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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin November 23, 2021 "Ice Reports North Central Minnesota"

image of ice at Splithand Lake near Grand Rapids MN Remember these words?

“It appears that we might be headed for the classic hustle home from the (St. Paul) ice show and put on the ice-cleats scenario. If that happens, it will be the closest thing to a “normal” relationship between the fishing season and calendar that we’ll have seen all year long.”

I wrote that on November 17 and now, a week later, it looks like the so-called “normal” opening of Minnesota’s ice fishing season is nearly upon us.

Splithand Lake, the one you see pictured here, was ice covered on Monday afternoon. Most deeper water lakes in the Grand Rapids area were still open, but even there, shoreline ice was easy to find, and shallow, back-water bays were frozen over as well. Strong winds are keeping water open in many areas, but as soon as we have a couple of calm days, ice covered lakes will become easy to find.

I’d rather take a walk on some of the smaller, panfish lakes in the region. But any day now, I fully expect to begin seeing images from guys clambering to be in the early wave of walleye anglers on Upper Red Lake. Either way, breaking out the ice gear, test-firing your snow machines and organizing the tackle trays is a really good idea. The countdown to ice fishing has begun. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 23, 2021

image of ice formed around the docks at River Bend Resort on the Rainy River "By now, most anglers have put their boats away and are either hunting or looking ahead to the ice fishing season. But the few anglers who did get out this week, had good success on the open waters of the south end of Lake of the Woods.

Ice is starting to form but is not safe yet. As of the writing of this report, bays such as Four Mile Bay, Zippel Bay and Bostic Bay have varying thicknesses of ice. Ice guides are monitoring conditions daily and make the call when it is time.

The first houses out will be spear houses on back bays looking for pike. Some resorts offer spearing packages on Zippel Bay and Bostic Bay.

Please exercise safety and caution as ice thickens. Our resort and outfitter ice guides are on the ice daily checking thickness, avoiding springs, cracks, shifting ice, unclear and weak ice, etc.

In some cases, they are actually flooding the ice to thicken it quicker. The bottom line, we encourage you not to go off on your own but rather use ice guides and the marked trails they have created.

Ice has also started to form on the big waters of Big Traverse Bay which is a good sign. Cold temps, wind and snow can all affect progress.

Many LOW resorts / outfitters are providing ice reports on their Facebook pages this time of year.

The Rainy River is ice covered with pockets of open water. With the current of the river throughout the year, knowing when, where and where not to travel on the ice is a must.

Typically, later in December, a snowmobile trail will be staked from Baudette to Wheeler's Point offering travel on the river, Mother Nature dictating of course. When it opens, stay on the trail for safety.

Up at the NW Angle, Angle Inlet and various areas throughout the islands of the NW Angle are ice covered with random areas of open water as ice continues to form. Things are coming along nicely but are not ready yet.

Travel to and from the Angle via vehicle through the 40 miles of Canada is open. Must be vaccinated and have a negative PCR COVID Test. Plan ahead with testing or rapid tests are available in Baudette and soon in Warroad. Once at the Angle, no additional COVID testing is necessary for traveling back south from the Angle through Canada.

Want to avoid crossing the border? Snowmobilers can take the groomed and staked trail across the lake. Charter transport via bombardiers on the ice trail or flights over the lake landing on an ice runway are available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air this winter."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish November 23, 2021 "Evolution Outdoors Largemouth Double Decker Backpack Giveaway"

image links to Evolution Outdoors Largemouth Double Decker Backpack GiveawayWhether a bank angler or a co-angler, tackle storage is always an issue. Many have chosen to use a backpack to provide the ultimate in functionality plus not cluttering the boat with bags and loose tackle.

Evolution Outdoors put on their thinking caps and built the perfect carrier for everything you will need for a day of fishing. Made from durable denier polyester it comes complete with 3600 size boxes (3), gusseted zipper pockets, padded carrying straps, and an exterior EVA plier holster. It combines a great look with the Mossy Oak water camo pattern and durability to stand up to the toughest angler. It allows the angler to customize their selection and is tough enough to stand up to the wildest sticker bushes at your secret honey hole.

We will be giving 5 Wired2Fish followers a chance to own one of these killer backpacks, along with four 3600 waterproof tackle trays.
This Giveaway ends December 7th, so Learn More and Enter >> Evolution Outdoors Largemouth Double Decker Backpack Giveaway


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin November 17, 2021 "On Track For Normal Ice Season Opener?"

image of Jeff Sundin with nice buck deer bagged during the Minnesota Deer Hunting season. I wouldn’t have made this comment last week when the early deer season and our hunt for Mr. Big didn’t even require heavy jackets. But heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m beginning to think that Mother Nature plans to “normalize” the timing of our early winter weather pattern. The snowfall that began last Friday and lasted through the weekend is still laying in my yard and I’m starting to see small ponds and shallow bays ice over in the Grand Rapids area.

Without a crystal ball, it’s tricky to guess what will happen after next week. But if the current forecast plays out, we shouldn’t see more than a few hours’ worth of daytime high temperatures above freezing. Overnight temperatures in the low to middle teens would be enough to freeze some of the shallow lakes if we were to receive calm weather to go along with them. Unfortunately, the forecast includes breezy weather, I think that will work against any hope of an “early ice opener”.

Look at the calendar, we’re only 16 days away from December 3rd, 2021, the start of this year’s St. Paul Ice Show. From my perspective, it appears that we might be headed for the classic hustle home from the ice show and put on the ice-cleats scenario. If that happens, it will be the closest thing to a “normal” relationship between the fishing season and calendar that we’ll have seen all year long.

It wasn’t looking too good for me in the field late last week, hunting Wednesday through Friday, I hadn’t seen any deer that offered any opportunity for harvest. But as you can see by the accompanying photo, the late start to our deer hunting season late worked out okay for us this year. I was literally down to my last couple hours of hunting time last Saturday when Mr. “Sort of Big” came along. Luckily, he gave me a good angle and a few seconds to steady my aim before squeezing the trigger.

I’m excited for the ice fishing season, but at the same time, the hunting season only just started for me. I feel like I could use every day that the calendar can cough up for doing something in the field before the ice fishing season ramps up. So, there’s no telling where I’ll pop up over the next 2 weeks, pheasant hunting maybe, or muzzle loader deer season, maybe even squirrel hunting, who knows?

Ordinarily, I’d be chomping at the bit to stock up on ice fishing gear at the St. Paul Ice Show and I still will this year too. I doubt that I need to mention this to most of you but waiting until the ice show to stock up may not be wise this season. That’s because ice fishing gear is not exempt from all the crazy shortages and product backlogs that retailers are experiencing this year. They’re already talking about gaps in inventory and delayed shipments etc.

When I see the Lindy items that I’ll need this winter, I’m grabbing them right away. And if your tackle box has a few gaps and empty compartments, I’d get on the stick, and start stocking up too. If you don’t spot the Lindy items you need on store shelves, try using this link to my favortie fishing tackle retailer >> LURENET. Not only have they done a good job of getting tackle to me when I’ve needed it, but they're running an early ice season special discount. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 17, 2021

image of kid holding large sturgeon "On the south end... The fish are there, the anglers this time of year, not so much. Some are deer hunting, some have put their boats away and are getting the ice fishing gear ready. For those who have not winterized their boats, there are plenty of walleyes and saugers to be had.

Those who hit the water this week were rewarded. Schools of walleyes and saugers are set up along the south shore and are active. Anchored up and jigging with a fathead or emerald shiner is the most common method of fishing.

Most anglers report good fishing in 17-27 feet of water. Gold, pink and glow continue to be hot colors in the stained waters of LOW.

Pike, jumbo perch, sturgeon, crappies and eelpout are also being caught by walleye anglers.

Looking forward to ice fishing!

On the Rainy River... A great week of fishing on the Rainy River with good numbers of walleyes. Most are jigging with emerald shiners. Gold, glow and pink, gold / orange have been strong colors.

Sturgeon are still being caught, many by unsuspecting walleye anglers jigging with minnows.

Up at the NW Angle... Back harbors and bays are just starting to ice up. For the few anglers out fishing, the bite continues to be really good. Most anglers are jigging.

Gold, pink and/or glow colored jigs are doing well. Anglers fishing the U.S. side are tipping with a fathead or frozen shiner. Those fishing the Ontario side tipping with various plastics.

Points, reefs and sandy areas in neck down areas continue to hold good fish. 12 - 24 feet depending upon the spot.

Travel to and from the Angle via vehicle through the 40 miles of Canada is open. Must be vaccinated and have a negative PCR COVID Test. Rapid tests available in Baudette and soon in Warroad.

Want to avoid crossing the border? Charter transport via bombardiers via the ice trail and flights over the lake delivering you to your desired resort are available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air this winter."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin November 9, 2021 "We Interrupt the Deer Season to Bring You, Real Life."

image of Bill Pelto and Jeff Sundin playing guitars circa 2015 Anybody with aging parents knows the question, how much time does mom, or dad, have left on this planet? Which day will it be when the phone rings and the voice at the other end says, “I’m sorry, but …”?

I’m afraid that for my wife Susan, one of those calls came in last Friday. Her dad, William Pelto (photo right), who was fighting a multi-faceted battle against some critical health issues, lost the battle. Naturally, the news changed our game plans for the weekend and the wheels of our cars moved in different directions than we’d originally anticipated.

My father-in-law, Bill and I didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other. But for me, it didn’t matter because guys like him don’t take that long to get to know. Through his stories about his career as a Captain in the Marines and again later when he served his community as a schoolteacher, helped me get familiar with and gain respect for him quickly.

We had music in common too and I imagine that today, he’s chuckling at me because of how I stressed out about trying to learn “his music” on my guitar. Authentic country, in his view, were the songs from the "Golden Era" by artists like Hank Williams, Bob Wills and Johnny Cash. What would tickle him is that for some reason, I (photo left) could raise his eyebrows by easily rattling off solo licks from any number of complex progressive rock songs. But when it came to pounding out a simple lead part for any simple 3-chord country song, I acted like I’d just come home my very first guitar lesson.

I guess that goes to show that what sometimes appears to be simple, like Bill himself, is often more complex than you think.

What I might have loved about Bill the most is that he loved food and especially fish, the way I cooked it. It was fun for me to make a family fish fry because he never kept his appreciation for them a secret, I’ll always remember that.

Making funeral arrangements, the family has decided to offer Bill’s friends a celebration of his life later, when the weather is warm, and they can all gather outside. So, I imagine there will be more news to share about that in the months ahead.

For those of you with a passion for hard news about fishing, I apologize for the interruption, and I promise, it won’t be long before the hard news begins to flow again. In the meantime, Susan and I are going to pick up where we left off last week and take a couple days off to try our luck at finding Mr. Big, or maybe this season, Mr. Tasty will even suffice. According to the weather forecast, my hours in the field will likely serve as a reminder that the countdown to the ice fishing season is beginning in earnest. More on that later! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 9, 2021

image of Charlie and Joslyn with nice limits of walleye caught on the Rainy River "Unseasonably warm outside air temperatures are prolonging anglers' appetites for fishing on the south side of Lake of the Woods. Walleyes continue to cooperate too and the late fall bite is very strong! So, while many are focused on deer hunting, those who took to the water were well rewarded.

Schools of both walleyes and saugers are set up along the south shore and are active. Anchored up and jigging with a fathead or emerald shiner is the go to method. Live shiners are available and effective. Most anglers report good fishing in 17 to 27 feet of water and gold, pink and glow jig heads continue to be the hot colors.

Mixed in with the walleyes are northern pike, jumbo perch, sturgeon, crappies and eelpout. Looking ahead, these fish are set up nicely for first ice. Some back bays iced up on cold mornings!

More and more walleyes are being caught in the Rainy River each week as well. Mother Nature appears to be a couple of weeks behind this fall. To no surprise, most are stuffed with emerald shiners. Jigging with a frozen or live shiner has been the go to method, however, those trolling crankbaits also producing.

Sturgeon activity continues to be good with some big fish caught and released.

For the few anglers out fishing at the Northwest Angle, the bite continues to be really good. Most anglers are jigging with big numbers of fish are being caught.

Gold, pink and/or glow colored jigs are doing well. Anglers fishing the U.S. side are tipping with a fathead or frozen shiner. Those fishing the Ontario side tipping with various plastics.

Structure such as points, reefs and sandy areas in neck down areas continue to hold good fish. 12 - 26 feet continues to be the range depending upon the spot.

Travel to and from the Angle via vehicle through the 40 miles of Canada is open. Must be vaccinated and have a negative PCR COVID Test. Rapid tests available in Baudette. Boating into Canadian waters is now open.

Want to avoid crossing the border? Charter transport via water and ice and flights over the lake delivering you to your desired resort are available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air both this fall and into the winter months via ice."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism November 3, 2021

image of Andrew Kraft with 2 big walleyes caught on Lake of the Woods "The late fall bite is on at the south end of Lake of the Woods! As the Minnesota Deer hunting opener approaches, walleyes are in high gear but not in the areas you may be expecting. Right now, the focus of many anglers is towards Lake of the Woods, not on the Rainy River and great fishing is there for those late season anglers who take advantage of it.

Various schools of walleyes and sauger along the south shore are cooperating nicely. Both walleyes and sauger are active and should continue into the ice fishing season. Some of the back bays are already showing a thin layer of ice on cold mornings!

Anchored up and jigging with a fathead or emerald shiner continues to be the go to method. Live shiners are available and effective. The best reports are coming from 17 to 27 feet of water across the south shore in areas such as Pine Island, Morris Point, Zippel Bay, Graceton Beach, Long Point and Rocky Point. Various schools within these depths.

Walleye anglers also catching some nice pike, jumbo perch, sturgeon and even a few crappies and eelpout.

There are some nice walleyes being caught on the Rainy River as well. Many of the fish caught are full of emerald shiners. So, jigging with a frozen or live shiner, is the go to method. There are some groups continuing to troll crankbaits in the river though. Trolling provides consistent action, covers water, gives a different look than the millions of shiners and is a good method for locating scattered fish and produces reaction bites of shiner stuffed fish. Keep this tool available if you aren't catching.

image of Ben Tompkins with monster sturgeon caught on the Rainy River Sturgeon activity continues to be good with some big fish caught and released.

Fall fishing up at the Northwest Angle is good. Most anglers are using a jig and minnow or jig and plastic (when boating into Canada) for walleyes. In some areas, walleyes continue to be stacked and big numbers of fish are being caught.

Gold, pink and/or glow colored jigs are doing well. Reminder, no live, frozen or dead bait being able to be transported over the border from the U.S. into Canada, consequently anglers boating into Ontario waters reporting various plastics on their jigs and spinners working great.

Various areas of structure such as points, reefs and sandy areas in neck down areas continue to hold good fish. 12 to 26 feet of water is the range depending upon the spot.

Travel to and from the Angle via vehicle through the 40 miles of Canada is open. Must be vaccinated and have a negative PCR COVID Test. Boating into Canadian waters is now open. Want to avoid crossing the border? Charter transport via water and ice and flights over the lake are available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air both this fall and into the winter months via ice."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin November 2, 2021 "Late Fall Falls Late For 2021"

image of Greg with nice smallmouth bass Historically, November is a quiet time on the lakes of northern Minnesota and for good reason. You never know when that one really cold night, like last night, will strike and freeze up your lower unit, whatever’s left of your minnow supply, or maybe even the shoreline of your favorite late season fishing lake.

Last Friday, during my final guide trip of the season, I was looking at the forecast for this week and it seemed obvious that there wasn’t much chance of much more nice weather before the deer season opens this Saturday. As you see by the accompanying photo, the weather was beautiful at the time and that’s why, just this once, I played it safe and used last week’s warm weather to clean and winterize my Alaskan. Yup, whether I like it or not, she’s all tucked away, safe and sound for the winter.

Not everybody puts their boat away just because the deer season is about to open though. I always see those few reports that trickle in about how great the fishing gets during the firearms deer hunting season. And if the upcoming weekend weather forecast becomes a reality, it might provide a good example of why this fall, folks who keep their boat ready for action are smarter than the average bear!

They say we’re in for sunshine, calm breezes and highs in the low 50s on Saturday. So, while I’m swatting flies and wondering why Mr. Big won’t get up from his nap this Saturday, there will be somebody, somewhere, reeling in a whopper and snapping photos in preparation for making me envious on Monday morning. Oh well, that’s the way it goes, it’s not easy to out-guess Mother Nature and this is just one more example of the crazy weather patterns we’ve experienced this season.

Which leads me to this, a question from Mike Schaa who wrote,

Q) "We make a couple trips North every year. In the spring to mille lacs for a week, and then late in the fall to the Leech area.  We were up the week of the 9th thru 15th of October this year (2021) and I can’t believe how warm the water was. Started at 63 degrees and ended right at 60 degrees when we left. 

Fishing was okay at best, we did catch a good number of big walleyes 26 to 29 inches, but overall, low total numbers of fish.  It felt like I fished every single windblown rocky area on the east side of the lake with limited success. The best bite we had was off the weed lines in boy bay, but of course then you are stuck dealing with a smattering of 20-inch pike when you do that. 

The question is how big of a fluke do you think that those water temperatures were?  We are debating between October 1st and 7th, 2022 vs October 14th thru 20th, 2022 (I am not fishing full moon week in the middle).

I personally think the later trip flirts with the danger zone of freezing our butts off.  But it sure seems like climate change is a real thing and maybe that would be the better choice at this point?

A) Mike, thank you for the note and brief report about your trip.

This fall, in my opinion, the extended warm water temperatures definitely were a HUGE FLUKE. This weather pattern was well outside the ordinary realm of fluctuations from one fishing season to another. In fact, this was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for me, during my fishing career, I do not recall any season that departed this far from typical weather patterns.

Whether or not this relates to any longer term or semi-permanent climate trend is well beyond my pay grade. Personally though, I would not base any decision about next year, or for that matter, any future trip on the weather we've experienced this fall. Mother Nature seldom, if ever, dishes out the same weather patterns 2 seasons in a row and my bet is that she will not repeat this pattern again in 2022.

Historically, the end of September into early October would be my first consideration for the ideal time range for a fall fishing trip. Even this year, with that crazy weather pattern in play, that period provided my customers and me with consistent fishing action. If you read through a few seasons’ worth of the report archives, you’ll see that late September, early October is generally reliable, almost always.

I don’t have a crystal ball so it’s going to be 11 months before we’ll know if I’m right on this, but if I was planning my own trip for 2022, I would still favor the earlier time frame of October 1st and 7th, 2022.

Regarding future plans, I’m hoping that with luck, the 2021 MN Firearms Deer Season offers me a chance to get even with Mr. Big!

Last year, my son-in-law, Austin Jones put me in the right location on opening morning, and I actually saw more deer than usual, including Mr. Big. Under better circumstances, I might have bagged him then. But my setup wasn’t the best and when I tried to raise my gun, he busted me and bolted.  I never got another chance to hunt after that, so I’ve been dreaming about a re-match ever since. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


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You don't have to write a book, you don't have to share your secret fishing spots and you don't even have to mention your lake. But even a few words about general trends, seasonal patterns and local weather conditions can really help.

Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter", it's good for fishing! Contact Us or if you prefer to be "social", Fishing Reports Minnesota, the Facebook counterpart to this page is open to the public, so you can post your own fishing update or just share a photo of a nice catch.