Ron Hustvedt

Ron Hustvedt is an outdoors writer and photographer who covers a broad array of experiences, individuals and events centered on hunting and fishing. He is also a professional educator. Please visit his website at

Posts about Fishing

City Limits Fishing comes to Minneapolis

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: March 24, 2011 - 9:20 PM
Watch a sneak preview of the show at Bass angling professional Mike Iaconelli has his "City Limits Fishing" show on the Versus network and he does around six shows a year in a major metropolitan area. He's bass fished a ton of cities, gone deep sea fishing off the Miami coast and gone after other species in other cities around the country. It's a good show and reality-based in that he has only eight hours of fishing to try and get a limit as established by the host angler at the beginning of the show. He came to Minneapolis this past winter to shoot a show on the ice, and have his first time ice fishing ever (on or off camera). There was an angler from Chicago who was originally going to host but that didn't work out. I was called by the show’s producer back in early December and asked to help out but couldn't due to my full-time gig. Iaconelli's producer found a local guide to do the show but then one of our monumental blizzards this winter shut the entire country down and they had to cancel the shoot. After they rescheduled the shoot and it didn't work for the other guy they came back to me and asked if I could. I had been kicking myself for passing it along and this time it worked into the schedule. Iaconelli, his producer and a cameraman from Florida arrived the night before we were to fish. Locally, a cameraman and one of my best friends, went along as well. There were two cameras on us at all times, one following Iaconelli and the other following me. My buddy drove the chase vehicle that provided some of the driving shots as we moved from place to place. When we filmed the show, there were only about 10 hours of sunlight and I had to choose an eight hour window to fish. I wanted to fish the sunrise, but knew that might not work out both for lighting and it’s not the best way to introduce a bunch of rookies to the sport. I settled on fishing from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. to see if the evening bite would kick in earlier than usual for us and possibly pop a few panfish during the day or even a pike. We fished the morning and early afternoon on Calhoun and then hopped to Harriet for the end of day bite. The show is true to its deal. No canned fish. Nothing pre-rigged to look good for the camera. What you will see on the show is what happened true to the timing of how it happened. My only complaint is that while they say 8 hours of fishing, it works out to much less than that because of all the filming that has to be done a certain way to get the angles and perspectives they want for a cool, rapid-fire, kind of show. Let's just say we were on the ice for an hour before a single hook hit the water! It's a fishing show, but it's more a show about fishing opportunities in the middle of a city. Catching fish is good, and we caught lots of fish, but it's not your typical fishing show where "canned" fish are often the star of the show. That's the inside scoop. I don't know how much of that will come through in the show. I know none of what I just wrote will be in the press releases that are circulating about the show. It was a lot of fun. It was cool to do. I still say this was THE TOUGHEST bite I had all winter and it just had to be for national television! That's the luck but when I last spoke with the producer of the show he was absolutely giddy about the show. As a city kid, born and raised in South Minneapolis, riding my bike several miles to Nokomis and the Mississippi with my tackle box bungee corded to my bike and holding my fishing rod with my handle bars it was a great experience. Fishing in the city is a concept I believe in firmly and have written about a lot...I hope that it comes across on the show the way it was for Iaconelli and myself. We had a blast!

Jumbo perch time is upon us

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: March 10, 2011 - 11:05 PM
By Ron Hustvedt, Jr. It’s tough to beat a good jumbo perch bite. Unfortunately, a lot of ice anglers never bother to chase after these green and yellow ice-fishing trophies. Right now is the prime time for pursuing jumbo perch on Minnesota’s finest lakes including Mille Lacs, Cass, Lake of the Woods, Bemidji and Gull. Not to be confused with their pesky little brothers, true jumbo perch are difficult to catch and require just the right combination of location and presentation. Just to be sure, a jumbo perch is one that’s over eight inches on most bodies of water. There are a lot of lakes in Minnesota, however, where a jumbo doesn’t earn that title unless it’s over ten inches. Northern Minnesota fishing guide Bryan Sathre of Fathead Guide Service said that jumbos require a different approach because they tend to act more like walleye than perch. Locations vary In most winters by the time early March rolls around the perch are relating to deep water locations. “Right now they are usually in 25 to 35 feet of water but they’ll begin to move shallower as the temperature raises—it really depends on the body of water,” said Tony Roach, a guide on Mille Lacs. Sathre said that he’s normally fishing over deep water for perch but added that this winter has been out of the ordinary, especially for perch. “I haven’t been fishing deeper than 17 feet this winter and normally I’m out there really deep by now,” he said. Fish are being caught out deep as well, he added, but he hasn’t had to move around the lake as much this year as in year’s past. “I just have to find a transition area such as where a soft bottom of mud meets a hard bottom of sand or rock,” he said. Sathre just finished running the annual Kid’s Perch Derby up on Lake Bemidji last weekend and 847 kids endured a snowy afternoon on the ice yanking perch through the ice. “The great thing about jumbos is that they are plentiful enough for the kids to have a blast but offer enough of a challenge for the true giants and peskier eaters that adults have a great time catching them too.” Methods of presentation The location of the perch might vary greatly this winter, but the typical presentations are holding strong said both Roach and Sathre. Both agreed that there are three primary methods for catching jumbo perch: vertical jigging spoons, a short shank jig and a float system. When used with a minnow or pinched off minnow head, each one can be deadly under different conditions. Jigging spoons do a great job of getting the bait into the strike zone and you should either abruptly jig it or hold it steady to trigger a bite. Both prefer using large crappie minnows or fatheads with spoons and pinching the head off between the gill plate and dorsal fin. “That extra bit of skin gives it a bit more flash and seems to really out perform a minnow head pinched off at the gill plate,” Sathre said. The float system approach can be done one of two different ways depending on which expert you ask. Sathre said he prefers a shiner on a glowing eyedropper jig. “You can catch a nice eelpout with that same rig so watch out,” he added. During Roach’s “Perch School” last weekend, he had 25 guys on the ice all doing a great job of catching jumbos through the ice using Live Forage spoons tipped with eurolarvae. “The realistic color brings the perch in to take a look and the eurolarvae is all they need to take a bite—there are so many bugs coming up through the mud right now those perch are puking it up in the keeper bucket,” he said. Additional considerations Both Roach and Sathre employ the use of a flasher as well as a camera and say the two are invaluable tools when used together. Not only are they used to locate and identify fish; they are also critical for reading a strike. “People are used to average sized perch which are known for hitting your bait several times before taking it while jumbo perch tend to inhale the bait and then slowly swim away—that’s something you want to see so you can set the hook,” Sathre said. Roach said the camera is also a good tool for really keying in on transition areas like where sand meets mud. Often, jumbo perch are belly to the bottom this time of year so electronics are essential for determining what’s a fish on the bottom and what’s a rock. Both anglers said a rod with a rod tip that will help show these subtle strikes are best but it also needs to have a firm backbone to quickly reel in a jumbo once its on. “You aren’t going to feel the strike a lot of time but you can see it by carefully watching the tip of your rod—once you feel it, there’s not time to waste, reel in quickly or set the hook with the rod because that perch isn’t going to chomp on your hook forever,” Sathre said. Besides making for some terrific fishing action, perch make for a tasty meal. A meal of perch fillets after a day on the ice is tough to beat. Those looking to partake in Roach’s Perch School are in luck this year since he added a second weekend. Beginning March 18 at 6 p.m. and running through to Sunday, March 20, the perch school is run through Hunter’s Point Resort. The guides, food and lodging are all part of the cost that will run $395. It features a Friday evening class, a full-day of fishing Saturday and half a day of fishing on Sunday.

Sportsmen must pay careful attention this political season

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 26, 2010 - 11:55 PM


Candidates squared off in an "Outdoors-Issue" based debate at Game Fair in August

Candidates squared off in an "Outdoors-Issue" based debate at Game Fair in August


         Sportsmen and women have traditionally been a pretty apathetic group of voters over the years. Oh sure, we’ll show up in droves to pass various amendments geared at hunting and fishing, but when it comes to picking the best people to protect our natural resources, we have a problem.

            Who is the best choice for Governor? Good question. It’s for you to decide.

            Doing that can be difficult, especially with so many different issues going on, but I recommend that you give it some consideration.
            At the gubernatorial candidate debate, held last Saturday at Game Fair, four candidates for Governor gave their views on the outdoors. Let’s face it folks, nowhere else, the remainder of the campaign, will the outdoors be the focus of the candidates.
            Listen to what they said about the issues important to you. Post your comments here at and on the specific video.
            Let’s start a rigorous discussion this campaign cycle so that the next four years are good ones for sportsmen and women. Let’s select somebody who will help move Minnesota forward and will not only defend and protect our natural resources, but will be a visionary leader who appoints visionary leaders to do their part.
OR click the links below...
Part One—Introductions and Opening
Part Two—Shoreline Development
Part Three—License Fees
Part Four—Outdoors Amendment
Part Five—Governor’s Deer Opener
Part Six—DNR Commissioner
Part Seven—Lessard Council Members
Part Eight—Government Efficiencies
Part Nine—Public Lands
Part Ten—Firearms Issues
Part Eleven—Waterfowl/Duck Management
Part Twelve—Invasive Species & Wolves
Part Thirteen—Farm Legislation
Part Fourteen—Walk In Access
Part Fifteen—Treaty Issues
Part Sixteen—Candidate Questions and Closing


Moving water the key for hot, late-summer smallmouth bite

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 29, 2010 - 9:59 AM


Author Ron Hustvedt with a quality St. Cloud smallmouth

Author Ron Hustvedt with a quality St. Cloud smallmouth


No matter what the advertisements might say, there is no official end to summer. Labor Day is the marker for most while the more meteorological types wait until the autumnal equinox. Whatever your definition, summer is on the decline but there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of a terrific late summer fishing pattern for smallmouth bass.

For some reason, a lot of anglers think summer fishing means hitting the lakes and ignoring the rivers. River fishing is great in the spring and fall it is also a great place to fish throughout the summer and especially in late summer when weather patterns are known to be unstable. Rivers just seem to have a more consistent bite and cold fronts don’t impact them as much.

The smallmouth bite can be hit or miss and the fish are very temperamental making it tough to get a bite some days—the bass are easier to find in the river or any reservoir system.

One of my favorite stretches of river is found close to my home in Elk River north to Monticello. I also really like the stretches around Sartell and the one between Royalton and Little Falls.

These are known as world-class smallmouth waters but are often devoid of fishing boats, even on the weekends. Pleasure boaters can be found on these stretches throughout the weekend but they receive very little fishing pressure for the quality of catch they produce. The patterns on these stretches for smallmouth bass can be applied to any similar body of water around the state such as the Rum and St. Louis.

The places to look are where you find the fastest current, big boulders and sporadic weeds. The river flow is like a continuous buffet line and the smallmouth sit in these stretches just waiting for food to come down the current into their mouth. 

Ginger Hustvedt with a chunky smallmouth bass

Ginger Hustvedt with a chunky smallmouth bass

On the Mississippi River’s Sartell stretch, the water is the deepest and slowest of all the pools with steep banks, lots of shoreline with overhanging trees and slow moving water. River stretches like this are ripe for fishing weightless plastic lures with an oversized hook.


The reason for an oversized hook is because it acts as a weight for the plastic allowing an angler to twitch the lure under the surface of the water in a walk-the-dog retrieve.

Sometimes the fish on these stretches are not in an aggressive mood so a slower approach is best. A 1/4 to 3/16 ounce jig tipped with a plastic trailer such as a football jig and a crawfish style plastic like a crawpappy. You want something where the pinchers flutter really nicely whether you fish it fast or slow and I prefer solid plastics to the hollow ones in these situations.

Using a large piece of plastic on a smaller jighead is beneficial because it allows the angler to have more control over the lure and creates a more natural look because it allows the current to work it.

On a tough bite a slow retrieve works best with this presentation. When the bite is hot you can burn that same jig and plastic rig over the weeds and rocks. It’s tough to beat burning a jig in the heat and you can easily stall your retrieve in some areas and poke a fish that’s sitting there waiting for food to swim by its face.

The north end of the Sartell stretch features faster flowing water much like you’d find further south around St. Cloud and Elk River. In that skinnier water try dropshotting green-colored tubes with a 3/0 hook Texas-rigged on a drop shot with a quarter ounce weight and 12-inch dropper,

Cast the drop shot to the rock shelf and work the big boulders. Face the boat upstream if you can and run the trolling motor so you are just gaining on the current and covering new water as you most slowly upstream. Casting upstream, use a steady retrieve stopping to pop the lure off the rocks and maintain contact with the bottom. Crawfish style lures with a good pincher-flutter once again work great in these locations.

Mark Westerman with a late August smallmouth and plenty of beautiful scenery

Mark Westerman with a late August smallmouth and plenty of beautiful scenery


Fishing upstream is the best on the river because you are always bringing your lure down with the current, which is a more natural presentation because the fish are already facing upstream. If the fish are active they won’t care as much. When going upstream is not possible due to current or depth, consider quartering the river or going cross-current and focus in on corner breaks like gravel flats one to four feet deep.

Clam beds are easy to spot because you can see the open clams sitting on the bottom—this is a good place for a top water walk the dog lure because the smallmouth often feed here. Anybody who has spent some time on a river knows what eelgrass looks like. As the current flows over the eelgrass it pulsates in the current like wind flowing over a field of grass. You’ll see schools of minnows on the edges of these weeds and the smallmouth are close by hiding out in the pockets of the eelgrass.


Crankbaits like this lipless version work great on river systems

Crankbaits like this lipless version work great on river systems

If the topwater approach doesn’t catch them in those eelgrass locations just run a weightless plastic under the surface and get ready for a big hook set. Crankbaits are also great along that deep break most rivers have where the shallow bank drops into the river channel. Smallmouth bass often hang off the edge of the break and have a hard time resisting a crankbait swam their way.


Before the summer leaves us for a few months, get out to your nearest smallmouth river and try these techniques. Hit those upper stretches of the Mississippi if true tackle busting action is what you like.


River fishing in late summer is definitely worth checking out for hot smallmouth bass action

River fishing in late summer is definitely worth checking out for hot smallmouth bass action



Search for 'larger than average' bass not always elusive

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 20, 2010 - 1:42 AM


Ron Hustvedt with a dandy largemouth bass

           Anglers tend to go through a natural progression—first they are satisfied to just catch fish; second, they are satisfied if the number of fish they catch is high; and third, they are satisfied if the fish they catch are big.
Ron Hustvedt with a dandy  largemouth bass

Ron Hustvedt with a dandy largemouth bass

            That seems to be how it goes for most anglers, though not all. The trouble with this progression is often in making the step from being happy with numbers to desiring bigger fish. For a whole variety of reasons, it seems that a significant number of lakes around the state have a similar size structure when it comes to bass.
            Green Lake near Spicer is a great example of this phenomenon. There are a ton of smallmouth bass in the lake, the bulk of which are three-pounders. For proof of this look no further than the standings from a recent bass tournament. Take the average weight and divide by the number of fish and the figure is right around three pounds.
            Perhaps Green Lake is a bad example because not many lakes are known for having such an impressive average. On most lakes with healthy largemouth populations, the average tends to be in the one to two pound range. These bass are always willing to bite and are fun to catch, but spend a day catching nothing but one to two pounders and many anglers begin wondering if they can do better.
            This is the point where regular anglers and tournament anglers have in common. While catching fish is the name of the game, there’s that desire for larger fish.
For tournament anglers, finding those larger fish is the difference between taking home a payout or going home with nothing but good stories. For average anglers it’s the difference between a good day on the water and a day you remember forever.
            The challenge for both the regular and tournament angler is pinpointing locations and presentations for those larger bass roaming the lake. It is a pursuit that sometimes pays off, literally and figuratively, and sometimes doesn’t.
John House with a meaty Mississippi River smallmouth

John House with a meaty Mississippi River smallmouth

       An angler has to stay incredibly open-minded and you can always follow seasonal patterns where the fish should be but at any given time you need to be able to switch it up and use something a bit different to catch that fish that’s a little more difficult to catch.
            It’s the old versatility game but it is much easier to talk about it than to apply it and be successful. There are days when being versatile and open-minded works and there are days when it won’t—both for the fish and the angler. The key here is to realize that fact and not let it frustrate you.
Leaving the comfort zone
            For a lot of bass anglers, a favorite method is pitching a jig tipped with plastic. The jig remains the most versatile of lures because it works shallow and deep, along the rocks, under docks and in the weeds. There will be days, however, when you won’t get a single bite on it.
            Most anglers have their chosen methods of fishing and those lures they are confident in using. There comes a time, however, when one must leave their comfort zone either to get on bigger fish or to figure out why there isn’t a bite.
            There comes a point where you say, this is my bread and butter and what I’m comfortable doing, but it’s not working and I need to switch. When is it the best time to switch? When you are not satisfied with the results.
            Though not preferred, most anglers are more versatile then they imagine and have the ability to switch gears for larger fish. Those who don’t have this will achieve it with more time spent on the water.
            A lot of bass anglers throw plastics in the spring, jigs in the summer and spinnerbaits in the fall. That right there is three different techniques making you a versatile angler—as long as you keep those applications in your back pocket you can pull them out at anytime.
Tom Braaten with a six-pound largemouth bass from a lake known for "producing lots of small bass"

Tom Braaten with a six-pound largemouth bass from a lake known for "producing lots of small bass"

Bass all over the place
            This is the time of the year when bass can be found almost everywhere on the lake or in the river. They are up on the inside weedlines, in the sloppiest weedbeds, along the weed edges and on the deep breaklines.
            If you want to catch fish all day, the shallow locations are generally better because you are target fishing. Anglers who want to catch some fish with size, however, should go to the deeper water where bass tend to school up.
            You won’t catch fish consistently all day but you have the opportunity to catch a bunch of fish in a short time and if you find the right spot you could catch 15 to 20 of them and they could be all different sizes or a bunch of four-pounders.

            The thing to remember is that versatility is the key to success and to not get frustrated if the fish don’t cooperate. That’s just the nature of fishing.



The author with a "rockin' big bass" as his two-year old likes to call it (caught by the two year old legitimately)

The author with a "rockin' big bass" as his two-year old likes to call it (legitimately caught by said two year old)


Grand Marais still my favorite side of Boundary Waters

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 12, 2010 - 12:25 AM


Sunset over Grand Marais as seen from the scenic overlook along the Gunflint Trail

Sunset over Grand Marais as seen from the scenic overlook along the Gunflint Trail


Apparently the construction on I-35 in Duluth and scattered locations along the North Shore’s Highway 61 is keeping some people from visiting the region. I just returned from a week trip along those very roads and my assessment is that it’s being overblown.
Is there traffic? Yes. But no more than usual it seemed, and I drove through on the way up during the Grandma’s Marathon rush in Duluth. Was there construction? Yes. But this is summertime in Minnesota and construction is a given.
Our trip took a stop in Grand Marais like it always does simply because it’s one of the best cities on the face of the earth. Such an eclectic mix of people, culture and cuisine.
Rainbow over Artist's Point in Grand Marais

Rainbow over Artist's Point in Grand Marais

There is also the strong presence of majestic Lake Superior. If you haven’t seen the lake from Grand Marais then you haven’t yet truly experienced Lake Superior! My favorite sunsets over Superior feature the Sawtooth Mountains, the lighthouses to the harbor and the beautiful trees along Artist’s Point.
Grand Marais sunsets feature plenty of blue, gold and orange

Grand Marais sunsets feature plenty of blue, gold and orange

Grand Marais is also my preferred way of accessing the BWCA Wilderness Area. Oh I’ve been through Ely and will again. There’s nothing wrong with Ely, but it just feels more touristy and traffic-ridden. The tough part about Ely is there’s such a high concentration of entry points in a single area. You have to go a day or two in to get away from the crowds.
On the Grand Marais side there are several main roads to the edges of the BWCA and the ever-popular and winding Gunflint Trail is 50 miles of staggered entry points. Driving along the Gunflint Trail is a magical experience with wonderful twists and turns through spacious woods. It only takes part of a day to get away from the crowds on the Grand Marais side of the BWCA.
A variety of experiences await in Grand Marais

A variety of experiences await in Grand Marais

While on my most recent trip we stopped by to visit our good friends Dave and Nancy Seaton who own Hungry Jack Outfitters about halfway up the Gunflint Trail. They are great people and run a top-notch business. Like most every outfitter up there, they offer both full and partial outfitting services.
I know there are many other high-quality outfitters, but my family will never go anywhere else. Both Dave and Nancy are BWCA paddling enthusiasts and they have traversed most every path imaginable throughout the Gunflint area. They are always good for a tip about the best fishing hole, the secret blueberry patches and the best campsites on any given lake (and the campsites to stay away from!).

So maybe there will be a closed lane or two along the way. Maybe there will be a line-up of cars that slows your journey by 10 minutes. Any time lost in construction traffic on the way to Grand Marais seems to be returned tenfold once you arrive and that makes it all worthwhile.

My family's traditional Lake Saganaga group photo

My family's traditional Lake Saganaga group photo




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