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Hanson's Report (Feb. 17-19)


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Early Friday morning, I was watching KARE11 to try and get a weather report when Jonathon Yuhas came on to say today would be the coldest day in over two years. Guess what, I'm packing to go ice fishing!

Being a native to northern Minnesota, I've experienced my fair share of -20, -30, and -40 degree days so this was going to be nothing new to me. However, when it is -20 outside with a stiff northwest wind, being mobile while icefishing is completely out of the picture. So mother nature through us a big curveball and we were going to make the best of it.

My fishing partners for the weekend were FishingMinnesota ProStaff Joel Nelson and his dad Francis. I struck a deal with Joel over a year ago to take me turkey hunting and I was going to return the favor with an Upper Red Lake crappie trip. It was going to be a tall order to repay the favor to Joel since I shot a 22 1/2lb gobbler three hours into our hunt. Crappie fishing isn't that easy, especially at -20 below.

Our plan upon arriving at URL was to split up, Joel & his dad would fish in the hardside house and I was going to go scout a few spots to see if I could find fish. I bundled up in every piece of cold weather gear I owned including my ski goggles and braved the cold.

We were out on Hillman's Rd and I found an area that was reasonably away from most people. The cold got to me after I augered 5 pairs of holes and had to set my Otter Den up. I made the rounds to all my holes checking depth and looking for fish with my LX-3. I marked fish in one set of holes and set up there. On my very first drop, that same mark on my screen rose 2' off the bottom and smacked my bait before I got my bail closed and I had crappie #1 on the ice. Crappie #2 & #3 were on the ice just as quickly.

Noticing that the crappies were acting very aggressively, I swiched up to using plastics only and managed to finish out my limit while losing 3 more fish near the hole. The reason for the switch to plastic was to be able to fish faster. I was marking 3-4 fish at a time on my Marcum and they were very aggressive. Not having to rebait after catching a fish would let me pull one more out of the school before they moved on. The crappies I ran into were cruising and they would come and go.

I made it back to the shack to see how Joel & Francis were doing and they hadn't caught a crappie yet. We gameplanned a little and decided to move the hardside in the morning to where I caught fish.

It was a good idea because Joel's dad landed this one not too long after making the move.

By the way, it was his first URL crappie. He's going to be hooked for life now. smirk.gif


About a half hour later, I pulled this beauty in and took a couple photos.

Custom Jigs & Spins Ratfinkee w/ a crappie minnow fooled this guy.


Are two daytime crappies an indicator of things to come? You bet! Just like the previous night, they started about the same time and were very aggressive once again. As the night progressed however, the aggressive bite disappeared and we were faced with many, many fish looking. When all was said and done, we had 29 crappies total and another 10 perch that were almost 10". Not too bad for -20 below! grin.gif It was fun to spend the weekend with a couple more great guys! Joel is an awesome turkey hunter and a pretty darn good ice angler as well. Thanks for the fun you two!!


For those of you looking to get into some URL crappie fishing, I'm hosting the URL Slabfest 2006 out of Roger's Campground this upcoming weekend. Fun, Friends, & Fishing is what its all about. No contest, no entry fee, no pressure! Just a way to get together with fellow anglers!

Click Here For More Information on Slabfest - URL Slabfest 2006 Info

Click Here For Roll Call - Slabfest Roll Call

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Great report Hanson, this really has me excited about this weekend!

Glad you got Joel and his dad on some fish because the size of those crappies coming out of an ice hole still just has me eyes buggin' out.....THEY ARE HUGE!! laugh.gif

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hey great report, coming up this weekend and it is very encouraging. laugh.gif What type of plastics were you useing? COuld you get around off road with just a 4x4 pickup?

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What type of plastics were you useing?

I just got my hands on some Little-Atom Nuggies, in particular the pink color last weekend. I'm just becoming familiar with Little-Atom but they have been in business for years and have some great products. Their plastics are scented which is quite different from other plastics on the market. I have no idea where L-A products are carried in Minnesota right now. Ordering off of their website Little Atom Website would be your best bet.


COuld you get around off road with just a 4x4 pickup?

Yep! Even pulled the drop axle shack off road. You just have to get through the plow banks and then you are good to go.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Great report Chris!

Good to see someone was on some active fish this weekend!

I tried giving you a buzz but the cold ate up my cell batteries. You guys had a lot better luck than we did. All though we did find a few Sunday night.

Way to go!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • redlabguy
      Mark, Glad your crew had another great outing. It’s always good to read your reports. Just wish there were more of them like the old days. Sorry you hit the storm. One of the worst in our 14 years. We’ll be dealing with dock issues for a long time but nothing like the good folks in Cook have.  The fishing has come around a little since the storm. Definitely nightcrawler now. I don’t get far out of Frazer but the reefs are where the action is. Looking forward to hearing from you in September.  My best to you and Linda, RLG p.s. Our good old red lab, Ole, cashed it in last summer, but we have a 6 month old lab now who is learning the ropes up here (and teaching us we’re older than we think we are!)
    • Mike89
    • leech~~
      No can see?  
    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
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