image of fishrapper logo

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 31, 2020 "Walleyes: Convincing the Convince-ABLE"

It’s been a long time since anybody planned a 3-day, mid-summer fishing trip with me which landed smack dab in the middle of persistently sunny, calm and warm weather; Ken Seufert and his nephew Mike did it this week though. For most of the past 3 days, the surfaces of area lakes have been mirror glass calm, water temperatures have hovered near 80 degrees and the clear blue skies have allowed the sun to beat down on us like a spotlight.

For anybody who chooses to focus strictly on walleye fishing, conditions like these do not represent ideal circumstances and we did a pretty good job of proving that on this trip.

Happily, as you can see in the accompanying photo of Mike, we managed to end the trip on a high note yesterday. Moving from spot to spot and grinding away at small packs of fish, we were finally able to finish off their 2 limits of keeper walleye and release a few larger fish. Some decent perch added an extra package to their larder and so did some of the sunfish that we caught on Tuesday.

Where the fish have been caught depended on the lake(s) we fished, so while I can’t help you sort out specific fish locations on your favorite lake, I can offer these few tips that allowed us to catch the fish that we did.

As I wrote on Thursday, trolling in the weeds using spinners produced plenty of panfish, pike and small perch but did not produce many walleyes. Moving away from the weeds, into deeper water and trolling the breaklines helped. Spinners tipped with night crawlers and trolled behind 2-ounce bottom bouncers allowed us to cover lots of water.

Occasionally a small pack of fish would show up on the Humminbird, but most often, we would only encounter random singles or doubles. Most spots were exhausted after one or two trolling passes, so moving often to explore new locations was a key factor.

Dabbling came into play late in the afternoon on Wednesday and honestly, if I’d thought about it sooner, we might have had a lot better day. For me, this trick only works when the water is calm, but when the surface is like glass, this is a real handy trick to know.

image links to lurent websiteUsing 1/8-ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs tipped with fatheads, we moved super-slowly in heavy weed cover and dropped our jigs into pockets or gaps between weed patches. Holding the jigs steady, just a few inches above the bottom and fishing vertically produced some fish.

Spending a full day using this presentation can be tedious, but if you’re willing to be persistent and keep looking until you locate the right patch of weeds, you definitely will be able to root some of them out. The trick is to learn how not to fight the weeds, do not cast, do not try to cover water and do not attempt to troll or drift through them; if you do, your jig will be stuck in the weeds constantly. Instead, hold your boat still and watch for the weed patches visually, then lower your jig into every hole that’s near a weed stalk.

The fun payoff of this presentation it that when your lure falls into the right hole, the fish will pound it. In heavy cover, fish don’t have much time to react, so whenever they see food, they chomp it aggressively. In the past, we’ve used this presentation effectively throughout late summer and early fall, so if you’re intrigued, you still have plenty of time to try it.

On Wednesday, dabbling produced mostly pike, but there were some walleyes and a jumbo perch in the weed patch we fished. Historically, we have caught every species of fish that swims using this approach, so be optimistic and stick with it long enough to allow the law of averages to work. Sooner or later, you will catch something cool, you just must be persistent.

Regular readers of these reports know that I don’t embellish, if we have a tough day, I say so. But sometimes I worry that the realism of my reports can give folks get the wrong impressions, in this case, the wrong ideas about mid-summer walleye fishing.

During this part of the summer, tough days on the water are typically not the result of walleyes that are not feeding. In fact, it is usually the exact opposite, this is the time of season when fish of all species are eating like pigs. The problem is that there is so much food for them to chose from that they can be very particular about opportunity.

You can rest assured that walleyes are feeding heavily during this period, and any given day could produce excellent walleye action. Or not, it just depends on when the weather or local conditions turn favorable to produce opportunity that favors them, not us. If we were willing and/or able to fish whenever we needed to, rain or shine, day or night, we would sooner or later stumble into schools of fish that were on a feeding rampage.

Walleye or die style fishing is fine with me and when that’s what my customers want, I do my level best to accommodate. But for me, I’d rather wait for the right conditions to pursue them. For me, taking advantage of the numerous warm water species that are active during mid-summer makes more sense and that’s really where my heart is right now.

I have a couple of days off coming this weekend and if I get the chance, my Hippie Chick is going to be treated to a full-scale session of good-old-fashioned, take me to the weeds and catch anything that bites style fishing. That’s how I grew up and that’s what really brings out the kid in me. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish July 31, 2020 - Should We Be Wearing Life Jackets while Fishing?

image links to fishing article "Many go an entire lifetime without knowing of or being involved in a drowning. Unfortunately, I've been personally affected by two drownings in recent years. A year ago, an older gentleman died in my arms after falling into the water. And just last week, I lost my close fishing buddy after he drowned while bass fishing.

The message could not be any clearer to me. Wear your life jackets.

Most reputable tournament organizations worth their salt have a mandatory rule to have life jackets on and buttoned up anytime the big engine is running and the kill switch must be attached to the driver. It's second nature and is just something we know and do without thinking. Most organizations, however, allow anglers to remove them when they are fishing.

Accidents occur while running across the lake, no doubt, but many also occur at ...." Learn More >> Should We Be Wearing Life Jackets while Fishing?

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 30, 2020 "Summer Sunfish Fun In The Sun"

image of jeff sundin with big sunfish For weeks I’ve been waiting and wondering why more sunfish hadn’t been showing up in the mix while we’ve trolled our spinners along the weed edges.

I’d been lonesome for the fun it is to have the swirling, bulldogging, bubbles of joy occasionally nail one of our spinners. You may feel different, but personally, I love how they fill in the gaps while we’re waiting for something really, really, important like a walleye, to show up on the end of the line.

Well, this week the panfish finally started showing up in significant numbers and I do love that. But ironically, when they did finally show up, the walleyes appear to have taken the decision to disappear for a while. Now, instead of waiting for a sunfish to help round out the walleye action, we’re waiting for a walleye to help round out the sunfish action.

Ironic too is the reason that walleyes have momentarily vamoosed, its that the weather is too nice! Over the past few weeks, during the previously period of turbulent weather, I was hoping and praying for some stability. But I meant a few days without a storm, not a few days with nothing but sunshine and flat calm water; a little breeze would be nice.

The turnaround will come soon enough, by next week you’ll probably be seeing pictures of walleyes again. Unfortunately, though, that won’t be much help to the customers I have today. They want walleyes more than anything else in the whole wide world and this trip of theirs landed smack dab in the middle of the toughest 3 days I’ve had all summer.

You can’t time the stock market, they say. And I guess you could say that you can’t time the weather either. Who knows, the forecasters might have had an off day yesterday and today’s forecast of calm seas and bright sunshine may not even come true. So today we’re going to head out in search of walleyes one more and do it with renewed enthusiasm, our lucky break could lie just around the next bend.

OH, and by the way, if you are interested in catching some panfish, this could be a great weekend to give them a whirl. Surface water temperatures are hovering close to 80 degrees again typically, that makes them aggressive. If you’ve added a couple of lakes to your to-do list and want to check them out, I’d do it now.

If you like the mixed-bag concept, just stay on the weed edges and troll Little Joe Spinners tipped with leeches or cut night crawlers. Once you locate a school of sunnies, you can choose to stop the boat and work on them more deliberately if you like. Small jigs tipped with a morsel of meat is all you’ll need to keep the sunfish interested. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 29, 2020

image of young man with 2 nice smallmouth bass "Walleye continue to settle into their summer patterns. Anglers continue to report the best bites are occurring somewhat shallow, in 12-18 feet of water. Jigging raps, lindy rigs and half a crawler on a jig, worked around sunken islands and main lake points, have accounted for the majority of walleyes being caught.

On lakes where ciscos are present, anglers have been catching walleyes trolling large crankbaits over deep water during the evening hours. Walleyes are suspending 15-20 down, over 40-70 feet of water.

Smallmouth and Largemouth bass fishing continues to be excellent for many anglers. Topwater bite, early and late in the day has been excellent. Whopper Ploppers, frogs and spooks have been the hottest baits.

As the sun gets up, the topwater bite cools off and anglers adjust by throwing spinnerbaits, soft plastics or jerk baits. Smallmouth are being found on rocky shoreline and near river mouths in 5-10 feet of water. There have been a few reports from walleye anglers, who are finding a few smallies out on top of sunken islands. Largemouth bass are being found in shallow weedbeds, lily pads and wild rice.

Northern Pike anglers continue to report catching good numbers of smaller pike this last week. Buzzbaits burned over the tops of weedbeds early in the day was very popular this last week. Spoons and a sucker, fished under a bobber, were also very effective. Larger pike (30” or better) continue to be picked off here and there, out around sunken islands. Anglers trolling large minnow baits over these areas have been catching these fish.

Crappie fishing has slowed this last week. Anglers have reported that they are only finding crappies shallow during low light periods. Anglers have been catching them with small hair jigs, small crankbaits and crappie minnow fished under a bobber. Sunfish are now mainly being found out on weedlines in 8-12 feet of water. Small crawlers tipped on small jigs has been the go to technique, for anglers targeting them.

Stream Trout - Shore anglers have been catching some large trout while slip bobbering night crawlers. These angler have been finding trout 15-20 feet down. Anglers fishing from a boat have been catching trout while trolling over deep water with small crankbaits or spoons." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 28, 2020

image links to lake of the woods walleye report "In addition to anglers catching good numbers of eater walleyes on the south end of Lake of the Woods, there are also a lot of big walleyes being caught and released.

Now is the time that many LOW anglers look forward to, when the mid-lake, deep water summer trolling patterns begin to dominate. Trolling is a fun technique with no snags, miles and miles of space and thousands of walleyes.

There are two main techniques, either drifting or trolling using spinners or trolling crankbaits over the deep mud. When using spinners, tip them with crawlers or leeches. Hammered gold, glow white and glow red are good colors. There are a variety of great crankbaits for trolling, experiment with shapes and sizes to discover your personal favorites.

There are still some walleyes are being caught in a variety of shallow areas, these are based on forage opportunities. But overall, the best fishing action will be found in open water at depths of 29 to 31 feet.

Sturgeon fishing is picking up on the Rainy River. A sturgeon rig and 3 ounce no roll sinker with crawlers and/or frozen shiners is the ticket. For Sturgeon, focus on fishing the deep holes and check for walleyes scattered on top of the flats adjacent to deeper holes.

Smallmouth bass as a rule focused on rocks. Pike scattered in bays and weedy areas. Try hitting numerous "go-to" spots up and down the river casting crankbaits, spinners and jigs. Multi-species action and a fun day.

Up at the NW Angle... Until the US and Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake staying and fishing in MN waters. There are shuttle services available and fishing for multi species has been excellent. Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.

Good walleye fishing around Crow Duck Island, north of Garden Island and areas with deeper mud. The best presentation continues to be drifting and trolling spinners with a crawler, leech or a minnow. Big Pike and some muskies in deep bays and rocky points. Smallies in weedy bays and rocky points."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge July 28, 2020

"So many big Walleye! The action continues to be great, and nothing beats a fresh Walleye dinner with a 2nd day of fishing for a limit to take home. We are still unable to do shore lunch but catch of the day for dinner is awesome!

More drifting with spinners this past week. Little Traverse is where the action is. The normal array of colors is in play, gold, chartreuse and glow red. We have been going through a lot of night crawlers. With Canada being closed it has affected the inventory and the price.

High heat and humidity yesterday and now the week ahead is looking great. Sunshine with highs around 78 and lows at 50 overnights." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video July 2020 "Trolling For Summertime Basin Walleyes"

Link to walleye fishing videoWindy, turbulent conditions combined with stained water, can make life interesting for a walleye angler to say the least. In fact many anglers just throw up their hands and decide not to go out on less than ideal days.

But anglers committed to giving walleyes a run for their money, even during tough conditions can still bring in respectible catches.

This week on Fish Ed host Jon Thelen shows you a new take on walleye crankbaits under less than ideal conditions! The Bandit Generator lets you add 2 glow sticks to help grab a walleyes attention, in rough, dirty water.

Jon also shares a great trolling strategy that allows better boat control in rough water. Don't skip this video, it will definitely help you put more walleyes in your boat this season! View Video and Leran More >> Trolling For Summertime Basin Walleyes

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 27, 2020 "North Central MN Fishing Update"

image links to fishing report I know that I promised a firsthand report from Lake Vermilion, but I’m afraid that my busman’s holiday to Tower, MN was postponed because of thunderstorms and lightning that rolled through the northeast region on Saturday.

Instead of wetting a line together, I and the Hippie Chick braved the heat and humidity to catch up on yard chores and generally re-acquainted ourselves with each other.

Sunday brought some relief from the heat. There was a cool breeze blowing from the northwest, the humidity was down, and the air temperature was moderate. The crisp air and bright sunshine did represent a “post storm cold front”, but the effects appeared to be mild compared to the one that struck last week.

Surface water was 75 degrees and steady throughout the day and the breezy conditions stirred up a chop on the water. By the end of the day, the breeze turned into a wind and the chop turned into full-scale, hard rolling whitecaps.

On Sunday, there was a definite separation of bass and walleye. Fishing weed structure in water depths of 10 to 14 feet produced 90% bass and 10% walleye; moving out to 20 to 24 feet reversed those percentages completely. The number of fish we caught wasn’t high, but it was good enough to produce limits of each for my friend Bob Slager.

There were a few larger walleye in the protected slot, but there were many more of them that were too small. This has been happening on a number of lakes recently and I think it is an indication that the strong year classes of 2018 and 2019 were not limited to Winnibigoshish. It looks like the spawning conditions may have been favorable enough to produce large year classes of walleye in numerous lakes in the Itasca region.

Other fish in the mix on Sunday included small perch, too small for the creel and one phantom bluegill.

Our presentation, Little Joe Spinners tipped with night crawlers and pulled behind 2-ounce bottom bouncers worked well enough, so I didn’t experiment with other offerings. If the water had been calmer though, I would have, I think slowing down and using Lindy Rigs tipped with lively leeches or large minnows might have turned the heads of a few extra walleyes on the deeper breakline. But like I said, the spinners were working well enough and required less attention to detail, so we stuck with them.

Today’s plan is still in the formative stage, my crew has offered a few thoughts about their priorities and I’m comparing scenarios to the predicted weather. If we decide to go for the brass ring, it will be a smallmouth and walleye combo trip. If we decide to play it safer, odds favor a mixed bag of panfish, walleye and pike. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow morning. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 24, 2020 "Recovering From The Cold Front?"

image links to fishing report I had big plans for the fishing reports pages this week, I had especially high hopes for a story about my fishing trip last Tuesday with Craig Narowetz and his grandson Brody.

You see, Craig is the single remaining customer who has been fishing with me since the very beginning of my career as a fishing guide. He fished with me even before I bought my first house in Deer River back in 1985. In those days, I used to guide part time when I could get time away from work. I fished mostly around the metro, but when called, I occasionally traveled to Cedar Point Resort on North Star Lake.

I met Craig and his wife Jan when they bought a lot on North Star Lake and inquired about fishing on their lake. Since then, they’ve fished with me a time or two every season for about 37 years, I figure.

Back to the present, I had planned to make a big deal out of the trip with Brody because it represented the introduction of another new generation of anglers to the scrapbook. Even though I had planned to, I didn’t really get the chance to take a lot of pictures on Tuesday. While we did make it out on the lake, we didn’t last the whole day. Mother Nature’s icy touch chilled both of the boys and during a return to shore for a “warm-up”, they decided to bag the trip altogether.

That cold front, the one that settled in last Tuesday, hadn’t yet affected the fishing, but it was about to.

At the time, surface temperatures were still above 80 degrees. We were trolling the weed edges with Little Joe Spinners and catching a mixed bag of pike, sunfish, crappies and rock bass. We hadn’t found the walleyes yet, but we had only fished a few spots and I am confident that we would have caught at least some white tails before the trip would have normally been over.

That morning was about the last time that I felt really good about the fishing action. In the aftermath of the cold front, surface temperatures had dropped into 71 to 73-degree range. Since the water cooled, fish activity on all 4 of the lakes I’ve fished has been sluggish. When I say sluggish, I don’t that it killed the bite completely, we can still catch some fish, but I have not been able to find what I would call a “hot bite”.

On Wednesday, the sky was blue, the air was cool, and the east wind stirred up a light chop on the water. We fished one weed patch after another and caught a fish or two, mostly rock bass and pike at each stop. There were some pike, a few sunfish, one crappie and a couple of walleyes in the cooler at the end of the day. It was enough for the Hastings family fish fry this weekend, but there won’t be any fish going into their freezer.

image links to fishing report Thursday morning started off slow, I’m not sure if we caught any fish at the first 3 stops. The water was still cool, 72 degrees or thereabout. I reasoned that maybe the cooler water had encouraged walleyes to move away from the weeds and back into open water. I stopped at one mid-lake bar where Brandon caught 1 protected slot walleye and 2 smaller keepers. But despite the modest success on that bar, subsequent stops at other mid-lake structures failed to produce. Back to the weeds we went, but this time, the fish were a little more active. We caught numerous small pike and a couple more “keeper” walleyes before it was time to exchange crews.

By Thursday afternoon, I could sense the recovery intensifying. Surface water was back up to 74 degrees, there were greater numbers of fish striking our lures and a higher percentage of them were walleyes. The walleyes that we caught were better quality too, the other Brandon caught a couple more slot-fish and another good keeper. In the accompanying photo you see Bode, age 10 was already proud of himself for catching his first walleye ever. But Bode really became king of the boat when he caught this 16-1/2 inch walleye, the groups best "keeper fish" of the whole trip.  

All of the fish we caught during the afternoon were in shallow weeds, most of them were in 6 to 7 feet of water. Spinners tipped with minnows produced almost all of the fish, but I did catch one keeper walleye on a night crawler after battling short-striking fish all afternoon.

Apparently, other species such as perch, crappies and panfish still hadn’t come to a recovery. We caught very few panfish and the ones we did get were small. But with more warm weather on its way, the panfish may well follow suit over the next few days.

For me, Saturday is going to be a busman’s holiday. The Hippie Chick and my stepdaughter Joelle are going to join me for a little fishing after I make a quick sales call on Lake Vermilion. That should be fun, It’s been 5 or 6 years since I was up there, so the change of scenery will be refreshing.

I know that there are some thunderstorms in the weekend forecast, and I hope that nothing too severe comes along to ruin your weekend plans. Good luck if you’re fishing and have fun if you’re doing something else. I’ll be back on Sunday with an update. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 23, 2020

kids showing off stringer of nice walleye "Walleye fishing continues to pick up for many anglers this last week. Anglers continue to find walleyes out on main lake structure in 12-18 feet of water. Spinner rigs and jigging raps have been accounting for the majority of the walleyes being caught out there. During the early mornings and evenings anglers have been catching nice walleyes on large shallow flats, trolling large minnow baits in 10 feet of water or less.

Smallmouth bass have been easy pickings for savvy bass anglers. Areas with water coming into a lake or large rocky flats, in 5-10 feet of water, have been the areas to look for Smallmouth. Topwater bite remains excellent early in the mornings, but as the sun gets up, spinnerbaits, beetle spins and wacky worms become the go to baits to keep catching fish. Largemouth bass, also continue to be very active. Frogs fished over lily pads or wild rice beds, remains a blast for many anglers.

One weather front after another has made finding panfish challenging. Sunfish have been more cooperative then crappies this last week. Sunfish have been hitting small hair jigs tipped with a piece of night crawler or wax worm, in 5-10 feet of water, inside weedbeds. Crappies have been found hanging out just outside weedbeds during the day. Anglers have been struggling to catch them during the day, but have had some luck catching them in the evenings, in weedbeds, as crappies move in to feed. Jig and twisters steadily retrieved has been the most affective technique. Small crankbaits is also worth knotting.

Small Pike have remained active around weedbeds and river mouths. Husky jerks, spinnerbaits and spoons have been very effective on them. Large pike (30”+) have begone to show up out around sunken islands. Walleye anglers have been catching them while using spinner rigs, looking for walleye’s. Anglers looking to target large pike, have been using spinner rigs tipped with large suckers." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 21, 2020

Link to lake of the woods fishing reporrt "Anglers experienced another awesome week of walleye fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods. They caught strong numbers of eater walleyes and some big walleyes too, some of which were "personal bests" for lucky anglers.

The two most popular patterns are spinners with night crawlers and trolling crankbaits. Hammered gold, glow white, glow red, firetiger all good colors.

As a rule, the larger walleyes are over deep mud and on or adjacent to deep reefs. Eater walleyes from 7' as deep as 34' in scattered schools. The big walleyes aren't always with the eaters so adjust accordingly.

There are some walleyes are being caught on the Rainy River trolling flats and shoreline breaks. Sturgeon are starting to cooperate both up and down the river. Use sturgeon rigs and 3 ounce no roll sinkers with crawlers. Focus on deep holes. Smallmouth bass around areas of rock, bridge pillars, and on weedlines. Pike scattered in bays and weedy areas.

Anglers heading for the Northwest Angle must continue to do so by water, avoiding entry onto canadian water. Until the US and Canada border opens, guests staying at Northwest Angle resorts must restrict their fishing to Minnesota waters only. There are shuttle services available and fishing for multi species has been excellent. Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.

Fishing continues strong with big numbers of eater walleyes. Nice walleyes 8 - 17' on the sand or 23 - 29' around structure and over mud. The best presentation continues to be drifting and trolling spinners with a crawler, leech or a minnow. Pike and smallmouth bass are active in numerous weedy bays. Muskies being caught in deep bays and rocky points."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge July 21, 2020

"We have had more great action this past week. Angling continues on the North side of the lake. The best thing about doing what we do here at Border View Lodge is meeting so many different people! The world is filled with wonderful people, surround yourself with them! We like your hat Phil Gill! We have been really busy this spring and summer and we are glad to see so many great people. We will continue to keep up our cleaning and processes to keep everyone as safe as possible.

More drifting with spinners this past week. The normal array of colors is in play, gold, chartreuse and glow red.

There are many opportunities in the area for a person wanting to relocate to here. There is housing available and there are many job opportunities here in Baudette. We are currently hiring for all departments, additionally we have project work with temporary help needed. If you think you may want to fill a spot give us a call.

This week’s forecast shows more of the same summer weather as we have had the last few weeks. Still having 30-degree temperature changes. High’s in the upper 80’s and lows into the upper 50’s this week." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 20, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Fishing Report"

image links to mn fishing report Variable weather and turbulent conditions took a little bite out of the fishing action over the past few days. But even so, water temperatures remain warm and fish, sluggish as they were, could still be caught in reasonable numbers.

Last Friday and Saturday, calm sunny weather had moved surface water back up near the 80-degree mark. On the deep, clear water lake we fished, walleyes, at least the ones we found were in deeper water, most of them were holding at 24 to 26 feet and there were others suspended even deeper. The weeds may have held fish too, but you couldn’t prove it by me. We spent the first 2 hours of our trip trolling the weed edges and what I saw was that weeds in that lake, even the thickest ones, were still too well illuminated by the hot sun.

It was easy to find fish, the screen of my Humminbird revealed numerous small packs of fish located along the edges of mid-lake bars and humps. Each school of fish had their own “personalities”, sometimes we’d have strikes as soon as the live bait reached the bottom. Other times we had to troll past 25 fish to get a single bite.

It’s always tricky to figure when to stay and when to go, it isn’t easy to motor away from a spot where you’re seeing fish. On this particular trip, moving a lot, looking for fresh schools of fish was the way to go. Most of the time, I’d find a school, have a quick spurt of action, followed by a slow-down. There were 2 spots though, that produced steady action for a longer period; maybe close to an hour at each of them; those were the 2 spots that really made the day for may customers.

Lindy Rigging with Creek Chubs and Red tails was by far the best presentation. But there were a fair number of fish caught on night crawlers too. I think anglers who want to avoid all of the rigamarole that goes with finding and keeping big minnows alive could probably still have enough fun using worms. We did not try leeches that day, but historically, we have always caught some fish using them. Leeches are usually good for picking up a few bonus smallmouth bass, but on this day the smallies were hitting the minnows and the crawlers, so I never felt the need to experiment.

image links to fishing report One of my customers commented on the small size of the hooks we used on the live bait rigs. I use size #6 hooks for the crawler/leech rigs and #1 for the minnow rigs. The reason for the small hooks is that they are lighter in weight than larger hooks are. The better your bait floats up from the bottom, the more fish you will catch. This is also why you should insist on using larger, lively leeches that are actively swimming and it’s the reason why I always use a worm blower to help float the crawlers. Except in a few, rare instances, it is better to have your bait too high above bottom than too close to it. I say that if you’re going to make a mistake, fish too high instead of too low.

Saturday was another hot one, sunny, calm and humid. We went the other way this time and chose a shallower, stained water lake that has numerous patches of deep weeds. There had been a series of thunderstorms passing through the area overnight and that did not help our cause. The fish we caught were buried deep in the weeds and rooting them out one by one was the only system I figured out. Like the day before, spot-hopping was the best practice. We would jump to a new spot, pick up a few fish right away, then watch the action fizzle out. Then we would jump to another new spot, pick up a few more fish right away, then watch the action fizzle out again. Basically, that how we spent the entire day and while it wasn’t fast, it did allow us to assemble a nice bag of crappies, mixed with a few walleyes and sunfish.

Trolling Little Joes tipped with fathead minnows worked fine, but there were lots of small perch out there and tipping the spinners with medium size leeches helped prevent them from stealing our baits too fast. If your lake has lots of small perch, you might try this trick yourself, the perch will still pick at the leeches, but they won’t get them off of the hooks as easily.

By Sunday, after the storms and cold front had passed, I was looking at surface water temps back down the 74 to 75-degree range. The wind blew hard out of the northwest too, so I guess that the water, especially in shallow water lakes got a thorough mixing.

You could call it a mini-turnover if you like, because for a time afterward, the water column in shallow, wind-swept lakes becomes uniform in both temperature and dissolved oxygen levels from the surface to the bottom. For a fish, it represents an opportunity to go anyplace in the lake; they could spread out across the flats, move onto steep break lines or stick close to the weed edges.

For anglers, it means having to move more often and fish with more determination; its not a good time to sit back with your feet up on the gunwale.

The wind was so strong that I had to give up on the first lake we tried, and while the situation was not a lot better at the second lake, at least we found the lee shore to be somewhat manageable. Trolling spinners along the weed edges was really the only way we could manage to fish, so I picked out every patch that allowed us to troll in a straight line and worked them over.

The highlight reel would be impressive, there were several large walleyes caught and one pike that was way above average. Gathering food was another story, the lion’s share of our walleyes consisted of fish in the protected slot; we only harvested a handful and those were smaller than average fish. There were also some decent perch and pike in our livewell; when we combined them, there was enough for a great fish dinner and a small surplus to send home with the crew.

When I wrote a few weeks ago that I though surface water temperatures had already peaked, even I thought that I might be jumping the gun. Now I think I was right on track, the surface water will bounce up and down for a while, but barring a heat wave in August, I think there will be a slow trend downward over the next few weeks.

I am a little worried that my favorite pattern for gathering sunfish might not be a big deal this summer. For the past few weeks, I’ve waited for warm water so that we could really get after the panfish trolling spinners. This has begun to work for catching crappies, but so far, the sunfish have been few and far between.

I have a couple of crews coming in that couldn’t care less about targeting walleyes. So, I can experiment a little more than usual and we’ll see how the next few days go. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 16, 2020 "The Summer of Coronacraziness: One Silver Lining"

image of the steen family Have you wondered what possible good can come out of the coronacraziness we’ve experienced this year? Well, I can tell you; families are taking to the lakes to fish together in record numbers.  

For me, what started as a staggering number of trip cancellations has evolved into a summer series of fishing with old friends. Take yesterday for example, Chuck Steen, an old-time friend and fishing customer that I haven’t seen for at least 15 years showed up in Grand Rapids to fish with me again.

The reason it’s been so long since I’ve seen Chuck is that his son Tom found a place to park a camper on Lac Seul in Canada. That sort of set up as the family headquarters for fishing get togethers, so they haven’t spent any time fishing in Minnesota ever since.

This summer is different though, Canada won’t let anybody cross the border. So folks that would normally visit their campers, lake cabins or check into resorts have been scrambling to find alternative locations to fish. Like many, many others, Chuck decided to look up his old pal, Jeff Sundin, to see if I had any fishing dates available and amidst the coronacrumbles, I did.

On Wednesday, Chuck showed up with his son Tom, his grandson Aaron and His great grandson Charlie. Think about that, 4 generations fishing together in one boat, that was a first time ever for me.

This wasn’t the first time this summer that families, otherwise barred from what they would have been doing in a “normal summer”, have found their way into my fishing boat. With none of the kids in sports, parents working at home and lots of folks laid off, families are actually available to each other and you can see them playing together on the water everywhere.

The next time I’m tempted to grouse about the crazy year we’re all having, I'll remind myself about the one silver lining that I KNOW about; that will help. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video July 16, 2020 "Trolling For Summertime Basin Walleyes"

Link to walleye fishing video Windy, turbulent conditions combined with stained water, can make life interesting for a walleye angler to say the least. In fact many anglers just throw up their hands and decide not to go out on less than ideal days.

But anglers committed to giving walleyes a run for their money, even during tough conditions can still bring in respectible catches.

This week on Fish Ed host Jon Thelen shows you a new take on walleye crankbaits under less than ideal conditions! The Bandit Generator lets you add 2 glow sticks to help grab a walleyes attention, in rough, dirty water.

Jon also shares a great trolling strategy that allows better boat control in rough water. Don't skip this video, it will definitely help you put more walleyes in your boat this season! View Video and Leran More >> Trolling For Summertime Basin Walleyes

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 15, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Fishing Report"

Following a series of thunderstorms that moved through the Itasca Region on Monday night, the air was crisp and cool on Tuesday. That forced surface water temperatures down into the 75 to 76-degree range, a significant decline since their peak in the mid-80 degree range last week.

You know, I’m not a fan of fishing in the aftermath of any storm, especially when there is a cold front associated with it. But in terms of weather disturbances and their impact on fishing, this most recent one was not a dramatic as some I’ve experienced. I think that is due in part to the fact that the weather, overall, has been un-stable for a while now. The fish haven’t really had a chance to establish firm routines like they do when the weather is stable for longer periods of time.

I’ve been working with a fairly large group of anglers this week, and it’s given me a chance to compare notes with many of the better guides in our area. From the conversations we’ve had, I’d say that we’ve entered the period of summer when the quality of one’s fishing depends largely on the ability to explore fresh territory.

What I mean is that on any given day, almost everybody has been able to find and catch some fish. However, in order to do that, we’ve depended on covering lots of water and finding small schools of active fish. None of us can count on today’s good results to be repeatable tomorrow. Sometimes, a “hot bite” lasts for a few hours, sometimes not even that long, it just depends on how many fish were in the territory whenever it was discovered.

Consistent or not, there are some rules of thumb that will help you locate and catch enough fish to keep your trip interesting.

  • Stick to the weeds in shallow water. Unless you’re fishing a tournament and want to focus on one super-specific population of larger fish, you will find more action in the weeds. Most of the fish I’ve caught during the past week have been found in water depths of 10 feet or less. Reports from the other guides I’m working with generally agree with that assessment.
  • Stick to fast moving, search oriented presentations. Again, unless you’re pursuing a specific population of large fish using large minnows or other specialized presentations, you will have better action if you use trolling presentations. Overall, Little Joe Spinners are my favorite, but I would not rule out crankbaits or hybrid trolling lures either. As long as you can cover water and keep your lures running clean in the cover, every idea is a valid one.
  • Keep moving, no matter how good the bite is when you first find it, it probably will be short-lived. We’ve encountered numerous areas that I call “one pass wonders”, spots where we get good action the first time we troll through, but where action drops off dramatically on subsequent passes. This is normal during mid-summer, only making frequent moves will keep you in the action.

Exceptions to the rule? Yes, there are, crappies, perch, bass and pike are all starting to show up on rocks now too. Depending on the lake you fish, shallow rock bars, mid-lake structures that contain rocks and even rocky shoreline points should all be checked out. The fish you find there could vary, food sources will determine species, but the odds are that you will find some fish using these structures.

Today, we’re in hot pursuit of a mixed bag bite to help entertain a young angler. If everything goes my way, we’ll fish in the weeds and catch maybe 6 or 7 species of fish. Whether it works or not, you’ll read all about it in the next day or two. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 15, 2020

"Walleye fishing remains slow for many anglers. Anglers able to find walleyes are all reporting very similar locations and techniques to catch them. Sunken islands that top out at 10-15 feet of water have been holding walleyes. Not all sunken islands, in that depth range, have fish on them, so anglers will keep moving until they locate fish with the depth finder.

Once located they will drift over the fish with a jig and pike sucker or spinner rig tipped with a leech or crawler. Another technique anglers have been having luck with is trolling shad raps over large flats, during the evenings, in 10-15 feet of water.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains consistent for bass angler. Anglers continue to have good luck fishing topwater early in the mornings. Zara Spooks and whopper ploppers have been the baits of choice. Largemouth bass too, have been very active on topwater frogs fished in weedbeds or lily pads.

As the sun gets up in the sky, both species slide out a little deeper and become unwilling to hit topwater, so anglers switch to spinnerbaits, beetle spins or wacky worms to keep catching fish.

Pike - Exceptionally high water temps has pushed even the smaller pike to the weedlines and deeper. Early morning, when the water temps are at their coolest, has been the best time to be fishing for pike. Pike have been happily hitting buzzbaits, spoons and large suckers fished under a bobber. Large weedbeds and river mouths have been the best locations to find pike." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 14, 2020

"It is another great week of walleye fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. There have been lots of limits, plenty of larger. 19.5 to 28 inch protected slot fish and numerous trophy walleyes over 28 inches.

The MTT Photo and Release Walleye Tournament winners Lonny and Teresa Witkofsky weighed 5 fish each day of the 2 day tournament. On MTT Day 1 they weighed in 40.5 pounds and on MTT Day 2 they weighed in 47 pounds, that is an incredible average weight of over 9 pounds per fish; there are a lot of big walleyes in Lake of the Woods right now!

Different parts of the lake have different things happening. In some areas, the mayfly hatch was over. In other areas, it was just firing up. Fishing was better where the hatch was not in full force.

The go to presentations are spinners with crawlers or trolling crankbaits. Nice schools of eaters on the south shore and up north around Garden Island in 10 to 15 feet of water. More and more walleyes also staged over deep mud in 30 to 34 feet. Hammered gold with glow white and gold with glow red strong colors.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon anglers catching fish with the evening bite the best. Fish holes in the river with a 3 ounce no roll sinker and sturgeon rig loaded with crawlers and/or frozen shiners. Nice smallies in rocky areas. Pike are also active cruising bays, weed edges and current breaks. Walleyes out on flats and can be caught with crawler harnesses or trolling crankbaits.

Until the US and Canada border opens again, guests with reservations at the Northwest Angle must continue to reach their destinations via travel across the lake without entering Canada. There are shuttle services available and fishing for multi species has been excellent. Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.

Fishing has been awesome up at the Angle. Schools of walleyes on structure, over sand and on mud. Nice walleyes 8 - 17' on the sand or 25 - 28' around structure. Big numbers of eaters being caught. The best presentation continues to be drifting and trolling spinners with a crawler or a minnow. Pike and smallmouth bass are active in numerous weedy bays."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge July 14, 2020

"There are a number of schools of Walleye spread around the lake. Outside the Lighthouse Gap has been providing great action with many small and large Walleye. Further North there are schools with greater numbers of good eaters mixed with many trophies. The Minnesota Tournament Trail just finished up 2, one day photo and release contests with great results.

Our guides continue to be targeting the North end of the lake while mostly drifting with spinners and crawlers. Anchor and jig have resulted in slower action this past week, we assume that trend will continue for a while. Trolling with plugs has started to provide some action.

We have been too busy for projects this past week. We continue to move forward with ones already started when we are able.

Last week began with high humidity and by the end of the week it subsided and was nice even with the upper 80 temps. Again, this week looks to be staying with the 30-degree temperature changes. High’s in the upper 80’s and lows into the upper 50’s this week." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish July 13, 2020 Deep-Diving Crankbaits for Bass: How to Dissect Key Spots

image links to fishing article "Peak summertime water temps drive baitfish and bass to hard bottom deep water haunts on lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Wired2Fish's Ryan DeChaine demonstrates how to methodically fish productive offshore structures with big deep-diving crankbaits, which consistently trigger the biggest and most aggressive bass in any given body of water.

DeChaine's system starts with having a detailed picture of the structure he's fishing. He uses side-imaging and mapping to find and waypoint offshore hard patches, then employs 360 Imaging for making methodical casts until he's thoroughly fished the structure.

The key to getting bit is making bottom contact with the crankbait -- DeChaine mixes in ultra deep-diving crankbaits to ensure consistent bottom contact throughout the cast. Realistic finishes are a plus in clear water. Lastly, he details his rod, reel, and line set up to ... " View Video and Learn More >> Deep-Diving Crankbaits for Bass: How to Dissect Key Spots

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 12, 2020 "Learning the Learn-Able"

Have you ever spent a day on the lake when fishing was so tough that it made you thoroughly convinced that there was no chance that anybody on that lake could have possibly caught any fish that day?

Have you ever, after spending a day like that, returned to the dock and been greeted by somebody who was the one angler on the lake who really “found them”?

I have, more times than I can remember and humiliating as those experiences were, it was those tough days that taught me the most about fish and the pursuit of them.

I know, now you’re expecting me to translate those questions into a story about how my fishing trip on Saturday was a rough one. Actually, I didn’t even fish on Saturday, my trip was cancelled so I spent the day cleaning out my old truck and washing the boat.

What I did do though, was to check out the leaderboard from the AIM Walleye Tournament that was held on Leech Lake on Saturday July 11, 2020. Looking at the names at the top of the list and looking at the names on the bottom of the list reminded how easy it is to wind up on either end of the totem pole.

The anglers, a lot of which are either friends or acquaintances of mine are all people who have spent time at both ends of the spectrum.

Basically, the ones who won did so because they’ve spent time on the water and learned their lessons the hard way. The ones who lost, could have won if they’d made a couple of different decisions about fish location or presentation; but they didn’t. Now, they’ve learned another lesson and that has moved them further along on the learning curve.

The reason I bring the subject up is because it reminded me about a lot of the calls and emails I get from certain anglers. Usually they go something like this; “Can you give me any information about a good lake, or a good spot on a good lake, where there’s a good chance that I will catch fish? I only have a little time, or I have to drive a long way and I don’t want to go to the trouble unless I’m sure that the trip will be worth it.”

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a fishing trip that isn’t “worth it.” Sometimes I catch a lot of fish, other times not so many, but the times that I’ve struggled the most are also the times that I’ve learned the most.

I thought about Leech Lake yesterday morning when I was working in the driveway. The sun was shining and there wasn’t much wind and I thought to myself that the anglers in that tournament were probably experiencing a tough bite. But as usual, there were anglers who “found them” and did well.

My hat is off to the winners, I know they’ve worked hard and that they earned their prizes. But my hat is off to the losers too, it takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to grind away on a tough day, only to find out that somebody else found the fish. One of these days though, the experience will come in handy and your spot on the leaderboard will look a lot better!

I hope you’ll think about this the next time you’re pondering whether a fishing trip will be “worth it” or not. They always are and in one way or another, you will be, at the end of the day, a winner. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 10, 2020 "Expecting the UN-Expectable"

image of John Landsburg with nice walleye One way to keep a job interesting is being surprised every day with un-expected situations. It’s hard to be bored when every fishing trip throws a curve ball in one form or another.

Take yesterday for example, when I left the house, I was all worried and upset that overnight thunderstorms would ruin the fishing trip for my customer. Even his wife worried about the fishing experience, at the boat landing he told me that before he left his house, she asked him; “are you sure it’s going to be worth fishing after all of those storms last night?”

The answer he gave his wife was like the answer I would have given her, or anybody else for that matter. When it comes to predicting what will happen on any giving fishing trip, the only true answer is that if you don’t go, you won’t know. It’s not easy to justify cancelling a fishing trip on a perfectly lovely day only because the weather was bad yesterday. And as I wrote yesterday morning; “There is always a chance that I’ll stumble into a lucky break and find fish that are more active than I expect.”

As we left the dock and I fired up my Humminbird, the temperature reading was 78 degrees. That represented an overnight drop in surface temperature of at least 5 degrees, maybe more. I reckon that during the thunderstorms, large size hail falling into the water is one reason the drop was so dramatic.

The breeze was brisk and coming from the west, so I made my first stop at an inside corner on the east shoreline. Wind blowing into a tight corner serves as a trap for baitfish and there are often predators nearby. Here, John caught one nice “eater size” walleye, then not long afterward another one. Not bad, even though we didn’t pick up the crappies that I was hoping for at this spot, the walleyes did represent a decent start to our day.

After a couple passes on that breakline, the action slowed, and it was time to try another spot. From that point on, I made a series of moves that would all work out pretty much the same way; John would catch a nice keeper walleye and I’d release a 13 incher or two.

Along with the walleyes, we’d find northern pike, small perch, rock bass and a few largemouth bass. Typically, we’d have a spurt of action on the first trolling pass, followed by a somewhat slower second pass and after two passes, we’d move to the next spot. Except for one lone crappie that came off of spot number 7 or 8, the panfish that I was expecting to catch on this lake never showed up.

Under different circumstances, the lack of crappies would have been a big disappointment. But when walleyes are biting, it somehow brightens an otherwise gloomy outlook. At one point, John asked me how the fishing trip stacked up in terms of my pre-trip expectations. My answer, “the walleye fishing was better than I expected and the panfish was worse than I expected”, was an honest one. The mix of species during a typical trip on that lake usually favors panfish, walleyes, when we catch them are more of a bonus fish.

Could it be that the slow panfish bite was the reason for the above average walleye production? I think so, I think that maybe because we weren’t constantly reeling in panfish, our Little Joe Spinners had more time to attract walleyes. Anyway, that theory is as good as any and while I won’t count on the same thing happening again, I will have this trip in the back of my mind whenever I’m planning to fish after another big weather disturbance.

Our presentation was typical of most mid-summer, mixed bag fishing trips. We trolled the Little Joes near the weed edges in water depths of 10 to 14 feet. A 3/16-ounce bullet sinker was the perfect weight, we snagged an occasional weed, but for the most part, our lures ran clean, tickling the tops of mixed cabbage and flat stemmed pondweed.

image of the Hippie Chick with huge bluegill Earlier this week, I finally had a chance to fish with my own wife, AKA "The Hippie Chick". With everything that’s gone on this year, it’s been hard for us to plan both of us being off on the same day and she’s really gotten the short end of the stick. In fact, this was her first fishing trip since opening weekend, 2 months ago.

On that day, we explored a small panfish lake that I hadn’t ever fished before. According to the DNR Lake finder website, the 200-acre lake had potential to be a good choice for crappie fishing. However, for us it turned out to be a much better choice for sunfish.

On that day, trolling the Little Joe spinners was a good way to find the fish, but because the spots were small, fishing vertically using small jigs was much more efficient. Once I learned where the fish were, I used the spot-lock to hold us in position and we dropped 1/16 Lindy Live Bait Jigs tipped with cut night crawler pieces into the weeds.

The troll ‘till you find ‘em, stop ‘till you catch ‘em presentation is typically reliable and I would suggest trying it this weekend if you’re looking to get in on some panfish. In fact, despite the slow panfish bite we experienced by trolling on Thursday, there were others fishing vertically and doing well. We were close enough to see that one couple on the lake were anchored, fishing vertically for sunfish and they were catching them fairly quickly.

I speculated yesterday that the drop in surface water temperatures might actually lead us into a “reset” of more typical summertime fishing patterns. The ultra-high surface temperatures that occurred during last week’s heat wave were way beyond reasonable. At 84 to 86 degrees, with sunshine and calm seas, the fish were so hunkered down in the weeds that it became tough to root them out.

With a forecast of more moderate conditions heading our way, I’m optimistic that we’ll see a more well-rounded array of fishing choices over the next week.

If you’re headed for the lake this weekend, have a great time, the weather forecast looks awesome! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 9, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Fishing Report"

Thunder has been rumbling in and around the Grand Rapids area all night long. In fact, as I write this report, I’m still seeing my back-yard light up under the occasional flash of lightning.

When it comes to walleye fishing, I am not a fan of unstable weather and this is especially true when it comes on the heels of an already “tough bite”. The negative effects of unstable weather had already been noticeable on recent fishing trips, walleye have been sluggish and hard to locate. Even when we have found them, there has been no guarantee that we could make them bite.

Naturally, the arrival of even more stormy weather has me worried about the trip I have planned for today. But like it or not, Mother Nature pays little regard to the impact her little tantrums have on fishing. So even if my confidence level is shaky today, I know that the show must go on. Besides, there is always a chance that I’ll stumble into a lucky break and find fish that are more active than I expect.

Sometimes, the full effects of a storm’s passing on fish activity isn’t felt until after the weather passes and they can be coaxed to bite before the turbulence is over. To that end, I already have today’s customer alerted to the idea of getting an early start. I’m hoping that we can get in on some action before the weather gets “too nice” again.

An early start out the door means that I need to cut today’s report short. But I promise a full update about everything that’s happened this week on Friday morning, along with some ideas about some good strategies for the weekend. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 9, 2020

"Walleye fishing remains challenging for many anglers as record high temps made it challenging just being on the water and not in the water. Still anglers managed to find walleyes.

Walleye are now largely being found out on top of sunken islands, in as shallow as 10 feet of water. Trolling or drifting spinner rigs over the top of them or around them, has been very effective. Minnow continue to work but keeping them alive has become to much of a challenge for most, so leeches and crawlers are now the baits of choice.

Bass - Topwater frog fishing for Largemouth Bass has been excellent early in the mornings, in the thick weeds or lily pads. Smallmouth Bass too, have been hitting topwater in the mornings, but as the sun gets up, they start sliding deeper. Spinnerbaits and jigs and twisters have been working better as this happens.

Lake Trout - Lake trout has been surprisingly good this last week. Anglers have been finding them out over deep water and catching them either leadcoring, shallow diving stick baits or using down riggers with large trolling spoons. Anglers are finding them 20-40 feet down.

Stream Trout - Stream trout fishing has improved this last week. Anglers have been catching rainbows by trolling spinner rigs or small crack baits over deep water about 10-20 feet down. Shore anglers have been catching trout fishing a night crawler off the bottom. Anglers have been adding a puff of air to the crawler to float them off the bottom." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge July 7, 2020

"The Walleye Master Guides have been working fishing grounds on the North side of the lake. This past week has been either on the East side or West side of Garden Island. Great success continues. There were many fresh meals of Walleye and limits of take-home fish with a great number of trophy size Walleye caught and released.

The restaurant has been busy and it has been difficult having some items regularly in stock. It is amazing to say, sliced ham and Miller Lite are hard to get, say it isn’t so Bob Uecker!

The anchor and jig bite has been slowing down this past week. There has been a lot of drifting with spinners and live bait. Same usual colors, hammered gold, chartreuse, glow red.

Big news this past week for the lodge, we purchased a new building! We are working on some remodeling and planning to have a new facility for sleeper house business up and running for the coming winter. We plan to add shower houses and more, so hold tight, more news will be coming. The new decks on the river cabins are complete. The landscaping and driveways are still being worked on. There is a lot of mud, we are trying to keep carpet rolls for walkways. There are boot brushes at all the cabins and on the docks. Coming soon, new floating dock with gangway. We will have an 8’ wide and 48’ long floating dock section for boarding our charters.

This week looks to be staying with the 30-degree temperature changes. Typically, it brings evening storms as the sun goes down and we cool off for the night. High’s in the upper 80’ and lows into the upper 50’s this week." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 7, 2020

image of cooler filled with walleyes "Lots of limits of nice walleyes were taken on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Along with the eaters, there were plenty of larger fish in the 19.5 to 28 inch protected slot and also some trophy walleyes, over 28 inches.

Schools of fish all around the lake, from the Lighthouse and Morris Point Gap area which is adjacent to Pine Island to Zippel Bay to reefs and mud near Long Point and Rocky Point all producing. Garden Island area also holds nice schools of walleyes.

The go to presentation is pulling spinners with night crawlers or leeches at 1.0 to 1.3 MPH. Some anglers are also doing well trolling crankbaits using lead core line or downriggers. Nice schools of walleyes also staged over deep mud. Some fish are shallow, 7- 15', other fish holding in 23 - 31'. Hammered gold, gold/glow, pink, and orange hot colors this week.

On the Rainy River, Sturgeon anglers catching some good fish as the season opened on July 1st. Fishing holes in the river with a 3 ounce no roll sinker and sturgeon rig loaded with crawlers and/or frozen shiners. Nice smallies in rocky areas. Pike are also active cruising weedy bays, bay mouths and current breaks. Walleyes hanging out on flats and can be caught with crawler harnesses or trolling crankbaits.

Until the US and Canada border opens, guests can continue to travel across the lake in the Northwest Angle provided that they are staying and fishing only in Minnesota waters. There are shuttle services available and fishing for multi species has been excellent. Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.

Excellent fishing for walleyes, pike and bass continues in the Northwest Angle. Schools of walleyes on structure, over sand and on mud. Nice walleyes 8 - 17' on the sand or 25 - 28' around structure. The best presentation is drifting and trolling spinners with crawlers or a minnow. Pike and smallmouth bass active in weedy bays. Bucktails for pike retrieved slow working well."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish July 7, 2020 Zoom Midsize Brush Hog Giveaway

image links to fishing article "Zoom is forever making shapes and colors that die-hard anglers know help them put more fish in the boat. Pond and small water anglers too know the power of Zoom.

We anticipate each new launch of new shapes, sizes, and colors and wanted 5 Wired2fish followers in on the new products too.

We love to hear the success stories from our readers when they use them.

In our next giveaway five readers will receive one Package of each of the following colors: Watermelon seed • Junebug • Watermelon Red • Green Pumpkin Magic • California 420 and Stay tuned for other great Zoom giveaways just around the corner." Learn More and Enter >> Zoom Midsize Brush Hog Giveaway

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 6, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Fishing Report"

image links to fishing report July 6, 2020 I promised an update about last Friday, our final fishing trip before the Independence Day holiday weekend. I can sum it up with a single word, BUSY!

With July 4th falling on Saturday, there were lots of folks who had Friday off as the observed holiday. Combine that with stable, warm weather and a pent-up demand to get outside and you have the recipe for shoreline-to-shoreline traffic on Itasca Area lakes.

After 2 consecutive days of focusing on walleyes, my crew was interested in wrapping up the trip with crappies in the crosshairs. Knowing that fishing conditions would be sunny skies and calm seas, I hedged my bet by selecting a lake that also had good populations of sunfish, walleyes and above average size pike. I figured that if we couldn’t get the crappies to go, that there would be another species to serve as a backup.

When we arrived at the landing, there were only about 3 rigs in the parking lot. But on the lake, there was already a boat on every weed bed, the shoreline was surrounded by resident anglers who appeared eager to get an early jump at the “morning bite”. Obviously, we would have our work cut out for us, but the odds of finding anyplace quieter, that also had equal fishing potential were low. Our best bet was to get the boat on the water and wiggle into whichever nooks and crannies were un-occupied by other anglers.

On the lake, surface water was well above 80 degrees and before we left the lake that afternoon, the temperature had risen above 84 degrees. Continued warm conditions over the weekend probably pushed the temperatures even higher, but that is only speculation on my part.

image of flat stemmed pondweed In the warm water, fish were active and when we could access them, they struck. However, the effects of calm water and sunshine served to offset the activity levels, they encouraged fish to burrow down into the thickest areas with the weed beds.

Whenever we trolled into a weed bed, there would be a flurry of action when the most aggressive, highest riding fish were caught off guard. As soon as they knew we were in pursuit, the rest of the fish would hunker down, forcing us to move constantly, searching for un-tapped territory where the element of surprise would favor us.

We stuck with trolling, using Little Joe Spinners behind 1/8-ounce bullet sinkers. The crew tipped theirs with minnows and I experimented with leeches and night crawlers. Because of that, I caught more sunfish than them, but I also used a lot more bait than they did. The crappies we did catch, all struck on the spinners tipped with minnows.

In terms of presentation, there probably was one way that I could have been more productive. Casting 1/16-ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with plastics would have allowed us to get further down into the weed pockets to root out some additional fish.

Feeling the “pop” of a crappie striking a jig as it falls into the weeds is really fun. The problem is that this is a finesse presentation and learning how to work the weeds with finesse instead of yanking and tugging against them requires a certain level of intensity and determination. I wasn’t confident that my crew was prepared to work quite that hard on this particular project.

We stuck with the trolling presentation and accepted what the lake was willing to give us, which on this day, included every species I mentioned in the pre-trip description. There were a few crappies, some nice size sunfish, a handful of walleyes and lots of pike, one 29-inch pike proved the point there were fish of “above average size” in the lake.

The crappies we caught were holding tight in patches of flat stemmed pondweed. The pike and sunfish came out of cabbage weeds in 8 to 12 feet of water and the walleyes were found just outside of the cabbage weeds in about 13 feet of water.

For the rest of this week, my focus will be on researching more lakes that offer mixed-bag opportunities like the one I describe here.

I’m learning that during the fine-tuning process, it pays more to study the aquatic plants and water clarity sections of each lake report than getting hung up on fish population assessments. Knowing the mix of fish in any given lake is certainly an important consideration, But Unless a lake was surveyed within the past season or two at the most, information you read about fish populations will already be obsolete.

Knowing about water clarity and which types of vegetation the lake has will give you important clues about how to approach fishing it. It will not be long before you become familiar with certain lake types and start developing “favorite patterns”.fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin Fishing Report July 1, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Fishing Report"

image of bill diehm with giant smallmouth bass If you are planning to fish over the July 4th holiday weekend, you should feel optimistic. There are reports of good fishing action coming in from almost everywhere my friends are fishing. And except for one lake that threw me a zinger on Monday morning, my trips have been going very well this week as well.

Surface temperatures on every lake I’ve fished over the past few days are pushing 75 degrees. It hasn’t mattered if the lakes were large, small, deep or shallow, temperatures have been fairly uniform.

Along with warmer water comes an increase in fish metabolism and this is when mixed bag trolling patterns really start taking off. Comments like “the sunfish and crappies were going nuts”, “largemouth bass were blowing up everywhere” and “the pike have been going berserk” fairly well summarize some of the reports I’ve been getting.

One particularly rewarding note came from my friend Bill Diehm. Because of clear water and flat seas, we avoided fishing the lake he and his wife Sue are vacationing on last Sunday. Instead we fished a dark water lake, which turned out to be a good idea.

Bill took the lessons to heart though and applied them to their own lake on Tuesday. Diehm: “Working the deep edges of the weeds like a champ! I had a good teacher, thanks. The 19-1/2 inch smallmouth is the definition of a bonus fish!”

Along with the smallmouth picture, Bill included photos of walleye and large perch too; more proof that the mixed bag pattern is emerging everywhere.

image of woman with big perchMy own experiences this week are that perch of quality size are showing up in weedy shoreline breaks again. So far, most are still small, but on Tuesday, we bagged a handful of good keepers in the weeds. The trend appears to be move in the right direction, the ratio of jumbos increases by a few each day.

Walleye fishing has not been the sole feature of most guide trips for me lately. But when it has been, the Lindy Rig bite has been the best way to go. Fishing mid-lake bars and humps has produced slow-but-steady action. For me, night crawlers injected with a bubble of air to help them float has been the best presentation.

I told my crew yesterday that the worm blower is essential equipment and I really believe it is true. Not only does the floating worm stay in the strike zone better, it allows you to fish without constantly snagging snails, zebra mussels and the like. For the same reasons, small carrot floats have become standard procedure for me when we fish Lindy Rigs with leeches. In fact, I experimented with a floating leech rig yesterday, but the walleyes we found were not at all interested in leeches. Today, the preferences could change, so I do intend to try again.

The wind blew hard yesterday afternoon and when the whitecaps became un-manageable, we reverted to trolling the shoreline. Numerous pike, some nice perch and a couple more walleyes were the reward for our efforts.

Obviously, the mix of species available in your lake dictates what you are likely to catch. But right now, if there’s a decent population of “quality anything”, your chances of getting them to react on the weed line is good. You can fish walleyes if you want and you’ll probably do okay on most of the better walleye lakes. But it should be a great weekend for family friendly mixed bag action too. Some Little Joe Spinners, a couple scoops of fatheads and a spin along the shoreline is all you really need to do. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 1, 2020

"Walleye fishing is slowly starting to improve on many area lakes, as mayflies wrap up their annual hatch. Locations where anglers are finding walleyes vary as much as the anglers. Shallow weedbeds, deep mud, around sunken islands and trolling over deep water for suspended walleyes, all have been working for anglers.

Anglers finding them shallow are catching them by casting crankbaits or jig and minnows. Anglers finding them in the mud or around sunken islands are finding them in 15-20 feet of water and are using leeches or crawlers on spinner rigs or lindy rigs. Anglers finding walleyes suspended out over deep water are catching them with deep diving Shad raps or tail dancers, during the evening hours.

Lake trout fishing has been as hot as recent air temps! Anglers continue reporting excellent fishing for lake trout on many area lake trout lakes. Anglers have been finding them out over deep water, trolling large trolling spoons, behind down riggers or leadcoring. Anglers fishing from a canoe have been having luck using large bucktails or tubes, jigged aggressively in deep water, as they drift over deep water.

Both Smallmouth and Largemouth bass have been aggressively hitting topwater baits like frogs, whopper ploppers and hula poppers. As the sun gets up in the sky, anglers continue to catch bass by going subsurface with spinnerbaits, beetle spins and wacky worms. Anglers have been finding bass shallow around downed trees, weedbeds and around large boulders in the water.

Small Northern Pike have remained very active in shallow water. There has been a few reports of some big pike being caught in weedbeds too, as of late. Anglers have been catching them with buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and spoons. Areas to target them has been shallow weedbeds, mouths of shallow bays and river mouths." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

You Are Invited To Become A Duly Deputized Fishrapper Cub Reporter

image links to fishrapper facebook page If you've been waiting for a gold engraved invitation to participate in the daily reports, then stop waiting and consider this your own personal invitation.

Helping your fellow fishermen and women stay abreast of fishing conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think!

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.