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Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 48919 State Highway 38 Marcell MN, 56657

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Frontier Sports Fishing & Hunting Reports

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 June 14th, 2017

  As predicted in the report prior to this one, fishing last weekend was very good.  Crappies for the most part have moved into the shallows at last. The exception would be the large deep lakes in the area but they’re usually the last to have Crappies move in. Many anglers have switched to soft plastics and are having good success. Sunfish are slowly moving in too and are a blast to catch on a fly rod. There has been a lot of talk concerning Bass. The shallows have the small fish right now although the shallow lakes seem to have more large fish in the shallows at this time. Another week of warm weather (barring thunder storms) and everything should blow wide open. Walleye continue to be elusive in the deep lakes but the shallower lakes with flats and good mid depth structure are producing some action. Pike and Muskies are on a tear right now. We have received some great photos of some good sized fish on our Facebook time line. These photos then end up on the Wall of Fame outside the store. It’s always fun to see happy anglers showing off their catch. Lastly, this Sunday is Father’s day and even though it looks like there could be a few thunder storms and showers around this weekend, it still should be a great time to be out on the water (just keep an eye out for storms). The Tackle Department and Bait Shop are fully stocked and ready for the weekend. Have a Great Father’s Day and be sure to drop by when you’re in the area!




 June 7th, 2017

 Fishing has improved in the Edge of the Wilderness area with the coming of June. Water temperatures are slowly climbing into the sixties and as a result, Crappies have started to enter the shallows…. at least for a while. The old adage “When the Lilacs are in bloom the Crappies will begin to head for the shallows “is true again this year. And although the spawning run has just started, they are still hanging out around the weed edges in the evening. Slip bobbers with a jig and a minnow or small plastic, as well as small crankbaits have been working well. Right before dark seems to be the most productive time for them. Walleye’s have been hard to find in the big deep lakes in the area. So far, anglers have been picking up a few in anywhere from fifteen to twenty five feet of water but you should also check the bull rushes edges in the six foot or less depth range too. Often times Walleye’s will be up in the shallows looking for Crayfish, a Walleye favorite. This time of year, when they are most vulnerable, Crayfish seem to be a delicacy that a Walleye just can’t pass up. Jerk baits and reddish colored rattle baits like the Savage Gear Fat Vibe are the ticket in this instance. I look forward to this phenomenon every June! Smallmouth Bass fishing has been good and is getting better daily. Smally’s are visiting the shallows most days and drop shotting, paddle tail plastics, jerk baits and spinnerbaits have been the top producers.. Big Bluegills are a little spotty right now but they should be on the beds soon. Lastly, Pike have been cooperating and anglers have been catching fish in the twenty six to thirty inch range on a regular basis. Spoons, spinner baits, large crankbaits and swimbaits are very effective right now as the Pike are in the shallows and  on a feeding binge. The Tackle Department and Bait Shop are fully stocked and the staff can assist you in choosing the right tackle and effective techniques to insure you have a successful outing in the Edge of the wilderness. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area!




May 26, 2017

 May 26, 2017  Fishing has picked up the last several days. The water temperatures in the shallow lakes in the area have been warming up while the deeper lakes have been slow to reach the temperatures we expect this time of year. Crappies have been moving into the shallows, stay for a while and then move back out. Temperatures in the mid-fifties have delayed the Crappie spawning run so far. Walleye are still deep; most anglers are hooking up in the twenty to twenty five foot range using Lindy Rigs and either a minnow or a leech.. The good news is that the weather has changed for the better with temperatures in the high sixties to low seventies during this holiday weekend. This should raise water temperatures substantially. Many anglers in the area have been targeting bass during the catch and release season but due to the cold temperatures, success has been spotty. The regular season for Bass opens this Saturday the 27th and a lot of anglers will be fishing for Smally’s, one of the area’s most popular fish. Several of the deep clear lakes have very good populations of Smallmouth Bass with 20 inch fish being fairly common. This holiday weekend’s weather is typical for this time of year. Rain and sunshine will alternate throughout the day, which can make for some fine fishing.  The store is fully stocked with everything you’ll need for a successful trip. Have a Fantastic Holiday Weekend Everyone !!




May 19th, 2017

 After the unusually warm weather of last weekend’s opener, the cold front after cold front situation we’re currently experiencing has changed fishing patterns dramatically. Walleye anglers in this area are finding their quarry in water much deeper than usual for this time of year. The large deep water lakes, of which there are quite a few in this area, have Walleye in anywhere from 12 to20+ feet of water, instead of the 4 to 8 feet that would generally be the case now.  Be that as it may, good catches have been reported by anglers pulling lindy rigs with shiners or leeches. Deep running crankbaits pulled slowly have been producing as well. Like the deep clear lakes in the area,the darker shallow lakes have seen the Walleye move out deeper too, somewhere in the 6 to14 foot range. The shallows aren’t devoid of fish however. You can always count on Pike to keep you entertained.  As far as Crappies go; water temperatures dropped from 59 degrees in the shallow bays to 55 degrees and lower. As a consequence, there are very few fish in the bay. I found them on a drop off on a sunken island in 18 feet of water all bunched up on the slowly emerging weed beds. You’ll catch a few but for the most part…. They’re not interested.  A warm up is reported to begin next Wednesday and that will probably stabilize things a bit. It looks like this will last right on through Memorial Day weekend, with rain on the holiday of course.  The tackle shop is jam packed with everything you’ll need for a successful fishing trip in the beautiful Marcell area. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Stay dry and have a Great Weekend Everyone!



The Frontier Sports Fishing Report, May 11, 2017

  The Frontier Sports Fishing Report, May 11, 2017   As the 2017-2018 Fishing Opener draws ever closer, anxious anglers throughout the area are getting their equipment ready for the big day.  Already hordes of boats and campers are heading for their fishing opener destination, stopping by to pick up bait perhaps a new rod and reel or other tackle. Water temperatures in the big deep lakes in the area range from 59 in the shallows to the low fifties out on the main lake. Crappies are in the shallows in the small, shallow lakes but not much activity so far in the large lakes. This weekend promises to be much better weather-wise than many of the previous openers we’ve had. Walleye and Pike spawned almost a month ago and should be on the prowl by now.  The store is packed with new items and the selection of lures and tackle is the best we’ve ever had. Both LIVE TARGET and SAVAGE GEAR have added a lot of new offerings and they are in stock now. The minnow selection includes Crappie, Fatheads, Heavy Pike, Light Northern, Heavy Northern and yes …………… Spot tails! Leeches, Crawlers and Waxies are in stock as well.  The Opener is upon us and we have all been waiting quite a while for this weekend to arrive. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to drop by the store when you’re in the area. Have Fun and Good Luck Everyone! Frontier Sports features a complete and fully stocked Sporting Goods department and Bait Shop, Gas, Grocery, Deli and Gift Shop. Frontier Sports is an authorized LIVE TARGET, SAVAGE GEAR and Water Wolf dealer. Frontier Sports 218-832-3901 or Email .



March 1st, 2017

 The fish were right there, they were all over my Humminbird Helix 5 but I couldn’t get them to bite. And then just when the sun went down and the bite should start, the screen was all but blocked out by… well my guess is plankton and that was the end of it.” I’ve had several customers this week tell me the same mournful tale. Plastics on a small jig seem to be the most productive at times like these. I had one customer tell me after fishing for hours with no results he put a Gulp red wiggler, which is a good Blood Worm imitation (not to mention the Gulp” Secret Sauce”) on his jig... AND a minnow. Perhaps the Crappies were jealous for with this combo he managed to ice eight crappies before everything shut down. Could it be the crazy weather or some other phenomenon that is causing this slow bite? Whatever it is, it has the area anglers vexed. Fishing is bound to turn around eventually. We have a great weekend forecast calling for temperatures in the fifties so it seems that something has just got to give and soon. The ice conditions are perfect. The rough ice has all but melted into a very smooth surface with a nice crust of snow on top for traction. Whether this will be the case after Sunday’s fifty six degree high and Monday’s rain and possible thunder storms is anybody’s guess. This weekend should be a good one to be out on the ice and maybe, just maybe, the fish will turn on. You won’t know if you don’t go. The Tackle Department and Bait Shop are well stocked and the staff is ready to help you have a successful trip out on the ice and don’t forget to get your 2017 fishing license! Good Luck This Weekend Everyone!



 February 22nd, 2017   

  As usual, the weather is holding all the cards when it comes to things like ice conditions, snow fall and whether or not this weekend will find the fish in a cooperative mood. Ice conditions are good out away from shore but some landings in the Northland have taken a beating. Access can be questionable so ATV’s seem to be the right call although the low temperatures for the rest of the week will be below freezing and this should help a lot. As I mentioned last week, the Walleye bite has tapered of significantly and most anglers are out after Panfish and Trout and Pike Oh My! Pike were very active last weekend with tip-up flags being tripped fairly regularly for most anglers. Medium sized Sucker minnows were the ticket. Crappie and Sunfish have moved up in the water column and shallow weed beds due no doubt to depleted oxygen supplies in the deeper water. Small jig heads and plastics were very productive. There were quite a few Trout fisherman out on the area lakes. As for their success… well …Trout fishermen never tell. This weekend, being the last gasp for the 2016-2017 season, appears like it might be a good one. Comfortable temperatures and light winds are in the forecast for the next week or so. Any way, it’s always fun to get out and you just never know. The Tackle Department and Bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful outing on the area lakes. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area.



 February 16th, 2017

 Fishing in the area has been just so so this past week. Reports of good fishing one day and nothing the next were all too common.  Bright sunny skies with strong winds and cold temperatures made fishing difficult to say the least. Things appear to be looking up as of today. I had a few reports of a decent a Crappie bite and Pike have been cooperating as well. The plankton hatch is in full swing in some lakes and the bite has been good before the hatch but once the hatch starts it’s over.  Walleye fishing has all but have shut off. The smaller isolated lakes in the area can be very good for catching good sized Sunnies and Crappies this time of year. Small jigs and plastics get the nod here. Finding these small lakes using the MNDNR’s lake finder can lead to some interesting opportunities. The last time I fished one of these small lakes, I had no idea where to start. I had my trusty old Humminbird 385 with a Lakemaster chip with me so I followed the sled trail out onto the lake and of course this lake wasn’t in the chip. So I just followed the trail and resorted to the original ice fish finder. I started to look for holes. The anglers that were there before me had drilled a good number of holes. So I got to work and started to examine each hole and at last I found what I was looking for….Fish Blood! The ice around several holes  had this tell tale sign and that’s where I started fishing. This is how we used to find good fishing when we were kids and it worked!  With a nice batch of Bluegills in the sled I headed home. Somehow I did well without all the gizmos we ice anglers must have these days to catch a fish, thanks to those who were fishing there before me. This weekend should be a great opportunity to get out and catch some fish. Nice weather and light winds are forecast so get out there and enjoy. The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area.




  February 9th, 2017

 Fishing this week has been rather inconsistent and reports of boom or bust outings have been the rule. Not many anglers wanted to brave the very cold temperatures and strong winds for a “maybe they’ll be biting today” fishing excursion. That may well change for the upcoming weekend.  Warmer temperatures are forecast for this weekend with highs in the thirties. The snow we received earlier in the week amounted to over seven inches which has resulted in a much better surface on the ice of our area lakes, making travel a lot easier  on the sleds and ATV’s, not to mention the riders backs. Crappies have been biting very tentatively and small jigs tipped with small plastics seem to produce the most bites, which by the way have been very light. Perch fishing is picking up and they are feeding heavily on blood worms. A Gulp Red Wiggler and a stand up jig seem to be working well. Bluegills will take this combo too. Pike are still being taken on tip-ups and sucker minnows. There hasn’t been much action from Walleyes during the week probably due to the lack of anglers going after them. Lastly, Trout fishing has been fair. Lake trout have been sluggish. Rainbows in the designated trout lakes have been hitting small spoons and should be doing so again this weekend. All in all this weekend is shaping up to be a great time to go fishing or snowmobiling, the trails are in great shape! Don’t forget, February is “Ice Fishing Contest Month”. There are many contests both large and small happening across the Northland this month. Try and attend at least one of them. They’re great fun. You get a chance to meet new people and maybe even win some prizes and these contests are important in that they help bring together the communities in which they’re held. The Tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you’ll need for a successful fishing excursion out on the ice so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Have a Great Weekend Everyone!!


February 1st, 2017    

  Travel on the area lakes last weekend was rough to say the least. The melted snow froze hard which made for an extremely uneven surface on the ice. With a lot of bouncing and scraping you could get out to your spot and you were likely to see very few anglers out on the ice. Monday’s storm changed all that. Reports of seven inches or more of snow that fell in the area made travelling on the lake ice much easier. Reports have been coming in this week of a fairly good panfish bite along with a few Walleyes in the mix. Crappies seem to be moving up in the water column, probably to pursue the plankton and small insects that are coming up off the bottom in large masses that you can see as the screen of your electronics become blocked out. Fishing can be very good just before this happens but during a “hatch” it can be frustrating even down right bad, and it’s time to move. Pike are still cooperating and the usual tip-up and a sucker minnow have proven to be the most effective. I still like to have a rattle bait in the other hole especially if you’re in a portable on a clear lake where you can sight fish in about twelve to fifteen feet of water. It’s very exciting to watch a fish roar in and smash your lure after you give it a few good pulls. Trout fishing in the area has been good with some nice catches of Rainbow and Lake Trout being taken. Minnows cannot be used on Designated Trout Lakes so soft plastics, spoons and jigging raps are the lures of choice. Berkley Power Bait Trout Bait rolled in a ball and pushed over a size 14 or 16 treble with a sinker about a foot or so above with the sinker on the bottom is a great way to catch Rainbows. The bait ball floats of the bottom when a small hook is used and the ‘bows are attracted to the bright colors as well as the Powerbait scent. Weekend temperatures will be cooler than last weekend with perhaps a little sunshine. It looks like we should have a great weekend in the Edge of the Wilderness area. The trails are groomed and in good shape so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area whether you’re fishing , snowmobiling or just enjoying the scenery. Have a Great Weekend Everyone!



January 26th, 2016

 With the colder temperatures we’re experiencing lately good things have started happening. For one thing the melted snow has frozen up for the most part, making travel on the ice by wheelers and snowmobiles safe and easy. And even better…….. The bite is on the upswing with Crappies, Perch and even Walleyes starting to cooperate. I’ve had good reports on Crappies this week with some anglers also catching Walleyes at a much better pace than last week. Lake trout fishing has picked up as well. Pike fishing has been very good with most folks using tip-ups and Sucker minnows. Using a rattle bait on your second line can be very effective, it’s like “calling all fish”.  All in all the weekend is shaping up to be a good one. It’s been a while since we had comfortable temperatures, good ice conditions and willing fish!  And if that wasn’t enough, all Fish houses and Augers go on sale Friday night . How good can it get? The Tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful outing on the ice so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Have a Great Weekend Everyone!



January 18, 2017

  A break in the cold weather patterns that have been plaguing the area for the past several weeks seemed to be in order. Then along came Monday and temperatures had started to rise to more acceptable levels. The opening of the winter trout season was indeed cold but there were some hardy souls that braved the conditions and were amply rewarded for their diligence. The bite was somewhat slow but most anglers brought home some fish. Fishing was most productive in water depths of fifty to sixty plus feet. White tubes, spoons and Sandeels were the ticket. Some had success with a shiner on a dead stick as well. Walleye fishing has been slow for the past few weeks. The fish are there but the bite has been tentative. Crappies have taken this stand too but this should all change with the coming warmer weather forecast for this weekend. Already I’ve had reports of improved success this week especially for Crappies. We’re about do for a change in the action and this weekend looks like it will be a great time to get out on the ice and catch some fish! The Tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful outing on the ice so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Have a Great Weekend Everyone! 


January 10th, 2017

 Weather conditions have been difficult for a while and the number of anglers willing to brave the extreme cold was relatively low in this area. Those that did go out had a slow time of it but did catch a respectable amount of Walleyes and Perch. The Crappie bite was rather slow as well but that is about to change for the coming weekend. Temperatures are expected to rise into the twenties and even the thirties by early next week and that should bring an about face as far as angler participation and success is concerned. The ice conditions and thickness on the area lakes is excellent with ten to sixteen inches of ice and very few areas of slush. That being said, the big news for this area is that opening day for Trout fishing is Saturday, January 14th. Itasca County has eleven designated trout lakes and several Lake Trout lakes as well. Last year the hot lure for Lakers was the Savage Gear 5 inch Sand Eel. We recently got a big shipment of these in all the best colors as well as the 4 and 6 inch models. These lures caught a lot of fish last winter as well as open water Walleyes. They are just deadly and in stock now! We have carried these lures for the past four years and they have become a favorite of many anglers in the area. The bait shop is fully stocked with everything you need to have a successful outing on the ice so be sure to drop by when you’re in the area.


December 28th, 2016

 Fishing has been very good in the Edge of the Wilderness area as of late. Crappies continue to cooperate with anglers fishing the smaller lakes. The ice on the big lakes can vary quite a bit. Ice thicknesses of anywhere from six to twelve inches have been reported along with a few cracks and pressure ridges, which although small in size right now, can still be dangerous. I’ve spotted a few cracks with a small amount of water on top of the ice on the big lake I usually fish. Caution is still advised but for the most part the ice is safe. There can be some slush found along the shorelines as well. This will be mainly where the strong winds of the past several days have piled up the snow. There appears to be only a couple of inches of snow on the ice and much of it is wind packed. Perfect! The Walleye bite has been fair. Pike fishing has been good with most anglers using tip-ups and a sucker minnow. Weather wise, this weekend is looking good as far as on the ice conditions go. Light winds and above zero temperatures should make this weekend a must go for ice anglers. The tackle department and Bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful outing. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area and don’t forget the Sporting Goods and Gift Shop Sale on now. See you on the ice and Have a Great Weekend and a Happy New Year Everyone!!!


December 15th, 2016

  The favorite topic for some weeks now has been “how much ice do you have?” As of right now the lakes in this area have anywhere from three inches to eight maybe ten inches. I heard the ice booming early this morning and the result was a big crack and some smoking open water. Be cautious if you go out this weekend! The crack was about three feet wide and when next I looked, about three hours later, it had frozen over. The amount of snow on the ice is tolerable, with the strong northwest winds we’ve had this week blowing a great deal of the snow into the shorelines and no slush to speak of. There have been a few anglers going out but success has been poor. Even the popular lakes have not been productive due in large part to the weather. As we head into the weekend, the forecast is not reassuring. This year’s version of the polar vortex is slated to dissipate by Wednesday. Temperatures will be in the twenties and fishing should pick up. All in all it’s been a rough week weather wise but as a result we’ve made a lot of ice in a hurry….. and that’s a good thing! The Tackle department and Bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful outing on the ice. Have a great weekend everyone!


December 10th, 2016

 Ice anglers in the area have been sweating it out with a warmer than usual fall and early winter. After the blizzard at the end of November ice finally began to appear on the smaller lakes. Since then, after a short thaw, cold weather pushed its way down from Canada and as I write this, there are quite a few lakes making ice. Below zero temps have been hard at work and the area lakes have two to almost seven inches of ice. The larger, deeper lakes are still wide open. There has been some angling activity on the smaller lakes but caution is advised. It just seems a little too early to be out on ice only two inches thick. If you do go, be prepared. Take along a life vest, picks, a chisel and some rope. You just never know. As for me I’m going to double check my equipment this weekend and I’ll be out fishing hard water next weekend. The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need to have a successful trip out on the ice. We have many new items this year and the Lake Trout fisherman will appreciate the large selection of Savage Gear Sandeels we have in stock, even though the season doesn’t start ‘til January 14th it doesn’t hurt to stock up now. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Have a great Weekend everyone!


December 6th, 2016

 It’s been a bizarre two weeks weather wise in the Northland. First a blizzard dropped up to two feet of snow and then shortly afterward the snow was completely melted. Less than a week later yet another storm is upon us. Many small lakes and some shallow bays on the bigger lakes had frozen over the day after the blizzard only to open back up later in the week with gusty winds and warmer temperatures being the culprit. That is all about to change. Ice anglers are getting restive waiting for good ice. Toward the end of the week temps will fall into the single digits below zero with highs in the teens. Now that’s a recipe for making ice!



November 17, 2016

  As of today, it appears fall has abruptly ended. October and the first half of November were unusually warm but now winter is making its presence felt. This change in the weather has started the deer moving around during the day a bit more. The forecast for the area calls for snow tonight and most of tomorrow with accumulations of five to eight inches. Tracking snow at last! The firearms season ends Sunday, November twentieth. There’s still time to bag your deer and don’t forget the fishing opportunities this time of year offers. Although there is no ice on the lakes, the fish are still in the feeding mode. Crappies are in their winter mode and that means the same deep holes you fish through the ice are holding fish now. Some very good catches have been reported as well as a resurgent Walleye bite. Big Pike are still on the prowl picking of the last holdouts in the Whitefish spawning run. Tullibee will be making their spawning run soon and from the look of things, we’ll be able to fish open water for a little while longer. I went out this morning and trolled for about an hour. The north wind made boat control an issue but I did manage to get one nice sized Pike to attack my Savage Gear 10” Line Thru Trout in the Walleye color. Somehow it missed the hooks. I have no idea how they do this. I saw the rod tip jerk down but it was up in a flash. The stills that accompany this post and video occurred between two frames in the video. They’re so fast. I’m not sure how big this fish is; give it your best guess. Good luck hunters and have a great weekend everyone



October 27th, 2016

  Last week this area was treated to a wonderful sunrise almost every morning. The same can not be said for this week. It looks like overcast skies will be the rule until early next week but that just means fishing should pick up and it will be a bit warmer as well. Cloudy skies and big pike on the prowl, that's what late fall is all about in the Northland!




October 21, 2016

 This weekend should see the peak of color for the Tamarack  trees in our area. Turning from green to a smokey gold, they start loosing their needles shortly after reaching their peak. This happens very quickly so get out and enjoy the colors while they last. Have a great weekend everyone!!



October 11th, 2016

 This week’s test of the Water Wolf camera was specifically designed to determine how well the camera would perform in low light conditions. Monday evening definitely had low light conditions. The video was shot at about 6:30 pm with dark gray cloudy skies overhead. All in all I think the video turned out pretty good, although the images are somewhat grainy. This is to be expected under the poor lighting.



September 28, 2016

 The trees in the area are gradually turning color and water temperatures are as high as 62 degrees. It seems like we just might have a long fall.I'll have more on the area colors soon!



September 10th, 2016

 Just a last minute reminder................ Today, Thursday the 10th of September, is the Deadline for  the Either Sex Deer and Special Hunt Area Permit Lottery. You must buy a Deer tag in order to be entered. When you purchase a tag for a lottery area, you will automatically be entered in the lottery. Good Luck!!



August 19th, 2016

 In this area, in late summer, Weeds Matter! Last weekend saw both Walleye and Pike in the heavy coontail weeds in water depths of fourteen feet to twenty four feet. These beds appear on your graph as a solid mass of yellow. In the deeper weeds you’ll find that the top of the weed beds are around seven feet from the surface. In situations like this I’ll troll lipless crank baits like the LIVE TARGET Yearling Baitball Rattle Bait right over the top at three miles an hour, periodically ripping it as I go. I usually have about a hundred feet of line out and slightly zig zag across the bed. Walleye are in the weeds for shelter from daylight and for food as well as a better oxygen supply. At this time of year the deeper main lake areas tend to have lower oxygen levels and fish start heading for the weeds. Walleye really smash these lures making such a racket over their heads and when they strike, they immediately plunge back down into the weeds making landing the fish quite an uncertainty. The same thing is also true with Pike, although they tend to be patrolling the outer edges in deeper water. Large swimbaits and crank baits really produce at this time of year. Crappie fishing has been very good with reports of mainly nine to eleven inch fish. Big Bluegills are being caught off the deep sides of sunken islands and rock bars that feature good sized weed beds. The water temperatures right now are in the mid-seventies and may dip lower over the weekend with the expected storms and lows into the forties forecast for the area,timed perfectly for my days off! Just what effect these events will have on fishing success, well we’ll just have to go and find out for ourselves. Have a Great weekend everyone!!



August 3rd, 2016

 Despite Monday nights storm which dropped nearly four inches of rain in some locales, fishing has rebounded somewhat. It was slow going Monday (my day off… go figure), probably due to the approaching thunder storm but by this morning things were getting back on track. The Walleye bite came back with most of the action coming from deep weed beds. Leeches, pieces of a crawler on jigs and crankbaits pulled at a good clip got the nod. Bass, especially Smallmouth, are on a tear on some of the better known Bass lakes in the area. The good news is that the Pike seem to have gotten very hungry in the last few weeks and are now on the prowl looking for some groceries. Anglers fishing with Sucker minnows have been having some success off the deep weed edges while others trolling big cranks and spoons have also been kept busy. I had a heck of a time catching a Crappie over eight inches Monday night, add to that a generous helping of Rock Bass and well that adds up to a bad evening of fishing, resulting in my early departure. All in all, fishing is improving and if the storm that’s supposed to hit this evening doesn’t mess things up we should see an upswing in fishing this weekend. Better weather is on the way. Have a great weekend everyone!



July 27th, 2016

  Anglers in the area have been faced with crazy weather patterns and less than cooperative fish for almost three weeks now. Not as many thunder storms have shown up lately but hot temperatures and high humidity has taken their place. Water temperatures now are in the mid to high seventies. This has started to direct and hold fish in their typical summer areas. Walleye can be found off the deep weed lines in water as deep as twenty feet. Bait balls are still present and you’ll frequently mark fish suspended six feet off the bottom enjoying a low effort meal of  young of the year. Live bait such as Leeches and Fathead minnows on a jig and slip bobber combo have been effective especially of the deep edges of humps where the Walleye tend to stack up (at least they do in the lake I frequently fish). Crank baits however seem to be doing a better job. Roaming points, humps and deep weed edges in search of aggressive feeding fish, a crank bait provides the angler a fast moving presentation that can trigger a reaction bite. Lipless rattle baits like the LIVE TARGET Yearling Baitball trolled over deep Coontail weeds at speeds approaching 3 mph. can be very effective and a whole lot of fun! Bass will be Bass and they have been quite reliable so far this summer, smacking top water lures and spinnerbaits as well as wacky worm and drop shot presentations. Crappies are in their summer haunts and have been taking jig and minnow combos and small crankbaits quite aggressively.  The larger predator fish, Pike and Muskies, have been off the feed for some time now. Anglers have been marking both species in water as deep as thirty five feet and these fish for the most part are showing no interest whatsoever in an anglers offerings, be it live bait or lures. When the weather finally settles down these fish will be very hungry and fishing for these two species should be outstanding. Have a great weekend everyone!



  July 20th, 2016

  Last weekend’s weather was a big improvement over the preceding week’s thunder storms and strong winds. This weekend will likewise be an improvement over what we have now. Highs in the nineties with 88 percent humidity made it a little uncomfortable for anglers in the area. That said, fishing has generally been very good. Walleye are being caught on crank baits and spinners tipped with a night crawler. A lot of folks are fishing a jig and leech slip bobber combination, a little after sunset and focusing on deep rock bars with good success. Both Walleye and Crappie can still be found of deep weed edges and when trolling small crank baits, well you just never know which one of these fish you’ll hook. Monday I started using larger lipless cranks and was rewarded with larger Walleyes in the nineteen inch range. Ripping these lures through deep Coontail weeds can be very productive. The larger Crappies have started to move out from the weed line, sometimes suspended eight to fourteen feet down over eighteen to twenty feet of water. Trolling cranks got me into Crappies in the twelve to fourteen inch range. Bass anglers are still reporting good success using spinner baits and drop shot rigs. Reports of some big smally’s came in this week with several over twenty inches, all of which were CPR’d. Pike remain a mystery and I’m starting to think that maybe they’re moving out over deeper water and suspending, hunting schools of Tullibe. I’ll be looking into this further this weekend. It’s full moon time and the Musky anglers are hitting it hard. Fishing for them has generally been good this week. Trolling large swim baits like the Savage Gear Line Thru Trout at night, is very popular right now. This weekend the heat and humidity will dissipate with more normal temperatures on the way and this should improve angler success or at least should make it comfortable out on the lake. I’m looking forward to this weekend and I hope you are too. Have a great weekend everyone!  



July 13th, 2016

  It seems that anglers in the Edge of the Wilderness area have been held hostage the last several days by what else…the weather. Thunder storms have made their appearance almost daily for the past week. It seems these crazy weather patterns almost always happen on my days off. It’s getting so commonplace that folks are calling the store to get my days off so they can plan when not to go fishing. For several days before last weekend, the Walleye bite was very good. Water temperatures in the low seventies and mild winds presented anglers with a golden opportunity to take home some fish. Reports of good numbers of Walleye being caught in a relatively short time were common right on through Saturday afternoon. Trolling spinners with a night crawler and a bottom bouncer did the trick. Then on Saturday night a typical early July thunder storm rolled in and once again everything shut down. So far this week fishing has been fair but the weather patterns for the coming weekend look promising. Bass fishing has slowed down a bit. Frog time has arrived and the big bass have been have been crushing LIVE TARGET frogs and the new Sunfish in between thunder storms. Panfish have been a little slow and even Northern Pike have been a little reluctant to chase the big crank baits and swim baits commonly used this time of year. The Musky bite has been off and on, nothing unusual there. Have a great weekend everyone!



July 1st, 2016

 It’s been a long wait but the summer Walleye and Crappie bite is on! Both species are in the weeds and on the edges in 6 to 13ft of water. The lake I fish the most, is one of those deep clear water lakes that are quite numerous in this area and finding the Crappies or getting the Walleye to bite has been very frustrating…. that is until last Monday. It appears the fish have gotten used to the unusual mood swings our weather has been prone to this season. I, like many other folks in the area, spent the spring and early summer trying to find the Crappies with minimum success. Monday I found them where they’re supposed to be. Trolling crankbaits, specifically the LIVE TARGET Jointed Perch or Rainbow Smelt produced some nice sized fish, both Walleye and Crappie. Northern pike fishing has been very good with quite a few 30 plus inchers being caught. Bass fishing is still excellent, spinner baits, crank baits and wacky worming gets the nod for both Smally’s and largemouth. Fishing is definitely picking up and it’s about time. It’s been a while since I’ve had fresh Walleye for breakfast and I was worried I might become Mercury deficient. It looks like the weather will be cooperating for the rest of the week so get out there and enjoy and when you’re in the area be sure to drop by the store and checkout what’s new. Have a great holiday everyone!!!



June 23rd, 2016

 Fishing in the area has been slowly getting better, despite the strange weather interruptions that have been so common during this month of June. Crappies are being caught in water depths ranging from four to twelve feet. It appears that some Crappies have not spawned. Anglers are reporting catching fish still holding eggs. Whether they will spawn or not is anybody’s guess. Bass fishing has been excellent with wacky worms, dark spinner baits seem to be Bass anglers top, go to lures. Top water baits like the LIVE TARGET frog have been producing plenty of action as well. Walleye have been hit or miss with fish being found anywhere and everywhere. They have however begun to move onto the main lake humps in ten to eighteen feet of water. Cabbage weed beds are still a good bet. Lindy rigs and spinners with night crawlers have been working the best. Anglers pulling cranks have been doing pretty well too. Some nice sized Pike have been hitting large cranks off weedy points in the early to late morning hours. For once, the weather forecast for this weekend appears promising. There will be lots of opportunities to catch a nice mess of fish. Have a Great weekend everyone!!



 June 9th, 2016

 The Search is on! While some of the larger deep lakes have Crappies just coming into the shallows, most of the lakes in this area have seen a migration of Crappie and Walleye out into the weed beds in water anywhere from five to 13 feet. The weather has certainly had an effect on this relocation. Post spawn Walleye are can be difficult to locate and I usually have my best results casting into relatively shallow water (4 to 6 feet deep) and working the lure through the weeds and out into deeper water. For this type of fishing I really like using lipless crankbaits. Lures like the LIVE TARGET Golden Shiner or the Baitball rattle bait are a proven favorite. At this time of year, fish in the weeds can be quite aggressive and a loud rattle bait really sets them off. As an added bonus, this type of lure tends to bounce of the weeds due to the lack of a bill and they rarely get hung up. I’ll be using a Savage Gear Sand Eel Slug on a drop shot rig for Walleye this coming weekend. This combination showed great promise for me last weekend and it too rarely got hung up in the weeds. It seemed that everything wanted to eat the Sand Eel last weekend. The hottest bite going on in this area right now seems to be Bass and Pike. A good number of Smallies over twenty inches were reported last weekend and throughout the week. Largemouth Bass are cooperating as well, with some big fish being caught, most of which were released. People out after Sunfish have been doing very well and a just a reminder, please release the big ones so that they may spawn another day, thereby keeping the gene pool stocked with fish that have a tendency to grow large. Trout anglers, as expected are not talking. The weather forecast looks promising for the weekend and it should be a good time to get out there and explore. You never know, you just might find that hungry school of Walleye.  Have a fantastic weekend everyone!



  May 26th, 2016

 For the last week or so, water temperatures seem to be the main topic among anglers in our area. The Edge of the Wilderness area has quite a few deep, cold water lakes and it is these lakes that are showing some reluctance as far as warming up is concerned. Temps in the high fifties and low sixties were encountered early last week. Since then, the temps dropped briefly in the middle of the week but have now started to climb into the sixties. The smaller shallow lakes have had panfish in the shallows for a week or so but they have just now started to show up in the shallows of the deeper lakes. Walleye have been finicky but are just beginning to transition into the shallow rock points and humps in depths from four to eight feet and fishing for them should improve. Right now the area lakes are experiencing a bait fish hatch with huge schools of bait that have been keeping the Walleyes busy. In situations like this it is very difficult to get bit. Pike have been the saving grace so far this season and have been more than cooperative. The catch and release Bass season has attracted many anglers new to the area, in search of the huge Smallmouth Bass for which our lakes are quite well known. This weekend looks like it will be a winner despite the annual Memorial Day rain showers. It has rained so little this spring it is sorely needed. As an added bonus fishing in a light rain can be very good indeed! The store is fully stocked with many new items in both the gift shop and tackle department. The bait shop has everything in the way of minnows as well as leeches, crawlers and waxies. Be sure to stop in when you’re in the area and don’t forget to thank a veteran. Have a great holiday weekend everyone!



May 19th, 2016

 By now everyone has heard about the bad weather and poor success of this year’s opener. Snow greeted anxious anglers Saturday morning accompanied by gusty winds. As for me, there wasn’t much in the way of fishing success to be had on Sunday so I dropped anchor and took photos of a flock of Pelicans that seemed to be catching a lot more fish than I was. The bad weather fortunately lasted only through my days off. By Tuesday things were shaping up and temperatures were again in the sixties.  Throughout this week things have improved daily and while you can never be sure about the weather in northern Minnesota, this weekend looks like a winner. Already reports of fairly good Crappie fishing are coming in along with anglers telling of some Walleye action as well. The shop is all stocked and ready for the weekend. We have Crappie, Fathead and three sizes of Sucker minnows. We also have Spottail and Golden Shiners as well as Leeches, Crawlers and Waxies. The tackle department has many new offerings from LIVE TARGET and Savage Gear as well as Rapala and other trusted brands. The gift shop is well stocked with new items arriving almost daily.  It seems almost every year we need to have the state legislature authorize an emergency session and proclaim the second weekend of the fishing season as “The Alternate Opener.” This year is no different so I’ll just start over this weekend and forget about the opener that wasn’t. That’s how a real fishermen would handle it!  



April 8th, 2016

  Several weeks ago, it looked as if spring had arrived early. Then after two consecutive days with highs in the sixties, the rug got pulled out from under the people and critters of the Northland. Sunshine once a week for the past several weeks, rain, snow falls of several inches, ice melting, ice freezing, many of these phenomenon’s happen in the same day . My grandfather used to say “They made time so everything doesn’t happen at once” but then, he never lived in northern Minnesota. Next week we’ll be back to normal and hopefully spring will get back on track.  Migrating birds are starting to show up in numbers. Last week saw the arrival of the first Robins, Grackles, Red Winged Blackbirds, Tree Sparrows, Dark Eyed Juncos, Snow Buntings and a few Mallards and Golden Eyes. Trumpeter Swans have been flying over the lake every morning, looking for open water, never finding any but they seem to be content just sitting out on the lake ice while they wait. On Sunday, a wolf walked down the middle of the lake, about two hundred yards from the cabin. Mink and River Otters are hunting around the small open water spots around Muskrat houses and the Bald eagles are watching these places as well. Last week I watched an Eagle swoop down on an unsuspecting baby Muskrat and fly off to the nest with it. For the most part the animal activity has started to pick up. The weather pattern for next week should see bird migration in full swing and perhaps, even some of the lakes opening up. We just have to be patient, it’s like this every year and then, suddenly, everything happens at once.  



 March 09th, 2016

  Last weekend seemed to be the start of the wind down for the 2015-2016 ice fishing season. The weather cooperated for the most part with Sunday’s temperature reaching fifty, light winds and lots of sunshine. The snow had started to melt and there were quite a few patches of water on the ice but the snowmobile made through just fine. The reports I received this week seemed to favor water depths in twelve to twenty foot range for both Perch and Crappie while the Sunfish tended to be a little deeper. For me and a lot of other anglers, plastics imitating blood worms, on tungsten jig heads out fished minnows as well as waxies last weekend. There is supposed to be a cool down into more seasonal temperatures next week but this weekend’s forecast is for temps in the fifties again. The water that was on the ice earlier in the week has for the most part sunk down into the cracks or has lightly frozen overnight. That will soon change and four wheelers and shanks mare will be about the only way to get out on the ice. To be safe, ice creepers should be a necessity. With only a few weekends left of the season we should all due our best to get out as often as we can. Before long spring will be upon us and of course the opener is not far off. Have a safe and fun weekend everyone!  



  March 3rd, 2016

 By the look of things winter is about to end for good. High temperatures in the high forties to around fifty are forecast for next week with rain showers later in the week. That being said, this looks to be the last worry free weekend of fishing the ice for a while if not ‘till next season. Ice conditions are good right now on most lakes in the area. Some slush pockets are present on some of the lakes but for the most part the lakes are in good shape. Now that panfish are the main target of anglers should be ready to change depths and tactics. Things are different now. Crappies have started to move up and out of the deeper water and will be found in depths of eighteen feet up to twelve feet. Plastics have been working quite well for both Crappies and Sunfish. The bite is very light and a light tip rod, like the #8 Tackle Company Snitch will help detect a bite better than a bobber. Spring bobbers are effective as well. Reports of nice catches of Jumbo Perch, in lakes that have good numbers of these, have been coming in for the last several weeks with each week better than the one before. With the warm temperatures this weekend is shaping up to be a good one so don’t miss out. This could be the last best chance to put some fish on the ice we’ll just have to wait and see.



    February 24, 2016

  The warmer than average temperatures last weekend along with light winds provided anglers in this area with ideal fishing conditions. Reports from all over the Edge of the Wilderness area were very positive. Crappie fishing was very good although you had to move around a lot if you wanted to stay on the fish. However if you stayed in one place, small schools would come by every half hour or so, just enough to keep things interesting. Fishing in twenty four feet of water, the Crappies were up off the bottom with most fish being caught on the drop between nine to fifteen feet down. It appears  the oxygen levels in the deeper water areas are becoming depleted and have forced the fish farther up in the water column. Small jigs like the glow blue Tiger Eye with a TriggerX Mustache Worm and a minnow did the trick for me last weekend. The rain we had earlier in the week has frozen and the surface of the snow was like a deep crust on the lake I was fishing, perfect for a sled. Many of the lakes in the area as a result of last week’s rain are reporting slushy conditions so you should be cautious when heading out on the ice. Walleye fishing has been slow but being as this is the last weekend of the 2015-2016 season, it just might be worth the effort to try one of the more popular Walleye lakes in the area, which have been producing a few Walleye as well as Jumbo Perch and Crappie.  In the last several days I’ve had reports of Sunfish being caught on small tungsten jigs and bloodworm style plastics. The bite is very light but anglers have been reporting catching some nice sized ‘Gills. The forecast for the weekend in this area is for mild temperatures and fairly light winds. Light snow can be expected but shouldn't amount to much. The trails are in great shape so it should be another fun weekend in the Edge of the Wilderness!



 February 17th, 2016

 With only two weekends left of the fishing season left, anglers are out and hitting the area lakes with conviction. Panfish anglers of course have a continuous open season but for Walleye, Pike and Bass the season ends February 28th. The Walleye bite has been slow. You’ll see the fish on your flasher and they will follow your bait but are very tentative as far as committing. The standard spoons and jig and minnow presentation isn’t fooling many fish this late in the season. Some anglers I talked to recently have downsized to a one sixteenth ounce jig and small Crappie minnow and have had some success. The Lindy Slick Jig was the most productive lure for these anglers. Northern Pike are still hitting Sucker minnows on tip-ups, spoons like the ounce Shasta Tackle Humdinger and rattle baits like the Live Target Baitball and Golden Shiner. Crappie fishing has been very good. The deep holes that were so productive earlier have begun to taper off as the Crappies move up in the water column. Again this weekend the Crappies were anywhere from nine feet down to seventeen feet over twenty four feet of water. I’ve had reports of Crappies being caught in good numbers in water as shallow as ten feet, so it seems the Crappies are on the move. Sunfish have been somewhat finicky but enough fish are being iced to keep things interesting. Trout season runs through March 31st and fishing has been good for Lake Trout. Stream Trout fishing in the designated trout lakes of the area has been good as well. The weather forecast for the area will see a general warming with temperatures as high as forty and lows in the high ‘teens and low twenties. With the warmer conditions his should be a good weekend to get out on the lakes and chase some Walleyes and Crappies. Have a great weekend!  



  February 10th, 2016

  With the arrival of our latest cold snap, the Crappie bite suddenly came to a screeching halt. Last weekend saw temperatures in the high twenties and even the low thirties. This made for comfortable fishing conditions and the fish seemed willing to cooperate. By Sunday the wind was blowing up to thirty miles per hour with light snow but the fish were still willing. An insect hatch occurred on Saturday night, covering the bottom four feet on my flasher screen. With that the Crappie shut down and moved out. Sunday afternoon before the main body of the storm arrived, the fish began feeding hard. That was the best Crappie fishing I’ve had in a long time. Using a pink Tiger Eye glass head jig with a minnow, I had a take on almost every drop. One thing I noticed on Sunday was the Crappies were nowhere near the bottom. The oxygen levels in the lake must be deteriorating  in the deeper water as I found the Crappie preferred the nine to fifteen foot depths over twenty four feet of water. This seems a little early for this to be happening but it’s been a crazy winter. Bluegill fishing was good during the weekend before the front and then likewise, shut down. I just had a report from a Lake Trout fisherman having a great deal of success using a Savage Gear white 4 inch Sandeel. We still have some of these in stock. The weather this weekend will be warmer with less wind according to the latest forecast so it should be a good time to get out and catch some Crappies or what have you.  February is” Ice Fishing Contest Month”. There are usually several going on every weekend. If you get a chance to go you should. Ice conditions being what they are have limited vehicle access for many of these contests, so walking, wheelers or snowmobiles will be the main mode of transportation. Sunday the fourteenth is Valentine ’s Day. What better way to spend Valentine ’s Day than in a portable with your sweetie, the heater going, fish biting and surrounded by hundreds of people. That’s northern Minnesota! Have a great weekend everyone!  



13" Crappie.. Pink Tiger Eye Jig and minnow14 " Crappie Pink Tiger Eye Jig and Minnow

February 3rd, 2016

Last weekend saw a resurgence of anglers out on the area lakes. While some of the larger lakes have been having slush issues, the smaller more difficult to reach lakes were in good shape and were producing nice catches of Crappie and Sunfish. The warmer temperatures and light winds made for comfortable fishing conditions and for those who went back into the small and often lightly fished waters of this area, did quite well. Crappies have been taking small spoons tipped with either a minnow head or waxies. A pink jig like the Tiger Eye and a minnow was the answer for me last weekend. Some anglers reported success using either Gulp maggots or Trigger X Mustache Worms to pick up a limit.  Sunfish have been somewhat finicky but smaller sized jigs with plastics seemed to do the trick. Walleye have been a little closed mouthed as of late but it’s still possible to catch a few keepers if you work at it. The most consistent bite has been Northern Pike. Tip-ups with sucker minnows or spoons and large rattle baits like the LIVE TARGET Golden Shiner have been picking up some good sized Pike. The weather forecast for this weekend looks a lot like last weekend so there should be ample opportunity to get out and catch some fish for a Super Bowl fish fry. If you’re going to be fishing in the area, be sure to drop by the store. The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need for a successful fishing adventure.




January 20th, 2016

 Last weekend saw temperatures plummeting down into the high twenties.... below zero. Consequently the fishing slowed to a crawl for most anglers. Reports I’ve received about the area lakes have been a mixed bag. Panfish became quite finicky, even more so than usual. Walleye fishing has been equally slow. Pike fishing however was fairly good on most lakes in the area. Last weekend was the winter trout opener and as expected even trout fishing was slow. Lake Trout were very slow in this area but some of the designated stream trout lakes produced some limits. There …… That’s the bad news. Good news is in line for this weekend. Much warmer temperatures and relatively light winds should turn things around in a hurry. Ice conditions as always vary from lake to lake. The larger deeper lakes have only had full ice for about three to four weeks and ice thickness on these lakes can run from eight to perhaps twelve inches, maybe a little more. I haven’t seen any vehicles out on the lakes and this precaution is advised. While snowmobiles and wheelers are getting around on the lakes, anglers should wait a little while before driving on the ice. Be safe and good luck!



January 16th, 2016

 As promised, the cold snap swept down on the Northland last night. Low temperatures in the minus twenties and highs in the single digits below zero will be with us for a few more days. The wind chill factor for this evening is forecast to be thirty to forty below. Living in Northern Minnesota during the winter isn't for everybody but those who adapt think nothing of a few days like these. Although it was the opening day of the winter trout season, the reports have been mixed. Lake trout fishing in the far Northeast was good but not so much in this area. Designated stream trout lakes provided more action, as they usually do. So tomorrow will be cold but you can't catch fish if you don't go. Stay warm and good luck!!!




January 15th, 2016

 Tomorrow, the 16th of January is the opening day of the winter trout season. While many anglers are headed north to do battle with large Lake Trout, there are quite a few who are staying closer to home in hopes of hooking up with a nice limit of Rainbow, Brown or Brook Trout. Itasca county has eleven designated trout lakes and counties north and east of us have many more. It's well worth the effort to fish for them this time of year. You are allowed only one rod per angler while fishing for trout and the use of minnows is prohibited, that means artificial's. We have Power Bait Trout Bait as well as a huge assortment of Gulp plastics.That said, we also have some Night Crawlers left and they're in good shape.It's going to be cold this weekend so if you go out, stay warm and have fun!!!



January 3rd, 2016

  Now that the holiday season has wrapped up it’s time to get down to fishing. That would be nice but ice conditions are still of some concern. Reports of ice thickness vary from 4 inches to 10 or 12 inches, sometimes on the same lake. Some areas on the big deep lakes are definitely not safe but a lot more anglers are hitting the ice now on the smaller lakes. The Crappie and Sunfish bite has been pretty good while Walleye are just now slowly coming around. Pike fishing has been very good. With the colder temperatures forecast for later in the week we should be in good shape ice wise in another week or so. I know this is starting to sound like a broken record but this year’s ice making has been very slow going. I’m planning to get out on the ice tomorrow and as  far as I know there hasn’t been anyone out on the main lake where I typically fish.  I might have to be the first one. I’ve never really cared to be the first guy out on the ice so I’ll do some research before I decide whether to go or not. Hope everyone had a great holiday!



 December 29th, 2015

 The Edge of the Wilderness area enjoyed a white Christmas again this year (what else would you expect). The snow that fell over the weekend was very light with maybe an inch or two of accumulation. Many of the lakes in this area are experiencing slush problems out to 150 feet from shore and while there are reports of an average ice thickness of 6 to 8 inches it is still advisable to be careful out there. Reports of a good Crappie bite have been coming in for a while now. These reports are mainly from the smaller lakes, which for my own protection shall remain nameless (mostly because no one will tell me!). Northern Pike were on the bite last weekend and fishing for them should remain good throughout the coming weekend.  The ice conditions are shaping up and New Year’s Day is fast approaching. What better way to bring in the New Year than catching a limit of Crappie and having a fish fry with friends. Good luck and be safe!  



                                   December 19th, 2015                                                                                                                        The recent cold snap has reached its objective. Most  of the larger lakes in the area have frozen over as of this morning. I actually watched the last bit of open water on the lake freeze early this morning, just as the sun came up. The reports of slush on the ice vary from lake to lake. Some have little to none at all while others are pretty bad, especially near the shoreline. Quite a few anglers passed through the doors this morning and on into the afternoon and many were picking up some tackle and bait for a trip out to a small “secret lake”. Early ice anglers keep their spots to themselves. Those who have fished the smaller lakes with safe ice have been doing well. Crappie and Sunfish are the main targets and the bite seems to be very good on certain lakes and poor on others but that’s fishing. Reports of 3 to 7 inches of ice have started to bring more anglers out on the ice. Caution is advised and ice creepers a good ice chisel and picks are standard equipment right now. The lakes that recently froze over won’t be safe for a while. The temperatures forecast for next week are mainly highs in the twenties and lows in the low ‘teens so it looks like we won’t lose any ice but it will be slow going in making more. At any rate, I’m going out Monday to see if I can’t pick up a few slabs for Christmas breakfast. If you go out, Good Luck and Be Safe!



 Wednesday, December 09, 2015

 It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the weather, once again will dictate whether or not there will be fishable ice on the area lakes for the weekend. As far as the large deeper lakes are concerned, most have little to no ice in the main bodies of water so they are out. Anglers are venturing out onto the smaller lakes that have been frozen over for a couple of weeks. Ice thickness on these lakes is reported to be 3 to6 inches. These are mainly panfish lakes and the reports have been promising with most anglers getting into Crappie and Sunfish and even some nice Perch. If you do choose to go out this weekend, ice creepers and picks are recommended. The ice is very slippery, what with the melted and refrozen snow cover, so be careful and take someone with you, just in case you run into trouble. High temperatures are forecast to be in the twenties throughout the weekend so that could see more ice on the lakes in the days ahead. The tackle department and bait shop are fully stocked with everything you need to have a safe and successful fishing adventure. Be sure to drop by when you’re in the area. Have fun and be safe!!  



  A Turn for the Worse

 The Great Armistice Day Blizzard

Based on a True Story

By Paul Larson

November 11, 1940

November 11, 1940 November 11, 2016, marks the 76th anniversary of The Great Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. This was perhaps the most violent storm to hit the Midwest in the last one hundred years. Largely forgotten in other parts of the country this storm is still well remembered in the upper Midwest. It was responsible for the loss of more than 50 duck hunter’s lives.  The temperatures that day were very similar to what we are experiencing this November. On the Mississippi river bottoms of southeast Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and the Great Lakes region east to Michigan, duck hunters were out hunting in the marshes, most wearing lighter clothing than would be usual for this time of year due to the unseasonably warm temperatures. At 7:30 that morning it was 55 degrees and climbing eventually into the 60 degree range. When the storm hit in earnest, there was a 60 degree drop in temperature while winds of 70 to 80 mph pummeled the river bottoms eventually dropping 27” of snow and creating 20 ft. drifts, devastating the entire northern Midwest area. The storm originated on the west coast, which was the result of a collision of between several weather systems and continued to grow stronger by the day. The storm grew in strength as it headed east over the Rockies where it met up with a very intense low pressure system coming up from the southwest and a brutal arctic air mass roaring its way down from Canada. This storm is ranked as Minnesota’s second most destructive weather event of the 20th century. All told in the northern Midwest over a 150 people died and thousands of livestock perished as well as a result of this storm. I first learned of this storm from my hunting buddy’s father. My friend and I were both 17 and we were just fanatical about duck hunting. One evening while we were reloading shotgun shells in my friends basement his father came down to inspect our progress and asked if we knew what had happened on November the 11th, which was only a few days away. He began to tell his story of the storm, how he and his friend barely made it through and of those who didn’t. “We skipped school that day. The ducks had started to come down from Canada and everyone was excited about the coming weather change, expecting more ducks to be out ahead of it. Most everyone had their own duck boat that they had built themselves. The boats were full of decoys, dogs, guns and hunters as they rowed their way out into the bottoms. When we got to the landing it was still dark and we rowed out to our favorite spot, hoping no one had gotten there before us. We had the place to ourselves and lucky for us we weren’t that far away from the landing. Before shooting time, we had all the ‘dekes out and the boat grassed up, waiting for dawn. First light saw a few ducks moving around but a lot less than we expected. It was kind of warm out and we were dressed accordingly. We both were wearing our medium weight waterproof Redhead hunting pants and coats and rubber boots. We started wondering if we shouldn’t have just gone to school, instead of sitting out here with no ducks to shoot at. Along about 10:30 the wind started to pick up and the temperature started to drop. This was a good sign so we decided to stick it out. We started to notice more ducks moving around and before long, huge flocks were pouring into the Weaver Bottoms. We were constantly shooting as the wind continued to pick up. We had our limit in less than a half an hour. The air was getting much colder and we decided to start to pick up and go home just about the time the blizzard hit. The weather had definitely taken a turn for the worse. The thousands of ducks we had been shooting at were coming down just ahead of this storm. The waves were getting larger by the minute and we started to get scared. So we just left the decoys set out and started to row like mad to the landing. All around us boats were trying to make it to shore, any shore before it got any worse. Some could only make it to one of the many small islands out in the more open water. Then the snow started to come down so hard we could barely see the shore even though we were almost there, I’d say less than a hundred yards away. We got to the landing and pulled our boat far up on shore when we realized we couldn’t see our car or anything else for that matter. We could hardly see each other when we were only 5 feet apart. When we found the car it was half buried in a snow drift. We dug enough snow away to get one door open, we crawled in and I turned the key, stomped on the starter button and…. nothing.The model A was dead.I guess it didn't matter anyway, there was so much snow coming down we realized that driving was out of the question and if we stayed in the car we’d freeze to death.We had to do something and fast. There were few options left to us. By this time we couldn’t see anything and the wind chill must have been below zero by that time.We could stay here in the car but that seemed to be a bad bet.The only other option was to crawl up the rise to the railroad tracks and follow them home to Winona, about 5 miles away. We chose to crawl while a lot of hunters decided to take shelter under their boats. Many, we would find out later, had frozen to death or nearly so. We made it up the rise almost losing each other in the blinding snow and crawled slowly down the tracks single file holding onto the rail with one hand so we wouldn’t lose our way while the guy in the back hung on to the ankle of the one up front so that we wouldn’t get separated. It was snowing so hard by that time; we had to feel our way down the rail. Mile after mile we crawled occasionally switching so the guy in the front could have a break from pushing through the snow drifts that were piling up on the tracks. Our feet, hands and everything else, were freezing. After hours of slow going, a small break in the wind and snow found us on the edge of town where several houses sat back away from the tracks. We crawled up to one house that looked like someone was home and knocked on the door as hard as we could. A lady came to the door, took one look at us and shouted for someone in the back of the house to come help. Well, we spent a long time by the stove while we waited for my dad to come and get us. The storm was now getting much worse. After we got warmed up a bit with hot cocoa, I talked to my father on the telephone and he told us that we should stay where we were tonight and that there was no way anyone was going anywhere in this storm. He told me that they were relieved that we were alright and that we would be just fine where we were. He never mentioned anything about us skipping school. The nice elderly couple who took us in made sure we had plenty to eat and that we were warm enough. Luckily neither of us had frostbite and we spent the night listening to the radio reports of the storm and of those suspected missing. When the storm finally broke and people were starting to shovel themselves out, it was a bit warmer now and the wind had died down some, so we walked to our homes much to the relief of our parents. Shortly afterward we started to hear stories of those who had survived the storm out in the marshes, under their boats and of those who didn’t. In the end over 50 hunters had died. Many of those who made it through had frostbite and would take a long time to heal. We heard of the rescues attempted out in the marshes in the high winds and waves, some as high as 15 feet. All around town we heard the terrifying accounts of those who had survived the storm”. He sat there looking at us for a minute with a look on his face was far away, as if he had just relived every terrifying minute of his ordeal that day some 30 years ago. His voice gone serious he said, “This November is a lot like that one so long ago. Just be careful out there, the weather on the bottoms can change just like that boys, just like that. Do you understand?” We nodded as if we did and then his voice gone quiet again said ”There have been a few Novembers like that one since the big storm and every one of them have spooked me”. We looked at each other. Now we understood. If a mere storm could spook a man like this we had better heed his advice. He sat just looking at us like we were the two young men in his story. He knew as well as we did that tomorrow we were going duck hunting in the exact same place in the Weaver Bottoms that he went all those years ago, the place where he almost lost his life. We were the same age as he was then. We three looked at each other as if a rite of passage had been offered and excepted but that moment didn’t last long. I knew I would never forget this story but …… we were 17 and we had shotgun shells to reload.


 October 17, 2015

 This week saw high winds and temperatures dipping into the low twenties, which all but squashed the enthusiasm of any fish that was in the mood to feed. Sunday, the temperatures reached the high eighties in the region and the next day it was all rain and sustained winds, winds of twenty mph with frequent gusts of thirty five to forty mph. The fish I marked on Monday were all close to the bottom and it looked like they were laying there with their fins on their ears wishing this weather would just go away. I didn’t have a strike the three hours I was out there. Coming back up the lake into the southeast wind, I managed to get airborne several times and got quite wet in the process.                                                                                                  Monday was was a total one eighty from Sunday. Most of the outdoor action this week has been concentrated on Grouse and Woodcock. With the winds in large part taking care of most of the remaining leaves, the bird hunting has been pretty good. Hunters are reporting good Grouse hunting and everyone is seeing birds. Woodcock arrived about a week ago in good numbers. Deer season is just around the corner and quite a few deer have been moving about lately; however most of the deer seen have been does. The best part of last week for me, were the amazing sunrises all this weather fostered. Sorry… no phish photos this week; I guess the first paragraph explains it all. This weekend is looking much better so get out there and enjoy. The chores can wait.  




 October 10, 2015

 The Frontier Sports Fishing Report, October 10, 2015 For the most part, it’s been a glorious fall. Temperatures have been in their normal range for this time of year. There were several days above normal as well. The lakes are nearing turnover and water temperatures have been slowly dropping with no sharp plunges. Fishing so far this fall has been pretty good and it will only get better. Walleye for the most part in the deeper area lakes have become somewhat of a mystery. Here today, not here tomorrow and where they went is anybody’s guess. Some fish are being taken in deep water; others have had success off drop-offs and deep weed edges. Bass fishing has picked up some and they’re being taken in water as deep as thirty feet. Wacky worming, soft plastic paddle tails and a jig and minnow combo have been the most productive for Smallmouth’s. Largemouth Bass aren’t quite as deep and I picked up a few on crank baits last weekend. The search for Crappies has begun, as for the most part, they have left their early fall haunts and moved into their winter patterns. Look for deep holes that they occupy during the winter and you will probably find schools of Crappies suspended in water as deep as fifty feet, maybe even deeper. Not every deep hole with have fish so you have to do a lot of searching.. Electronics are a must for this way of fishing and vertical jigging with small jigs and a minnow or soft plastic along with small jigging raps and puppet minnows are the most popular way to catch these fish. Pike and Muskies have been on a tear lately. Trolling large crankbaits or casting swim baits along deep weed edges and drop offs has been very effective. Monday afternoon found me trolling a weed edge, zig zagging out to deeper water and back again, varying my speed from two mph to four or five mph in search of a big pike. Coming around a deep point off a sunken island, my extra-extra heavy Musky rod bent around and was shaking furiously! I set the hook and the fight began. This was a big fish! All the while a stiff southeast wind was blowing my boat up onto the sunken island and the accompanying weed bed. The pike seized the moment and in a huge swirl, tore the hooks out in the weeds and escaped. AAAAARGH!! Later small fish, both Bass and Pike, attacked my six and a quarter inch LIVE TARGET Perch crankbait like they hadn’t had anything to eat for weeks. Why a thirteen inch Bass would attack a lure that big is beyond me. The leaves are just past peak and the weather this weekend is supposed to be very mild, almost summerlike. The family groups of Ruffed Grouse have broken up and with the leaf drop; they’ve become much easier to see. So far this fall, Grouse hunting has been quite good. Duck hunting will improve just as soon as the weather turns and Deer season is just around the corner. So much going on and so much to do, no wonder everyone in the Northland loves fall!! Have a great weekend!



 October 3, 2015

   It’s been an interesting week both in the weather and fishing success. Windy days alternating with relatively mild breezes mixed things up but good. There were many reports of fisherman being blown off the lake when the morning wind picked up. On the days when anglers didn’t have to fight the wind, fishing was very good and at times fantastic! The Walleye bite has been hit and miss, but it’s slowly improving, at least compared to several weeks ago. Just in the last several days, the Bass bite has picked up quite a bit. Smally’s are beginning to move up into shallower water and anglers have a good chance at some very large fish. The best news is that both Pike and Crappie fisherman are finding these fish are now willing to cooperate in a big way. Reports of large Pike and in good numbers have been coming in every day. They have moved back on the deep weed lines you’ll find both species in depths from 12 to 18 feet.. I recently hooked, landed and released a 30” Pike on my ultra-light Crappie rig and landed two more in the four to six pound range, all in less than half an hour. Shortly afterward, I started catching Crappies while trolling with small LIVE TARGET crank baits a little farther down the same weed line. All of them were nice slabs with none less than eleven inches, the largest, over fourteen inches. I kept three thinking that I’d catch a Walleye a little later in the evening, which I didn’t. I should have kept four and then I would have been all set for breakfast for the week. As I mentioned earlier it’s been an interesting week. High winds, up to thirty mph, the blood moon lunar eclipse (very cool), the leaves turning color, which incidentally has been very slow in coming this year and lows in the high twenties can mean only one thing. Fall is really here at last and we love it!  



 August 14, 2015

 Last weekend and right on through the week, fishing was and has been very good indeed. Even though the full moon last Sunday was obscured by clouds and some rain, the Crappie and Walleye bite was sensational. The area lakes have been putting out substantial numbers of both species. Trolling for Crappie with small diving crankbaits has been very productive. Bass fishing with top water lures like the LIVE TARGET Frog has been equally as good. I like throwing the smaller sized frog in the deeper crappie weeds. Watching a Smallmouth attacking the frog, coming straight up through the weeds like a missile, water and weeds flying everywhere, is very, exciting. Most of the fish in this environment are quite large and with all the commotion, it can be difficult to hook them, but man it sure is fun! I’ve also had reports of some good catches of large sunfish this week as well. Pike have been aggressive and big fish are been taken using large crankbaits like the LIVE TARGET Rainbow Smelt and Yellow Perch. Pike anglers are having good success using Sucker minnows and big spinners as well. This weekend promises to be a duplicate of last weekend so get out there and catch some fish! Be sure to drop by on your way out to the lake!




July 30, 2015

July 2015 Round-Up

July has been both a surprising and perplexing month on the Edge of the Wilderness lakes. It seemed in the beginning of the month, only Bass and Pike were cooperating with some regularity. Walleye were almost schizophrenic in their behavior. They could be almost anywhere and would bite or not bite in a manner completely opposite from what the pattern was the previous day. Pan fish were difficult to locate and this too, made for some tough fishing conditions. Gradually, as the month progressed and the air and water temperatures warmed, things started to settle down and eased into established patterns familiar to us all for this time of year. That said, fishing right now is very good, at times even fantastic! Walleye are being caught in the 15 to 25 foot depth range. This is my favorite time of year to troll crankbaits and I prefer big lipless cranks like the LIVE TARGET Golden Shiner. I’ll usually troll at speeds around 3 mph, having let the lure sink to a depth just over the tops of the deep weeds.  Casting in this situation is also productive. Smallmouth Bass have moved deeper and to some extent so have the Largemouth’s. Both can be found off deep rocky points and deep weed lines. Wacky Worming and crankbaits have been producing some action while Savage Gear Sand Eels and Sand Eel Slugs have also been very effective. At last….. Crappies are finally where they should be and are acting accordingly. Both Crappie and Sunfish are being taken in the 14-18ft depth range. Trolling small crankbaits in the deeper water out from the weed beds have been producing some very big slabs. Fishing for suspended fish over deep water is just one of the tactics popular this time of year and on into August and September. The lakes in this area are for the most part are fairly deep and very clear, and as such, fish in these parts tend to be found in deeper water. With July rolling to a close and August upon us, be prepared for the fantastic fishing opportunities that await you in our area. Tactics may, by necessity change from what was productive in early July but the fish are there and ready to challenge you, so give ‘em your best shot!



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