Ice Fish for Eelpout and Tullibee in Grand Rapids MN

Eelpout Grand Rapids, MN

Tom shares how to ice fish for eelpout and tullibee in Grand Rapids, MN in late season. Tom owns a professional fishing guide service called MN Fishing Connections. Special thanks to Lyle Unger, Grand Rapids Guide Service, for providing pictures of a recent ice fishing trip with clients and friends.

Another great species to angle for in the winter is the eelpout “burbot”. They are a fun fish to catch but they are very weary and sometimes difficult to catch. Many anglers that fish for eelpout go out after dark because it seems that is the time of day when they are most active. Years ago, as being somewhat trash, but they are some of the cleanest fish you catch and eat also. Most of the time when you are fishing eelpout 20-40’ the best locations to try to catch them. They are not real picky about what they eat, so the style of bait doesn’t seem to matter. Sometimes two shiners on a hook can entice eelpout into biting. Just remember they are not the best-looking fish. What they trade off in looks is their fighting ability.

Once you catch one you will be a strong believer in catching another one. A very challenging fish. Don’t look at them like a rough fish. They are other species of fish have a place in the eco system. Many of their food sources are occupants of the bottom of the lake, to include sculpin, other species of minnows, and young of the year crayfish. They most often like softer tissue forage for eelpout do not have teeth, such as other species like northern pike and walleyes. Most often when angling for eelpout you can get by using the same tackle that you would use to go walleye fishing. Recommended line test is 8-10 pound, either mono filament or braid. If you use braided line add a length of approximately 4’ of 10-pound flora carbon. Anyone of your favorite walleye spoons or jigs containing a live bait will work fine to attract eelpout. They are not a real movement-oriented fish; so you need to tone down your jigging presentation and be real subtle. If you want to include a second line, many times a sucker minor or a chub right on the bottom can also trigger a bite. These two methods have worked for anglers chasing eelpout and both methods will work for you. Ice fish for eelpout and tullibee in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area in the late ice fishing season is fun.

Tullibee Grand Rapids MN
Grand Rapids Guide Service helped these visitors to catch tullibees on a Grand Rapids, MN area.

While you are waiting for the evening bite of eelpout, during the day tullibee fishing can be an extra effort on your part. Many times, they are in the same general location; leaning towards the 40’ depth. Always remember to have your electronics with you; you will spot the suspended schools of tullibee. This will give you a good idea of exactly what depth to catch them at. Tullibee should be caught with 4’ test line mono filament and lighter spoons and jigs. What you want to add to them is 1-2 wax worms for scent or 4–5-euro larva. Any lakes in the Grand Rapids area that have tullibee will also have ell pout. Some lakes to consider are Big Winnibigoshish, Little Bass, Pokegama, Deer Lake, and Loon Lake.

Ice Fishing for Northern Pike in the Grand Rapids Area

Northern Pike -Grand Rapids, MN

As winter continues to move forward, Ice fishing has sort of taken a back seat to other winter activities in the Grand Rapids area. With snow levels at ever-increasing levels, snowmobiling and cross country skiing have been extremely popular. It continues to be an “Old-time Minnesota Winter” that we haven’t seen in several years. A gentleman once told me the higher the Muskrats build their winter houses the more snow we are going to have. Well, he was correct. Even the weather folks predicted this winter wrong, but the Muskrats knew.

End of Season for a Few Species- Northern Pike & Walleye

Winter fishing is still a popular time to be out enjoying the outdoors. Right now locations are very important in contacting fish of several species. As we are into the later period of ice fishing, the cold water has definitely slowed the metabolism of fish but that will increase their feeding activity as we continue to move forward. Species such as walleyes and northern pike have only a few more weeks to show in your bucket. February 28th will end the season for both species, but there are still others to fish for.

Ice Fishing Tips!

Northern pike is moist often a fish that is less affected by cold water and they can continue to be active. By using Lakemaster mapping you can target areas where weeds and hard bottom near drop-offs exist. Tip-ups are still a good way to target these late-season pikes and allowing two tip-ups per angler can up your odds if you bring a friend or family member along. Smaller sucker minnows will most often produce the most flags. If I’m going to jig them or fish live to bait with a rod and reel I most often will use a slower moving bait then in early winter, drill several holes in an area from 8 to 20 feet and change holes often until you get bit. Many times attach a small sucker or medium shiner to your jig if that’s your presentation and it will definitely help. If there are weeds anywhere in the holes you drilled, concentrate your efforts in and around those locations.

Great Lakes to Fish for Northern Pike

Several of the good northern pike lakes in the Grand Rapids area that you may want to try are Swan, Trout Lake in Coleraine, Wabana, Big Winnie, and Pokegama. The last 2 weeks of the ice fishing season are coming up for northern pike and walleyes. Get out and give it a try on the mentioned lakes and it may be a good choice for the last of the season ice fishing trip.

To locate lakes, click HERE

There are great lodging properties in Itasca County on or close to the lakes mentioned above. To book/check out the lodging properties, click HERE. If you can’t make it up this winter to ice fish for northern pike or walleyes, don’t worry Summer and Fall are great times to book a fishing vacation too.


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Ice Fishing for Walleyes

Ice fishing for walleyes in the Grand Rapids MN area

This week’s fishing report brought to you by Tom Neustrom highlights ice fishing for walleyes in the Grand Rapids, MN area.

The weather has improved, and anglers are getting out on the ice and having opportunities to catch fish. It’s been an old time Minnesota winter and dealing with conditions is just part of fishing in the winter. The end of February marks the end of the fishing season for walleyes, northern pike, and other species you may catch. There are still many weeks left to angle for panfish, trout, and tullibees before open water comes.

Some of the best opportunities for late season ice fishing for walleyes in the Grand Rapids MN area is early and late in the day. Like many species, walleyes have been slightly lethargic after living in water temperatures in the 30’s for several months. Their movements and migrations have become limited and not as often. Most often daytime catching for walleyes can be limited to the last 2 hrs of light. Walleyes will travel same routes at times of the day in search of food. That’s why its advised to set up on corners of bars near deep water as to ambush them as they migrate to bars, humps and weeded areas somewhat shallower.

Smaller baits can many times be key to success and not moving these baits aggressively but more gradual. A 1/8th ounce Northland Buckshot Rattle Spoon or Buck Shot Flutter Spoon can be the ticket. Time and time again I have seen this presentation produce when all else failed. Attach a minnow head or several larvae to the treble for smell and action. You may also want to alternate a plain hook and minnow on a “Dead Stick” with little or no additional movement. Many times, to limit too much movement of the minnow is to trim the tail or shorten the space from the sinker to the hook.  Both these tips can help you to get a bite when all else fails. I prefer lighter line later in the season and most often 4-6 pound test will work just fine and get you a few more bites.

Big Splithand, Moose, Big Cutfoot, Jessie, and Pokegama are some lakes that are good ice fishing for walleyes in the Grand Rapids, MN area. Get set up early before sundown and be as quiet as possible. It definitely will make a difference. For more information: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Ice Fishing. Book your lodging HERE.

Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report Week of 1-31-22

Tullibee- Ice Fishing- Grand Rapids, MN

Ice Fishing Report 1-31-22 for the greater Grand Rapids, Minnesota area brought to you by: Tom Neustrom. Tom is a professional fishing guide, and owner of MN Fishing Connections guide service.

Brrrrr. Turn up the heat!! The weather has been hard to predict lately and the many cold fronts that have been moving through have created other options for ice anglers. With all the species that are available in the Grand Rapids area, we never run out of places to fish for them. Tullibee fishing has been an option for decades and it is no wonder. They fight well on light tackle, are most often in schools, and are excellently smoked or pickled. Not every lake supports a good population of tullibees and targeting the best opportunities for success should be looked for at the DNR Fisheries web site. Some of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area that have good populations of tullibees are Trout Lake, Pokegama, Little Bass, Wabana, Big Splithand, Big Winnibigohish, and Bowstring.

Tullibee Ice Fishing Jeffrey Johnson
A nice tullibee caught by Jeffrey Johnson on a Grand Rapids area lake.

When fishing Tullibees there are three things to always keep in mind. Good electronics, Lite tackle, and a good lake map for starters. Most often Tullibees are found suspended over depths of 20-40 feet and are constantly on the move. Drilling lots of holes can help to stay on them as they move through the water column. They feed primarily on larvae so finding these deeper areas with mud or marl bottom can be key locations for finding tullibees. Good electronics will allow you to see the precise depth these schools are and hole hoping with them will help find active schools. Sometimes if you are lucky you can set up a school that moves back and forth through the area you have drilled several holes and you can ambush them when they keep returning to a small area. One nice thing is most often a day bite and low light conditions are not a pre-requisite for getting bit.

Tackle to tangle with tullibees is simple and remains lite. Similar rods and reels that you fish panfish work excellent and fluorocarbon test mono in the four-pound test range is ideal. Baits can be your choice but a few options work better than others. Small spoons baited with a cluster of euro larvae are hard for them to resist. The Buck Shot Rattle spoons from Northland Tackle can also be key. Colors such as Super Glow Goldfish, Gold Shiner, and Silver Shiner will call the most finicky tullibees to the hole. One little trick is to take the treble hook off and attach a dropper line with a small Northland Tungsten Punch Fly can be a presentation that will produce when other baits tullibees will shy away from. For an added incentive attach a wax worm or euro larvae to the tip and it can make a difference at times. Tullibee fishing is just another good angling option for the Grand Rapids area with lots of fun and action.

Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report 1-26-22

Ice Fishing- Guide- Visit Grand Rapids, MN

Today’s Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report brought to you by Tom Neustrom, professional fishing guide and professional fishing industry represetative. Owner of MN Fishing Connections. Book your 2022 Fishing Guide Trip early!

Ice Fisherman with Lyle Unger
Grand Rapids guide Service Scott Popp group (from Upper Peninsula Michigan) ice fishing on a Grand Rapids area lake.

The winter chill has reinforced its grip and continues to provide good opportunities for ice fishing and other winter activities. Lots of snow continues to have Grand Rapids a destination for visitors to the area for numerous things to do. Ice fishing on area lakes has been good depending on the species you are chasing. Panfish seem to be the most pursued and there are so many lakes to try.

Trout season has opened and there are numerous trout lakes that have nice opportunities for Rainbow, Brook, Brown and even Lake Trout. Most of these trout lakes are accessible through foot travel only and they can be a bit of an adventure to get to. Except for the Lake Trout lakes, there is no live minnows allowed on designated trout lakes. Contact the Grand Rapids area DNR Fisheries office and get a list of the trout lakes and species available . They are all stocked lakes and finding out what is in the lake you intend on fishing can be a big advantage.

A few of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area that provide excellent opportunities to catch trout are Caribou( Rainbows and Lakers), Bluewater and Sherry’s Arm on Pokegama(Lakers), Tioga Mine Pit (Browns and Rainbows), Erskine, Lucky and Kremer (Rainbows and Brookies). All of these lakes require a trout stamp that would be applied to your current fishing license.

Except for waters that provide lake trout, most of your panfish tackle will work for trout on most all of the lakes. Light monofilament line such as 4# because of the clear water that is found in nearly all of the mentioned lakes. Small baits like a Northland Forage Spoon with several Euro larvae or a couple wax worms can coax the most finicky of trout to bite. Many times the softer tip rod is part of the equipment that is crucial to feeling a delicate bite. Other times when fishing lakers, you may need a stouter rod because of the crushing strike that can take place and they are much bigger than other species. Trout can be found throughout the water column so good electronics can be key to finding and catching active fish. The Humminbird Helix 7 Ice is a great unit in winter and can dial you in to roaming trout.

Trout fishing can be a lot of fun and many of the lakes you will fish are secluded and you may never see another angler the entire day. Just another example of what Grand Rapids offers in the winter for a different angling experience.

Grand Rapids, MN Ice Fishing Report 1-4-22

Ice Fishing Guide Service- Grand Rapids, MN

Happy New Year to all Minnesotans and come visit us in Grand Rapids all year long. The start of the 2022 year has brought us lots of snow and very cold temperatures. It is winter that Grand Rapids and all the things one can do when visiting.

Ice fishing is in full swing and with the colder weather, conditions continue to improve. Ice thickness varies from lake to lake and safety should always be implemented when out on the ice. It never hurts to call ahead and find out conditions. Any of the bait shops in the Grand Rapids area can provide you with up-to-the-minute conditions. So give them a call before venturing out on the ice.

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Walleye fishing has been good on area lakes and the best times seem to be early and late in the day. Big Winnie has been providing additional options for good size perch and nice northern pike. Now with the additional snow, travel by snowmobile or on a plowed road is the best option currently. Most of the offshore structures are giving up walleyes and nice perch mixed, but moving can be the key to finding pods of fish that want to bite. A Northland Buckshot Spoon or Coffin Spoon tipped with a minnow head is a sure-fire way to attract either species to the hole. If you drill 2 holes close together put a Dead Stick presentation in the hole you’re not jigging in with a single hook spoon or plain hook and a split shot. The “Silent Partner” approach can be the ticket at times.

Other lakes in the Grand Rapids area that are also producing walleyes are Pokegama, Big Splithand, Big Jessie, Moose, and Trout in Coleraine. The panfish bite has been decent on area lakes and especially during the midday. Small creatures that excite bluegills and crappies get active as the day goes on. Drill several holes in an area and use your electronics to locate schools of active fish. The bite may only last a few minutes and by drilling several holes you can literally “Hole Hop” and find the school again. Small tungsten jigs, tipped with a wax worm or soft plastic, in the 1/16th to 1/32nd size are great choices to use on 4# test fluorocarbon. A St. Croix Rod to SCT 30LXF is perfect for detecting those lite biters. Many lakes in the Grand Rapids area offer outstanding panfish opportunities. Little and Big Splithand, Pokegama, Big Bass in Cohasset, Bowstring, and Big Balsam just to mention a few.

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Ice fishing is not the only activity available in the winter with prime snowmobiling, cross country skiing trails, snowshoeing and even Fat Tire biking trails becoming more of an opportunity. Couple that with great restaurants, and motel and hotel accommodations, and Grand Rapids continues to be a destination for all seasons.

Grand Rapids Guide Service

Lyle Unger

To contact and check availability for a guided ice fishing trip.