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In the meantime though, I could use your help; does anyone know whether the access at North Star Campground on Leech Lake is useable right now? If premature wear of the timing chain occurs on your model year Chevrolet Traverse vehicle, equipped with a V6 engine, within 10 years of the date that your vehicle was originally placed in service of , miles, whichever occurs first, the condition will be repaired for you at NO CHARGE. Other useful prefixes include FYI: Off road travel by vehicle is not advisable anywhere at this time. Quick actions at your fingertips or a click of your mouse In addition to helping you see your travel plans at a glance, the summary cards provide you with quick actions for the key things you need to do.

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In the meantime though, I could use your help; does anyone know whether the access at North Star Campground on Leech Lake is useable right now? What about the road going out from the Sucker Bay landing? If you can let me know, I'd really appreciate it, in fact I may even send you a little something for the effort!

After the weekend, we will be closing the road to travel by vehicle. We will certainly limit the access to ATVs only and may possibly limit our ramp to guests only if deterioration becomes too great. Please watch for an update going into next week. If you missed the Outdoor Bound episode about Northern Pike fishing on Lake Winnibigoshish last weekend, here's a chance to catch up. In it, I not only show you how to remove the Y Bones from a pike, but you'll get a free lesson on how to cook blackened pike too.

On this trip we're not targeting the monster Pike, we're looking for eater fish on light tackle. Then Jeff shares with us his recipe for blackened pike at a backyard fish fry by the lake. Flag Island Resort, its staff and owners were welcoming and warm in every possible way. Located in the Northwest Angle on Lake of the Woods, they have the market cornered on everything from fabulous walleye fishing to gorgeous sunsets. Our trip to Flag Island was a good one, the weather was great, the fish were cooperative and travel conditions were good.

For snowmobilers, the trails are well groomed and off road travel on the hard packed snow is easily managed. The ice roads are in excellent condition and the ice thickness is somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 inches. The only thing that could stand in the way of accessing the ice next week would be an advance in shoreline deterioration caused by warm weather.

Barring a major change, I think it would be possible to squeeze in one more trip this weekend and into next week. We travelled to the Canadian side of the lake to fish for walleye and crappie, but we heard good reports about fishing on the Minnesota side as well. For us, the action was slower than it was on our previous trip, but it was still good.

Even though the fish were moody, the on again, off again spurts of action allowed us to catch fish for the creel as well as catching several large fish for photos. There were some groups at the resort who did, and they reported having fast action between 6: Walleyes were holding in water depths ranging between 25 and 31 feet of water.

Crappies were deeper, 32 to 35 feet of water was their preferred range. Shoreline related structures like deep points or reefs lying close to shore have become prime territory and are more productive than isolated offshore reefs. With the Northwest Sportshow beginning next Thursday, my ice fishing days could be numbered unless the arrival of cold temperatures predicted for next week actually come true.

There does appear to be the makings of a full scale meltdown headed our way for the weekend. If snow cover does melt, and temperatures produce a re-freeze, the ice season could easily extend well into April. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Grand Rapids area fisheries office, will hold an open house to discuss historic and recent changes in Lake Winnibigoshish.

The meeting will be Tuesday, March 20, from 7 p. The meeting will begin with a short presentation of data and include time for questions. Lake Winnibigoshish Winnie is a destination fishery for walleye and yellow perch. Fisheries biologists will share data about changes in fish populations, and the impacts of exotic species and regulations. The meeting is not a regulation review meeting and no special fishing regulation changes are currently being proposed.

Interested parties are invited to attend the meeting, review current biological data, and provide input regarding Lake Winnibigoshish management. More information is available by contacting the Grand Rapids Area Fisheries office at Call: Warm sunny, days are causing the shoreline ice to soften, but as long as we continue receiving below freezing temperatures at night, we stand a chance of prolonging it. Crappies are on the move, heading into the shallows to the west and south, but no large schools have showed up in the North yet.

I am still convinced that they are scattered, transitioning to the north and coming soon. For anyone thinking about a summer fishing trip, we are filling up fast! As we roll through March fishing has heated up. Some fish are aggressive and others must be enticed. Most resorts are out in ' and continue to push shallower.

Pike fishing on fire with many inch fish iced. Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Fish houses allowed to be left on lake LOW through March 31st, walleyes open through April 14, pike open all year. Morning, evening bite most effective. Lots of ice but spring river walleye anglers looking for that to change by end of month. The NW Angle fishing continues to be good. Walleyes, saugers and pike doing very well.

Pink, white and gold have been most productive all around. Glow or UV have also had success during cloudy conditions if charged often. Crappies being caught in holes of 25 feet or deeper. Catch your crappies and move on. Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed. Motoring out from the public access, I ran into deep slush and was lucky to make it out of it.

I unhooked the shelter and plotted a path to Watch the episode Sunday Morning at I have to ask. Why is this lake and her smaller connected lakes consistently harvested for their roe at Cut Foot if there seems to be an issue with the hatch? Shouldn't this practice be suspended for a couple of years if the problem is not enough smaller fish? I have heard the numbers and personally seen the process taken from Cut Foot and they are astronomical. A I understand that it does seem to be counter-intuitive, but the simple answer is that eggs deposited naturally by walleyes upstream of Little Cutfoot have a very poor survival rate.

Over time, sedimentation has degraded the habitat where they drop their eggs. Although the fish instinctively continue their tradition of spawning upstream from Little Cutfoot, the conditions for survival of the eggs is very poor. Left completely to nature, walleyes that spawn at this site would actually contribute less to the system than the fry that are hatched under controlled conditions.

Because the survival rate at the hatchery is much higher, surplus fry are returned to Winnie and Cutfoot in lieu of the "natural spawn". Additionally, if the egg harvest was discontinued and the hatchery was closed, we could say goodbye to walleye fishing on some very popular waters.

Lakes like Pokegama and Deer, along with many others are virtually dependent on stocking. The reduction in opportunity to catch walleye on other lakes would simply increase fishing pressure on lakes like Winnie, Bowstring, Leech and others.

This speaks to a point that I've been trying to make for quite a while now. We already have both the infrastructure and the expertise for stocking walleyes. Utilizing our skills to enhance walleye fishing opportunities takes pressure off of troubled waters and would allow fisheries staff to focus more on gamefish species that suffer whenever there's a shortage of opportunity for anglers to catch and harvest walleye. Viewing walleye as a commodity instead of a natural resource may not be as romantic, but it is one heck of a lot more practical.

I believe that stocking fish is a better solution than rationing them and I'd encourage folks to think about that for a while. Slush is still a major concern but at least the storm we were expected to get hit with went down to the south, leaving us with barely any new snow.

On the other hand, we did get winds up to 40 mph so that kind of put a kibosh on fishing activity for a couple of days. As for vehicle travel, it's a snowmobile only situation for the time being. There are some plowed roads out on the more popular lakes but that could end at any time. I haven't seen many anglers out on the ice lately, most likely the result of the tenuous travel conditions.

It seems that Crappies and Sunfish, as well as Perch, have started getting interested in feeding again. Perch daytime bite, Crappies, and Sunfish about a half hour or so before sunset. Bloodworms are making an appearance and small tungsten jigs with Bloodworm imitations like the Berkley Gulp Red Wiggler have been producing well. It's surprising the first time you pull a big Jumbo or Crappie up the hole and it barfs up a bunch of Bloodworms all over the hole!

Don't forget to get your fishing licenses before you go out and also remember to turn your clock ahead Saturday night. The weather forecast looks good for the weekend so have fun out there and be careful. Have a Great Weekend Everyone! Do you think Walleye populations will return to the days of old, or is this lake another disaster due to poor young of the year recruitment? These slots just seem to mess up lakes with too many larger males that decimate forage.

I'm all for saving spawning females, but things just don't seem to work out well with the existing slots. I think it's more than just the clear water situation occurring on Winnie. Given the poorer than normal productivity during recent seasons and the harvest being way down from the good old days, this lake should just be chuck full of walleye, but it's not in my opinion.

I realize lakes harvest can fluctuate up or down with poor spawns, but again, things just don't add up; what you say bud? I agree that larger fish are easier to find than smaller ones, at least for now.

That said there are too many variables at play to allow pointing the finger at any one problem as the sole fix up. I do believe that I can clear up one misconception right away. If there is a cause and effect relationship between the protected slot size limit and a decline in populations of small fish, the issue not about a lack of forage, it would be caused by a lack of space.

DNR fisheries staff has been attempting to address the lopsided balance between large and small fish for quite a while. As adult walleyes reach the protected slot size and are returned to the lake, they begin taking up more and more space, apparently causing an imbalance between large fish and small ones.

The theory is that you can only pack so many pounds of fish into any body of water. It would not matter to the lake if there were 1-pound fish, or if there were pound fish. Moving back to Winnie, there is a pretty fair population of larger fish and these adult fish do eat a lot of food.

But most folks who have caught a walleye on Winnie lately have commented about how fat the fish are. The growth rate of walleye in Winnie is excellent and perch, their primary forage are in abundant supply. Shiners, another important food source, are also abundant; especially now because the battle against invasive species have forced severe restrictions on commercial harvesting of minnows. Put simply, the walleyes in Winnie that have already reached adulthood are in fine shape.

They are healthy, well fed and fat. Additionally, the DNR adjusted the protected slot size a few years ago as a remedy against stacking. Anglers are allowed, and have been harvesting a significant number of fish over the 23 inch threshold. I too have encouraged folks to harvest some of the larger fish.

Invasive Faucet Snails and Zebra Mussels are robbing nutrition from the water and this has adversely affected the lakes ability to produce strong year classes of small fish. To an angler, it feels like fishing the Dead Sea, even though there are more walleyes present than we think.

Natural recruitment of walleye stocks depend on the survival of tiny fish. From Zygote to fry, tiny walleyes depend on the abundance of zooplankton for growth. The larger these young fish can grow during their first summer, the better their chance of survival will be through the first winter.

Several years ago on Lake Mille Lacs, DNR fisheries staff was pulling out their hair as they tried to unravel the mystery. The walleyes would spawn and the lake would consistently produce a good hatch of walleye fingerlings that would grow for a while.

Sometime after their first winter, small fish that were produced a year earlier would simple vanish from the system? If they can put on enough weight to survive their first winter, then the odds are good that anglers will enjoy improved fishing a few years later. But I know some of these folks and I can promise you that they are learning as much as they can as fast as they can.

Any lake can only support so many filter feeders and around Minnesota, there are examples of lakes where populations of invasive species boom at first and then begin to decline.

These days it is dangerous to have an opinion, but I do and it is this; Lake Winnibigoshish is going to make a comeback, but she is going to need the helping arm of human intervention to do it.

Before this mess can be sorted out, anglers, resorters and fisheries staff will need to come to grips with this simple concept; walleyes are a commodity, not a natural resource. Slot limits have their place; stocking has its place, angler education about having responsible harvest goals have their place too. A healthy hunger for knowledge should drive any conversation about any issue, including this one and I appreciate the opportunity to have the discussion.

Once upon a time, Upper Red Lake was dead, Leech Lake was once dead too and everybody knows the trouble that poor Mille Lacs has been through. Lake Eerie, Saginaw Bay and other mega-lakes have all died and risen again. No matter how bleak their futures looked, they have all made or are in the process of making a comeback. The rain and snow that had been expected to arrive on Monday failed to find its way into the Grand Rapids area. While areas to the south and west got dumped on, we wound up with little more than a dusting of snow.

On the lakes, snow cover remains heavy because cooler temperatures have slowed the melting. Lacking a full scale meltdown, slush problems will persist in many areas. At the most popular lakes, packing of the saturated snow has improved conditions wherever there has been heavy fishing traffic. Off road travel by vehicle is not advisable anywhere at this time. If you do some exploring, you may discover isolated areas where limited travel by vehicle is possible.

For me, today is scheduled as a full day in the office to work on my favorite job of the year; taxes. I know that you don't want me to get in trouble with the IRS, so I'm calling on all aspiring "Cub Reporters" to drop me a line with updates about conditions in your area.

Whatever happens, you will definitely be the first to know. The fish have always been there but temperamental. As always, some houses doing better than others and some days better than others.

Electronics continue to be very helpful. Most resorts are out in ' and making a push shallower. Smaller presentations working well tipped with a shiner or chub head. Pike fishing continues to heat up. Ice houses allowed to be left on lake LOW through March 31st, walleyes open through April 14, pike open all year.

The NW Angle continues to bring nice fish topside. Walleyes, saugers and pike strong bite with some perch in the mix relating to sand bars. Day bite in feet and the foot range for the evening bite In Ontario waters, crappies in holes of ' off of points. Remember releasing crappies in deeper water causes mortality. Catch your fish and move on. We still have plenty of snow and ice to carry us through March. Smaller presentations have been making some success, plain hooks with a drop shot and an active minnow is a good bet.

Electronics continue to improve success. We have had a mix of activity with shallower houses doing better one day and deeper the next, there was also a couple days with a tough bite. We have put a bounty out for bait containers! Anyone bringing us empty and clean 1lb For me, five of the past six days were spent on the ice fishing. Three of those days were very good and two of them were not good at all. As far as I can tell, the only reason for the two slow days was my inability to keep up with moving fish.

Having the right lures, the right baits and the best electronics are all critical for catching fish. Having reliable transportation to and from the fishing spot is pretty darn important too. But on balance, knowing where fish are located is still way more than half the battle. My original goal was to find something to do for a project that I had scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The plan was to cover as much territory as possible, hoping to discover an opportunity. Coming up with the idea was surprisingly easy; I thought. We did locate another spot and while not as heavily populated, it would surely produce a few fish in an emergency.

After a few moves, I located a good school of panfish and the size structure was excellent. So knowing that I had yet another backup, I gave the green light for our project to begin on Wednesday.

It was a little disappointing to find a group of fishermen already set up and fishing at the designated Plan A. It looked like the payoff would be good because I caught a couple of fish within minutes of drilling the first hole.

But as the sun rose, the action stopped and for us, the next 9 hours were spent wondering how Plan A, B and C could all fail on the same trip. Discouraged by the results on Thursday and Friday, I could have been easily convinced to sleep in on Saturday morning.

It looked like we could be facing another slow day on the ice, but the weather was warm and we had nothing to lose, so we headed across the lake and drilled a few fresh holes. I got her set up with a lure, a flasher and some fresh bait. I walked back over, unhooked a nice Perch and helped her reset the bait.

She started fishing again and I started walking back toward the other hole. I suppose this went on for a half hour or so, she was catching the fish and I was getting a workout; perfect! The fish were moving in small packs across a flat in about 10 feet of water. The most reliable spots featured patches of short weeds on the bottom.

Apparently the weeds provided cover for minnows and that why the Perch were there; we saw no evidence of insect larvae in this area. A pike snipped that lure off though and I grabbed whatever next rod that was already set up. Tipped with a single waxworm, the fish found it and struck fast, not only did she catch numerous Perch with it, but the average size went up as well.

Ice conditions on the lake remained good, but slush is definitely a concern. The snow has settled because of warm temperatures, but the air temps have not allowed a full scale meltdown of the snow cover. As the temperature rose throughout the day, it became increasingly difficult to walk in the soft, water saturated snow. The forecast for this week offers little in the way of encouragement for folks who like to travel by vehicle on the ice. It appears that air temperatures will likely be warm enough to make fishing comfortable, but will fall short of warming enough to produce melting on any large scale.

This means that snow machines will still be the primary mode of travel, but slushy conditions will make that tricky too. On Thursday, I saw one man get stuck in the slush on his snowmobile. Steam boat bay is full of snow and we are not allowing anyone to use our ramp until opener. We shut down March 1st and will not be plowing any roads. You can drive onto the lake from Ericksons landing if you have a good 4 wheeler or big 4 wheel drive. I'm not sure if it is slushing up underneath yet.

We are pleased to announce that our roads are cleared and we are open for business. Okay, this is more like it! The past few of days have really made up for all of the sub-zero, gale-force, eyebrow freezing, and machine breaking nastiness that the weather dished out this winter. Warm weather, fish biting and lots of room to move around; what more could you ask for? Many of you are thinking a place to go, that's what I need. I was on my snowmobile so the impact on me isn't great, but I did think about all of the permanent shelters and "wheel houses" that will soon need to be taken home.

Many of them have already disappeared from the scene at this popular entry point after recent heavy snowfalls. There are quite a few responses, so keep scrolling down the page to see them all. Blia Yang wrote; "Hi Jeff, I just want to ask if you can report on the ice thickness up there. I see reports of auger extension needed for those who want to tackle the late perch season on Leech or Winnie.

Unlucky for me, I passed on an auger extension early this winter, now a lot of stores are sold out or out-of-stock. The alternative, he says is to shovel snow all the way down to the surface before you begin drilling. That could get to be a lot of shoveling, I think. Luckily for you and anybody who needs one, Powell has several universal auger extensions in stock right now.

Case in point, the weekend before last saw two storms move in, one after the other and the result was a drop of over twenty inches of snow, some areas in the northland had over twenty six inches. Traveling to your fishing spot in a truck is probably not a good idea right now.

I saw two pickups stuck in the heavy snow, both trucks unable to get any kind of traction. This resulted in a lot of shoveling. A report came in two days ago that one of the popular bays on a big deep lake in the area had four inches of water under the snow pack and he was lucky to get out of there. Full throttle for sure! I was all hooked up Monday and ready to go out but first I took a hike out on the lake to test the snow conditions, where upon I turned around, unhooked the portable and put the sled back in the garage.

More interesting weather patterns are forecast for this weekend with rain and snow likely. This should complicate things all the more.

Fishing has been relatively slow for Panfish and with the way things are now it may be a while before the March Crappie and Perch bite picks up.

It will though, it always does. Getting out on the lake on good ice is the question right now. We do have a lot of snow, but Todd's got good roads down to the Third River Flowage and then out to what we call the clay Banks.

From there, snowmobiles are getting around pretty well it looks like, but I think truck traffic is at kind of at a standstill. On the plowed roads, Todd has cleared a nice big area for parking fish houses. Anglers are happy, they are getting sunnies and crappies right up there by the old spear houses.

Jumbo perch are biting too, but it sounds like they are out by the pressure Ridge. I've Been Told that anglers can get over the ridge with the snowmobiles, but there's no way to accomplish that in a vehicle.

No ice heaves, and you can drive around Pine Point if you have a truck that can go thru the snow. We also have cabins for people fishing from portable ice houses and will plow areas for them to set up. The south public access to the crappie hole has blown shut and was not plowed as of yesterday.

I have some open access to perch holes both north and south of our resort on the west shoreline. Not sure it matters as the fishing has not been very good for the last couple of weeks. The perch have been small, we have seen no walleye but Northern and Tullibee have been good size.

All the accesses are in great condition. Snowmobile and 4 wheelers are best means of "go anywhere" on the lake. My guys reported some slush under the snow when drilling new holes but nothing that concerned them too much.

Fishing has been good one day and not so the next. Also due to the amount of snow it tends to get a bit slushy. Crappie and Perch fishing has been good at times and they have been very picky at other times.

That's right, help me sell this fabulous boat and you will receive a full weekend of free fishing with me. Even if the new home you find is your own, you can still get the free fishing trip. Jeff Sundin Fishing Report March 29, "Anglers to Receive Bonus Season in April" The snow melted down on area lakes even faster than I was anticipating yesterday, improving the odds re-freezing the surface ice.

OH and by the way, a friend of mine is selling his boat and asked if I could lend a hand. Wired2Fish March 27, "Convert Your Pontoon Into a Fishing Machine" "The popularity of pontoon boats is growing at a rapid pace thanks to their ability to accommodate several people while servicing casual boaters, water sports enthusiasts and fisherman alike. Watch for more information about the 50th Anniversary Lindy Rig coming soon. How to Tie the Three-Tag Knot Give this tough and shock absorbing knot a try the next time you fish a heavy bait or expect to make powerful hooksets; it won't disappoint.

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