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Brainerd Fishing Report: 12-12-11
It's time to start thinking about getting back into the fishing mode again. Mother Nature has given us some good ice on many of the smaller lakes in the area. The ice thickness varies from 6 to 9 inches on most of the smaller lakes. The amount of ice on the larger lakes still varies dramatically. It's still going to be a little while longer before I feel safe driving a truck on Gull Lake. The crappies have been biting well. Key locations have been the deep water areas adjacent to prominate underwater points. Travel light and bring a Vexilar. The current warm weather pattern has made great conditions for standing on the ice. The walleye action will improve once we get more access to the larger lakes. Give us a call. Todd has been moving ice houses on the lake. Life is Good!
JOHN


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First Ice Walleye
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-30-11
It's the last day of November and there's still plenty of open water in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Thanks for all the open water guide calls but the boats are in storage, or have been sold, for the year. (We might have to rethink our open water fishing season next year if this global warming trend continues!) I drove by several smaller lakes in the area this evening and they all seemed to have a good layer of ice. Too bad the bigger lakes like Gull and Round are still wide open. I visited with Bob Johnson this afternoon and he's ready to go again this yearwith darkhouse spearing. There should have some new darkhouse spearing information up on the website by the end of the week. I really would suggest you give this "old school" Minnesota tradition a try. I took my kids out with Bob several years ago and they're all hooked for life.  The deer hunting isn't over yet. Todd wandered south to Nebraska last week for a little "plains" hunting. His efforts were rewarded with a typical "Nebraska 8". Life is Good!
JOHN

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Todd's Nebraska Buck
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-12-11
The deer processing is over! I've got the last batch of jerky in the dehydrator and there's a few steaks marinating in the frig for the grill tomorrow night. The workshop smells like a smokehouse. I just love that smell! **tip: Chill the rounds in the freezer before slicing them with the deli-wheel. The meat will slice perfectly if it's chilled to the point where it's just starting to crystallize. I hope everyone had a successful deer season. I passed on deer hunting this morning so I could finish up the last few items on the Honey-do list but my middle son, Jake, and I are planning on hunting tomorrow. We've got enough deer in the freezer, so we'll only be pulling the trigger if the buck's got a really good set of horns. One of our hunting party, Ben, pasted on a small fork chasing a doe this afternoon. The moon will be full tonight so I'm sure the little buck will be chasing that poor doe all night long. I haven't been fishing now for two weeks. The new boat is ordered and I'm hoping it will be here by the end of January. I ordered it early so I wouldn't risk missing the early season crappie bite this year.  I spent most of last March in the hospital and then April and May lying on my back. ( I was in a bad snowmobile accident on March 3rd that shattered my left hip and pelvis.) There's no way I'm not going to miss out on TWO crappie fishing  seasons in a row! Happy belated Veteran's Day. Thanks for your service. Life IS Good!
JOHN

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The boat is ordered!
2011 Minnesota Deer Hunt
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The Heavy Lifting Crew
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Daughter's First Deer!
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A bunch of future back straps
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Proud Young Hunter
Brainerd Fishing Report: 11-07-11
The first weekend of the 2011 Minnesota deer hunting season is in the books. I hope everyone had a great weekend. My daughter Kayla, age 10, shot her first deer on Saturday evening. It was one of the best hunts of my life. Kayla and I headed to the woods around 4pm and picked a stand on the western edge of the property. We spent the next two hours visiting and practicing finding targets with her scope. (This was Kayla's first deer hunt). The time pasted quickly. Before I knew it there was just 15 minutes of legal shooting time left. I was starting think we weren't going to see a deer when a nice doe appeared in a clearing about 125 yards south of the stand. The doe was walking east. I whispered "deer" into Kayla's ear. The doe continued east as Kayla tried desperately to find the deer in her scope. Too late, the doe entered some brush before Kayla could find it. There was another opening about 30 yards to the east. I told Kayla to find the opening with her scope and wait. We were lucky, the doe entered the opening a few seconds later and then stopped. I whispered, "squeeze the trigger when you see its shoulders in the crosshairs." The little 243 rifle barked a few seconds later. "It seemed like a minute!" The doe just dropped. I couldn't believe it. Kayla killed the doe in its tracks. There was a lot of high fives over the next few minutes. Kayla's big brother, Jake, was close enough to see the whole thing. It was a great family moment. The doe field dressed at 140 lbs. We didn't hunt on Sunday. We spent the day butchering deer instead. Our group of five went 5 for 5 with 3 bucks and 2 does on Saturday. Life is good! My older son Tyler will be hunting with us this coming weekend. If luck holds, maybe he'll be able to fill his tag too. Shoot straight and be safe!
JOHN

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Daughter's First Deer!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-31-11
Happy Halloween! I really don't have much of a fishing report this week. I took a little break from fishing and headed out to the Dakotas for a "little" duck hunting instead. We had a few amazing hunts. I guess I'll have to find a few more duck recipes in the weeks to come. I hope everyone has their deer rifles sighted in. The Minnesota deer firearm season starts this weekend. I'll be up north in Zone 1 hunting with my kids and a few good hunting buddies over the next few weekends trying to bag the big buck of the woods. Keep posted. I'll hopefully have a few good deer pictures by next Monday. The open water fishing season has come to an end. We'll be back at it again by mid-April. We'll have our ice houses out as soon as we can this winter but I don't think it will be for at least another two months if the current warm weather pattern holds. Thanks for all the business this year. It was one of the best seasons we have ever had. Next year's boat is already ordered! I'll be running another pro staff boat for Ranger this coming year. It really is a sweet looking boat. I'll post a few pictures when the boat comes in. Keep in touch. We'll be posting hunting pictures over the next few weeks. Shoot straight and be safe!
JOHN

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Wild Morning in the Field!
2011 Dakota Duck Hunt
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Unbelievable Hunt
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The Goose Hunters
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Another Great Hunt!
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First Evening Hunt in ND!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-23-11
The weather has been absolutely beautiful these last few weeks. I can't remember a week in October where the highs were in the 80's before. The two best walleye lakes this last week were Pelican and Gull. The warmer temperatures have pushed some of the walleye schools back onto the weed edge. You definitely have to fish the walleyes where you find them. The sonar is an invaluable tool right now. Use it to locate schools before you start fishing. The winder days have been producing the most action. The shallow fish have been bigger but it takes a good 15-20 mph wind to get them going. The calmer days have been slower but we've been able to catch limits to near limits on most days. Key water depths have been in 10 to 14 feet for the shallow fish and 30 to 35 feet for the deep fish. The leaves are prime right now. Give us a call and we'll jig up a mess of walleyes as we enjoy the fall colors.  Thanks for the business.
JOHN

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Nice Mess of Walleyes
Brainerd Fishing Report: 10-12-11
The weather has been absolutely beautiful these last few weeks. I can't remember a week in October where the highs were in the 80's before. The warmer temperatures have pushed some walleye schools back into the shallows. The sonar is an invaluable tool right now. Use it to locate schools before you start fishing. You definitely have to fish the walleyes where you find them when some of the schools are deep and others shallow. The winder days have been producing the most action. The shallow fish have been bigger but it takes a good 15-20 mph wind to get them going. The calmer days have been slower but we're still able to catch limits to near limits of fish on most days.  Gull and Pelican lakes have been the best bets right now. Key water depths have been in 10 to 14 feet for the shallow fish and 30 to 35 feet for the deep fish. The leaves are prime right now. Give us a call and we'll jig up a mess of walleyes as we enjoy the fall colors.  Thanks for the business.
JOHN

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Mess of Calm Weather EYEs!
The Fall Leave Colors are Prime!
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Hold Em High!
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It's been Great Weather
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The Big ONE didn't get away!
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Limit of Walleyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 9-29-11
It might be close to the end of September but one would never know it by the weather. The high temperature today was 82 degrees. NICE! The walleye fishing has been good this week. Pelican, North Long, and Gull continue to be the best bets for walleye numbers and size. The walleye schools are scattered. Some of the fish are shallow and some are deep but they're all biters when you find them. A jig tipped with a minnow is an effective bait at the moment. Pay close attention to you depth finder. Some of the deeper fish have been 3-4 feet off the bottom in some locations. Don't waste time in these situations. Lift your jig a few feet off the bottom and you should be rewarded with a healthy "thump". The big girls are definitely on the feed. Smaller baits might catch a few more fish but the larger baits have been the ticket for catching trophies. Don't be afraid to fish with larger 5 to 6 inch redtails. This is your chance to catch a fish of a lifetime. I took a little break from fishing last weekend and spent a couple afternoons jump shooting ducks with my son Jake. (The weather was better than my shooting) Check back soon. I still have lots more pics to post from this week. Thanks for the business.
JOHN

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Nice Deep Water Walleye
Opening Weekend for Ducks 2011
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Jump Shooting Time
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Saturday Afternoon
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Nice Wood duck
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Sunday Afternoon
Brainerd Fishing Report: 9-21-11
Where has September gone??? It was just a blur this year. The walleye action was good this whole month. Pelican, North Long, Gull, and Round are producing good walleye numbers and size right now. It's just too bad September can't last another month or two. (Three would be even better!) The weather, with the exception of last weekend's big cold front, has been nice. It won't be long before we start seeing the good fall colors show up. The majority of the walleyes have started to fall off the weedlines and they are beginning to relate in the classic fall spots. Search out steep breaks that provide access to deeper water. The walleyes will spend the daylight hours in the deeper water and then move up into the shallows as the sun starts to set. Good daytime depths have been in 24 to 40 feet of water. Lindy rigging with chubs has been equally as effective as jigging with shinner minnows. Just remember to use the lightest jig you can get away with for the given wind conditions. (You'll hook more fish!) We've been using 1/4 oz jigs on calmer days and up 1/2 oz on the windiest days. Several of the above lakes have a real good night bite going on right now. Trolling cranks in 6 to 8 feet of water has been very effective after dark. Thanks for the wonderful summer. Here's to October!!
JOHN


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The Walleye Bite is ON!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-31-11
Happy anniversary! I didn't forget. Twenty-six years sure flies by fast. The week was a busy one in the Brainerd Lakes area. The walleye bite is definitely on. Gull, North Long, Pelican, and the Whitefish Chain continued to kick out walleyes. The key locations are just outside the weeds. I expect the walleyes to start dropping deeper in the near future. It has been great run-n-gun action. Don't too much time on any one school. There's more fish showing up outside the weeds everyday. The best bait right now for the walleyes continues to be minnows. Don't forget the bass! We had several great afternoons this week where we just pounded the bass. The bigger bass are vulnerable right now so please practice catch and release with these bigger fish. Life is good! Got to run! Thanks everyone for the great fun in the boat this week.  Check back soon. I still have lots more pictures to post from this week and the previous. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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That's a BIG Bass!
The Walleyes are BITING!
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A Bunch of "eyes"
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A Bigger Bunch!
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Invite the Neighbors! 
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Another Fish Fry
Bonus Bass Action
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Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-23-11
The walleye bite was good this week on Gull Lake, North Long, Pelican, and the Whitefish Chain. The best locations were wind blown points. The best baits were redtail chubs. The walleye bite was the strongest in the mornings. Key water depths were 15 to 20 feet. I spent the week fishing walleyes in the mornings. I fished bass & pike in the afternoons. Walleye limits were common this week. The big pike action is starting to slow. The bass action, however, was fantastic. Key water depths for bass were in 14 to 17 feet. The best baits were jig & pig combos. Don't be afraid to use too big of a bait for bass right now. The big girls are definitely on the feed. The smaller baits might catch a few more fish but the larger baits have been the ticket for 3 to 6 pound bass.  Check back soon. I still have lots more pics to post from this week. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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The Walleye Bite is ON!
A Great Week for Walleyes, Bass, & Pike
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Walleye Limit & a Bonus Pike
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Limit of Eaters
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Great Afternoon 
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26.5 incher released!
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Another Nice Bass
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A Double!
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A Bonus Pike!
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Nice First Walleye
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-16-11
The walleye action is starting to heat up in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Pelican, North Long, and Whitefish Lake all produced good numbers of "eyes" just outside the weeds this week.  The best action occurred on overcast days when a moderate wind was present. Consistent wind directions helped with fish location. I look for this walleye pattern to only improve as we move closer to the end of August. We had our best walleye luck using medium sized redtails tipped on Lindy rigs. Hot water tip: Drop all live minnow baits as quickly as you can through warmer surface waters. Redtails die very quickly when held at the surface. Some minnows will die in as little as 15 to 20 seconds in the heat of August. The local bass action remains strong. We had one morning this week where we broke the 100 fish mark. The majority of the bass are just off the second weedline in 14 to 20 feet of water. The best baits were jig/worm and jig/minnow combinations. I'm sure it will be a good time. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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Walleye Action is Picking Up!
A Great Week for Walleyes, Bass, & Pike
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The Battle is ON!
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SMILE!
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Great Afternoon 
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100+ Bass Morning!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-09-11
The bass fishing was good this last week, both in numbers and in size. We had two mornings this week where we broke the 100 fish mark in a four hour span of bass fishing. The biggest bass of the week was just over 5 lbs. The majority of the bass we caught we just off the second weedline in 14 to 20 feet of water. The best baits were jig/worm and jig/minnow combinations. The best tactic was to let the bait drop slowly to the lower edge of the weeds before starting the retrieve and then stopping half way back to let the bait fall down to the bottom again. This tactic was exceptionally useful when the winds were calm and the skies were clear. The northern pike action was strong again this week. The largest pike have been holding in 25 to 30 feet of water. Search out deep water points with access to the main lake basin. These have been big pike locations given the recent hot weather conditions. The walleye action has been good the few opportunities when I've had the chance to chase them in the last five days. We ended up catching our limit in just under four hours of fishing this morning. The walleyes were all holding in 18 to 20 feet of water. We caught all off our fish this morning using creek chubs tipped on a lindy rig. It's time for bed. I'm headed up to the Whitefish Chain tomorrow for walleyes. I'm sure it will be a good time. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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That's a Big Bass!
A Great Week for Bass, & Pike
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Fun on the Lake
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Bonus Pike Action
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Batting Clean-up!
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Great Afternoon Action
Brainerd Fishing Report: 8-03-11
The fishing was good this week in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The walleye, bass, and northern pike fishing were all good.  The best walleye action occurred on the Whitefish Chain. We had two good mornings this week where we caught walleye limits in 18 to 20 feet of water just outside the weedline. The rest of my groups for the week were more interested in bass fishing. (never fails) The bass action continues to be strong. The majority of the bass are now relating to the outside edges of deep water points. We had several mornings where we broke the 60 mark for four hours of fishing. The biggest bass of the week was just over 5 lbs. Weedless jigs tipped with "gulp" minnows accounted for several of the nicest bass we boated. The northern pike bite continues to be strong. The majority of the pike are still relating to the tips of deep water points. Lindy rigs tipped with 5 inch sucker minnows were the best baits for catching the pike relating to these deepwater locations. Sorry, but we're booked solid this week as well.  Thanks for all the calls. We still have (2) slots left open in the second week of August if you're interested in fishing. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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Future Bass Master!
Good Week for Walleye, Bass, & Pike
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Johnny V's 29 incher
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This is how it's done
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Tulle's Second Big Fish
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Nice Big Bass Double!
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Great Afternoon Action
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Nice Walleye!
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Kiss the Bass Award
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Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-27-11
The Big Gator bite is definitely on. We caught several nice pike this week that tipped that scales well over 10 lbs. I spent most of the week fishing bass in the mornings and then northern pike in the afternoons. The bass are still holding on the second weedline and have started to move to the sand grass flats. Jig/worm combos are still working well. Good colors are blue fleck and red shad. Allow your baits to settle to the bottom about half way back on your jig's retrieve and you just might be rewarded with the solid "thump" of a hungry bass. Sophie of the R.P. triplets used this method to effectively boat over twenty bass herself one morning this week. The northern pike have been holding outside the weed edge in 18 to 25 feet of water. Jig & Minnow combos have been effective baits for the pike in these locations. The Big Pike award for the week went to the R.P's good family friend, Jeff. He managed to boat (2) fish over 14lbs in less than 30 minutes with his largest fish weighing in at sixteen pounds! Thanks for all the calls. Sorry we're booked solid this week. We still have a few slots left in the second week of August. Thanks again for the business.
JOHN

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Daily Double Award!
Crazy Week for Big Gators
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Pike King Spencer
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Pike Queen Mattie
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Bass Princess Sophie
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Jeff's Second Pike
Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-19-11
The bite is on! Walleyes, bass, and pike; it's all been good this week. The best walleye action has been coming from Gull Lake in 12 to 15 feet of water. The best walleye locations have been wind blown edges of major weed flats. Use your depth finder to locate the schools before you stop to fish. Several days produced limits. We've had our best luck with creek chub minnows fished on lindy rigs. The bass action has been improving with each passing day. The water temps have finally reached into the low 80's on a few of the smaller lakes and the bass have definitely kicked into action. Many trips are producing 50 to 60 fish in a half day of fishing. We had our best luck this week fishing jig/worm combos on the second break line in 14 to 17 feet of water. The one exception was a flat calm foggy morning when the top water bite was simply out of this world. Most of the bass were over 2 lbs and several tipped the scales well over 4 lbs. The hot water has also pushed the larger pike into the deeper water. Don't be afraid to pull off the second weedline in search of a fun battle with  these toothy critters. Thanks for all the calls. Sorry for the delay in posting pictures. Early to rise, late to bed, it has been a very busy week!
JOHN

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The Big Gators are Coming!
Good Week for Walleye, Bass, & Pike
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Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-12-11
The warmer temperatures have finally returned to the Lakes Area. It sure was nice to see a string of fours days with daytime highs in the lower 80's. The bass and pike fishing were strong this week and should only improve as the water temperatures continue to climb. We had several mornings which produced 50 to 60 fish on four hour trips. The majority of the bass are holding on the inside edge of the second weedline. Jig/worm combos have been producing well. Key water depths have been in 14 to 17 feet of water. The walleye action was slow this week. I only spent a few hours searching for "eyes" and the results weren't worth the time. I took my two boys bow fishing this week and had a ball. It was the first time I've ever tried it and the results were beyond my expectations. Our aims weren't the best but we quickly caught on. Our group took over 200 shots in just under 4 hours and we boated around 40 fish. The biggest carp for the night was around 20 lbs. We saw several carp that were pushing 30 lbs but failed to connect. I can see why bow fishing is one of the fastest growing sports in the Midwest. There was never a dull minute. We saw at least one fish ever 3 to 4 minutes the entire time we were out. We only hit 3 or 4 fish in the first hour. There is definitely a learning curve to the sport, but all of my boys picked it up after 20 to 30 shots. I know we could have harvested over 100 fish if we would have been shooting as effectively in the first two hours as we did in the last hour. We had one string of 5 for 5 in the closing part of the trip. I know we'll be back to give it another try soon. Give us a call if you're interested in experiencing this new fishing adventure and we'll be happy to set you up with the right people. See you next week.
JOHN

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The Bass Action is ON!
Crazy Night of Bow Fishing Carp & Suckers
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All Ready for Action
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We've got a Double!
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Perfect Smoker Fish
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Big Fish Award
Brainerd Fishing Report: 7-05-11
I hope everyone had a festive Fourth of July. The weather was absolutely beautiful this last weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area. The bass action continues to improve with the warmer weather. The bass have finally started to move to the second weedline, but there are still plenty of fish still in the shallows. The best bass action has been coming from the smaller lakes in the area. The larger lakes are still cooler then one would expect for this time of year. Most of our bass action has been happening on jig worm combos. The walleye action was slower towards the end of this week, but we had several good days in the beginning that produced some nice walleyes. The northern pike action remains strong with the best action coming from North Long lake and the Whitefish Chain. Key water depths for the toothy critters have been in 12 to 16 fow. The sunfish are still in the weeds and have yet to drop out into deeper water. We could use about ten good days of warm weather to help heat up the area lakes. The water temperatures are still below normal for this time of year. The good news is the weatherman is calling highs in the 80's for much of next week. Life is Good!
JOHN

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Bass Masters in Training
Good Week for Bass & Pike Action
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Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-27-11
It sure has been nice to see the sun for a change. North Long, Pelican, and Gull continue to produce walleyes just outside the weedline on sunken islands and wind blown shoreline breaks. The big walleye awards definitely went to the women and children this week. The walleye fishing was good. We had several days where limits came quickly this week. Creek and redtail chubs were definitely the bait of choice. We caught most of our walleyes on lindy rigs. The bass action continues to improve. The bass have finally started to move out to the second weedline. This migration should only get better as the water temperatures continue to rise. Jig worm combos in red shad and blue fleck have been good bait choices in these situations. The northern pike action remains strong in 8 to 12 feet of water. Let's hope this nice weather pattern holds for a while. We'll see you next week.
JOHN

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18 Walleyes & a Clam!
Good Week for Walleyes on Gull Lake
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26.5 inches
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26 inches
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23.5 inches
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25.5 inches
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-22-11
The walleye fishing, along with the weather, has been spotty this week. The best walleye action has been coming from North Long and Gull lakes. The majority of the walleye schools have been located just outside the second weedline in 12-14 fow (feet of water) on Gull Lake and 18-25 fow on North Long. The wind direction has been inconsistent, relocating the walleye schools almost daily.  It seems the only thing that has been consistent has been the rain. It has rained least an hour or two everyday for the last five days.  Let's hope this weather pattern dries out before we get any closer to July. The bass fishing has been good, but it should only get better with a little more heat. It's tough to get the water temperatures in the high 70's when the daytime air temperatures for don't reach 65 degrees. Many of the bass are still located extremely shallow on most of the Brainerd lakes, although some bass on the smaller lakes have moved out to the second weedline. The northern pike action has been good. Most of the pike are still in the weeds in 6-12 fow. Trolling any type of 3-4 inch stick bait at 1.5-2 mph has been extremely effective. Good colors have been fire-tiger and yellow parrot. It just started to rain. Let's hope that doesn't last long.
Life's Good!
JOHN

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 26" Walleye on North Long!
(I held it out Further)
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-15-11
The Mille Lacs trip was loads of fun. We boated over forty walleyes between our two boats. The wind was blowing 10 mph out of the SE when we started at 8am and was well over 15 mph when we quit a 1:30pm. The only problem, if you could call it that, was most of the fish were over twenty inches. Todd's boat won the big fish award with a nice "eye" just short of 28 inches. The flats closer to shore were out produced the flats further out. The majority of the fish were located on the upper edges of the flats. Key depths were 25 to 28 fow. We caught all of our fish on leeches. The best technique was rigging with 6-7 foot snells. It is time for bed. The morning will be here before I know it. I'm headed up to Whitefish tomorrow so I better get some sleep.
Life's Good!
JOHN

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Todd's 27.5" Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-11-11
The walleye bite on Pelican Lake was good this week. We caught numbers and size. The biggest walleye we released was 29 inches. Key water depths were 24 to 32 feet. Spot-tail shiners, redtail chubs, and leeches were all equally effective. Lindy rigging was the most productive technique on the spots we fished. The walleye action on Gull Lake and North Long was spotty this week. I'm sure the big mayfly hatches both lakes experienced around the middle of the week had something to do with it. I was out walleye fishing on Gull this morning and we worked hard for just seven fish. We caught all of our walleyes in 12 to 13 fow. The fish seemed spooky today. We never caught more than two walleyes, and most times just one, from the several schools we found. I have the day off tomorrow and then I'm headed over to Mille Lacs. I've heard walleye action is starting to pick up on the flats. I'll let you know how we did later this week. The bass fishing has been great. Most of the bass are still extremely shallow and in some cases still on the beds. Small finesse plastic worms threaded on 5/32 oz jigs have been good baits in these situations. The panfish action is still good, but the crappies are just about finished spawning on most of the lakes in the area.
Life's Good!
JOHN

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Trudy's 29" Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 6-04-11
The walleye action continues to improve in the Brainerd Lake Area. Gull, North Long, and Pelican lake have been productive both during the daytime and evening hours. The best daytime bite on Gull lake has been just outside the weeds in 12 to 14 fow. The bite on Pelican has been a little deeper. Windy days, and we've had a bunch, have been better than the days with little wind. Play the wind and search out wind blown structures. These locations will hold the largest schools of active fish. Lindy rigging with shiners or chubs has been the most productive presentation right now. The crappie action has been fantastic the last few days. The sunfish and crappie spawn are in full gear. Key locations are shallow water areas bathed in sun. The bass are still in the pencil reeds. Small finesse plastic worms threaded on 5/32 oz jigs have been good baits in these situations. Good colors have been red shad, pumpkin seed, and black. The weatherman has finally cooperated and it looks like we have a beautiful week scheduled. We're looking at highs in low eighties with plenty of sun. What more could a person ask for? Have fun, be safe, and we'll see you next week.
Life's Good!
JOHN

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Char's 25" Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-26-11
The daytime walleye bite has improved over the last few days. This morning it was exceptional. The best water depths have been in 12 to 14 fow. Key locations have been just outside the cabbage weeds on wind blown points. Spot-tail shiners are the bait of choice right now. The night bite is still good, but the shallows continue to get weedier by the day. The largemouth bass are extremely shallow. Most are right in the pencil reeds. Keep this in mind for this Saturday's Minnesota bass opener. Calm winds could create some fun sight fishing opportunities during the next week. The northern pike have been aggressive on many of the area lakes. Shallow diving stick-baits have been effective in 8 to 12 fow. Good trolling speeds have been 1 1/2 to 2 mph. The sunfish and crappies have started to spawn in earnest. This bit should only improved in the weeks to come. Have a happy Memorial Day Weekend and we'll see you next week. Life's Good!
JOHN

walleyes
Nice Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-20-11
Gull, Round, Whitefish, & North Long lakes have been giving up a few walleyes during the day this week, but the daytime action has been nothing compared to the bite after dark. The full moon phase and clear night skies created perfect conditions this week. There were several nights where you could have read a newspaper at midnight. The best nighttime trolling depths have been in 6 to 8 fow. Search out the largest underwater bars in the lake that top out in 3 to 6 fow. These are prime spots for hungry walleyes after dark. Troll shallow running floating baits at 1 1/2 to 2 mph. Make sure you have out 100 to 150 feet of line when you troll. Todd was out Monday night from 8:30 to 11:30 pm. He caught and release almost 2 dozen fish in that time. (That's good fishing!) The best daytime walleye depths have been deeper. The crappie fishing continues to improve with the warming water. Search out the backwater bays with dark muddy bottoms and it's a good bet there's a bunch of crappies in there right now. The sunfish have moved into many of these areas too. A small 1/64 oz jig tipped with a waxworm is a good sunfish bait right now. Make sure the bobber is the smallest one you can find. Get some sleep, get the yard work down, and then get ready for another great summer on the water. See you next week!

JOHN

walleyes
Walleyes After Dark
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-14-11
Today's conditions were wet, cold, and windy. The daytime walleye bite was slow, but there were still enough "eyes" in the livewell at the end of the day for a good fish fry. Todd managed to catch and release a few nice female walleyes besides the "eaters" his group kept.  Gull, Whitefish, Pelican, and Round lakes all managed to produce some daytime walleyes, but the best reports I heard came from those anglers who ventured out at midnight on Friday. The key water depths for the night bite were 4-6 FOW. The shallow fish scattered quickly once the daytime traffic started to pick up. The "best" daytime depths ranged from 12-40 FOW. You definitely had to fish the walleyes where you found them today. The best nighttime bait was a lighted slip bobber/shinner combo and the best daytime lure was a jig/shinner.

Life's Good,
JOHN

walleyes
Deep Water Walleye
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-10-11
The weather has been unseasonably cool the few days in the Brainerd Lakes area. I just hope the current pattern changes before this weekend's walleye opener. We could all use a little sunshine for change. Todd was out crappie fishing with a group this last weekend and they managed to find a nice school of fish in the deeper cabbage. The shallow water areas that are typically so productive this time of year were still too cold to hold any good numbers of crappies on the lake he was fishing. I talked to several other guides who had been fishing on different lakes over the weekend and they all reported the same pattern. Finding crappies in the cabbage weeds might take a little more effort than locating crappies in the backwater areas, but when you do, the results are worth it.  Search out good stands of cabbage weeds in 6-9 feet of water close to the shallow backwater areas you typically fish. Crappies will use these areas as staging points to move into the shallows as they warm and will also fall back to them if the shallows suddenly turn cold. Something we've experienced all too often this spring. Keep the phones calls coming. We're booked solid for this weekend but we still have a few dates open in mid-week. Good luck this weekend. Check back and we'll have some walleye photos for you next week.

Thanks for your business,
JOHN

walleyes
Cabbage Weed Crappies
Brainerd Fishing Report: 5-02-11
Sorry for the delay. Things have been a little hectic this last week. I still have a hundred things to do around the house now that the weather dial has finally stayed set to spring. The crappies have moved into many of their springtime  spots on Pelican Lake. The boat marina was absolutely alive with people when I stopped by earlier this week. Break out the casting bubbles and the crappies rods. My favorite technique for this time of year is to suspend a small 1/32 oz crappie jig about 18 to 20 inches beneath a casting bubble. Casting bubbles are more aerodynamic than common bobbers and will cast out much further in windy conditions. I like to tip the jig with a white puddle jumper, but only after I've shaved about half the lead off the 1/32 oz jig head. This makes the jig's final weight closer to 1/64 oz. The reasons for doing this are twofold. A lighter jig falls much slower, thus staying in the strike zone longer. The 1/32 oz jig also has a bigger hook gap than their smaller counterparts. I've found most bait companies use too small of hooks on their 1/64 oz jigs. The hooks just don't catch enough flesh when a larger crappie clomps down. There's nothing more frustrating than hooking a nice 14-15 inch crappie and then having the hook pull free because the hook's gap was too small. The next topic is the Opener! (It's the term we Minnesotans use to described the official starting day of walleye & pike fishing each spring.) My two walleye opener tips are to 1) focus you efforts near small necked down currents areas & 2) troll small stick baits over shallow wind blown rubble flats. This year's late spring still has many walleyes still relating to these traditional spawning areas at the present time. Good luck, have fun, and we'll more again next week.

Life's Good!.
JOHN

walleyes
Backwater Crappies!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-25-11
I always love this time of year. It sure is nice to hear the sound of frogs again. Life is Good! The walleyes have just about finished running in the southern part of the Brainerd Lakes Area. There were only a handful left below the Gull River dam when my kids and I went down for a look the other evening. It has always been an annual event, but I guess we missed the main run this year. There still might be a chance to see some walleyes running if you head up to the Whitefish Chain. I don't know how much longer it will last, but I talked to a few friends yesterday that managed to get up to the Pine River station on the west side of Upper Whitefish to watch the DNR strip walleye eggs earlier this last week. They said it was impressive. It sure is fun thing to see if you ever get the chance. There is just something about seeing a few hundred walleyes in a big holding net that gets a guy thinking about fishing. That reminds me, the walleye opener is less than 2 1/2 weeks away. I hope everyone is getting their boats ready. The crappie fishing has been slow this last week. The water is still just a little too cold, but that can all change quickly. The weather has been beautiful the last few days.

Talk to you next week.
JOHN

walleyes
Walleyes Running on Gull River!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-18-11
The return of snow has sure put a damper on things in the Brainerd Lakes Area. I really was shocked when I woke to an inch of snow this last week. The majority of the snow has since melted but the daytime temps have remained well below normal. Highs of 35 degrees are the last thing we need right now. I can't believe it! It just started snowing while I was typing this report. Dang! I'm sure this will delay the shallow water crappie fishing a few more days. The shallows cool very quickly under these conditions, forcing hungry crappies back out into deeper water. Think deep if you are planning on braving the current conditions. Key locations will be the first sharp break adjacent to the shallow areas you typically fish. The crappies hold in these locations when the shallows turn cold. "Skinny" water can drop to almost 32 degrees during a cold spell while the deeper water will be just a bit warmer.  Use a small jig / puddle jumper suspended below a casting float. Set the float to 8 to 10 feet and start fan casting the deeper water. Pull the rig a few feet across the surface and then allow the jig to fall slowly back to the bottom. (1/64 oz jigs work best!) Hungry crappies pushed out of the shallows will bunch up tight. It might take some time to find the first fish but be prepared to toss out a marker buoy when you do. Usually there's a whole bunch more waiting where the first one came from.

See you next week.
JOHN

walleyes
Nice Deep Water Crappie!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-10-11
Happy B-Day Mom. It won't be long now and it'll be time to close up the place in Arizona and head back to Minnesota for the summer. All the snow is just about gone in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The only piles left are the ones hidden back in the woods. They won't last long with the current weather. Rice Lake is open and the ice has started to pull away from the shore on Gilbert. The daytime high was 55 degrees yesterday, so I'm sure most of the smaller area lakes are in the same condition. The ice remaining on the lakes is heavily crystallized and foot traffic is no longer advisable. This is always the slow time of the year for me. I just hate waiting for open water. Last year I was able to sneak out and help some friends kill a few turkeys. I don't know if my hip is going to let me do it this year. I'll keep you posted. The good news is the boat will be coming home real soon. It's time to get her ready for crappie fishing. One of my favorite times of the year. I'm predicting the ice will be off Gull by the 3rd of May. That's almost a month later than last year. Talk to you next week.
JOHN

walleyes
Time to Get the Boat Home!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 4-2-11
It's time to start thinking about fishing again. The panfish action has really picked up in the last few days. Key water depths have been in 6 to 9 feet of water. The best locations are sandy holes inside of good weed beds. The best method for finding these prime locations is to simply drill lots of holes. Drill your first hole on the deep edge of a good weed bed and then work shallower, punching a hole every 20 feet or so. The trick is to lay out a large grid of holes, almost like a checker board. I like to punch 20 to 25 holes to start.  A gas auger is a must. The fun comes when you start to "leap frog" from hole to hole with your flasher. Some holes will be duds and other will be golden. It's amazing how many fish can be in a small area.  Don't waste time. The panfish are aggressive and will rise quickly for any bait.  Most of the lakes still have 2 to 3 feet of good ice, but this can change quickly this time of year. Several friends were out on a smaller lake yesterday and only found 20 inches.   Be safe and have fun!
JOHN

walleyes
Leech Lake Tullies!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-28-11
It is good to be home again. The first attempt didn't go very well. My left hip started to swell shortly after I returned home. The doctors were worried about infection so they decided to open some of my wounds and clean them out. The fluid problem turned out to be worse than we first realized. The short hospital stay the doctors first talked about turned into five full days. The good news is the second operation was a success and I'm feeling much better now. Last night was the first time I was able to sleep in my own bed since the accident happened on March 3rd. Hopefully all the bad things are behind me now. Thanks for all the emails, letters, phone calls, and visits. I was truly amazed to hear from so many people. Your thoughts and prayers have been very much appreciated. They have put me in a great mood and have helped more than I can say with the healing process. God bless and thanks again.
JOHN

walleyes
Pulling the Spear Shacks
Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-18-11
John came back home yesterday. He was in a good mood but he is still very sore. The doctors were able to repair all of his injuries. We'll let you know how John's progress is going in the weeks to come.

walleyes
Pulling the Spear Shacks
Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-07-11
John was involved in a snowmobile accident on March 3rd. The accident occurred when John's snowmobile hooked a hidden stump under the snow. John was thrown from his sled and hit a tree. The force of the collision broke one of his ribs, crushed his hip and pelvis, and also caused internal injuries. John was airlifted to the Twin Cities. The doctors were able to repair John's hip and pelvis. The operation took 5 1/2 hours to complete. The internal bleeding stopped on its own. John still has a long road to recovery. He will be spending the next week in the hospital. We'll let you know how John's progress is going in the weeks to come.

walleyes
Pulling the Spear Shacks
Brainerd Fishing Report: 3-01-11
We only made it out ice fishing a few times this last week. The crappies are still biting, but the action was definitely slower than several weeks ago. The best crappie locations are currently the deep water breaks near underwater points in 32 to 40 feet of water. A Vexilar is a must for this type of fishing. One school of crappies might be suspended 10 feet off the bottom and then the next school comes in 15 feet off. There was really no pattern. The vexilar allowed you to put your bait at the same depth the fish were. The crappies were finicky, most wanted to look at the bait for 20 to 30 seconds before they decided to bite. (Many didn't) My favorite bait for fishing deepwater crappies is a 1/8 oz Glow Demon in orange/glow or green/glow colors. The heavier weigh helps get the lure down quickly to the fish in deep water conditions. Keep the calls coming. I've only got a few time slots left for guide trips in May, but June still has plenty of openings. Stay warm and think Spring!

walleyes
Pulling the Spear Shacks
Brainerd Fishing Report: 2-21-11
Happy President's Day. The ice house rental season has officially come to a close. We took advantage of Thursday's warm weather and pulled our ice houses off the ice. All "permanent" ice houses have to be off the lakes by the end of this month. We're still taking trips, but we'll be using portables for the remainder of the season. The Tulipee fishing on Leech Lake was great this last Saturday. The total catch was almost 75 fish. Bob's smoker will be working overtime for the next couple of weeks. The best depth was in 26 feet. The best action was found on deep water humps with prominent points. Hungry schools of "tullies" move to these locations in late February to feed on small insect life. The best baits were small 1/64 oz sunfish jigs tipped with waxies. Use a Swedish pimple, with no hook, as a dropper rig to get your baits down quickly to the fish. Use a 12 inch piece of mono to connect the pimple to your sunfish jig. Super "ultra" light rod tips are a must for this type of fishing. Tullies, even 5 pounders, are notoriously light biters. Use the depth finder to mark the fish and then drop your bait down. Hold your bait about a foot above the fish and then watch your rod tip closely. Most bites are indicated by just a slight sag in the rod. We use #2 lb test line with drags set accordingly. Most of the tullies on Saturday averaged 1 1/2 to 2 lbs with a half dozen or so touching the 3 pound mark. We'll see you next week.

walleyes
Fire Up the Smoker!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 2-13-11
The temperatures jumped back into the 30's just in time for the weekend. Bob's group spent Saturday spearing on Gull Lake. The action was good. The best pike movement occurred in 9 to 12 feet of water. The smaller fish decoys seemed to be attracting more pike this weekend than the larger ones. The walleye action was slower, but we still managed a few nice "eyes" on the tip-ups over the weekend. The sunfish action was also good this week. Key locations were right outside the weeds in 7 to 11 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with waxworms are effective baits right now. The key is having a Vexilar, or fish finder, right now. Don't waste time if you don't see the sunfish on the depth finder. The panfish are either in the area, or they're not. The ice fishing season is winding down quickly. All of the ice houses have to be off the lake by the end of the month. It's almost time to start thinking about lake trout. Todd's got a good pattern for "lakers" on the Whitefish Chain. Bob's headed up to Leech next weekend for his annual Tulipee trip. I went along last year and had a blast. Keep thinking SPRING! We'll see you next week.

walleyes
Late Season Pike!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 2-07-11
What a great weekend. The walleyes were biting and so were the pike. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The weekend temperatures were in the mid thirties and the winds were mild. Bob brought out the grill and even cooked brats for us on the ice. It doesn't get much better! Thanks again Nate, Kyle, and gang. Laters! (inside joke) The key water depth for the walleyes was definitely shallow. (Right in the Weeds!) The pike were deeper. The best walleye baits were shinner minnows on plain red hooks. We caught most of our pike on four inch suckers. The spearing action was good again this weekend. Congratulations to Todd and Angie on their new little addition to the family. ( a healthy baby boy ) Keep the calls coming. We've only got two ice houses left for this weekend. One for panfish and one for walleye. Thanks for your business.

walleyes
Nice February Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-31-11
We're still catching a few walleyes in the Brainerd Lakes area but the action has definitely slowed. All of our rental houses were filled again this weekend and the people fishing in the panfish houses did better than anyone else. Todd's still has one walleye house out on Gull Lake but I think he'll be moving it soon. Nate's houses, along with one of Todd's, are located on several of the smaller lakes in the area. They've been catching crappies and sunfish with good consistency this last week. The best crappie action has been occurring in the mornings and at sunset. The sunfish have been biting throughout the day. Key depths are 8 to 12 feet. Small jigs tipped with waxworms have been catching the most fish. A fish finder is almost a must right now. Bob spent Sunday moving spear houses on Gull. The spearing action was good for Bob and his group on Saturday. They let several nice fish swim through and speared a few eaters. Keep the calls coming. It sure helps pass the winter away.

walleyes
Karen's First Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-24-11
The temperatures were simply brutal this last week. The thermometer at the house read -31F degrees on Friday morning. The walleye action was slow this last week. The best action continues to be crappies and northern pike. The best pike locations have been found on main lake points that have access to deep water. The best water depths have been in 10 to 14 feet of water. One of Bob's customers, Shane, speared his trophy of a lifetime this last weekend. The fish was 39 inches long and weighted 17lbs. The big gator is headed to the taxidermist as we speak. The best crappie times have been in the evening. A Special thanks to the local JC's for putting on another great ice fishing tournament. Stay warm and we'll see you next week.

walleyes
Shane's Trophy Pike!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-17-11
The crappies continue to bite in the Brainerd Lakes area. The best crappie action has been coming from several of the smaller lakes in the area. The best locations have been the deepest holes in the lakes. Key depths are 30 to 40 feet of water. The crappies have been suspended half way off the bottom. The crappies have been biting sporadically throughout the day with the best bite occurring right at sunset. The best baits have been small jigs tipped with crappie minnows. The northern pike were active this weekend. Bob's groups saw multiple big fish over the weekend and speared several nice eaters. (We only spear large pike if someone wants to take a trophy) The ice conditions are perfect for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza. It should be a fun weekend. We've got the ice grill ready to go and we'll be grilling burgers on the ice. Stop by and say hello if you're around. Thanks for the calls, but we're booked solid again for this coming weekend. We do have some openings for the following weekend left.  Thanks for your business!

walleyes
The Crappies are Biting!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-10-11
Our ice houses were busy over the weekend. We had to do some juggling, but we got eight different groups out ice fishing on Saturday and Sunday. The crappie fishing and northern pike spearing were great. The walleye action was only fair. The crappies were in 32 feet of water, suspended about half way off the bottom. I visited one of our houses yesterday afternoon and witnessed over 35 crappies caught in 1 1/2 hours. The largest crappies were taken on medium sized Glow Demon jigs, chartreuse/glow, tipped with small minnows. The crappie schools showed well on the depth finder. The key was to fish slightly above the suspended fish. The water depth varied from school to school, so it was important to adjust your lure depth accordingly. Bob was spearing with a group on the Whitefish Chain on Sunday. They had an unbelievable day. They passed on 8 pike, all over 32 inches, and still managed to spear their limit of 3 to 5 pound eaters. We are currently booked solid for this up coming weekend, the 19th & 20th, and only have a few slots left for the 26th & 27th. We still have plenty of mid-week slots open. Our standard aluminum ice house rate is $150/day and $225/day for the deluxe sleeper models with flat screen TV's. Thanks for your business!

walleyes
Kyle makes a good throw!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 1-03-11
Happy New Year! Life sure has been busy in the North Land. Last week's rain forced us to move all of our ice houses off the ice. Standing water made the ice on several lakes a mess. The good news is we've got the ice houses back out and they're all in new locations. Hopper's house managed a few nice walleyes and a "bonus" eelpout on the first night out. The big fish award for the weekend went to the Johnson house; a beautiful 30.5 inch walleye. Thanks to everyone who braved the weather and came out fishing with us this last week. Bob had several groups out spearing over the holidays. The spearing action was only fair. The big culprit was the weather. Hopefully we can hook some stable weather this next week. We've found the crappies! Shane's group caught over 40 crappies, 10-14 inches, the other evening. The best water depth was 40 feet. A small jig tipped with a minnow, along with a Vexilar, was all that was needed for some great action. Our ice house rates are $150/day for the standard aluminum wheelhouses and $225/day for the deluxe sleeper models with flat screen TV's. Stay warm and we'll see you next week.

walleyes
Nice Trophy Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 12-26-10
Happy Holidays everyone. It's been a busy, yet festive, weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area. We've got good ice on most of the smaller lakes in the area. The trucks been driving on the smaller lakes for about four days now and there's even been a few people driving on some of the larger lakes too. I haven't driven my Tundra out on Gull Lake. I've seen a few big trucks on the main lake, but I'm going to wait for the 3/4 ton trucks to start driving before I start using mine. I've spent most of my time on an ATV or a snowmobile. You can get anywhere you want to go right now using this mode of travel. The walleye bite on Gull has been good. The best water depths have been in 18 to 24 feet of water. There's a great bite window from 3:30 to 4:15 PM each night. Jigging spoons, set lines, and tip-ups are all working well. The walleye bite on Millie Lacs has also been good. 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. Happy Holidays!
John

walleyes
Millie Lacs Walleyes!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 12-19-10
The lakes are still making ice in the Brainerd Lakes area. Most of the lakes currently have between 10 to 12 inches of good ice on them. The wildcard has been the snowdrifts. You can expect to find 2 to 3 inches less ice anywhere the snow has had a chance to drift. Todd was out fishing on Gull Lake tonight. He found 8 inches of ice in the location he was fishing. He found 12 inches of ice less than 200 yards away earlier in the week. The thinner ice didn't slow the walleyes though. Todd caught four walleyes in the 15 minutes I was talking to him on the cell phone. I was out with the kids this weekend and the fishing was fair. We only caught six walleyes, but they were pretty nice. My son, Jake, caught one about 25 inches. It came in on the Vexilar and then just pounded the jig. We took a few pictures and then let her go. Note: Make sure you keep the camera warm when you're planning on taking a few ice fishing photos. I left my camera in bag outside the house. It looks like we're fishing in a fog. We've had some great trips with customers this last week. Everyone has really enjoyed the new houses. The deluxe ice houses are really something. I don't know of anywhere else in the Brainerd Lakes where you can sit and watch a flat screen TV and catch walleyes. 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. Happy Holidays!
John

walleyes
Nice Walleye!
Brainerd Fishing Report: 12-11-10
I was out spearing with Bob Johnson on Saturday morning just before the big chill swept through the Brainerd Lakes. We had about 8 inches of ice on North Long lake at 10:00am. The temperature dipped down to -11 degrees overnight, so I'm sure we added another 2 inches last night. The key has been the lack of snow. We missed out on the big snow storm this weekend. While Minneapolis got 20 to 22 inches, Brainerd got less than 1/2 inch. The lack of snow gave the area lakes a chance to add some much needed ice. I'm sure we'll have 11 to 12 inches on the lakes by this coming weekend. I wouldn't advise any traffic, other than ATV, at the present time. The calls for ice fishing keep rolling in. We still have several weekends free, but the times around Christmas and New Years have been filling up fast. I know I promised a few new pictures of our ice houses, but I just haven't had time. I'll try and stop by the factory tomorrow and get a few pictures. The deluxe ice houses rentals are really something 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!
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