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theharvester

Lotta perch but alotta sorting

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Chris Haley

Fishing is getting better and better.  You can pretty much find fish everywhere now.  The cabbage weeds are coming up fast and holding fish in that 8 - 9ft range.  The break lines are holding fish in 12 - 14ft, and they are even out on the humps in 20+ft.  The shallow fish are mixed in with a great mix of quality perch right now also.  Caught a limit of walleyes and added 8 10+" perch to bag as well.  Makes for some good eats. 

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Chris Haley

Well went out for 2 hrs last night, and with that wind.  Hammered em in 5ft of water.  Jigs and minnows.  Get out this weekend and catch a few for yourself.  See on the water.

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Chris Haley

Fishing was really good this weekend.  If you're not having much success, try slowing down and down sizing.  Yesterday you didn't feel the bite.  They were just there.  If you set the hook too fast, you got your minnow back with the skin pulled down.  If you held for just a second then set the hook.  Success!!

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Chris Haley

Well after spending all day Wed, Thursday, and Friday morning dialing in the fish for the Kraus Anderson.  I blow my motor on the way back to the access Friday at 11.  I call my partner and ask him if his boat is ready to go for the tournament.  Without even thinking about electronics I show up and realize that he has lowrance.  My birds won't hook into his boat.  So I get to try and find all the special spots on spots with WITHOUT MY GPS.  Needless to say, I got to watch people do well on the same spots I would have fished if we had been in my boat.  We caught over 40 walleyes Saturday.  8ft was the deepest we fished.  One spot was a fish on just about every cast.  It was only 4ft.  Wind and weeds were the key for the weekend.  Jigs and shiners was the presentation we went with.  Live bait rigs and leeches caught most of the bigger fish weighed in Saturday.  They were still caught in 8ft around weed patches though.  If we get a good wind the walleyes will move shallower as the baitfish are blown in closer.  I looked for fish deeper all three days and couldn't find anything worth mentioning.  That was the general consensus at the rules meeting also.  Fishing is awesome right now.  Get on out and enjoy our great outdoors.  See you on the water(soon I hope). 

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Chris Haley

Spent last weekend guiding for "Fishing has no Boundaries".  Since my motor is not ready yet, I borrowed a pontoon from a friend and loaded Roger, (the guy I normally take in my boat) along with Jason from SD and Dennis from here in town.  I must say that it was a little bit of a learning curve to drift/back troll the weed edges with a 25ft pontoon.  But I figured it out and the wind did me right.  We caught Perch, Walleyes, and Northerns all in 5 - 8ft of water.  The perch and Northerns were taken on jigs and minnows, while the bulk of the walleyes were on gold spinners and leeches.  We caught fish in every area we fished.  The most important factor however was to look for cabbage and stay mobile.  The nature of this event is to put handicapped people on fish.  So whenever we caught fish, we would radio in so other boats could capitalize also.  The bad thing about that is that I was drifting and constantly moving and when I would radio in, people would come over and try to anchor up their pontoons.  With the fish scattered, this greatly reduced their success rate, while cutting off my drifting.  This is why I ended up catching fish on multiple spots.  The good news is that depending on wind direction and the info I have given here, you can go out on Bemidji over the holiday weekend and get on fish just about anywhere on the lake.  Since I don't have my boat I did not try to fish any break line stuff.  I didn't have a depth finder on the pontoon ether.  I just had one of my Humminbird's I rigged to use for a GPS w/lakemaster chip.  I talked with another boat captain that had cruised over the break lines and saw multiple marks in 15 - 18ft.  I would live bait rig those fish with a spinner and a leech if I have my boat back by the weekend.  Good luck out there and have a great weekend!!

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Tofishem

Good work and great report Chris. I'm sure you much appreciated for your efforts!

Edited by Tofishem
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Chris Haley

My boat is still down but was at the state park all weekend talking with guys that were able to fish.  I had told three or four groups of my thoughts and info.  Everybody was able to go out and troll over/in/through weeds and pick up walleyes.  Another bit of advice is that when a patch of weeds gets few boats on it, the fish will push off to the outside of the boats.  When this happens just move outside and troll around the perimeter of boats and you should do just fine.

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Chris Haley

Been guiding a lot lately.  The bottom bouncer bite is hot.  Caught fish at 10, 20, and 30ft on spinners and crawlers off humps and shoreline breaks.  Also have been trolling jigs with spinners and white twister tails on top of flats and humps in 7 - 9ft and doing well.  The Northern's were on fire yesterday afternoon with 13 in 2 1/2 hrs hitting the boat.  All but 5 still out there.  The biggest swimming away were 25 1/2", 26" and a 29 1/2" fish.  I have a question for you all out there.  How big would a muskie have to be to think a 29 1/2" Northern would be a meal?  She was shredded down both sides of her body.  I felt sorry for her when I let her go.  Anyway the dog days are here, but with a little bit of info you can go out and get on some fish.  Have fun and good luck.  

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jesseypederson

Hey Bud.

Great recap. You're a beauty.

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Chris Haley

Well made it out to Bemidji looking for walleyes on Saturday.  I think the storm that blew through Friday night was playing games with them.  Found lots of fish in that 17 - 24ft range.  Was jigging and getting hit quite a bit, they were just coming up and popping it.  I would hook them for a second then they would come off.  Every once in a while they would get a touch more active we would catch a few.  Then they would go back to just popping it.  My wife was using a live a bait rig and a leech and catching one here and there.  The water temp was still 70.8 degrees.  Perch were pretty active in those depths also.   

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Rick

The panfish are biting:

 

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ANYFISH2

Spent the week in the Bemidji area 16th thru the 23rd.  Targeted bluegills and walleyes majority of the week.  Decent fishing and absolute gorgeous weather made for a great week.

Walleye fishing was consistent except for Wednesday.  4-5 fish per person seemed normal each evening.  Leeches on a lindy caught most of the fish.  Each day depth and location changed a little.  Fish were caught as shallow as 8ft and as deep as 25.  Most fish relating to shoreline breaks vs. midlake structure.

Bluegills were the frustation and joy of the week.  Depending on the day you either found them and did well for size and numbers or you didn't hardly catch a fish.  We found fish still on beds and we found fish in summer locations on all the lakes fished.  A lot of transition going on. Fish were found in 2ft of water to 22ft, and anywhere in between.

This was the mother in laws personal best Bluegill.  She finally got her trophy!

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Disclaimer- All other large Bluegill were released to keep the size structure good.

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Rick

Nice, nice, NICE!!!

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Wanderer

Holy smokes that’s a dandy!

Now I know where you disappeared to. 😀

Sounds like a fantastic week.

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Rick

How is the ice looking on Lake Bemidji and other area lakes?

 

Anyone out ice fishing?

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ANYFISH2

Planning on making my way up to the area the weekend of Jan 5th.  Wondering what Ice thickness is looking like?  Does it even pay to bring wheelhouse, only have a half ton as a means of getting it on the lake.

 

Also, how much snow is on the lakes?

 

Looking at lakes like Julia, Campbell, Turtle?

 

Thanks.

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ANYFISH2

Made the trek up here Friday and Saturday. 

Ice was 12" -14" everywhere we checked.  Although lake travel was fine as far snow depth was concerned, slush was a real issue. We found a nice high and dry spot for the house.  By the time we left the ice had flooded and slushed up within a 75 yrd radius. Easily 2" of water on the ice.

 

Due to the slush issue, I did not hole hop and do a great amount of searching for the spot on the spot.  3 pairs of footwear soaked by first evening.

 

Fishing was fair at best.  We only caught 2 species, perch and pike.  We had expected to catch walleye as well but no luck.   Fish came from as shallow as 5 ft to as deep as 20ft.  Did not drill a hole deeper than 20.   We caught a fair amount of perch for the trip ranging from 8- 10" keep a dozen for a snack for the family.  largest perch was caught on a sucker.  Most perch preferred a slender spoon with a head.  They prefered a shiner on the bobber lines.

We did quite well fishing for pike.  Landed 25 for the 2 days, size was fair, ranging from 22" to 32" with a lot of nice 4 to 6 lb fish.  All pike where caught on sucker minnows, larger minnows preferred for sure.   They would not run with a shiner.  Best depths for pike were 8 to 14 ft.

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DonkeyHodey

Spent the weekend fishing on three small lakes northwest of Bemidji chasing panfish:  Water temps are ~mid/high 50's.  (one small lake with a shallow ~5 ft bay was reading 62 degrees in the bay and ~57 in the body.)

Gauging a fish pattern was difficult:  changing weather this weekend (hail/cloudy/sunny/calm/breezy/misty/rainy) probably contributing alot.

Sat morning--2 bites (no fish).  Sat afternoon--HOT bite! pretty much a fish every cast (provided the cast was close to the bullrush line); keeper sunnies/perch and occasionally crappie consistently pulled off the energent shore weedlines in ~2-4 feet of water (using small panfish jigs/flu flus or night crawlers.  FWIW yellow was the hottest color...) Sat evening--quiet bite; fish weren't interested in any jigging...  Sunday afternoon (on same lake that was hot the day before)--quiet bite (many times it took 10 casts or more before a bite)

 

Overall fish caught were quite shallow (<5 feet of water) but found some suspended in 8-10 feet of water. 
Vegitation in the lake (cabbage weed/emergent plants/lilly pads) all look to be at least 1-2 weeks behind what I've seen the last few years fishing these same lakes over memorial day...

The few fish kept/filleted did not seem consistent with spawning fish yet.

A few warmer days/nights could change patterns really quick.

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Rick

Lakes in the Bemidji area are covered with deep snow, patches of slush and thin ice in many areas. In other words, this year has some of the worst ice conditions in recent memory.

 

January in Minnesota is consistently the coldest month of the year. The short days and long nights usually combine to create the longest stretches of cold weather of the year.

 

With these things in mind, there is colder weather on the way. The extended forecast is predicting highs most days in the single digits or low teens, and lows most nights close to or slightly below zero.

 

This is not the bitter cold Minnesota is known for having in January, but it is cold enough to start freezing some of the slush on the lakes. This is a slow process, so don’t expect the ice conditions on the lakes to improve right away.

 

Anyone paying attention during the weekend may have noticed many large pickup trucks pulling double-axle fish houses in parking lots all over town.

Many of these people didn’t call ahead to a resort or bait store to check the ice conditions. When they got here, they found out they couldn't get on the lakes with their big fish houses.

 

One look at the lack of fish houses on Lake Bemidji speaks volumes about the ice conditions. By this time of the year, there are usually houses all over most lakes, with little cities on the ice close to the public accesses.

 

Not this year. The same story of thin ice and deep snow is being repeated all over Northern Minnesota.

 

Anglers with snowmobiles or other vehicles with tracks have the best chance to access the most lakes, but there is still a good chance of getting stuck, no matter what anglers are driving. Anything with wheels needs to stay on the plowed roads.

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The resorts are trying to expand their roads as soon as the ice conditions allow it. They are trying their best to accommodate as many anglers as possible, while still keeping things safe.

Remember to thank the people who provide you access to the lakes. Don’t complain and have unrealistic expectations just because you paid an access fee.

 

The lake with the best ice conditions is Lake of the Woods, but this observation is not a secret. The lake with the most fishing pressure right now is also Lake of the Woods, with people from all over the state flocking to the best ice conditions in the state.

 

The increased fishing pressure on Lake of the Woods will probably continue all winter, or at least until more lakes have better ice conditions, to give anglers more choices. This is going to take a while, even under the best case scenarios for freezing slush.

 

Upper Red Lake got hit hard in the last storm, along with the rest of the Bemidji area. Virtually all of the roads on the lakes got filled with snow and had to be completely redone. There is slush around most fish houses and traffic on the lakes is still being limited by most resorts.

 

Anglers planning to fish Upper Red Lake should call ahead or check the social media pages for updates, or they might end up parked in a parking lot, instead of on the ice.

 

Anglers can get into some lakes with a snowmobile or vehicle with tracks. Use the buddy system, constantly check the ice thickness and have a shovel and a tow strap with you to be prepared for the possibility of getting stuck.

 

Many anglers are staying home or renting a fish house on Lake of the Woods or Upper Red Lake, instead of trying to do things on their own.

 

Vikings fans have at least one more weekend of football, and the possibility for more if the team keeps winning. This should give people something else to do on the weekends while they wait for better ice conditions.

 

Current Minnesota Fishing Reports - Click Here. SHOW US YOUR PICS!

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Report on January 8th, 2020 by:
Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. Guided fishing trips for 2020 and the rest of 2019 can be booked by phone or text at 218-760-7751 or by email at [email protected]

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