We are still out on Early Ice. Ice making has slowed down a little. We are on 8-11 inches of ice. Not all lakes are the same thickness. I have been out with the Sno Bear marking new way points and checking Ice making progress. We have a mild week ahead of us So I do not expect the lakes to make a ton of ice over the next week. I am running a special this week 50% off Hook and GO Ice house Rentals. For those of you going up north this is a great deal! Give me a call to reserve a rental. This morning caught 5 pike and 1 walleye. Kept two pike three of them were in the slot 22-26 inches. The walleye was probably around 18 inches. I made a video on how to clean a Pike.
Went out today and checked ice on another lake I have not fished yet this season. I brought my wife with and our two youngest kids Levi 4 and Paisley 1.5 years old. While checking Ice I put the camera down on a way point and boom Big Walleye chasing some perch around. I handed my wife one of the walleye rods with a Custom Jigs and Spins Slender Spoon tipped it with a fatty Rainbow Minnow. Down that spoon fell and I watched that walleye attack and my wife set the hook! She caught her personal best 26.5 inch walleye. She was a fatty too. We let her go to grow a few more inches. I saw a few more walleyes on the camera that we saved for another day and the next guided outing. I measured 8.- 11 inches of Ice on this lake.
This week I have the guide shack out on a school of crappies ready for rental! We also have Guided Sno Bear outings open this weekend to target multi species. Start with walleyes and transition into Perch, Crappies, Blue Gills, and Pike.
Thursday and Friday I started monitoring and checking ice on 5 lakes in the Annandale area. I guided with the Sno bear on Saturday. We had a mixed bag no monster fish but caught a few crappies, Large mouth bass, small mouth bass, sun fish, pike, and 5 walleyes with one keeper 20.5 inch walleye. We can only do what the ice will allow us with ice thickness. Out of the 5 lakes we checked 1 had a small open pocket of water on one of them. I drilled another couple hundred holes over the last few days checking ice. In the areas we fished in the snow drifts I had 7.5 Inches outside the drifts 8-10 inches. Guys need to be careful this year because Ice Thickness varies. The open pockets that are freezing over last have much less ice. We watch for ice variations in color while out checking the lakes. I also watch the lakes freeze over everyday so I know the areas that froze over last. One Lake had 3-4 inches on the last pocket that froze over so we stayed off that side of the lake and fished what we know had been locked up for two weeks. Today we are taking 3 Iraq war Veterans out fishing. We will post another report Monday! This week I do plan on targeting some Perch. One of the lakes I used to fish a few years back has some nice numbers of perch back in it. We also are working on putting together a day trip to Bow String Lake to target Walleyes and Crappies.
Upper Red Lake some of the resorts are allowing 8 x 16 wheel houses to be pulled behind half ton pick up trucks. We do have 8 x 16 wheel houses open for rentals! The small guide shack is out on the ice and available for rental.
Over the last few days I have fished Upper Red Lake and down in the Annandale area lakes. Upper Red Lake I was finding 10-12 inches of Ice. There will most likely be resorts letting out trucks and wheel houses by this next weekend with the cold snap this week. While on Upper Red Lake I was working with my 3 year old and 7 year old teaching them how to set the hook on walleyes. This was a quick trip to Upper Red Lake with the Sno Bear. We stayed in one of Cookies Cabin Rentals on Upper Red Lake. We caught 25+ Walleyes. I did not get out to my favorite way points as we had a pressure ridge that was holding us back. Most resorts are bridging over the pressure ridge. Most walleyes being caught on a white Lindy Rattl’n Flyer. This trip was not so much about numbers of fish for me as it was about teaching the kids how to set the hook. I was plenty happy with 25+ walleyes. We fished in 6.5 – 7.5 Feet of Water. Fish Pictures below are walleyes from Upper Red Lake. I am running a special on Hook and Go ice house rentals for this weekend we are removing our 4 day Minimum down to a 3 day Minimum. Pick up your ice house Friday have it back by Monday morning.
8 x 16 Ice Castle Mille Lacs $405 for 3 days https://chartered-rentals.com/our-rentals/ice-houses/ice-castle-mille-lacs/
8 x 16 Extreme Ice Cabin $405 for 3 days https://chartered-rentals.com/2016-extreme-ice-cabin/
2016 Grand Castle $562.50 https://chartered-rentals.com/our-rentals/ice-houses/2016-ice-castle-grand-castle/
2018 Grand Castle $750 https://chartered-rentals.com/our-rentals/ice-houses/2018-ice-castle-grand-castle/
As far as the Ice report for down in the Annandale area Lakes are making ice this week! I am finding 4 to 8 inches of Ice and expect to see 8- 10 inches of ice on Friday on the lakes I have been checking ice on. We have our first guided Sno Bear Outing scheduled for Saturday. We will be fishing walleyes during low light hours and crappies and blue gills during day. I have the Guide shack available for rent for $100/24 hours starting Friday. It is booked on Saturday but open on Sunday. Vinny the fishing guide was out pre fishing on Sunday and caught 8 keeper crappies, and a few small mouth bass. He was fishing Mid Day. We have officially started the 2018 / 2019 Guided Fishing season!
I was on 5 inches of Ice. The lake still had some open water on it. The wind is keeping some of the lakes open. It sure felt good to get out! We added the K-Drill and the Garmin Panoptix for Guiding this season.
Mike and I have been spread out fishing. I have been down in the Annandale area with the sno bear Mike has been hitting Leech and some smaller lakes in the Leech Lake area. I have been targeting crappies and blue gills mostly just catch and release. Down in the Annandale area I am seeing 25-26 inches of ice. Up on Leech There is still 36 inches of ice. Ice conditions change rapidly this time of the year so check ice as some lakes will start seeing honeycombing and accesses will be getting soft. We have some snow in the forecast Friday so if this holds true 3-8 inches of snow this is going to preserve the ice even more.
Mike and I are available for guided trips in the Leech Lake area and I am available for guided outings in the Annandale area. Pictured below is from Mike he got into some nice sunfish. The other picture is my daughter Emma with two 12-14 inch crappies we kept for dinner. We also have a spot that is producing good numbers of eelpout for the customers who want to get into some eelpout give us a call. Lots of species to fish for bluegills, crappies, eelpout, tullibee, and white fish.
I had last weekend off as I was out of state for a wedding we are hitting the ice hard this week. I will be teaming up the last few weeks with Michael Charwood Local Leech Lake Guide and hitting the ice hard. We will be working together as a team guiding for Tullibee, Jumbo Perch, White Fish, Crappie, and Blue Gills. We have a special going for the next couple of weeks. Below is the special from my Facebook page along with pictures combined from Michael and I from prior guiding trips!
Best Deal of the Season! Price $175-$250 per guy! Group Pricing! 2 Days 2 nights of Fishing Full Package Deal Group Sizes needed 4 person groups $250 per person, 6 Person Groups $200 Per Person, 10 person groups $180 per person, 20 person groups $175 per person! End of the Season unheard of Special. Targeting Multiple lakes and Multi Species Crappies, Jumbo Perch, Blue Gills, Tullibee, White Fish, and EelPout. Package Deal includes two days Guided Fishing includes two night stay at one of MN finest family friendly resorts Trappers Landing and Lodge on Leech Lake. Prices below include Guides, Heated Sno Bear for transportation, Portable ice houses, Ice Castle Fish Houses, Resort Stay, Electronics, Rods n Reels, Bait Its all included. We have the Gear all you need to do is show up and fish! 30-40 inches of Ice! 320-310-9089 for reservations.
Another fun weekend guiding and experiencing mother nature throwing extreme 40 mph winds and white out conditions as we wrapped up our Monday morning guided outing. We started the weekend out slow as the weather and winds kept a changing. We had two groups that I ran around on the Ice From Friday into Monday morning. One group was Aric Arth and his buddies I set them up on a spot that the jumbos start moving in from the deeper basins. I think the Jumbos are a week or two behind yet with how cold of a winter we had and the 34+ inches of ice with around 2+ft of snow cover. The Jumbo Perch fishing days will soon be approaching within the next week or two. So in the meantime we are spending time chasing crappies and blue gills.
The 2nd group LouAnn and Sue Peterson cousins brought up two 16 year old boys stayed in one of the Grand Castles and did 3 guided sno bear outings! LouAnn and Sue have had so much fun fishing with us this season after Monday they now have 7 guided Sno Bear outings in the books. They have fished with us in -30 temps all the way into 40 degree temps all in the comfort of the Sno Bear and Ice Castle fish houses. They have fished Upper Red Lake with us this season and now they get to explore Leech Lake and surrounding area lakes. The two 16 year old boys pictures below you can see them out hole hopping in the 30-40 mph winds and bringing in Slabs of crappies and blue gills. These two 16 year olds are what I call some of MN finest young fisherman hands down. While out on the Ice we took turns drilling probably around 50 holes for hopping around on. The schools of crappies and gills would only stay in one spot for 2-5 minutes. We fished in 30ft of water and every 3rd – 4th hole you dropped the transducer down it was lite up like a Christmas tree. I have to say it amazed me watching Carter and Avery drop two lines down the same fishing hole at the same time and manage to not tangle the lines. One would jig up higher and the other would jig down lower. The fish came in suspended from 4ft off the bottom up to about 20ft off the bottom. Most of the time they would take turns fishing the same hole. They would set the hook just about every minute on a fish. We put the smaller fish back and the crappies over 12.5 inches also got put back.
VMC Tungsten Jigs worked well for us. We used the Wax tail plastics and the Northland Tackle 1 inch may fly plastics. Reeds sporting goods in Walker MN has everything you will need and the staff is very help full when it comes to outfitting you with jigs, bait, rods, reels electronics and more. The game plan for this week is to keep working those Jumbo Perch areas and chase the crappies and blue gills with the Sno Bear. I did see on the Underwater camera what looked like one of the largest football size jumbos I have ever seen. Then after we set up on that location lots of 6-8 inch perch moved in on us. Like I said soon we will get into the Jumbos should be with in the next week or two. Pictured below while fishing Perch, Crappies and Blue Gills you will find a northern pike and a 24 inch walleye that was released as they are out of season. For those of you who want to fish Leech Lake travel with truck is near impossible with out a plow. We are plowing spots for $30-$50 with your own wheel house if you need a spot plowed please call. For those of you who have your own gear and want to fish portables we are shuttling guys out to fishing spots with the Sno Bear. We will shuttle you out within a 3 mile area from Trappers landing and lodge for $30 a guy. For $50 a guy we will shuttle you and your gear out as far as 6 miles. This price includes round trip. For the groups that want to get into the Tulibee and white fish areas you are looking at $50 a guy round trip. The tulibee and white fish bite should be turning on this weekend.
Now that walleye season is done on Leech Lake we are going to be setting up the sleeper houses in Perch territory! The Sno bear will be shuttling groups out to Tullibee areas, white fish areas, Crappie areas, and blue gill producing areas. We have the option now to take the Sno Bear down some remote snowmobile trails and get on some lakes tucked deep back in the woods! We are seeing some big crappies on Leech in some remote areas! The pan fish bite is going to be on fire! Last weekend travel off our plowed road was near impossible even with chains. We will be using our plow truck to plow spots for people with there own wheel houses out of Trappers Landing. We plan on plowing a road into Miller Bay and setting up for the big perch migration out of the deeper basins in the lake into the bays.
I have been tipping tungsten jigs with Northland plastic Impulse MayFly larvae pink and white. See picture below. I have also been using the the VMC tungsten wax tail jigs 1/16th ounce jigs. These jigs have been working for Perch, Crappies, and Blue gills. Wax worms and red spikes have been working also. The plastics have been more efficient. Plastics are out lasting wax worms 10/1. Fishing the smaller lakes the schools of crappies and blue gills hole hopping with this nice weather is a must. Two guys can hole hop and catch some nice numbers of fish and sort out the keepers much faster. Every 5th hole while hopping we have been finding massive schools of fish that fill up the water column from 3ft on up to 13ft off the bottom. While hole hopping we are working as a team. Sometimes even tag teaming the same water column. One guy is unhooking his fish while the other guy sets the hook on a fish in the same hole. While on these schools the key has been to drop your bait down below the school and play keep away all the way up to about 10ft off the bottom and pause watch your rod tip and the slightest lift on the rod tip or twitch set the hook. We have been releasing the crappies over 12.5 inches. My friend David Baxley and his boy came up to fish last weekend and his boy Brock hooked into a 14.5 inch crappie at 4 years old! Talk about some excitement in the Sno Bear. The pan fish bite has been better when the sun is out.
Pictured below my last walleye for the season that I caught while in the wheel house measured 26 inches. The Mayfly hatch the last two weeks caused a slow walleye bite along with the fresh water shrimp. For those of you who are just looking to get a room and doing some guided outings I highly suggest using Trappers Landing on Leech they have some nice rooms and outfit you with extra fishing gear if needed. We can shuttle you out in the Sno Bear at a discounted price if you do not want to do the whole Sno Bear Package and would prefer to just fish portables. Here is a link to a video of some walleye fishing we did on Upper Red Lake.
Pictures below are from the last week in the Leech Lake area!
It has been a busy week as we are still finishing up our transition down onto Leech Lake this week. We have two more houses on Upper Red Lake finishing up the last rental today and tomorrow. I have two guys fishing on Upper Red Lake and guys fishing in the Sno Bear out on Leech today. The guys on Leech are fishing for pan fish during the day then transitioning into walleyes before the sun goes down. Hoping the plow truck will be up and running Wednesday it has been down for a week and a half. The timing chain key way sheered off and caused a huge mess of problems. The snow we have been plowing on the lake has been hard as concrete in some spots. Ill have to try take it easy on the truck from here on out.
I look forward to hearing the fishing report from the guys out on the sno bear outing today. We found some nice gills and crappies pictured below we caught them in about 3 hours and released a hand full of fish also. The walleye bite has been spoty some customers are picking up a few here and there just not much consistency with walleyes. Upper Red Lake more and more crappies are being seen. Tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms have been the ticket for catching the pan fish. I have been telling customers to bring a scoop of fat heads, a scoop of shiners, and a 100 count wax worms. I expect the pan fish bite to heat up over the next couple days into the weekend. We are fishing the pan fish in 7-8ft of water.