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.
What a busy 7 days it has been have not had much time to put together a report with the 15 hour days scouting on Leech, taking reservations and getting the plow truck to a mechanic on Sunday after plowing 4ft drifts that are hard as concrete from the 30+ mph sustained winds. I scouted out on Leech last Thursday primarily for Crappies, Perch, and Blue gills. I scouted 90% of the time with the underwater camera and covered about 40 miles of ice marking way points on the Hummingbird. I did find what looked like 12+ inch crappies and some 9-10 inch blue gills. I drilled around 30-40 holes in one bay by hopping around in the sno bear only one hole at dropping the camera looking for some good standing green vegetation to set up on. I did not spend more than 5 minutes with the camera on each spot just looking for fish before we make the full transition onto leach. I put a line down and it was like a roundabout set up on top of some green cabbage vegetation. What I mean by a roundabout is that first a few bass would circle under the sno bear then some nice blue gills followed by some nice crappies. Then out of nowhere a pike just blows up the area crashing into the reeds and cabbage stirring up the water! On Leech I hooked into a few huge bass and pike. Just need to find a spot that the pike are not so active although some customers want to go after big pike. I have the spot for them. Last weekend we had 3 groups in six houses and had mixed reports due to the fact that he had a group of 12-13 that rented 3 houses for a bachelor party. They did a good job cleaning up and that was all I asked for. Not disappointed by them at all but literally would not have needed to drill the holes in one of their houses as it was primarily for the keg of beer. The other house with the Bachelor party had 4 guys in it with the Bachelor and they had some dedication to fishing. Pictured below is Alex the Bachelor with two pike he landed. The larger pike was over 10lbs. The other Grand Castle “part of the Bach party” only managed a couple walleye due to the fact that the stereo was cranked with the outdoor speakers and the music inside. Lots of laughter with this group as they played cards for several hours. Most fish iced out of the Bachelor parties houses were done by the few guys that did not go to the bar! This house is set up 30ft from the crappie crib.
One group of 5 guys in the Silver Grand Castle they had 4 walleyes and lost a few at the hole along with flags flying with the tip ups. It was a slow weekend for this group. They did have fun that is for sure. I let them use the underwater camera for the weekend. This group left now I currently have 4 people in this house husband wife and two young kids. I did not move the house with my truck being fixed they managed to hook into two crappies one 13.5 inch pictured below and another monster lost at the hole. This house is in around 9.5ft of water they have one more night of fishing. They also got a pike and a couple walleyes. I gave them the option to jump into a house sitting over by one of the cribs before dark to see if it produces more walleyes. I noticed the crib seems to hold a cloud of shiners above them. So it seems 30ft from the crib is the best spot for the houses. We are going to leave two houses on Upper Red Lake this weekend and transition three of them down to Leech Wednesday and Thursday. Few pictures below from the last few days. Pictured below is also the Northland Glo-ShotTM Spoon that caught the crappie.
This report covers the last week. I had a busy week with 6 guided Sno Bear Outings and around 15 different groups I had in my sleeper ice house rentals. One sno bear outing the group had there own Ice Castle. I plowed them to a spot and helped them set up there ice house since they booked a guided sno bear outing. We are still on Upper Red Lake and will be doing some pre fishing on Leech Lake this week with the Sno Bear. Its that time of the year we want to get big fish so we will have some pictures coming soon. Early Last week we had a good bite seems the wheel houses averaged 12-15 walleyes per house per night. The bite has been turning into more of a low light hour bite. Most fish being caught have been in the 6-9 Feet of water range.
Starting on Friday into Saturday the bite started to slow down over the weekend. Almost everyone who left had there limit or close to there limit. I would say a combination of bad hook sets with the lake low this year about 5-10 fish a day are being lost at the ice hole. Fishing shallow by the time the hook is set the fish is only two feet below the ice. Some customers caught and released fish prior the slow down because they would have been at there limit then the bite slowed the next day. We had to work hard in the sno bear on Friday and Saturday. We fished one of the cribs pictured below and several rock piles. It sure is fun putting the camera down and finding huge schools of shiners. One of the cribs had the thickest school of shiners I have ever seen above it. I did catch a 28 inch pike next to one of the cribs. Was hopping I could get Louann Peterson to hook into a monster pike hiding next to the crib but that fish did not show up. I wish I would have taken a picture of the cloud of shiners on the camera. The North West corner of Upper Red Lake seems to be producing nice quality fish along with 1-2 miles out in front of Hillmans. Low light hours for about 1/2- 1 hour the bite is on fire. Then it seems 2-4 a.m. the bite picks up again. I think we will start to see more of a late night bite on Upper Red Lake the rest of the season. All year we have had a fantastic day bite. The key again seems to be try to stay away from the crowds and fish fresh ice. Saturday we fished several depths from rock piles on the east shore line almost out to center bar then back up into the NW corner. I did not find any consistency with lures this weekend. All fish caught in the Sno Bear were caught jigging. The rental shacks set lines seem to be the ticket.
I had a group of 12 guys from a repeat customer Garret Kirk. Fun group to work with they had a huge Hub set up with a grill in it most awesome set up I have ever seen. Special thanks to them I was filling propane tanks and they fed me a steak. Then another special thanks to Aaron Weixel he was grilling burgers the same night when I was swapping propane tanks and he fed me a burger right off the grill. I sure ate good Saturday night within 1/2 hour i had a steak and a burger then went to bed as I was exhausted after a 15 hour day guiding and tending rentals. I have a group checking in today from Nebraska. The lake sure was busy last weekend with the Ice Castle Owners Group down at Roerg and Red Fest going on also. Mid week the bite should pick up since we have had a few slower days. Pictures below are all from the last week. Just to show you how much ice we can cover with the sno bear in a day I had to upload the picture below. This is an amazing machine and a great piece of equipment to have for our customers. We look forward to February as we will target multi species.
The time sure goes fast when you are on Upper Red Lake (120,000) Acres (48,000) Acres that falls under the Jurisdiction of the State of Minnesota. We have been covering around (20,000) of these acres of frozen hard water with our 5 sleeper wheel houses and the Sno Bear. I would say the Sno bear caught around 200 walleyes in about 20 hours it was hole hoping with a few guided outings. Its just an amazing machine 2ft wide cracks ice heaves nothing stops this machine from going to the remote fishing areas of the lake. Maybe next season we will start doing Sno Bear Rentals as an extra option for customers. We had some extremely cold temperatures the last few days and now we have a nice warm up Friday into the weekend. It sure will feel nice to get out and do some hole hopping outside of the Sno Bear and the Ice House Rentals. We still offer 50% off Monday – Wednesday nights. Propane usage should cut down significantly this week. It seems everyday I was filling the pick up box full of empty propane tanks and gas cans. I fill them up every morning at North Country Store in Waskish. They tend to have some good coffee on the -20 degree days helps warm a guy up.
As far as fishing goes it seems the 2 night rentals are catching 20-30 walleyes and the 3 night rentals are getting close to that 40 walleye mark. If we need to move a house we make every effort we can. Usually its the 3 night rentals that have more of a option to move. We have not had to do many moves while customers are in the rentals as they keep catching. We have found fish out 9-7 miles and found fish 1-3 miles. More jumbo perch have been caught out in the 13-14 ft of water areas mixed in with walleyes. Most walleyes have been in that 15.5-18 inch range. Every once and awhile we have a customer catch a pike. Pink and Golds have been the go to lures. I would say 75% off the time in the sleeper houses the fish have been caught on set lines. One customer had a camera down while jigging and he jigged the walleye darted. Then the other houses have been getting a few while jigging. The Sno Bear Outings customers are jigging most of the time. We tend to find very active fish while fishing in the Sno Bear. The wheel houses tend to have a better bite during low light hours. We try to get our sno bear outings in during the hours of 10-3 this way customers can get back to the rental houses before the bite picks up in them. Pictures posted below are from three guys on the last sno bear outing.
We continue to have good fishing especially in the Sno Bear. We have two couples in an ice house, a father with his two boys, 6 guys in a 6 person sleeper, and 4 gals that have their own Ice Castle which we set up for them on a fishing spot that has produced in the last week. We had an issue with a fish house not doing well, so we moved them out another mile, which has paid off because they are catching fish! Unfortunately, due to the cold temperatures, we have had an issue with one fish house’s heating and propane regulator and lines, which we fixed. While replacing propane lines it was fun watching the customers catch fish. They had a buddy heater, which we also provide when things get tough; We are making sure they are taken care of. On the other hand, the four gals who brought their own ice castle out have been the highlight of the weekend! They booked two guided Sno Bear outings, they caught well over 30 walleyes today with many more short bites and a few fish lost at the hole! They had some incredible fishing! My good friend Vinny had a blast with Cayla Konicek, Sue Peterson, Louann Peterson, and Kristin Gores, and he really enjoyed how kind, courteous, and fun they are! At one time they had four fish caught at once! So cool! We were 8 miles out, 8 to 9 ft seemed to be the hot spot and chartreuse was the hot color! It is fulfilling to be a part of a good experience for others and put people on such good fishing! We work hard to keep people on the fish and we enjoy the challenge. What a fun day on Upper Red Lake!
Here is the honest fishing report! Most customers are doing really good! We have one group in shallower they do not have any electronics for marking fish and setting lines and they have had a few runs on rattle reels. I gave them a few pointers to put a super lite foam floats on the rattle reels so the fish do not feel the pull on the rattle reel as they run with the minnow. I also told them to when they have a run on the rattle reel to feed out 5ft – 10ft of line to make sure that fish has the bait good before setting the hook. The Grand Castles hammered the fish. One customer even had his buddies pull up two more wheel houses next to my rental. They asked If was ok with that and I told them I have no problem with that. No one owns the lake. We want everyone to have a good time fishing if you want to bring your buddies and family fishing and they have wheel houses while you rent send them on over. Below is a picture of another fisherman even pulling his house over by us we happened to be 1/4 to a 1/2 mile from him and he wanted to fish by us. We have no problems sharing the lake we are all out here for the same reason to catch fish and make memories.
Last Thursday my Grandma passed away Grangroth (Arvola), Verna Esther 84 so it was a difficult weekend as she was like a Mother to me. It was also difficult for my Grandpa as they had 13 children 63 grandchildren and 65 great grand children. Pictured below is a picture of my Grandpa holding my 4 month old Paisley. My grandpa had little time to fish growing up as he worked 2-3 jobs running a dairy farm and building houses. Here is a link to the obituary if anyone wants to read it. http://www.swansonpeterson.com/grangroth-arvola-verna-esther-84/ It was an amazing funeral seeing the family come together. My Grandpa loved pike growing up we would bring them home and he would fry them up for us with grandma. He was such a busy guy my dad and I always tried to get him out fishing after he retired on the dairy but he was too busy tending his garden, making rugs, and helping grandma in the kitchen as they made the best apple pies that they sold at the local farmers market. He retired with a 400+ tree apple orchard and a huge garden that he tended to 12+ hours a day it seemed like. Grandma will be missed by many. One of my favorite things to do was to bring some red lake walleye home to grandma and grandpa. The next day or two I get off from guiding I hope to bring grandpa a walleye or two and fry them up for him.
We are currently 6 miles out with 3 wheel houses and about a mile in with two wheel houses. While guiding with the Sno Bear we are feeling like the walleyes are being pushed west from the east shore then funneling back around into the north shore and back around to the east shore. So we plan on keeping some houses closer to shore and some houses 6-8 miles out. We do feel a lot of fish get pushed up into the north shore as the pressure gets to them. So those of you going mobile with snowmobiles and side by sides, or any other ATV you can get up to the north shore but watch out for Beacon Harbors Berm as it was 4-5ft tall and sank and cracked the ice with the cold snap and the warm up. We suggest going around the end of it or finding a spot to the east that is frozen use a chissel and a auger to check to see that it is frozen before crossing with a track machine or ATV. We do not recommend crossing with a vehicle as you may drop your front end in. We can still fish the north shore with the Sno Bear outings. Otherwise we suggest sticking to your resort roads for customers pulling there own wheel houses. Hillmans on Upper Red Lake has a Nice Ice road about out 7 miles. Its in good shape as of today and we will continue to help Buddy with his road system. For any of you who want your own wheel house on one of our guided spots all you need to do is book a sno bear outing with us and we will plow a spot for you and pick you up in the Sno Bear for your Guided fishing trip. Tight lines everyone and we look forward to seeing you on the ice! As far as jigs go I will try get a report on whats working the best as I just got done with Grandma Passing and the Funeral so I am back on the Ice and will have a better report on jigs Wednesday or Thursday.