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On the south end...  Walleyes and saugers sliding into a bit deeper water with 26-30 feet being where most are fishingl  Good numbers of fish continue to be caught with a lot of sorting the future small fish in the system and choosing just the right ones for a fish fry.  Make some noise!  Jigging with lures with a rattle or vibration has been effective in both catching and attracting fish.  Use your second line, use as a deadstick, a jig or plain hook with a live minnow under a bobber set at 6 inches to a foot off of the bottom.  Electronics are helpful to show fish, how they are reacting to your presentation and when they are suspended.  Popular lure colors... gold, glow red, glow white, pink and green.  Nice numbers of walleyes over 28 inches caught this week. Walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, big pike, tullibees, eelpout and even an occasional crappie or sturgeon being caught on Big Traverse Bay.

On the Rainy River...   Ice fishing on areas of the river continues to produce some walleyes mornings and evenings. As ice conditions vary greatly on the river as there is moving water, we encourage guests who don't know the river to work through a resort for safety.  The snowmobile trail on the river from Baudette to Wheeler's Point to the NW Angle is open.

Up at the NW Angle...  With the border closure, there are four ways to travel to the NW Angle without crossing the border.  1.  NW Angle Guest Ice Road is open!  2.  Snowmobile trails across the lake are open.  3.  Lake of the Woods Passenger Service (bombardier).  4.  Lake Country Air.

Walleyes, saugers and jumbo perch with an occasional pike, eelpout, or tullibee in the mix up at the NW Angle.  22-27' has been the goto depth for most anglers.  No surprise, pink and gold have been hot colors, a LOW favorite with the stained waters.  Communicate with your favorite NW Angle resort for specifics.  A complete list of lodging and ice fishing packages available at



Cookie's Red Lake Fishing Report


Another crazy busy busy week has gone by. 5 inches of wet snow threw a monkey wrench in things, but as we all know that's nothing new on such a grand lake.
 As the snow was tapering off I was asked to clean up  the first mile after the bridge.  I would say it is the bumpiest section. The red baron was as  ready as we could get.. After talking to my good friend Tom about how to find the short, I relayed what Tom told me  to Jonny boy who found  the loose wire causing the truck to quit running.
 My plan A was back to my mentor cousin Pete "slow and steady".
 Around 3 hours of back and forth moving snow to the south. I headed out to old minnesota. Buddy Hillmans was plowing the next 3 miles . At 4 times the speed of me. As I cleaned up the side road  going to  old minnesota I had too stop and drop off a few things for Wayne and Paul who would be arriving shortly. when I jumped back in to the red baron I had no heat. I quickly shut her down.
 Blue thunder has been sleeping on the lake most of the season . I fired her up, Then headed back to the main road cleaning up our secondary road in the process. While I waited for the guys I continued to clean up around the end of the road as buddy Hillman was finishing the 3 or so miles he had knock out.
 When Wayne and Paul showed up I got them checked in. I fired up red baron and topped her off with lake water, I had some heat again so I limped her home. Today Jonny boy will be pulling the radiator. As another one bites the dust.
 We had guest all week . With Jake rolling in with the boys to help  cleaning, moving, repairing then a little fishing to boot. Not only did Jake enjoy another week fishing. He also got his boys Gabrial and Lakken working side by side with him. There great boys that are learning about hard work, but also  fun rewarding work in the great outdoors. The future is in good hands.
 Brad Turk came up with his daughter Riley and her friend. Brad was so generous to bring me one of his late fathers Bill Turk a oil painting for north dakota.  The painting will spend the next twenty or so years hanging on a wall in north dakota  2 years ago they were able to fish with us spending two nites in north dakota.
 I always want our guest to catch fish , some I really want great fishing. That was not the case this trip. Even in a new area on a new spot that miles marker was horrible . Making that side road for north dakota, minnesota and  north carolina did not pan out.
 Sarah, Carl, Kenny and Terry were here again for they think 6 year. Then Sarah's nephew was also here again Jake Holly Katie Jeromy.  Florida had there best action the second afternoon into the evening where they had numerous bites  keeping 10 in there 5 hour flurry. meanwhile Jake  seemed to be all landing all the fish in north dakota, Jake landed 2 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. plus had his 3 walleyes. Katie did get a 20 incher I be leave.
Jake also released a few fish as he did not want to party fish. Party yes party fish no.
 There such a great group to have every year. They always give me some home made breakfast burritos. Plus this year they had 4 for Jonny boy. I cooked two in the oven in old minnesota when I was moving it yesterday. Best breakfast burrito I  ever had. Thanks again. Sarah also saved me a french dip that I whoof ed down last night when I came back off the lake at 10. 14 hour day yesterday had me worn out.
 Jonny told Alex and his crew in kentucky that if they found better fishing we would move them. About 2pm saturday the phone rang.. we were moving. They ended up catching  10 after the move plus 6 when they found the spot.
 Brett  and his son Zack were in montana where they took home 5 plus caught a few others.
 Jarrod his brother and friend  were in california , They took home 7 . They were tickled pink. super nice polite younger guys. They  have another trip coming up for the same house.
 Yesterday we moved montana, north dakota ,old minnesota then checked in 3 more crews Hope they did well over the last 16 hours. I did stop at minnesota last night with Steve and his dad Jerry.  It started off slow .They had caught a small pike  and may of lost a walleye at the hole.
 I was beat last night so I skipped kentuckys visit as well as north dakota last night.
 Well off to say goodbye to the Iowa crew then clean, prep, move florida and montana to new grounds.



Northland Fishing Tackle® pro Brian “Bro” Brosdahl shares tackle tips to catch more panfish.
BEMIDJI, Minn. (December 8, 2020) – Anglers are starting to hit the ice with a bullseye on big bull bluegills, slab crappies and jumbo perch. To help you succeed, we talked with Northland pro Brian “Bro” Brosdahl about his top five panfish baits.

“Putting together a comprehensive panfish box with lots of options is critical,” says Bro. “You want some jigs with a fast rate of fall. Tungsten gets down and delivers bait in deeper water or situations where you’re in a hurry to get in front of the fish’s face. You also want traditional lead lures. Lead is easier to form, so you’ve got some cool shapes and slower fall rates. You also want minnow baits to round out the panfish collection.”

The first bait Bro makes sure is in his box is Northland’s Tungsten Punch™ Fly.

1. Punch Fly

The Tungsten Punch™ Fly is a buggy version of the Tungsten Punch™ Jig, yet offers many of the same benefits as its brother. With an increased weight-to-size ratio and rapid fall rate that’s 20% faster than traditional tungsten, this bait fishes fast and gets eaten faster. Invertebrates and suspended zooplankton are the preferred prey of many panfish species, and this jig stands out…but while fitting in. The lifelike larva hackle is a caddis and mayfly impostor, while an undulating soft hackle at the head of the jig mimics a breathing and swimming insect. A faster fall rate means quick-to-the-fish, getting a smaller jig deeper. Once a big bull or massive crappie eyes the Tungsten Punch™ Fly, simply kill or quiver it for a lifelike breathing hackle action. A premium wide-gap hook ensures quick hookups, too. The generously sized hook also provides ample room for rigging plastics or slathering with wax worms or maggots.

  • Tungsten bead head
  • Falls 20% faster than other tungsten bead heads
  • Wide gap hook for ultimate hooking percentage
  • Soft and chewy hackle wrap

“The Tungsten Punch Fly is a great lure for targeting big bluegills, jumbo perch and crappies because it resembles insect larvae coming out of the mud. It has lifelike hackles that resemble the cilia of insect life, and like its name says, it punches through slush and gets down fast. The Tungsten Punch Fly has a unique strong hook that buries itself in the roof of the fish’s mouth. There are match-the-hatch colors, and you can even add a maggot or a waxworm for added flavoring,” comments Bro.

Bro likes to drop it in and slowly jig all the way to the bottom. In ten feet of water, he’ll stop about five feet down and slowly work it to the bottom. “If the fish are aggressive, I’ll drop it fast on ‘em. But if they’re holding to the bottom and don’t come up to greet it as it’s dropping, then I’ll pound the bottom stirring up mud and that usually gets them going. Slow twitches are key. It’s imitating an insect. Subtle and long pauses work best. Read the behavior of the fish with your jig strokes. You can even add a minnow under a deadstick. Even for lethargic big bluegills, just slowly raising it and dropping it is the kicker. And holding the bait above them so it silhouettes can be key.”


  1. Bro Bling Jig

Designed by Bro and the Northland staff, Bro’s Bling Jig is built for jumbo panfish. Fish it with a mix of glides, pauses, shimmies and darting movements. Choose a variety of tippings, including scented softbaits like the IMPULSE® Water Flea and Skeleton Minnow, or any waxy-like live bait.

  • Over-sized bug eyes and realistic larvae body shape
  • Flash attracting blades alert fish to eat
  • Flat belly provokes swimming and darting action when jigged

“The Bro Bling Jig is a wide-bodied bait that falls fast, has a flat bottom so it scoots forward, a sticky-sharp hook, and comes in match-the-hatch colors. It also has a flicker blade—not a spinner blade because there’s no swivel—to flash the fish in. When fish get close, they smell the waxy or minnow and eat it. The Bro Bling Jig is great for getting down to the fish fast with a forward moving action due to its shape. I always like to say that the Bro Bling Jig blings them in! In ice fishing, we’re not casting out and reeling in to have a spinner spin. In ice fishing you want the refraction of light, you want flash, you want noise. And having a spinner hanging down looks like a fin. From a distance it really rings the dinner bell,” remarks Bro.

  1. Forage Minnow® Jig

The renowned Forage Minnow® Jig flashes and flutters up strikes from jumbo panfish. It produces an incredibly tempting minnow action with a variety of jig strokes when tipped with a minnow head or other live bait. It’s also equally effective deadsticking with a lightly hooked live minnow.

  • The country’s hottest minnow imitating jigging lure
  • Features a highly reflective “Holographic” Baitfish-Image® design that imitates game fishes’ most desired forage
  • Holographic 3-D eyes make this the most realistic looking minnow jig on the market

“The Forage Minnow Jig is cool because it is a lifelike copy of a real swimming shiner, fathead, little baby bluegill or crappie. With a jig-style hook, it’s great for tipping with waxworms, maggots, a minnow head or full minnow. You can use it on a deadstick, set-line, tip-up or cork line. You can also just jig it. Plus, when you jig it, the Forage Minnow Jig kicks, which draws fish in. For big panfish, it’s a deadly choice. It has quite a following with slab crappie catchers,” says Bro.

  1. Forage Minnow® Fry

The Forage Minnow® Fry mimics a juvenile panfish to tempt perch, sunfish and crappies. The flat body generates an erratic action when vertically jigged, while the extended hook shank is ideal for tipping with soft plastics such as the IMPULSE Zoo Plankton, which will be available soon.

  • Features a lifelike “holographic” Baitfish-Image® body
  • Flashes & flutters to imitate gamefishes’ most desired forage; a “young-of-the-year” minnow fry
  • Deadly on Perch, Sunfish, Crappie, Walleye & Trout

Bro comments, “In the world of ice fishing jigs, the Forage Minnow Fry is incredibly lifelike. It has a little bigger hook and is great for using a crappie minnow, a small fathead, or a couple wax worms. It looks like a swimming bluegill, shiner or crappie minnow. The Forage Minnow Fry matches-the-hatch and is deadly on big panfish. It features a holographic Baitfish-Image body, which is a tried and true pattern. It’s pretty much a no-brainer and a go-getter for big bluegills, crappies and perch.”

  1. Gill-Getter Jig

Don’t let the name fool you, the Gill-Getter® not only racks up big bluegills, but all other kinds of panfish as well. Its realistic SlabBelly® bug-shaped body responds well to rod twitches by darting, juking and spiraling like terrified prey. Tip with an IMPULSE® soft plastic or live bait.

  • Features a realistic “flat-belly” bug body
  • Bulging bug eyes & fish-scale glitter
  • For best results, tip with live bait or soft plastic tail

Bro always carries an ample supply of Gill-Getter Jigs. Bro comments, “The Gill-Getter is one of my all-time favorite ice jigs because it has a flat bottom, bulging eyes, mandible jaw and it’s tear-dropped shaped with a flatter taper like an invertebrate, tadpole, or emerging frog. Fish recognize the shape. It scoots as you jig it and drops down nose first. And the Gill-Getter has a see-saw fall to it. Add waxies, maggots, or a minnow for extra attraction. You’ve got match-the-hatch colors and a sticky sharp hook. It’s just a good all-around bait wherever you fish.”

Parting Words

As you’re assembling your panfish ice tackle boxes, take Bro’s recommendations to heart. When it comes to panfish experts, Bro has more time and experience on the ice than just about anyone and is happy to share what works for him. Whether you’re chasing big bull bluegills, slab crappies, or jumbo perch, we’re certain Bro’s top baits will produce for you!

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