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image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report July 8, 2020 "Lake Winnie: Too Hot To Handle?"

image links to bowen lodge fishing report "Hot, sunny weather and calm winds have allowed surface water temperatures to sky rocket on both Cutfoot and Winnibigoshish. It doesn’t matter where we go on either lake, 80 degrees is the current minimum temperature and we’ve see a few readings pushing the 85 degree mark.

Generally speaking, fish are active but typical of the post zebra mussel era, clear water conditions do not favor anglers who target walleye during the daytime. For die-hard walleye anglers, fishing during the early morning and late evening is the secret to consistency.

If you hang around the fish cleaning shack, you might over hear anglers talking about searching for fish on mid-lake structures like bars and humps. The consensus among many is that the fish have ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 8, 2020

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, July 4, 2020 Four Seasons Resort

"The fishing this past week can be summed up in one word "hot". We saw temperatures that were way above normal and calm winds. That made for some hot fishing. Catching had its moments, as well.

Walleyes are finally showing up on the mid lake structure. The bugs are hatching and the fish are eating. Look for a sunken island that has less fishing pressure for best results. Rigs and leeches or crawlers is working the best. Some walleyes are being caught on jigging Raps, too.

Northern fishing is still very good. Find the best weed growth and use your favorite method to catch pike. You will not be disappointed.
Some muskies were reported on the prowl. Jake had one eat one of the perch he was reeling in. There were also four others that were hooked and got away. So these fish are starting to get active.

Perch fishing is still very solid. Backwater areas in dense weeds are still the best bet for perch. Jigs and fathead minnows or even artificial baits are catching perch. All in all, it was a pretty good week of fishing despite the calm, hot weather.

We have some openings coming up, but they are filling up fast. With the Canadian Border closed, we are getting calls from folks who normally go north of the border to fish. We welcome the opportunity to show them that they don't necessarily have to travel to Canada to have some good fishing". — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

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 denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, June 28, 2020 Four Seasons Resort

"Walleye fishing this season is kind of like the rest of the year has gone, kind of out of sorts! There are no signs of life out on the midlake structure. That is totally out of whack! A normal year would see bugs hatching on the mid lake structure of Lake Winnie. That hasn't happened so far.

We are catching some fish along the shoreline drops in low light conditions, morning and evening. Rigs with leeches seem to be the best presentation. Look a little deeper than normal in 20-30' of water.

Perch fishing has been pretty reliable. If you are looking for a meal of fish, this has been the go to program. Minnows in the backwater areas in the cabbage weeds are holding the most perch. Some perch are being caught off the shoreline drops, and most of the fish are being caught on minnows.

Northerns are starting to be caught. Finding new weed growth is the key to finding pike. Jigs and small sucker minnows, and your favorite trolling baits are good bets for these fish.

We are entering our family fishing time. The pool is open and the ice-cream is refreshing. If you are looking for a family resort on a serious fishing lake, we fit the bill."

We have some openings for the rest of the summer. Check your schedule and give us a call. — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 23, 2020 "Classic Mid-Summer Patterns Return To Lake Winnie"

image links to bowen lodge fishing report "Walleye anglers who love to fish mid-summer, mid-lake patterns on Lake Winnie have renewed enthusiasm today. A much anticipated period of calmer, warmer weather, which will allow easier access to mid-lake fishing structure is in the forecast for this week.

Surface water temperatures have been receding, now in the mid-to-upper-60s. It happened so slowly that we barely noticed, but the lake’s water temperature went from being slightly ahead of schedule early this month, to now being lower than average, for this time of summer.

Insect hatches have not been heavy so far, but as water temperatures rise, they should intensify. Mid-lake structure adjacent to soft bottom areas will continue to attract and hold walleyes until ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report June 23, 2020

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, June 21, 2020 Four Seasons Resort

"Fishing this week seemed like an episode of "Deadliest Catch"! The south and southeast wind howled most of the week 20-30 mph making fishing a real challenge.

Most of the success focused on the perch. Fishermen were finding perch in the weeds in 5-6' of water. Backwater areas were the main focus to find these fish. A myriad of methods were used including: jigs and minnows, bobbers and minnows, bobbers and a piece of worm, jig and a piece of worm, jig and leech, spinners and minnows, shad raps, etc. Basically, they bit on whatever you put down there.

Was an extremely tough week for the walleye fishermen. Unable to fish anything but the southern part of the lake, they struggled. Many reported catching numerous small walleyes and a few in the slot.

Northerns are coming in, as well. Most of them are caught while chasing perch, using whatever they are fishing with for the perch.

The weather has straightened out the past couple of days. With some westerly winds, the fishermen will be able to get out and establish some kind of pattern to catch walleyes. But the perch continue to provide great action and good eating.

We have some openings for the remainder of the summer. If you are thinking about a summer fishing vacation for you and the family, we fit the bill. Look forward to hearing from you." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish June 16, 2020 "Navionics Adds Hi-Res Relief Shading to Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum"

"Navionics, a unit of Garmin® Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced that high-resolution relief shading is now available for Navionics Platinum+ marine charts and HotMaps Platinum lake maps, as well as on the Navionics mobile Boating app, for U.S. coastal waters and more than 150 lakes.

Platinum products and the mobile Boating app will also feature updated SonarChart™ Shading and improved satellite imagery. These updates prepare the most bold and ambitious anglers, boaters, and divers to feel confident and aware of what lies beneath them as they explore a full suite of rich bottom topography content.

"Navionics remains dedicated to providing our customers with the finest, most up-to-date marine cartography coverage on the market," said Marcello Albanese, Navionics director of sales and business development. "These premium features and content options demonstrate our devotion to equip all those who ..." Read and Learn More >> Navionics Adds Hi-Res Relief Shading to Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, June 16, 2020 Four Seasons Resort

"Strong winds have been blowing from the southeast at 20-30 mph and that's made fishing difficult for our guests. Despite the rugged conditions, fish have been caught by the guests.

Perch continue to be the best bet for a fish fry. Deeper shoreline breaks 20-25' using jigs and fatheads have been a good reliable perch pattern. Some guests are venturing into Sugar Lake and finding perch, as well.

The walleyes seem to be either 11" or 21" long. The walleyes are a little shallower on the same breaklines as the perch. 14-17' of water has been good for the walleyes. Some fish above the slot of 23" are also coming in.

Northerns are patrolling areas inhabited by the perch. Jigs and minnows while fishing for other species have been catching pike. The weather is supposed to straighten out after this warm spell. With the wind changing and the wind moving to the west northwest, we hope to be able to get out and explore the midlake structures. The fish should start feeding on the bugs that hatch out of the midlake. Will keep you posted.

We have openings for the next few weeks. If you are thinking of taking a trip up north, give us a call." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 12, 2020

image links to bowen lodge fishing report "Presentations for walleye vary by location and depth. Guests who prefer to pursue mixed bags are sticking with shoreline breaks in water depths of 10 to 14 feet, using jig and minnow combinations.

There are plenty of walleye along with bonus pike and perch, all 3 species will grab the jigs and minnows. Use 1/8 ounce sizes for starters, move up to ¼ ounce on windy days or when the fish are holding along the deeper portions of the breakline.

Walleye purists have gotten serious about Lindy Rigs tipped with live leeches and night crawlers. These have been the standard for many who fish the bars and humps on Winnie. Long, 6 to 10 foot leaders are helpful; rig them with light weight #6 hooks and use only the ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report June 12, 2020

image links to the Pines Resort website Lake Winnibigoshish The Pines Resort June 9, 2020

Turbulent weather has complicated things a little, but after a great week of Walleye action on Winnie, we expect to see fishing get well again as soon as the weather pattern stabilizes.

For many, trips out to nearby structures like Plughat Point, The Three Sisters and along the NE shoreline of Tamarack Bay, (area known as the Satellite Dishes) have provided all the action they’ve needed. Northern pike, walleye and perch are mixed and located along the breakline in water depths of 8 to 12 feet.

For some of our more adventurous guests, Winnie’s mid lake bars are attractive now as well. Well-known structures like the Bena Bar, Horseshoe, Moses, Sugar and other large bars, closely related to steep shoreline breaks are the best. These areas are particularly productive for larger fish right now and would be good spots for “Catch Photo Release” walleye fishing.

Pike and perch still inhabit certain areas of the main lake bars, but are encountered less often than they were earlier this season. With insect hatches beginning to emerge, they are probably located deeper, near soft bottom areas where the larvae mature. Once the bug hatches run their course, both perch and pike will begin showing up on gravel and rock structures again.

Presentations vary, there are still a lot of people fishing with jigs and minnows and the fish continue to like that. In the shallow bays, 1/8 ounce weights are the mainstay. On deeper structures, ¼ ounce jigs are a better choice. Winnie walleyes love shiners; they are the natural forage, so we do recommend using them when they’re available. Some of the bait shops have been offering a “river mix”; in one bag full of minnows you’ll get rainbows, dace, brass shiners, leatherbacks and others. This is a good alternative when spot tail shiners are not available.

The water is warming up and other presentations are becoming more reliable every day. Lindy Rigs tipped with leeches and night crawlers are producing fish, so are slip-floats. Spinners, a presentation that usually comes into play later, are producing fish too.

Area fishing guide Jeff Sundin has been experimenting with spinners and offers this; “The weeds aren’t very well developed yet, so the traditional bullet sinker and spinner trolled over the cabbage tops hasn’t begun. I’ve had good luck trolling deeper though, in water depths of 12 to 18 feet. You could troll your spinner behind a bottom bouncer, but I don’t always like getting out the heavier artillery. I like to use the same rods we use for spinning the weeds, but instead of the bullet weights, I slip on a ¾ ounce Lindy “No Snagg” sinker. That weight will allow you to get down to the fish easily, but without having to use high power casting rods like the ones we use for bottom bouncing.”

Usually, trolling speeds for spinners are 1.0 to 1.3 MPH, but experiment with speeds until you dial in the best speed for the conditions.

Panfish anglers are finding crappies in the cabbage weeds. They are not always active during the daytime, but for those who fish during the evening, the bite has been fairly reliable. Focus on fishing the pockets within cabbage weed beds, and for thicker weeds, follow the edges closely.

Casting small jigs tipped with action tails is a great way to pursue crappies; spinners tipped with minnows will produce fish too.

Feeling cooped up lately? Maybe it's time to get outside and do some fishing! Like most everyone, we've had a crazy season so far and there have been some cancellations. Lately, folks have had renewed enthusiasm and the phones are ringing, but we still have some cabins available during some very desireable time slots.

Follow the link to our website or give us a call for details. — Chad & Melissa Mertz The Pines Resort 218-246-8546 or 1-800-342-1552

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 1, 2020

"Two old fishermen’s saws that almost always turn out to be true are these.

When the Lilacs are in bloom, crappies are in the peak of their spawning season. Whenever there’s a dragonfly hatch, sunfish find their way to the shallows and begin fanning their spawning beds. Those proverbs are obviously true because panfish action has really taken off over these past few days.

As you can see by the photo, this male crappie is wearing his Sunday best, his black spawning outfit. You can see too by the wear and tear on his tail fin that he’s been working hard, fanning the silt out of a depression in the soft, marl bottom.

Female fish do not ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report June 1, 2020

image links to the Pines Resort website Lake Winnibigoshish The Pines Resort May 29, 2020

image of walleye coming to landing net After a high speed warm up, shiners made their move into shallow water and on their heels, walleye, perch and lots of pike hoping to satisfy their appetites.

On Thursday, strong west winds blew into our bay and interrupted our ability to check up on them, but before that, the gamefish had moved shallow enough so that we could see them. Cruising over the shallow sand flats, it was easy to spot fish roaming around.

That’s the good news; the bad news is that when we can see them, they can see us. When fish are that shallow and the water is this clear, you need to come up with an approach plan that won’t spook them.

On Winnie, anglers are still learning how to deal with clear water, so for guidance, we’ve researched some tricks of the trade employed by pro anglers who fish on other popular, clear-water lakes. Some of the tactics they’ve used will help you find and catch more fish on Winnie too.

Slip floats and live bait have been putting fish in the cooler on Mille Lacs for decades. The presentation is gaining momentum on Winnie these days and for good reason; it works. One great rig includes a Thill 2X Pro Series bobber, a large, #4 size sinker placed about a foot above a 1/16 ounce jig. Tip the jig with a lively leech, a lip hooked shiner, rainbow chub or ½ of a night crawler.

It’s important to set the float to hold your bait about 18-24 inches above the bottom (above the fish). Walleye will come up to examine and strike your bait, but will seldom go down to find it. More often than not, a bobber rig that’s set too deep will result in numerous nibbles from small, unwanted perch. If you’ve tried slipping floats and that pesky perch bite has happened to you, then you were probably fishing too deep.

The importance of the 2X large float and heavy slip shot is that it will allow you the element of surprise. When you can get your lure far enough away from the boat, the fish will often respond to the natural presentation before they become agitated by the presence of your boat.

Another presentation that anglers on Winnie have overlooked is “pitching” jig and minnow, or jig and leech combinations. The principal is to keep your boat away from the fish while your lures are dropping into the strike zone.

Hold your boat along the outer edges of the breakline, just close enough to allow your cast to reach the fish. Move slowly and cast toward the area you suspect fish are present, allow the jig to fall toward the bottom and then retrieve it with a hop-drop-swim approach. If you’re fishing minnows, your presentation can be more aggressive; for leeches, slow down and use lighter jigs, so they have plenty of time to swim.

Many anglers cruise the deep edge of the breakline and cast toward shallow water. But overlook the reverse scenario, sometimes holding your boat on the shallow side and casting toward deep water will put more fish in your livewell.

The pitching presentation is also a good way to find fish holding in the deep cabbage weeds that grow on the flats in our bay. Those cabbage flats are fun to fish because you never know what the next strike will produce. Fishing in the cabbage, our guests have come in with walleye, northern pike, perch, largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, rock bass and even an occasional musky.

Mother Nature is issuing a chill for the next couple of days, but the forecast looks good for a warmer week ahead. The surface water temps are coming into the ideal range for an action bite and this is typically the season when spots along the Mississippi River channel will produce walleyes. The 3 sisters, Tamarack Point, The Satellite Dishes and Bowens Flats are all good areas to check. We know that there are fish in these areas right now because we’ve seen ‘em with our own eyes.

You won’t need to search far and wide for perch and pike, they will come along periodically while you fish for walleyes. If you encounter a school of good size perch, you may want to capitalize on the opportunity. They are delicious to eat and have already made more than a few fish fries for our guests this spring.

If you’re adventurous, there’s a good chance that you can explore for panfish this week. They can be illusive, but once you find them, Winnie can produce good size crappie and sunfish. They’ll be in the back bays in and around heavy cover like Bulrush, Wild Rice and emerging Lilly Pads. — Chad & Melissa Mertz The Pines Resort 218-246-8546 or 1-800-342-1552

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, May 27, 2020 Four Seasons Resort

"The weather was great on the Memorial Day Weekend. The fishing was good, also. 

Walleyes are not hard to come by using jigs and minnows. Walleyes you can keep are a different story. Most of the fish that are caught are either in the protected slot (18"-23") or small, 6-11". The future of walleye fishing looks very bright on the horizon. We have two huge year classes that are being caught in large numbers. 

While they are too small now, the 11" fish may grow large enough to keep by fall. But those two years should keep walleye fishing great for the foreseeable future on Lake Winnie.

The best bet for eating fish continues to be the perch. We are still catching really nice size perch in good numbers. Jigs or rigs with fathead minnows seem to be the best presentation. 

The schools of perch are pretty tightly packed together. Troll the edge of the shoreline drops until you locate the perch, then sit right on top of them and fish vertically. Many limits of 20 nice size perch are being caught right now.

Northerns are a bonus these days. They can be caught while fishing walleyes or perch. Not any pattern to them, but they are hanging out where the rest of the fish are.

Fish will be migrating out to the midlake structure soon. This can be some of the best fishing of the year. We have openings right now, so if you are looking for a getaway now is a great time to be here. " — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 21, 2020

"We, along with our guests have watched Lake Winnie’s response to changing conditions and can’t help but to be amazed at the resiliency of this body of water. Despite changing conditions, she keeps kicking out impressive year classes of fish. The big year classes don’t always come at the precise time we want them to, but they do come and we’re watching one massive year class mature right now.

The walleye year class of 2018 is among the best ever for Winnibigoshish. Not only were there huge numbers of fish hatched, but they had both good survival and great growth rates during their first year. We’re seeing anecdotal evidence that they must have also had a great survival rate over this past winter because anglers are catching them left and right this spring.

The ‘18s aren’t ready for the creel yet, at an average length of around 11-12 inches, they’ll for sure be eaters by next spring. Some of the really fast growers may even reach an acceptable size by ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 21, 2020

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, May 18, 2019 Four Seasons Resort

"What a beautiful weekend to be in Northern Minnesota! It was nice because the Orioles were not here....

The fishing was great this weekend but the catching was kind of spotty. Walleyes continue to relate to the shoreline drops with the points on the west and north side seeing the most action.

The evening offers some opportunities to do a little casting into the very shallow water where the shiners are moving toward the shoreline.

The great year-classes that we have heard about for the last two years can be experienced. It is quite a challenge to hook a 6 inch or 11 inch walleye! But you can get a bite every cast, you just can't expect to hook them.

Perch fishing is still the way to deliver a fish fry. Most of the primary breaklines are holding schools of nice size perch. As you can see from my youngest grandson Jack's first fish, they are really nice. Jigs and fathead minnows fished slow is still the best way to catch 'em.

Northerns are spotty, but are being caught when fishing for perch or walleyes. The size varies, but they seem to be pretty chunky for this time of year. Most of the fish coming in are under the 22-26" slot.

Our dockboys are experts at removing the "Y" bones and deliver a boneless filet to your cabin.

We still have openings for the Holiday Weekend. If you are looking for a place to come and do some fishing, give us a call." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to the Pines Resort website Lake Winnibigoshish The Pines Resort May 15, 2020

image links to winnie fishing report After a busy and productive fishing opener, traffic on the lake got quiet during mid-week. Between cold, windy conditions and a little bit of rain, folks opted to hold off until better weather arrives.

The anticipated warmup did arrive on Thursday and sent outside air temperatures up into the high 60s. Surface water temperatures began rising too, strong afternoon winds churned the surface, bring water temps back down, but the trend will be upward over the next few days.

The reason we’re monitoring water temperature is that shiner minnows are waiting for a warmup before they’ll move away from the weedy flats and onto shallow water sand and gravel. The beginning of shiner spawning definitely allows bait trappers an opportunity to gather supplies of our favorite minnows. But for anglers, the shiner runs offer a chance to find hungry walleyes stuffed into well-defined and predictable locations.

Tamarack Bay, located just outside of our front door, is one of Winnie’s most productive areas for minnows to spawn. Sprawling weed flats offer minnows protection in terms of both cover and their ability to spread out horizontally across the expanse of shallow water. To feed, walleyes have to roam constantly in search of scattered schools of bait. But when shiners begin spawning, they are for a short time, very vulnerable. They will all be crammed into shallow water and along breaklines where walleyes can find them.

Walleye anglers familiar with Winnibigoshish know that between now and Memorial Day, Tamarack Bay has the potential be one of the lake’s most productive areas.

Key depths will vary with the weather, but anglers should focus on the 8 to 12 foot range most of the time. Well defined shoreline breaks will be the structure to look for. The shallow flats that lay along both sides the Mississippi River channel can be productive, so are the shallow breaklines that run all of the way from Plughat Point west to Bowens Flats. The large flat at Tamarack Point is also one of the preferred structures during the early season.

Most folks stick with jig and minnows during the early season, they are very reliable. Lindy Rigs tipped with minnows work too and occasionally, slip floats help our guests put fish in the boat too.

Expect to encounter schools of perch on the flats too. They are either about to spawn, or are already in the process and both Tamarack and the Dam Bays are mating destinations for them.

image links to pines resort memorial day specialLooking at the weather forecast, we are chomping at the bit to get on the water. Temperatures in the 70s, lots of sunny days and moderate winds are forecast for the next full week. These conditions are going to trigger a lot of fish movement, so if you’ve been on the fence about making a trip, now is the time to call us; we may still have an opening for you.

This is also a good time to let you know that we do have a few openings for Memorial Day weekend, so be sure to inquire about our Memorial Day Special.

We’re looking forward to a wonderful week of fishing and we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how you do on the lake and if you like, stop by for a visit.

When the sun comes out and the weather gets warm, we recall the old saying; “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” Check out this year’s ice cream flavors! Waffle cones are available at the lodge, in addition to many other frozen treats, YUM! See You Soon — Chad & Melissa Mertz The Pines Resort 218-246-8546 or 1-800-342-1552

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.

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 14, 2020

"Guests who fished during the opening week of walleye season found a classic post spawn, cold water pattern on Lake Winnie.

It’s been a couple of weeks since spawning walleyes made their move through Little Cutfoot With the spawning run completed, female walleyes have already moved out and were found migrating away from Cutfoot and into the big lake. At this stage of the season, fishing can be a little “hit and miss” and that’s what we’ve observed so far.

Because of the cold water temperatures, there was little incentive for most of the migrating fish to move shallow and feed. Instead, they closely followed traditional migration routes along shoreline breaks and along the river channels. Anglers who found and fished along those migration routes were rewarded with good catches.

Areas that produced well for our guests, included ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge Fishing Report May 14, 2020

image denotes fishing report from Rour Seasons Fishing Resort Lake Winnibigoshish, Joe Thompson, May 11, 2019 Four Seasons Resort

image of angler on Winnie with nice walleye "Opening Day of Minnesota fishing finally came and went. One thing I noticed is that the fish didn't know about or care about Covid 19! Everyone who wet a line caught some fish.

The best reports for keeping fish were on the perch front. Lots of nice 10-12" perch were caught along the primary breaklines. Anglers reported fishing 15 to 20 feet deep seemed to be the best depths. Jigs and minnows worked very slow were the best presentation.

Walleyes were caught in good numbers, but the keepers were far between. Jigs and minnows were also the best bet here, but you needed to be working the bait to get them to bite. The fish were both shallow and deep. The west side points were the main areas where the fish were found.

Some northerns were caught among the walleyes. Most of these fish were in the protected slot, or the anglers chose not to keep them.
The weather was cold but we dodged the snow that other areas enjoyed. The wind was down which helped to make it bearable.

We have had some cancellations due to the virus. If you are interested in fishing Lake Winnie in the spring, give us a call. We are taking every precaution to not allow the spread of the disease at The Four Seasons. Look forward to seeing you." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231

image links to the Pines Resort website Lake Winnibigoshish The Pines Resort May 7, 2020 "Lake Winnie 2020 Fishing Opener Forecast"

image of the Pines Resort on Lake Winnie We have really been hustling to get the resort ready for this weekend and we did it. After a long winter, there was no amount of work that could discourage us. Seeing the open water, hearing sounds of spring and breathing the fresh air has us excited for the fishing opener.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones who are enthused about getting out on the water, walleye anglers must be too because we have a full house for the weekend.

The monster size year class of walleyes that hatched in 2018 had already begun showing up late in the 2019 season. Over the winter, we heard numerous reports from guests and friends who fished the lake and caught lots of 11 to 12-inch walleyes. Granted, they were small then and still will be this spring, but as our summer progresses, we anticipate seeing those fish begin maturing, rapidly moving toward the keeper size range.

We know that the growth rate in Winnie is typically really great, but we’re not making any assumptions. The current growth rate may be somewhat diminished by the larger size of that year class. That’s okay with us because if it happens, that would probably help keep those fish in the keeper size range for a longer period of time.

In the meantime, these fish are likely to provide our guests with a lot of action this summer and for the next few seasons to come.

image of lindy live bait jig tipped with minnowThis spring, the ice was off Winnie a little earlier than average. Most, if not all the female walleyes have already completed their migration into spawning areas. But the water temperatures are still cold, and we think it’s likely that many scattered groups of male fish will still be lingering near shallow gravel patches and current areas.

On opening morning, anglers looking for smaller fish to eat, are probably best off focusing on shallow spawning areas before fishing pressure forces those male fish to move. After that, you’ll be better off searching for fish on the flats, wherever newly emerging weed stubble provides cover for minnows.

In Tamarack Bay, a key area for shiner trappers during spring, large expanses of these shallow weed stubble flats attract huge schools of minnows. Walleyes, eager to feed after the spawning season is complete, begin roaming the flats to feed.

Key water depths will depend on cloud and wind conditions. Typical fish depths during spring will range anywhere from 6 feet to about 12 feet. When fish are actively feeding, slow tapering drop-off areas will produce best. Fish in neutral or negative feeding patterns will gravitate toward steeper breaklines with access to deeper water.

Jig and minnow combinations are the long-time favorite presentation during the early season on Winnie. A supply of jigs in the 1/16, 1/8 and ¼ ounce sizes will cover every situation; 1/8 ounce are the most common weights.

We’ve learned that one key factor in angler success on Winnie has been water clarity. For us, it has appeared that the population of Zebra Mussels in Lake Winnibigoshish had leveled out. For some insight, we reached out to Grand Rapids Fishery Supervisor Dave Weitzel and he replied. “We think that zebra mussels have stabilized. It seems that once they fully infest a lake, the population will go through little ups and downs.  It seems that they may have been down a bit the last couple of years.”

We know that the mussels will always be with us, but with populations not exploding the way they did a few years back. It is possible that the impact of their presence will be felt a little less dramatically as their population stabilizes. In 2018, we learned that when Zebra Mussel populations are down, water clarity diminishes, algae blooms come back, and fishing gets good.

We know that anglers figure out how to find and catch walleyes in other clear water lakes. Over time, adaptation has been the secret to consistent success on Winnie too. So when we combine that with what we know about how strong the walleye population is, and that conditions could stabilize, it is hard to be anything but positive about the upcoming season.

While we were in contact with Dave Weitzel, we cleared up a couple of other questions. We asked about whether anglers will be allowed to fish in Little Cutfoot for the opener. Weitzel; “Cut Foot and Little Cut Foot are both open for fishing. There is a nasty rumor going around that DNR closed it, but that is not true.  We only close it if we are taking eggs within a few days of opener and fish are artificially concentrated.”

We asked too about water levels and water clarity and he said this; “I have not had reports about water clarity, but I have heard that water levels are low. I suspect that the lake was drawn down anticipating spring rains, but those rains never came. I know that the US Army Corps of Engineers held water back to alleviate flood concerns in Aitkin, but the lack of rain in April is contributing to low water.”

Northern Pike will continue to provide good action and good eating for our guests this summer too. Pike populations remain high; in fact, recent statistics show 13-15 fish per test net now. That is roughly double the 6 fish per test net during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The protected slot that requires releasing all pike from 22-26 inches took effect in 2018 and by all accounts, began doing its job. There were numerous reports from folks who released a lot of fish in that protected range.

Perch populations have declined over the past few years, but the reward for that has been more fish entering the “keeper” size range. Last winter, our guests experienced periods of fabulous perch fishing. There were some exceptionally nice fish too, even some 14 plus inches long. Fish over 9 inches are becoming more abundant and now make up 15% of the total perch population. There are fewer small fish and more desirable ones in the lake. Anglers should anticipate catching fewer fish overall, but when they find them, there will be a better chance at catching keepers.”

Historically, panfish populations in Cutfoot, Little Cutfoot and Winnie have been cyclical. In 2018 we saw evidence of a new up and coming crop of sunfish. There were fish everywhere and they were aggressive, especially during the mid-summer period. They were, however, pretty small and it depends on each angler’s individual threshold whether they will be of interest this summer or not.

Bass and Musky fishing will be on the agenda this summer too, but let’s get the walleye season started before we focus any more on the warmer water species.

Last item for the report today concerns minnow supplies for opening day.

The word for us is that Spottail Shiners will be hard to come by and we do not anticipate having them on hand. We will have plenty of fatheads and Golden Shiners may inhabit our bait tanks this weekend too, at least that’s what our bait supplier tells us. We won’t eceive our bait delivery until late afternoon on Thursday, so we’ll provide an update via Facebook for everyone who read this report in the morning. If you’re not a social media person, check back here in the afternoon for the bait supply update.

We are 2 days away from opening weekend and we’re chomping at the bit to get the season rolling. We will see you when you get here! — Chad & Melissa Mertz The Pines Resort 218-246-8546 or 1-800-342-1552

image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video April 2020 "Pre-Spawn Crappie Fishing During Early Spring"

Early spring offers anglers a chance to get outside and go fishing. Crappies are one of the first fish available to most of us, but while pre-spawn crappie fishing can be a blast, there are times when they can be tricky to locate.

Jon Thelen shares a few tricks and tips that can help make finding them more consistent.

Join us on Fish Ed, and let host Jon Thelen show you a great way to target prespawn Crappie. Grab you panfish box, some Thill Crappie Corks and a bunch of minnows and get out on the water now!

Learn More >> View Video Pre-Spawn Crappie Fishing During Early Spring

MN-FISH Spring 2020 Newsletter

Opening words from Ron Schara, MNFish President; "A year ago, a new non-profit fishing organization called MN-FISH was launched for the purpose of “shortening-the-time-between-bites”. Our goal was to give state anglers what we haven’t had; greater representation in the Minnesota Legislature. We also intended to act as a watchdog and support DNR fish management decisions when appropriate.

During this startup period, we discovered MNFISH would face its own growing pains and hurdles; such as attracting and communication with
members, developing social media, news releases and the like.

As the MN-FISH president, I feel we have accomplished most of our year-one goals. However, I regret that we’ve failed to ..." Read >> MN Fish Newsletter April 2020