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Happy New Year Everyone!

Ice conditions are great! Thanks to a warm up last weekend that melted the existing snow cover, most of the area lakes are in terrific shape for travel. The snow cover is only a couple of inches deep and a nice cold snap helped to re-freeze the wet/slushy areas that existed last weekend. There are still certain lakes that have uneven ice thickness or problems associated with current areas. A good rule of thumb right now; if you want to drive on the lake, go where others have already been driving. If you’re unfamiliar with the lake there’s no point in taking a risk.
Perch action has continued to be excellent on the east side of Big Winnie and has shifted to deeper water this past week. Many of the Perch anglers on the lake have moved out into water as deep as 30 feet, but we’ve found that fish relating to the breakline at 22-24 feet have been more consistent. On Friday we tried to follow the fish movement by working parallel to the drop off and soon discovered that the movement was from deep to shallow and then back deep, rather than along the break. At one point in the day we had good action on top of the flat at about 16 feet, by 5:00PM that action stopped and the fish moved even shallower for the “evening run”.
Walleye fishing has also been good and is following the traditional pattern for our area, moving during the last hour of daylight. Locations are still somewhat varied, but the proven method of finding the deeper humps and points will get you in on some fish right now. We watch the Vexilar during the daytime and pay close attention to areas where we see fish that won’t bite. Many times these are Walleyes and when we return to these areas for the evening run, they do bite. We tried many different baits and our most consistent producers were the simple ¼ oz. Round jig head with a tail hooked minnow, the 1/8 oz. Rocker (Swedish pimple type) spoon with a minnow head, or a simple plain hook-split shot-bobber with a Shiner Minnow. In fact the largest Walleyes were caught with the plain hook/Shiner. Best Colors were White, Glow/Lime and Silver.
The Crappie and Bluegill reports are coming in strong from many lakes in the Grand Rapids area. Many of the medium size lakes like Pokegama, Splithand, Bowstring and Portage have the better Crappie fishing right now. The best bluegill action has been on the smaller lakes or in the back bays of the larger ones. On lakes with mixed Bluegill and Crappie populations, the fish are hanging near the deeper holes with Crappies occupying the deeper, open portions and Bluegill hugging the edges and staying nearer to the bottom. These panfish are also looking for meat right now and we’ve had better luck sticking with the simple plain hook and minnow or for Bluegills a small, but heavy jig head with a wax worm has been good.

The Early Bird-Jeff Sundin
Early Bird Fishing Guide Service
Phone: 218-246-2375
North-Central Minnesota
Lakes Country
E-mail: [email protected]

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