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#52983 - 04/13/15 11:00 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
I just wanted to take a quick moment to address water temperature as we move into these spring months. Water temp can make a huge difference on success right now, especially if you're looking for quantity. As the water temps (surface temps) move into the mid 40s and even low 50s, try and find the warmest water in a given bay, channel, creek, etc. I know it sounds like commonsense, but not all bays, channels or creeks are created equal. The "rule of thumb" is to always go to the north end of the lake, but don't count-out the north end of the bay, channel, creek, etc... the key here is the north shoreline... which could easily be a channel or creek arm on the south end of the lake wink

Regardless, watch your temperature gauge and pay attention to temp changes. Look at water clarity and put together a pattern as to why fish are in certain areas. Temperature is very important to me right now, especially for those panfish. If you don't have temp on your electronics then you can buy a cheap temp probe that be be installed on your trolling motor or transom of your boat... then you can keep an eye on things and be more efficient and cancel out "dead water" once you find that magic temp range...

Good luck out there and enjoy the sun! smile
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#52987 - 04/14/15 09:38 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Mark Pothen Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 1909
Loc: Mounds View, Mn.
hopefully Fri afternoon

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#53058 - 05/18/15 09:13 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
Well... this weekend sure was interesting! Saturday was pretty darn good, but yesterday threw about every weather curveball at us that you could imagine! Wind, pouring rain, sun, humidity... we had it all!! Fishing on Saturday was fairly consistent, but yesterday found people just trying to find a way to stay comfortable, LOL.

We spent our time on Lake Minnetonka and found a lot of fish in the shallows on Saturday, mostly inside weedline areas. We didn't see a lot of fish holding on a specific spot (beds) but just cruising those similar areas. Shorelines and even back bays/channels held most of the fish. We didn't spend really anytime out deeper, so not sure if there was even a deep bite going. There were so many fish in the shallows that I guess it didn't matter.

We caught most of our fish on wacky rigged Mister Twister Comidas and Poc'it Fry's. Caught a couple fish on spinnerbaits and a few on wake baits too, but most fish came from the wacky rig while we picked apart structure by casting. Seems like any shallow weed clump held a fish or two, and areas with newly budding lilypads provided the best action. Docklines held some fish, but there needed to be weeds present and a silty bottom seemed to make a big difference too. Water temps were 58-62 degrees (surface temps). Also don't be afraid to cast very close to shore... seems like some of the fish wanted to be land-dwellers! LOL

Here are a few shots from the weekend...









Looks like today and tomorrow are going to be below average for air temps, which should put things on hold for a little while still. Warmer temps are headed our way again and starting Wed we should see things pick back up. If you're out today or tomorrow then I would look tighter to the inside weedlines or even slightly deeper if you're not finding fish in the shallows. Even toss some spinnerbaits for pike too if you just want action smile Otherwise things will turn on again later in the week and I plan to try a few other lakes between now and Sunday and will report back...

Good luck out there!!
_________________________
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Matt Johnson
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#53099 - 06/08/15 09:48 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
The last week or so definitely provided some interesting conditions. Temps swayed back and forth and so did the fishing. Finding a consistent pattern was tough so we ended up moving a lot to stay on top of fish. Things were a little more consistent over the weekend and with the warmer temps predicted this week I think we'll see a solid weekend of fishing ahead of us.

Sunfish are starting to bed, although I'm still seeing/catching our bigger fish in the staging areas just outside where they'll be bedding in the near future. It also varies from lake-to-lake too. Some lakes are in full-swing, while other lakes have little to no activity on beds yet. Rest-assured though, after this week they will get going! smile

The bass are still on inside weed lines and shallow cover. Maybe not right up on shore anymore, but in that 3-6 foot range. Some fish on docks too. A few reports of outside weedline fish but we're still doing well on that inside weedline and pitching pockets in the weeds. Reeds are holding a lot of fish too and same with mainlake points--on top of the points--great spots for these windy days too where you can throw spinnerbaits and lipless cranks (if the weeds allow).

Pike are all over the place. Just toss a spinnerbait around the weeds and weed flats and you'll pull in pike. They are putting the chow on right now and they really enjoy the windy days! All else fails, fish for pike to put a bend in the rod!

I'm feeling good about the way things are setting up. Weeds look nice in a lot of the lakes and the water temps will bump back up with the warm temps coming this week. It will be interesting to see how the reports come in throughout the next week or so.

Good luck out there and be safe!
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
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www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com

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#53141 - 07/07/15 08:37 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
Fishing was pretty consistent over the last several days. A lot of fish relating to main lake structure and outside weed lines... this goes for bass, pike, walleye, panfish... all species really. Caught a lot of fish in the 7-10 foot range, mainly where weeds were present. Also nabbed quite a few bass in 12-15 feet too, some even as far out as 24 feet if rocks were present. Seems like the fish in the shallows were more sporadic, but the deeper fish were definitely more schooled up and easier (more consistent) to catch.

Bass were biting on drop-shots and jig worms. Drop-shotting mid-size worms and shaky worms (Mister Twister Poc' Phenom and Poc' Shake'R worms). Jig worms were similar in style... Poc' Phenom and also Comidas (with an inch bit off). Didn't have to use a ton of "weedless" jig heads either, used a lot of mushroom heads when jig worming this weekend... didn't have to pitch into the "thick" stuff...

The panfish were all in that 7-10 foot range right where the weeds would sparse out or else in the pockets of heavier cover. Crappies and sunfish, but the crappies were definitely king this weekend for aggressiveness. 1/16oz jigs with twister tails and/or soft plastic minnow baits. No need for a bobber, just watch your line for any movement and the fish were on it smile

Walleyes were outside weed focused too, also a couple on the deeper rocks (smaller fish). Eater fish and better size fish were relating to the weeds for us. Same spots at the panfish to be honest, even nabbed a few on the panfish presentations. Didn't focus a lot on walleyes so never pulled any live bait for them to see what the bite was really like, just picked up a handful while targeting panfish/bass...

Looks like the weather is going to be nice this week with some temps in the 70s and then moving into the 80s... expecting a consistent pattern and looking forward to chasing down more bass... maybe throw some crankbaits this week!

Good luck out there and hopefully everyone had a nice holiday weekend!
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
Guided Open Water and Ice Fishing
www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com

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#53146 - 07/22/15 01:43 PM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN


Panfish continue to relate to the weeds, but more so along deeper edges now. Found a lot of fish in 13-18 feet on drop-shot rigs. Crappies and sunfish. There are certainly fish up shallower and in the weeds, but the milfoil on the lakes I've been fishing has come in thick. Seems like the school of better-size fish is out deeper as of late. They are sitting in the bottom water column and seem pretty eager to bite. Just look for a bend in the weed line or a large underwater point, hump... some sort of structure... and the fish are relating to it.

For the presentation... I've been using #6 VMC SpinShot hooks with 1/8oz (or smaller if possible) drop weights, dropper line is between 15-20" or so. Then I tip those hooks with either small Twister tails or minnows baits. 4-6# test line. Works great for all panfish species... oh, and the walleyes are eating them on occasion too smile

Definitely a fun and easy way to fish. I've also noticed that I've catching more on drop-shots then straight lining a jig... must be the absent of weight that the fish like, and the specific action that the "flicking" presentation gives off... I plan to drop-shot more panfish tomorrow and Friday...

Same technique has been dynamite for the bass too, but just with larger sizes. We've been doing very well on the bass with drop-shots, both for numbers and size. All outside weed line or in the sparse weeds (where applicable). Using 1/0 SpinShot hooks and the weight needed to stay down. Tipping them with Mister Twister Poc'it Shake'R or Phenom. Also caught some fish on spinnerbaits, cranks and of course flipping the foil... but I prefer the drop-shot lately if we can get away with it. A couple big fish on docks too, but that will hold consistent...
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
Guided Open Water and Ice Fishing
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#53147 - 07/27/15 02:26 PM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
Water temps are definitely warming up! Best bites (as you can guess) are the first few hours of light... namely 6-9am or so. Otherwise we've been turning to deeper water during the day, or areas with shade/cover... thick weeds, deep weed edges, docks, over-hanging trees, etc. Hard bottom spots in the weeds are excellent places to look too... holds cooler water and also forage. However, if you're a shallow water angler then make sure to be out there early, otherwise the bite gradually becomes more difficult as the sun gets higher.

Regardless of the time you hit the water, make sure to key on deeper weed lines and offshore structure. Deep points that drop into the basin are good, same with isolated humps and reefs. A lot of these main lake spots are holding fish throughout the day, even during the "hot" hours of the afternoon. Be prepared to fish in the weeds or very tight to the weeds. If you're targeting bass then be ready to flip jigs into the "thick" stuff or work deep weed lines and rock piles. If you're targeting walleyes then be ready to pull baits or jig out in deeper water. If you're targeting panfish then be prepared to drop baits through heavy weeds (pockets) and along outside weed lines. Properly equip yourself with the weight amount of weight for the job... making sure you stay down where the fish are and have the most feel. This is a big reason I've been drop-shotting a lot more lately... the wind has not allowed me to fish the way I want out over these spots... so I've been fishing heavier dropper weights on the drop-shots, which still allows me to present the right presentation no matter the conditions.

Dead-sticking for a variety of species has worked well too. Sometimes patience can be key.

We've found fish up against shaded shorelines too, so if you absolutely have to fish shallow, make sure to look towards shaded shorelines and dock lines... panfish and bass are both there. The pike and walleyes have move out however. Trolling crankbaits has worked for both... outside weed lines and main lake deep points. Salmo Hornets are a tough one to beat if you're looking to catch "whatever bites"... cast or troll... fun way to fish...

Looks like the warm weather is going to continue. Make to bring your sunscreen this week and be safe out there!
_________________________
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Matt Johnson
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#53154 - 08/06/15 01:10 PM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
Had a great week of fishing and hit a handful of lakes... even some in Wisconsin... yea, yea, I know... sorry guys wink

Found a similar pattern allover, where the fish were relating to deep weed lines and mainlake structure. Caught most of our bass on drop-shot rigs or weighted wacky worms. Definitely had to slow down at times to get the bites... sometimes "dragging" the bait ever-so slightly. Water temps actually cooled off a little, finding a lot of 76-78 degrees and not so much in the 80s (surface temp). Fish were really (tightly) schooled up too. Not uncommon to pull multiple fish from the same area/spot without having to make much of a move.

We caught most of the fish on finesse worms, both curly tailed and straight tailed. The Mister Twister Poc'it Phenom and Poc'it Shake'R were the two top producers. Then the Mister Twister Comida for the wacky rigs. We did punch the milfoil for a little while but the deep weed bite seemed to produce a lot better for us, for size of fish too. A couple fish came on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, but the "finesse" fishing is what took the cake for the most part.

The panfish were allover the deep weed lines too. Easy to find and catch, just deploy a smaller version of the drop-shot rig and wham! Sunfish and crappies were relating to similar structure, although we did have to be in the weeds to catch more of the crappies, they were definitely relating to the weeds a lot more than the sunfish... the sunfish were slightly off the weeds and using the bottom 1/3 of the water column.

Oh, and the pike were allover... broke off A LOT the last several days, LOL.

And last.... I managed to set a new PB yesterday with this 7lb 9oz tank!! ...



Measured 22 7/8" and the profile on this fish was amazing! Also boated one over 6 and one over 5 yesterday as well... figured we would have seen a 27# bag for five fish! Truly an epic day I will never forget! And yes, the fish is still swimming... replica to follow shortly!

Enjoy the weather and cooler temps and good luck out there!
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
Guided Open Water and Ice Fishing
www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com

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#53158 - 08/11/15 07:59 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
DEEP... is the word of the day. Meaning, a lot of fish out deep. Catching bass in 22-24 feet on drop-shots. Catching crappies in as deep as 30 feet suspended over basins. Crankbaited a few pike off deep points in 16-20 feet. Seems like everything has moved out. Big plus side to fishing deep... you don't hook a lot of weeds smile We've also nabbed a handful of bass flipping the milfoil lately too, and of course the ever-popular fish under a dock here and there. Focus on deeper water patterns though, especially for numbers right now.

The key though, is to not look at all weed lines as equals. Find subtle changes in the weed line, namely an inside turn, point or even isolated hump just off the main weed line. The fish are stopping (schooling) on these spots and it's not uncommon to sit and catch multiple fish casting to the same area. Here's a snapshot that might shed some light...


(Snapshot courtesy of the Navionics WebApp)

This is a fairly "classic spot" on Lake Minnetonka. The red dots are depicting spots along a weed line, but notice how I've picked spots where there are changes in the weed line. Namely inside turns or abrupt changes. Also notice the spots on the expansive underwater point and also out on an isolated hump. You could spend a lot of time on just these areas and pick off schooling fish. You can duplicate this pattern on a lot of lakes and areas. Bass and pike are common, of course panfish too, and if walleyes are in the lake it could produce those too.

This is a fun time of year though because usually when you find one fish you'll find more. I like to either pitch drop-shots or jig worms for the bass. Drop-shotting is something you could use for the bass, panfish and walleye. Pike like everything smile But if you're mainly targeting pike then I would throw deep diving crankbaits right now. You can use drop a jig and live minnow too, as everything will eat that on these sort of spots. Biggest tip is to just keep moving. If you don't catch a fish on a specific spot within 5-10 minutes then move, the school is not there. If the school is there then you'll get bit.

Looks like some enjoyable weather the next several days. 80 degree temps and sun (small chances of rain). Get out there and catch some fish and be safe!
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
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www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com

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#53170 - 09/04/15 09:19 AM Re: Recent Reports and Pictures [Re: Matt Johnson]
Matt Johnson Offline
Thorne Bros Pro Staff

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 3817
Loc: Ramsey, MN
Up and down patterns lately. Still certainly a lot of fish out deep, but the morning bite has been fun in the shallows lately! Buzz baits, wake baits... fun way to start the day for bass anglers! Otherwise moving to deep structure most of the day again, especially with these recent warmer temps. Main lake structure continues to hold fish as well... isolated humps (with weeds) and expansive main lake points and inside turns too. Jig worms have been working well. Drop-shots too, but the jig worm seems to have taken over most of the action lately, or weighted wacky-rigs. The crankbait bite has turned on a little too, especially if you're looking for a mixed bag of fish... the pike really like the cranks right now over mainlake structure!

For panfish we've continued to find fish along weed lines as well as up against deeper dock lines. Drop a panfish plastic down along a weed line in 13-18 feet and you'll get bit. A lot of fish out in those areas still. Seems to be true for better size fish too. Otherwise move up near deep docks and pitch around those areas if you're looking for numbers and fun with the family.

Spinner rigs with crawlers have been picking up walleyes and a mixed bag too. Cover water seems to be key, so working weed lines gives you the most options for consistent action. Everything bites a crawler on a spinner rig smile

Otherwise we've also spent a fair amount of time on the river(s) too. Decent smallmouth again along the wood snags and any deeper pockets. Drop-shotting is putting numbers in the boat but sucker minnows have produced better size. Also twister tails on jig heads if you're looking to get by cheap because of lost jigs in snags. Easy to re-tie and more comfortable on the pocketbook.

Looks like some weather will be rolling in this weekend and then cooler temps next week (70s for highs) so we should start to see the beginning of late summer into early fall transition... feed bags will be ramping up!

Good luck and be safe!
_________________________
Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson
Guided Open Water and Ice Fishing
www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com

Ice Team - "Join the Team!"
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