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Brainerd Fishing Report: 12-03-10
It looks like it's time to start a new Brainerd fishing report page for 2011. This page is full and it's almost time to start another ice fishing season. We've got 4 to 6 inches of ice on most of the smaller lakes in the area. The wild card is the recent snow fall we had earlier this week. The weight of the new snow caused large portions of Gull Lake to open up on Sunday. The best ice conditions on Gull exist anywhere the lake had a chance to open up and then refreeze. The poorest conditions exist anyplace the lake didn't. (I wish the entire lake would have opened up.)  The low tonight should dip down to 5 degrees. With temps like that, it won't be long before the slushy areas on Gull freeze solid too. I would not advise any ATV traffic on Gull at the present time. Todd and Nate have been building ice houses all week. They've already sold (6) since Thanksgiving. (new record) I'll include a few new pictures soon. These two guys build some of the nicest wheelhouses in the Brainerd Lakes, and they're all priced under $7000. (you can't beat that price.) We have several new deluxe ice houses rentals this year. Several have flat screen TV's included. Our ice house rates will be $150/day for the standard aluminum wheelhouses and $225/day for the deluxe sleeper models with flat screen TV's.
Life is Good!
John
walleyes It's Spearing Time!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-26-10
I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know my family sure did. We had a great meal at noon and then spent the afternoon making lefse. It was fun to have the whole family around. We made almost ten dozen lefse yesterday, minus the dozen or so the boys ate. Tomorrow we're off to St. Cloud to watch my youngest son play with the Brainerd Warrior's varsity B-ball team. At 6' 6", I'm just happy he didn't eat a dozen lefse himself last night. (ha) The landscape has turned white in the Brainerd Lakes region. There's ice on many of the smaller lakes at the present time, but the larger lakes like Gull were still open when I drove by today. The temperature was 5 degrees yesterday morning when I woke up. With temps like that, it won't be long before the larger lakes freeze over too. I'll try a get a few pics up with some interior shots of our new deluxe ice houses. The flat screen TV's should be a big hit this year. Our ice house rates will be $150/day for the standard aluminum wheelhouses and $225/day for the deluxe sleeper models. Life is Good!
walleyes Upper Twin Lake Today
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-21-10
Well, another Minnesota deer season has come and gone. I spent the last morning hunting with my good friend Dave today. I wish I could include the picture of a big buck I shot, but it didn't happen. The woods were pretty quiet this morning. All I saw was a few dozen chick-a-dee's and a pine squirrel. The little guy crawled up a tree and tried to hop into my tree stand. He scolded me for 5 to 10 minutes when he finally realized the stand was already taken. (Thanks a lot!) The good news is there's plenty of venison in the freezer and the area lakes are starting to freeze around the edges. Keep posted and we'll have a new ice conditions report posted in four days. It should be a good winter for ice fishing this year. We added (5) new ice houses to the fleet and there's a couple that are pretty sweet. Two ice houses are equipped with large flat screen TV's and have full AC generated power. (Who said you had to rough it!) Our ice house rates will be $150/day for the standard aluminum wheelhouses and $225/day for the deluxe sleeper models. (Who said you had to go broke!) Stay tuned. Life is Good!
walleyes Dave AKA "The UPer"
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-07-10
We don't have much of a fishing report this week. Todd and I were both out in the woods hunting whitetails. I haven't talked to Todd's group yet, but our party enjoyed a great opener. The best story involved the young men of our party. Ben, seated middle, shot the biggest buck of his life on Sunday morning. The buck was a nice eight pointer with good high tines. The youngest member of our group, Patrick; age 9 (seated right), played a huge part in the hunt when he turned the buck with his grunt call. The hunt started when the buck appeared in a large opening about 400 yards of the north of the stand. The buck walked towards the boys until it suddenly stopped and then trotted away to the west. This is when Patrick started grunting on his call. The buck came to a complete stop the instant it heard Pat's call, let out a loud snort, and then came back looking for a fight. Ben finished the hunt with a picture perfect shot at 75 yards. Life is Good! Stay tuned to next week when we talk about the 11 pt buck they shot on Sunday evening. Life is Very Good!
walleyes Ben's first big Buck
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-28-10
The walleyes are still biting in the Brainerd Lakes area, but I've been too busy hunting pheasants to take advantage of the bite. The boys and I had a great couple of days in North Dakota this last weekend. The weather was good and the birds were plentiful. What more could a person ask for?  I just wish my shooting skills would have been a little better over the weekend. I must have gotten rusty after all those hours sitting in the boat or it's time for me to get a pair of glasses (ha, ha). Thanks goodness we flushed enough birds so I could make up for my misses. Now we're just waiting for the pheasants to be smoked. We've got a bunch at Von Hansen's right now. If you haven't tried their smoked pheasant, you're missing something great. I can't believe the Minnesota deer hunting season is only 8 days away.  I've still got rifles to sight in and one more deer stand to set up. I just wish I had more time. Why can't there be 40 hours in the days when it comes to fall? This coming weekend should be fun. I've got a Canada goose hunt in the works, a confirmation celebration for my son, a birthday party for me, and then a little trick-or-treating to try and cram into the next few days. Life's good. See you next week!
walleyes Great Morning Hunt!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-19-10
The boat is all winterized and ready for storage. I can't believe the season is already over. It seemed like it was just yesterday when I was rigging the rods to start the season. I didn't fish this last week. The boat was in the shop. Oil change, grease job, final detailing; now the boat deserves a little nap. The boat sure had a good season. Todd says the walleyes are still biting in the mornings, but the bite has definitely slowed. The best locations for the larger fish have been tight to the weed lines. Todd's still got his boat in the water and the weather has been beautiful. I've packed away the fishing rods and have since brought out the shotguns. The boys and I are all packed up and ready to head to North Dakota for a pheasant hunting trip. The word is the bird numbers are up "big time" in the area we hunt. I can hardly wait. Keep in touch. I'm sure we'll have a few pheasant pics by next week. Take Care!
walleyes Thanks for a Great Year!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-09-10
What a beautiful week. I can't remember an October that was any nicer.  I spent the start of the weekend with Mike & Mark and then fished Sunday with Swede and his wife. Saturday netted one of the best walleye stringers of the whole season. Mike decided to put on a clinic. He caught ten of the keepers. All of his fish were 2 to 3 lbs, plus one big fish around 6 lbs. Mark and I kept eight nice fish between us and also let several others go for seed. We caught all of our walleyes in 13 to 15 feet of water on Lindy rigs tipped with rainbow chubs. We had some nice fish again on Sunday, but nothing like the stringer we put together on the day before. The crappies are still biting in 25 to 27 feet of water on many of the local lakes. Use your depth finder to spot them before stopping to fish. Most of the crappies have been holding 2 to 3 feet off the bottom. Small jigs tipped with a puddle jumper has been the ticket.  I just wish there was a little more time in the week. A good friend of mine has been just pounding the big smallmouth on the river and I haven't had a free day to enjoy the fun. Oh well, Life is Good! 
walleyes Mike & Mark's Fall Trip
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-2-10
The walleyes are being caught in one of two locations right now. Either in 12 to 15 feet or in 45 to 50 feet of water. The majority of the larger fish are still being caught in the shallows while the bulk of the deep water fish seem to be on the small side. I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having this week. It's really been a treat. This coming weekend will mark the end of my 2010 open water fishing season. Todd is planning to fish for another week, or two, but I'm going to put the boat away and enjoy a little bird hunting before the November deer season rolls around. We want to thank everyone who helped make this for such a great fishing season. We weren't sure what to expect because of the economy, but it turned out to be another great year. Thanks again!  Keep in touch. Todd will have the ice houses out before we know it.
walleyes Kayla's Boat Ride
Brainerd Fishing Report: 9-20-10
The leaves have really started to turn color in the Brainerd Lakes area. The last few mornings have started out on the cool side, but then warmed up nicely as the days wore on. My guess is Fall is here to stay. The fishing has been good and we're still catching plenty of walleyes. The "eyes" are in one of two water depths right now. Half the fish are in 27 to 32 feet and the rest are still hugging the weeds in 14 to 15 feet. On the days when the deep fish are biting, it seems the shallow fish are taking a nap. The same is true about the deep fish when the shallow fish want to go. On Thursday, Todd found a pile of walleyes in 26 to 32 feet. From noon to 4pm we caught released over 50 walleyes for our two boats. The next day the deep fish were slow and we had to side up to 15 feet to catch our limit. Minnows are still the bait of choice. Rig, Jig, whatever; it's all good right now. The bass have moved ultra shallow and the crappies are biting on several local lakes at the present time. Hope everyone is enjoying the season!
walleyes Ron, Larry, & Walleye Limit!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 9-13-10
The walleye action slowed for a few days during the middle of the week, but then kicked right back up again by the time the weekend rolled in. Many of the local walleyes have since fallen off the second weed line and are now relating to deep water structures. Rigging and jigging are both equally effective right now. Gull, Whitefish, Pelican, and North Long are all producing walleyes at the current time. Key water depths are in 20 to 32 feet. I've heard several good crappie reports this last week, but I've been too busy chasing walleyes to check them out. Where has September gone? I can't believe we're already half way through the month. I noticed several red maples on my way home tonight. They've already turned scarlet red. Fall is sure taking over. It won't be long now and the aspen trees will turning brilliant yellow. I hope everyone got their doe permits in. The deadline was September 9th. Now enough with deer hunting. I've still got several more weeks of guiding to do before I can store the boat for the winter. Life's Good!
walleyes Another Limit of Eyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 9-06-10
It's starting to feel a little more like Fall. Labor Day has come and gone and so have most of the tourist to the area. It's too bad. This is my favorite time of the year in the Lakes area and most people never get the opportunity to experience it. The walleyes continue to bite on many of the lakes throughout the area. Whitefish, Gull, and North Long have all been good this last week. Most of the walleyes are still relating to the weed edges, but a bunch of schools have also started relating to the deeper water. Rigging and jigging are both effective methods of catching "eyes" at the current time. The best baits continue to be minnows. Most of the bass in the area have moved off the second break and have set up shop on the first break. The backside of the weed line is a key location at the present time. The best water depths are in 4 to 12 feet. The bass are scattered now, so don't fret if you have to cover a little water to catch some fish. We were rewarded with several very large bass today. One almost tipped the scales to six lbs.
walleyes That's a BIG Bass!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-29-10
The walleyes continue to bite in the Brainerd Lakes Area. We caught 30+ walleyes a trip for the last two days. The best locations have been wind blown points in 13 to 17 feet of water. (shallow on cloudy days/ deeper on sunny days)  The best baits continue to be chub minnows in the 3 to 3 1/2 inch range. The best method has been rigging, but it won't be long and it'll be time to switch to a jig. The bass action is still great, but I haven't been fishing them much due to the current walleye action. The last time I fished bass was over eight days ago. The best location on that trip was in 12 to 16 feet of water. We pitched nothing but crank baits and had a ball.
walleyes Ling's First Walleye Trip!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-21-10
Gull Lake continues to be the best lake in the area for walleyes at the present time. The best locations have still been the wind blown weed points in 13 to 15 feet of water. The best baits have been creek, or redtail, chubs on lindy rigs. We've had multiple trips out on Gull this week and "limits" have been the norm. I look for the walleye action to only improve as the fish start dropping off the weed line and into deeper water in the next week or two. September is always my favorite month to walleye fish and we're only ten days away. The deep water pike action has started to slow. This is typical for this time of year. I look for the larger pike to start moving back to the shallows as the nights start turning cooler. The bass action is still great, but the majority of the bass have moved off the deep water points and have once again set up shop on the weed line.  Water depths of 14 to 18 feet are now the key locations for bass in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Casting a crank bait can be a ball a right now. The water is still warm and bass willing chase. Diving baits that run 12 to 16 feet are the best choice right now. Cast perpendicular to the winds and then burn the bait for the first twenty cranks. This will get the bait down deep quickly. Once at depth, slow the retrieve, and hold on. The strikes have been vicious! Enjoy the week!
walleyes Limit of August Walleyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-14-10
The walleyes have been biting on Gull Lake. We've had several great trips over the last few days. The best locations have been just outside the weed line in 13 to 15 feet of water. Pay close attention to the wind. The key locations have been found on the outer edges of wind blown points. The best baits have been redtail chubs or creek chubs tipped on a lindy rig. Use your electronics to search for the walleyes before you start to fish. The northern pike action continues to produce some really nice fish at the current time. Thirty to forty pike a morning has been the norm for the last week or two. Between bass, northern pike, and walleye; it's all been good. Life is truly good right now in the North Land. I just wish the summer wasn't rushing by so fast. Before you know it the summer will be gone. I'm headed out tomorrow for a little more walleye fishing. If you're looking to enjoy a little fishing before the summer is gone, give us a call.
walleyes Limit of Gull Lake Eyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-08-10
It's Musky time! The recent hot weather has really kicked the big fish into gear. Todd was out on the big pond last Friday and sure had a day to remember. His group had three musky on, five other follows, and landed a big 40+ inch bonus northern pike to boot. But as luck would have it, they only managed to land one of the muskies. The big brute was 52 inches long and had an estimated weight of 40 lbs. Not a bad day! I'm headed over there tomorrow to try my luck. I'm sure hoping for a repeat. I'll keep you posted. The walleye action was slower this last week, but the good news is September is coming and the bite should start picking up soon. The best action on the smaller lakes has been coming from the large pike. Whitefish and Gull lake have both been producing some really nice gators lately. The best pike are being caught in the deep water. The best baits have been large sucker minnows on either jigs or lindy rigs. Happy dreams and good fishing!
walleyes That's a Big Musky!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-01-10
There was a major algae bloom on many of the area lakes this last week. Gull, North Long, and Whitefish Lakes turned into pea soup.  The bass and northern pike didn't seem to mind, but it sure shut down the walleye bite. The bass action remained strong this week throughout the area. The warmer water temperatures have pushed many of the bass off the weeds. They're now relating to the deep water edges. Look for locations where the sand grass meets the cabbage weeds. Jig/worm combos have been very effective baits for these locations. Good colors have been blue fleck and red shad. If jig worming is just too slow for your mood, then tie on a deep diving fat rap and hold on. Keep the boat 20 to 30 feet off the deep weed edge and then make a long cast that's perpendicular to the edge. Burn the lure fast at first while holding the rod tip low to the water. This will help get your crank bait down fast. Pay close attention to the action of the bait. If the action suddenly stops, set the hook hard. A big bass has just pushed your bait from behind. The northern pike fishing  has been good, but should only improve as the water temperatures keep climbing higher.
walleyes Nice Deep Water Bass!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-23-10
Gull Lake and Whitefish continued to kick out walleyes this last week. The best action happened on the windy days that had some cloud cover. The walleyes on Gull have been running a little on the small side. The action has been great but there's been lots of sorting. Catching 20 to 25 walleyes in a morning wasn't uncommon, but it took 10-15 fish in the boat in order to put 8 "keepers" in the box. The action on Whitefish was slower than Gull, but the average fish size was nicer.  I took "forty rod" Todd out on the afternoon of his 50th birthday and we celebrated with a bunch of the nicest 17-24 inch walleyes you could imagine. We're still using Lindy Rigs and creek chubs to catch our walleyes. The best water depths have been in 10 to 20 feet. 10-14 on Gull, 18-20 on Whitefish. The toughest thing has been deciding what to fish for. The bass and northern pike action was also good this week. The summer's been flying by and I haven't even been musky fishing yet. Before we know it it'll be fall again. Well I better go. I'm fishing every morning and afternoon this coming week and I need to get a little rest.  Happy dreams and good fishing!
walleyes The UP'er & Forty Rod Todd!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-14-10
The walleye fishing has picked up again. The best lakes in the area have been Gull Lake and the Whitefish Chain. We've been catching the majority of our walleyes with creek chubs and Lindy rigs. (creek chubs survive warmer water temps much better then redtails) The key locations have been the wind blown edges of cabbage weed points. Follow the wind and watch your electronics. The walleye schools show nicely on the depth finder screen when you find them. The best depths for walleyes have been in 10 to 18 feet of water depending on the lake. The walleyes on Gull have been shallower then those on Whitefish. The bass action remained strong this week throughout the area. The warmer water temperatures have pushed the bass into a higher gear. The bass are really willing to chase a bait right now. The bass fishing has also been providing some added excitement with the occasional, accidental, large pike we've been catching in the process. The northern pike fishing has been good, but should only improve with higher water temperatures.
walleyes Nice Limit of Eyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-9-10
Hope everyone had a great Fourth! Life's been a rush these last few weeks. The bass and northern pike action has been nothing short of phenomenal. Just ask Michelle L. of Minnetonka. She landed, and then released, a 42 inch, 20 lb 3 oz, northern pike in my boat this last week while pitching for bass. Now that's a true gator! The best bass fishing in the area has been happening on the smaller lakes along the second weed line. Fifty to sixty bass in a morning is not unusually right now. The best bass bait has been a jig & a minnow.  The key location has been the outside edges of deep water points. The warmer weather has concentrated the bass. Find one, and you've found a dozen. The best walleye bite in the area has been coming from Millie Lacs. I've had my best luck using bottom bouncers tipped with a leech. Most of the larger fish have been coming from the deep side edge of the flats while the eaters have been roaming around on the tops. I've had my best luck at catching "eaters" by trolling .95 to 1.5 mph. The best locations have been the tops of the wind blown flats. Life is Good!
walleyes That's a Big Gator!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-25-10
The walleye bite has slowed on Gull, Pelican, and North Long. The three lakes are still kicking out a few fish, but nothing like the action we saw earlier this month. The best walleye bite in the area is currently coming from Millie Lacs. The mud flat bite has really picked up this last week. Todd was on the big "pond" yesterday and ended the day with a nice limit of walleyes after releasing 20 to 30 fish that were too large for the slot. The best baits were leeches and night crawlers. The bass bite also kicked it up a notch this last week. The bass have moved from the backside of shore break weed edges and are currently relating to the front. The bass are scattered along these breaks. The best technique for catching these bass has been pitching a jig/worm. Keep the boat in 14 to 18 feet of water and cast perpendicular to the break line to shore. Make sure you allow the lure to settle to the bottom before you retrieve it back slowly. When you feel the "thump" of a hungry bass, set the hook hard. The sunfish has finished spawning on most of the lakes and the northern pike action is starting to pick up. Have a happy Fourth!
walleyes Mud Flat Walleye
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-17-10
Gull, North Long, and Pelican Lake continued to kick out walleyes this week.  The key locations have been just outside the weed edge. The water depths varied from lake to lake, 14 to 26 feet, due to water clarity. I had my best trip of the week with Jimmy C's group on Sunday. We had 24 walleyes in box by 11:00 AM with many fish between    16 to 19 inches. The best baits were minnows on a Lindy Rig. Don't forget the "Gills". The sunfish are currently spawning on most lakes in the area. The best depths for spawning sunfish have been in 6 to 9 feet of water. A small 1/32 oz jig tipped with a waxworm, or Berkley maggot, has been the best bait. Use your trolling motor to search the shallows. The northern edges of the lakes have been the best locations for spawning gills. Fan cast the shallows until you make contact and then slow down. The sunfish are concentrated right now. Find one and you've found a bunch. The bass are still relating to the backside of the weed edge. Key locations have been in 6 to 12 feet of water. Search for good stands of cabbage and you'll find bass right now. A jig/worm combo continues to be an effective bait for these backside weed edge bass. Life is Good!
walleyes Nice Bull Gill
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-09-10
The walleye action continues to improve in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Gull Lake has been producing the best daytime bite, while Pelican has been kicking out its fair share in the evenings. The walleyes on Gull have been relating to the wind blown weed edges in 13 to 15 feet of water. With the cloudily conditions, the morning bite on Gull has been just as good as the afternoon. We've been catching limits on both trips. I caught my quickest limit of the season with Keith B's group this morning. 12 walleyes in 25 minutes. (I wish every trip was that easy.) The best bait for Gull Lake has been redtails chubs on a Lindy Rig. Pay close attention to your depth finder. The walleye schools on Gull have been large. Don't waste your time fishing locations where the fish aren't present. Spend a little time searching and your efforts will be rewarded. The best bait for Pelican Lake has been a #13 blue/silver floating Rap. The best bite on Pelican has been in 9 to 12 feet of water. The best speed has been 2.3 to 3.0 mph. The bite starts around 9pm and lasts for about two hours. Cloudy nights have produced the best results. The best bass action is still occurring on the backside of the weed edges in 6 to 8 feet of water. The sunfish have finished spawning. Good Luck!
walleyes Weed Edge Walleyes
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-01-10
The walleye fishing picked up this week in the Brainerd Lakes Area. North Long and Gull were the lakes that provided most of the action. The best locations were the wind blown edges of major underwater weed points. The key was wind. We caught limits of walleyes on the days when the wind blew 15-25 mph, but only a few on the days when the winds were calmer. The best baits were shiner minnows, or redtail chubs, on a Lindy rigs. The bass fishing was good this weekend. The warmer weather has moved the bass deeper. There's still a few bass in the backwater areas, but majority are now relating to the backside edges of the weed line. A black 7 inch rubber worm threaded on a 1/32 oz jig has been a good bait for these conditions. The crappies are still on the second weed line and the sunfish are spawning in 4 to 5 feet of water.
walleyes
Nice Shallow Water Bass
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-25-10
The walleye fishing has been sporadic this last week. I had a few great trips and a few tough trips. (There was nothing in between.) We caught 18 walleyes in two hours on Gull Lake last Saturday morning, ran into Zobraís to wait out a storm, and then came back out and caught only two more walleyes for next five hours of fishing. The good news is the recent warm weather is heating the water quickly. I expect the walleye fishing to improve soon. One of our best bites of the year occurs when the water temps hit 70 degrees for the first time. The crappie action is still strong, but most of the fish have moved out of the pencil reeds and are now hanging on the first weed break. Get the bass tackle ready. The Minnesota Bass season opens this Saturday.
WEEK 1
Nice Limit of "Eyes"
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-18-10
The weather was just a little "too" nice this last weekend. I fished walleyes on Saturday and finished with just seven walleyes in the boat. Todd, Nate, and Butch did about the same. The walleyes were scattered and we had to hunt for them. There wasn't any real pattern to their location. We caught walleyes in water depths from 11 to 32 feet , but it seemed like the weed line fish were a little more aggressive. (but smaller) On Sunday morning there wasn't a ripple on the lake, so I passed on the walleyes and fished crappies instead. The conditions were perfect for sight fishing crappies. Our biggest crappie of the morning was just over 15 inches. The unseasonably hot weather should kick the walleyes into gear as the water warms. Keep posted and we'll let you know if a pattern emerges.


walleyes
Gull Lake Walleyes
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-12-10
The Minnesota fishing opener is quickly approaching. I hope everyone's ready to roll. The weatherman is calling for temperatures in the 70's and clear skies, so it sounds like it's going to be a beautiful weekend on the water. I haven't been fishing the last few days. The rain and cold weather have kept me inside doing honey-dos, but that'll soon change. I look for the crappies to move back into the pencil reeds with the return of the warmer weather. The key locations will be the old pencil reed beds. I haven't decided where I'm going to open walleye season yet but I'll keep you posted. Have you seen our new sign? It's on the west side of 371, just across from the Brainerd International Raceway. Look for our big yellow sign at Nate's gas station. Nate really went all out remodeling his new place. Stop in and check it out.


WEEK 1
Nice Pencil Reed Crappie
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-03-10
The warmer weather has pushed the majority of crappies out of the backwater areas and into the pencil reeds. Key locations have been in 4 to 5 feet of water. Search areas where old reed beds meet sandy bottoms. Windless days can provide anglers with some great sight fishing opportunities. Turkey Update: We called in another Big Tom on Saturday morning and then finished up with a nice Jake a few hours later. That officially brings our 2010 turkey season to an end. Final totals for the season were four Toms and one Jake with our biggest gobbler being 23 pounds. The longest beard was just over 10 inches and the longest spur was 1 1/4 inches. Special thanks to J for letting us hunt and also to the State of Minnesota for creating youth turkey hunting opportunities. Hopefully next year I can get drawn for a permit. NEWS: The finishing touches are almost complete on our new customer location; the Checkered Flag gas station across from the Brainerd International Raceway. Look for our big new sign. Now it's time to focus on fishing!

WEEK 1
That's a BIG Gobbler!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-26-10
The crappie action has been great. We had several groups out this last week and everyone had a good time. The best crappie locations have been the shallow backwater areas, but I look for this pattern to change once the warmer water starts pushing the crappies into the pencil reeds to spawn. The best baits have been small jigs suspended below bobbers. Turkey Update: Two more young hunters will be joining me this Saturday in the turkey blind to try our luck at bagging a few more gobblers. Turkey Tips: Keep it simple. Turkey hunting is much easier than people think. Thereís really no need to buy a whole bunch of expensive gear to hunt turkeys. All you need is a good blind, a friction call, and a decoy. Thatís it! A popup blind, $75-$150, hides your movements and also eliminates the need for wearing came clothes. We killed both of our gobblers last week within 15 yards of the blind, wearing blue jeans and everyday sweatshirts, and neither bird ever had a clue we were there. The biggest Tom, almost 21 lbs, strutted for our hen decoy for almost 5 minutes before Derik decided to put him to sleep with a load of BBís. If you have any questions, give us a call. Weíll keep you posted.
WEEK 1 Shallow Water Crappie


Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-19-10
What a great, but exhausting, weekend. The weather, crappie fishing, and turkey hunting, were absolutely fantastic. The weekend started Friday night with the local DU banquet. My son Jake and I had a great time, but we failed to win any prizes. Saturday morning started around 5:30 AM with breakfast with a friend. I then spent the rest of the morning crappie fishing with a group from Texas. The morning water temperatures were a bit on the cool side, but once the sun warmed the shallows, the crappies began to bite. We finished the morning with a nice mess of 9 to 12 inch crappies. I quickly cleaned their fish, said my goodbyes, and then headed off to my next trip. The fishing only got better as the water warmed. We must have caught 100 to 120 fish in the afternoon. The crappies were just nuts. We kept just enough fish for Phil to have a nice meal and released the rest. Sunday morning started at 5AM when I meet two local youths for a turkey hunt. The results were beyond my greatest expectations. We managed to bag two big Toms by 7:30 AM. (More in next post) Both birds had 10 inch beards and beautiful spurs. The longest spur was 1 ľ in length. I said my goodbyes at noon and then rushed back home to hook up the boat. My last crappie outing for the weekend also went well. I finished cleaning the last fish around 6:30 PM and then headed home for some much, much, needed rest.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-14-10
The weather has been great in the Brainerd Lakes area. I spent the weekend fishing crappies with Gordy and Jake. We had a good time. We had to search a bit, but we eventually found a good school of fish on Pelican Lake. The water levels are lower this year. Many of the small backwater bays that traditional hold spring crappies just have too little water. I usually target bays with 3-5 feet of water when Iím looking for spring crappies. Shallower bays just donít seem to attract the fish. Key locations are the areas with black, muddy, bottoms. These locations soak up the sun and typically have water temperatures 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the main lake. Spring crappie locations are all about food. Find warm water and youíve found the food sources that attract pre-spawn crappies. A small 1/64 oz jig suspended underneath a bobber is all youíll need to a bunch of fish.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-05-10
The ice is gone on most of the lakes in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Several lake set all time records for early ice out. If current weather conditions hold, this spring has the makings of a great crappie fishing season. I spent last Friday on the Rainy River and the fishing was fantastic. We caught numerous walleyes in the 18 - 25 inch bracket and released 18 walleyes over 27inches. Our biggest walleye for the trip was 30.5 inches and my son Jake also managed to land a 55 inch sturgeon. Life doesnít get much better. My son Tyler went up the next day with a buddy and they did even better. Their biggest walleye was 31 inches. All of the fish on both trips were caught on 3/8 oz jigs tipped with 4-5 inch soft plastic baits. Orange, green, and white seemed to be the best colors. The key was to cross slip with the current just fast enough to keep your line near 45 degrees and pulse the bait slowly. Snap jigging didnít work as well as previous years. Keep posted and weíll have a crappie report coming soon.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-21-10
The warmer weather has turned the ice black on many of the smaller lakes throughout the area. There's still a few anglers out on the ice, but the numbers have really dropped off. I was out crappie fishing with Bob Johnson yesterday on one of his favorite crappie honey holes. The lake's been red hot for the last two weeks and most of the crappies have been in the 12 to 14 inch range. Real Slabs! We really shouldn't have been out there, but big crappies will do strange things to an ice fisherman's mind. The trip out wasn't bad, but the ice started to sag when got closer to where we wanted to fish. It's always a weird feeling to see water spill out of the ice hole when you walk too close. The good news is we made it back without taking a swim. I guess it's time to put the ice fishing gear away and start thinking of summer. If the current conditions hold, we should have some open water around here in the next three weeks. It'll be a nice change from the late spring we had last year.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-15-10
The smaller lakes continue to produce good panfish action in the Brainerd Lakes area. I don't know how long the action will last. The ice seems to be getting darker with each passing day. Key locations for crappies have been the shallow weed lines next to deeper holes. We've been catching most of our fish in 12 to 14 feet of water.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-08-10
The days have been getting longer in the Brainerd Lakes area. Pretty soon it'll be time to set the clocks forward and start thinking of summer again. I havenít been out fishing much this week. Thereís just been too much basketball to watch. We spent Saturday in Cold Springs and watched my sonís ninth grade team play. Talk about a fun day. His team took first place in the CLC conference. Go Warriors! I packed the snowmobiles away last night. I think the trail riding is over for the year. Next week I'll try and rearrange the garage and get the boat moved to the front. But first Iíll have to sneak out a and catch a few more crappies through the ice. Talk soon.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-01-10
The Minnesota walleye season has officially come to a close. We had a great season on the ice, the best so far, and we want to thank everyone who ventured ďNorthĒ to share the fun with us. All of our ice houses have been moved off the lake and our 09/10 ice house rental season is now closed. The good news is spring is coming fast. The water was running everywhere yesterday. Roads, roofs, you name it. My wife and I enjoyed the warmer weather by taking a walk by Gilbert Lake. The woods were alive with happy songbirds and you could hear the Mississippi River flowing over the Potlatch Dam in the distance. The crappies are still biting on many of the smaller lakes in the area and this action should only get better as we get closer to April. Enjoy the warmer weather and start thinking spring.

Brainerd Fishing Reports: 2-24-10
The bluegills have started their annual migration to the shallows, causing several area lakes to start kicking out some nice sized ďgillsĒ. The key locations have been just outside the weeds in 8 to 12 feet of water. Drill several holes and look for the live, still green, cabbage weeds. If you donít find green weeds, keep going. The best baits have been small jigs tipped with wax worms. Light action fishing rods are a must for this type of fishing. Big bluegills are notorious for biting light. Speaking of light bites, we were up on Leech Lake this last weekend fishing Tulipee. The action was fantastic. We caught over 200 fish in two days. The best depth was in 28 to 30 feet of water. We fished off a steep break next to an underwater hump. The fish came in anywhere from 5 to 15 feet off the bottom, so a vexilar was a must. Small jigs tipped with waxies provided the best action. Special Note** All Ice houses have to be off the lake by the end of the month. See you next week.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 2-16-10
The walleye action remained slower this week with catching two to three fish an evening being the norm. The walleyes are now in 36 to 42 feet of water on most area lakes, which means catch-n-release is no longer an option. Fish coming out of these depths usually have a tough time with their air sacks rupturing. It kind of like a bad case of the "bends". Needless to say, we've switched over to panfish for the rest of the ice fishing season. Several of the smaller lakes in the area produced good numbers of smaller crappies this week. We didn't keep many, but the action was sure fun. The best depths were in 18 to 22 feet of water. The crappies were suspended 2 to 3 feet off the bottom and marked well on the depth finder. In other news; Bob's out in Montana this week at the national dark house decoy craving contest. I talked to him Friday on his way out. He had fifteen decoys with him and he was hoping to bring home several ribbons in a few different fish categories this year. Bob's nationally known for his sunfish decoys, but he's been working real hard to place in crappie and walleye this year. I hope all goes well in Montana. I hope everyone had a happy Valentines Day!

Brainerd Fishing Reports: 2-07-10
Fishing was slower this last week in the Brainerd Lakes Area. We didnít have any problems finding fish, but the ones we found sure didnít want to bite. It seemed like most had lockjaw. The walleyes would rise up to the bait, stare at it, and then swim away. When we switched to crappies, they didnít want to play either. I was hoping the northern pike would have held, but they decided to take the week off too. The groups in Bobís dark houses saw plenty of fish this last week. Too bad most of them were walleyes. Minnesota law prohibits the spearing of walleyes. Many houses reported seeing walleye after walleye swimming through the spear hole, but not many northern. Several anglers attempted to get the walleyes to bite, (Angling in a spear house is now legal in Minnesota) but they wanted nothing to do with eating. I finally decided to head up to Red Lake for the weekend. The walleye bite up there wasnít much better, so yesterday decided to spend the day snowmobiling. We put on over 100 miles and had a great time. Let's hope next week is a little better.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 2-02-10
The ice fishing was a little slower this last week so I decided to try something a little different. It's been a while since I was spearing so I decided to I spent Saturday morning on Gull Lake in one of Bob's dark houses with my son Jacob. We had a great time. We spent the morning testing out some of Bob's favorite decoys. Each decoy swam just a little different than the rest. Some were gliders, others snapped, but they all looked pretty cool. We saw two pike on Saturday. One about 4 lbs and the other around 10 lbs. Both managed to sneak in on us with little to no notice. One second the decoy was gliding down and then bang, there they were.  Jake managed to get off one throw, but it was a miss. Nothing makes the heart rush like being five feet away from a nice pike. The look on Jake's face was priceless. If you haven't experienced the thrill of spearing, give us a call. Bob's got five houses out at the current time.

Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-26-10
Recent rains, paired with warmer temperatures in the mid-30's, caused flooded ice conditions for this year's JC's Ice Fishing Tournament. There were several sections of the contest area which held as much as 4 to 5 inches of standing water on the ice. I unfortunately missed out on all the fun. I was called out of town at the last minute and had to live the contest through the stories of my friends. I liked the one about the guy who dragged out a Jon boat and fished out of it during the contest. Thanks once again to all the volunteers that helped pull off another great ice fishing tournament. The best crappie action in the Brainerd Lakes area came from several of the smaller lakes in the area. I can't tell you the names, but don't be afraid to wander east of Brainerd in your search for crappies. That's all I can say. Any more and I'm afraid one of my friends will come a take my computer away. The Gull Lake walleye bite was fair this last week with the best walleye action occurring on Mille Lacs Lake. The key locations on Mille Lacs right now are the points of mid lake flats in 26 to 32 feet of water.

Brainerd Fishing Reports: 1-19-10
The JC's Ice Fishing is once again drawing near and it looks like the weather forecast is going cooperate this year. I'll take predicted temperatures in the +20's any day. They'll sure beat the -20 degree temperatures we experienced at last year's event. Todd's been out exploring & fishing on Gull this last week. I think he's been doing a little extra scouting for the tournament. He got into a good walleye bite last Friday evening. His group left the ice with five nice keepers and even let some smaller fish go so they could grow up. The walleyes came out of 30 feet of water and were caught on smaller jigs tipped with shiner minnows. The crappie bite remained consistent this week, but the fish are slowly starting to turn towards a night bite. Most of the crappie are coming out of 20 to 24 feet of water and have been hanging close to the bottom. Small jigs tipped with minnows, or waxies, have been the best for the crappies. It should be a fun weekend around the Lake's area. We'll planning on dragging Dave's Famous SKI/GRILL back out onto the ice for this year's ice fishing tournament. Dave's brother welded up a big grill a few years back, complete with a pair of skies mounted to the bottom. There's nothing like ice fishing with a few cheeseburgers cooking on the grill. It's always a good time. Have fun, be safe. I'll let you know if we win the truck. (ha, ha)

Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-11-10
Many of the smaller lakes have been providing a good crappie bite throughout the late afternoons and early evenings this week. The last four groups Todd had out spent most of their time fishing crappies with a little walleye fishing thrown in for fun. Most groups managed to catch a few walleyes on Gull Lake, but the real action came out of one of Todd's crappie houses located on a smaller local lake. Todd been splitting up his trips lately, spending most of the days' fishing on the smaller lake and then running over to Gull Lake to fish walleyes in one of his houses just before sunset. A Vexilar (fish finder) has been an important tool these last few days. Many of the crappies can be teased into biting by raising the jig up slowly and then dropping it back down slowly just as the crappies start to rise up to the bait. A small jig tipped with a crappie minnow have been very effective for the crappies while a plain glow hook, tipped with a shiner minnow, on a set line has been catching the most walleyes. Let's hope we get a little more ice on Gull Lake before the big JC's fishing tournament. There are still many spots on Gull Lake with only 10 to 12 inches of ice. Be careful. A good friend of mine was on Gull yesterday. There was only 10 inches of ice at the location he was fishing. He was standing next to his ATV when suddenly a full sized truck, pulling an ice house behind, drove within 30 yards of him. He's still wondering how it didn't fall through..

1-04-10
The bite has been slower this week in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The main culprit was the colder weather we've been experiencing. I woke to minus 26 degrees F at my house this morning. That was air temperature, not wind chill.  I always try to block the cold weather moments from my memory each summer. It usually works until we experience the first cold snap of the season and then the word cold takes on a whole new definition again. The best walleye bite continues to occur on Gull Lake.  Plain hooks, red or white, tipped with minnows have been out producing all other types of lures at this time. The minnow's height off the bottom has been critical. The best height has been 1 to 3 inches. Use a depth sinker when setting your slip bobber. You'll want the bobber to be floating just under the surface when the weight pulls the rig to the bottom. There have been very few walleyes being seen of the Vexilars (fish finders). Most fish have been swimming in low to the bottom and grabbing the first set line they see.  Be Careful, there's still a truck sitting on the bottom of the main lake of Gull in 17 feet of water. There were also two snowmobiles that went in on North Long this last weekend. If you're not sure of the ice, ask one of the area bait shops.

12-31-09
Happy News Years!! (just 13 hours early)
A truck went down on Gull Lake two days ago and the driver was very familiar with the lake. The ice thickness can vary from 8 to 14 inches in depth at the present time. Don't assume if your on good ice in one location that the ice depth will be the same 100 yards away. Todd was fishing on Gull yesterday. The first spot they fished had 9 inches of ice. The second, just 100 yards away, had 5 inches.  So be careful. The fishing has been mixed over the last few days. The recent snow fall and colder temperatures have slowed the fishing. Todd's group had 14 walleyes three days ago and then just 2 walleyes the next evening. Yesterday's group only landed 1 walleye, but they did have a 12 to 13 pounder up into the hole and lost it. Nobody likes a cold front.

12-27-09
I gave Brainerd Ice Fishing a break and spent the last several days riding the snowmobile trails in the Brainerd Lakes area. Most of the trails where in good to fair condition. There was plenty of snow but the warmer temps made the snow heavier than I like. The sleds had to work harder and it was easy to get stuck busting new trails. The nice thing was the absence of other riders over Christmas Eve and Day. It seems like everyone when south to celebrate. There were several trails where I was the first one cutting the trail. It made for an exciting time. Happy holidays.

12-22-09
The ice conditions continue to improve in the Brainerd Lakes area. There's been a good deal of small vehicle traffic on most of the lakes in the lakes area, not to mention a few larger trucks with ice houses as well. Gull lake had 11 inches the other evening and Round lake had 12 inches. The best bite continues to be in the evenings. The best times have been happening in the one hour window surrounding sunset. The best bite has been on Gull in 16 feet of water, just off the break lines, on the north end. Small jigs tipped with a smaller shiner minnow have been the best bait. The panfish action has remained good this week. The best crappie bite has been happening on some of the smaller, less known, lakes in the area. The times of the crappie bite have been similar to the walleye bite, but are lasting later into the evening. Have a happy holiday.

12-12-09
The single digit temperature have really improved the ice conditions these last few days. There were numerous portable ice houses out on many of the smaller lakes these last few days. The colder temperatures are improving ice conditions daily. I'm sure we'll see a big increase in 4-wheeler traffic this weekend. It doesn't take long when the daily lows drop to minus 5 degrees to start making good ice. The crappie bite had been pretty good with most of the action occurring just of the weed line in 24 to 30 feet of water.

12-09-09
The colder weather has put a skim of ice on most of the smaller lakes throughout the area. Today I talked to several friends with homes on some of the local lakes. The reports are good. Lake Edwards, Rice, Whipple, and Perch are all covered with ice. The ice reports varied from 2 to 3 inches along the edge of the lake with still not enough ice on the main lake to support safe walking. It's currently 5 degrees out and its snowing. We should make an additional inch of ice tonight if the weather holds. The only thing that might cause problems right now is the snow.

12-07-09
Big Cat Report.
One of my friends sons caught a picture of a big cougar on his trail cam this last weekend. The picture was taken just a few miles south of town. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen the photo myself. The cougar photo was taken just after the camera took a picture of a smaller buck. The buck seemed totally a ease. Poor guy had no idea what was following him.

Todd's new aluminum fish house is looking great. It's 16 feet long with 6 holes all the amenities. Todd and his buddy have built a half dozen aluminum houses this fall. They all have crank up wheels and aluminum skin. They're as nice as any of the big named fish houses on the market at a fraction of the price.

Thanks for your business.
Life's Good!!!

John Blong
Brainerd Guide Service
www.brainerdguide.com
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