We set out to find the Pike and Walleye this past weekend! We had around a foot and a half of snow on the lake so the plow and tire chains came in handy. I think its time for new tire chains as I broke 3 links and had to bolt the links together to keep on going. I think its also time for some new tires on the Ford Plow truck as we have been putting on miles this year hitting lakes all over MN. I plowed out spots for 6 groups this last weekend. 5 groups on a shallow 1000 Acre lake primarily fished for bigger pike and walleye. The other house was in 24ft of water fishing for crappies and walleye. The house on the smaller lake caught 6 walleyes and 6 pike 3 pike in the 22 inch – 26 inch slot that had to go back.
The other lake that I had 5 groups set up on the fishing was mostly a waiting game. I had two groups that really wanted to bag some pike and those two groups did not do as good as the other three groups. The other three groups did mostly catch and release so they put most of the pike back. That is the way it goes. We had sightings of walleyes on the camera last weekend but the walleyes just did not want to commit on the 1000 Acre lake besides one. Most of the walleyes we catch on this lake are 20+ inches along with some big girls 25 inches + so I feel that some of the lines that got bite off were the bigger walleyes. I kept hearing from a few groups that the hook sets felt like a giant log and then the lines snapped. Customers did say that they were not prepared for the bigger fish. I do still have one hook and go rental up on Lake Of The Woods so I look forward to hearing that report. Its always interesting to see sometimes customers go 300 miles on hook and go rentals and we end up catching more fish around home. Not always the case but that is fishing for you. Sometimes we see customers catch more fish on larger bodies of water and sometimes we catch more fish on smaller bodies of water. One thing I do know is we usually always catch something down in the Wright and Meeker county lakes.
For this weekend coming up we do have a sno bear outing open for Sunday. I have a guided package with 4-5 guys showing up on Friday. I am thinking we will chase crappies and blue gills and set up some portable shacks not far from the Grand castle for them to hop into for the low light hour bite for those bigger walleyes. As far as the 8 x 16 ice houses and the other grand castle they are all going on hook and go rentals. One is going to Mille Lacs and the other two are going up to the famous EelPout Festival. Today it was around 10 degrees and little to no wind so was comfortable out on the ice moving fish houses. As walleye and pike season will close at Midnight on February 24th we will then be on the crappie bite for the rest of the season.
Well we sure have had lots of snow this year! The plow truck is getting some hours put on it. In the Annandale area we are seeing around 20 inches of snow on the lake now. Last time I checked was 22 inches of Ice. We might have a few more inches now. We have covered a ton of Ice in the last week. Over the last week we have been fishing on 4 different lakes. We are doing better in the Annandale area then the Leech Lake area so plan on staying in the Annandale area. We did a guided outing on Leech lake and hit a small lake off a logging trail and barely made it off that lake with a slush pocket the sno bear barely made it across. We did find the fish with the panoptix but hole hopping in 35 inches of snow can be a challenge and tire a guy out. So we caught a couple crappies and sunfish and decided to get back out onto Leech and try for Walleyes and Tulibee. The walleye fishing on Leech was slow for us. All I can say about Leech Lake is even track vehicles are struggling to get around up there so we are going to stick within 30 miles of Annandale area as the lakes are easier getting around on and the fishing has been better for us.
As far as customers doing hook and go rentals we are offering plowed spots with your hook and go rental with no extra cost in the Annandale area. This weekend we are running the sno bear Friday Saturday and Sunday. Monday we still have a openings for those of you with kids out of school give us a call! We have been fishing 19 Feet of water for Sunfish and crappies on one lake and another lake we are fishing Crappies in 43 feet of water.
This weekend we are going after big pike and big walleyes. I have saved a few spots for this weekend and am exited to see what this lake is going to produce! This lake also produces some nice Jumbo perch at times. We will be fishing 12.-13.5 Ft of water for the walleyes and pike. Give us a call if you want to get on some fish!
Wow the last few days the reel feel has been -60 degrees with a low temperature of -30 and I still have people out fishing. Its been a honor to bring out two American Veterans Ice Fishing for a non profit and a group from Oklahoma. Fishing has been on the slower side. The ones who have fished in the Sno Bear are catching more fish. I set up two Ice Houses in separate areas of the lake. The crappies and sunfish will not stay put. The pike just keep chasing them around in the bays. The sno bear has been the ticket to help catch fish by having 3-4 sets of holes for the sno bear to hope around on the same holes. Garmin Panoptix has been a huge help finding the fish and staying on top of them with the Sno Bear. Customers have been staying warm in the ice houses. Have had to swap out a few warm propane tanks with cold ones to keep the propane flowing. 18-20 Feet of water seems to be the best depths. We will see what tomorrow brings. This weekend we have really nice weather. We are going from one extreme to the other. -30 below to 35 degrees. I look forward to the sno bear outings Saturday and Sunday. Will be nice actually getting out of the Sno bear this weekend and doing some hole hopping! We did have about 4 inches of fresh snow on the lake the wind blew most of the snow off the lake. As far as bait we have been buying big tubs of wax worms as we have been releasing lots of smaller sunfish. Spring bobbers have been the ticket for the light bite. Below is a quick video of what it looked like on the lake on January 29th, 2019 with the wind blowing. Days like this I realize how nice it is fishing inside the sno bear. Also a picture below my customer lost a lure to a pike and then caught the pike again so they got the lure back!
We have a group from Texas and Colorado in town for work and they got to experience Ice Fishing for the first time. They have been catching pike, crappies and blue gills and it has been consistent even with the cold weather. I have a repeat customer coming in from Oklahoma on Monday for a few days of fishing. We have 20-22 inches of ice on the lakes. We are fishing in 19 ft of water for the pan fish. We do have 6-8 inches of snow foretasted that is much needed so we can bank the ice houses. We do have guided sno bear outings available and ice houses open call to reserve a outing 320-310-9089
Another day another Walleye! Just doing some reservations here at the office today. I plan on doing some pre fishing for some guided outings on Thursday. We have openings for Guided Sno Bear Outings. I have one house hook and go out to Devils Lake. I will get a report from them with in the next day or two. Check back soon!
Its been busy and have had little time to write a reports and post the last two weekends. So I am throwing up some pictures of customers from last few outings. Below is the Darville family they fished on Mille Lacs out of Jerry Brandt’s lake Access. They fished the reefs in 19 Feet of water. They caught 10 walleyes. The biggest was 25 inches pictured below and they ended up with one slot fish at 22 inches.
The next pictures are from another group that fished last weekend on Mille Lacs also they ended up with 12 walleyes and 12 tullibee.
The next couple pictures are from the annual Dad and Kids trip I do every year with my Kids and my friend Dans kids. We started out on Miltona and could not get into the walleyes only perch. We did catch a couple keeper perch. We decided to pack up and go over to Osakis for the 2nd night. Some of the kids fished in the Ice Castle when we first started out on Osakis and caught a nice northern that was put back, a large mouth bass lost at the hole and saw some nice schools of sunfish passing though. A couple of us got in the Sno bear and went to chase some crappies pictured on the panoptix below you can see we found them! We did manage to catch around 8 crappies in this spot and 3 walleyes 1 16 inch walleye caught by Dan, and the other two caught by Broden Dans boy 13 years old he caught his two personal best walleyes at 23.5 inches and 24.5 inches. Fishing was a little slow. The walleyes came as a suprise fishing in 53 feet of water. They were hugging the bottom of the lake and caught on pink and gold Gem n Eyes. So for those of you looking for crappies on osakis work the 50+ft holes. I did try some rock piles on osakis and did not see much but some smaler perch this was mid day so maybe that was why.
We had another group that fished on Fish Trap lake. Looks like they got into the Pike! They had a great time also. Pictures below are from there group!
The picture below is of my Boy Levi he turned 4 years old I took him and his cousin Jaxon fishing overnight last week in a fish house. Managed two keeper walleyes and a sunfish and a bunch of smaller 12-14 inch walleyes we put back. We fished 22 ft of water.
Every year my Family and I ring in the New Year together out Ice fishing. This is my favorite time of the year I get to spend 3-4 nights out in the Ice Castle with my Wife and four kids. I also have a report from the other hook and go Ice House Rentals. This fishing report includes Bow String Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake.
Here is the Johny Miller Fishing Crew Report he did a hook and go rental with a 8 x 16 Extreme Ice Cabin. They went to Leech Lake and sounds like it was on fire in 21 Feet of water out of Trappers Landing. Fishing off the Reefs. As far as lures, plain bronze hooks seemed to be best. Very few fish jigging. Also, small suckers and shiners far out fished everything else Pictures below are from Leech Lake.
The next Report is from a group of guys who rented the Ice Castle Mille Lacs Fish House and towed it out of Randys on Mille Lacs Lake. They found the best depth to be out in around 20 Feet of Water. They said they had a good bite and caught fish. Here are three pictures they sent me of fish caught! I can not wait to get out on Mille lacs with the Sno Bear!
Now this report is from my trip with my wife and kids, my dad and my friend Matt and his Wife Jessica rented one of Chartered Rentals Grand Castles. This trip was about the kids and family time. We started on Bow String Lake NE of Winnie first time on this lake and it kicked my butt we went out of Bow String Shores Resort. We fished on Bow String for 1 night and then fished on Lake Winnibigoshish for 3 nights out of Nodaks Resort. The 1st night on Lake Winnibigoshish we fished out about 3 miles. One house was in 18 feet of water and the other house was in 22 feet of water the first night. We fished out on South Moses Bar the last two nights both houses in 16 feet of water. I will have to say we had slow fishing on Winnibigoshish. We usually do really good on winnie on the jumbo perch and a catch a mess of walleyes. The water clarity was poor 3-4 ft and I think this had a lot to do with it. We did manage to catch lots of pike and a handful of perch to fry up. The walleyes caught on Winnie measured 22.5, 23 inches, and 24 inches. two of the walleyes had some funny dorsal fins. We set up in 16 feet of water on the south side of moses bar on a inside corner. we moved around in the otter portable to fish different depths and just did not matter marked perch but they not many hungry fish. The sno bear went home early to the shop on the first day to get some repairs done to the clutch. So I felt old school fishing with out it just hopping around with the ice castles and portable. Good thing the Pike were hungry. I bet between the two ice houses we got our line broke off at least 20+ times. We must of caught at least a dozen of more pike. For the most part the kids tended the rattle reels and I let them work on the hook sets so we had plenty of big pike break the line. We did see what looked to be at least a 40+ inch pike on the camera come by then a few minutes later my friend Matt and his family got broke off by it in the other castle. Next time we will have to set up some rattle reels for pike when we run into this situation. All in all we had a great time grilled steaks did a fish fry. My friend Matt’s wife works at the French Lake Butcher shop and they had a giant yetti cooler full of Bacon, Steaks, Jerky, and it hit the spot. I have to say they are my favorite friends to bring on the fishing trips as they always bring the bacon! We also did Tacos one night that was one of my highlights. Oh yeah and the last night at 5 a.m.I did manage to catch a Eel Pout that I forgot to take a picture with. The perch liked the gold tungsten jigs, the walleyes liked Pink and Gold JB lures jigging spoons. Pictures below are from winnie.
I have been busy the last 3 days with Christmas gatherings so have not been out a ton. I did a guided trip out on Big Stone and the fish did not want to cooperate. On Big Stone we covered around 3500 Acres of lake. Most Ice we measured was 10-12 inches. We did catch one 10 inch Blue Gill and a 12 Inch Jumbo Perch along with a few smaller perch. We had fish on the Camera and on the sonar they just would not commit.
I had another guided outing on Monday morning half day and the bite was a little on the slow side we managed 3 keeper walleyes, 5 crappies, one small mouth bass lost at the hole, one smaller large mouth bass that we released. Chartered Rentals Guide Service donated the proceeds of this outing for a Non Profit called Fishing For Recovery. I want to thank the customers who spend the time out on the ice this morning. They did get enough fish to make Fish Tacos with the walleyes and crappies. The next three days I can put 8 x 16 houses out in the Annandale are for those who want to do a few overnights. I am offering 25% off on guided fishing outings in the sno bear over the next few days when customers bring a kid fishing.
This week I will be in the Annandale area until Saturday we are doing my annual Family fishing trip we do every year. This year we are going up to Bow String Lake and going to chase crappies and walleyes. You can expect a report from Bowstring next Monday.
Just compiled a few clips from early ice.
Here is what I am finding on lakes that we are fishing on. 8 – 13 inches of ice. I have heard reports that other lakes still have some open pockets of water on them. I was up on Suak lake up by Sauk Centre and the fish did not want to cooperate on Tuesday. Sauk Lake had some decent ice on the north end of the lake. Some guys started driving trucks out and saw a handful of 8 x 16 Ice Castle Fish houses out. We did find some crappies on Sauk Lake using the Garmin Panoptix but they would not bite. They were suspended out in 25-35 Feet of Water.
Wednesday I set up the guide shack for a father son outing on a lake in Meeker county and they ended up with 13 keeper crappies and had some fun hole hopping and caught 6 Small Mouth Bass and a large mouth bass. They fished 21 Feet of water on the Rocks and hole hoped out to 24-25 feet of water. Plastics and wax worms small tungsten jigs seem to be working for the crappies. The crappies are starting to moving out off the rocks into a little deeper water.
Thursday I spent all day getting the bigger ice castle fish houses ready. Friday I have two hook and go rentals one group is going to Devils lake and the other group is going to Mille Lacs. Friday Afternoon I am getting out in the Sno Bear to pre fish a few lakes. I look forward to hearing the reports that the hook and go rentals come back with. In the Annandale area over the next few days we should be making about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of ice a day. So I anticipate the day after Christmas we will be setting up Ice houses on a few local lakes if they are not rented for hook and go rentals. Saturday I have a guided outing in the Sno Bear. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and stay tuned because the bite is about to heat up as we will be running the fleet of ice house rentals and the Sno Bear in full force starting the day after Christmas!