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image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 31, 2023 "Presenting the Present-Able"

I know that a lot of you are preparing to head up for the Labor Day Holiday and are hoping for an update about what’s going on in the area. The reason I’m leading with this today is because there are more presentations going on right now than most of us can keep track of. On some lakes, walleyes are on rocks and biting on jigs and minnows. This week I’ve fished one lake where wiggle worming is working great, but yesterday, on a different one, trolling spinners tipped with minnows worked great too. Slip floats and leeches are still working on Leech, Winnie, Cass, and others. Tolling crankbaits at dusk, and after dark are working great right now too.

Whenever most of us anglers walk into a bait shop, sporting goods store or visitor center, the likely question is “where are they bitin’?” I don’t think most of expect to learn much, we just ask because it’s who we are, fishing people. But sometimes, somebody spills a full can of beans and lets you in on every little detail, which lake, which species, how deep, which presentation, everything. When you arrive at the lake, you’ll be armed with every bit of information for an optimum chance of a successful fishing trip.

Hypothetically, something like this could happen to you, and if it does, will you be ready?

Sometimes yes, it is that simple, and sometimes, not, there are presentations that just plain work better for some folks than for others. For every customer I have who loves fishing with a jig and minnow, there’s another who excels at trolling spinners. For everybody I hear from who loves wiggle worming, there are others who don’t. Knowing where to go, and what to do isn’t always good enough and sometimes we “experts” need to remember that. That’s why I think the best advice I have right now is to figure out how you want to fish, and then, figure out a lake that offers the right conditions to implement your plan.

If you like catching panfish, trolling spinners might be good for locating fish right now, but in some waters, surface temperatures have cooled and that’s diminished the effectiveness of trolling. This week I’ve found crappies are still in the weeds, hitting on small jigs tipped with plastic tails.

Sunfish are in the weeds too, and they’ll hit a jig tipped with cut pieces of night crawlers, small leeches, or waxworms, but they will barely touch plastics. Perch are mostly in the weeds right now too, and for me, have been hard to access. Folks are catching some nice ones though and if that’s a goal for you, scrounging around the cabbage patches will eventually lead to the right spot. Jig and minnow will be the preferred presentation once you find them.

Pike and bass are active, but daytime, hot sun and warm water does not make a great pike fishing trip. By all accounts, early morning and late evening are when you’ll catch them. Bass are somewhat more tolerant, but folks are catching more of them at dusk and dawn too.

I’ll be rushing out the door soon, and don’t have time to re-write details about every little aspect of fishing in the region. But I promise, virtually everything that’s going on right now can be found in the most recent August reports. Bowens Winnie reports have been very good, and there are links to articles and videos about wiggle worming, if you’re going to try it, study first. Lately, my reports have steered away from trolling spinners, but with water temperatures on the rise, I’ve seen an uptick in activity. If the weather forecast comes true, water should warm even more, and trolling will become more effective.

I’ll have another update on Friday morning, so tune in for that before you head up. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 30, 2023

image of fisherman holding giant norther pike "Walleye fishing has remained strong on many area lakes this last week. Anglers continue to find walleyes deep, in 12 to 20 feet of water. More and more anglers are looking to minnows and trolling crankbaits to catch their walleyes. Anglers fishing minnows are working them on a jig, around current areas, windy humps, windy shorelines and windblown points. Anglers trolling crankbaits have been trolling baits over large flats, again in 12 to 20 feet of water, during the day.

Smallmouth Bass continue to be found more and more out on sunken islands, mixed in with walleyes. Anglers catching smallies out here have been throwing paddle tails and flukes on heavy 1/2oz jigs. Anglers can still find smallies on shoreline, downed trees and in large rivers. Anglers fishing here have been throwing topwater lures, Ned rigs, wacky worms and in-line spinners for active smallies.

Panfish • Crappies continue to be a popular choice for anglers and for good reason. Crappies are being found in thick stands of cabbage, or around downed trees. Evening hours seems to be the most consistent bite for anglers and jig/twister, beetle spins and crappie minnows. Sunnies too have been very popular this last week. Anglers are finding them in the same areas, but anglers are catching them on live bait more than artificial.

The Stream Trout bite has been very hit or miss for anglers this last week. When trout are cooperating, anglers are catching them on small kastmasters, in-line spinners and night crawlers floated off the bottom, about 2 feet, with a marshmallow.

Northern Pike anglers have been reporting catching quality pike this last week, in shallow weedbeds. Anglers have been throwing large streamers, poppers, spoons and fishing a sucker under a bobber. Early mornings have been noticeably the best time to target larger pike, while smaller ones remain active all day." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish August 30, 2023 "Best Summer Trout Fishing Tips"

image links to fishing video about using rippin raps to catch walleye "During my childhood in Western Massachusetts and college years in Southwest Vermont, I often spent warm summer days wading the many trout streams found in abundance throughout the region. It took minimal equipment, offered a change of pace from bass fishing, and was a great way to cool off.

Fast forward a few short years and I am now living in Upstate, SC. In addition to the highly touted bass fisheries in the area, there are tremendous fishing opportunities for both wild and stocked trout. After a long week at work, nothing hits the spot quite like packing a lunch, sliding on some beat-up sneakers, and hitting the streams. Whether you are after rainbow trout, brown trout or brook trout, stream fishing in the summer requires some creative thinking at times to be successful and we’re here to help you with that endeavor.

TROUT BEHAVIOR IN WARMER MONTHS - Early on, I noticed that the location and tactics needed to catch summer trout varied drastically from the colder water periods of spring and fall. Fish were less active and could only be found in ..." Learn More >> Best Summer Trout Fishing Tips

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism August 30, 2023

image of fisherman with big walleye caught on Lake of the Woods "There is a chill in the air on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Flocks of geese are starting to fly. Leaves are just hinting of a change and fall is on its way. As Mother Nature transitions, fishing continues to be good.

Two techniques continue catching the majority of the walleyes, drifting spinners with crawlers and trolling crankbaits.

Many of the charters continue to run to the north end of the lake as there have been good numbers of eaters. Drifting spinners with a gold blade with some red on it along with a two hook harness and a crawler continues to catch good. Pink, gold, gold/red, and gold/orange continue to be good blade colors.

Try to maintain a 45 degree angle with your weight when pulling spinners. Keep your weight just off of the bottom, touching once in a while just to make sure you are near the bottom, 1.25 MPH is a desired trolling speed for snelled spinners.

image of Joe Henry with nice smallmouth bassTrolling crankbaits over deep mud or around the mud and rock transition on the deep edges of rock piles continues to produce larger fish along with some eaters. Trophy walleyes are being caught using both methods.

On the Rainy River, another very nice week of walleye fishing on the river and it should only get better. Four Mile Bay has some fish as do shoreline breaks, bars and other pieces of structure throughout the river.

Trolling spinners and trolling crankbaits has been effective. Some big pike are being caught casting shorelines and back bays. The river is all about a mixed bag. Walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike, big crappies and lake sturgeon are all being caught.

Up at the NW Angle, an incredible week of fishing up at the Angle. Walleye anglers are reporting phenomenal fishing with good numbers of fish. Walleye anglers, check out areas of structure until you find fish. Jigging is very popular amongst the island structure and when fishing the "spot on a spot". When you are on a flat area, fishing a shoreline or up and down sunken islands, pulling spinners and trolling crankbaits are effective.

Nice multi species action for those casting shorelines. Muskie anglers are catching nicely. With colder weather around the corner, many muskie anglers look forward to trolling shorelines and areas of structure around islands."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 29, 2023 "Any Way The Wind Blows, Does It Really Matter?"

Yesterday’s NOAA weather forecast made me happy, until it didn’t happen. In the morning, it was supposedly going to be from the south, in the afternoon, it would switch to the northwest. Great, I thought, we can drift along the weedline, and wiggle worm our way up the west side of the lake in the morning, then drift back south along the east shore in the afternoon; the perfect plan.

Instead of drifting in either direction, we wound up creeping along on what turned out to be glassy smooth water until late afternoon.

The smooth surface didn’t kill the fishing plan, but it did change it. Once we were on the water, I told the crew that we’d start our day with an experiment. I motored to a spot where we’d caught a couple of crappies one day last week. I pulled along the outer edges of the weeds, handed the boys each a rod and said, “Cast toward the shoreline, let the jigs drop into the gaps and pockets between weeds and try to keep a tight line as it falls,” The instruction paid off fast, there were crappies in the weeds, and they were cooperative.

image of Strike King Slabalicious Mr. Crappie luresThe presentation wasn’t much different than anything I’ve described before. We used 1/16-ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs tipped with plastic tails, cast them toward the weeds, and allowed as much drop time as possible before getting snagged. I had given the boys a choice of 3 plastic tails, 2 of them were ripple shads, each a different color and 1 of them was a Strike King, Mr. Crappie “Slabalicious”. By chance, they’d chosen the ripple shads, so I tipped my jig with the slabalicious. It was the first time I’ve tried them, but the one I was using seemed to be working better than the ripple shads. The knobby tails produce more swimming action as they fall or when they’re swimming horizontally. It wasn’t that long before we were all using them.

Because the water was so calm, we could see some of the fish strike as they appeared from below a mix of flat stemmed pondweed, coontail and cabbage. I couldn’t tell if there was one type of plant that they preferred, the fish seemed to be happy anywhere that was shaded. Sunfish were there too, but they were much less willing to pop out of the weeds, that was true everywhere yesterday; we caught some bluegills, but the sunshine and calm water definitely had them hunkered down.

The walleyes were not impossible to catch, but they were hunkered down too. Wiggle worming works when calm seas force me to troll instead of drift. But the process takes longer, is more complicated for the crew and can result in more tangled lines. We stuck with the presentation until we’d caught 3 or 4 walleyes and then I tried trolling spinners. We caught a few, a mix of crappie, sunfish, northern, 1 small walleye and a sucker. But our goal of catching walleyes would be accomplished easier by switching back to wiggle worms, I believed, so we switched back to that.

Our walleye fishing was destined to improve, but not because of anything we did. The predicted afternoon wind finally arrived, and really helped us out. About a half hour after the surface began churning, the walleyes started moving and became easier to catch. Before we wrapped for the day, we’d managed to harvest 10 of them. Combined with the crappies from earlier, the larder was something to be proud of.

“Walleyes or Die”, that’s today’s instruction from my crew. I'd form a plan based on the weather forecast, but why bother? We’ll just see how the day goes, and then I’ll let you know all about it tomorrow. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 27, 2023 "Wiggle Worming, The Other Action Bite"

image of Josh Hoffert with big walleye caught on a wiggle worm After the turn from the warm, summer peak fishing period toward the cooler, post summer or pre-fall period, fish metabolism slows down. Trolling spinners, which is the ideal mixed bag during mid-summer still produces action, but some fish species start to disappear from the mix. Wiggle Worming, the oft talked about presentation for walleye fishing can also offer a rejuvenated “action bite” for multi-species in cooler water.

Fishing with my friend Raymond Shouse usually means fishing with his kids. This time though, the kids were busy with sports, and Ray substituted his buddies Mike and Josh Hoffert. Mike identified himself as “needing help”, I refer to that as “coachable”, at least that’s been my experience. Josh, self-described as “one step above coachable” could have gone either way, but this time turned out to be accurate, particularly in terms of his walleye performance. Ray, on this trip specialized in sunfish, bluegills in particular, but caught fish of other species too. All told, there were pike, walleye, perch, rock bass, sunfish, and a couple largemouth, the only fish we didn’t catch was a crappie.

On a clam day, I’d likely still have spent the day trolling the weed edges with spinners. But on this trip, gusting winds and a stiff chop on the water would shunt that plan. So, before we even got to the lake, I’d decided that Wiggle Worming would be our “Plan A” presentation. At our first spot, we talked about how it worked and what to do before, during and after getting a fish to strike. When I got to the part about “wiggling”, Ray mentioned that he’d seen my earlier article about it, and followed the link to a Fish Ed video that came out several years ago. “Did you know that throughout that whole video, the host of the program never explained the importance of wiggling the wiggle worm?” Ray asked.

Truthfully, I never caught that omission, and that’s my bad, because as my fishing customers have heard over and over, the wiggle, is the most important part of wiggling a wiggle worm! I do break it down in the article “Wiggle Worming 101”, but let’s do a quick review of the process from start to finish.

The idea is to allow your bait to float and flutter over the top of rocks, weeds, or other structures. I always tell my customers that they are not supposed to feel the bottom, and dragging the offering too deep usually works against us. Lindy Live Bait Jigs are not the only jigs that work, but they do work great and because I designed them, they are my obvious first choice. I always start with the 1/16-ounce size and have fished these in water depths well over 20 feet. The key is to maintain a boat speed of .6 to .8 MPH. If I can’t hold that speed, I will switch to the 1/8-ounce size, but only if necessary.

Typically, we use whole night crawlers, 5 to 6 inches long is perfect. But if the night crawlers I buy are huge ones, I will sometimes clip a little off, always maintaining enough length for the worm to undulate in the water. The objective is to make the worm rotate like a corkscrew, it’s the motion like what you’d get using one of the slow death hooks and getting the motion right will increase your effectiveness 10-fold. To produce it, gently rock the rod handle in your hand to make the rod tip wiggle constantly. The movement should be slow, methodical and relaxed, and should not feel like working to you at all. If your hand ever gets tired, you’re working too hard, either making too much motion or moving your rod tip too fast. Savor the moment, watch the loons and the pretty trees and wait, you will get a strike once you relax.

When you feel a pickup, release the line and feed it out freely, like you would fish a lindy rig. Usually, I’ll give the fish 20 seconds, maybe more if the bite is finicky, maybe less if it’s aggressive. The time you feed out fishing line is much less important than what happens next, which is CRITICAL. Be sure that before you attempt to set the hook, you have retrieved all of the slack line and can see your rod tip loading up under the weight of the fish. If you simply stop the feeding line and then flip your bail and jerk, you will miss almost every fish. Re-gathering the slack line can be done aggressively too, there’s no need to take great care as you reel, turn the handle fast and be ready to set the hook as your rod tip loads up.

Let’s recap. Make sure you always move your rod tip in a slow, but deliberate wiggle; like a happy dog gently wagging its tail. When the fish strikes, feed out line smoothly and freely. Allow the fish adequate time to run out and eat the worm, 20 seconds on average, shorter or longer depending on how aggressively they strike. After feeding line, gather up all the slack, feel the rod tip load and set the hook. Finally, pose with your fish for a picture, like “one step above ‘coach-able”, Josh Hoffert is doing here.

After you've gained experience, you'll begin noticing the variety of sensations when different species strike. The classic slow pull down of a walleye strike becomes unmistakable, the solid single pop of a crappie is predictable too and even the more subtle differences between large and small panfish become more detectable. I know you’ve heard about wiggle worming before, but you may still have not tried it. With water temperatures in decline, this presentation is a solid option right now and will be reliable over the next several weeks. It is time for you to give it a try.

OH, and by the way, you can use this presentation with minnows too. Larger than average rainbows, small redtails, leatherbacks and even light sucker minnows will work.

As we round the corner into the Labor Day Weekend, I see that we’re on the verge of a full moon, a blue moon this month. If history repeats, we should enjoy an uptick in the fishing action because of it. In past reports, I’ve called it a false start to the fall feeding period because it doesn’t usually last more than a week or so. Obviously, the duration depends on the weather, but either way, we should, at least for a time, enjoy better than average action especially for the larger predator species. Stay tuned for more as the week unfolds. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 26, 2023 "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers?" Jeff's Lost Fillet Knife

image of Jeff Sundn's lost cutco fillet knife and f. dick sharpening steel Okay, I know, it's my own fault, and I'll likely never see my lost fillet knife again. But on the off chance that you or someone you know is holding on to it for safe keeping, I'd surely appreciate you letting me know.

Pictured left is the actual black handled Cutco Fillet Knife, and orange handled F. Dick sharpening steel that I left behind after work. The fish cleaning station at the Pokegama Dam Recreation area is where I left it on Wednesday evening after I cleaned fish for my customers. By Thursday, I'd realized my mistake and called the Corps of Engineers office at Pokegama Dam. They knew it was there and opted to leave it in the fishing cleaning shack, hoping someone would come back to pick it up.

I did go back, but when I got there, it was already gone. With luck, some one of you is holding on to it for safe keeping, and if so, please let me know. Would you like a reward? Sure, I can offer that, all you need to do is give me a shout. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 25, 2023 "Weed Whipping Walleyes"

The week started out just the way I like it, breezy, cloudy, and threatening to rain. The fish on Winnibigoshish liked it that way too and it was obvious, not only to me, but to most folks who spent time on the water. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were all solid fishing days. We found walleyes in a variety of spots and caught them using several presentations. I don’t think I need to re-write the entire report because the most recent Bowen Lodge Fishing Report covers the details accurately. My report picks up where theirs ends, beginning Wednesday afternoon when the breezes calmed, and the walleyes decided that nap time was a better idea than feeding time.

For most of the summer, I’ve defended myself against calm weather and sunny days by hugging the weed edges on lakes with murky water. Because of that, a short list of “Plan B” lakes have resided in the back of my mind. So, rather than searching for fish and struggling to make them bite, I opted to use one of the “Plan Bs” instead.

When we arrived at the lake, my first thought was how the water level had fallen since my last visit. I think there was about 1 foot less water at the landing, and that lower water level impacted our fishing, negatively at first, but positively once I figured out what to do about it.

The negative was that weeds on shallow flats and shoreline breaks that held walleye a couple weeks ago, were so thick that we could not present any lures to the fish. We managed to drag spinners through some of them, but even in locations where we could fish, nothing happened, the walleyes were gone, and so were the crappies, perch, and pike. I hoped that meant that mid-lake bars would be holding fish, but that was wrong, except for a few small fish, the open water structures were a disappointment.

The positive impact of the heavily matted weeds developed when I figured out that it was smarter to go back to the shoreline. Instead of fishing shallow weed flats, I decided to check the areas where steep breaklines butted up tight to the weed edges. Hugging the “wall of weeds” that formed at the edge of the steep drop off, we started finding fish and catching some of them. I don’t want to make it sound too good, because it wasn’t fast and furious, but it was good enough to save our afternoon. We’d already harvested 3 walleyes from Winnie, and added another 6 here, bringing our total for the day up to 9 nice keepers.

Thursday was going to be a repeat performance, I thought, but there was a surprise in store for me. Fishing in the same territory that held walleyes on Wednesday afternoon, we caught northern pike 1 after the other. Spinners, jigs with plastics, night crawlers … it did not matter. Conspicuously absent from the area on Wednesday, the small pike were making up for lost time and if there were walleyes there, they never had time to find our lures before the pike did. I actually considered moving to yet another “Plan B” lake but decided to take a chance on another theory.

We never arrived at that lake until after 1:00 PM on Wednesday, and like I mentioned, the northern pike had been conspicuously absent that afternoon. Wondering what if the pecking order would change in the afternoon, I decided to stay long enough to find out. Sure enough, after noon, the pike bite slowed down, and the walleye action improved. I’m obviously happy that it worked out that way, and maybe the information will help you if the situation occurs while you’re fishing this week.

If we’d had a breeze for drifting, I would have spent Thursday “Wiggle Worming” hoping to single out walleye vs pike. Trolling along a hard wall of weeds makes it hard to put everybody in position though, and feeding out line when we’re trolling is tricky too. Feeding fish on 1 line tends to cause confusion when walleyes run off with the night crawlers and cross lines with other anglers. So, I opted to troll spinners exclusively for the afternoon and that worked out okay.

Key depths ranged between 7 and 10 feet of water and hugging the weeds was important. Tipping our spinners with night crawlers seemed to be an advantage, but fatheads worked too. In fact, Diane’s walleye, the largest of our trip, was caught on a fathead.

Surface water temperatures have dropped, 71 degrees was the warmest reading yesterday, but we fished some areas where 68 to 69 degrees was more common. The last time I fished on that lake, temperatures were 77 to 78 degrees and the warmer water facilitated catching a wider variety of fish species. Crappies, perch, and sunfish were totally absent from yesterday’s catch, and on Wednesday, 1 or 2 small crappies were the only takers. That’s one of the reasons I tried the small jigs and plastics in the morning, but getting snipped off by small pike turned that plan upside down.

Results on your favorite lakes could be different though. So, if you’ve been catching panfish on spinners, and they seem to have disappeared, consider trying alternative presentations that allow you to fish more slowly. Jigs and plastics for crappies are my favorite, jigs with small leeches or cut pieces of night crawler are my favorite sunfish bait and for perch, jig and minnow combinations get the nod.

Today, the wind is predicted to pick up again, and the skies will be grey, at least during the morning. Maybe we’ll head for Winnie, I’m not sure yet, but whatever we decide, you will be kept in the loop. If you’re making some plans to head this way over Labor Day, my best advice is to bring a little bit of everything instead of a lot of any single thing. It’s a transitional time and fish are responding well to several presentations.

OH, and by the way, we have a full moon coming on August 30th. Historically, the full moon of August has triggered an uptick in walleye, pike, and musky activity and if history repeats, next week could be a good one! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 23, 2023

image of young man holding big crappie caught near ely mn "Walleye reports have finally begun to pick up a little out on sunken islands in that 15-25 foot of water range. Anglers finding walleyes out on sunken islands have been catching them on bigger minnows and jigging raps. Shallow water bite continues to be where the best reports continue to come from. Here anglers are pulling lindy rigs, tipped with a crawler, pitching jigs with half a crawler, casting crankbaits and swim baits tight to windy shorelines and windy flats for walleyes. 6-10 feet of water seems to be the best, but reports of walleyes as shallow as 2-3 feet continue to come in. Gold, purple, perch and orange were popular colors this last week.

Smallmouth too seem to of begun to shift out to sunken islands with the walleyes. Some real pigs are being caught out here on with a simple jig and big minnow. Most anglers continue to focus on main lake shorelines and larger rivers to find active smallies. Anglers here have been throwing in-line spinners, wacky worms and topwater. Again, windblown shorelines, large flats and downed trees have been areas to focus on for the best fishing.

Panfish: Crappie have been a popular choice for anglers this last week as many anglers have been running into active schools of crappies on many of the areas more popular crappie lakes. Crappies have been hitting classic beetle spins, jig/twisters and crappie minnows in or near thick cabbage beds, downed trees and lily pads. Sunfish are also being found in similar areas as crappies and on similar baits.

Stream trout have suddenly become a popular target this last week. Anglers have been having success both from shore and boat. Anglers fishing from a boat have been trolling small crankbaits, cowbells and lindy rigs tipped with a crawler, down around 15 feet of water for active trout. Shore anglers have been having success throwing jig/twister, small spoons and night crawlers either under a bobber or floated off the bottom have been very effective. Morning and evening hours have been the best time to be fishing for active trout." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism August 22, 2023

image of angler holding big northern pike caught near flag island "There were good numbers of both walleyes and saugers caught on the south end of Lake of the Woods this week. Most of the better action is occuring both over the deep mud flats in Big Traverse Bay and around the mud and rock transitions located along the outer edges of rock piles adjacent to deeper water. These areas both continue to produce nice size fish.

Typical of most late late summer seasons, there are two techniques catching the majority of the fish. Trolling or drifting using spinners and night crawlers, or trolling using crankbaits. During the warm summer months, walleyes often react better to crankbaits presented using faster trolling speeds; 2.5 to 3.5 MPH have been working well. Rotate crankbait styles until you figure out the walleye's preference. Different shapes, sizes, wobbles, rattles and colors all can make a difference. Some colors to consider are shiny gold, pink UV firetiger, chrome/blue, or a chartreuse body with a red head.

Spinners are typically most effective when presented at speeds of .9 to 1.3 MPH.

Higher percentages of "eater walleyes", those fish under 19.5 inches, have been in good numbers in the north end of the lake. Drifting spinners with a two hook harness and a crawler continues to catch many of the walleyes right now. Gold, gold/red, gold/orange and pink spinner blades continue to be good colors. Quick tip, pinch off the long tail of the crawler, you only need two to three inches off of the back hook and will catch more fish.

A bug hatch here and there can make fishing more challenging, but anglers are still catching walleyes. Spinners and crankbaits are the ticket. Some anglers try to work areas of the lake not so affected by the hatch.

For being the middle of August, it's been a nice week of walleye fishing on The Rainy River. The river continues to produce a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike, big crappies and lake sturgeon. Four Mile Bay continues to hold some fish along with various shoreline breaks, bars and other pieces of structure throughout the river. Trolling spinners and trolling crankbaits have been effective. A few big pike with good numbers of smaller eater sized pike are being caught casting shorelines and back bays. Spinnerbaits, inline spinners and bladed jigs with a plastic producing fish. Trolling crankbaits and covering water will also put a mix of fish in the boat.

Up at the Northwest Angle it's been another great week of fishing too. Walleyes, saugers, muskies, pike, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch and crappies are all showing up nicely in August. For walleyes, work various areas of structure until you find fish. Pull spinners on top of a sunken island or underwater point and eventually slide off the edge, watching both your electronics for fish and noticing what depth or where on the structure you caught.

Sometimes fish will be on top, other times on the sides or off the structure in the adjacent mud. Go spot to spot until you find fish. Jigging when you are on fish on tight structure is effective. Spinners and night crawlers when fish are spread out or you are looking for fish. Muskie anglers continue to report action with both follows and fish boated."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image reader comments Reader Comments August 21, 2023 "Bass Pros Fishing Deep, Not A Good Look!"

image Tommy Howell wrote: "Watching Bassmaster (tournament) from Lake Champlain. The leaders are fishing Livescope in 25 to 40 feet of water! Some are fizzing fish. In my opinion it’s a bad look for Bass Elites." - Tom

Thank you for the comment, and yes, I agree, it does not "look good" when certain high level fishing pros don't keep up with the science that directly impacts their fishing pursuits. With everything that some of us have learned about barotrauma over the past 6 or 7 years, it “feels” like every angler in the world should know about the negative effects of yanking fish out of deep water. But before we judge folks too harshly, we have to step back, realize how slowly the wheels of education turn and do our best as individuals to turn these events into teachable moments.

You mentioned that some of the fishing pros were “fizzing” fish. For newcomers to the issue, fizzing is the practice of inserting a needle into the fish’s air bladder and has been thought to relieve internal pressure in the hope of improving survival rates of fish released after being caught in the depths.

I recall that some fisheries folks were recommending fizzing back in the late 80s and early 1990s. For many, it was thought to be a way of mitigating the impact of barotrauma on fish that were caught in deep water. Walleye pros were using the practice too, and I’m certain that they believed that they were doing what was best for the fish. While recent studies indicate that fizzing does not help, and may even be doing more harm than good, most fishing pros may not know that yet.

Think about it though, the fact that they are doing anything at all suggests to me that they have thought about the effects of barotrauma and are doing “what they believe” is the right thing. I think this means that they are coachable and we, as anglers can simply give a gentle tap on the shoulder to get their attention, here’s an example.

During late July, I watched a fishing video that was produced by a prominent professional angler. The name isn’t important, so I left that out, but the exchange of information between the two of us was encouraging. I wrote, “Good morning (fishing personality), I watched your recent video about (your special technique) for catching walleye and I do think that both the technique and the video look great.
I wanted to reach out to you personally though and ask that you consider the impact of using that technique for fishing in deep water. Barotrauma is really a problem, and 30 to 40 feet of water is bad news for the fish that get hauled up from those depths.

Personally, I see no problem catching fish in deep water if they are being harvested, but as a collective, I'd hope that we'll work together to teach folks about the risks associated with “catch and release” fishing in the depths. - Thanks for the time, have a fabulous day!”
(Fishing personality) replied, “Thanks Jeff. Definitely a very important factor. Especially this time year when folks are fishing deeper.”

Whether or not the fishing personality changes his behavior is out of my control. But by contacting him personally and letting him know my thoughts about his fishing video, I at least heightened his awareness of the subject. There’s a good chance, I think, that whenever the cameras are rolling next, he’ll consider not promoting fishing for walleyes in deep water. If I’m lucky, he might go so far as to encourage folks not to fish in situations where barotrauma could be an issue.

It would have been easier to leave a comment on one of his anti-social pages, but my grandmother always told me to be polite, and Barry Farber preached that “manners are the grease that helps lubricate society.” Both were onto something and that’s why I found a quiet way to send a gentle, personal message. It’s likely that the high-level bass anglers you watched are equally approachable and maybe a similar approach would work for you?

It's important to keep plugging away, but remember how easy it is not to know what we don't know. Bob Mehsikomer gave me my tap on the shoulder about 10 years ago when I told him about catching northern pike in deep water. After he explained what was happening to those fish, I started learning and then, began spreading the news to others. Education is a slow-moving process, but in my opinion, still works better than regulation. That’s why, I’d encourage all of you to help spread the word before somebody gets the bright idea that we need more new “laws”. We’ve got enough of those already. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 17, 2023 "Gauging the Gauge-Able"

Mike Shannon with nice walleye Mike Shannon and Scott Johnson traded “big walleye honors” back and forth during their 3-day fishing trip to the Grand Rapids area. At the end of day 1, Mile was in the lead with a 20-1/2 incher, then Scott took the lead on day 2 with a 21-incher. On day 3, we caught lots of walleyes, they were mostly small, but they were keeping us busy. Amidst the heat of our small fish rampage, Mike pulls in a phantom 23-inch walleye, thus closing the “big walleye” competition for 2023 and creating a heightened expectation about catching more fish like that one.

At about that same time, an approaching dark cloud brought sprinkles, and with them, the end of the best action. Falling barometric pressure was the culprit, I think, and that was likely the reason for Tuesday being an “off day” as well. That day, I speculated about low pressure and while we were driving home, Mike looked it up, it was low, compared to average, at the time.

Yesterday the fish were cooperative, and using an aggressive presentation, trolling spinners and minnows was working well. During the time that dark cloud was overhead, the action dropped off, but after it passed, the action picked back up again, especially for Scott, who caught a half dozen crappies on one of my famous, “1 last stop”, before wrapping for the day.

image of Scott Johnson holding nice walleye As we know now, there was a weather change headed our way and that seemed to have a big impact on fish behavior on day 2. We did catch some fish that day, but it took a long time to figure a way around catching either tiny fish or larger ones in the protected slot ranges, those coveted “keepers” that the boys were looking for were hard to come by.

I know it’s anecdotal, but I recall Scott Hall sharing a link to an article about the relationship between barometric pressure and fish behavior. In it, the author describes how the BP causes fishes air bladders to expand and contract. He likened it to the sensation we’d have after eating a huge meal, when our full bellies make us feel like napping, and not going for a run, or throwing the football with our kids.

Another anecdotal came from a friend, Scott Glorvigen who was at the time, one of the dominating forces in walleye tournament fishing. We were working together on a trip that day and I was worried about the possible impact that a passing thunderstorm might have on our afternoon fishing. My recollection may not be precise, but it was something like “Don’t worry, that little storm won’t hurt anything, the only thing most tournament anglers fear is a falling barometer.”

For me, knowing if fish respond poorly to a falling barometer or not, doesn’t change much; I still have to work, so I just adjust to conditions and do the best I can. For some folks though, knowing which 1 day of the week might offer the best, or poorest odds of good fishing could be helpful.

Without doubt, if it was weather related or not, our best walleye fishing of the 3-day trip happened on Day 1, Monday. The wiggle-worming presentation produced nice size fish, a combination of walleyes and sunfish. The problem was that for 2 of us, it worked well, but the 3rd angler struggled with it and that influenced my thinking for the whole trip. Spinners tipped with either minnows or night crawlers became the staple presentation for walleyes on both Tuesday and Wednesday. It worked well enough, but I noticed that sunfish, bass, and rock bass strikes were both less frequent and less aggressive.

Crappies, when we discovered them still struck the spinners, but they also struck 1/16-ounce Live Bait Jigs tipped with Ripple Shads. If you encounter crappies while trolling, I’d encourage you to stop, figure out which patch of weeds is holding them and then try casting for them. Recall the August 15, 2023 fishing report about Monday’s trip, when a bed of flat stemmed pondweed held a school of nice crappies. Using a slow drop-swim-drop motion triggered the strikes. Place heavy emphasis on the drop, the small jigs and plastics fall slowly, and should allowed to drop all the way into the weeds where the fish can see them.

All things considered; the 3 days were successful ones. The boys had a fish dinner on Monday, and still left for home with their limits in tow. They had 20 bonus crappies too and a half ration of pike, along with some other odds and ends. I was pleased to stumble into the schools of small walleye yesterday. Like I said, they were both small, and not needed, just barely crossing the 14-inch mark. If we’d “needed” them, they would have made a nice fish fry, but next year, should be highly desirable. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page Reader Question August 16, 2023 "Pelican Lake Fishing Spots?"

"Hi Jeff, My 5 year old nieces are in town from Boston and this coming weekend we are staying at Breezy Point. They are begging to go out and catch fish so the pressure is on me to find a quiet area they can have fun catching sunfish and perch. Size has zero influence on this trip. I have never been on the lake before, wondering if you have and have any suggestions on where on the lake I could hone in on the search to take them and hopefully have some luck. Looking at maps the back bays are very shallow and there isn't hardly anything marked as vegetation. Appreciate any thoughts! Brandon Flaata

A) Brandon, like you, I've never fished Pelican Lake either. So, the first thing I did was to check out the MN DNR Lakefinder to see what I could learn. According to the fisheries survey, the chances of catching panfish looks promising. Not only are there a wide variety of fish listed on the survey, but I see that there were some quality size fish of virtually every one of the most popular species. Suggesting where to find them, I hope you understand, is nothing more than an "educated guess".

I was disappointed that the DNR Lake Finder did not link to any reports about the lake's vegetation. In the past, I've used these to learn about which vegetation types occur in a lake. Often, my best guess about where to start links directly to knowing what types of weeds are in the lake. Since I couldn't find that, I used Google Maps and their sattelite view of Pelican Lake. As you can see, there are numerous shallow areas located all around the lake, including mid-lake structures. These could easily be the key to providing your family with some fun fishing action.

During mid-summer, I'm usually not enthused by "back bays" and ultra shallow water. When water temperatures are warm, main lake structures are typically inhabitated by a variety of fish species, and that's they type of structures I like.

If I was in your shoes, I'd steal an hour and go solo for a ride around the lake. I'd check out as many of the shallow water spots as I could locate and make note of any intersting weed patches, rock piles or unusual structures. Once I have a few ideas, I'd go back, grab the kids, hand them some rods rigged up with spinners and start trolling the weed edges. Without doubt, they will catch something, and as you've already said, it doesn't matter what, or how big those "somethings" are.

I may think of another trick or two, or better yet, one of our wonderfully skilled readers may be familar with Pelican. I'll bet it wouldn't be hard to convince somebody to give up a good Rock Bass spot in the interest of hooking a couple 5 year olds on fishing in Minnesota! If you're willing to help Brandon out, drop me a line. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 16, 2023

image of young man holding nice walleye caught near Ely Minnesota "Walleye fishing continues to be a shallow water game. The best walleye reports continue to come from 6-10 feet of water. Anglers have been finding these shallow water walleyes on points, shallow rocky flats and near current areas. Spinners rigs, soft plastics and crankbaits have been the baits of choice for anglers. Orange, perch, purple and gold have been very popular colors this last week.

Smallmouth Bass fishing slowed this last week as several cold fronts passed through the area. Topwater bite has seemed to cool off some as a result of the cold fronts. In-line spinners, wacky worms and Ned rigs were very effective on these less active smallies. Anglers continue to find smallies in current areas, around downed trees and even out on sunken islands now. Green pumpkin was a very popular color for smallies this last week.

Panfish - Sunfish and crappies continue to be a very popular target with anglers this last week. Anglers have largely been finding crappies and sunnies in the same area. Thick weedbeds have been key areas to find active crappies and sunnies. Time of day can affect what you catch. Crappie are using the weedbeds during the early morning and evening hours. Sunfish have been very active in these weedbeds during the daytime hours. Both are being caught with beetle spins, jig/twister and live bait fished under a bobber.

Northern Pike anglers have been enjoying this cooler then normal temperatures, as cooler water temps increase pike activity. Large pike are being caught with large spoons, large spinnerbaits and minnow baits. Pike anglers have been throwing these lures near weedbeds and river mouths." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism August 16, 2023

"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, it's been a great week of fishing with good numbers and some big fish being caught. Many of the charter boats are running to the north end of the lake looking for "eater" walleyes, those fish under 19.5 inches. The protected slot limit on LOW is 19.5 to 28.0 inches, which have to be released.

Anglers are allowed a combined (posession) limit of walleyes and saugers of up to 6, with no more than 4 of those 6 being walleyes. Anglers can also keep on walleye over 28 inches if they so desire. Otherwise, some anglers choose a few pics and a graphite mount then releasing the fish.

Drifting spinners with a two hook harness and a crawler continues to be very good. Gold, gold and red, gold and pink continue to be good colors. Trolling crankbaits around rock piles or over the deep mud is also producing nice fish. Trolling speeds of 2.5 to 3.5 MPH have been working well. Various crankbaits work, rotate until you dial in what the walleyes want. Different shapes, sizes, wobbles, rattles and colors all can make a difference.

The Warrior Boats David A. Andersen Memorial walleye tournament was this past Saturday. The winning team had 5 walleyes for over 43 pounds, which translates to over an 8 pound per walleye average. There were lots of nice fish being caught during both pre-fishing and during the tournament on Saturday.

image of Joe Henry holdin huge walleye caught on Lake of the Woods Another bug hatch popped up, which is common throughout the summer. Despite the overabundance of food in the lake, good numbers of fish are still being caught. Bug hatches can make fishing more challenging however.

On the Rainy River, there have been good reports of walleyes this week. Four Mile Bay was holding fish along with various spots throughout the river. Fish caught jigging, trolling spinners and trolling crankbaits. When walleyes are spread out, trolling is effective to go through small schools of fish.

Some big pike along with numbers of smaller eater sized pike caught both on the main river and back in some bays. Spinnerbaits, inline spinners and bladed jigs with a plastic producing fish. Reports of pulling spinners catching a variety of species including walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike and some big crappies! Once again, some nice sturgeon caught this week. Lots of these big fish jumping throughout the day.

Up at the Northwest Angle, they're reporting another week of multi-species action. Walleyes, muskies, pike, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch and crappies are all being caught.

For walleyes, work up and down structure until you find fish. On the Minnesota side, various areas north of Garden Island around Oak, Little Oak and Hay Islands producing walleyes.

Spinners with night crawlers or trolling crankbaits effective. If on tight structure with fish, jigging with a minnow or plastic working well.

Muskie anglers are reporting some great activity this month. Most anglers have reported good action. Numbers of big pike caught again this week as well. There is a strong population of pike over 40 inches in Lake of the Woods. Many of these fish are caught by unsuspecting walleye anglers or by muskie anglers."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 15, 2023 "Mixing the Mix-Able"

Switching from “Wiggle Worming” back to trolling spinners wasn’t like flipping a light switch, but it did help add a few last-minute fish to the larder. And for Mike Shannon, offered the chance to stage the “Grand Finale’”, boating the last, and largest walleye of the day.

Contrast yesterday’ report with the one from a week ago, the situation then was reversed. In that case, we’d started the day trolling spinners, and then finished it by switching to wiggle worms, which worked better. Yesterday, we had a moderate chop in the morning, and a nice breeze for drifting. We began our day using wiggle worms and they worked just fine. But once we ran out of a breeze to drift the boat, walleye action on the jig and crawler combo dropped off. Why do you suppose walleye feeding preferences would switch back and forth like that?

In one of last week’s reports, I speculated that maybe calm sunny days forced walleyes to hunker down in the weeds. Even though the fish may have “preferred” a different presentation, the most efficient method of fishing for them was to get into the jungle and root them out. There were likely many fish that let us drive by without biting, we actually only caught fish that had snap reactions, striking spinners whizzing by, over their heads without thinking.

Whenever the wind picked up, and walleye’s feeding mood turned positive, they moved out of the thick vegetation and onto the clean edges adjacent to the breakline. They weren’t necessarily showing a preference for the wiggle worm presentation, they simply moved into a position where they became vulnerable to it. In other words, it worked because of our ability to use it, not because of the fish’s demand for it. So yesterday, when the breeze stopped and the fish hunkered down in the forest, our ability to get the jigs and crawlers to the fish was impaired; trolling spinners became an alternative under the circumstances.

Something similar happened with crappies yesterday too. As is often the case, using night crawlers on the weed lines tends to attract panfish. And yesterday, I stumbled into some panfish while we were drifting for walleyes. Most of them were sunfish, but somewhere along the line, one or 2 crappies popped out of the grass and grabbed our jigs. That was it though, just a couple of them were active enough to move out of the cover to strike as we moved past them.

As an experiment, I stopped the boat, removed the night crawlers from our 1/16-ounce Live Bait Jigs and replaced them with Ripple Shads. “Cast toward the weeds, let the jigs fall and when something pops it, pop ‘em back,” I said.

It took a little practice, some determination, and a bit of re-positioning, but eventually we figured out where the fish were hanging out. A patch of flat stemmed pondweed located in about 9 feet of water. When the jigs fell into pockets and gaps in the grass, crappies struck aggressively. 1/16-ounce lures tipped with plastic tails fall slower than you might think, so it’s common for folks to fish them too quickly. The trick was, and usually is, to give the lures plenty of drop time, allowing them to fall into the cover, where fish can see them. When properly retrieved using a drop-swim-drop presentation, the lure should be 4 to 5 feet deep as it’s returned to the boat. If yours is swimming higher than that, then slow down.

The sunfish that struck our night crawlers were still in the same area too, but they did not respond well to the plastic tails. They’d nip at the tails, but not inhale them. So, for sunfish, a cut piece of worm worked better. We did not spend a lot of time fishing for the sunnies, but we caught several while we were walleye fishing. I casually observed that they were not chasing the spinners yesterday, at 71 degrees, the water temperature may have been too cool for that presentation.

I see the forecast calls for warmer temperatures, and that may raise the surface temperatures a touch. But strong winds are also predicted, so I doubt we’ll see any really significant changes upward. It’s likely that sunfish and crappies will continue to be more responsive to stationery or at least slower moving presentations, more on that over the next week or so. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish August 13, 2023 "Wacky Rig Mastery with Matt Becker | Senko Tips Revealed!"

image links to fishing video about using rippin raps to catch walleye "Major League Fishing pro Matt Becker delves deep into his go-to wacky rig setup, focusing on optimizing a five-inch Senko on a wacky rig to catch bass around docks. And believe him; this technique is gold regardless of which lake or part of the country you’re fishing in.

Becker begins by unveiling his chosen equipment, featuring a 7-foot 2-inch spinning rod. It’s a medium-heavy rod that Becker swears by. Docks and other artificial cover can chew up your line, so Becker uses a 20-pound braided mainline. It delivers better abrasion resistance, particularly around dock posts. Like his braid, Becker uses a beefier leader. He starts with a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader, occasionally bumping it up to 15 pounds. His rationale: the heavier line facilitates a faster sink rate and provides better durability around dock posts and other abrasive cover.

Onto the business end – the hook. Becker’s pick is the ..." View Video and Learn More >> Wacky Rig Mastery with Matt Becker | Senko Tips Revealed!

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 13, 2023 "Action Bite Holds It's Own As Water Cools"

Collage of family fishing trip with Jeff Sundin on Friday August 11, 2023 I hope you’ve had the chance to enjoy some of mid-summer’s finest fishing, what I call the mixed bag action bite. It’s not over just yet, but all the moving parts are leading toward cooling waters and a slow-down in the trolling presentation that makes it work.

When surface water temperatures reach the mid-to-high-70s, trolling spinners triggers strikes from everything, bass, sunfish, rock bass, bullheads … practically everything that swims in your favorite lake. Spinners still work as the temperatures cool, but you’ll notice some of the species dropping out of the mix. Sunfish action fades, then the bass seem to disappear and eventually, we have to begin using more specialized presentations aimed at catching each individual species separately instead of all together.

Diane Eberhardt, along with her kids and grandkids, originally had fishing Winnie in mind when we set up our fishing reservation. But a somewhat threatening weather forecast gave us reason to pause that plan and move to a smaller, Deer River area lake that TYPICALLY offers more variety, less travel and if needed, a faster getaway from crummy weather, should it arrive.

When we arrived, I noticed that the water temperatures were already down 2 degrees from my last visit. Still relatively warm, 74 degrees was not enough to kill the mixed bag bite, but I already noticed a decline in the sunfish action. Luckily, an uptick in northern pike and crappies made up for catching few sunnies, so I didn’t have to abandon trolling as the primary presentation. If we’d been insistent on catching bluegills, I think stopping the boat and still fishing would have been better; if I’m in that situation again, I will plan on it.

Yesterday, the weather was cool, there was some rain and surface temperatures likely declined some more. Today’s forecast is for more rainy, cool weather and they’ll probably fall a little bit more. My sense is that we’ll see an occasional uptick in water temperatures, but from here on out, they’ll be short-lived. Alternative presentations will make the news more often, fishing more deliberately, for more specified target species will make more news too. For me, 3 days in the boat with the same crew will be the catalyst for breaking the old routine, and starting some new ones, but not today.

Today, I’m spending my time with my lovely and gracious wife Susan, aka the Hippie Chick. Yesterday marked the end of our first 6 years of marital bliss and today marks the start of the 7th. I’m not sure what we’ll do exactly, but I can promise you one thing, it won’t work. Since the arrival of our twin grandbabies, Mrs. Sundin has been giving work a bad name, helping out with the babies every day, and some nights, in one way or another. We’ll both be back to work tomorrow, but our anniversary gives us a good excuse for taking a breather and focusing on each other for a little while. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page Reader Question August 11, 2023 "How Much Worm For Wiggle Worming?"

image links to video about Jeff Sundin's Wiggle Worming presentation for catching walleyes On August 10, 2023, Tim Heerts wrote: Q) "Do you use the whole night crawler for wiggle worming?"

A) Yes, I do use the whole night crawler when I'm using the wiggle worming technique. The reason, not onle for the worm length, but for the "wiggling" motion itself is to make the night crawler rotate in the water. The lazy whirling motion that the combination imparts is what, I think, the walleyes are attracted to. The action is not unlike the action imparted by "slow death" hooks that are used for some other live bait presentations which are also effective at attracting walleyes.

I snooped around the internet, looking for more examples of the technique in action and found this video, produced several years ago by Fish ED. In this fun video, you'll not only get an extensive look at the technique, but I also delve into the history and development of this highly effective presentation. Oh, and by the way, unlike a lot of other product oriented videos, this one was filmed just around the corner from my house in Grand Rapids, on pressured water, and not on some remote lake where the walleyes bite everything that moves. View Video and Learn More >> Wiggle Worming Walleye Fish ED May 2016

For more information about this or other fishing techniques, check out the fishrapper report archives. There are at least 15 years worth of saved reports, video links and articles that will help you fine tune your own fishing techniques. Best of all, the information is all yours for free. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 10, 2023 "Honey, Have You Seen My Walleye?"

Sometimes my daily comments and fishing reports are silly, and sometimes they’re important, and sometimes heartfelt; today’s report combines all of them. It’s no big deal, just a little bit of everything. So, let’s start with a couple of observations from my 2 days of fishing with the Patterson clan.

Pattrick, Rachel, Landry, and Anthony didn’t insist on catching walleyes yesterday. In fact, they didn’t insist on anything except for “being kept busy” and “staying somewhere close” to the resort where they are staying. With fishing action and geography in mind, I picked a couple of nearby lakes that qualified for trolling spinners and catching a mixed bag of whatever would bite. The primary target, sunfish, worked out well on both lakes. The secondary targets, crappie, pike, and bass, worked out better in the afternoon on the 2nd lake. I can’t say that walleyes were a primary target, but either lake could have coughed up a few, in this case, only Lake #1 did.

I write about the mixed bag action bite a lot, and frequently discuss the differences between weed types and how they can influence fish location. Less frequently mentioned though is the timing of when fish of an individual species will be in those weeds. It changes as the summer progresses, and I’ve been reminded this week that walleyes don’t always like any of them.

Spinners start working as soon as the waters warm up during early summer. During the early season, trolling the weed edges typically produces more walleye, northern pike, and crappies, than bass and sunfish. Mid-summer water temperatures in the mid-70-degree range trigger more of the “warm water species”, but typically, even when they appear, walleyes are still present in the same areas. One gets the impression that hugging the weeds will continue to produce the same mix of fish all summer long.

During late summer though, right now in my case, walleyes can seemingly disappear from the mix. Right up until about a week ago, plowing through the weeds has consistently produced everything, including walleyes. In the reports from both July 31st and August 2nd, the walleyes we caught were right up in there with all the other fish. On Monday, (August 7th) the walleyes slipped out of the weeds and onto the “clean lip” that lies adjacent to breakline, and we caught them by wiggle worming. Yesterday, I saw the same thing, walleyes, like the one pictured, we isolated from the panfish. Sunfish holding in 11 feet of water, in the weeds, walleyes holding at 12 feet, along the clear, outer edge.

There are some variables that prevent me from theorizing that this pattern change will last for the rest of our season. For one thing, the fish we caught last week may have been forced into the weeds by the hot, sunny, and calm weather conditions. It’s possible that the walleyes we’ve caught this week may have simply been roaming around more because conditions were breezier, and the sky was less bright. So, take the tip for what it’s worth and if you’re on the lake trolling this weekend, move your boat both into and out of the weed edges and watch your graph for signs of this pattern.

Sunfish, like the one you see Mr. Landry Patterson holding here, have been the most cooperative fish of the past week. We’ve caught them in good numbers on at least 5 lakes that I recall, and I’ve heard good reports from folks fishing om a dozen others. If you’re in the market for a family fishing trip this weekend, then sunfish should be cooperative.

Yesterday, trolling spinners in the weeds worked much better than still fishing. Tipping the hooks with night crawlers gets the most action, but I’ll warn you now, bring a lot of worms! We’ve been starting each day with at least a 100 pack, and going through most, if not all of them. Tipping the spinners with leeches has been a good alternative, the only problem is that some bait smaller stores are already running low on leech supplies, one of the stores where I stopped told us they haven’t had any in weeks. Call around your area and if you can get small to medium size leeches, do it. They do hold up on the hooks better and the sunfish will strike them just as well.

The last thing I would ever want to do is diminish the enjoyment of fishing with the Patterson clan. Gary and Patrick have known me for a long time, and I’ve always enjoyed fishing with them. This year, I was introduced to another generation of Pattersons and I’d like to say that it was rewarding.

If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or are any part of any family; then you’ll probably know somebody like Landry Patterson. Ten years old, curious about everything and full of questions. I must be honest, that young feller kept me on my toes yesterday, but like I told my wife, he was delightful. I’d much rather have a kid watching the sonar for signs of fish and structure and asking me a million questions, than to have them watching the screens of their cell phones. I told his dad yesterday that I think Landry might grow up to be an engineer, he’s interested in the inner workings of everything and smart enough to know what he’s observing.

Hey Landry, don’t get a swelled head, but speaking from my personal, outdoorsman’s perspective, I wish more families could have more kids just like you!

I’m up against the clock now and gotta run, but before I go, let me ask. Do you enjoy receiving occasional reminders about fishing tips, or notices about last minute fishing trip openings?

If so, be sure to sign up for the “Early Bird Insider News” mailing list. The emails come occasionally, about once a month, and offer reminders about news articles, fishing date availability and special announcements. The list is an opt-in only, so you’ll never be added to the list unless you request it for yourself. If you’re not on the list, and you want to be, click here and sign up for the >> Early Bird Insider News

fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 9, 2023

image of woman holding a big smallmouth bass "The walleye bite continues to be a shallow water affair for many walleye anglers. 6 to 10 feet of water is where the best reports are coming
from. Anglers are throwing a very mixed bag of lure at these shallow water walleyes. Swim baits, twisters, slip bobbers, minnow baits and lindy rigs are all producing walleyes. Anglers should be focused on windy, rocky shorelines, points, tops of shallow sunken islands, river mouths and even weedlines for walleyes.

Smallmouth bass fishing was spotty for many anglers last week. Anglers catching fish are doing so during the early morning and later evening hours. Early mornings have been prime time for topwater bait. During the evening hours anglers seem to be having better luck fishing with wacky rigs, Ned rigs and in-line spinners. Anglers will find bass around rocky shorelines, points, downed trees, in larger rivers and out around islands.

Panfish - Sunfish bite has been going strong on area lakes. Anglers continue to find sunnies in and around well established weedbeds. Small leeches and angleworms, fished under a bobber has been deadly. Crappie anglers have been reporting that they are finding them in shallow, weed filled bays, right with sunfish. Downed trees have also been another area to find active crappies. Anglers have been throwing favorites like jig and twister combimations, beetle spins and minnows under a bobber to catch crappies.

Northern Pike anglers have been finding active pike cruising weedlines with large spoons and spinnerbaits. Cabin goers have been fishing large suckers under a bobber right off their docks during the early morning hours. Some of the biggest pike caught this last week were caught on suckers." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism August 9, 2023

image links to walleye fishing report from Lake of the woods "The dog days of August are upon us and there was some great walleye fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods this past week. As one guide commented, "we have to work for them, but we normally find them. They aren't in the typical spots, but fishing overall has been good." Even on Lake of the Woods, you gotta find them. When you do, two summer patterns are catching good numbers of fish. Spinners and crankbaits.

Drifting spinners with a fathead, frozen emerald shiner or crawler has been working well. If there is no wind, troll slowly, about 1.25 mph to keep the blade spinning and cover water. Use a one hook harness with the minnows, a two hook harness with a crawler. Gold, gold and red, gold and pink combos have all been good colors. Mix up colors until you find what is working the best.

Trolling crankbaits has also been catching good numbers of walleyes. Downriggers, leadcore line, snap weights, 4 oz. bottom bouncers with a 6 foot leader or a deep diving crankbait with braided line are all great ways to get your crankbait down deep. Depths of 30 to 36 feet of water are key locations in the basin and are holding a lot of walleyes.

image of young man holding giant northern pike caught on the Rainy River Various reefs are still producing. Some days, fish are on top, other days, they are on the sides or base where the rock transitions to mud. Some days, they might be over mud just off of the reef. Electronics will help you find the fish. Good numbers of big walleyes caught this week. Big pike, jumbo perch and occasional crappies in the mix.

On the Rainy River, the morning and evening bite continues to be the best for walleyes. Some nice pike and sturgeon caught this week on the river as well. For walleyes, deeper holes, flats with current sweeping over them, and current breaks are good bets. Some big pike caught both on the main river and back in some bays casting spinners and spoons.

Sturgeon activity increased this week and some nice fish were caught. The sturgeon keep season is on. One sturgeon 45 to 50 inches, or over 75 inches allowed per calendar year, per angler who posesses a valid sturgeon tag. Many anglers simply catch and release.

The fish are biting up at the Northwest Angle. Walleyes, muskies, pike, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch and crappies this week.

For walleyes, work up and down structure until you find fish. This week, 22 feet of water off of reefs and points was good. Jig with a minnow or pull spinners with a minnow or crawler to cover water. Muskie anglers are reporting a good number of follows and catches. Not a lot of details provided, other than active fish and good success. Some big pike caught again this week. Some pike were caught by unsuspecting walleye anglers, others by anglers targeting them casting or trolling. With over 14,000 islands, the spots are limitless"  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 8, 2023 "WHEW! Wiggled Out Of That One!"

image of gary and patrick patterson with walleyes caught near grand rapids Monday’s fishing trip, starting with the weather, was quite a departure from last week. A moderate cool front pushed through on Sunday afternoon and caused some rain, along with a little thunder. The air temperature moderated, a north wind started blowing and surface water temperatures dropped a couple degrees. I was happy about the cooler weather, but wondered how, if at all, the fishing might be impacted by the change.

For me, the norm last week had become baking in the heat, dragging spinners through the weeds and biding our time between walleye bites as we sorted through the hodge-podge of assorted fish species. Burned into my brain, pun intended, by the hot sun, trolling spinners for the mixed bag bite had been a winning formula, and also my “Go-To Plan A”, almost to a fault.

The routine was bound to be interrupted though because of Patrick Patterson’s “secret plan” to take his dad, Gary on a trip down memory lane. The idea was for me to show up, whisper news about a great bass lake I’d discovered and then take the boys over to a small Marcel area lake where Gary spent many of his formative years fishing with his family.  On a sentimental level, the idea was appealing, but I, being who I am, could not just show up cold on a lake without knowing something about it. So, on Sunday, I and the Hippie Chick drove up to check it out, expecting to learn some spots and presentations that would please the Patterson’s.

image of Gary Patterson with fishing guide Jeff Sundin The problem was that the lake sucked, yes, that’s what I said, it sucked. The resort where Gary used to stay had long been closed and the cabins appeared to be one step away from being taken over by mushrooms. Perch, tiny ones in the 4-to-5-inch range, and some missed strikes by a handful of small bass was all we could muster. There were no sunfish, no crappies, not even a snaky northern; we didn’t catch anything. I felt like I’d arrived late to a funeral, and everyone had already gone home. My fear was that instead of being a joyful experience, the planned trip down memory lane might turn out to cause depression instead. I asked Patrick if I could change the plan and he agreed, but now I had to come up with a new one.

Wabana, just a few miles from the 38 Outpost where I’d met the boys, was the logical choice. I thought I could keep them busy over there, and I did. We trolled the weed edges with spinners and got bites everywhere we stopped. The problem now was that we were catching mostly little fish. Except for 1 nice walleye, and 1 nice largemouth caught by Patrick, the rest were little sunnies, little largemouth bass, little rock bass, little everything. I took a delay of game penalty and drove to another lake, one the places where we’d done well on walleyes and sunfish last week.

Hoping to pick up where we’d left off last week, I stopped at the bait store and picked up an extra 4 dozen night crawlers. The reserve supply would come in handy, but not for the reason I expected them to. Tolling the weeds using spinners and night crawlers was working, but not as well as it did Lat week. Maybe the storms took some of the gusto out of the bite, or maybe cooler water temperatures were the cause, I’m not sure. I just know that we were catching fewer fish than the numbers I was seeing on my graph. “Okay boys let’s reel in the spinners and put them away for a while. Before I move spots, let’s take a walk up the learning curve,” I said.

Rigging up 3 rods with 1/16 Lindy Live Bait Jigs, I explained how the presentation was going to work. “Keep your rod tip wigging constantly, if you have a pickup, feed out some line to allow the walleye to finish off the bait, then reel in your slack line until you feel the weight of the fish and then, set the hook.” I explained.

I motored back up the shoreline, put the drift sock in the water and we started wiggling the night crawlers down same weedline that we’d previously been spinning. I wouldn’t say the results were instant, but it wasn’t long before one of us caught the first walleye, or the 2nd, or the 3rd, and so on. Sunfish and pike holding along weed edges struck the wiggle worms too, so the mixed bag that I anticipated still happened, just in a different way.

We caught a lot of fish, but as you can see by the photo, did not bag a full 2-man limit. Truthfully, we would have if we’d started wiggle worming earlier in the day; it was at least 2:00 PM before we tried it. And those extra 48-night crawlers, along with whatever we had left from the morning were totally gone by 5:00 PM. The bites really did come that fast, somebody was playing something almost constantly. At the end of the day, we switched to leeches, and the sunfish action held up, but walleyes didn’t like them; we didn’t get any using leeches.

Clearly, I made a little bit of fun out of the story, but there is one important point to be made. No matter how well you’ve been doing using your “preferred” presentation, don’t be too stubborn to change it up when necessary. Just count how many times my “plans” changed in the last 24 hours, changing lakes twice, baits twice, and presentations too, sometimes that’s what it takes. The Patterson’s trip could have turned out to be sort of under-average, but thankfully, I wiggled my way out of that result by being adaptable.

If you’re new to these reports and haven’t heard about Wiggle Worming, I think you should take a few extra minutes and check out the article, >>" Wiggle Worming 101. The technique is an important one to know, and learning how to do it is actually really easy. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page Reader Question August 7, 2023 "What's Going On With Bowstring Lake?"

image of heavy algae bloom on the surface of bowstring lake On 8-6-2023 Todd Martindale wrote: Q) "Hi Jeff, I was out on Bowstring yesterday and was curious on why there were so many dead snail floating. Also water was quite green which I was wondering if the snails had anything to do with it? That being said it also was my first time on Bowstring that I never caught anything I mean not even a perch or northern. Fished mid lake humps and shoreline breaks. Pulled spinners, casted jig n raps, and even tried bobber fishing. Fished from 4:00 to 8:30 pm. Thanks for any input you may have.

A) Todd, my most recent visit to Bowstring Lake was back on July 24, 2023, and that day we observed conditions like the ones you’ve described. I mentioned to my crew that after seeing the impact of Zebra Mussels on other lakes in the region, I was quite surprised by the sudden decline in Bowstring’s water clarity.

My crew was not impressed by the pea soup appearance of the water at the boat landing. Immediately though, I began explaining how, strictly from a fisherman’s perspective, the heavy bloom was good news, at least to me. Recounting stories of “the good old days”, I told them about algae blooms that used to be so thick that when we dropped lures into the water, they would actually leave an inch deep hole in the layer of plankton on the surface. I also recounted the times when fish would strike those lures so hard that we’d be startled by them. In the darkness, fish showed no fear of the boat, and any morsel of food that dropped into the water was devoured immediately.

The algae bloom during our visit wasn’t as thick as it was back in those days, and the fish were not as hungry as described in my anecdotes either, but once located, they did bite aggressively. My suspicion is that on your trip, you may have missed an opportunity to fish in the lakes shallow cabbage patches that were, and still are holding fish.

I won’t pretend to be a marine biologist, and my rudimentary explanation of what happens may be incomplete but here goes. Heavy algae development diminishes oxygen levels in deeper water. As Oxygen levels decline, fish begin moving shallow where oxygen levels are better. They may show up wherever churning water from wind or current helps elevate O2 levels, or they may show up in the areas where green vegetation provides better “air quality”. When the conditions become extreme, there can even be “summer fish kills”, and cold-water species like tullibee and whitefish can be seen struggling to survive on the surface.

There are numerous other lakes like Bowstring in our region, and of the ones I’m most familiar with, shallow water, smack dab in the weed patches, becomes the epicenter of fish activity during these periods. The reason so few anglers find them is that fishing those shallow weeds can be a real pain and mastering effective presentations takes a lot of dedication to the cause. Lures get snagged, propellers get fouled, rod tips get broken, and people get frustrated. But if one sticks with it, fish will be added to the larder.

For me, locating loosely formed patches of cabbage, or flat stemmed pondweed is ideal. I can usually troll through gaps and pockets in those weed types and keep my customers lures in the strike zones. For trolling, I avoid plants that grow to the surface like northern milfoil or coontail, they are sometimes fishable during early summer, but become too thick to manage during late summer. Grasses that grow near the bottom of the lake can be fished using spinners too, Wild Celery and dare I say it, stary stonewort, are weeds that can be fished effectively in this way.

My nephew, Chris Andresen does a great job of enticing fish out of the heavy weeds by dabbling, creeping along slowly, dropping a jig and minnow vertically into gaps and pockets. That presentation works well, especially for “experts” but tends to get intense, so I avoid putting my customers in the situation unless there’s no other choice.

Snails like the big, banded mystery snails you spotted on Bowstring have been seen floating on the surface of similar area lakes for as long as I can remember. To the best of my knowledge, this is part of the natural life cycle, and is not related to the appearance of Zebra Mussels. The snails live their lives, die of natural causes and float to the surface where they are eventually blown to the shoreline.

Regarding the algae bloom being related to the zebra mussels, it is a possibility, but I can’t say for sure. In one DNR presentation, I learned from Dick Sternberg that zebra mussels produce blue-green algae as a by-product. Whether or not that’s the case on Bowstring is beyond my expertise, but maybe I can get some guidance about that from DNR staff this week, during work hours.

 Like I said, some of my answers might be incomplete, and if you still have specific questions, let me know. I’ll provide updates when responses from fisheries staff become available. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism August 3, 2023

image of woman holding big walleye she caught on Border View Lodge charter fishing trip "There were good numbers of both walleyes and sauger caught this week on the south end Lake of the Woods. Summer patterns are emerging, drifting with spinners-crawlers, plus trolling crankbaits. Yes, some are still jigging, and some are casting lures, but as a rule, harnesses and crankbaits are catching most of the fish. Anglers using these patterns are enjoying some good fishing. Along with the walleyes and saugers, there are some big pike, jumbo perch and an occasional crappie in the mix.

This time of year, the open basin of Big Traverse Bay is home to thousands of walleyes and sauger. This huge expanse of mud, with an occasional reef, is holding a lot of fish. Find bait, find the walleyes. The basin bite typically occurs in 28 to 34 feet of water. Schools of walleyes are looking for their next meal. Emerald shiners, tullibees, perch, perch minnows and other small fish are on the menu. Another popular menu item in the mud are blood worms and other insect larvae hatching from below.

Reefs that pop out of the mud flats are magnets for walleyes and other fish. Walleyes can be on top at times, on the edges or adjacent to the reefs in the mud. Good electronics will help you crack the walleye code. Always remember there are some walleyes roaming the shallows for an easy meal mornings and evenings or when there is easy forage available.

On the Rainy River, the morning and evening bite continues to be the best for walleyes. The go-to spots on the river are deeper holes, flats with current sweeping over them, and current breaks. Covering water by trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses is a good way to find fish.

Sturgeon season is open, and those targeting dinosaurs are catching some nice fish. They are also reporting a mixed bag eating their offering of crawlers soaking in the river.

Anglers also enjoyed another week of good fishing up amongst the islands of the Northwest Angle. This time of year, covering water by trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses puts anglers offerings in front of a lot of walleyes and will also catch a mixed bag of fish. A mixed bag consists of walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike, jumbo perch, crappies and muskies. Jig fishing amongst structure never gets old in these parts and some use this technique all year long with good results.

With 14,552 islands in this part of the lake, casting shorelines, bays, and points is effective. Do a milk run going from spot to spot, and eventually, you will connect with good fish."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Top 3 Finesse Bass Baits When the Bite Gets Tough" August 3, 2023

image links to fishing video about using finesse baits to catch finicky largemouth bass "Pro bass angler Jonathan Dietz shares his top 3 favorite finesse bass baits on fisheries throughout the country. Few anglers question the drop shot rig, Ned rig, and Damiki rig as dominant fish catchers nationwide. And while they’re known to excel in the clear glacial lakes of the north, these setups perform everywhere, including dirty water. Think about it. Real minnows don’t vibrate or rattle—bass find their food and make a living no matter the clarity.

The bottom line is that intense pressure makes consistent catching more difficult—dominant power fishing tactics like ChatterBaits, and crankbaits commonly take second to the downsized and subtle realism of finesse bass fishing baits. Smaller realistic plastics fished on light lines present a more natural, less intrusive look and action than their bulkier counterparts. Less visual presence combined with reduced movement and vibration coaxes bites in clear water, pressured fisheries, and just plain tough bites.

" View Video and learn more about Dietz’s top finesse bass bait choices. >> Top 3 Finesse Bass Baits When the Bite Gets Tough

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 2, 2023 "Mixing the Mix-Able"

The fishing report for today is not a long one. For the most part, Joe and Bob’s fishing trip on Tuesday followed a familiar routine. Select a lake with some potential for a mixed bag, figure out where the weed edges are and then start trolling with spinners. That’s what we did yesterday, and the end result was fairly typical, 11 walleyes, 20 sunfish, a few pike and a crappie.

The new news about this trip was that water temperatures had risen since my last visit to the lake, back on July 13, 2023. Water temperatures peaked at around 71 degrees that day, yesterday they’d risen to 75 by the time we arrived at the lake, and 76 degrees late in the afternoon. Sunfish, activated by the warmer water were much more aggressive than they were a couple of weeks ago. Back on that last trip, we found some sunfish by trolling spinners, but to catch them, we needed to spot-lock the boat and fish with slip floats and live bait. Yesterday, trolling the spinners was actually a far better way to catch them than anchoring and bobber fishing.

Small yellow perch, the bane of spinner fishing enthusiasts, were energized by the warm water too. Too small to be valued by the crew, but too aggressive to be ignored, they chewed through our bait, consuming dozens of small leeches, and night crawlers. Minnows, typically a better bait to use when the perch are that aggressive, did not help at all. For one thing, the perch still struck those just as often, and for another, the walleyes did not. For reasons known only to the fish, night crawlers were the name of the game for walleyes. The small leeches caught sunfish, rock bass and pike, but I don’t think we caught a single walleye on those either.

For me, ignoring the pesky, nipping and popping of the small fish is easy, when I feel them, I simply do not try to set the hook. For many of my customers, ignoring them is harder, they feel the strikes and react by yanking on the rod, trying to hook the small fish. When they’re lucky, they actually hook the damn thing and get to listen to one of my “mini lectures” about why they should do that. When they’re not lucky, they reel in their spinner to check the bait and find out that the bait has been cleaned off the hook. Either way, the time spent fiddling around has taken them out of the hunt for more appealing gamefish.

Yesterday, while we were fishing, I received a text from a friend and occasional fishing customer, Rick Kosiarec who wrote, “Hey fishy fishy, just wanted to drop you a note thanking you again for all the great information you put on the FishRapper. I used that information last week to gather enough walleyes for a nice fish fry. It can’t be underestimated how much we all appreciate the time and detail you put into sharing.”

Besides being a gratifying note, Kosiareck’s words serve as a reminder to me to share one tidbit of information that helped Bob yesterday, and will help you too, if like Rick, you actually follow the following guidance.

No matter which form of live bait you have on the hook, when you’re trolling with spinners and feel something like a tick-tick-tick sensation, or a pop-pop-pop, or even a wham-wham-wham, don’t do anything, they are almost never the fish you are trying to catch! Any fish that’s worth catching, I mean fish from every species, will strike hard enough, and be determined enough to hook themselves. And when you’re pursuing walleyes, wait until you feel a slow, steady, heavy pulsing sensation; that is the classic walleye pulldown, and the time to get serious. Allow the fish to tug for several seconds while you bow to them, allowing your rod to drift back toward the surface of the water. When you “feel” sure that the fish has the bait, gently sweep the rod back to get slack out of the line and keep the pressure steady.

Sometimes you won’t have a choice, a fair percentage of those pesky small fish will take your bait and hook themselves. The best thing we can do is not try to catch them on purpose, at least that improves the percentage of time that our lures remain in the walleye strike zone.

Yesterday, placing my rod in a rod holder and watching the tip worked better than holding it in my hand. That trick worked better for Bob too, at times it seems like watching the rod is more effective than feeling it. You can see the difference between fish species when they strike and with practice, your experiences will allow you to correlate the sense of feel, with the sense of sight.

I’m running low on time now, but if you have any follow up questions, let me know and I’ll elaborate. In the meantime, I’ll work on some sort of plan for catching a fish today, and as usual, I’ll report on how that project goes tomorrow. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report August 2, 2023

image of angler holding nice walleye "Walleye - How skinny is too skinny for late July walleyes? 3, 4 feet? Best reports this last week were between 3-10 feet of water. Skinnier the water you find walleyes, the hotter the fishing. Leeches under a bobber, off your dock or campsite, during the evening hours, has been very effective. Spinner rigs tipped with crawlers and worked on weedlines, near timber or rocky flats has also been very effective for anglers. Gold, orange and perch colors have been popular.

Smallmouth - Smallmouth fishing cooled off this last week as a major cool front moved into the area. Topwater remains a popular choice, but smallies eagerness to hit them has cooled off with the weather. Subsurface lures like in-line spinners, spinnerbaits and wacky worms were more effective this last week. Boulder flats, downed trees and current areas/rivers are good places to find active, aggressive smallies. Crayfish, white and bone were popular colors.

Panfish - Sunnies and crappies have been active and popular with anglers this last week. Sunnies have been easy to find. Look for weedbeds and weedlines to find active sunnies. Angleworms and wax worm fished under a bobber has been very popular here. Crappies too have been active this last week. Anglers have been finding crappies in and around downed trees. Anglers have been throwing jig/twister, beetle spins and thumper jigs in that timber to catch those crappies. Weedlines in the evening has also been worth fishing for crappies.

Pike - Several large pike were caught this last week. Large suckers fished under a bobber was the way to go for the largest pike. Anglers throwing spoons, spinnerbaits and large minnow baits reported catching good numbers of pike, but most were on the smaller side (under 30"). Weedlines, rivers and shallow bays have been the best areas to target pike." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin August 1, 2023 "Grand Rapids Fishing Report"

Charlie Dukes with nice smallmouth bass from Pokegama Lake For Laura and Charlie Dukes’ second day of fishing with me, I wanted to lead them somewhere that “landing a big one” was a good possibility. I wanted to do something different from trolling too, not that they didn’t like using spinners on Sunday, but I’d learned that they really like casting lures; so, I wanted them to get that chance. Although they’re avid largemouth bass anglers, they pondered catching smallmouth bass, and couldn’t recall catching many, if any at all.

Hmm... let’s see, where is there a place, near Grand Rapids, where we could get a smallmouth, plus have a decent shot at catching either a big walleye, or a big northern pike and catch them casting, instead of trolling or live bait rigging?

We didn’t get on the lake super-early, but early enough to see that there was nobody fishing in Tioga Bay, and when we rounded the corner into the main lake, there was only 1 other boat on the lake. The water temperature was about 74 degrees, and the lake’s surface was glass-smooth, we’d have all the time in the world to creep along slowly, casting toward structure.

We used Lindy Live Bait Jigs, 1/8-ounce size, tipped with Ripple Shads and pitched them toward the breaklines. Using a “drop-hop-swim-drop-hop-swim” retrieve, we connected with northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, rock bass, perch, and bluegills. Despite the smooth water and relatively bright conditions, the key depth was shallow, 8 to 12 feet of water. One caveat, I approached every spot over-cautiously, never scanning or scouting for fish by trolling above, or even near the fish holding structures. I stopped well short of every spot and crept up on them from 50 yards, or more, away, until we were in casting range.

Sometime around noon, conditions caught up with us and casting, no matter how sneakily we did it, was slowing down. Even small sunfish that we could see following the lures, barely bothered to take the time to nip at the tails. I didn’t have much choice but to head for the heaviest weeds I could find, hoping that we could tease some fish out of the shady cover. It almost worked, but the problem now was that the weeds were so heavy that dragging the jigs through them was difficult. The situation called for trolling spinners, maybe a defensive approach, but effective when needed. So, we put away the jigging rods, rigged up the spinners and started “covering water”.

Admittedly, the action was still slower than what we had in the morning, and the fish were smaller now too, but at least we were catching fish again. Luckily, the last spot I tried offered us something of a grand finale’. The northern pike double that you see pictured here occurred about 15 minutes before we were ready to quit for the day.

All things considered it was a good day of fishing on Pokegama, we did not land any giants, but we did have a few of them hooked up. And we had a decent number of “nice” fish, above average compared to our trip on Sunday. I would have loved to fish the same spots on an overcast day, I’ll bet that some of the fish would have been more aggressive, resulting in fewer “short strikes” and more larger fish brought to the net.

I wouldn’t think twice about fishing there again, but next time, if the forecast was similar to yesterday's, I’d start earlier. Yesterday, our best fishing of the day occurred within the first couple of hours. If you’ve been thinking about fishing there yourself, and you can pick your day, wait for more overcast, more breezy conditions, and I think you’ll have fun. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to fishrapper home page Reader Question August 1, 2023 "Which Rods and Reels for Trolling Spinners

Q) On Monday, Paul Plinske wrote: "Jeff, You may have mentioned it in previous posts, but I can’t recall, what is your preference for spinning rod power and action when trolling spinners and minnows combinations?

A) Paul, I have mentioned it before, but your email reminds me that's it's been some time now, and readers might enjoy a refresher. Shakespeare's Ugly Stick Elite rods are the best I've found for trolling spinners. Before I started using them, breakage was a big problem for me, and since I bought the first ones, I have not had a single break. I haven't even had the pesky popped out tip-top problem that occurs when folks reel the bullet sinker too tight, and the ceamic insert gets popped out.

I've tried a variety of lengths and actions, but find that the 7-0" medium light version is the best for my use. They're light enough for hand held fishing and still tough enough for dragging through heavy weeds and all the other abuses that people put them through. I pair the with the Pflueger President, size 30 reel, spooled with 10 pound trilene XT mono line.

One word of caution, while these rods are perfect for trolling spinners, they are not suitable for finesse presenations. I've tried to use them for other presentations, but they're too heavy and clumsy. At $50 though, they're affordable enough to have them devoted just to one presentation, I have 5 of them rigged up and ready to troll at all times.

You could use the same rods for trolling in deeper water with bottom bouncers but for really heavy weights, I would suggest moving up to a heavier action. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Ripping Pike and Walleye with Lipless Crankbaits" July 27, 2023

image links to fishing video about using rippin raps to catch walleye "Today we demonstrate how to catch numbers of pike and walleye on lipless crankbaits. And you can easily do it from a boat or as is the case in this video, a kayak. It’s a simple effective method to cover a lot of water and catch numbers of fish, even when the conditions are less than optimal for walleye fishing, i.e. slick calm and sunny. With a fishing kayak and spinning rod and reel combo, some light braid with a fluoro leader, you can take a lipless crank like the Rapala Rippin’ Rap and cover large swaths of the body of water efficiently.

In this video, McKeon Roberts eases along covering water and picks off northern pike as well as summer walleyes consistently. In the summer, these fish can often spread out and be over very large areas. While conditions and times of the day might group the fish up, when they spread out like was this case in this video, it can make fishing really tough. But by changing your mindset and making up your mind to ..." View Video and Learn More >> Ripping Pike and Walleye with Lipless Crankbaits

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.