Friday, July 12, 2024
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MN Fishing Pros - Lake Winnibigoshish and Beyond

MN Fishing Pros are Powered by Amsoil Fishing Pro Guides Jesse Worrath, Jeff Skelley, Charlie Worrath, Jason Boser are Pro Guides with L&M SupplyFind the MN Fishing Pros on Facebook Find the MN Fishing Pros on Facebook


Jason Boser explains how to filet a northern pike, avoiding the Y bones


Jason Boser demonstrates how to filet a northern pike caught in a Northern Minnesota lake. Northern are notorious for the "Y" bones, a line of small, Y-shaped bones that run along both sides of the fish, below the spine and just behind the head. These bones are difficult to eat around, and a skilled fisherman can easily remove them while preserving a good amount of meat from the filet. 

Watch the video to learn more.


Video Comments

"I fish a lot and keep mostly Walleyes, just recently started eating Northerns. This is my favorite pike fillet video, this guy is fast and there is less wast then the "5 cut boneless method, he makes it look so easy. I watch this video just before I cleaned my first Northern, worked great! THANKS!"

"Still the most concise video I have seen on how to filet a northern. Thanks a bunch... as I no longer throw them back when I catch them in the Quetico."

"Very well done! It's nice to see a video of someone cleaning a fish who actually knows what they are doing! Keep up the good work!"

"This video needs upvoted. I found it 14 years ago, and it’s hard to find because of the countless other videos on the subject. This one has the best zooms, and slow explanation, and the only one with a fish mugging."

"Pike are a very tasty fish, but the bones deter a lot of people. Thanks for posting this!!"

Charlie Worrath explains how to filet a walleye, and how to save the walleye cheeks.


Join MN professional fishing guide Charlie Worrath as he demonstrates how to filet a walleye. Walleye are one of the most sought-after and tastiest fish in northern Minnesota lakes. It is also one of the most precious fish caught, as conservation efforts including slot sizes, encouraging catch-and-release, and limit amounts determine which individual fish can be kept when caught. 

So if you want to include that beautiful walleye in your fish fry for friends and family, you'll want to be sure to clean the fish in the best way to conserve as much meat as possible. Charlie will demonstrate how to filet a walleye using a regular filet knife, which you will already have in your tackle box, and an electric knife, for quicker preparations. You might also be surprised to learn that walleye cheeks are a delicacy - and Charlie will explain how to remove the cheeks from the walleye.

Watch the video to learn more.


Jason Mitchell and MN Fishing Pro Charlie Worrath go trolling spinner harnesses through shallow weeds to catch slab crappie in northern Minnesota, offering tips on how to catch summer crappie. This is a very deadly program that can produce a lot of crappie through the dog days of summer into early fall. Effective way to cover water and break down big locations to find schools of fish. Fishing with longtime guide Charlie Worrath from Minnesota Fishing Pros Guide Service.

These professional fishermen are fishing out of Lakewood Lodge located on Sand Lake near Deer River, Minnesota in Itasca County. Beautiful family friendly resort that offers that classic north woods Minnesota experience. Phenomenal fishing area with many small productive lakes for panfish and walleye. We explored a handful of lakes in the area and found some great crappie. This shallow weed program works on many Minnesota natural lakes. Look for large shallow sand flats protruding from the shoreline and find the good stands of cabbage next to deep water.

Pro fishing guide Jason Boser with a Lake Winnie walleye


By Jason Boser (MN Fishing Pros)

Lake Winnibigoshish, better known as "Big Winnie," is one of my favorite lakes to fish not only in the spring, but also throughout the entire soft water season. Why? Well, first of all, it is the 5th largest lake in Minnesota, covering nearly 60,000 acres, which is nice. But then consider in that vast acreage, only one per cent of the shoreline is developed.

Yes, it is a virtual wilderness compared to many Minnesota lakes. Some of these have nice fishing, but they are house and cabin filled. Fishing Winnie is like fishing the Boundary Waters, but being able to use your boat and motor while launching in comfort at the many public landings and resorts. As an added perk, it also has more fish. It's a gem. Here's why:

  • First and foremost, not many lakes can match the Big Pond's structure diversity. For example, in early season I look forward to roaming the eastern long sand flats of High Banks just as much as I do the following the contours and weeds of the river channel, near the Tamarack Point flats where the old Mississippi River still runs wild and deep just as it had before the dam was built in 1885. (For more information on the lake and its dam and the Mighty Mississippi, just look up Minnesota's Lake Winnibigoshish; it is fascinating.)
  • Added to this, there is the North Shore, which stretches west from the Gap coming out of Big Cut Foot Sioux near Bowen's Lodge, all the way to Third River. In between, especially in the spring and fall, there are other secret areas I like to fish, like the Rock Pile, Pigeon River, Farley Creek, and Stony Point. If the wind is steady and the waves have been rolling into these rocky and weedy areas, the fishing can be excellent. None of this area has a dwelling and it runs for miles and miles with nothing but eagles above and fish below.
  • Because the rocks and the weeds are shallow, 5-6 feet, however, you usually need that good wind to fish these areas effectively. But, if the wind hasn't been and isn't howling, don't count out the deeper water just off the shallows. Many times in the spring and fall, if the shallow bite is off, sneak out a touch deeper; the fish might just be there. Remember, however, to keep a low profile when you do find the fish. Alert shallow fishermen will key into flashing landing nets and whoops of joy and quickly hone it on you.
MN Fishing Pro Guide Jason Boser with Lake Winnie Walleye
MN Fishing Pro Guide Jason Boser with Lake Winnie Walleye

In spring, post spawn walleyes mostly cruise the sand flats looking for shiners and small perch. Find these and you will usually find fish. Here are a couple tips to locating prey bait. One way is to cruise the flats at different depths, zigzagging while watching your graph. A mass of minnows will appear as a cloud on your graph's screen. Another way is pay attention to the wind. Which direction has it been blowing the last few days? Keep in mind that because minnows will bunch up on the shoreline where waves have been rolling in, this will probably be a good place to start.

In spring and fall, I usually start with a 1/8 oz. Northland Gumball jig. If the wind is really wild, I will move up to a 1/4 oz. jig, but, conversely, if it is really calm I will go down to a 1/16 oz. jig. I do prefer to fish with a 1/8 oz. jig if I can keep it on the bottom. I also generally tip my jig with live minnow bait. If possible, I prefer natural Big Winnie shiners, but if I can't get them, I will go to chubs. When fishing the shallower flats, the wind will usually determine the jig weight, but when fishing rocks, the lightest possible jig is best, otherwise you will constantly be getting snagged. If the fish don't cooperate, don't be afraid to change jig weights, maybe even going heavier and vertical jigging.

I also usually go with a snap jigging technique, especially in a good wind. Because it is harder to snap jig with less wind, you might have to adjust with a slower popping of the jig. Remember, the best bet with less wind is to use a lighter jig.

The greatest benefit of spring (and fall) fishing on Winnie is the action. You will not only catch walleyes, but nice hefty northern pike and jumbo perch. Both are not only great fighters, but also great table fare for a fish fry. To be sure, there is always something biting on the Big Pond. "Action" is its middle name.

If you are looking for a great lake to fish in spring, summer and fall, check out Lake Winnibigosh, Big Winnie won't disappoint you. Good luck fishing and be safe.

For more information about fishing the "Big Pond" and other great fisheries and guided fishing trips to bring you there, please contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A Family Fishing Trip

A Family Fishing Trip

by fishing guide Jason Boser

We could talk about how to catch the big walleyes, northerns, slab crappies, big bull sunfish, or even big jumbo perch. But I am going to talk about a nice day on the lake getting our next generation into fishing.

Here are some tips on getting our younger generation hooked on fishing. I hear all the time from kids, "fishing is boring". If you are a young kid sitting in the boat for 3-4 hours with nothing on the end of your line, and Dad and Mom hollering about making a mess, it would be boring. So how do you get them interested in fishing?

Young girl with walleye fish

Number one for me is to get them their own equipment. It does not have to be a $100 St. Croix rod, just a rod and reel that fits their size. Get them their own little tackle box and a weight for them to practice casting. Now you can go out to the yard and practice casting and get them ready. One thing about kids of all ages: they love to cast. In the boat, on the lawn, even in the trees.

Next we get them to the lake. Now, if you have young kids you want to get to a place that will offer non-stop action. We have hundreds of lakes like that around the Grand Rapids area. Size is not important right away. Go into a shallow little bay where the lily pads are up and a lot of the times you can even see the fish swimming around. Put on some bobbers with a worm and let them go. Sight is the key. Kids love to see things, so when they see the fish and they see the bobber go down they will love it. Now remember, even with all the seeing and catching after a short time they will get bored, so if they want to play with the worms or the minnows let them go, it's their experience. Also if you don’t have a boat, you can still get out on some of the fishing piers, or even along the shorelines around the area.

As they get more mature you can start going to a bigger fish, maybe spending some time on some walleye, northern, or bigger panfish. Just remember they will not have a lot of patience yet, so keep it short. If they are not biting get out of there and try something new. One thing that works for me, with younger kids in the boat, is when fishing for the bigger fish, the first few times I will set the hook and let them reel it in. They are not yet real good at setting the hook on big fish so you do it for them. They still get the feel for a decent fish on their line. Hopefully you will get a couple fish in the live well. That will entertain the kids for a long time. They might fish for a bit, then they will go look and play with their fish and have fun with the whole idea of looking at a fish they caught in the live well.

Here's another note: once you get a few fish in the live well and they are keeper size, the next step is to clean them up and throw them in a pan. You can show them how it goes from catching to eating. I have seen the excitement on many kid's faces when we are all sitting around a fire eating fish that they caught. It is an experience that can’t be beat.

So remember, when going out with the kids, it is their time, not yours. Keep it short; don’t make them dread being in the boat for hours. Let them do a few things their way (as long as it’s safe). Some worm bedding, a tangled mess of line, a few dead minnows on the boat is really no big deal. Let them have some fun.

As they get older they will have more patience and will want to tackle more and more on their own and hopefully you will have an angler for life on your hands.

Have Fun Fishing!

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Fishing Articles by Jason Boser

Fishing 411

2024 Fishing Opener Dates

Walleye & Northern Pike - May 11, 2024
Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass - May 11, 2024
Muskie - June 1, 2024

MN DNR Fishing Regulation Handbook - 2024

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