional, “socially based” appeal of my own.

My story about Trooper Stickler giving me the “socially based” speeding ticket was obviously made up. The truth is that on Tuesday, I drove all the way home from Carver, and nobody ever bothered me about anything. BUT … when you think about it, the idea that something like this could happen is not farfetched at all. In fact, I fully expect to see numerous, real-life examples of people trying to control other people when I turn on the news later today.

I don’t need to know anything about any of the issues to understand this. Once something is taken away, it is rarely, if ever, given back. Once we get in the habit of passing "socially based" legal statutes, then the sky is the limit for activists and legislators who get hungry to pass more of them.

Today, they only want to take away 2 walleyes, but tomorrow, who knows? What if they decide to outlaw “Handy Man Services” who use the wrong brand of snow shovels, or refuse to hire schoolteachers who fish? What if the “socially based” pre-requisite for receiving a county pension is that you are not allowed to own a boat? What if you’re forced to pay triple taxes because you’re sponsored by a company who makes fishing electronics? What if anybody with a beard was forbidden from public speaking?

Preposterous, WHY?

The only thing you need to create any “socially based” legislation is an idea. If I can sell my idea to 2 people, and they can sell it to 4, who can in turn can sell it to 8, then I’ll have a full-scale, “social movement” in no time flat. That means that anybody can go after anybody, for any reason. It even means that after you're done going after me, I can go after you. And who knows what grand scheme I would come up with?

I’ve said dozens of times that if we truly need to establish new regulations, I will support them. Just let the trained scientists do their jobs and tell us what the regulations should be. In my opinion, which by the way, is just as “socially valid” as anybody elses, the last thing we need today is to start passing laws that don’t work tomorrow. All that will lead to is opening the flood gates for more people shooting from the hip to establish game and fish regulations.

Of course, maybe that’s you want, maybe you believe that officers like the fictional “Trooper Stickler” should be allowed to issue “socially based”, pre-emptive speeding tickets. If so, make your voice heard, be sure to let your legislative representatives know right away and maybe they can still jam that into the walleye rationing law.

So, there it is, I promised an emotional appeal and I’m done. But if by some chance, you’re not feeling fully up to speed and still interested in digging deeper into the facts, just follow the link for more information about the movement to Ration Minnesota Walleyes. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to mn dnr news release News Release March 30, 2022 "Mille Lacs Lake: One-fish walleye limit set for spring, fall fishing 2022/2023"

image of walleye statue at Garrison Minnesota "Mille Lacs Lake walleye anglers will have two potential opportunities for harvest during the 2022 open water season.

A one-fish limit will allow Mille Lacs anglers to harvest one walleye, 21 to 23 inches or one walleye longer than 28 inches from Saturday, May 14, 2022 through Monday, May 30, 2022.

(Catch and release fishing for walleye begins on May 31, 2022 and ends on June 30, 2022)

After a summer of catch-and-release fishing with an early July closure to reduce hooking mortality, the one-fish limit is expected to return on Thursday, September 1, 2022.

“We must continue to manage state harvest very carefully on Mille Lacs so we can provide as much angling opportunity as prudent while protecting the opportunities for the ..." Learn More >> Mille Lacs Lake: One-fish walleye limit set for spring, fall fishing 2022/2023