Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report For October 9, 2015
The atmosphere around the resort is providing a perfect reminder about why we look forward to fall every year. Fall colors are at their peak, fish of all shapes and sizes have been active and the Ruffed Grouse season has arrived.
The consensus among most of our fishermen is that this fall has provided one of the better Walleye and Pike runs in recent history.
On Big Winnie, fishermen focusing on the deep weed lines in 10 to 14 feet of water are reporting consistent catches of both Walleye and Pike. Perch have been less consistent, but they are present too and when the winds blow, schools of keeper size Perch appear in good numbers.
As of Thursday, water temperatures on Winnibigoshish were stable at 56 degrees, while Cutfoot Sioux's surface water slipped down into the 57-59 degree range. These cooler water temperatures have provided fish the incentive to feed heavily in anticipation of winter. Right now, fish are definitely in the "feeding mood" and even when conditions are less than ideal, anglers are returning to the marina with fish in their live wells.
For Walleye, the jig and Minnow presentation now easily top the list as the most reliable fishing method. Using 1/8 to 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with large fatheads, rainbows or golden shiners will work. It's important to get the attention of the fish; aggressive snap jigging will work much better than any subtle jigging approach.
Northern Pike, holding along the edges of these deep weed beds are vulnerable to jigging too and for most of our guests, more than enough Pike are available as a bonus while they fish for Walleye.
For folks that want to target Pike, especially larger size fish, live bait rigging with larger size minnows is the answer. Holding deep along the weed lines, Pike have been reluctant to respond for anglers who are casting shallow running baits. The Pike are hungry though and using large minnows, kept close to the fish triggers them into feeding. Lindy Rigging or using slip floats like the Big Fish Slider will provide action, at times, trolling diving style crankbaits has also worked.
Crappies and Sunfish are now widely distributed throughout both Cutfoot and Little Cutfoot. They haven't moved into the deepest water yet, but they are moving in that direction. In Cutfoot, focus on 24 to 26 feet of water for Crappies and for Sunfish, target water depths of 16 to 22 feet.
Fishing in Little Cutfoot has been a searching game, Panfish are gathered in small, tightly packed schools that can be found roaming almost anywhere. Fishermen who know how to use their electronics have the advantage during the pursuit of these pressured fish. It has been common to hear reports about fish that strike aggressively when they are located, but disappear from the screen after the initial frenzy.
We think this is because they've been exposed to numerous fishermen and are a bit battle weary. Don't let that dissuade you from trying though, if you're willing to adjust, you will catch enough fish to provide a meal.
Small jigs, tiny jigging spoons and jigging Rapalas will catch Crappies. For Sunfish, smaller and heavier ice fishing baits like the Tungsten type, tipped with Wax Worms will provide the most consistent action. Work the jigs slowly and steadily, Sunfish prefer no action over too much action.
Perch are mysterious right now and our best advice is to take an opportunity when it comes along. There are plenty of fish out there; they just don't always show up when we want them too. Under ideal conditions, there have been numerous reports of good catches, particularly on the North and West sides of the big lake.
We're anticipating a busy weekend on the lake, and we think it will be a good one. If you're on your way up, have a great weekend!
By the way, if you’ve never visited Bowen Lodge, stop in while you’re in the area and let us introduce ourselves. We would love to be your next fishing destination, so we’d like to show you around the resort. Once you pay us a visit, we're sure that you'll understand why we say; "At Bowen Lodge, You Are Part Of Our Family!" See the resort >> Bowen Lodge or click here for >> The Bowen Lodge Story
October 2, 2015 - The profile of a “Top Notch Lake Winnie Angler”
Lakes change over time; conditions force anglers to be adaptable, to choose between old time proven spots and learning new methods and locations. If they want to catch fish, they choose to be adaptable.
Meet Randall Olson, one of those adapters!
Rand fishes passionately; he visits Lake Winnie consistently, at the same times every season and works hard at it while he’s here. He listens to what other fishermen have to offer and never thinks he is the one with the answer. Instead, he’s always curious, realizing that any chat can lead to picking up a new trick, spot or technique.
The expression on his face lights up equally whether he’s the one who catches a fish, or when he hears of someone else catching fish. It doesn’t where it was caught or if it was caught using an unfamiliar technique, he loves to learn and it might be his turn next time.
One thing that Rand is not is a “bite chaser”. Instead of following the pack, he makes his plan for the day then goes out on the lake and sticks to it. As a result he’s gained a lot of experience over the years; he really has learned how to fish Lake Winnie and Cutfoot with the best of them.
This has been a good week for Rand; he’s been out there caching A LOT of fish. Jigging, pulling spinners, trying new spots, mixing in with old reliable ones.
He had a fantastic day today on Lake Winnie, the kind that few fishermen get to experience. “They are FOOTBALLS” he said; over and over. “19 inchers feel like a 24 inch fish, even the 14’s feel like 21’s and they fight and run and one almost ripped the rod out of my hands! They have shoulders, even the small ones”; he repeated.
Watching his face light up as he told us the stories was worth gold.
Today he caught them pulling spinners tipped with a crawler in 15 feet of water. By tomorrow he may decide to use jigs and minnows instead and he might just go somewhere different on the lake too. He’ll adapt to the weather and fish deeper or shallower depending on the conditions.
This is what makes a “True Lake Winnie Fisherman”; a curious mind, a passion to fish, and when he doesn’t find them he listens and learns from someone else who did. “There’s always a bite out there somewhere” is his consistent attitude. No grumbling from Randall, every day is a special one, fish or no fish.
As a resort owner it’s such a joy to have to have a guest and a great angler like Randall at Bowen Lodge, look at that grin, it never fades. A picture is worth a thousand words!
Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Fishing Report For October 2, 2015
Mixed bag action for Walleye, Perch and Northern Pike is solid on Lake Winnie. Fall patterns for Walleye, Pike and Panfish are holding their own in Cutfoot too and when we visit the fish cleaning shack, we've seen that the buckets are filling up every day.
Surface temperatures hovering near 60 degrees, an east wind at 10 to 15 MPH and a Walleye migration under way played right into the hands of fishermen on the big lake this Thursday.
"I'm not sure how the conditions could have been more ideal"; said veteran guide Jeff Sundin as he returned to the dock after enjoying good catches of both Pike and Walleye. Sundin agrees with our fishing guests who tell us that the breaklines along the outer edges of weeds is where the action is and the long-anticipated jig and minnow bite has become the go-to presentation.
Schools of baitfish like Tulibee, small Perch and other assorted minnows fill the screens of depth finders and as long as they do, the hungry predators will remain focused on feeding their way along the shoreline.
Declining water temperatures will eventually lead to the dispersing of this rich food chain. But for now, almost all of our guests are returning to shore with smiles on their faces.
Key depths have ranged between 10 and 14 feet, but there are instances where fish can be located deeper and shallower too. This is a good time to explore because the fish are cooperative and if you see them on your graph, they will be very likely to strike your baits.
This fall, Walleye fishing has been good, so for many, Panfish have been put on the back burner. Still, there are some folks doing well on Crappies, Sunfish and Perch in both Cutfoot and Little Cutfoot Sioux.
Surface Water Temperatures continue to fall on Cutfoot too, but remain somewhat warmer. Settling in at 62 degrees by Thursday afternoon, the trend toward improved fishing for Sunfish and Crappies should continue. To date though, submerged vegetation remains green and healthy, that means that at least some Panfish and Perch will continue to inhabit shallow water.
As we go forward, cooler water will encourage a "die-off" and each day could deliver nice surprises in the form of new schools of Panfish relocating from shallow cover, into open water.
For the persistent, small schools of Panfish can be located in open water at depths ranging between 24 and 30 feet.
Presentations vary; some anglers prefer jig and minnow for Crappies, others like jigging baits like small jigging Rapalas. For Sunfish, small winter jigs like Lindy Ice Worms tipped with grubs will perform better.
September 25, 2015 - Panfish Prowl Cutfoot, Walleye Cruise Familiar Fall Territory
Cooler water temperatures are moving the needle in the right direction; fall colors are popping and so are fall fishing patterns.
At 65 degrees, the water temperature is still slightly warm for this date, but they have been cool enough to trigger migrations of Crappie, Sunfish and Walleye.
Over the past few days, our Walleye fishermen have had their most consistent action by following the breaklines along the north shore. For regular visitors to Winnie, all of the old familiar territories and fishing patterns are in play, with one exception. The Cabbage and other submerged vegetation grow deeper now than they once did. This means that broadening your range of depths will be the key to finding active fish.
On Wednesday, Tim Bates was doing some entertaining and found fish in the 12 to 14 foot range. On the same lake, at the exact same time, 8 feet of water was magic for another group that was fishing with a guide. The two groups were fishing within a mile of each other and both were fishing with the same lures. A little bit of creativity goes a long way, so if you’re on the water and see a line of boats fishing the deeper breaks, don’t assume that this is the only game in town. Allowing yourself to experiment can really pay off because when you find a school of fish, they will be more cooperative than the fish that have already been pressured by a crowd.
It’s a good idea to keep an open mind about presentations too. For now, fishing with Little Joe Spinners tipped with minnows or night crawlers continues to produce Walleye and bonus Pike. As surface temperatures cool, the trend toward jig and minnow fishing will become more prominent.
Panfish anglers are finding a few more fish located in traditional fall locations. Crappies can now be found in water depths of 22 to 28 feet and many of them are roaming in small packs. The majority of Sunfish remain in shallow water though; submerged vegetation will hold fish as long the plants are alive. A significant cold snap can change this overnight, but the cooling trend, along with shorter days will play a role too.
For now, it’s a good idea to do some prospecting out deep, but during any low light period, experiment in shallow water too. Cabbage plants will remain green for a long time, when located; they can produce everything for Panfish to Muskies.
We’re heading around the bend toward the hunting season, but we’re still talking about fishing too. We will have at least one more fishing report next week, maybe more if the weather stays nice. Remember, we’d love to hear from you too, let us know about your day on the lake.
September 18, 2015 - Walleye, Pike and Panfish Report, Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot
Reports about good Pike fishing continue to pour in from anglers who fish on Lake Winnibigoshish. On Thursday, favorable conditions lasted through the morning and while the wind was manageable, fishing the shoreline breaks along the east side of Winnie was productive. Key depths are 12 to 14 feet and the presence of vegetation is one key to finding the best action.
The deep plant growth that was easy to find on these breaklines has largely disappeared now. Wind, cooler water and death by natural causes have eliminated most of the pondweed that grew there this summer. Cabbage, the most hearty of all the submerged plant life on Winnie, can be found in small patches along these deeper breaks and they do hold fish. But for the lushest stands of Cabbage, anglers will need to focus on shallower water, in areas where larger flats provide better growing conditions for these plants.
The large flats at Tamarack Point, the Dam Bay, Stony Point, Mallard Point and near the Bird Houses on the West side are good examples of productive areas for this type of plant growth. It doesn’t matter too much where you find them; healthy patches of Cabbage will be increasingly productive as other vegetation withers and gets blown away by the fall winds.
Angler’s choice would be the best description for how to catch Pike right now; they will strike a variety of lures. But let’s say that you wanted to catch a mix of Pike and Walleye, maybe some Perch too. Then here are 3 good methods to keep on the list for the upcoming weekend.
Spinners, tipped with minnows continue to produce a mixed bag on the big lake. One of our best guides, Jeff Skelly was on the lake with guests yesterday and they trolled gold spinners on the inside edges of the Cabbage in about 8 feet of water. They only fished until noon, but returned to the dock with 5 keeper Walleye, some nice Perch and a couple of Pike. That’s not bad for a short trip on the north end of the big lake.
Jigs and artificial tails was a productive presentation for another guide, Jeff Sundin who was working on the other side of the lake. Sundin and his crew were working water depths of 13 feet using an aggressive jigging presentation that produced some very nice Pike and some bonus Walleyes too.
For most of our guests, the jig and minnow is synonymous with fall fishing and according to Sundin, the conditions are right for the familiar presentation. Surface water temperatures in the 67 to 68 degree range have encouraged a reliable jig and minnow bite, Sundin said.
On both big and Little Cutfoot Sioux, we’re noticing lots of folks in pursuit of Panfish. The action has been spotty though, except for a handful of anglers who figure out where to look. When fishermen do locate Panfish, they are aggressive and easily caught, but for many, Crappies, Sunfish and Perch have been elusive.
That’s because submerged vegetation is still too good and there are lots of fish holding tight in the security of these plants. When the water cools down more, greater numbers of fish will be forced out and anglers will have an easier time finding them in open water.
For now, casting small jigs tipped with artificial tails along the weed edges will produce better results. Evening and morning continue to be the most productive times for the shallow water approach, but cloudy days allow some added flexibility too.
Walleye fishing on Cutfoot has its ups and downs too, but it can be good when the timing is right. Like the Panfish, Walleyes will become easier to find as vegetation dies off and fall migrations begin to ramp up.
For folks who prefer to fish the smaller water, we recommend using night crawlers and fishing the outside edges of Coontail and Cabbage patches. Key water depths are 10 to 16 feet, sometimes fish can also be spotted along the deeper breakline in 22 to 24 feet as well. Lindy Rigs are the gold standard for presenting night crawlers, a bubble of air, injected with a worm blower will help keep your bait in the strike zone and allow you to fish more efficiently.
September 11, 2015 - Cutfoot Sioux, Lake Winnie Fall Walleye, Pike and Panfish Report
Surface Temperatures fell below 70 degrees on Wednesday, settled at 69 degrees on Thursday and by this morning we should be looking at an even cooler water temperature.
The drop, resulting from a week long cold front, hasn't been dramatic, but it has begun to move some fish out of the heaviest submerged vegetation and into open water. This is good news, especially for our guests who enjoy fall Panfish on Cutfoot Sioux and its connected waters.
The first sign of an early fall Crappie pattern occurred a couple of weeks ago, just after another cold front has blown into the area. As the water temperatures warmed, Crappies eventually found their way back into the weeds, where they've stayed until now. On Thursday, there were some fish beginning to show up in deeper water again.
During the warm weather last week, many of our guests enjoyed good fishing for Sunfish. Vegetation oriented in the warm water, they were aggressive and easy to catch using small jigs tipped with a cut piece of night crawler and suspended below a float.
With falling temperatures, Bluegills, Pumpkinseeds and Perch are all likely to begin showing up in open water too. The difference between these Panfish and Crappies is that they will hold a little closer to Cabbage, Coontail and Eelgrass beds than the Crappies will. When you're searching for Panfish, one good rule of thumb is to begin on the steep breakline that occurs closest to the shore. We could write the whole story, but we've found a good one that illustrates the idea. Click here for the article about early fall Panfish progressions.
Walleye fishing has been steady, but subject to fluctuations with the weather. On the big lake, ideal fishing conditions produce excellent daytime action for both Walleye and Pike. Clearing water conditions have been a topic of conversation all summer, so it won't be a surprise to hear that some days are "zingers". Clear blue skies and calm water have caused more than a few head scratches, but there's a way to beat the odds.
We can't help but notice the good Walleye fishing that's been happening during "prime time", right here in Cutfoot. On a recent trip, Ken Doll snapped a photo of 8 keeper Walleyes that they caught while fishing with Mark Wilson. The whole trip only lasted a couple of hours and there were some slot-fish released along the way too. The crew was tight lipped about where and how they caught the fish, but we have a feeling that most of our fishing customers will be able to figure it out.
For now, there are still some folks catching fish on spinners tipped with minnows, others are doing well using night crawlers too. As the water temperatures fall though, jig and minnow presentations will become more reliable. The simple but effective presentation is a good fall option because almost everything will strike a jig and minnow. Anglers interested in a mixed bag could return to shore with Northern Pike, Perch, Walleye and Crappie; all without ever changing a lure.
September 3, 2015 - Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux Walleye, Pike and Panfish Report
We've had several guides at the resort, fishing with groups of guests this week. The consensus among them is that fishing on the big lake has been good, especially for guests who allow the lake to "make suggestions" about what they should fish for, and when. One thing we know for sure is that we've been watching all of them eat a lot of fish.
Whenever the timing is right, Walleye fishing on Winnie has been very good. Early this week, cloudy skies and windy conditions provided perfect conditions for daytime Walleye fishing. Feeding heavily throughout the day, fish were caught on jigs & minnows, spinners & crawlers and crankbaits. Key depths ranged between 9 to 11 feet and the east side of the lake provided the most consistent action.
Mid-week sunshine has shifted the best Walleye activity to the evening and early morning hours. On Wednesday, Dale Anderson was on the lake for a late afternoon trip and was able to produce a nice mixed bag of Walleye and Northern Pike. Northern Pike provided the best action during the daytime; the Walleye were caught later, during the early evening.
For Dale and his fishing party, spinners tipped with minnows were the best presentation and for them, the east side of side of Winnie produced spurts of action.
Fishing with John Surber along with his sons Mark, Todd and Kirk, Jeff Sundin was on the opposite side of Winnie taking advantage of the east wind. The group found lots of Pike and Perch on the breaklines, Perch were located shallower than the Pike. Exploring water depths from 6 to 12 feet, using jig and minnow combinations was the most productive way to fish. "Even if we could have caught fish using other presentations, the jig and minnow is best for helping the large group organized", Sundin said.
Winnie's west side appears to have fewer Walleye prowling the shoreline, but there were a handful of them caught too. When the strongest wind appeared on the scene, a brief spurt of Walleye action started up. As the wind faded, the Walleye action gave way to a period of vigorous Perch activity. Some of the Perch were very nice sized, but it required sorting to get them. Sizes ranging from 8 to 12 inches and everything in between provided an hour long episode of steady action. The key depth for Perch was 6 feet of water, with some fish found as deep as 8 feet.
About a week ago, there was a spurt of cold weather that started up an early run of deep water Panfish in Cutfoot and Little Cutfoot. Many of our guests enjoyed a period of good Crappie and Sunfish fishing last week. During the past few days, Panfish threw our guests a curve ball by retreating back into the weeds.
For now, catching Crappie and Sunfish will be easier if you fish the weed edges at early morning or late evening. Jigs tipped with small action tails, spinner jigs or live bait suspended below bobbers will all produce some fish. Key depths for Panfish range between 6 and 9 feet, depending on the weed growth present.
August 26, 2015 - Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux "Pre-Fall Fishing Patterns"
Todd Carlson had a very successful week of Muskie fishing at Bowen Lodge. He caught numerous fish of all sizes and was willing to share his secrets with other guests. Todd has been one of the most successful Musky Fishermen we've ever encountered in our 33 years at Bowen Lodge". - Way to Go Todd!!
Jeff (Cubby) Skelly was on the water with Bowen Lodge guests on Tuesday. This group was targeting Muskies too and they were fortunate to see 2 of them. The Muskies were teasing instead of striking, but a couple of Pike, one 32 and another 35 inches were caught during the search as a bonus.
Later, the group fished weeds on the big lake and found some Walleyes, along with more Pike. Despite the chilly, 62 degree Surface Water temperature, they were able to catch fish trolling with spinners. Mid-60 degree water temperatures are probably going to be the norm for a while and these cooler conditions should encourage a jig and minnow presentation.
The surface temperatures will rebound a little, especially if we get one of the warm, early September weeks that we've enjoyed during recent seasons.
image of Todd Carlson with musky
Photo of Todd Carlson, courtesy Bill Heig, Bowen Lodge.
"Todd has been one of the most successful Musky Fishermen we've ever encountered in our 33 years at Bowen Lodge". - Way to Go Todd!!"
Panfish are responding to cooler temperatures too and according to another local guide, Jeff Sundin early signs of fall fishing patterns are emerging.
After returning to the dock from a fishing trip with Bowen guests, Mike and Atcha Nolan on tuesday, the group reported surface temperatures that were warmer than Winnie, ranging between 65 and 67 degrees, depending on the location.
Fishing in Cutfoot/Little Cutfoot, the Nolans also reported catching their 2 person limit of 20 Crappies and another bonus, 15 Sunfish. Sundin reported that the Crappies they found were located primarily along the breaklines, between the weeds and deep water, their eventual fall destination. Key depths for Crappie ranged between 12 and 18 feet and there were signs that some of the fish were starting to group together in schools.
About the Sunfish, Sundin said that it was a little early for finding big schools of fish. They were able to locate some small packs of fish though and when they did, these fish were vulnerable to vertical jigging.
A 1/8 ounce black Lindy Jig tipped with a small piece of night crawler allowed the anglers to control their delivery in the breezy conditions. Sunfish preferred shallower water, the 12 to 14 foot range was most productive.
With stabilizing weather patterns, Walleye fishermen should have better access to the big lake. We're expecting to see reports about an uptick in the Walleye action as anglers enjoy better conditions. It shouldn't take long for the action to recover, providing another good week like the one we enjoyed before the recent cold snap.
August 20, 2015 - Lake Winnie Cutfoot Sioux "Pre-Fall Fishing Patterns"
For fishermen, a big part of Cutfoot and Lake Winnie's allure is that they provide some the very best fall fishing that exists anywhere.
If the recent weather hasn't already given you enough hints, then let us spell it out; fall almost here! In fact, we've noticed that hardwood trees are already beginning to change color around the shoreline of Cutfoot.
During the past two days, surface water temperatures have begun to head south, dipping below 70 degrees. Early fall patterns for Crappie, Sunfish and Perch have begun to emerge. Walleye, Northern Pike and Musky have become active along the weed edges again and this early, "Pre-Fall" run is what sets the stage for great fall fishing that lies just around the next bend.
Weeds in shallow water have reached maturity and have already begun to die off. Cooling water temperatures encourage more decay, forcing fish away from heavy, shallow water cover and toward the deeper weed edges. Weeds growing along the deep breaklines remain healthy longer, affording fish both comfort and good feeding opportunity.
Crappies can be found on the weed edges by casting small action type jigs like a Beetle Spin, Whatsit Jig, or using plastic tails like the Ripple Shad or twister tail. Slipping along the weeds edges using bobbers will work too, so will trolling the weedline using spinners.
Sunfish inhabiting the weed edges are susceptible to trolling spinners too and this is likely the best way to find them, at least initially. Once located, Sunfish are most easily caught by using a more stationary presentation. Heavy, but compact size jigs are ideal; ice fishing lures like a Fat Boy or Ice Worm that feature small hooks and heavy weight. Tipping the small hooks with a wax worm, cut piece of night crawler or tiny, Panfish size leeches will produce good action.
Walleye and Pike continue to provide mixed bag action for fishermen who troll the large, weedy flats on the big lake.
A Little Joe Spinner with a gold blade, tipped with a fathead minnow has been very reliable. Trolling the weed edges with crankbaits will produce fish too and now, jig and minnow fishing is creeping back into the discussion. For now, jig and minnow presentations are producing more Pike and Perch than Walleye, but this will be short-lived. As surface temperatures fall, the reliability of jig and minnow presentations will steadily increase for Walleye as well.
Old habits can be hard to break, but we see more and more anglers adapting to the presence of deeper weed lines on Winnie. These days, key depths are 12 to 14 feet along the outer edges of weeds that did not even exist a decade ago. In many areas, there is a distinct inside weed edge too and at times, this is the key are to focus on. Water depths of 9 to 10 feet along these inside edges are equally productive compared to the deep, outer edges.
August 13, 2015 - Late Summer Fishing Patterns on Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
A week of warm weather is forcing surface temperatures up again, by Wednesday they had reached 74 degrees. That remains lower than the peak of 78 degrees that we saw a couple of weeks ago, but the warming trend has encouraged a re-birth of summertime fishing patterns.
The most exciting catch of the week has been the gigantic Musky caught by Mike Moening. Mike was casting the breaklines in Cutfoot Sioux, using his Warlock jerk bait when the monster struck.
Warm, stable weather encourages Bass and Panfish too, and we're beginning to see some evidence that guests are locating Bluegill, albeit in small numbers so far.
Small schools of Sunfish are holding tight to weedy cover in water depths of 4 to 8 feet. Rooting them out during the daytime can be a little tricky, so most of the better Panfish are being caught during the evening. One fishing party was able to discover a school of Sunfish by trolling the weed edges using Little Joe spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawlers, After they caught a few, they marked the spot and began "still fishing" in the heavy weed growth.
The weeds, a mixture of Coontail and sparse Cabbage hold fish, but it's the small open patches, gaps between the weeds that provide an ambush point for the aggressive predators. Use a compact, but heavy jig, like a Fat Boy or Ice Worm tipped with a small piece of night crawler, leech or wax worm. The best presentation is to let the jig settle on the bottom, lift it up a few inches and hold still. If there are Panfish in the neighborhood, you will get some action.
Crappies are in the weeds right now too, and it's the early risers who are getting the best of them. For a short time during early morning, Crappies move freely along the edges of weeds. Moving slowly with your electric trolling motor and casting small jigs tipped with artificial action tails will produce strikes. Twirl Tails, Shad tails and other popular spinning type baits in the 2 inch size range are best. Small jigs, light fishing line and a light/ultra-light rod, spooled with 4 lb. test line is preferred.
Crappies are not the only fish that roam these weed edges during the early morning. Walleye, Perch, Rock Bass and Pike will be on the move too and you might be surprised by the action you can drum up.
Perch are showing up in better numbers and the average size has improved too. On Tuesday, one of the local fishing guides was fishing with guests and discovered Perch along with a mix of Walleye and Pike on mid-lake humps. The group was fishing with small, 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with minnows and found the Perch wherever there were small patches of gravel.
Perch in the weeds like gravel and rocks too, that's because small, recently hatched Crawfish are abundant on these gravel areas. While the Crawfish are plentiful, these type spots will hold and produce good numbers of quality fish.
Prospecting for Perch in the weeds can go faster if you troll the edges using spinners or crankbaits. Once you catch a few "keepers", stop and work the area more thoroughly using jig and minnow combinations. On mid-lake structure, in deep water, it's easier to find them by watching your electronics as you cruise the structure. Once you spot a school of fish, hover in place and drop jig and minnow combinations straight down. The vertical presentations are usually effective, but if it’s not working, switch to a Lindy Rig tipped with large Fathead minnows. Sometimes the Perch prefer to see the bait in motion and creeping along with the rig and minnow does the trick.
Walleyes are turning up in most of the catches we see at the fish cleaning shack. Some of our fishermen have caught limits this week, some have not, but almost everyone is catching some. There's a strong year class of Walleye from the 2013 spawning season and these fish, now 13 to 14 inches are proving to be more easily available during mid-day now that there's a bit of Algae Bloom on the big lake. That said; early morning and late evening are still the best time to pursue Walleyes.
The focus has been on using spinners and minnows for so long that most folks haven't tried anything else. But crankbaits are producing fish now and so are jig and minnow combinations; if you're adventurous, you will find some fish.
Pike continue to provide action and can be found in a variety of locations. Trolling the weed edges has always been popular during late summer and right now, we're seeing some good eaters being caught that way. Larger Pike are typically more vulnerable to fishermen who fish the weeds thoroughly, using casting presentations.
Jerk baits, large rattle baits and spinnerbaits will all work and each should be tried, big Pike can be fickle though and sometimes switching from one type of bait to another can really make a huge difference.
Weeds are more abundant and easier locate than ever before; that means there's more prime Pike territory to explore. Anglers who spend some time working the weeds will definitely be rewarded.
August 6, 2015 - Fishing Trends For Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
Surface temperatures have started declining thanks to the recent spell of cooler weather and strong Northwest winds. In only a week, they fell from the 78 degree range, down to around 72 degrees.
The declining temperatures work against the late summer, weed patterns that we’ve mentioned before. But for the moment, Walleye and Pike are apparently holding steady in these summer patterns. There are still a respectable number of fish, mixed Walleye and Pike, using the deep weed edges, especially the ones on Lake Winnie’s east side.
The problem is that with all of the wind, it’s been hard for folks to really dial in and fine tune the locations. For many of them, seeking out calmer areas to fish had become the priority rather than finding the largest schools of fish.
Some anglers have been able to beat the system by fishing on the west side of Winnie, where trolling the flats using crankbaits and spinners will produce a mix of Walleye and Pike. It takes a little skill to read the fish when they suspend over the lake’s expansive flats, but it can be done and it’s a good way to cover lots of water.
Flat areas where water ranges in depth between 12 and 16 feet are the places to look for. Flats like these are easily found in numerous areas of the lake. For late summer though, it is the west side of the big lake that has a reputation for being the most reliable.
Typically, Walleye and Pike will be visible on your electronics and believing what you see is the key to making this system work.
There are days when the fish suspend, well above the bottom. When you see this, tailor your presentation to ride higher in the water column, where the fish can see your lures. On other days, you’ll notice the fish holding closer to the bottom and that’s when you run lures deeper, closer to the fish.
Crankbaits, spinners tipped with live bait and even fishing with jigs will produce fish. The odds favor fishermen who like to experiment with presentations; this is not a pattern that favors sitting still, in one spot.
On Saturday, one of the local guides spent some time fishing within the boundaries of Cutfoot Sioux. His report was that spinners, tipped with ½ night crawlers have begun turning the heads of some Panfish along the weed edges. An attempt to stop and fish for them in earnest did not pan out, be it was encouraging to see that they are beginning to show up along the weed edges.
On that same fishing trip, and using the same presentation, Cutfoot coughed up a mix of Walleye and Pike, including some “keeper” size Walleyes. Perch provided some action, but there were few large ones to be found so far.
An observation about Panfish is that they’ve been a little bit tougher to come by this summer and from our vantage point, it’s beginning to look like the fall patterns will kick in before we realize any significant summer peak.
For folks who’d prefer fishing for larger fish, Pike and Musky should continue to be cooperative throughout the balance of this warm water period.
There have been lots of Pike caught this summer, most of them eating size fish. But folks who spend time casting, using larger size baits can expect to catch larger fish. When you’re casting for Pike on Winnibigoshish, you are automatically in the hunt for a Musky too. They can pop up out of almost any patch of weeds on the lake.
Responding to weather conditions makes all of the difference on Winnie these days and we suggest timing your fishing around them. When you see that the Sun is high in the sky, then fish for Panfish and Perch. During early morning and late evening, target Walleyes. Pike love a Grey, drizzly day and if it’s calm, casting under those conditions will conjure up the best fish in the weed bed.
Watching the weather means keeping an eye cast on surface temperatures too. Even though summer patterns remain in play, as temperatures fall into the 60’s, presentations will begin to shift. Spinner fishing will first give way to Lindy Rigs and Live Bait, then the Jig and Minnow bite will begin catching on again.
July 30, 2015 - Summertime on Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
Walleye fishermen have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Winnie these days. The 2013 year class of fish is appearing on the radar screen and soon, they will be reaching catchable size. By this fall, 13 inch fish from that hatch will likely begin showing up in our fish cleaning shack. By next spring, these fish are the ones that will be "doing the entertaining" at most of the fish fry's around camp.
Warm weather, normal seasonal influences and the appearance of a mild Algae Bloom on the lake have encouraged a migration toward the shoreline. We don't believe that all of the Walleyes ever completely move from one area to another. Right now though, a significant number of Walleyes are moving into some conventional late summer territories.
The east side of Winnie has been well known for its late summer weedline fishing for many years. In recent years, the habitat has changed and the fish are responding to them according. Recently, clear water has forced fish to behave more like their cousins who live in deep, clear water environments. Early morning, late evening and even night fishing patterns are becoming the rule for good fishing, not the exception.
This season, more and more of our guests are learning and adapting to the changing habitat, and we've been seeing many of them rewarded for their efforts.
The past few days have delivered harsh winds, and many have been avoiding the big lake. But when the winds calm, we'll be advising our guests to focus on shallow water weeds, primarily on the east side of the big lake.
On Cutfoot Sioux, we're watching for signs that some of the warm water Panfish patterns will heat up. So far, Crappie and Sunfish have been hard to come by for most folks. Soon though, the stability of August weather will allow Panfish to get settled along weed edges, allowing anglers to get them dialed in.
Perch and Pike are plentiful these days, finding premium size fish may be a challenge, but if you're after a quick fish fry, you won't have to go very far. There are lots of Pike in the 23 to 25 inch range, those are very suitable for eating and have been active.
Perch in the 8 to 9 inch range are fairly easy to come by right now too. Again, they are not considered trophy size, but for eating, very acceptable.
Overall, fishing with spinners that are tipped with live bait remains the most reliable. Gold Little Joe Spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawler or with a medium size fathead minnow are good. Trolling the weeds at speeds of 1.2 to 1.5 MPH allows you to cover lots of water in a hurry.
When you're in search mode, keep moving along the weed edges, moving in and out of them using an "S" pattern. Once you encounter fish, re-work that area to determine its reliability, if the action fizzles out, don't be stubborn, and get back on the move.
July 17, 2015 - Summer Pike Fishing Patterns on Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
Northern Pike fishermen ought to be about as happy as they can get right now. The current population of Pike in the 22 to 25 inch range is incredible and they are definitely on the prowl.
Weed growth on the big lake is incredible too, there are weed beds emerging in areas where they haven't grown in decades. That newly emerging cover combined with all of these "eating size" Pike in the lake can spell out fantastic action and great eating for a family adventure.
There are lots of ways to catch Pike, but for folks who want to add some bonus Walleye to their creels, Spinners are probably still the best way to fish. Little Joe Spinners tipped with small fathead minnows will do the trick, experiment with colors, but Gold has been very reliable.
Over the past couple of weeks, deep weeds on Stony Point, Tamarack Point, Little Stony, and Richards Townsite and along the west shore, near "The Bird Houses" have all been producing good numbers of fish.
Walleye purists can find happiness on Winnie right now too; the best bet for Walleyes has been to fish the small mid-lake bars that lay near the shoreline. Fishermen who are on the lake during early morning or late in the evening are finding the best action. But there are fish available during the daytime too.
The secret to getting into the daytime Walleyes is to be confident and keep searching. The fish are very well fed right now, so it’s important to give yourself the best odds of hitting the right spot at the right time. The additional time that it takes to locate fish will pay off big dividends in terms of action.
When you think about it, this is an advantage to ours guests vs. day trip fishermen. A lake with lots of well fed, neutral minded Walleyes plays right into the hands of folks that are staying on the lake for several days. They have plenty of time to search, learning a few new spots every day, allowing them to pick up a portion of their “keepers” every day.
Perch are extraordinarily plentiful in the lake right now, and the search for quality fish requires a bit of patience. The good news is that if you prowl the weeds, you will find some better size fish. Jump to Bills report from July 6 for more about catching keeper size Perch on Winnie.
July 12, 2015 - Summer Fishing Patterns on Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
It's warm outside, the water is warm and summer patterns are becoming the norm. Despite a slightly late start, fish are now setting up shop in traditional, mid-summer haunts.
After a week of warm, sunshiny weather, surface temperatures are ranging between 75 and 78 degrees. The warm water encourages fish to become more active, especially fish that establish their home turf in the weeds.
On Lake Winnie, weedline trolling with live bait spinners has become the most productive presentation for Walleye fishing. Using the spinners presents opportunities for bonus Perch and Pike too, making this the choice for anglers who want the most action.
The typical rig that we see the guides fishing is similar to the old reliable, Little Joe spinner that uses a #3 Gold spinner blade, red beads and a 1/0 hook. The lure can be tipped with a ½ night crawler or a fathead minnow to help convince the fish to strike. Sinkers ranging between 1/8 and ¼ ounce are help get the bait to the right depth for trolling along the weed edges and over the tops of deeper weeds. A 3/16 ounce bullet sinker should get you started, then add or subtract weight as the water depth and weed growth warrants.
Trolling speeds of 1.0 to 1.3 MPH are usually the most productive, but be flexible about that too. Warm water raises the metabolism of fish and they can become very aggressive; striking baits that move as fast as 3.0 MPH.
Panfish are showing up in the creels of more guests now too. Heavier weed growth and warmer water temperatures have encouraged Sunfish and Crappies to set up in the weeds too. Crappies are still moving best during the peak times of early morning and late evening. Sunfish are a bit more flexible, providing fair to good daytime action, depending on weather conditions.
The best Cutfoot Sioux and Little Cutfoot Panfish spots are usually found in water depths of 6 to 8 feet of water. Weeds are a key factor too; Cabbage weeds usually provide the best opportunity and are the easiest to fish. Eelgrass and Coontail can be good too, especially for Crappies because these weeds grow a bit deeper.
A hot tip for catching Sunfish comes from one of the “local guides”. His trick for catching them is to Walleye fish along the weeds in Cutfoot using spinners and jigs tipped with night crawlers. During the search for Panfish, Walleye, Perch and even pike will strike, providing plenty of action. Sooner or later, a Bluegill of Pumpkinseed with grab the worm and then he drops in a marker buoy, stops the boat and fishes vertically in the weeds. It’s typical for Sunfish to occupy a very small territory and once located, they can provide action for extended periods of time.
The best baits for catching them are small, compact size jigs tipped with a cut piece of night crawler or leech. Drop the bait to the bottom, lift it up a few inches and do your best not to move it too much. Any slight “tick” gives you the signal to set the hook using a steady, smooth pull upward on the line.
July 6, 2015 - Ladies Week On Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux
It was girls week at Bowens. Our one-and-only Natalie Adams of Bowen Lodge connected on a beautiful Muskie while fishing after work, with her husband. This 47" beauty slammed her secret bait and she will tell you what it was, but you'll have to ask her in person at the Lodge.
She has fished hard for this monster who lives not far from our docks. After spending hours in pursuit and casting many times, she was proud to finally connect. Congratulations Natalie!
Walleye action on Lake Winnie was great last week too, with fish being caught on the bars as well as the weedline. Spinners with crawlers. Leeches, or minnows worked all worked well on the weedline depending on the day.
Deb Bassuener from Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin nailed these jumbo perch casting jigs tipped with fatheads on ultra-lights rods. Ultra-light rods equipped with 4lb pound test make perch fishing a lot of fun. An 11 inch perch can really make a pole bend. Position yourself on a sand flat mixed with cabbage and quietly troll and cast your jigs into the pockets. Once you find the pocket most likely you can stay on it and catch all the fish you want for a big fish fry. Don't be surprised if you connect on a 12 incher mixed in with the 10 and 11 inch perch.
July 4, 2015 - Walleye Fishing On Winnibigoshish Heats Up, Pike on the Prowl
Warm, stable weather encouraged Lake Winnibigoshish to go into full bloom this week. With water temperatures rising into mid seventy degree range, insect hatches have begun and the big lake is beginning to show signs of an Algae bloom. These elements have combined to help to boost the Walleye activity on Lake Winnie.
Recent reports have almost all focused on finding fish in the middle, on main lake bars and humps. Those areas continue to produce fish, especially when you locate swarms of Mayfly Larvae on the flats adjacent to mid-lake structure. The insects attract all varieties of minnows and fish, including Walleye and the food chain will remain in place until after the bug hatches have run their course.
This week, Weedline Walleyes are creeping into the conversation more and more. Warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine have given the weeds a boost making them attractive for baitfish and predators too.
Some of our fishing guests and guides who have been fishing the lake are using spinners tipped with 1/2 night crawlers to coax Walleyes out of the weeds. Overall, the most popular spinners are simple, like a Little Joe with #3 Gold blades and plain red beads. That doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment with your own favorite colors, but the popularity of the Gold Little Joes tells us that folks are happy with the results they're getting with them.
There are 2 key water depths; 12 to 14 feet along the outer edges of the deepest weeds and 6 to 8 feet along the edges of the shallower, inside weedline. Typically, the inside weeds produce their best results during prime times like morning/evening and on breezy or overcast days.
When it's sunny, the deeper weeds tend to be more productive, but it will take some determination to persuade fish to strike. When the going gets tough and the fish refuse to chase down your spinner, switch over to Lindy Rigs and live bait. Substitute a bullet sinker for the traditional weights, which will make it easier to wiggle the baits through the weeds, while minimizing the tangles.
Northern Pike and Perch remain active along the weedline too and on days when the spinners are effective, you can expect some of these fish to strike in addition to Walleyes.
Folks who prefer to fish exclusively for Pike, this is the season when using Sucker minnows and slip floats begin to produce. The advantage of floating a large Sucker over the weed tops is that it will produce a larger average size fish.
Panfish have apparently wrapped up most of their spawning behavior and have begun settling into the weeds on Cutfoot Sioux.
Crappies are active during early morning and late evening and can be caught by casting small jigs tipped with artificial tails. Add a safety pin style spinner to your jig for even more action when the fish are aggressive.
Sunfish activity has been spotty, but there are small schools of fish building along some of the weed edges. One of the better ways to find them is to fish for Walleyes. Using night crawlers or leeches and trolling the weedline with spinners or small jigs, will help you catch more Walleyes and in the process, Sunfish will attack the baits too. Once you make contact with one, mark your spot, slow down your boat and fine tune the presentation.
Small jigs tipped with cut pieces of night crawler can be fished vertically, over the side or rigged on a slip float that can be cast further into the weeds. For best results, keep your bait close to the bottom and fish as motionlessly as you can. Even though Sunfish are vulnerable to moving baits like the spinners, the best fish prefer to see bait that sits still.
June 25, 2015 - “Walleye Fishing On Winnibigoshish”
Lake Winnie continues produce Walleyes for anglers who follow the strategy of "Cherry Picking" fish from mid-lake humps and bars.
On Wednesday, calm seas made fishing the middle of Winnie easier and for our guests Diane and Keith Eberhardt, the effort paid off.
Most the humps have at least a few fish on them right now and it's the element of surprise that helps make catching them easier. By carefully navigating from one structure to the next, Keith managed to put Diane over some very nice quality fish that were in the protected slot. There was a 17-1/2 inch keeper, along with a 5 pound Pike in the bag to provide a fish fry too.
Presentations vary right now and we suggest that our guests be prepared for a variety of situations. Typically, Walleye fishermen turn to Lindy Rigs and live bait to produce the best results on mid-lake bars. Sometimes the fish show other preferences though, like the experience Keith and Diane had on Sunday when the Walleyes they caught had a sweet tooth for ¼ ounce Lindy Jigs tipped with Rainbow Chubs.
Persistent Walleye fishermen can locate fish in shallow water on the big lake too. Water temperatures are already hovering around 70 degrees and weed edges are developing rapidly. This means that as the water warms, fish will be encouraged to use the heavier weed cover for shade, protection and for feeding. One benefit of fishing the weeds is the opportunity to catch a mixed bag of fish.
On the big lake, Walleye, Pike and Perch make up the mix. On Cutfoot Sioux, the variety is even greater and anglers could expect to find Crappie and Sunfish in their mixed bag too. Fishing in the weeds means either getting up early or staying up late; the best action occurs while the sun is low on the horizon.
The best approach for fishing the action bite in the weeds is to move slowly along the weed edges with your trolling motor while you cast small jigs tipped with artificial, action tails. A 1/16 ounce jig tipped with a 2inch shad or twister tail is good, so are Whatsit Spins, Beetle Spins and small inline spinners, like a mepps.
An ultralight rod in the 6-1/2 to 7 foot range, 4 pound test line and properly set drag will allow you to catch everything from Perch to Musky and that’s why fishing on the weedline is fun, you never know what you’ll hook next.
June 22, 2015 - “Walleye Fishing On Winnibigoshish”
Sometimes there's just not a lot a guy can do fix the weather and on Monday, the lesson was reinforced.
When I picked up my friends Keith and Diane Eberhardt at Bowen Lodge, we knew that conditions would deteriorate eventually; a strong Northwest wind was predicted. But the wind hadn't begun blowing yet and it looked like we might have a short but sweet window of Walleye fishing opportunity.
I high-tailed it out to "the humps" and yes, there were fish on the first couple of spots we fished. Our adventure started out looking good, a couple of slot-fish, then a keeper and then, the wind switched. It took the Northwest wind about 10 minutes to get the whitecaps rolling and within a half hour, fishing the deep mid-lake structure had become unmanageable.
That's happened to me plenty of times before and I wasn't too worried, especially in light of recent reports about Walleye action in the weeds, in shallow water. So I started working my way into the shallows, expecting that the strong winds would help get an action bite fired up somewhere.
Long story short, if there was a shallow water Walleye bite to find, I didn't figure it out in time. Rocks, weeds, breaklines, sand flats; no matter where I looked on the North end, it was wrong.
A move into Cutfoot helped a little; at least we found some calm water and caught some Perch that were hiding in the weeds. There were a couple of Walleyes on a small hump too, but still not enough fish to help me stage an 11th inning rally.
It would be really unusual not to find some fish on the shoreline somewhere. So I really don't believe that Lake Winnie's deep water, mid-lake structures are the only game in town, but for me, that's the most reliable bite I know about.
On Monday, the fish that we did catch were located on the high side of the breakline in water depths of 20 to 24 feet. They temporarily reverted away from the night crawlers and leeches; today they wanted to eat 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with minnows.
June 15, 2015 - “Walleye Fishing On Winnibigoshish”
“Walleyes, particularly large females are becoming well established on mid-lake structure. The lake's large, "Main Bars" have lots of fish on them and now the smaller humps are becoming populated with Walleye as well.
Working on a special TV project, one of our favorite fishing guides, Jeff "Cubby" Skelly teamed up with Gail Heig last week and between them, 15 or more Walleyes were boated.
Almost all of the fish they caught were larger females, within the protected slot size. That's to be expected when fishing this type of structure, especially during the early phases of the migration toward the lake's mid-section. For this event, catch, photo and release fish were just what the team needed, so they didn't worry about finding "eaters" this time.
Fish location was typical for this time of year, most of them located along the breaklines in 22 to 28 feet of water. The best presentation was somewhat unexpected, Skelly noted; "The fish weren't too interested in rigging Leeches, but they really started thumping when we dropped in a jig and minnow”. Typically, fish in the early stages of migrating to the middle will continue to strike jig and minnow combinations for a week or more after they arrive. It won’t last forever, so be prepared, it’s better to have a variety of bait, then to have lots of only one kind of bait.
For fishermen who want to locate eating size fish, the pattern we experienced last summer is emerging again this summer. The peak feeding periods of early morning and late evening is when you have to be on the lake fishing, even night fishing has become more productive on Winnie.
It’s not what most of us have become accustomed to over the years, but catching smaller fish depends on being on the water when they make their feeding runs. For the folks who are on the water at sunrise, sunset or during the dark of night, finding eater fish has not been that hard.
Weedline areas continue to produce and so do the shallow edges of the lakes large bars. The Bena Bar and Sugar Bar have the best populations of smaller fish right now. Moses, Horseshoe and center bar have smaller numbers of larger fish at the moment.
It isn’t easy to know for sure; but we may have to consider the possibility that clearing water conditions could persist. If they do, then this new style of fishing (on Winnie) just might be what we fishermen are required to adapt to.
On Cutfoot Sioux, Crappie fishing has been good for the folks who work the weeds. Casting small jigs tipped with plastic action tails in and around Cabbage weeds has produced lots of fish for some of our guests.
A good way to find schools of fish is to move along the outer edges of the weeds, remembering to stay within easy casting distance of the weeds. If you don’t feel them occasionally, then you’re likely to far away from them. Cast your jig into gaps between weed patches, let it fall and then work it back using a swim-drop-swim style retrieve.
By the way, during early morning and evening, this can be a good way to find Walleye, Perch and Pike too.
June 8, 2015 - “Walleyes In Transition on Winnibigoshish”
Walleyes in the early phase of transition toward deep water are turning up on some of the large, main lake bars. It's a natural transition and if you think about it, an easy one to follow.
Walleye stick around in shallow water, feeding primarily on minnows until the food supply in deeper water develops. Once the table is set and the feast is laid out, these fish act a lot like they're on their way to grandma's house for a gigantic holiday meal.
Mayfly Larvae, Midge hatches and dozens of other microscopic critters attract the attention of tiny fish, and they in turn attract the attention of Walleye. It's just a matter of time before the fish follow their noses to the smorgasbord.
Walleyes are lazy though and they don't just pack their bags and make a bee line from the shore to the middle of the lake. Instead, they work their way out, following the deep breakline. They’re using these main lake drop offs the same way that we would travel along the highway. Just like our highways, theirs provide numerous rest areas, food joints and scenic observation areas.
The key to figuring out where Walleye are located is to use your intuition about the travel plan that you might lay out for yourself. I could imagine a scenario like this; “Let’s head south from Highbanks, we can follow the 22 foot break until we get down to Moxie’s Hole. We’ll spend a couple of days there and then we’ll start heading west toward the Bena Bar and if we’re lucky, those Mayflies will be hatching on that big mud flat.
You get the idea; Walleyes will eventually inhabit almost all of the smaller humps and isolated areas along the large bars. But before they get there, we will find them in territory found closer to the shoreline.
So if you like fishing “the humps”, then don’t go running straight out to the middle, instead, start your search on the ones located nearest the shoreline and work your way further out as the migration progresses.
Once you find fish, bear in mind that for a time, Walleyes remember all of those delicious minnows that they were eating on the shoreline. During the early phases of this migration, Walleyes will still be susceptible to jig and minnow presentations.
After a week or so, they’ll begin snubbing the jigs and show a strong preference for live leeches and night crawlers. During June on Lake Winnie, it’s hard to beat Lindy Rigs tipped with healthy leeches. A ½ to ¾ ounce sinker, a 5 to 6 foot leader and a fine wire, light weight #6 hook is the perfect combination for presenting leeches. For night crawlers, you can use a slightly larger hook because you can add buoyancy to the crawler by injecting a small bubble of air with a “Worm Blower”.
One of the curious aspects about these migrations toward mid-lake structure is that a portion of these fish also migrate back into Cutfoot Sioux. This is especially important for our guests because there are times when all of us drive right past good schools of fish as we head for the Promised Land in the middle of Winnie.
So bear in mind that even if finding fish on Cutfoot doesn’t pan out for you today, it doesn't mean that they won't be there tomorrow. Through the years, this summer peak transition into Cutfoot has been a very reliable, but often overlooked pattern.
With hot, summer weather on its way, warmer surface temperatures will encourage the fish to make these moves soon. Most likely, some of them already have and it would not surprise us to begin hearing about good catches of mid-lake and Cutfoot Sioux Walleyes this week.
Panfish are in transition too, Crappies have all but wrapped up their spawning runs and sunfish have begun theirs.
For fishermen who like Crappies, this is a good time to work the weeds using small jigs tipped with artificial tails. When you can find it, Cabbage weeds, adjacent to shallow flats are the best, but Coontail patches also provide good cover for Crappies. Crappies can get finicky during midday, so it’s a good idea to set aside some time in the early morning to try this pattern.
Move the boat slowly along the outside edges of weed patches; cast your 1/16 ounce jig, tipped with a small shad, twister or other action tail into the outer edges of the weeds. Use a drop-swim-hop retrieve to attract their attention.
One thing about Crappies, when they’re biting, they’re biting! This pattern is a great way to figure out quickly where they are located. Once you find them, the action will be intense.
May 28, 2015 - “Bigger Smiles through Mixed Bag Fishing”
Mixed bag action has been the theme of the week on Lake Winnie. Surface temperatures have found their way into the low 60 degree neighborhood and the food chain is blossoming because of it.
For folks who enjoy a great fish fry at the end of their fishin’ day, there’s no excuse to return to port with an empty creel. That’s because Perch, Pike, and Walleyes have joined forces, teaming up against massive schools of small baitfish that are inhabiting the weed patches found along the breakline on the North and west sides of the big lake.
Fishermen from the resort are reporting excellent catches of Perch ranging anywhere in size from 8 to 12 inches. When it comes to finding jumbos, some of our guests are doing better than others, but everyone agrees that there are a ton of Perch working that area right now.
Northern Pike are there in big numbers too, most of them ranging in size from 20 to 26 inches, with an occasional larger fish caught. According to one of our fishing guides, the small and medium size Pike are attracted by gigantic schools of Shiner minnows that use the deeper weed patches as cover. On warm days, the Shiners move along the shoreline in shallow water, returning to the weeds during evening, or during a cold front. One the Shiners have completed their spawning runs and spread out across the flats, Pike will disperse too.
Walleyes on the other hand will remain in the territory longer; they do not focus on Shiners as much as the Pike do. For Walleyes, young Perch ranging in size from ¾ inch to 3 inches are a primary food source and many of these baitfish size Perch will remain in the weeds all summer long. That presents an opportunity for feeding Walleye; they will linger in and around the weeds, capitalizing on opportunities as they present themselves.
At the moment, presentations revolve around the jig and minnow combinations favored by most of our springtime guests. Jigs sizes range from 1/16 to ¼ ounce, with 1/8 ounce being considered the “gold standard” for Lake Winnie.
Minnows are a hot topic of conversation these days; most anglers really love Shiners, but the truth is you can still catch plenty of fish without them. One of the popular guides has fished the big lake for the past few days using nothing but Fatheads. As far we can see they are performing as well, maybe even better than the Shiners, especially at times when there are so many Pike in the neighborhood. The more subdued color of the Fatheads helps keep your lure under the radar of the ravenous Pike.
The point may be moot anyway, within days we will roll away from May, and we’re expecting to see some fish migrating toward the mid-lake bars and deep points. Lindy Rigs tipped with leeches and night crawlers will soon become the preferred baits.
Cutfoot Sioux has not been a recommended destination for Walleye this week. The fish are either shy, in a funk or roaming the flats on the big lake. They’ll be back, but for now we suggest Panfish as the alternative for fishermen who prefer to stay in Cutfoot Sioux.
Crappies have already moved into spawning areas in the bulrushes and shallow gravel flats. In some instances, Crappies have already finished spawning and have moved away from the shallow cover. Evening is the time to catch fish that have either already spawned, or the ones continuing to migrate toward spawning areas.
Anchoring along the shallow breakline in water depths of 6 to 8 feet and using slip floats is the preferred presentation. A small jig or ice spoon tipped with Crappie minnows and suspended 4 to 5 feet below the float will do the trick. This late evening pattern is very reliable and it is working very well, right now.
May 22, 2015 - Water Conditions on Both Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux have improved tremendously since the fishing season began. A side effect caused by the influx of rain, was that our water temperatures took a dramatic dip. Finally, after almost two weeks, surface temperatures have risen back into more productive territory, pushing toward the 60 degree mark.
On Thursday, temperatures over most of the main portion of Cutfoot Sioux ranged between 56 to 58 degrees. In protected, shallow areas, temperatures exceeded 60 degrees, which helped produce improved shallow water action on Cutfoot Sioux.
Walleyes caught in water depths of 5 to 7 feet, were shallower than we expect to find them in Cutfoot, but apparently that's where they wanted to be. More than likely, it's because there are millions of tiny, minnow fry swimming near the warmer, shoreline water. The tiny minnows were so thick that they could easily be sampled with a minnow net. This gigantic hatch has already helped establish a healthy food chain and by yesterday afternoon, they had attracted the attention of large schools of Perch. In water depths of 3 to 4 feet, they were aggressive, albeit mostly small, ranging in size from 5 to 7 inches. Reports from some of our fishermen indicated that were some keeper size Perch in the 9 to 11 inch range and they caught enough keepers for a big fish fry yesterday evening.
Walleye fishing on Lake Winnibigoshish has been spotty, and we know that most anglers are struggling to produce healthy numbers of keeper size Walleye. Right now, we think this has an awful lot to do with some folks getting stuck in a rut. There are fishermen on the lake coming in with their limits of Walleye, but these are the folks who never quit looking until they find active fish.
Most of the better reports are coming from fishermen who head toward the west shoreline, fishing the territory between Stony Point and Ravens point.
Key water depths are 10 to 13 feet and jig/minnow combinations are still the most productive method of catching fish.
Crappies are biting in the evening between 7:30 and 9:00 PM along the shoreline in 4 to 8 feet of water. These brief feeding runs are typical for this time of year and the pattern if usually reliable. So far, Crappies have not established beds in their spawning areas, but with temperatures pushing upward, we can feel a move coming. With calm water and a sunny, 70 degrees on tap, we could even see this develop today.
Many of our guests are already here for the weekend; for everyone who will be driving up later today, be safe, patient and have a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend.
We will see you on the lake!!
May 8, 2015 - Water Conditions on Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux are low, that's no secret. There's help for fishermen with problematic rigs like fiberglass boats on bunk trailers; "Our docks are in place, water conditions at our boat ramp are adequate and I'll be in my chest waders all day long to help out".
We're probably not going to be able to help fishermen with really big, cuddy cabin type rigs. But for most of the common fishing boats, even large ones, we have enough water at our marina to get you onto the water for the Walleye fishing opener this Saturday.
There's plenty of parking, we've got gas, bait and supplies, plus we're just a stone’s throw away from some of the best Walleye fishing in Minnesota. Come on out and let us give you hand this weekend.
The outlook for fishing this weekend is looking great. Walleyes have had well over a week to recover since their spawning run and we're expecting that there will be lots of structures holding active fish. We think that means it's going to be easier for fishermen to seek out their own schools of active fish this weekend.
At the same time, Crappies are moving toward their spawning beds and that provides anglers with even more opportunity this weekend.
According to local fishermen, Crappies haven’t actually begun to fan their beds to begin spawning, but the event is fast approaching. Right now, Crappies are located over emerging weeds that lay adjacent to good spawning habitat.
On both Cutfoot and Little Cutfoot, that means searching for Bulrush patches in shallow water. The best early spots are typically tucked into small bays and pockets along the shoreline.
Walleye presentation this weekend will likely center around the traditional jig and minnow combinations. But with an earlier spring and warmer water, it wouldn’t be too surprising to learn that Lindy Rigs or even slip floats tipped with Leeches are productive this weekend too.
May 1, 2015 - Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux were calm, even sleepy looking on Thursday. The low water conditions, light breeze and calm surface glistened like mirrors.
Fishing conditions at Bowen Lodge are going to be an interesting departure from what we've experienced the past few years. In spite of the low water, we're in for what promises to be a much more typical opening day fishing scenario this year.
The Walleye spawning run into Little Cutfoot is already over, the MN DNR Walleye Egg Harvest was already completely wrapped up 9 days ago and most of the female fish have dropped their eggs, recovered and are likely heading back toward the big lake already.
On opening day, Cutfoot Sioux will certainly still host some fish, lingering after the spawn. But we think that the odds will favor anglers who set their sights on fishing the main breaklines on Lake Winnibigoshish.
Whether you prefer to fish with jigs, Lindy Rigs or even slip bobbers, most of the typical early season presentations include minnows. This year, Shiner Minnows will be available, at least in limited numbers. We’re not exactly sure how many we’ll have on hand for the opener, but we have a lot of confidence in our bait supplier and we will definitely be posting updates both here and on our Facebook page during the early part of next week.
Shiners or not, we do know for sure that our minnow tanks will be stocked with adequate supplies of good, fish-catching baits to help our guests catch Walleyes next weekend.
According to area and regional fisheries staff, the Walleye population in lake Winnie is strong, hosting populations of fish that rank near historical high levels for the lake. That, combined with the narrowing of the protected slot size, spells out expanded opportunities for our guests.
For 2015, Walleye between 18-23 inches must be released,
anglers may posess up to 6 fish that are under 18 inches. If they should choose to keep one, anglers this season are allowed to substitute one larger fish, over 23 inches as part of their 6 fish bag limit.
Panfish, especially Crappies will heading toward their spawning territory too and for multi-species anglers, the timing could be perfect to venture toward the shorelines next weekend too.
Rigging up for early season Panfish
is easy. A small jig, tipped with a grub or minnow and suspended below a snap on float, set at about 18 inches will allow you to get into the shallow cover. In many instances, a cane pole or one of the telescoping fiberglass poles would actually be better than spinning gear. It is very easy to drop your bait into pockets between patches of weeds inside of old Bulrush beds. The long rods are inexpensive, easy to set up and are a blast to fish with too.
The low water conditions are somewhat concerning, but we've got the docks in and there will be plenty of parking spaces to handle the opening day traffic. Most fishermen will be able to safely launch their boats right here at our own ramp on Cutfoot. Some of the larger boats, particularly fiberglass boats on bunk trailers may pose a challenge, but don’t worry, we will definitely be able to help get you into the water.
With a week to go, we’re getting excited! The grounds are almost ready and we’re putting the finishing touch on the lodge and cabins, getting ready for the arrival of eager Walleye fishermen.
Photo courtesy Jeff Sundin: Fall colors on Cutfoot Sioux are at their peak right now (10-9).
Rand Olson was beaming as he told us; “They are FOOTBALLS, 19 inchers feel like a 24 inch fish, even the 14’s feel like 21’s".
It was a good day to be Kayla! Fishing on Cutfoot Sioux with jigs and minnows helped her bag braggin' rights
and a new title; "Walleye Queen".
Brian and Tommy had good mixed bag action on Winnibigosh too. Using jig and minnow in 13 feet of water, their crew caught Pike, Walleye and some bonus Jumbo Perch.
... and then there's Tommy, the Pike catching machine. A 33 incher topped his list. There were lots more where this came from.
We want to be your favorite fishing destination! Please come and pay us a visit.
Tim Bates was doing some entertaining on Winnie and found fish in the 12 to 14 foot range.
Spinners tipped with minnows or night crawlers continues to produce Walleye and bonus Pike. As surface temperatures cool, the trend toward jig and minnow fishing will become more prominent.
Crappies can now be found in water depths of 22 to 28 feet and many of them are roaming in small packs.
Beau and Lynn, Baton Rouge LA enjoyed a fantastic multi-species morning with guide Jeff Skelly. Walleye, Perch, and Northern Pike struck spinners tipped with minnows trolled in 8 feet of water.
After their fishing trip, Bill and Gail joined Lynn and Beau at the Gosh Dam Place for their famous "Bring In Your Fish; We'll Cook Them Special."
Photo courtesy Jeff Sundin. Quality Walleye and Pike are active on the big lake and will strike large artificial baits. Key depths are 12 to 14 feet, but expect fish to be moving shallower soon.
Crappie and Sunfish action remains best in shallow water. Abundant submerged vegeation continues to provide excellent cover for panfish. Once located, they will strike agressively
Photo courtesy Ken Doll: Evening fishing with Mark Wilson was good, they caught 8 keepers in a couple of hours.
When you're searching for Panfish, one good rule of thumb is to begin on the steep breakline that occurs closest to the shore. Read More >> Early fall Panfish progressions
Panfish action is heating up along the weedlines in Cutfoot Sioux. Cecilee Oste gave us a sneak preview of the "pre-fall Crappie run".
It was a great week for Mike Moening. Fishing the breakline on Cutfoot Sioux, Mike caught this giant using a Warlock jerkbait.