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image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 31, 2020 "Mille Lacs Lake Open For Business"

image links to ice fishing reorts from Lake Mille Lacs For anglers who travel light, Lake Mille Lacs is open for business this weekend. Accesses at most, if not all resorts are, or will be open for ATV and snowmobile traffic today. Ranging in thickness from 6 to 12 inches, the ice is not yet ready to support vehicle traffic, so don’t plan to drag your wheelhouse up there just yet.

Early reports about fishing the big lake have been good, walleye and large pike are active. So, the “social” pages are filling up with pictures like this one of Dave who was on the lake yesterday with my friend Dustin Monson.

Fishing primarily shoreline structure is Monson’s M.O. anyway, so it didn’t bother him that thinner ice prevents access to most of the lakes deep water structure. They did well by sticking to shoreline breaks in water depths of 7 to 17 feet.

Monson said, “We were targeting rock transition area and used shiners or suckers on set lines (tip up, ifishpro) and jigged a Lindy live bait jig tipped with a lip-hooked full minnow. Jigging had to be slow in a raise-drop motion or sometimes no jigging at all for fish to come within 6 feet of our presentation.”

image links to fishrapper.com Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Update December 31, 2020 Terry's Boat Harbor

"Terry Thurmer, Terry’s Boat Harbor sent an update too and says that as of 12-29-2020, the first quarter mile out from shore had ice from 9 to 11 inches think.

image links to Mille Lacs Lake Ice Fishing reportThurmer, “I had a guy go out to 7 Mile and Seguchie flats today on a snowmobile he told me that he found 7 to 8 inches of ice. I talked to Tony Roach tonight he told me he went out to the flats yesterday from the East side, they drilled holes every 20 yards for four miles and the ice was 7 to 8 inches thick.”

Tony Roach fishes Mille Lacs Lake a lot, so he updates his reports frequently and on December 29 wrote; “Out checking ice conditions again today, lots of ice stacked up from the wind, incredible!

Ice conditions on the main lake are good, I found mainly 7 to 11 inches of ice in most areas, with little or no snow cover. The only big snow drifts were along the stacked ice.

I would continue to use caution checking ice as you go. However, we are starting to look pretty go for travel with wheelers and snowmobiles. Make sure you are checking with the resorts to see what they are allowing for safe travel.”

Thurmer wrapped his report with this; “People are driving ATV'S and snowmobiles in the bays and report that walleye fishing has been good. Most say fish are in the 17-to-20-foot depths on the rock points and in the bays. Jigging spoon and a minnow head is producing the most fish.”

For current updates about ice conditions or for information about booking a guided fishing trip with Tony Roach, get in touch with — Terry Thurmer, Terry's Boat Harbor – 320-692-4430

For current updates about ice conditions or for information about booking a guided fishing trip with Dustin Monson, get in touch with — Hawg Hunterz Guide Service, Dustin Monson 320-293-2442


If you’re planning a trip to Mille Lacs this weekend, remember that anglers are allowed to keep one walleye this winter. You can harvest 1 fish that is between 21 to 23 inches or longer than 28 inches. All other walleye must be immediately released.

I am anxiously awaiting some more reports from Mille Lacs and will post updates about late-breaking news as they become available.

OH and by the way, I do my best to stay on top of reports from Mille Lacs, but resorters and rental operators are extremely busy, and it can be tough to contact them on short notice. I know that a lot of folks believe that facebook posts get to everybody, but many of them do not reach the folks who really need them.

What I’m saying is that we can use all the help we can get. If you’ve been fishing on Mille Lacs, or any other lake for that matter, your reports are always welcome.

You do not need to share your secrets and you don’t have to write a book either. Be as protective as you like, sometimes all it takes is a few words about ice conditions, fishing trends or lures that worked well for you. Help your fellow anglers and they will eventually help you, so drop us a line and share a few words. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 2020 "Tony Roach - 4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday Sale"Ice fishing for panfish like crappies, bluegills, and perch requires tackle that lies at the extreme side of the "finesse" spectrum.

Professional guide, Tony Roach, walks through 4 of his top rod setups that match the ideal power and action to the chosen presentation -- usually small jigs, spoons, and lipless crankbaits that range between 1/16- to 1/64th-ounce.

A balanced setup requires that the line and rod power and action be matched to the weight of the bait. For example, a tiny 1/64th-ounce jig fishes best when using a 1- to 2-pound line.

The rod tip needs to load ever so slightly under the bait's weight to detect bites -- in this scenario, a tiny bit of ..." View Video to Learn More >> 4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish


image links to fishrapper home page Decemeber 30, 2020 — "Bowstring Lake Ice Conditions?"

Q) Stephan Gruenhagen wrote; "I talked with one of the owners of geigers trails end. They said they’re allowing half ton trucks out on the ice on bowstring lake. Curious if you have been out there and your thoughts on driving out at this time and the ice conditions?"

A) I haven't been on Bowstring yet this winter, but I know that there have been folks fishing on the north end for at least 2 weeks already. I reached out to Bill and Erin at Trails End for information on Sunday, but haven't heard anything back from them, so you actually know more about what they're up to than I do.

I do know Bill though and if he says they're driving out, it is probably a safe bet that you'll be okay. Provided of course that you stick to the areas that they've already staked out. We got a couple more inches of snow overnight and there are strong winds predicted for today, so be careful around drifted areas.

We'll do some more digging about conditions on Bowstring and provide updates as they become available. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Leech Lake, Oak Point Resort December 30, 2020

"Oak Point Leech Lake 11-12" of ice on steamboat bay Leech Lake. We haven't had too many customers so too hard to see how people are doing.

At this time we are not renting fish houses and do not allow people to use our access unless you are staying here. Be careful on Walker Bay. Ice conditions may vary and there are ice ridges around." Lee Nupson, Oak Point Resort 218-335-2993


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 29, 2020

image links to lake of the woods walleye report "Ice fishing is in full swing on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Resorts have fish houses out and good numbers of walleyes and saugers being caught. Cold fronts can slow the bite some but be patient and work lures.

Most ice fishing is taking place between 23 and 27 feet of water. One the jigging line, spoons with a minnow head or tail effective for jigging line. Gold spoons with a red glow stick has been effective. Other colors, gold, glow, glow red, pink. On the deadstick, a glow jig or plain hook with a live minnow. A mix of walleyes and saugers with some jumbo perch, big pike and eelpout this week.

Ice fishing on the Rainy River, mainly by local anglers has been good overall. Mornings and evenings have produced the best walleye action. Ice conditions vary greatly, work through a resort for safety.

With the Canadian border closure, Northwest Angle Resorts and Community have pulled together and will have a guest ice road across the lake up to the Angle so anglers can drive to resorts. The NW Angle Guest Ice Road will begin when ice conditions allow, most likely early January. The snowmobile trail is staked soon across the lake. Another option, North Country Air is flying anglers to the Angle. Contact your favorite NW Angle resort for details.

Ice fishing reports continue to be excellent. A mix of walleyes, saugers and jumbo perch. Great bite continues with the morning - evening in 15-19' of water. Afternoons, 22-26' have been best. Communicate with your favorite NW Angle resort for specifics and safety."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge December 29, 2020

"Over 15” of ice now. We are still fishing close by, there is no reason to go out too far. ½ ton and lighter vehicles can drive out. Use of electronics like Vexilar increases your chances. Gold, glow red, are great colors and something making noise while actively jigging is a great idea.

Fishing has been doing well, there have been many little ones which we really appreciate seeing. Many nice keeper limits and trophy’s this past week. Nothing like an 88 year old catching a monster Walleye!

Covid update; We intend to be operating at full speed this winter and have been planning as many disinfecting processes as possible to avoid major impacts to our normal service. While on light ice we will be transporting everyone as normal, except we will not be mixing groups in the transportation. Meals will be To Go for the winter season.

We will also be using paper and plastic products for plates and utensils in the cabins, normal pots and pans will be in cabin for cooking and serving. We are constantly reviewing our process and policies to ensure we are acting safely for all involved. We will be disinfecting and sanitize transportation, fish houses and bathrooms on the ice." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report December 29, 2020

"Walleye fishing continues to improve for many anglers, as anglers start figuring out what the walleyes are doing and how to get them to bite.

Orange continues to be repeated as the color that catches the majority of walleyes. Rippin raps and loud buckshot spoons are not only calling walleyes in, but triggering bites from walleyes after dark. Depths range from 16-24 feet of water.

Pike fishing has remained good, but angler interest has fallen off. Big pike continue to be caught in and around weedbeds and river mouths on large suckers or dead smelt. 10 feet of water or less has remained best.

Panfish continue to be found deeper and deeper, this last week. Anglers reported marking fish, but could only watch as they would come up and go back down.

Small tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms was key for bluegill anglers. Soft plastics worked for some crappie anglers, but small ntungsten jigs tipped with a crappie minnow work best." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358


image links to fishrapper.com 1000 Lakes Sports — Greater Grand Rapids Lakes Area December 29, 2020

"Locally, in the Grand Rapids area the fishing has been relatively good! It's still fishing, so some days are better than others however anglers are having some great success on walleye, bluegill, crappie, and northern pike!

Pokegama has been a popular choice as it has a decently consistent sheet of ice ranging from 6-9" with 3-6" of snow on top, and the fish of app species have been cooperating.

We are hearing some great reports of Big Winnie as well, and it sounds like they have a little more ice over there. The walleye and perch have been very aggressive in mornings and evenings, and many anglers are leaving the lake satisfied with their day. Northern pike fishing and spearing both have been very productive on Winnie as well." Andy Walls, 1000 Lakes Sports 218-999-5992


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 28, 2020 "4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday Sale"Ice fishing for panfish like crappies, bluegills, and perch requires tackle that lies at the extreme side of the "finesse" spectrum.

Professional guide, Tony Roach, walks through 4 of his top rod setups that match the ideal power and action to the chosen presentation -- usually small jigs, spoons, and lipless crankbaits that range between 1/16- to 1/64th-ounce.

A balanced setup requires that the line and rod power and action be matched to the weight of the bait. For example, a tiny 1/64th-ounce jig fishes best when using a 1- to 2-pound line. The rod tip needs to load ever so slightly under the bait's weight to detect bites -- in this scenario, a tiny bit of ..." View Video to Learn More >> 4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish


image links to fishrapper.com Lake Mille Lacs – Randy Simons, Randy's Rentals

"Our access is now open to ATVs, snowmobiles and walk out traffic only. We recommend staying within our fishing area as the lake is uncertain in many areas. Note that there was open water NE 3/4 to 1 mile of our location on 12-21-2020.

We are finding 8 inches or more of ice in our location, Blue City. Until we get on the ice with vehicles make sure you park on the road legally, do not block a lane thank you for fishing at Randy's Rentals, best of luck to all of you. Call if you have questions. " Randy Simons, Randy's Rentals, 612 961 8360


image links to fishrapper.com Leech Lake, Trappers Landing Lodge December 28, 2020

"Currently we are seeing 11 to 14 inches of ice on Leech Lake. The walleye bite has been happening during the low light and over night hours in 15 to 18 ft of water.

Crappie action up in sucker Bay and portage bay has been strong in 7 to 10 feet of water. We are hoping that the snow will hold off this weekend and that we should be able to hopefully open to the public for ice traffic.

Our restaurant will be closed unfortunately for the weekend." Josh Bullivant, Trappers Landing Lodge (218) 836-2500


image links to fishrapper home page December 24, 2020 — "Squiggly Down Under, How Will I know One When I See It?"

Image links to readeer QnA about ice fishing lake of the woods "On December 23, 2020 Jim Todd wrote; Q) "Jeff, I read your article yesterday about ice fishing on Lake of the Woods and I think the idea of fishing subtle structures, like the ones you talked about makes sense. But I wonder; how will I know and identify a “squiggly” when I see one on my map?

A) Jim, I anticipated that somebody would write with a question like yours. But I didn’t have the foresight to get a snapshot of my Lakemaster chart while we were on the lake. So, I fired up the Helix this morning and re-created an image of the location where we were fishing. Cick here to enlarge >> Lakemaster Chart Lake of the Woods

The areas circled in red are the corners, or inside turns where I marked loads of fish that would not bite. The area circled in green is the top of the small flat where fish that appeared on screen were much more aggressive and were easily caught.

My theory is that active fish use the tops of these mini flats as feeding shelves. It could be because of a difference in the substrate that encourages more baitfish to gather there. Or could simply be that walleye and sauger are more comfortable on those structures, I don’t know for sure. But something makes them special to the fish.

It may not have been stated clearly enough in my original report, but there’s another way to look at the squiggly theory. The tops of those small flats was not the only way to catch fish. In fact, we caught lots of fish in the territory surrounding that flat. BUT there was a much higher percentage of quality fish caught when fishing on the top of that small flat vs fishing out in the surrounding area.

Musky, pike and bass anglers know that those fish have a definite pecking order. Often times, the largest fish inhabit the most prime territory. They pick and choose the habitats with the best forage and most lush cover. Smaller fish are often forced to take whatever is left over.

What if walleye and sauger on Lake of the Woods have a similar pecking order? Maybe the largest and most aggressive fish grab the squiggly foir themselves and force all those little squirts to roam around the mud feeding on whatever they can find out there. Maybe that’s why we could catch little fish after little fish out and away from the flats, but rarely caught a “good one” unless we were closer to the feeding shelf.

I know that folks could find ways to poke some holes in my theory and that’s okay. I just know that from now on, whenever I’m looking for a starting point to fish on Lake of Woods, I’ll be looking for one of Jon’s squigglies. It works a lot better for me than just drilling holes and hoping for the best." fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 23, 2020 "Just home from Lake of the Woods with a fresh report."

image links to Lake of the Woods Walleye Report When we planned this, our first ice fishing trip to Lake of the Woods, we expected to fish at least 2 full days, maybe 3. But before we ever left home, we looked at weather forecast for today and decided to shorten our stay to a single day on the lake. That didn’t allow a lot of time for exploration, but it was enough to get a rough idea of what’s going on up there, so here it is.

The ice thickness along shore is over a foot now, we measured 13 inches in the area where we fished. While there are no plowed roads officially open to public vehicle transportation yet, some semi-plowed roads are available for ATVs and snowmobiles. Rental operators have a lot of ice houses on the lake already, and there were more being brought out throughout the day on Tuesday.

The activity is limited to the shoreline right now because the ice turns rough, real rough, a couple of miles out. We found a way to snowmobile through one small section of the rough ice, but we encountered numerous wet spots and small pressure ridges. Those pressure ridges will likely get worse today, if the massive winds and frigid air temperatures arrive as predicted. More on that later.

For us, selecting an area to fish was based primarily on getting away from the crowded areas and staying on the safe side of the rough ice. So, we had access to water depths ranging out to about 24 feet, maybe a little more. The best depth range for us was 21 to 22 feet, I experimented fishing shallower, but by the time I was in 18 feet, the screen of my Humminbird was blank.

There are reports of good fishing action in shallower water, but you need to be there during the crepuscular periods to cash in on that.

Frequent readers of my reports already know that I’ve never claimed to be an expert on fishing Lake of the Woods. But, I’ve hung around with guys who are, and they’ve helped teach me learn some solid approaches to fishing on the big lake.

Picking a spot to fish on those gigantic mud flats can be daunting. Everything looks the same and for structure fishermen like me, it’s hard to pin down the best place set up. Most of the time, folks just get close to other folks and drill a lot of holes, hoping that they will eventually drop their lure into one while fish are swimming through the area.  

Of the lessons I’ve learned, one that almost always pays off is to locate a “squiggly” on the map. Some of you may recall hearing the word before, I’ve mentioned it in past reports. A “squiggly”, a term I borrowed from Jon Thelen, is an ever so slight variation in bottom structure.

Squigglys are easily overlooked, but once you know what you’re looking for, not hard to find. On my Lakemaster chart, they show up as subtle, flat areas adjacent to depth transitions between shallower and deeper water. They can be small, or large, but they represent flat areas where fish, if they’re in the area, go specifically to feed.

Yesterday, was a perfect example of how it works. There were lots of fish in the area, my graph was lit up almost all day long. As usual, there were tons of little fish, we could catch them one-after-another, but getting a keeper size fish was rare. Except for on the top of a small, subtle rise, ever so often, nice, keeper size fish showed up.

Even though the change in depth was miniscule, less than a foot, fish that showed up there were the ones most serious about feeding. That raised the percentages just enough to making gleaning some eaters out of the swarms of small fish easier.

At one point I got a little too far away from the top and wound up on an inside turn, about a foot deeper. I saw fish, lots of them, but they would not bite. As soon as moved back on top of the flat, fish that appeared on my screen bit again. The only explanation I can offer goes back to the original point; fish on the flat were there to feed and the ones in the deeper corner were there to rest.

image of Nate Altendorf with Lake of the Woods Walleye My friend Nate Altendorf got in on the study too. He was visiting me in my portable and saw the fish looking at my lures but not eating.

Now listen, Nate has already fished Lake of the Woods more times this winter than I ever do in an entire year. If anybody knows how to make a fish bite on that lake, he can do it. But located in that corner, the fish snubbed him just like they snubbed me. Meanwhile, in his shelter located only 50 yards away, he was catching fish as fast as he could get a line in the water.

Like I said, I’m not an expert, but I’d keep that little trick in your back pocket for later use.

Presentations varied throughout the day. At one point, fish were really hitting Lindy Glow Spoons tipped with minnow heads.

Altendorf, a true trophy chaser uses that lure a lot too and loves it. But advised me that targeting big walleyes on Lake of the Woods sometimes depends on the fish’s preference for the flash and flutter of Lindy’s Quiver Spoon. Altendorf’s suggestion was the largest size, all gold, tipped with a whole, head-hooked minnow.

Resorts and rental operators are about a week behind their typical schedule for allowing folks driving vehicles onto the ice. That means it is going to be a little while before the mega crowds show up. So, getting in on “early ice” action is still feasible.

If you’re interested in action, you’ll find it, albeit many of the fish will be small ones. There are enough eaters and even an occasional trophy being caught out there too, so it wouldn’t be a bad time to give it a whirl. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report December 23, 2020

"Ice conditions - Ice conditions have remained excellent on area lakes and have improved enough for truck travel on the ice. Ice thickness ranges from 9-16”.

Walleye - Walleye fishing has remained slow, despite the fact, anglers reporting marking good numbers of walleyes every evening. Anglers are finding walleyes in 18-23 feet of water. Rippin raps and buckshot spoons are calling in walleyes, but deadsticking a shiner has been accounting for the majority of walleyes being caught.

Pike - Pike fishing remains good and very consistent for many anglers. Pike continue to be found at the mouths of shallow bays or near river mouths. Anglers continue to focus in 10 ft of water or less. Large dead baits tend to produce the most fish and largest pike.

Panfish - Panfish have begun to start sliding out into deeper water as snow slowly starts to accumulate on area lakes. Anglers are finding them in 15-20 feet of water. Panfish have remained very finicky on what they will hit. Live bait, like waxies and crappie minnows have been key to catching fish." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 22, 2020 "Why CHIRP is the Best 2D Sonar for Ice Fishing"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday SaleTwo-Dimensional (2D) sonar has become a popular choice in ice fishing for interpreting the under-ice world on a scrolling screen.

When it comes to sonar types, CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse) delivers exceptional target separation and interference reduction, but how does this help you find and catch more fish?

Professional fishing guide Brad Hawthorne explains that the power of CHIRP sonar lies in its ability to read ..." View Video to Learn More >> Why CHIRP is the Best 2D Sonar for Ice Fishing


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 22, 2020

image links to lake of the woods fishing report "There has been some excellent Ice fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Resorts have fish houses out and good numbers of walleyes and saugers being caught.

Most ice fishing taking place in water depths between 20 and 27 feet.  Using the one-two punch of jigging one line and dead sticking with a live minnow for the second line.  Jigging spoons with a minnow head or tail effective for jigging line.  Colors, gold, glow, glow red, pink. 

Some jumbo perch, big pike and eelpout keeping things interesting.  An angler caught an eelpout just over 17 pounds this week.  The MN State record, also caught on LOW was 19.67 lbs.  Eelpout or burbot are great eating.

Ice fishing is taking place on the Rainy River, mainly by locals.  Most of the ice fishing is done on the main lake during the ice fishing season where there isn't current.  Some nice walleyes are being caught in various spots of the river.  Ice conditions vary greatly, work through a resort for safety.  No snowmobile trail yet, stay tuned.

With the Canadian border closure, Northwest Angle Resorts and Community have pulled together and will have a guest ice road across the lake up to the Angle so anglers can drive to resorts. 

The NW Angle Guest Ice Road will begin when ice conditions allow, most likely early January.  The snowmobile trail will be staked soon across the lake, stay tuned.  Another option, North Country Air is flying anglers to the Angle.

Ice fishing has started up at the Angle with excellent reports.  A mix of walleyes, sauger and jumbo perch.  Great morning - evening bite in 15-19' of water.  Afternoons, 22-26' have been best.  Communicate with your favorite NW Angle resort for specifics and safety."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video December 22, 2020 "Glow Spoon Lake of The Woods Walleyes"

image links to walleye fishing video Deciding when to stay and when to go can make the difference between a an okay fishing trip and a great one.

Sometimes you just know that there are walleyes in the area, but they're not moving a lot or feeding agressively. Varrying the tempo and cadence of your lure can help to trigger strikes from fish that have differing attitudes.

This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen travels to Lake of the Woods in northern MN chasing winter walleyes.

Watch Jon as he shares tips for changing up the cadence when fishing with Lindy Glow Spoons that will help you how to make the most of your time on the ice with a Lindy Glow Spoon. Learn More >> View Video Glow Spoon Lake of The Woods Walleyes


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 21, 2020 "Itasca Region Ice Fishing Update"

image of broken ice on Lake Mille Lacs I was driving home from my biweekly ECG visit with my mother in the Twin Cities on Saturday and spotted crowds of ice fishers almost everywhere that they could find to park along the west side of the lake, off of HWY 169. Groups of 12 to 25 people, mostly on foot and towing portables to spots within a mile of shore.

I was sort of kicking myself for not stopping to take pictures, I thought that it might be time to post a fishing report from the big lake on Sunday morning. I don’t know why, but “my little voice” told me not to stop, it was telling me that it was too early to be reporting that folks were on the lake en masse.

Sure enough, my little voice was right, on Sunday, there were reports about “rescue missions” to retrieve anglers from Mille Lacs. Some of them were trapped when the ice broke up, leaving them separated from the shoreline by large a large swath of open water. So in retrospect, I’m glad that I didn’t do anything to encourage even more folks from heading out on thin ice too soon.

If you’re chomping at the bit for thicker ice and a wider assortment of places to fish, you’re in luck. There’s a major league cold front headed our way and there’s going to be a lot of new ice formed this week. It won’t be long before folks in the south have a chance to enjoy what many folks up north have been enjoying for weeks already.

Even though the ice formed sooner up north, it hasn’t necessarily given folks that much of an advantage. Fishing action on the large walleye lakes has been okay, but by no means has it been great. I know that you’ll see pictures of fish on the social pages that appear to contradict my opinion. That’s because there’s always somebody catching something somewhere. But, I think that in some of the more popular areas, anglers are actually ahead of the fish this winter.

Take lake of the Woods for example, there are a lot of people fishing up there now. Plenty to ensure that a certain percentage are catching fish. But most who are fishing in traditional, main lake areas are not reporting good action and the ones who are, report that the “numbers spots” are producing mostly small fish.

Reports of good size fish are coming from anglers fishing closer to shore, in relatively shallow water. Drilling holes from 12 to 22 feet of water will give you better odds at catching nice fish than going deeper will.

According to my calendar, I’m supposed to be on my way up to Lake of the Woods right now to find out firsthand where the fish are. But according to the weather forecast, the plan might be in jeopardy, I won’t know for a few hours. But if we decide to go, the trip will be shorter than planned, maybe even just a one day trip.

Whichever way it works out, I’ll let you know soon enough. In the meantime, here’s what some of the folks at Lake of the woods are reporting this morning. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge December 21, 2020

"We are off to a great start! Currently we are at 12” of ice in our area of travel and fishing. There are inconsistent areas around. The restaurant is open for to go food only, yes we still do catch of the day. We are currently in 24-25’ of water.

The Lake of the Woods typical gold, glow and something that rattles is working. Jigging Raps to actively jig on one rod is great and a plain hook with an active minnow and bobber works well for your second.

Covid update; We intend to be operating at full speed this winter and have been planning as many disinfecting processes as possible to avoid major impacts to our normal service.

While on light ice we will be transporting everyone as normal, except we will not be mixing groups in the transportation. Meals will be To Go for the winter season. We will also be using paper and plastic products for plates and utensils in the cabins, normal pots and pans will be in cabin for cooking and serving.

We are constantly reviewing our process and policies to ensure we are acting safely for all involved. We will be disinfecting and sanitize transportation, fish houses and bathrooms on the ice." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 18, 2020 "Ice Fishing Safety: Essential Gear and Knowledge"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday SaleWhether driving to work or heading out fishing on a sheet of ice, there is an inherent risk in many of our daily activities. And while you can never label ice as 100% safe, having some basic knowledge, gear, and commonsense makes it a safe and enjoyable activity.

Famed multi-species fishing guide, Tony Roach, discusses some essential clothing, equipment, and, most importantly, key ice thickness criteria related to different modes of transport (foot, AVT/UTV/snowmobile, truck).

Follow these guidelines to maximize safety before heading out to ..."View Video to Learn More >> Ice Fishing Safety: Essential Gear and Knowledge


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 17, 2020 "Itasca Region Ice Fishing Update"

link to itasca region ice fishing report Every year there’s something that challenges ice fishers and for many, this season’s challenge has been not enough ice. But that is changing now, folks are finding their way onto a wider array of lakes and travel conditions on them are improving daily.

Still, you can’t just go anywhere, or do anything. For me, a scheduled snowmobile ride on Winnibigoshish got postponed because there wasn’t enough snow. But just around the corner, on Cutfoot Sioux, conditions were great for an early season trek using my snowmobile. Similar stories will play out all over the Itasca Region this weekend.

The rule of thumb on large lakes will be to stick with the outer extremities. Take Winnie as an example again, shallower areas like Third River, Tamarack Bay or at the Mississippi River mouth on the west side all have good ice; 10 to 12 inches and travel conditions are good. But stay away from the lake’s main basin, travelling a couple miles out from shore will lead you into areas where the ice is only 3 to 5 inches thick.

On Leech Lake, you’ll find similar patterns, shallow bays have 8 to 10 inches of good, solid ice. But mid-lake, deep water areas do not, treacherous conditions could be encountered, especially by folks travelling too fast and not checking ice thickness as they go. Cass, Kabetogama, Bemidji … it doesn’t matter, reports are similar, stay shallow and be safe. There will be plenty of time to explore deep water regions as the season progresses.

Fishing, once you’re settled in, is likely to be good. I’ve had numerous reports from friends and they all have found and caught fish that they were targeting. Walleyes are hitting on big lakes like Winnie, Leech, Cass, Red and Lake of the Woods. But they’re being caught on smaller lakes too, so it should be a good time to experiment.

Crappie, sunfish and perch reports are generally good too, but so far, there are fewer folks pursuing them. I haven’t wet a line for anything other than walleyes myself, and that won’t change until after next week when I have another walleye trip to Lake of the Woods planned.

Last weekend on Lake of the Woods, some of the resorts opened accesses for anglers using portable shelters and ATV’s. But this weekend, there will be many more resorts open for fishers who travel light. Many of the rental shelters are being made ready now and will begin showing up on the ice over the next several days. In another week, LOW will be the go-to place for walleye fishing.

image of the ice at birches landing on lake winnie I’m not sure about the long term implications, but for now, watch out for cracks and ice ridges. This year, the slow-forming ice is moving around more than usual and there are many more random ice heaves than usual. Right now, they're easy to see because there is so little snow cover, so it’s easy to avoid them. Later, who knows?

Admittedly, I am a horrible communicator on the telephone; my job just isn’t conducive to having it handy. I write these reports during the wee hours of morning when most folks are still sleeping. Then I spend my day with customers who deserve my un-divided attention, so I usually have my phone tucked away in a tackle box or some other safe place to protect it from wind, rain and sometimes snow.

These days, more people are using “social” media for sending messages and for me, this has made the problem even worse. I have been horrified by how many times folks have hit dead ends when they tried to use the message services offered by the “social” media.

While I do have some of those apps on my computer in the office and use them as best I can, I do not have any of them on my cell phone. So, if you’ve been disappointed because you tried to contact me using messenger, or one of the other popular “social” apps and failed, I apologize. It’s not because I don’t want to hear from you, it’s just because those messages wind up not being seen.

I know it is not as handy, but if it is important that you contact me, the most bullet proof way to do it is by using email. If you prefer not to do that, then leaving a message on my office phone is the next best method. I know how popular so of those apps are, so if that’s your preferred mode of communication I’ll meet you halfway and try to remember checking those social links more often. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video December 17, 2020 "Ice Fishing Mid-Winter Lake Winnibigoshish Crappies – Fish Ed TV"

image links to crappie fishing video Small lakes are becoming more accessible every day and crappie fishing is getting the attention of more hard water anglers.

Helping you plan for your next crappie fishing trip on the ice is what we have in mind this week in the ice fishing episode, "Mid-Winter Lake Winnibigoshish Crappies".

This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen travels to Lake Winnibigoshish to ice fish for mid-winter crappies. Watch as Jon covers a variety of techniques to help you effectively target deep water slabs.

Learn More >> View Video Ice Fishing Mid-Winter Lake Winnibigoshish Crappies


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 17, 2020 "Buying Fishing Rods on a Budget: What You Need to Know"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday SaleDo you really need the most expensive fishing rod for every technique? Pro bass angler Justin Lucas says no! Justin provides an honest and insightful breakdown on when an affordable rod (under $100) can get the job done.

Conversely, he explains when pushing your budget a little will help you catch more fish. For an upfront base of comparison, you get a lighter and increasingly sensitive rod, the more money you spend.

Lucas selects rods based on the chosen technique. There are 2 categories, 1) moving baits like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, or topwaters, and ..."View Video to Learn More >> Buying Fishing Rods on a Budget: What You Need to Know


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report December 15, 2020

image of nice pike caught in the Ely area "Ice conditions have remained excellent on area lakes. Ice continues to improve as lakes remain clear of snow. 9-12 inches of great ice is widely being reported.

Pike - Tip up fishing for pike was excellent this last week for many anglers. Several reports of large pike stretching the tape past 40+ inches was reported. Several groups also reported double digit days. Large dead minnows laying on the bottom or suspended about a foot off the bottom, at the mouths of shallow bays was very effective. Tip ups placed inside shallow bays or along weedlines was effective too.

Walleye anglers were few and far between as the hot pike bite lured some away. Still walleyes were caught. Anglers have reported that a lack of snow on the ice seems to of slowed the evening bite until after the sun is below the horizon. Rattle spoons tipped with a minnow has been very effective. Key depth remains 18-23 feet of water.

Crappies remained finicky on area lakes. Anglers used loud rippin raps to call fish in, but more often then not, crappie minnows, fished under a bobber got the bites. 18-25 feet of water, during the day, was the most popular places to catch crappies." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 15, 2020

image links to lake of the woods fishing report "Ice fishing has officially begun on the south end of Lake of the Woods, "The Walleye Capital of the World".

It actually started last week for some resorts, this week for others. Below zero temps this week.

This is still considered early ice so safety is #1 priority. Work through a resort and stay on their marked trail. Resorts are using light ice rigs to transport guests to fish houses. Anglers fishing on their own are using ATVs, snowmobiles and side by sides.

Fishing has been good with a mix of walleyes and saugers in 15-24'. Now is traditionally a great time to catch fish. Some big pike and eelpout keeping walleye anglers on their toes.

On the Rainy River... Ice fishing is taking place on the river mainly by locals. The majority of ice fishing is done on the main lake during the ice fishing season where there isn't current. There can be some good ice fishing on the Rainy, but with current in the river, work through a resort for safety. No snowmobile trail yet, stay tuned.

Up at the NW Angle... With the border closure, NW Angle Resorts and Community have pulled together and will have a guest ice road across the lake up to the Angle so anglers can drive to resorts. The NW Angle Guest Ice Road will begin when ice conditions allow, most likely early January. The snowmobile trail will be staked soon across the lake. There is also a flying service serving the Angle. More info on Facebook at Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road 2020.

Ice fishing has started up at the Angle with very good reports. A mix of walleyes, sauger and jumbo perch. Communicate with your favorite NW Angle resort for specifics and safety."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 14, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Ice Fishing Updates"

image of ice fishing shelters on Bowstring Lake There weren’t a lot of people fishing anywhere, but there were a few people fishing everywhere. That’s the news from the small lakes in north central Minnesota’s Itasca Region.

Upper Red Lake, and to a lesser extent Lake of the Woods have been getting all the attention and that didn’t change this weekend. On my way up Highway 46, headed toward Lake Winnie this Sunday, there were dozens of ice fishing rigs passing me as they headed south. Trucks towing ATVs, portable ice shelters, snow machines and now, quite a few wheelhouses were in the mix too.

I had heard from friends that there was “just enough” snow to make travel by snowmobile possible. So, my intention was to snowmobile out across Bowen’s Flats from the north shore and try the shoreline break near the river channel.

My friends were half right, there may have been enough snow for a ride on the ice but getting to the ice from the road posed a problem. There was no snow cover on the beach at all, exposed gravel, and rocks, along with deep, frozen ruts in the sand were not appealing to me. On the lake, the ice was rough, broken up by strong winds during it's formation. So, I will wait for some more snow before I try that spot again.

After I scrapped the Winnie plan, I headed west toward Bowstring and found the ice more accessible there. There were a few ice shelters out there, 3 or 4 in view from the north landing and another 3 or 4 in view from the west side. That was the landing that looked best to me from a snowmobiling point of view.

The ice covering the shallow water portion of the bay was clear, strong, and about 8 to 9 inches thick. The problem was an ice ridge that Has formed along the breakline over deeper water. If you enter the ice from the west landing, you’ll be trapped, like I was on the shallow side of the ridge.

I’m sure that somebody will find a way around that ice ridge, but for me, traveling solo on a snowmobile at early ice is not the time to play Amerigo Vespucci. So I decided to cut that excursion short and schedule a do-over for today or maybe tomorrow.

Snow fell throughout the afternoon on Sunday, but I don’t think it was enough to cause trouble on the ice. We have about an inch in our yard, but yesterday’s wind was brisk, and I doubt that the ice has even that much standing snow on it. In fact, getting a smooth snowmobile ride is probably still tricky, but I’ll let you know as soon as I can get back out there. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report December 10, 2020

"Ice conditions have remained excellent on area lakes. There are 4 to 8 inches of good solid ice is being widely reported across the area. 4 wheeler tracks are being seen more and more at accesses.

Walleye fishing has remained slow on the larger local lakes, but good to excellent on many of the smaller walleye lakes in the area. Anglers have been having the best luck using tip ups with a shiner, in 17-23 feet of water. Jigging spoons and rippin raps are also triggering aggressive walleyes during the evening hours.

Pike fishing remains steady for many. Tip ups, tipped with large minnows, at the mouth of shallow bays or along weedlines, has been the go to. Anglers should focus in 10 feet of water or less for best results.

Panfish - Crappies were on the negative side this last weekend, as many anglers reported little issue finding fish but struggled to get them to bite. Location of crappies largely depended on the lake you were fishing. Some lakes they were located in 18-24 feet of water. Other lakes, anglers found them shallow in and around green weeds, mixed in with sunfish." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 9, 2020

image of woman "On the south end or Lake of the Woods, ice is thickening and making progress. In some areas, there is decent ice already, but in others, more time is needed. Because each resort fishes a different part of the lake, with varying ice conditions, each of them will make independent decisions about when ice anglers can begin accessing the lake using their facilities. 

With safety in mind, resorts have been out checking ice thickness, ice conditions, cracks, and in some cases starting to mark trails. There are some resorts that do plan to open their accesses to anglers this week. For others, access will remain off-limits for this weekend.

For now, it is important to check with each resort as to when they will start fishing and what types of vehicles, ATVs, snow machines etc., will be allowed on their ice trails. You’ll need to check with them to find out if they have fish houses to rent or only have marked trail in which you would bring your own ice transportation, collapsible fish house, etc. 

Resorts and outfitters monitor ice conditions throughout the season daily. Please stay on their marked trails when it is time. Trails are marked for good reasons, please stay on them for safety.

The Rainy River is covered with ice, but most ice fishing is done on the main lake where there isn't current.  There can be some good ice fishing on the Rainy, but with current in the river, work through a resort for safety.  Some locals have been ice fishing certain areas where ice conditions allow.  No snowmobile trail yet.

Ice conditions in the Northwest Angle are improving daily, but resorts and lodges have had crews checking and report that the ice is not yet ready for travel.

With the Canadian border closure still in effect, Northwest Angle Resorts and Community have banded together and will have a “Guest Ice Road” up to the Angle. Anglers with reservations at Northwest Angle resorts located in US Territory can access them without crossing the border. 

The Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road will originate at Springsteel Resort. Anticipated start date is in early January. "  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

Learn More About >> Accessing The Northwest Angle On Lake of the Woods


image links to Fish ED Video Fish ED Video December 9, 2020 "Early Season Lake of The Woods Walleyes"

image links to walleye fishing videoThe early ice season on Lake of the Woods will soon be upon us! So to help get us into the mood, here's a look at an season walleye video from Lindy Fishing Tackle.

This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen travels to Lake of the Woods in northern MN chasing early ice walleyes. Watch as Jon shows you how to target BIG fish with aggressive baits!

View Video and Learn More >> Early Season Lake of the Woods Walleyes December 9, 2020


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 7, 2020 "North Central Minnesota Ice Fishing New-News"

image of Dan Anderson with nice walleye from Lake of the Woods At first glance, the walleye photo provided by Dan Anderson, Deadeye Dan's Guide Service, could be passed over as yet another image of a Red Lake Walleye.

However, that's not where Dan was fishing, he was on Lake of the Woods this weekend and provided this report, "Had a great trip on the early ice with my friend Eric Wudke up on Lake Of The Woods. I was looking for that 30 inch fish to add to my stringer mount. was unsuccessfull however, I did land a trophy burbot, LOL, that's the story of my 2020".

According to Dan's report, the duo caught over 200 fish and that they caught a healthy mix of walleye sizes, including eaters and little ones, along with a few larger slot fish in the mix as well. The best walleye bite, Anderson said, was in 16.5 feet of water in the mornings, with fish sliding out to 19 feet during mid-day.

As you may expect, the best part of their trip was that there was no crowd. Dan concluded, "Lake of the Woods is the new Red and definitely the place to be right now!

Other reports trickling in from Lake of the Woods indicate that some of the rental operators and resorts expect to be on the ice next weekend. Updates will be provided daily about both travel conditions and availablitity.

Elsewhere in the Itasca Region, folks are finding their way onto the ice in numerous locations. Pokegama Lake, at Grand Rapids, hosted more skaters and hockey players than it did anglers, but as of this weekend, many areas of that lake were supporting foot travel.

Many of the smaller lakes in the region had light traffic on them as well. Crappie, sunfish and perch anglers are finding their way out and reporting ice thicknesses ranging from 4 to 8 inches. No matter where you go, be sure that you have cleats with you. Snow cover in the region is virtually non-existent. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper home page December 4, 2020 — "Accessing The Northwest Angle On Lake of the Woods?"

image links to article about lake of the woods northwest angle guest ice road Mark Doll wrote; Q) "After reading your reports for several years, I believe you take a snowmobile ride up to the Northwest Angle from the South shore, typically every year.

My wife and I have gone up there a few times but have always driven through Canada to get there. Since we can’t do that this year, we are going to snowmobile up.  So, I am wondering what your recommendation would be on where to park our truck and trailer that would hopefully be safe and legal? 

I also saw on your report that they plan on plowing a road up, (can’t get away from any crowds anywhere these days)! I know they need the business, and I will fully support that but dang, it takes a bit of the adventure out of it! Thank You for any advice.

A) Mark, the only good way to be sure that your vehicle is parked both safely and legally is to plan with one of the resorts along the south side of the lake. It’s best to contact them prior to your trip and have arrangements made before you arrive.

For a modest parking fee, you’ll not only know that your rig is secure while you’re snowmobiling, but in the case of trouble with your machines, you’ll at least have a friendly voice on the phone to help guide you toward a solution.

The Northwest Angle “Guest Access Road” that you mentioned will be exactly what the name implies. A road provided by owners of rental properties for “guests” who have reservations at one of those resorts or lodges located in the Northwest Angle.

For clarity about the road and how it will be used, I contacted Joe Henry at Lake of the Woods Tourism. Henry: “The road is not intended to provide additional public access to the Northwest Angle. Instead, it will be part of an alliance between the resorts and lodges who have rental properties in the Northwest Angle.”

Maintaining the road, some 25 miles in length, will require huge outlays of both cash and labor and it will need to be paid for somehow. That’s where the road pass comes in, expenses will be born primarily by the NWA Resorts and their end users.

Anglers headed for properties within the Northwest Angle’s mainland will pay $120.00. But for anglers who have reservations on one of the island properties, Oak Island or Flag Island for example, there would be an additional $25.00 charge to gain access via the main Northwest Angle Ice Road.

That sounds like an expensive pass, but only if you think of it in terms of what a typical “day pass” might cost. This is a modest price to pay for preserving an entire vacation. One that anglers without snow machines would otherwise have to be cancel because the angle cannot be accessed any other way.

Henry: “Nobody has making a profit in mind; in fact, we’re just hoping to break even. There are a lot of variables and Mother Nature is in charge. But at least now we have a way to preserve some of the winter business that would otherwise be almost completely lost.”

Finally Mark, to your point about the road causing the angle to get too crowded, the last thing they need is heavy traffic tearing it up. That is why the road will serve primarily as a way for NWA lodging customers to access the rental properties where they have reservations. Vehicles with trailers will not be allowed access to the guest road and that means there will be no wheelhouse traffic headed toward the angle.

“I suppose that an angler with a portable shelter in a pickup truck could use the guest road to access the angle. But when you think about it, this would be an expensive day trip. Especially when you consider that once the angler arrives at the angle, there is no infrastructure to provide places to fish. Imagine, after making the long drive, you’d be looking at one plowed road separated from the ice by tall berms and no way to access a fishing spot except for walking.” Henry said.

The system that they’ve come up with for administering the road passes combines both Facebook and Eventbrite.  Soon, anglers who contact the “Northwest Angle Ice Road” page on Facebook, will find an Eventbrite link that allows them to purchase the required passes in advance.

At the road, which originates at Springsteel Resort, they will present the pass and begin their drive across the lake.

If all goes well and Mother Nature cooperates, they system should be in place and anglers could begin using the NWA Guest Road in early January. Precise timing depends on the weather, so anglers interested in using the system are encouraged to check frequently for updates using the Facebook page @nwaiceroad

As always, your questions are welcome here, but they do have an adequate system of receiving and fielding questions at the Facebook location.

All things considered; this appears to be a reasonable solution to what everyone hopes will be a short-term problem. With any luck at all, this will be the one and only time that such a road is ever needed. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishrapper.com Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report December 3, 2020

"Ice conditions are currently excellent on area lakes, with little to no snow on the ice. Conditions still vary from 2-7 inches of ice being reported by anglers.

Rule of thumb has been the smaller the lake the more ice you will find and more consistent the thickness will be. Foot travel has been the only form of travel right now.

Northern Pike anglers fishing large suckers, large shiners and large smelt have been reporting a excellent tip up bite, at the mouths of shallow bays and back in shallow bays. Key depth has been 8 feet of water, to as little as 3 feet.

Walleye fishing has been somewhat limited to the shallower walleye lakes in the area. Safe ice has just now formed out over deeper walleye water on the bigger area lakes and anglers are now fishing out there.

Shiners and rainbows fished a bobber has been accounting for the majority of walleyes being caught right now. Jigging spoons and jigging raps has been effective on aggressive fish.

Key depths have been 15-20 feet of water during the evening hours." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358


image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism December 3, 2020

image links to lake of the woods ice fishing updates "It's a waiting game for ice on the south end of Lake of the Woods. This past week saw some strong winds blow ice around the basin, eating up some of the thinner ice that had formed. Now we are hoping for cold temperatures and calm winds. Forecast looks promising to lock things up in the very near future. Resorts are monitoring ice conditions on Four Mile Bay, Zippel Bay and various areas of the shoreline.

It's important to wait until they say it's good to go and stay on their marked trails when it is time. Resorts and outfitters monitor ice conditions now and throughout the season daily. Some spearing and angling for pike in back bays.

The Rainy River is covered with a thin layer of ice in most places. Most ice fishing is done on the main lake during the ice season where there isn't current. There can be some good ice fishing on the Rainy, but with current in the river, work through a resort for safety.

With the Canadian Border closure, Northwest Angle Resorts and Community have pulled together and will have an ice road plowed up to the Angle so anglers can access resorts. The NW Angle Guest Ice Road ice access on the south end will be at Springsteel Resort.

The Angle is iced over and resorts are monitoring ice thickness. Some resorts have been checking for walleyes in a few spots having good success. It's not ready yet, but the ice is coming along nicely."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to fishrapper.com Lake of the Woods, Border View Lodge December 3, 2020

"Progress on the ice is moving forward. There is ice on the lake and bay, as of yesterday there is also open water on the lake. Yesterday we had high North winds and for the overnight we had zero degrees and single digit weather. If the single digit weather continues this week for overnights, we could be on the lake soon.

The wind may switch to the South and current forecast shows teens for lows this week. Having the open water seal up is a big factor in safety. We do not intend to go out when there is the possibility of becoming stranded across 100 or more feet of open water. We will keep monitoring the situation while working on our projects.

Covid update; We intend to be operating at full speed this winter and have been planning as many disinfecting processes as possible to avoid major impacts to our normal service. While on light ice we will be transporting everyone as normal, except we will not be mixing groups in the transportation. Meals will be To Go for the winter season.

We will also be using paper and plastic products for plates and utensils in the cabins, normal pots and pans will be in cabin for cooking and serving. We are constantly reviewing our process and policies to ensure we are acting safely for all involved. We will be disinfecting and sanitize transportation, fish houses and bathrooms on the ice." 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 2, 2020 "Ice Tour Reveals Anglers Getting Early Start"

image links to Deer River Area ice fishing report Anyone who likes the idea of being the “explorer” who walks out first on the ice can cross a few lakes off the list this morning. That’s because some of the Itasca Region’s more popular ice fishing lakes already have holes drilled on them.

My Tuesday afternoon tour began at Fred’s Bait, in Deer River, MN. After a short closure while waiting for freeze up, the shop was open and owners, Bill, and Lynne Powell were both on hand. For them, the ice season has officially begun and apparently, it is off to a good start.

From what I saw yesterday, it won’t be long before more of their customers begin asking for spearing decoys, crappie minnows and waxworms. In fact, I think that the emphasis on fishing many local lakes will intensify for this weekend. But so far, most of their traffic is headed for Upper Red Lake.

That is to be expected because most anglers know that the secret to bagging walleyes is to get up there early. And like always, the early freezing Red Lake is often the only game in town for anglers eager to get in on first ice action. Most of the anglers who have fished on Red Lake so far this season, have been successful. However, I’ve heard from some who say that the action is slowing down already, especially wherever there are large crowds of people.

As travel conditions improve, walleye anglers will find fresh territory and more reliable action over the short term. But my prediction is that Red Lake will fizzle out faster than usual this winter.

image of lake winnie at the dam bay near tamarack lodgeAfter I left Deer River, I headed north on US HWY 46 intending to check the ice conditions at Winnie. But before I got that far, I had already spotted a portable shelter on Little Ball Lake, so I turned into the access to check it out first.

Sure enough, there was a truck parked at the ramp and a portable shelter set up on the ice. The owner of it was walking, drilling, and checking holes for fish, whether he found them or not is anybody’s guess.

My next stop was at the Winnie Dam and from what I could see, both the Dam Bay and Tamarack Bay were completely frozen over. I did not see any anglers fishing out there, but I did see a couple of guys walking out in front of Tamarack Lodge drilling and testing the ice for thickness.

I wasn’t quite sure who they were, but I know that the folks from Tamarack typically team up with Chad and Melissa from the Pines Resort to provide service for ice access. I called both Tamarack Lodage and Chad mertz at the Pines Resort to see if they'll share anything about their exploration. I will add an update here when I hear back from either.

I didn’t have a lot of time to work with, so I skipped taking my typical trip out to either Bowen’s Road to the flats or over to William’s Narrows to check out Cutfoot Sioux. I didn’t think that was needed because from what I saw at Tamarack Bay, I’m confident that there will be enough ice for a walk at either of those locations by this weekend.

image of cutfoot sioux lake from Eagle Nest landingI still wanted to check Cutfoot though, so I drove up to the Eagle Nest Landing at the campground and checked that out. From that vantage point, I could see most of the lake and it was ice covered. But the ice was thin and shiny, freshly formed within the past day or two I’d guess. For me, the ice at that location won’t be ready for walking this weekend, but if it stays cold and dry, early next week might be a possibility.

From Cutfoot, I headed east on Co. Rd. 35 to see what Bowstring Lake looked like. At the north landing, I found a truck parked at the landing and there was a portable fishing shelter set up on Bowstring's Deep Breakline. The ice looked good at that landing, it appears to have been frozen for a while, it was solid under my feet and had a little bit of snow cover on it. I didn’t drill any holes to check the thickness, but I would feel safe walking out there this weekend.

By now, I was running short on daylight, so I skipped driving to the landings at Jessie and Little Jessie Lakes. But I could see each of them from the road and they both were ice covered. Without further investigation I can’t say much about them, but from the glimpse I got, I can say that they were both frozen over and appeared to have been so for several days.

ice shelter at sunset on Moose Lake From there, I headed south on Hwy. 6 and then east on Co. Rd. 19 to check out both Moose and Deer Lakes. Typical of the early ice season, Deer Lake was wide open and anyone with access could easily fish it from a boat.

Moose Lake was frozen over, in fact, there was a portable ice shelter set up out there too. The sunset there provided me with a backdrop for the final photo of the day.

On my way home, I took Co. Rd. 62 south toward Cohasset where I got a last light glimpse from the east side of Bass Lake. The popular early ice destination was frozen over, but hasn’t been fished yet, I don’t think.

That brings you up to speed with my firsthand experiences. For me, the takeaway of yesterday’s exploration is that the time has come to get my gear packed up and ready for fishing. In fact, my first ice fishing trip is scheduled for Monday, after I use this weekend to clear up some unfinished family business.

Be sure you have cleats, there is virtually snow cover on any of the lakes in our region and the ice will be very slippery. And as usual, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of playing it safe. Go slow, check the ice thickness often and avoid obvious problem areas like narrows, rivers, and springs. For an added measure of safety, save the deep-water lakes for later and focus on the shallow ones first.

Finally, I’d like to ask a favor. This year, I’m on the fast track to buying and enclosed snowmobile trailer. If you have one for sale, or know somebody else who does, I’d be interested in hearing about it, just shoot me an email. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 1, 2020 "Freezing the Freeze-Able In Itasca Region"

image of ice cover on Splithand Lake December 1st, I can’t think of a more fitting time to announce that now, even many of the deepest and most stubborn lakes in the Itasca have frozen over.

I wouldn’t go for a walk out yet, but on Monday, I saw thin ice covering about 90% of Pokegama Lake at Grand Rapids. The same was true at Sugar Lake located southwest of Grand Rapids, except the ice was somewhat thicker there; 2 to 3 inches at the shoreline.

Further south, I checked the ice on Splithand Lake. The accompanying photo tells the story there, 5 to 6 inches of ice already cover the shallow, shoreline portion of that lake. I expect that the next time I drive that way, I’ll see fishing shelters on the lake.

Further north, dark house spearing shelters are popping up in the shallow areas on Lake Winnie. I expect that by the weekend, traffic will be heavy in the more popular areas like Third River, Tamarack Bay and near the Mississippi River on the west side.

This week, the forecast looks promising for ice production. Even with moderately warm daytime temperatures, overnight lows should be cold enough to keep it freezing. So far, there’s no mention of snow on its way, so let’s hope it stays that way!

Ron Lindner, co-founder of In-Fisherman died yesterday and whether we’ve known it on a conscious level or not, anybody who has wet a line over the past 50 years owes him a debt of gratitude.

Virtually every concept we see portrayed on TV, in videos or on the pages of fishing publications today, traces back in some way to the systems of fishing that we learned from the early work that came to us by way of In-Fisherman, TV, Magazines and Radio productions.

Ron, along with his brother Al and the superb group of co-hosts and associates that made up the In-Fisherman organization literally taught me everything I know about how to catch a fish. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Eventually, time takes us all and I guess this was Ron’s time. I can only hope that in whatever time I have left, I can find a way to honor the history of Ron’s contributions.

A friend once told me that heaven is a place where the fish are biting every time you go out. I’ll bet that’s true, so farewell Ron, and remember, keep a tight line! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish December 1, 2020 "Tackle HD Swimmer Giveaway"

image links to fishing glove giveaway "One of the most versatile fall selections for anglers following the shad is a swimbait. Rigged with an exposed hook and swimbait head it can be fished throughout the water column.

Not only is this a goto rig for summertime deep water fishing it can be thrown on channel banks, flats, and around structure like blowdowns and grass clumps effectively too as fish follow bait shallow in search of a meal feeding up for the cold weather months.

The Tackle HD Swimmer is equally effective in the spring rigged weightless or with a tiny weight or split shot jerking it and letting it fall like a dying baitfish. It works great on bedding fish too and because of its bulk can be cast long distances sometimes needed for wary or easily spooked bass cruising the shallows. " Learn More and Enter >> Tackle HD Swimmer Giveaway


image links to fishing guide jeff sundin Jeff Sundin December 1, 2020 "Perusing the Peruse-Able For Stocking Stuffer Ideas"

image links to Lurenet Black Friday Sale Most of the men and women in my family love fishing. Naturally, that means that they love fishing gear too, so Whenever somebody mentions picking up stocking stuffers for Christmas, I start checking around for special sales on fishing tackle.

A couple of days ago, an email from Lurenet got my attention. It contained an announcement about a big flash sale on fishing lures and a lot of the lures they listed, are the same ones I use every day for both open water and ice fishing.

When they use the term “Flash Sales”, they mean it. Both the lures that are on sale and the times at which they're offered are moving targets. So you have to check in every day to see which ones they running at the moment. The deals are running at random times and usually last only if the supplies do.

So whether you have anglers on your Christmas list or just want a great deal on lures for your own tackle trays, save some money and have some fun checking out >> Lurenet's Black Friday Flash Sales. I'm on their website, checking for bargains myself, right now. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL


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.