Monday, December 31, 2012

Walleyes and the Vikings!

Well yesterday as I was sitting in the truck on the way up north to the famed walleye factor we call Upper Red Lake, I was torn whether I should be sitting at home getting ready to watch the Border Battle between the our beloved Vikings and the Packers or putting the hurt bag on some Red Lake walleyes.  Then it dawned on me why not catch walleyes,enjoy Paul Allen on the radio, and enjoy both worlds.  Mission accomplished!

We arrived to West Wind Resort, paid our $10 road fee, and set out to find some walleyes for the frying pan.  The lake had a solid 15-17" of ice everywhere we went.  When we stopped and got bait, the cashier asked us if we are going to go and join the other 3000 fish houses on Red Lake.  I kind of laughed, but when pulled out onto the ice, I realize he wasn't kidding, now there wasn't 3000 houses, but there was a small city out there.  Now I am not one to fish amongst the crowd so we headed out about three miles and veered away from the masses.  The driving conditions are great on the lake right now, allowing you to travel all over the lake.  Obviously be aware of pressure ridges and ice heaves, and when you stop in ask the resorts.

We found the area we wanted to go and set up for the morning.  It couldn't have been two minutes after we got set up, Jim Ernster said "fish on" in my Jason Mitchell Thermal X, which by the way is one of the best two man portables on the market because of its durability, fishable space, and its full thermal protection from the cold and wind, which was a big part to our success on Upper Red.  Throw in the ability of the Thermal X with the use of our new Portable Buddy Heaters from Mr. Heater (View Website Here), which are easy to use, pack up nicely and tight, and keep you and and your hands warm making fishing much more enjoyable.  If you don't own one of these heaters or have never tried one you are simply missing out on the comfort they provide anglers on the ice across the country.

 From that point on the five of us worked through and sorted through quite a few fish.  We finished the day with our five limits of great eating sized walleyes and a few bonus pig perch thrown in.  The action was decent and it was enough to keep us busy in the portables and allowed for enough bantering back and forth. We had to make a few moves, but ultimately the hard work paid off.

The fish were not responding very well to the jigging spoons.  The fish that did take the spoons, had to be enticed and coaxed.  Remember to keep them chasing and focus in on our cadence.  I found as the day went on that a subtle jiggle and inch or two pull away from the fish is what got them to hit.  Also constantly switching up spoons, colors, and sizes often times got that reaction bite.  The Jason Mitchell 28" Walleye Rod was the ticket and has enough sensitivity to feel that slight pull or change in your cadence when a walleye hits your lure.  As the day went on though, the dead sticks out produced the jigging spoons.  The jigging spoons brought them in and often times they would hit our dead sticks that were either a plain hook/split shot or glow jig.  Now you tell me, what is more fun than watching your bobber disappear down the hole? :)  Our best action came in about 10-12' of water.  Another thing to not overlook is utilizing pressure ridges and ice heaves as ambush locations for fish.  These often times provide a change of light under the ice, but also a place for predators to trap bait fish.  This is something to we put to good use, but use caution, park away from them, and check the ice where you want to fish before setting up.

Our best bite ironically enough started about 2:00PM and lasted well into the Vikings game! So listening to the Vikings and catching walleyes became a reality this day and an awful lot of fun.  At one point, I heard "AP all day" from Pablo's shelter and a whole lot of screaming.

Here is a picture of Matt(MVP for the day) and our buddy Pablo with a nice batch of walleyes and posing next to a mower that Pablo painted a few years ago.

A day trip well worth it!  Walleyes on the ice, the Vikings won, beat the Packers, and are in the playoffs!  More importantly memories were made!

The fishing on Leech Lake has also been very good, with many limits of walleyes being caught and some perch starting to show up.  We have permanent houses on the lake, guides busy finding the hot bite.  For any of your ice fishing needs in the Leech Lake and Brainerd areas be sure to give us a call! (855-LOA-Hook (855-562-4665) 

Until then

Monday, December 17, 2012

Area Ice Conditions - 12/17/2012

Brainerd Area -

Small Area Lakes - Many smaller lakes in the Brainerd area have taken a hit with the recent wet snowfall.  Areas of slush and wet conditions remain a concern for many anglers.  Before the snow some of the small lakes had 5-7" of ice.  Be very careful yet if you decide to venture out.
371 Bay on North Long - ice here seems to be in better shape with depths ranging from 4-7".  Anglers have been out for around 3 weeks now. 
Gull Lake - ice is finally starting to be made.  The southeast end has 3-5" while areas on the north end are in the 2-4" range.  Conditions are varied so make sure and use extreme caution.
Leech Lake Area -
Main Lake - Ice conditions are shaping up nicely.  A solid 8-10" of ice is being found on the NW side towards Pine Point, Goose Island and Sucker Bay.  Stoney Point is reporting roughly the same.  Caution is still advised however, as a few pressure ridges and heaves are starting to flex with the drastic changes in temps.
Walker Bay - caution advised as it has only been capped with ice for a week.  Only 2-4" is being found on the south end.   The north end towards Sand Point is roughly 3-5" thick.
Small Area Lakes - anywhere from 6-10 inches on many of the small lakes depending on snow and slush conditions.  ATV and Snowmobiles are being used on many of these lakes.
Bemidji and Red Lake Area -
Lake Bemidji - ice ranging from 6-10" with some spots having less or more. 
Cass Lake - ice on the main part of the lake is ranging from 4-7" - with more ice being found in the Allens Bay area.
Plantagenet - ice conditions are being reported on the north end of 6-8", same for the south end.  ATV traffic is starting to be used for moving around.
Red Lake - may be the thickest ice in the area.  ATV and snowmobile traffic are the norm with all outfitters and guides reporting rentals are out and available.  Some smaller vehicle traffic is being used as well, but still not advised. 
- Call 855-LOA-HOOK if you would like to get out with any of our LOA guides!
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