image of fishrapper logo

image links to fishrapper home page July 18, 2024 "Walleye Fishing With A Legend"

image of Dick Sternberg fishing with Jeff Sundin on Lake Winnie Life changing moments are easy to remember, at least mine have been. One of my “life changing moments” happened the day I asked Dick Sternberg this simple question; “Are you a writer who fishes, or a fisherman who writes?” Sternberg’s answer, “I’m a fisherman who writes,” was all I needed to hear and from that day on, I’ve tried to be like Dick, a fisherman who writes.

Sternberg’s career as a writer began after he’d served as a fisheries biologist for the MN DNR, and the list of his accomplishments is a lone one. An icon among freshwater anglers, hall of fame angler and outdoor writer Dick Sternberg has been everywhere and done everything that most anglers could imagine doing. Yesterday, Sternberg, along with his wife Annabelle and our mutual longtime friend Carl Bergquist, shared my boat with me.

My first fishing trip with Sternberg, arranged by Carl Berguist, happened 20-something years ago. Carl was not just a friend, but a fan, often sharing news with me about fishing techniques he’d learned by fishing with him. Carl thought we, Sternberg and me, would like fishing with each other, and we did. After that initial meeting, we stayed in touch, and served together on some special projects, most notably the “accelerated walleye stocking plan”, and the formation of “the walleye advisory committee.”

Our fishing trip on Wednesday, in keeping with my week of total unexpectedness, did not go at all the way I planned. I thought we’d be fishing in the middle of Lake Winnie, casting Jigging Rapalas and big plastic paddle tails, a couple of Dick’s favorite presentations. But none of us escapes the effects of aging, and spending a full day in the middle of Winnibigoshish in rough water wasn’t going to work for us. So, instead of bouncing around in whitecaps, I drove back to the shoreline, and headed to the same weed beds that I fished on Tuesday with Mrs. Sundin.

The water there was calmer, but there was still a chop on the surface, and while the sky was sometimes sunny, there were enough clouds to break up the harsh light. Water temperatures had fallen overnight, down to 74 degrees compared to 77 degrees on Tuesday. Tolling spinners still seemed like a reasonable idea, but the action started slowly.

At first, there were legions of small perch tearing into the night crawlers and leeches that we tipped our spinners with. As a remedy, a couple of us switched to using minnows instead. That helped with the perch problem, but still didn’t jump start the walleye action. After a couple of trolling passes on the spot we’d fished the day before, I was contemplating my next move. While I was thinking, we wandered away from the steep shoreline break, and began crossing a weed flat in 8 to 10 feet of water. The vegetation was patchy, and the weed types were mixed, it’s the sort of spot that doesn’t really “look good”, but it turned out to be.

It wasn’t a walleye that got my attention though, it was a perch that Annabelle caught. Larger than the ones we’d been catching, this one went into the livewell. Then there were a few more perch, and then, Dick caught a nice walleye, a 22-inch protected slot fish. That fish primed the pump and while the action never got fast and furious after that, it stayed steady through the afternoon. One by one, the larder grew, ending with a total of 13 keepers by day’s end. There were another half dozen slot-fish caught and released along the way too, most of them caught by Dick.

On that flat, there was some cabbage, some flat stemmed pondweed and an occasional patch of coontail. Along with the walleyes, we caught some nicer size perch, a handful of northern pike, a couple of small bass and one crappie. It reminded me of a similar post cold front situation on another lake that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I wondered if the fish we’d caught on the breaklines this Tuesday, had slipped away from there, and spread out across the weed flat instead. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to prove that, but I will try.

Without doubt, every single walleye angler in Minnesota has benefited in one way or another from Sternberg’s influence, I know I have, and it was my great honor to fish with him yesterday. Oh, and by the way, I mentioned that none of us escape the effects of aging, and that’s true. But when it comes to catching fish, Sternberg didn’t miss a beat, I’m thinking that he alone accounted for about 50% of yesterday’s total catch. Not a bad performance, not bad at all! fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or Email

image links to fishrapper home page July 17, 2024 "Heading For Home On The Double!"

This week hasn’t turned out to be the one I was expecting. An error in communication left me with a 5-day cancellation, and a yard full of unfinished gardening projects called more loudly, than the fish in the lakes were. So, I spent Sunday and Monday playing in the dirt, and catching up in the office. By Tuesday morning, both I and the Hippie Chick were getting interested in fishing again, so we spent the day together on Lake Winnibigoshish.

The weather forecast wasn’t ideal, it called for gusty winds from the northwest, but we figured that leaving from McArdle’s Resort on the west side, we’d be able to steer clear of the larger whitecaps. That part of the plan worked surface conditions on the west side of the lake were favorable. Water temperatures ranged between 76 and 77 degrees, and there was a light algae bloom that helped cut down on water clarity. There was a chop on the surface too, further diminishing water clarity.

The only problem was that the wind worked against fishing mid-lake structures, which have been the focal point of most recent reports. Bars and smaller, isolated humps have accounted for the best catches by guides and resort guests over the past couple of weeks. In fact, the advisory I got from Nate Brown at McArdle’s echoed most reports I’ve heard lately. Brown, “There are fish gathered on the humps, and there are a lot of fish suspended over deep water too. They spread out horizontally during morning and evening, but gather, forming larger schools during mid-day.”

Most of the guides, and these days, many resort guests too are approaching the mid-lake fish using forward facing sonar. Many locate a school of fish, stop their boats and then toss leeches, suspended below slip floats toward the fish. Others locate the fish the same way, but then cast jigging lures, soft plastics and other artificial lures at the fish. Both methods are popular because they work, there’s no doubt that FFS offers an advantage.

For me, the lack of advanced FFS electronics precludes using that exact approach. Luckily, there still are fish in the lake that can be caught using “old fashioned” techniques like learning structure, understanding water conditions, fish behavior, and relying on instinct. On Tuesday, what worked best for us were a couple of the oldest tricks in the book. Finding areas where there was a good “walleye chop” on the water, and trolling spinners in those areas.

It didn’t happen right away because I spent some time looking for fish in the wrong places. I checked out a few of the west side’s mid-lake humps in the calmest water I could find, but I didn’t fish on them.

We moved onto the flats and trolled spinners in 13 to 16 feet of water, and that was working a little bit. The Hippie Chick caught a decent walleye, and we had more strikes too. The water was too choppy for us though, and we opted to search in somewhat calmer water. Then I moved toward the shallows and used wiggle worms on shoreline breaks in 10 to 12 feet of water. We found some perch doing that, and if they’d been larger, the story could have ended right there, but they were not.

The idea that finally paid off for us was moving to a stretch of shoreline with decent chop, but not big whitecaps. There were mixed weeds along the breakline that grew from about 6 to 10 feet of water. The shallower side, 6 to 7 feet held walleyes, the deeper edges, 9 to 10 feet of water held perch. We trolled spinners with large, 2/0 Aberdeen single hook spinners, larger, #4 Indiana blades and night crawlers. The walleyes were scattered, but when we encountered them, they struck aggressively.

By now, we felt like we’d learned what we needed to learn, and I was almost ready to head back home. The Hippie Chick, on the other hand, had her mind set that the two of us were going to catch a double. Whether it was intuition, instinct, or the power of positive thinking I can’t say. All I know is that we trolled about another 50 yards, caught a double, took a couple pictures, then we slipped those 2 fish into the livewell for supper and then left the lake.

Folks who fish with me already know that I rely on the Hippie Chick’s instincts, and occasional advisories via text message. They know too that I rely a lot on my own instincts and “gut feelings” about fish might be doing in response to a given set of weather circumstances. Over the years, I’ve done my best to share with you the intangible art of “thinking like a fish”.

I’m all for technology, and I imagine the day will come when I do buy an FFS unit. I’m hoping though that somehow, despite all of the technological advances, that we all figure out a way to hang on to our instincts. The idea that technology ever becomes “the only way” to catch a fish is not a pleasant one.

Do you remember the "Lucky Kid Video" I offered several years ago, stories about fishing with my grandparents, and how it shaped my life? Just imagine the contrast between that, and the fishing stories that some folks’ grandkids might be telling someday. “Remember the time grandpa pointed the transducer and spotted fish on the computer screen and then we …” — fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or Email

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 17, 2024

image of woman holding big walleye she caught near Ely Minnesota "Walleye - Walleye fishing continues to improve. Reports of where anglers are catching walleyes have been scattered widely. Shallow water has been surprising one given how hot it has been this last week. There have been multiple reports of some big walleyes being caught in 8-12 feet of water, with a handful coming even shallower like 3-4ft. Weedlines and rocks have been the structure to fish. Here anglers have been throwing small paddle tails to match the clouds of minnows in the shallows.

Sunken islands have also been a popular place to find walleyes. Here anglers are finding walleyes on humps that top out in 12-20ft of water. Anglers are pulling gold, orange and perch colored spinner rigs tipped with a leech or crawler. Not all sunken islands are covered with walleyes, so if you don't see them on your electronics, keep moving. Third and definitely not least has been trolling crankbaits with leadcore. Here, large sand flats in 15-25 feet of water have the place to troll.

Smallmouth Bass - Smallmouth bass fishing has remained consistent for bass anglers. Anglers continue to catch good numbers of bass on topwater early in the morning, working shoreline structure. As the sun gets up anglers switch up to subsurface by throwing wacky worms, chatterbaits and paddle tails. Anglers looking to target trophy smallies should work shorelines in the early morning, then switch to sunken islands during the day. Forward facing sonar, looking for big smallies, then strolling has been very popular and effective.

Panfish - Sunfish seem to have wrapped up spawning, but continue to be found in shallow weedbeds. Here small leeches tipped on a jig have been deadly, but small pieces of a nightcrawler have also been effective for anglers. Crappies have largely moved out of the weedbeds during the day and out over deep water during the day. During the evening's they are sliding up into weedbeds to feed. Crappie minnow under a bobber, jig/twister and beetle spins have been very effective during this period.

Pike - Pike anglers have been reporting catching good numbers of pike, but the big trophy pike have been elusive. Anglers have been targeting them in weedbeds, river mouths and shallow bays. Anglers have been trolling large spoons and large crankbaits. Casting large spinnerbaits and in-line spinners has also been very effective.

Lake Trout - Lake trout anglers have been reporting some good fishing this last week. Trolling with down riggers and trolling spoons has been very effective when fished close to the thermocline. Large flashy trolling spoons have been best. Best color seems to depend more on the angler, then the fish.

Stream Trout - Stream trout too, was very popular for good reason. The trout have been biting! Here too, anglers have been trolling to catch trout. Cowbells fished with small crankbaits, spinner tipped with a crawler have been very popular and effective." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 16, 2024

"Summer fishing is in prime time right now on Lake of the Woods and there are good numbers of walleyes being caught. Anglers report catching a nice variety of sizes, which bodes well for the fishery. Small fish, eaters, protected slot walleye, and trophy walleyes all in the mix. On Lake of the Woods, the protected slot, fish which must immeditely be released is 19.5 inches up to 28.0 inches. Anglers are allowed to possess one trophy walleye, over 28 inches inches in length.

"The mud", mid-lake basin flats, are holding big numbers of fish and there two main fishing techniques being used to catch them.

The first technique is drifting or trolling crawler harnesses. Using a two ounce bottom bouncer and a two snelled spinner will do the trick. Best spinner colors have been gold, gold/pink, orange/chartreuse. Making sure your weight is near the bottom, but not dragging the bottom is key. Try to maintain a 45 degree angle and make sure the spinner is spinning. The typical speed for trolling spinners is normally 1.0 to 1.3 MPH. When walleyes strike, your fishing rod will load up, almost feeling like you are dragging a wet sock. A good feeling!

The second technique catching good numbers of walleyes is trolling crankbaits over the mud basin. To get crankbaits down to schools of fish normally in that 28 to 32 foot of water range, lead core line, snap weights, downriggers and even a 4 ounce bottom bouncer with 6 pound test mono or fluorocarbon leader with shallow diving crankbait will work well.

Most popular depths on the mud are 30 to 36 feet of water over the mud basin. Not every walleye in the lake is focusing on the same forage base. There has also been success in that 12 to 20 foot range over sand and even shallower along shore. Reefs can be their own ecosystem too and can always hold fish. Fish can be on top, sides, on the rock to mud transition or even adjacent to reef out in the mud. Go fishing, watch electronics.

With drier weather, the flow of water is decreasing on the Rainy River. Water clarity has improved and so has fishing. Most are targeting the edges of the main current where water is slower moving. Points, bridges, underwater structure, docks and bends in the river can all change current flow, creating good spots for fish to live. Jigs, spinners and crankbaits are all catching fish. There are 42 miles of navigable Rainy River with literally thousands of fun spots to fish.

The sturgeon season is open. Some nice fish were caught this week. Anchor up on a hole or adjacent to a hole in the river and soak some nightcrawlers. Local tackle shops have flat no roll sinkers and sturgeon rigs.

There is also a big population of smallmouth bass in the Rainy River. Although they don't receive much attention compared to walleyes, they both are abundant and fun to catch.

Great walleye fishing is the rule of thumb up at the Northwest Angle as well. In the angle, anglers are using three techniques, jigging, trolling spinners and trolling crankbaits to catch the majority of their walleyes. Reports of walleyes sliding deeper off of structure. If fishing a "spot on a spot", jigging is the preferred method. If fish are spread out or you are searching a flat, spinners and crankbaits will cover more water and walleyes are normally cooperative.

Some big pike caught again this week. These predators are often hanging around schools of walleyes and saugers, but rocky points, bays and sunken islands are great spots as well. Muskie anglers continue reporting good success fishing a variety of structure amongst the islands."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish July 16, 2024 "Soft Plastics for Summer Perch"

image links to fishing article about using soft plastic lures to catch jumbo perch during mid-summer"You’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete multi-species freshwater fishery in the United States than the waters surrounding Door County, Wisconsin, north of Green Bay. For example, the father-son duo of Scott and Calvin Richard will fill the spacious rear livewell of their Vexus® DVX22 with everything from brown trout to smallmouth and walleye too in the weeks ahead.

However, few angling adventures on Green Bay or Lake Michigan bring a grin to Team Richard’s faces quicker than the chance to catch yellow perch for a “hook and cook” gathering with family and friends. Fried perch dinners are as much a tradition in Door County as cheese curds and Packer watch parties, but these days, area anglers are a whole lot less reliant on high-maintenance minnows to catch them, opting instead for micro-sized ..." Learn More >> Fishing With Soft Plastics for Summer Perch

image links to fishrapper home page July 11, 2024 "Water Tempertures Trending Up, Action Patterns Too"

image of Joeshine Shouse with nice northern pike she caught near Grand Rapids Welcome to summer in Minnesota! This week marked the end of breezy, cool fishing conditions and the start of hot, sunny, and calm ones. Water temperatures have risen dramatically in recent days, weeds are growing fast, now thick, lush and green is the rule, not the exception. With the arrival of the warmer water, the mid-summer mixed bag action pattern is beginning to emerge.

I’ve fished on 4 different lakes so far this week and on all of them, surface temperature readings have ranged from 76 to 81 degrees. Those surface water temperatures represent about a 10 degree increase in a week. While warmer water is helping to trigger an increase in activity among the warm water species like bass, bluegills and crappies, I still can’t say that the action is in full swing. The reasons, I think, are that water levels are still high and water clarity is still well above average. With all the extra water, and all that lush vegetation to use, fish have spread out far and wide across all the increased habitats.

On balance, the best presentation for me this week has been trolling with spinners. It allowed me to cover lots of water, seeking out and catching the scattered fish one-by-one. Walleye fishing on Tuesday for example, we worked back and forth along a half mile stretch of shoreline, on the outside edges of mixed weeds. I never felt like we could shorten the length of our trolling passes. There was no single “hot spot”, and no one place where any large school of fish was stationed, random strikes occurred every 10 to 15 minutes or so.

The slow-but-steady trolling pattern worked out to be best again yesterday. This time we were hoping for a mixed crappie, sunfish, bass and pike action fishing trip. While trolling, we did get the odd crappie, and an occasional bass too but without doubt, pike production outpaced the other species. Even the northern pike were scattered though, and as we trolled, the results were similar to our walleye experience on Tuesday. Covering lots of water, trolling spinners tipped with minnows along the outer edges of weeds in 8 to 11 feet of water, we caught plenty of fish, just not quickly.

For expert anglers, I think moving slowly along the weed edges, casting jigs and plastics would have been a better option. When we tried doing that, it worked well, for me. The problem for my less experienced crew was learning how to fish effectively in the weeds. There just isn’t a fast way to learn the best techniques for swimming lures in and out of weed pockets. Once frustration becomes a factor, folks lose interest quickly, and I'm better off reverting to the trolling pattern.

If you are further up the learning curve and like casting the weed edges, then you should do it now. There were crappies, bass, pike and sunfish within easy reach for me, and under different circumstances, I thought it would have been better doing that. In fact, I found myself daydreaming about going back to some of those spots during the evening and discovering that the action would have been fantastic. It was just a hunch, but I think those fish hunkered down in the shade distorted the numbers. I bet there were more of them there than we realized, and if they had an excuse to go on a feeding binge, the action could have been great.

One reason I think the fish are holding so tight in the weeds is because the water clarity is very high. Even on lakes that normally have high levels of algae during summer, the water remains clear. Tanin stained waters are dark, but they are clear too, not murky like they would be during a typical summer. With more warm and calm weather heading our way, water levels will recede, and algae blooms should increase. There’s a good chance that the action is going to improve in the coming days, time will tell. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or Email

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 10, 2024

image links to fishing report from Bowen Lodge about Lake Winnie "Seasonal milestones like rising water temperature, developing vegetation and algae blooms are like a road map that guides anglers through the various fishing patterns that occur on Winnie and Cutfoot every year. One major milestone, Mayflies hatching occurred not long ago and this hatch was a big one. Mayflies hatching by the millions formed clouds in the air, and the water’s surface was completely covered by them.

Like heat seeking missiles, fish of all species migrate into areas where the emerging larvae provide a fresh source of protein. The impact of fishing patterns is undeniable and anglers who want to be productive, are forced to make adjustments. For now, fish have more food than they know what to do with, and it has turned them into binge feeders. They make shorter, more intense feeding runs, followed by longer periods of inactivity. The rule for anglers is that they must work harder and smarter, for less.

 Just because walleyes have a lot of choices doesn’t mean that they aren’t feeding. In fact, this is the period when they eat and grow more than any time of the year. Using your instinct, understanding your electronics and being persistent will allow you to find and catch fish on most outings.

A few days back, Reed Ylitalo, one of our preferred fishing guides, was on the lake and ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 10, 2024

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 10, 2024

image of young man holding big walleye he caught near Ely Minnesota "Walleye - Walleye fishing continues to be on the slow side as mayflies continue to be active on many Ely area lakes. The good news is that it seems we are over the hump and heavy mayfly hatches seemed to have ended on many Ely area lakes. Anglers have been reporting that the key to catching walleyes has been covering ground and looking for active fish. Anglers have been pulling gold, red/white and chartreuse spinner rigs tipped with crawlers or leech, in 15 to 18 feet of water. Windy shorelines, points and sunken islands have been the places to look for active walleyes. Trolling crankbaits is also worth noting.

Smallmouth - Smallmouth bass fishing has cooled off a little as water temps rise and the big smallies transition out to their mid summer haunts. Topwater fishing has remained very effective but the best bite has been early in the morning, generally before the sun gets above the trees. Once the sun gets up subsurface baits like wacky worms, chatterbaits and in-line spinners become a more effective approach to catching smallies. Shoreline structures like points, large boulders flats, river mouths and downed trees are all good structures to target smallies.

Panfish - Anglers have been enjoying a good crappie and sunfish bite on many of the Ely area panfish lakes. Sunfish can be found in the pencil reeds or wild rice beds. Here a bobber, small jig tipped with a wax worm or small piece of an angleworm, has been very effective. Crappies have been active mainly during the evening hours. Small jig/twister, beetle spins and hair jigs, fished near cabbage beds or lily pads have been very effective.

Pike - Pike anglers reported good pike fishing this last week, but it seemed the big pike were elusive. Like the walleye anglers, pike anglers reported that covering ground was the best approach to catching numbers of quality pike. Pike anglers casted or trolled large spoons, large crankbaits and in-line spinners in 8 to 14 feet of water.

Stream Trout - Rainbow trout remain fairly active this last week for anglers targeting them. Trolling has been the name of the game for rainbows right now. Anglers have been trolling cowbells with small spoons, lindy rigs and crankbaits behind the cowbells. Key depth has been 15 to 30 feet of water.

Lake Trout - Lakers have been a challenging fish to catch this last week, which is normal this time of the year. Angler catching lakers have been trolling large trolling spoons, with down riggers set 30 to 40 feet down. Anglers should be looking for the thermocline and set your bait to run at that depth. Popular colors have been blood nose, blue/silver and wonder bread, and most anglers are trolling close to deep humps and open water." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Mastering Topwater Prop Baits for Summer Bass Over Grass"

image links to fishing video about using top water prop baits to catch bass over grass beds"Wired2fish connected with Chris Lane for a fun lesson using topwater prop baits for summer bass over expansive Lake Guntersville grass beds. In this informative video, Lane harnesses the power of prop baits to target bass feeding in submerged grass, a habitat abundant in Lake Guntersville and throughout much of the country, especially northern natural lakes.

Lane demonstrates how wind and sun can lead to explosive summertime fishing when the masses are offshore or pitching to heavy cover. This guide is perfect for anglers of all levels looking to master topwater fishing during the warm summer months.

While the list of best topwater lures for bass is long, Lane delves into the dynamics of using prop baits over submerged grass, a method that consistently triggers aggressive strikes from bass. Unlike poppers and walking baits, a prop bait excels on ..." View Video and Learn More >> Mastering Topwater Prop Baits for Summer Bass Over Grass

image links to Brainerd MN Area Fishing Report July 9, 2024 "Tough weather conditions tough bite"

"The bite in the brainerd lakes area has certainly switched to more of a multi species pattern compared to chasing only walleyes. Through the week we have been experiencing large swings in weather like much of the state and it has fish on a bit of a funk.

With that being said we still managed to put plenty of fish in the boat throughout the week using bobbers with jumbo leeches and crawlers. When the fish are willing to bite finding them outside cabbage weeds with live imagining is key to my current success. When the fish take cover in the weeds it can be more difficult to coax a bite but fish are still willing to eat.

Bass are starting to stack up more consistently in mid summer spots. The bass bite is expected to pick up after the following week of heat. Good luck and tight lines!" — Joe Billiar, Crooked Hat Guide Service

image links to Ely Area, Arrowhead Outdoors Fishing Report July 3, 2024

"Walleye - As water levels start to drop, the walleye bite has picked up on many area lakes. Current areas have become the hot spot to find active walleyes on many Ely area lakes right now. Anglers have been fishing these areas with a jig tipped with a minnow, leech or crawler.

Clearly not all walleyes are doing the same thing in any one lakes, so anglers have also been finding some walleyes out on sunken islands and points with a slip bobber and leech, lindy rigs and crankbaits. 14 to 20 feet of water has been the key depth for everyone and gold, black/orange and pink/white remain top colors.

Smallmouth - Smallmouth anglers continue to enjoy excellent bass fishing right now. Smallies have slipped down a little bite to 10 feet of water, but anglers continue to catch them with topwater bait, chatterbaits, and in-line spinners. Rocky shorelines, downed trees and large points have been areas to focus on.

Pike - Large trophy pike are starting to return to the shallows as cabin owners are reportedly seeing them under their docks and anglers are catching them in the shallows. Large sucker minnows fished under a bobber, large crankbaits and large spoons have all been catching these big pike. Shallow bays with healthy weed growth have been the areas to fish for these pike.

Panfish - Panfish have been very active this last week. Anglers have been catching quality gills around pencil reeds and coontail beds. Small jigs tipped with a piece of an angleworm and fished under a bobber. Crappies have been mixed in with the gills, but they prefer cabbage beds to swim in. Crappie's bite seems to hit its peak during the last hours of daylight. Jig/twister and crappie minnow have been very effective on crappies.

Stream Trout - Mayfly hatches have rainbow trout slurping them off the surface during the evening hours. Fly fisherman have been having good luck catching rainbow with large hex fly patterns, floated on the surface. Other anglers have been trolling cowbells with small crankbaits, half a crawlers and flashy spoons trolled behind them and have been having good luck. Both anglers have simply been fishing out over deep water." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "How to Choose the Correct Weight for Finesse Fishing"

image links to fishing video about using the correct weights to catch more bass"In this video, professional angler Steven Browning shares his expertise in selecting the right finesse fishing weights. Browning emphasizes choosing the appropriate weight, whether fishing a drop shot or shaky head, to ensure natural bait presentation and maximize your fishing success.

WHY FINESSE FISHING WEIGHTS MATTER: Selecting the correct finesse fishing weight is crucial for maintaining the natural action of your bait. The whole point of finesse fishing is presenting the fish with an ultra-natural presentation. A light weight allows finesse plastics to move as naturally as possible in the water, but keep in mind, you need to ..." View Video and Learn More >> How to Choose the Correct Weight for Finesse Fishing

image links to Lake of the Woods, LOW Tourism July 3, 2024

image of young boy holding his first Musky caught in the nortwest angle "Muskie anglers fishing in the Nortwest Angle of Lake of the Woods are reporting good success. Lots of sightings, with many nice fish being caught, photographed and released.

Also in this portion of the lake. with its thousands of islands, anglers can expect to catch walleyes, saugers, pike, jumbo perch, crappies, smallmouth bass and more muskies. Throughout this region of the lake, fishing remains excellent. Lots of walleyes are being caught, along with a mixed bag for many.

Some walleyes are starting to gravitate towards sunken islands. Some fish are out over deep mud. Others are in areas such as points, neck down areas and weed edges. Lots of walleyes focusing on a variety of different forage. Jigging on structure and over fish you mark has been effective. When fish are a bit spread out, pulling spinners with crawlers or trolling crankbaits is catching a lot of fish.

On the south end of Lake of the Woods, the summertime bite is in full swing! Three main techniques are getting it done and lots of fish are being caught. The three fishing techniques being used are drifting or trolling crawler harnesses, trolling crankbaits and jigging.

image of woman holding big walleye caught on an Arneson's Charter Fishing Trip Most popular depths are 24 to 35 feet of water. When fishing structure, fish can be holding on top of the reef, on the edges or in the transition areas from the rock to mud. Watching your electronics and fishing the various areas will help find the walleyes.

The second area holding good numbers of fish is the deep mud. Various schools of walleyes, as is the norm this time of year, are roaming around over the basin focusing on a variety of forage. Emerald shiners, tullibees, bug hatches, blood worms, and perch minnows are just a few.

Those jigging basically mark fish on their electronics, anchor up or spot lock and jig. Emerald shiners and leeches on the jigs have both been successful this week. Pulling spinners with a crawler and trolling crankbaits are techniques that are catching good numbers of fish. These tactics cover water and get more reaction bites. Gold-glow-white, glow-pink, orange, chartreuse, or a combo of these colors are a great place to start.

With recent rains, the Rainy River is flowing with a strong current. Focus fishing efforts in areas on the edge of current or in slack water.

For walleyes, a jig and minnow is effective when fishing small, isolated spots. Trolling spinners and crankbaits against the current will produce a mixed bag of fish. Shoreline breaks, slack water areas, the backside of a hump or even along docks are good places to start.

The sturgeon "keep" season opened July 1st. You can catch and release sturgeon with a normal MN fishing license. If you want to keep a sturgeon, you must purchase a sturgeon tag for $5. Anglers are allowed one sturgeon per calendar year between 45 to 50 inches or over 75 inches."  Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH

image links to fishrapper home page July 2, 2024 "Catching Larger Pike, On Purpose?"

image of Cooper and Max Richins with big northern pike It’s not everyday that I get the chance to add data points to any of my “working theories” like the one I mentioned yesterday about northern pike fishing. Yesterday though, thanks to the Richins family, jeff, Cooper and Max, I did.

Opportunity knocked when I asked the boys what they’d like to fish for and Jeff said, “We catch fish at home, and we eat a lot of fish on our own, so we don’t need to catch fish for eating. What we never get to do at home is fish for northern pike, do you think we could fish for them?” “Of course we can, I’d love to try a lake that might prove whether larger pike are easier to find in lakes with lots of crappies in them. I replied.”

The lake I picked is 700 acres, has a special. Protected slot limit regulation on northern pike. Fish from 24.0 to 36.0 inches must be released, so very few large fish are (supposed to be) harvested. The lake has a track record of being reliable for producing small to medium size crappies. It offers lots of attractive mid-summer crappie habitat like cabbage, coontail and flat stemmed pondweed beds. Many of the weed flats are located near the edges of breaklines that lead into the lakes several 30-35-foot-deep basin areas.

When we arrived at the landing, surface water was 68 degrees, cooler than I like for trolling spinners. But with a lot of shorelines to cover, and no idea about where the better spots were located, trolling was still the best search method available. So, I picked a weedy flat on a shoreline point and started trolling. One of the boys hooked a pike almost instantly, but it became tangled in weeds and broke free. More strikes, more snags and more lost fish convinced me that the weeds on that flat were too thick, and we started exploring.

It took a few tries before I figured out which weeds were the best to concentrate on. On this day, flat stemmed pondweed, adjacent to shallower, and much more heavily matted lake milfoil beds held the most fish. Some were better than others, but there was a good number of chunky, 23-to-26-inch fish lurking in the pondweed. Once we knew where they were, we stopped, rigged up jigs tipped with paddle tails and drifted along the weedline.

Casting the jigs was a flop though because the weeds were too heavy to work through and the fish refused to come out to the edges of the breakline. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I had to troll the boat through the pondweed, without steering into the milfoil. As long as I accomplished that, the crew continued to catch pike.

image of Jeff Richins holding big crappie he caught in grand rapids mnAt the start of our trip, my goal was for each of the crew to catch at least one large fish. Cooper (left) did, his was 35 inches, Max (right) did too, his pike fell just short of the 30-inch mark. I could not serve up a fish of equal size for their dad, Jeff. He did catch some pike that would have been above average on many Itasca area lakes, fish in the 24-to-26-inch size range.

At this point in a typical summer, we’d be in the heat of the mixed bag, action bite. In my personal experience, the warmer the water gets, the faster the action is. So, at 68 degrees, the water was just cool enough to prevent us from catching more crappies and sunfish in those weeds at the same time. As it happens, jeff caught just enough crappies, like the one you see pictured, to support my working theory about the pike and crappie, predator prey relationship.

Admittedly, a northern pike feeds on a wide range of minnows and small gamefish. If your favorite lake offers the pike in it more attractive forage, like tullibee or suckers, then my crappie/pike pattern will likely not be as effective. Finding the sort of lakes where this pattern works best will depend on researching relatively shallow lakes that are too warm for tullibees but have high crappie populations. Lakes with low to moderate pike populations tend to have larger fish too. I wouldn’t suggest trying this pattern on lakes that are crammed full of stunted fish.

Use the DNR Lake Finder to research population assessments for lakes you’re interested in trying. When you see high crappie populations, lower pike populations, and few competing forage species, then you’re on the right track. Next, check the aquatic vegetation report for the lake, and if the weed types appear to be favorable for trolling, they’ll be easier to explore and learn quickly.

Today, I have the same crew, and some of the same goals. But this time, they’re hoping to add in a few more species and a fresh perspective on presentations. I haven’t decided yet where we’ll go, and what we’ll fish for, but you know that when I do, I’ll let you know. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or Email

image links to fishrapper home page July 1, 2024 "Rocking The Boat In Turbulent Waters"

image of John and Henry Hauschild with gug crappie caught on fishing charter with Jeff Sundin Fishing has its ups and downs, it always has. But thanks to strong, cool winds, the weather this week has taken the term “ups and downs” to a new level!

For me, the turbulent pattern has discouraged taking folks to the large lakes, and focusing on smaller, more manageable waters. Most years, that strategy would work out just fine, but with cooler than average water temperatures, some of the warm water species have been absent from the mixed bag bite.

Trolling presentations, like fishing with spinners, have been less effective too. Also caused by cooler water, I think, trolling spinners still produce fish, not as many when compared to typical, warmer mid-summer seasons. We still catch lots of pike, and crappies have been cooperative too. Walleyes, sunfish and bass prefer, or so it seems, slower, more deliberate presentations right now.

My working theory was supported by a couple of recent trips down to Big Sandy Lake. Ordinarily, trolling would be a good way to locate and catch walleyes. Last week, we trolled spinners and caught very few fish. When I set up my crew with Lindy Rigs and leeches, walleyes struck and were caught frequently, and the “keeper” size fish showed a strong preference for this presentation. Jigs and minnows caught fish too, but on that day, did not produce any fish in the coveted 14-to-18-inch harvest slot size.

image of Bryce Demuth holding big northern pike he caught in the Grand Rapids areaOn Saturday, we tried Big Sanday again, but this time, strong winds, cold temperatures and big whitecaps cut the trip short. We trailered the boat to a smaller, semi-protected lake and managed to pull off an afternoon recovery. Whitecaps, even on the smaller lake were large, and there were some cold rain squalls too, so it wasn’t ideal for experimenting with presentations.

Again, trolling spinners caught us some crappies, and maybe a pike or two as well, but did not provide the desired mixed bag action bite. Using a 1/8-ounce jig tipped with 1/3 of a cut night crawler, we caught some sunfish too, but none of them struck the spinners. Walleyes, if they were there at all, didn’t grab either of those two offerings.

Except for one day, walleyes we found did not respond well to trolling spinners either. They did like wiggle worming, Lindy Rigging and slip floats too. The one day that spinners worked well was windy, and there was a school of fish holding on a shallow, 6- to 7-foot-deep rock pile. Trolling spinners through the down wind edge of the rocks worked well that day.

I mentioned early last week that some larger pike were roaming the weed edges and I thought maybe they were zeroed in on areas where crappies were stacked up. That predator prey relationship trend continued throughout the week, and my customers caught more pike in the 28-to-34-inch size range. The one you see Bryce Demuth holding here was typical of other fish we caught in areas where there were crappies. Let’s say that you were interested in catching some larger pike, and you happen to know about a lake that also has lots of crappies on the weed edges. It might be a good time to try trolling those weed lines with spinners and catch some of each, while the pattern is holding up.

There are a handful of smaller lakes in the Grand Rapids region that have both pike, and crappies in good numbers. Some also have other species, but I wouldn’t really call them good options for the mixed bag bite. Today, we have another turbulent forecast and I think I’m going to take my own advice and try the crappie and northern pike combo again. If the pattern works today, it will mean that I’m on to something because the sample size of my study will have grown by another lake or two. Whatever happens, I’ll let you know soon. 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"

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

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Mastering Summer Catfishing: Tips & Techniques" July 2023

image links to fishing information "Tune in for a catfish fishing expedition on the Red River with host Forrest Leitch. While there are numerous ways on how to catch catfish, Leitch catches Goldeye, and prepares them for cut bait. Leitch demonstrates how to chunk the Goldeye into bite-sized pieces, ensuring ideal hook exposure for catching channel catfish.

This video showcases fishing techniques above an emergent snag or brush pile on the river. While a depth finder aids in locating submerged snags, Leitch emphasizes that it is not a necessary tool, as this type of fishing can be done from canoes, kayaks, or the riverbank. Side imaging, although not essential, allows for identifying hidden snags underwater, which can point out spots other catfish anglers have missed. Leitch shares insights on optimal bait placement duration, highlighting the catfish’s ability to ..." View Video and Learn More Full >> Mastering Summer Catfishing: Tips & Techniques

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.