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image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report September 22, 2023

"It feels like we’re further away from fall this week than we were last week when we reported that fish were transitioning into fall fishing patterns. Warmer daytime air temperatures and more sunshine have momentarily stalled the cooling cycle. Surface temperatures remain steady, holding in a range between 63 and 66 degrees, depending on where we fish throughout all the connected lakes.

Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux both still provide plenty of opportunities, but you’ll notice that certain methods, certain times of the day, and certain weather patterns bring out the best in which species will bite best, and when they’ll do it.

For Jared Saufferer, our “in house” fishing guide, jig and minnow combinations have been better for walleyes when fishing Cutfoot Sioux. On the main lake, where he’s been fishing primarily the north central shoreline structures, along with some of the deeper, mid-lake bars of Winnie, trolling spinners have ..." Read >> Lake Winnie, Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report September 22, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin September 20, 2023 "Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report"

image of Karen Hommedahl holding a nice Winnie Walleye On Lake Winnie, the progression of fall feeding patterns for walleye, crappie and perch are underway, in the early stages.

Historically August, in particular late August, was always the time when many of us veteran guides expected walleye, perch, and pike activity to increase. For me, the correlation between the full moon of august and an uptick in fish activity was almost as predictable as the sunrise and sunset. In recent years though, the line that delineates the transition from summer into fall has been blurred. Recently, some days felt like the fall bite is on, and some days summer patterns seemed solid, but some days, there is a mix of both going on at the same time.

As of yesterday, surface water temperatures on the big lake were pegged at about 64 degrees. There has been a stiff breeze churning the water for the past 2 days, so I think that temperature is solid, and will hold steady for a while, until the next serious cold front arrives.

The lower water temperatures definitely have triggered some changes in walleye feeding behavior, and yellow perch appears to be on the move too. But so far, the uptick is spotty, fish activity starts up and then falls off daily, sometimes hourly. So, for me to provide consistent action for my customers, I’ve had to switch back and forth between classic summer presentations, and traditional fall methods.

On Monday, Karen and Erling Hommedahl were able to catch most, almost all their walleyes using jig and minnow presentations. Jigs and minnows were good last week too when Dick and Paul bagged a nice mess of large perch. But while we were fishing with jigs, some of my fellow guides were in the same area, trolling with spinners and they were catching fish too.

image of jumbo perch in the livewell On Tuesday, our morning began with “Bugs” getting off to a jack rabbit start using jigs and minnows on one of the large, mid-lake bars in about 17 feet of water. Then, the solid jig bite fizzled, and turned into an expert’s presentation; I could still elicit strikes and hook fish using jigs, but the crew was struggling. So, we moved into shallow water, hoping to cash in on a school of fish that had been active on Monday. The shallow flats we tried still held fish, but the jig and minnow bite still required expert skills. The crew was still watching me hook fish, but not catching their own and it was concerning.

Hoping to “fix” the problem, we switched over to trolling spinners in the shallow water. John started catching fish almost immediately and that was an improvement, but now he was the only one catching fish, while the rest of us watched. That was better than the problem I had before, so we went on like that for a little while, but I still had Jim to worry about, the one man who still hadn’t caught a fish. So, hoping that we could get the deep bite going again, we moved bag out to the bar and switched to heavier, ¼ ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs and minnows.

Bugs was back in action, catching a keeper within a few minutes, John was coming on strong too and I even caught a fish too. Now I’m focused on one thing, figuring out how to get Jim a fish, at least one, before the day came to an end. “Jim, let me see your jig,” I said. I swapped out the large minnow for a smaller one, made sure it was on the jig just right and asked him to try this one. He cast the jig, let it fall into the water and as it fell, POP. He did it, Jim hooked one, we were all so happy that we could hardly contain ourselves; until it came off the line. Luckily, he got another chance and this time, he got the fish all the way to the net.

I went a long way to make my point, but here it is, the jig and minnow bite is on, but like I said, in the early stages. There will be times when you locate a school of active fish, and for a time, the bites will be robust. If the action drops off, don’t be too stubborn, leave that school of fish behind and go find a different one. The same thing will be true of presentations, use the jigs while they’re working, but don’t be shy about fishing spinners, crankbaits, or whatever other favored presentations you like to use.

I’m thinking that the fish should be more aggressive by this stage of the fall, but they’re running behind. That said, I can feel the activity intensifying, and I’m fairly confident that solid performances will soon become the norm, not the exception.

I am up against the clock and need to wrap right now, but there’s a major update coming in from Bowen’s soon, so watch for that report for additional details about what’s happening on Winnie and Cutfoot too. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report September 15, 2023

image links to lake winnie fishing report from Bowen Lodge"Water temperatures dropped to the mid-60s about a week ago and then stabilized. Today, you’ll find temperatures on the big lake that range between 63 and 66 degrees; in Cutfoot, slightly warmer. In shallow water and protected back bays, vegetation has begun dying off, forcing some baitfish into areas where the grass is greener. Others have taken up residence in open areas over slightly deeper water, but not into the lake’s deepest mid-section.

For walleyes, located on the edges of cabbage, coontail or mixed vegetation, summer trolling patterns can still provide action. Spinners tipped with minnows, or night crawlers are especially good during low-light periods at dusk or sunrise. On calmer days, or when conditions turn bright, moving out onto the flats will produce action too. Our guide, Jared Saufferer trolled spinners in 14 to 15 feet of water and showed some of our guests a very rewarding first ever walleye trip. For Jared, the north side of Winnie, everywhere from the gap, west to Mallard Point have produced reliable results.

When the wind blows, especially on cloudy days, drifting the shallow breaklines, or on shallow rocky structure using jig and minnow combinations are more efficient. Walleyes are responding to jigs better every day, and on the big lake, perch and pike ..." Read >> Bowen Lodge, Lake Winnie Fishing Report September 15, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin September 13, 2023 "Winnie Perch Fishing Fun with Dick and Paul" MMXXIII Session II

During our fish dinner at Florio’s last night, Paul Kautza commented, “It’s not very often that we ever single out one fish species, target a single lake, and then go after them successfully. It’s even more unusual to do the same thing three days in a row, targeting a different species and lake each day, and being successful on all of them.” I think Paul is right, it is unusual, at least it’s unusual for me.

If you haven’t already read reports about walleye and crappie fishing on Sunday and Monday, you can review them here. Monday 9-11 Walleye Report Tuesday 9-12 Crappie Report

If you’re already up to speed, then recall that on Tuesday, I promised a report about perch fishing with Dick and Paul.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound gloomy, we can still find perch, and there are still opportunities to catch quality size fish. But Yellow Perch these days is the one species of fish that stresses me out the most. Generally, finding them in large numbers is clearly not as easy as it once was. That’s especially true when I’m fishing with folks who are selective about the average size of fish they want to harvest. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when Wiinibiigoonzhish, (Ojibwe for Lake Winnibigoshish), sent us home with a couple dozen good ones yesterday.

The fish we found were located on the lake’s west side, along the shoreline’s drop off in about 8 feet of water adjacent to weedy flats. Wherever the weeds were still green, the perch were located amidst the vegetation, but most of them were in the open, just outside of grass. Surface water temperatures have dropped, 64 to 66 degrees was the range we observed yesterday, and the shallow weeds are in decline. Eelgrass was still somewhat green, but there were also some unidentifiable grasses that have turned black, soft, and difficult to fish in.

The wind was fairly strong and formed whitecaps atop the 1-1/2-foot waves. Trolling spinners would have been possible, but not that fun in the chop, so we used jigs and minnows almost exclusively. The standard 1/8-ounce live bait jigs collected a lot of moss and that wasn’t fun either. But if we were willing to put up with the “goo”, we did catch fish.

The action was slow-but-steady, fish were in small groups and were scattered along the shoreline. At one point, we drifted several hundred yards, catching fish sporadically along the entire route. If there had been some more well-defined structure, like a green patch of weeds or a rock pile, they would have been more concentrated. Reports from the north side of the lake, and from Cutfoot Sioux have indicated more tightly formed schools of fish on those types of structures.

Action on the south shore has also been good, and reports indicate similar fishing depths and structure preferences there as well. At the end of the day, we stopped near the bird houses and caught a few, but didn’t locate what I’d call a hot bite.  

I had considered some other lakes too, but Winnie got the nod partly because of friends reporting decent catches, but also because of Dick and Paul’s special connection to the lake. I know they’ve been fishing there for at least 50 years, a decade more than me. I’m glad we fished Winnie yesterday, the perch action was not wild and wooly, but it was not slow either. Somebody was always on the verge of catching something, and besides perch, there was a handful of walleyes and pike in the area too. We harvested 1 bonus pike, destined to become a meal of “Coconut Pike Delight”. We also captured 4 walleyes for dinner, which like I said, we had at Florio’s last night.

The goal-oriented part of me wants to help the boys gather some more perch, and it would be tempting to make a return trip to the big lake. Today though, I think I’m going take them out of familiar territory and share a new, to them, lake. You’ll know how that works out soon enough, but for tomorrow, there will be another fresh update coming in from Bowen’s on Winnie, so stay tuned for that one first. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report August 25, 2023

image links to Bowen Lodge fishing report "Walleye fishing on Lake Winnie has generally remained good, but not for everybody. While the fish do bite when found, getting consistent results depends on a combination of weather conditions, location, angler skill, and determination. Among our guests who are doing the best are the early risers, evening anglers and ones who head out when conditions are windy and grey. Creativity comes into play too, presentations change, seemingly daily, so, folks who offer the fish several options get more “takers” than the folks who stick with any single presentation.

Water clarity and temperature are contributing factors, surface temperatures have dropped out of the 70s, holding steady now at 68 to 69 degrees. Algae blooms have declined in response and the water has cleared noticeably. Sunshine, calm water and angler traffic move fish out of the easy to reach structures during the day. But when the weather is rough, and the skies are dark, get ready because walleyes will move in to... Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report August 25, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report August 5, 2023

"Aided by the lowered light conditions walleyes, at least some of them, have moved into classic, late summer habitat like shoreline breaks, mid-depth gravel flats and areas of submerged vegetation. Lower light penetration into the water, combined with rising surface temperatures that affect fish behavior, helps explain why our guests were able to catch fish this week using trolling presentations.

Spinners, tipped with live bait, provided action for some of our guests who fished shoreline breaks. Crankbaits trolled over the flats, in 12 to 16 feet of water provided action for folks fishing some of the mid-lake structures on Big Winnie. Cutfoot walleyes responded to jigging raps fished on shoreline points, and some of the mid-lake bars. Our guide, Jared Saufferer, is still catching fish using slip-floats and live bait, but he acknowledged that trolling spinners has worked as well.

Despite the improved conditions, not all the walleyes ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Fishing Report August 5, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 24, 2023

The rule of thumb for walleye fishing on Lake Winnie this morning is “the better the angler, the better the fishing”. Casual anglers are catching their share of fish, there are plenty of fish to go around, and they are biting. Results are awesome for folks who pursue them diligently, or you could say “working” for the fish.

Look at the results from the weekend tournament, managed by the Minnesota Tournament Trail. All the top 20 teams weighed in 5 fish, the tournament limit, and all of those 5 fish limits exceeded a 3-pound average. The top 10 teams fared even better: posting 4 pound plus averages. Congratulations by the way, to our friend Dusty Snyder, who along with Pat Mclean posted took 2nd place with a 5 fish weight of over 25 pounds.

Locating fish using high end electronics, then using slip bobbers and live bait, leeches, and night crawlers specifically, has gotten a lot of attention this year. In some circles, the buzz is that without them, fish cannot be found, and subsequently caught. It is important to remember though that even without sophisticated tools, you can still ... Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 24, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 14, 2023

image links to bowen lodge lake winnie fishing report "Admittedly, the walleye bite is not at its peak right now, but those who are choosing to fish for walleyes find that creativity and persistence do pay off. Getting fish to bite is not the issue but locating them can be. That’s because fish have dispersed over a broad range of territory, some are on the flats, some are using shoreline vegetation, others follow the breaklines on deep structure and many are suspended over open water in the mid lake basin.

The mayfly hatch that hit the lake last week has run its course, so finding less food in concentrated areas has been one reason fish are dispersed more now. Surface waters have declined too, once crossing the 80-degree mark in June, they have now fallen into the 69-to-71-degree range, the cooler water works against folks who love fast presentations like trolling spinners and crankbaits. Water clarity is a factor as well, while some regions of the lake do have a modest algae bloom, other areas remain clearer and ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 14, 2023

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Speed Fishing Deep-Diving Crankbaits for Summer Bass" July 12, 2023

image links to fishing information "Wired2fish connected with Keith Combs on his home water of Sam Rayburn, Texas, for a lesson on finding offshore bass and catching them on deep-diving crankbaits. This video provides a step-by-step guide to using modern fish finder technologies to locate productive summer spots and power fishing crankbaits with speed to trigger lethargic bass.

Combs highlights the critical role that cutting-edge electronics play in his angling strategy. His reliance on fish finders allows him to find overlooked bass schools in deeper waters despite increased angling pressure. He uses side imaging and mapping to find offshore bass schools. From there, 360 Imaging and forward-facing sonar (MEGA Live Imaging) provide real-time information on the bow to ..." View Video and Learn More >> Speed Fishing Deep-Diving Crankbaits for Summer Bass

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 3, 2023

"It had to happen eventually, the heat on Lake Winnie’s “BOILING HOT” walleye bite has been reduced to a simmer. Our guests and fellow anglers are still bringing in fish, but at a slower pace than we enjoyed throughout the spring.

One reason for the reduced catch rates is thought to be the mayfly hatch that’s going on now. With lots of extra food in the water, walleyes, other predators too, can be more particular about how often, and for how long, each feeding session will occur. To the fish, it’s a lot like us being offered a peanut butter sandwich and hour after finishing a huge, holiday meal like the thanksgiving turkey for example.

Insect hatches occur over a wide variety of areas, so beyond providing more food, they also ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report July 3, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin June 30, 2023 "Winnie Walleyes Scattered, Un-Patternable, But Biting"

image of Dan holdiung a nice walleye from Lake WinnibigoshishHave you ever discovered 1 walleye lure, or 1 presentation, or 1 fishing pattern that works 100% of the time? If you have, you’re not only lucky, but you are miles ahead of me, because I never have.

If I’ve ever needed a perfect example of how “Un-Patternable”, but still biting walleyes can be, yesterday’s trip on Lake Winnibigoshish is the one. To illustrate, let me give you the list of presentations that helped us catch walleyes yesterday.

  • Jig and Shiner = 4 or 5 walleyes caught, additional 4 or 5 hooked but lost.
  • Jig and Ripple Shad = 1 Walleye
  • Wiggle Worming = 1 Walleye
  • Spinner and Shiner Combo = 1 Walleye
  • Spinner and Crawler Combo = 2 Walleyes
  • Spinner and Leech Combo = 6 Walleyes
  • Mid-Lake Bars = Yes
  • Mid-Depth Flats = Yes
  • Shallow Gravel/Rock = Yes
  • Open Water Trolling = Yes

There was a moment early in the day, when I “Believed” that we would be fishing mid-lake bars and humps, and that we would be using jigs and minnows all day. The idea was supported when Joel, on his first cast, caught a 24-1/2 walleye on a jig and shiner. Not long afterward, Joel caught and released a couple more smaller fish too. After a pass or two, the action slowed and I started searching for a new spot and found a couple, but the story repeated, find fish, catch a couple, and then watch the action fizzle out.

Somewhere along the line I had mentioned that we might have to go into “emergency trolling mode”, but at the time, I was still thinking that jigs were “working”. At one stop, Ross either remembered my earlier comment, or came up with the idea himself to drop a spinner into the water. We were moving too slow for the spinner to work effectively, so it was time for a full-scale test of Ross’ idea. I pulled out the spinner poles and passed them around, then began trolling on the flats. The action didn’t take off like a rocket, but trolling did work and for Dan, the idea was a great one. The image (upper left) of his fat 24-1/2-inch walleye represents Dan moving a notch higher on the learning curve and put him that much closer to being a walleye pro, like his buddies.

image of Joel with nice Lake Winnie WalleyeScattered, and un-patternable, they may be, but inactive, they are not. Throughout the day, one thing was always true, if I could see fish on my graph, they would bite. So, I guess the takeaway from today’s report should be that creativity and determination will surely help you gather enough walleyes for a fish fry. If you catch a few and then the action fizzles, then move to a new spot. If you catch them on one presentation and the action fizzles out, then try another presentation.

If your fishing partner offers an idea, like Ross did yesterday, then follow it because the idea might be spot-on. Finally, if folks are grumbling about fish that “aren’t biting”, don’t be influenced, just go out and fish until you find something, eventually you will win.

For me, the mixed bag action bite is back on the agenda today and from what I learned yesterday, Winnie won’t be the place to do that. Yes, we did catch walleyes, but at the end of a full day of fishing, we had never touched a single fish of any other species. No pike, no perch, no nothing else. That’s probably because we didn’t get into the weeds, so if you’re headed for Winnie for pike, perch or panfish, that’s probably where you should start your search.

I’m anticipating am Independence Day update from Bowen’s, so even if I don’t get back to Winnie this weekend, there will be a fresh update from them soon, so check back for that too.

If you’re headed for the lake to celebrate the holiday, good luck out there! fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to Wired 2 Fish website Wired2Fish June 9, 2023 "How to Find and Catch Grass Bass with ChatterBaits"

image links to bass fishing video "Professional bass angler Carl Jocumsen shares his process for finding the highest-percentages grass spots and fishing them efficiently with a ChatterBait. Join us as we show you how to locate the best-looking spots using mapping and sonar and quickly fish them with bladed jigs

Covering Water and Locating Fish
Like offshore fishing, grass fishing involves identifying contours and structures to locate bass. Jocumsen starts his search by analyzing mapping to find shallow water structures. He then uses MEGA 360 Imaging with MEGA Live to find the best-looking grass and confirm the presence of fish.

Jocumsen shares his insights on using ChatterBaits in grass fishing scenarios. ChatterBaits owe their versatility to a wide range of sizes and colors. Once you figure out what the bass want, it’s easy to ..." View Video and Learn More >> How to Find and Catch Grass Bass with ChatterBaits

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 23, 2023

"Walleyes in both Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux are in a seasonal transition. While some fish remain in relatively shallow water, 8 to 16 feet for example, others are migrating out to mid-lake structures. Instead of finding large, concentrated schools of fish, it’s more common now to find small schools of fish, in a wide variety of locations. So, exploration of fresh territory will pay off bigtime for anglers hoping to find a “hot bite”.

On Wednesday, anglers located good schools of fish in shallow water, not far from the resort. Fishing with jig and minnow combinations, they captured limits of keeper walleyes, and released a good number of larger fish too. At the same time, there were anglers fishing mid-lake structures and they found walleyes too. Whether you fish shallow or deeper depends on your fishing preferences.

Water temperatures have stabilized, and are solidly holding at about 71 degrees, varying by 1 or 2 degrees between day and night. Water clarity has begun to change, there is a slight-but-noticeable algae bloom taking hold in the big lake, somewhat stronger in Cutfoot Sioux. Insect hatches have ..." Read Full Report >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 23, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 16, 2023

"We’ve issued numerous reports in recent years about fishing “The New Winnie”, and offered solid tips on how to approach walleye presentations that work with, not against, the clear water conditions. This summer, we’re seeing evidence that many anglers have taken those tips to heart. They have adapted to the clear water and their creels, filled with walleyes, offer proof that the adaptations have been effective.

Fishing the twilight period, for example, is one of the key adaptations. Formerly reserved for sitting by the campfire, fishing at sunset has now become very popular with our guests. They’ve experienced the transformation from lethargic, daytime feeding patterns to aggressive, even gluttonous at times, walleye feeding behavior during the crepuscular feeding periods. Our guide, Jared Saufferer says; “The bite continues to ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report June 16, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 9, 2023

"Surface temperatures, at their peak reached the high 70 to low 80-degree range. After a cooler, breezier weather pattern developed at mid-week, Winnie’s waters were churned by the choppy water and temperatures settled back in to the 72-to-73-degree range. 

The warm water generated a moderate algae bloom and that added some color to the “gin-clear” water in Lake Winnie, which had previously been a problem for walleye anglers on sunny days. There haven’t been any large-scale insect hatches so far, but evidence is mounting that there will be some soon. Walleyes caught on the mid depth flats are coughing up insect larvae in folks’ live wells and tiny white, gnat-like bugs have been hatching over the deep-water mud flats.

The development of submerged vegetation has influenced walleye location too. Earlier this week, walleyes were caught in good numbers by anglers fishing cabbage patches in shallow, 4- to 7-foot-deep water. With the ever-growing food chain, reduced light penetration, and blooming vegetation, the array of angler’s choices has ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report June 9, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 1, 2023

image links to fishing report from Lake Winnibigoshish "On Lake Winnie, shiner minnows typically begin spawning around Memorial Day, and that pattern was on track this week. So, we think that the shoreline bite will continue for a week or so, especially in areas adjacent to the sprawling sand flats where shiners perform their spawning cycle.  Small perch and other baitfish move onto the same shallow flats where shiner minnows are spawning, and these add to the attraction for hungry walleyes.

Clear water conditions favor fishing during the twilight periods during morning and evening. Key walleye depths range from 12 to 18 feet along shoreline, shoreline related points and rocky structure also provide decent walleye action. During the daytime, especially on calm days, walleyes slip deeper down the breakline, preferring the 22-to-26-foot depth range. In the dark of night, they’ll move over shallow flats in the 10-to-14-foot range, maybe shallower at times.

Jig and minnow combinations continue to be the prominent presentation for our guests. Jig weights of 1/8 ounce are sufficient during twilight when walleyes move shallow. During the day, ¼ to 3/8-ounce weights are required to maintain contact with walleyes. Shiners are readily available now, and do appear to provide an advantage on Winnie, but larger fatheads or rainbows will ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Fishing Report June 1, 2023

image reader comments Reader Comments May 31, 2023 "Dan Hamilton Lake Winnie Fishing Report"

On Tuesday (May 30, 2023), Dan Hamilton emailed with a fishing report along with a couple of questions resulting from his Memorial Weekend fishing trip Lake Winnie.

"Hi Jeff, I rolled in to camp at 12:30 am Friday morning. This was my first trip to winni. Instead of making a bunch of noise setting up camp I decided to get on the water. I trolled raps in 8-10' of water on a wind blown shore line from 1am to after sunrise. I boated 41 walleye, biggest was just over 28" and about half were slot fish. The northern lights were out for a bit and the sunrise was incredible. I didn't see anyone else on the lake.

After the kids arrived late friday, we trolled rapalas from 9 - midnight with the kids. We boated 11 walleye with 1 slot fish. The kids struggled a bit learning to 'read' planer boards and I'm sure the constant reeling in and letting back out negatively impacted the results.

Saturday morning the girls trolled spinners early (minnows and crawlers both worked) and did well in wind blown shallower back water areas with a mixed bag of mostly walleye, a few pike and some jumbo perch. Mid morning, the boys wanted to cast so we went out to fish jig & minnow and caught just a couple walleye. When the girls got in the boat after lunch we went back to trolling spinners and the action picked up again with a mixed bag including 8 eater walleye and several slot fish.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat. The boys wanted to cast so we tried jigs & minnows again and then casting cranks with minimal success. The girls hopped in the boat again after lunch, we pulled spinners in the same areas the boys just fished and the action was great with a mixed bagging including the biggest rock bass I have ever seen. After dinner, we went to one of the community holes where the boats were piled up casting jigs or fishing bobbers. We pulled spinners on the outside edges of the group and it seemed like we were catching walleye 2:1 compared to the people not moving.

I'm relatively new to walleye fishing (I grew up fishing trout in gin clear streams). Last summer was our first year chasing walleye and it was a rough start. People we talked to said try jigging and we had poor results. In late June we started trying lindys with leeches and then spinners with crawlers (usually behind bouncers), our results improved immediately. We intended to try chasing the fall bite but I had a cancer diagnosis in early September that pretty much derailed fall and early ice seasons for us.

This year we started the season off on the duluth area reservoirs with spinners/bouncers (minnows and crawlers both worked) and had excellent success while it seemed like other people we talked to were struggling while fishing jigs.

Q) I'd like to learn jig fishing but so far I don't really see the attraction? Is jigging as effective as pulling spinners? Any tips for how to get better at fishing jigs?

Another question I have is what do you do to protect your hands while guiding? I do the baiting and fishing handing while fishing with my girlfriend and daughter. My hands are shredded from walleye/perch spines and gill plates after this weekend and I'm pretty sure a couple of the spine wounds are getting infected. How do you guide day after day and keep your hands in good shape? Thank you, Dan"

A) Dan, thank you for the reports and for the questions too. Let’s take the easy question first, how to maintain healthy fingers and hands when handling lots of spiny fish.

The trick for situations where minor abrasions and tiny cuts occur, I use camphor to help prevent them from getting worse. The all-time greatest I ever found was a now discontinued hand lotion called “Walgreens Medicated Hand Healer.” When they stopped selling it, I looked up the active ingredients and discovered that there were only 2, strong ammonia and camphor. My wife looked camphor in liquid form so I could try mixing my own but found instead a camphor cream. I’ve been using this and like the old hand healer, it also helps close tiny wounds.

For larger cuts that occur, super glue is the best remedy. Get the cut as dry as possible, apply a drop of super glue into the cut and press, using firm pressure until the adhesive sets. Keeping the wound sealed reduces pain and also helps heal faster too.

When your hands get dry, cracked and sore, use Aloe. Cutting a fresh piece from a plant is great, but if you don’t have one growing at home, buy a bottle of 100% aloe at the store. This is very good, promoting faster healing and reducing pain too.

Jig and minnow fishing for walleyes is not only productive, but at times, much more efficient than trolling. I will tackle this one soon, but right now I’m up against the clock and have to run. Please watch the reports in the days ahead and I will get to it as fast as I can. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 25, 2023

image links to fishing report from Lake Winnibigoshish "Regions of the lake with the coolest water temperatures also feature the clearest water conditions. Walleyes in these regions show a strong preference for feeding during low light periods. Anglers do report catching some fish during the daytime. But in the words of one guest whose here right now, “The evening bite is on fire, when the sun starts touching the treetops, the fish start feeding. We’re fishing in water depths of 16 to 20 feet using ¼ ounce jig heads and minnows.”

Warmer water, with darker color translates into a whole new story for folks fishing those regions. One of the better area guides says this, “On Wednesday, we fished in the extreme back regions and found 61.5-degree water. “There were some scattered, but still green cabbage plants, along with some stubby, newly emerging vegetation too. There were walleye, perch and smaller northern pike using feeding there.”

“We caught a mixed bag of fish by moving slowly along the ..." Read >> Lake Winnibigoshish Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report May 25, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin May 21, 2023 "Too Stubborn Not To Have A Happy Ending"

image of the Hippie Chick holding nice walleye caught on Lake WinnieLast week, I and the Hippie Chick were chatting about weekend plans when she discovered a rare gap in her social calendar. So., I asked my friend and customer Ken Seufert if he was interested in having a first mate on board yesterday’s fishing trip. He agreed, and we set the time to meet at McArdle’s Resort on Winnie’s west side. We met there because the weather forecast called for gusty west winds; naturally, they never did gust, buts that’s a story for another time.

For me, fishing on the west side of Winnie has not been very productive recently, I’ve had much better luck on the north end. But you can’t find new spots unless you venture into fresh territory, and I stopped at 3 or 4 places, having high hopes for all.

I found water temperatures ranging from 49 degrees up to about 52 degrees and the water was gin clear. Not a great scenario for sunshine and calm seas, I looked shallow and deep, but after watching a blank screen on my graph for an hour, I headed back for the north side, territory that has been productive recently.

“It’s Saturday, the weather is nice, and the breezes are light, there’s gonna be a crowd”, I thought to myself as we were motoring. The crowd was large when we arrived, but there was little bit of wiggle room, so we settled in for our first pass. Within minutes, Ken had caught a 17-inch walleye, I got one too and then Susan caught a coveted 26-inch pike for our supper. It looked like we were off to the races, but we weren’t.

The rest of my morning featured a series of wrong turns, I went to places where we’d caught fish in recent days and found that they had moved. I guessed at a few new areas to check but found most of them empty. I even followed up on a hot tip I got from a fellow guide who had done well in the morning, but the spot had fizzled out by the time we arrived. Long story short, we headed into the afternoon with 3 walleye and 1 pike in the livewell, disappointing to me, even if my crew did not seem very upset. I overheard Ken telling Susan not to worry, he had faith that I’d figure something out, I hoped he was right.

In May, I don’t usually leave the big lake, but my little voice was nagging me about heading for the back bays and darker water. “What if there are a bunch of fish that haven’t moved away from their spawning territory? I asked myself. I told my crew what I’d been thinking and explained that it wouldn’t be any worse than we were doing and followed my intuition. We headed way back into the backwaters and found ourselves sitting in 62-degree water, with a light chop on it, just enough to drift the boat.

image of walleye fishing guide Jeff Sundin We got into position, cast our jigs and minnows into the water and WHAM! My first cast produced a 25-inch walleye. Then Ken caught a keeper, Susan caught one too and within a couple of hours, we had 10 keeper walleyes in the boat. “Why didn’t we just come here in the first place”, I asked out loud? My only disappointments about the decision was that I hadn’t thought of it sooner and that 1 of Kens fish, a larger walleye came un-pinned before we got it to the boat. Otherwise, those last 2 hours of our day were pretty much perfect.

The fish were holding on the shoreline breaks in about 8 feet of water. We used 1/8-ounce jigs tipped primarily with shiners, but with a few rainbows mixed in too. On Winnie, I’ve been thinking that shiners have been best, but back in the bay, I don’t think it mattered. The walleyes were not bunched up, they were scattered at random intervals along the drop-off. It seemed to me that we caught most everything on the first pass at each stop and going back for another drift rarely produced any strikes.

The walleyes provided no physical evidence that they were still spawning. I suppose that they might just be hanging out because they are more comfortable. I’m speculating, but I do wonder why would they leave 62-degree, coffee colored water to get into the cold, clear water out on the big lake?

Ken embarrasses me sometimes because he thinks I pull off, in words, “Jeff Sundin Miracles.” But that’s not really true, I just keep looking until I find something to do, I’m just too stubborn to quit. The stubbornness doesn’t always pay off, but this time it did and I’m thankful that my friend Ken, and my most beloved wife had the chance to share the boat. The trip will go down in the captains log as a happy one. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin May 19, 2023 "Lake Winnie Fishing Update"

image of hall of fame fishing guide Jeff Sundin Yesterday’s crew, Phil, Joyce and Kelly already enjoyed a spectacular day at Red Lake Wednesday, and a fabulous fish dinner at Florio’s afterward. So, on Thursday, there was no point in making another long drive. We decided to fish on Winnie, hopefully to cap off the rest of our walleye limits and then maybe find some perch; the walleyes were easier than the perch.

We entered the lake at the Plughat Point landing, and found high, but not flood stage water. Traffic was slower there than I expected, and launching was a smooth operation. The water temperature in the Dam Bay was cool, 54-55 degrees and unusually clean, free of weeds and debris. NOAA was predicting a stiff northwest wind, but when we arrived, the surface was calm. Taking advantage of smooth conditions, I drove straight over to the north shore, in the Bowens Flats neighborhood.

Early in the trip, boats were loosely lined up along the breakline into deep water and it was easy to stake out our own territory. We located small and scattered packs of walleyes holding along the break in 17 to 19 feet of water. We used ¼ ounce jigs tipped with minnows and moved slowly, .5 to .6 MPH was ideal for giving the jigs a light hop-drop-hop-drop action. Walleyes, when we found them did strike, but there were gaps between the small schools. There were a lot of pike on the breakline too and at times, we caught more of them than we did walleyes.

Traffic built through the morning, and eventually become congested. I needed more space to operate, so we started exploring fresh territory. Following the same pattern, we were able to locate other small packs of fish, also holding in the same 17-to-19-foot depth range. Occasionally, walleyes were spotted at 20 feet, but that seemed to be the barrier.

The wind didn’t start blowing as early as we’d expected, but sometime around 3:30 PM, whitecaps started appearing and after that, the bite was tricky. I expect that when the breezes are calm, this fishing pattern will hold up for a while. If the wind keeps blowing, I think I’ll need to figure out some shallower locations. For me, that will all be new territory, so I can’t speculate about where those areas will be. But we’ll figure out where the better schools of fish are located.

Today’s destination is up in the air, but if we do wind up on Winnie, I’ll try to turn a few theories into reality. Whatever we learn, you’ll be the first to know. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report May 17, 2023

"Lake Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux did not disappoint walleye anglers hoping that the action would be great for the 2023 fishing opener. The weather was fabulous, there was a nice chop on the water and the walleyes were snapping. It’s fair to say that on opening day, there were more folks catching fish, even limits, than those who did not.

On Sunday, and each day since, the climate has been warm, bright, and calm. The water temperature is now in the 55-to-57-degree range and the water is clear. Walleyes continue to bite, but have been located spread out over the flats, along the shallow sides of steepest breaklines.

Most fish are not on the steep edges, but rather on top of the flat areas that lead toward them. Key depths on calm days have ranged from ..." Read >> Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report May 17, 2023

image denotes commentary by Jeff Sundin Jeff Sundin May 3, 2023 "Hey, Get Your Hands Off My Eggs!"

ON May 2, 2023 Kurt Stevenson wrote; “Hey Jeff, I was reading your article (May 1, 2023) and noticed the part about stripping walleye eggs at Cutfoot. If you ask me, they should leave the fish there alone instead of taking all the spawn out of the lake. I’ll bet Winnibigosh has a lot better track record in the years when there’s nobody stealing all our walleye eggs. You should into that.” Kurt Stevenson

image of walleyes in trap net at little Cutfoot Thank you for the note, Kurt, and for the invitation for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work on this update in response. As it happens, your comments are representative of other comments that I, and some of the resort owners on Winnie receive from folks every spring. Over the years, those of us who attend annual meetings with DNR Fisheries Staff have heard the simple answer repeated often, but to my knowledge, nobody has done a deeper dive into the subject. So, let’s start with the simple answer first, then I’ll share what I learned in my meeting at the Grand Rapids DNR office last Monday.

The simple answer is that the DNR Egg Take at Little Cutfoot does not reduce the amount of fry that hatch on their own and swim back into the lakes. Walleyes migrating through Little Cutfoot on the annual spawning run into the First River do complete the task of spawning, but the fertilized eggs seldom mature and hatch. On its own, the First River spawning run almost never produces significant contributions to the overall walleye population in Winnie, Cutfoot and connected waters.

How is that possible, why don’t all those eggs hatch and produce offspring? Evolution is the problem; sticky, oxygen robbing sediment now covers what might have been, at one time, prime spawning habitat. But nowadays, most of the fertilized eggs that fall to the bottom get covered with muck, which coats the eggs and then suffocates them before they can reach maturity. When fertilized eggs are taken to the Grand Rapids hatchery, about 10% of the hatched fry is returned to Winnie and Cutfoot. Survivability of the hatched fry is significantly higher than it would have been if the fish had simply dropped their eggs in the mud and taken their chances.

image of fertilized walleye eggs To get a better handle on how the process works, I scheduled a meeting with Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Supervisor. Coincidentally, Gerry Albert, the now retired DNR Large Lake Specialist who worked on Winnie for over two decades happened to walk in, so we invited him to be part of the interview and he agreed.

“Were there ever any formal studies proving the theory about the poor success rates of spawning at the First River?” I asked.

Yes, Dan Olson, former Grand Rapids DNR Fisheries Biologist studied the issue. Olson sampled fertilized walleye eggs and aged them using a process that studies cell division within the egg. The oldest, or most advanced eggs, survived for 4 days; most of them did not last that long. What Olson discovered then was that the sediment that coated the outer shell of the egg was preventing oxygen from reaching the cells within them.

By now, another DNR Fisheries Biologist walked into the office. Weitzel introduced me Dan Schermerhorn, the incoming Large Lake Specialist who pick up the studies of all things Winnibigoshish.  Schermerhorn joined the discussion in time for my next question, “what is the survival rate of wild hatched walleye fry?” I asked.

The consensus among the experts is that on average, survival of walleye fry hatched in the wild is below 2%. Weitzel showed me some charts of statistics for Winnie and Cutfoot, which on average, have survival rates even lower than that; some years well below 1%. The survival rate of fry brought back from the hatchery and released into Winnie and Cutfoot is much higher than that. The rate varies from year to year, but can be double, sometimes even more, than the wild hatched fry.

Kurt, it was your original question, “I’ll bet Winnibigosh has a lot better track record in the years when there’s nobody stealing all our walleye eggs?” that prompted my next question for the panel. “How many alternative spawning sites are there on Winnie and Cutfoot?”

Albert walked us into the back room and pulled out a large map of Winnie and its connected waters. As he unrolled the map, numbered red marking denoted the well-known walleye spawning sites. There were 25 sites marked up on the map, Albert told me that 1 of them was usually a poor spot, and there were a few others thought of as “marginal”. So, let’s call it 20, known alternatives to the Little Cutfoot, First River spawning site. Unclear whether I had permission to share the map, I opted not to reproduce it. But it is real, and it is public information, so if you want to see it yourself, set up an appointment with the Grand Rapids Fisheries office.

The Olson study on First River survival rates is also public information, but it is buried deep in old files. If you want to see that study, it would be wise to send a request and allow plenty of extra time for DNR Staff to review it in house.

For me, the upshot of the meeting with Weitzel, Albert and Schermerhorn was that even if the egg take at Little Cutfoot was deleted forever, Lake Winnie walleye anglers would likely never notice any difference. Which leads us back to your comment Kurt, “I’ll bet Winnibigosh has a lot better track record in the years when there’s nobody stealing all our walleye eggs. You should into that.”

Statistics from last year’s testing on Winnie and Cutfoot show that the 2020-year class of walleye was poor. Ironically, covid concerns resulted in no walleye egg taken by the DNR at Little Cutfoot that spring. To your point, if the theory that walleye would be better off without the hatchery operation is true, then 2020 “should have been” good, but it wasn’t.

Whether any lake produces a strong year class of walleye is way more complex than that. Survival rates are much more important to the lake than the success of the spring spawning runs. Think of it this way, the lake can never produce a strong year class unless the young fish survive their first season. No matter how many walleye fry hatch during spring, they are completely dependent on suitable weather and habitat through their first summer. Still oversimplified, but one good rule of thumb is this; Poor 1st year survival = Poor year class. • Good 1st year survival = Good year class.

Finally, if you’re like me and like to fish on a variety of lakes, you might be more dependent on the Grand Rapids Hatchery than you think. Many of my favorite walleye lakes have fish that were provided by the hatched fry from that operation. Even if you never fish any other lake than Winnie, you still benefit from those fish. Why? Because if somebody is fishing on another lake, then they are not bothering you when you’re fishing your favorite spots on Winnie.

Whether or not the Little Cutfoot egg take will happen this season is up in the air. I chatted with Dave Weitzel yesterday and he told me that the decision will be made later today. Either way, my suggestion is that we should embrace the operation. All things considered, walleye anglers everywhere in the Grand Rapids region benefit from fish produced there. fish smiley image — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie 2023 Walleye Fishing Season Outlook May 2, 2023

image links to Lake Winnie 2023 Walleye Fishing Season Outlook "Walleye anglers, curious about the progress of the ice breaking up on Lake Winnie may have had a few anxious moments this spring. But, compared to last year’s “ice-out cliff hanger”, this is going to be a walk in the park. Today’s images of Cutfoot and Winnibigoshish compared to those we viewed around the same time in 2022 indicate that we’re 4 to 5 days ahead of where we were last spring. Admittedly, this still constitutes a later than typical ice-out, but at least we have a little bit of wiggle room to work with. In other words, the 2023 walleye season is going to happen on schedule, and we’ll be ready!

This year, we’re anticipating a continuation of the strong angler catch rates we enjoyed in both 2021 and 2022. The 2 back-to-back, “dynamo year classes” of walleyes from 2018 and 2019 will continue to dominate the population. This summer, the size structure of walleyes from both years will be very desirable. Many of the fish will ..." Read >> Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie 2023 Walleye Fishing Season Outlook May 2, 2023

image links to bowen lodge on lake winnie Bowen Lodge Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fishing Report April 24, 2023 "The ice is melting!"

image of Jens Heig checking the ice conditions on Lake Winnie "Despite winter's desperate attempts to hang on, spring is coming to northern Minnesota. We heard a loon yesterday, eagles are soaring and the ice is starting to darken on Lake Winnibigoshish—that means open water is coming soon.

For those who follow Bowen Lodge on Facebook, last week you may have watched Jens and Ashley drill a hole in front of the resort that yielded about 20 inches of ice. That may seem discouraging, but our forecast is promising and we're optimistic that the ice will leave the lake soon.

In the meantime, everyone is working hard to prepare Bowen Lodge for our first guests to arrive on opening weekend. We're thrilled to open our doors for the 2023 season. If you're still hoping to stay with us this summer, we recently had some prime openings in our cabins that are sure to be reserved quickly. We hope you can join us!" Bill, Gail, Jens & Ashley • Call 218-246-8707 • Website