Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Year!!! We wish everyone a very happy, prosperous new year. Thank you for your patience and support. We have been out on the ice all day yesterday and today. We used our new snow blower to clean off the main road out from shore on Saturday and plowed it today. It still needs to be a little wider, but it is in great shape. Today we also plowed Archers Ave, our road to the north of Lake St.. We hit a couple of slush pockets so we will let it freeze overnight an finish it on Wednesday.

We have worked on Lake St. with the snow blower for 2 days and we keep hitting Big slush pockets. I know-how can they not be frozen? We  find pockets of 8-12 inches of snow over 4-6 inches of slush and water. This really slows down the snow blowing. We basically have Lake St. opened to just about Perch Pkwy. . We have gone through 2 pockets of slush and the road is not nearly wide enough yet, but we have it open and it is freezing down.

We will continue to work on Lake St. and try to get it longer and wider. The main road, Archers, and part of Lake St. are accessible for 4 wheeler/snowmobile traffic. . You need to park of the roads so we can keep on working. The weather forecast looks good and we are optimistic. We may try to put a few rentals out on Archers before the weekend. I do not foresee pulling private houses before next week. If you want to put your house in Archers, please talk to me later in the week. We might be able to accommodate you. Have a safe and happy new year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday, Dec.29, 2013

I think we may have finally turned the corner. The warm weather on Friday and Saturday has settled the snow a great deal. A lot of the ice only has 6-8 inches of snow on it. There is a lot more slush out there than there was before the thaw, but it should freeze during the next few days.

I  also bought a snowblower that is light enough to work on 6-8 inches of ice. It blows 5 1/2 feet wide and is powered by a 31 hp engine that really throws the snow. If you looked at the web cam yesterday, you may have seen it in action. We opened up the main road out to Lake street and got all the snow off it. It should really freeze down now. We will start on Lake Street on Monday and keep on blowing snow most of the week.

We still had 8-9 inches of ice over much of our fishing area on Sat. because of the mild weather and snow but I think it will be improving all of this week.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, Dec. 24.2013

Happy Holidays to everyone. We will be closed from noon on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day and reopen on Thursday morning. Our answering machine will be on but we will not be returning any calls until Thursday. We will be spending time with family and friends and we hope that you are too.

We were out again Monday and the ice was virtually unchanged from last Thursday. The combination of warmer temps and the 12" plus of snow on the ice kept it from making more ice. We did have 23 below this morning so hopefully the icemaking started again. Unfortunately we keep getting additional snow almost every other day.

We have 8-9 inches of ice over much of the areas we fish. We have more in the first 200 yards or so but that does not help us much. There is at least 12" of snow on top of the ice which is really insulating the ice.

We are allowing snowmobiles and ATVs out with sleds or tub houses, no trailers. It is difficult going for ATVs with the snow. Snowmobiles are the best, if available. We did have some people catching fish last weekend near the south end of the reef although there were not many out.

Again Happy Holidays and hope for cold temps and no more snow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday, Dec.12, 2013

We went out today and drilled a lot more holes and marked our main road out of the resort out to Walleye Drive and the entire length of Walleye Drive. We found a lot of new slush between shore and Walleye Drive and some along Walleye Drive. It does affect your driving and I got stuck once on my snowmobile.

We  found 6-8 inches of ice with less ice where the snow was the deepest. The snow varied from almost none where it had cracked and frozen to about 10 inches at the deepest. We will let snowmobiles and 4 wheelers out this weekend with pull behind tubs or houses. No Rangers and certainly no trailers. You would be stuck inside of 50 yards with a trailer.

Please follow our stakes out to the reef and stay on the South or left side going out and to the west or right side along Walleye Drive. That is where the road is going and we might as well pack the road for us.

We planned to plow some of the first 1/4 mile from shore but with the slush, we will wait and let it freeze good and solid first.

I was pleased with how the ice is coming considering what we have for snow. I wish we had no snow and lots of ice but we have to play the cards we have been dealt. It is coming along and it looks like pretty good ice. It will probably be an average pull-out date instead of the early one we were looking at 2 weeks ago but that's the way it goes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It was great to see so many of you at the St. Paul ice fishing show. It was a good show with a lot of new products. I spent too much time at the Eskimo booth again and bought too much new gear. Sam will have to use most of it because I seldom find time to get out. Well, maybe this year.

We had eight inches of ice in the first 1/4 mile with very rough ice and 5 inches of ice beyond that with 10-13 inches of snow on it before the show. We went out again today and the first quarter mile has a good 10 inches plus, still with snow on it. After that there are areas with not much snow where we found about 7 inches of ice and a lot of areas with up to 10 inches of snow where there is about 5 1/2 to 6 inches of ice.. The ice is coming slow with the snow on top of it.

We will try to move some snow in the first 1/4 mile and try to smooth out the rough spots this week and mark our roads.

I will use this spot once again to express my frustration with the DNR. I spoke to one of the DNR's Mille Lacs people earlier this fall and was told  that they do not have a five year plan for Mille Lacs and really do not have a one year plan because their study from this spring was not conclusive with the late spring. They need to study the lake more before they can conclude what is wrong or what they should do. COME ON!!!!  Mille Lacs is the most studied lake in the US. He also said that the fishing results and the fishing pressure was very good this year and not much different from past years. WHAT???? My own observations and those of the  creel census takers I spoke with was different.

They are not holding a meeting with the input group this fall. They chose to extend the regs themselves through the winter. They are putting all of their eggs in one basket in that the hatch this spring was good for both walleye and perch. They are hoping that they will not all be eaten by next spring. Everyone associated with the lake knows that there are too many predators in the lake and they are eating all of the little fish. Why do we need special regs for northern and small mouth that are more restrictive? We  should be helping people to take more of these species and allowing some walleye harvest  on fish over 20 inches. I believe that they are afraid of taking bigger fish out because then the natural reproduction may be affected but we may have to help the lake along with some stocking as we take some of the bigger walleyes out. We need a better balance of walleye year classes.

The DNR comes across as timid and uncaring. They need to act with some urgency and be leaders on this issue. They appear to be waiting for some miracle to happen to fix the problems they, along with us, have caused. When Leech and Red had issues, they acted in a decisive manner and led the way. What happened to those people? Are our leaders waiting to retire so someone else has to deal with the issues? Are they so afraid to make a mistake that no action is preferable?

Write or call the DNR and tell them it is time to act and waiting for miracles is not the answer. We want Mille Lacs isssues addressed, talked about , and action taken.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

We have pulled all of our houses off as of last Sunday and we are closed for the winter. If you still want to fish for perch, I think you would be better off going out of a resort who stays open and maintains roads. That way if you have problems there will be someone either at the resort or on the ice to help you.

We would like to thank all of you for making this a great winter. The fish bit very well, although we could not keep very many. We got out early and for most people it was 10  or 11 weekends of ice fishing. It does not get much better than that. We had some snow issues with all of the drifting and we know some of you had a great deal of frustration with the snow pushed up by your doors. We will try placing houses a little different next year and plow driveways past the doors instead of right up to them. We apologize for the inconvenience.

We attended the meeting with the DNR last night. I am a charter member of the Mille Lacs Fishery Input group and I do not think I have ever missed a meeting. We are in a tougher spot this year because of the test net results from last Fall. The nets showed a very low population of walleyes in the lake and the DNR has to base their harvest numbers on those results, even though I believe they think there are a lot more walleyes in the lake. They cut the harvest number in half and the band cut their allowable harvest in half also.

 Without this low allowable harvest, we could work to get rid of some of the big walleyes in the lake. Everyone around the lake believes that there are just too many big walleyes, along with the number of northerns and smallmouth bass. The large number of predators are eating all of the small walleyes before they get a chance to grow up. The DNR is going to open up the slot and bag limits for northern and bass. If you want to help the walleyes, fish for northerns and bass and keep what is allowed. We need to get rid of some predators and take some pressure off the walleyes.

The DNR is going to do a tagging study this summer to see how good their test net results were. I believe it will show a lot more walleyes than the nets did. If this is the result, I believe the DNR must reevaluate how they gather their data. The limits and slots affect too many people way too much to be using Questionable data. These decisions affect people's lives.

When they are done, hopefully we can set some slots which will allow some harvest of the walleyes between 20 and 26 inches. Under the present rules and system, male walleyes are protected for life as soon as they reach 17 inches because they will never exceed 28 inches.

Next year's regs were not set last night. The DNR sets those by themselves and they can listen to the comments and do what they want. It seems like they want a 2" slot from 18-20 inches with either a 4 fish limit or a 2 fish limit early and then changing to a 4 fish limit later in the year. We will still be allowed one over 28"

They also put forward some radical ideas for additional regs mostly designed to cut down on the hooking mortality which could be a huge factor this summer, especially if we have a warm summer. The ideas included extended night bans, live bait restrictions, and requiring the use of circle hooks with live bait. A few of the resort owners were very much against all of the ideas and the DNR dropped them quickly. Too quickly in my opinion. The DNR estimates that the 2" slot will still put us over our allowable harvest and the people who spoke up want to gamble that we will not hit it. Maybe if we go to the 2 fish limit early and then change it later to 4 fish, that will be enough  to keep us under the limit. Otherwise maybe we should have discussed the ideas further. Would we be better off with a night ban that ran thru the July 4th weekend and get a 4 fish limit all year or maybe a night ban that ran from 9:00 or 9:30 rather than 10:00? I do not know and neither do they because the discussion was halted. Should we have considered circle hooks? Maybe, it can not cost that much to change hooks and the DNR estimated a reduction of 20% in hooking mortality nwith their use.  What do you think? I would like to hear from you if you have an opinion. Email me please.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I think this weekend was a quirk because before then we were doing well for walleyes in all of the rentals. They were mostly bigger walleyes ( no surprise there) and keeper fish were harder to find, but the bite was good, especially for the time of year.

This weekend was a tough bite for all of the houses, not just the rentals. There were fish, but they did not want to bite. I think this weekend will be much better. This weekend is the last weekend of walleye fishing and is our last weekend for the winter. We will have all of our houses off by Sunday afternoon and will close until spring. The Perch Extravaganza is held this Saturday at Hunters Point and you can win one of two Ice Castle fishhouses in the prize drawings.

We have 2- 4 hole/2 bunk rental houses still available for this weekend. We also had two late cancellations on larger rental houses. We have a 6 hole/4 bunk house and one of our Premier Ice Cabins ( 5-7 people with many deluxe amenities). See our web site for a description of our standard and Premier houses. We will rent them for weekend specials- noon Friday till noon Sunday- only at this time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Premier Ice Cabin for the last weekend of Feb. (Perch Extravaganza) is gone. We still have one left for this weekend, which surprises me, but it is Viking's Arctic Blast and we have some snow so it should be a lot of fun. Come see your favorite current and past Vikings and do some riding. If you are not into snowmobiling, you can drive to the sites and still see the players, get autographs, and win drawings.
Sorry for the delay in new reports. The ice has held up really well. No new heaves or cracks. Do you ever remember this much wind? It has been really windy since summer. We have only gotten maybe 4 or 5 inches of snow and we have drifts 5 feet high around some houses. Everyone really needs to watch their skids to make sure they stay out of the water. Chiseling a house out is no fun. Most people only do it once.

We have moved all of our rental houses, mostly deeper and they are still catching walleyes, mostly big ones. We have not found perch in any numbers, but what we catch are generally nice ones. The set lines are still outfishing the jiggers  by a large margin.  Rainbow minnows are the favorite, with shiners second.

Our roads are in good shape with no bridges out. This week is the Vikings Arctic eBlast and we have one Premier Ice Cabin left. For a long time it was the only Premier house left for the year, but we have remodeled another Premier Ice Cabin and it is available for the last weekend of February (think Perch Extravaganza). These are deluxe houses with Honda generator, satellite TV with DVD player, microwave, and private, heated, detached toilet. They are very nice and everyone, especially ladies, have loved them.

We have gotten enough snow that it is rideable so this weeknd should be fun.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We used the south access all day Friday without problems ( a first). Today we opened the main access and it looks great. We are open for all traffic including wheelhouses and diesels. We still have one 6 hole house open through Monday so if the kids have Monday off, give us a call.

Fishing has been good in spots but some have not had as good a luck. It is getting to the time of year where the shallow bite will probably start to taper off for a couple of weeks. It will be time to look a little deeper for a mix of walleyes and perch. Look more to the 26 to 30 feet of water along the gravel/ mud transition line and just into the mud. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

We have worked a ton on the two accesses this week. We got a track backhoe in and he smoothed out the south access yesterday. This morning there was a new crack in it. We bridged it with one of our new 10' wide bridges so wheel houses can use it also. So far, it has held. The main access was terrible but he smoothed most of it yesterday and finished it today. We flooded it well this afternoon so we hope it will be good for this weekend.

As of NOW, we are using the south access and it is open for wheel houses and for pulling out fish houses ( yes there are still a few to go and there is still a lot of good fishing left).

We still have two houses left for Sunday noon till Monday noon, a 6 hole and an 8 hole. Call soon.

Fishing has been very good the last two nights for big walleyes ( a 30 incher last night--released). It should be good before the big freeze coming.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Well that didn't take long. The premier ice cabin is gone, but it was a 6 hole/4 bunk that upgraded so now we have that open. Cost for noon Sunday till noon Monday is $135 (mid-week special) and that house is open earlier as well. Call soon.
I am really surprised but we have a Premier ice cabin available noon Sunday thru noon Monday (Martin Luther King day). Cost is only $325. Look at our website for  all of the features with this house. Remember SATELLITE TV.
With the warm weather this morning, the ice heaved on both of our accesses. We have cleared the south access and are allowing wheel houses, etc.. We hope to get the main access open on Thursday, but it was a mess.

Ice , once past the bridges, is good. Walleyes bit well last night in our rental houses, although not too many were occupied. We still have a few openings for this weekend so give us a call.

Once again, all of our premier houses now have satellite TV( dish network), along with the combo TV/DVD. See the playoff games and the Super Bowl without leaving your house. No more watching PBS and cartoons because that's all that would come in. Been there/ Done that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roads are in better shape. We are open for wheel houses. Fishing has slowed a little with the cold weather. Still getting big walleyes off Agate Bay Reef but just  not as many. Starting to see a few more perch in deeper water, but not all are biting. It should pick  up in the next few weeks.

Just completed putting satellite tv (dish network) in all of my premier fish houses. No more missing football games and watching PBS and cartoons. Some channels are HD also. Great picture all the time. TVs also have built in DVD players for movie night on the ice. Still have a couple of premier houses left for each of the last 3 weekends in Feb., but they are going fast.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The ice heaved again this afternoon and we closed both accesses for a while. We brought in an excavater and he knocked down everything in the south access and packed it down. Hopefully it will freeze overnight and allow us to pull houses on Friday. Maybe even wheelhouses????? We will look at it Friday when it gets light and see.

The main access also heaved and we were able to bridge it for vehicle traffic,but no trailers, wheelhouses, or small low vehicles ( they scrape on the hinged bridge). We will see what Friday brings.

Please do not call or email and expect us to know what the ice is going to do later that day or the next day. We can tell you what is happening NOW and that is all. By the time  we hang up,ice could be cracking or heaving. There is no way to predict that. I expect it will move again on Friday if it is warm. It has moved from 1-5 times everyday this week. We will continue to do our best to keep the roads open.

If you are on our email list, you are getting the most current updates. We have people call right after we send the email and ask if what they read is correct or if it applies to them. They also ask when it will change. We do not know and yes it applies to you.
This week's warm weather has certainly been a challenge. We have chopped down the ice heaves along shore enough to get bridges out. We are open for vehicle traffic at this time. However, we are not allowing wheel houses or trailers of any kind. The ice is still moving with the warm weather so ice conditions can change at any time. We hope the ban on trailers and wheel house will be lifted by Friday if it gets cold. Otherwise, Saturday. Call first to check.

Wednesday night was a good night along the reef with a lot of big walleyes caught  and even some keepers. It had been a little slower before that so it was good to see the bite improve. Set lines continue to beat jigging, but maybe the jigging is bringing the fish in to bite on the set lines.

I have heard of a few very nice perch caught in deeper water ( 29-32'), but not a lot of numbers. Most people are still along the reef for walleyes this early so maybe we need more people trying deeper to find the perch. I think it will be like the last few years where the perch are moving all the time and if you find the schools, you will have a short burst of action and then they will be gone. They do not seem to stay in one place for long and certainly not from day to day. If you are really serious about perch, you may have to hit and run and drill a LOT of holes in a day.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

No new cracks and we have even taken in some bridges where the cracks have healed. We are pulling private houses and all of our rentals are out on the lake.

We have some openings left for this weekend so give us a call. I have one Premier Ice Cabin left which I would rent for $695. This is a deluxe 12x24 house for noon Friday till noon Sunday. Check out our website to see all of the features this house has. You will not be disappointed. It normally rents for $750.  We also have some standard houses left, as well.

We will allow vehicles up to 3/4 ton GAS pickups with single axle wheelhouses through our access. Sorry for the slight to bigger rigs, but we need to save our access and some of our bridges are 8' wide, not 8'6". We will open to bigger vehicles as soon as possible.

The fishing has been very good for walleyes, but most of them have been over the slot limit. The best fishing has been along Agate Bay Reef and depth has been less important than proximity to the Reef. Perch have been spottier, but I do not have very many people fishing deep for them. The best perch fishing has been along Tullibee Trail off the fast break between 28' and 32' in the mud.

We have about 15" of ice and if it was not for the cracks, it would be some of the best ice I have seen for years. We need about 6" of snow to settle down the temp swings in the ice.