Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Nov. 17, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Some skim ice has formed in a few bays, but the main lake was wide open on Tuesday morning. A few muskie anglers were out in boats and hooking fish on the shallow rock reefs early this week.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The wait for ice fishing has begun. The lake has ice stretching as far as the eye can see from the south shore, and the Rainy River has a skim of ice across it with only a few open areas left. All back bays are ice capped. Use marked trails when ice roads are open and don’t deviate. Walleyes and sauger are staged up nicely along the south shore including Pine Island, Zippel Bay, Long Point, and Rocky Point. Early ice could happen sooner than expected. The Northwest Angle is froze in many areas, but there’s still open water in neck down areas with current.

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Some small lakes, bays, and channels have a skim of ice on them. The bigger bays and large lakes were ice-free early this week. Water temperatures are cold enough for ice to form with a couple nights of calm, freezing weather.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

With the exception of the moving water areas, the entire lake is ice covered. Some bays have as much as 6 inches of ice so the warm weather early this week didn’t have much of a negative impact on it. Some of these areas that froze first should see some fishing activity this weekend. The deer season has gone well, most hunters are seeing plenty of deer and most that haven’t shot one are likely waiting for a bigger buck.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Ice has started to form on the shorelines and in most bays. The warm weather early this week didn’t help ice conditions any, but with a night or two of cold, calm weather walkable ice is expected to develop quickly farther out on the lake.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Much of the main lake and bays were capped with ice, but conditions likely changed after rain and warm weather early this week – there were still boats in Walker Bay on Monday. The small lakes in the area are capped as well, and some walkable ice has formed on a few small lakes.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

Some ice has taken hold on the back bays but not enough to consider walking on at this point. The majority of main lake areas are wide open, and it’s going to take a stretch of extended cold for it to cap.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

There’s 5 to 6 inches of ice reported not far from shore, and it seems to be holding up even with a couple milder days this week. Temperatures were expected to cool down again this week so foot travel and possibly ATV use could be an option by the weekend. The people fishing are reporting improved walleye action in 8 feet as water clarity improves.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

The small, shallow lakes and bays have skim ice forming, while the larger bodies of water were not capped on Tuesday morning. Anglers are still going out in boats and catching a few muskies with sucker minnows on the remaining weed edges of White Bear Lake. A jig and minnow is producing good numbers of walleyes on the St. Croix River near Bayport as well.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

The big lakes are still open and skim ice has taken hold on the small bays and shallow lakes. Walkable ice could form quickly on the spots that are already covered with ice. Muskie anglers continue to use large sucker minnows for muskies on Lake Waconia in 12 to 15 feet.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Anglers had started to walk on a few of the area’s small lakes and bays, but that’s no longer advised with the warm weather early this week. The big lakes were mostly open, but a few nights of cold, calm weather should quickly allow for foot travel on some of the areas already capped.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255

ANNANDALE AREA

There hasn’t been much to report since anglers are between seasons. Some back bays and small lakes have skim ice, while most main lake areas were ice-free early this week. Basically, there’s too much ice to get a boat in and not enough to walk on. Duck numbers have dropped off, but field hunting for geese continues to be worthwhile. The second weekend of deer season went well with less standing corn likely increasing hunter success.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

There was a layer of ice on some small lakes and a few people had started walking out, although those options were no longer advised early this week. Any ice on the big lakes was blown away, and some anglers were still fishing on West Battle Lake for muskies in 18 to 20 feet. Deer hunting seemed to pick up last week and into the weekend, with mostly good reports from hunters as far as deer being seen and shot.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

There was nobody ice fishing here early this week, but by this weekend some of the shallow, small lakes could be a go. Medium to small lakes all are ice covered. Lake Bemidji has some ice, but most of the lake is open. There were even a few diehards out in their boats this past weekend on Bemidji. The second weekend of deer season continued to be good according to most hunters.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Ice conditions are looking good as all lakes are ice capped, and some foot travel has started on the small lakes and bays where 4 to 6 inches of ice is reported – these areas froze earliest. Some walleyes and perch are being caught in the southern bays of Blackduck Lake in 7 to 8 feet. The second weekend of deer hunting was as good, if not slightly better than opening weekend based on registrations and hunter reports.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

You’ll find ice on the shallow bays and some small lakes, but not enough to walk on. A few anglers were fishing from boats last weekend, but developing shoreline ice has eliminated those opportunities. A few cold nights might be all that’s needed for walkable ice to form on those spots that froze earliest.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010

CASS LAKE AREA

The small lakes and bays are ice capped, while the big lakes remained open early this week – there was no ice fishing to report as of Tuesday morning. Most deer hunting reports have been favorable with an abundance of does and small bucks shot.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

Ice is limited to small, shallow bays and ponds after Monday and Tuesday’s warm weather. Ice had started to form on many lakes so it shouldn’t take much cold weather for a few of those traditional, early-ice locations to become accessible for walking.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

The big lakes and mine pits still had open water on Tuesday morning. Some small lakes and bays had as much as 4 inches of ice last weekend, but that likely deteriorated with the warm weather early this week. Deer hunting reports have been mixed, harvest is likely up a bit from last year, with a lot of antlerless  deer and small bucks taken.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Ice is starting to form, but it hasn’t gained much depth this week. Most bigger bodies of water remain open and it’s going to take several nights of cold, calm weather for walkable ice to form on any body of water. If one wanted to, you could have still got a boat in a lake early this week.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Deer hunter success was down a bit from opening weekend, but a decent number of deer were shot. Anglers are reporting 4 inches of ice on some small lakes and bays, and a few people were walking on the shallow bays last weekend. Most big lakes had some open water early this week, but cold weather was expected to return so ice conditions should continue to improve. Be cautious and careful out there.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Ice had formed on the area’s shallow lakes, and if it would have stayed cold, walking on some of it would have already been an option. This week’s weather didn’t allow that – it’s getting close, but it needs to get cold again.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Some small lakes locked up last weekend, while others remain ice-free with some shoreline ice developing. The wind and warm weather early this week deteriorated it, so it’s going to take a few more days of cold weather for walkable ice to form.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

FARIBAULT AREA

Most lakes continued to be ice-free on Tuesday morning. There was skim ice on the ponds and shoreline areas of a few lakes, but not much at all. The lakes are ready to cap, it just needs to get cold again.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

Ice has started to form on some of the small, secluded lakes, but it’s thin ice and there’s no foot travel advised. That could change quickly with a few nights of cold, calm weather – the big lakes were ice-free as of Tuesday morning. Several big deer were registered again last weekend, highlighted by a 275-pound, field-dressed buck.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

HACKENSACK AREA 

Some ice fishing opportunities had begun on a few small lakes and bays last weekend with 3 to 4 inches of ice reported. After some wet and warm weather early this week, it’s no longer advised. That could again change quickly with the next stretch of cold weather.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

With the exception of the big bodies of water, most lakes are ice covered and some walkable ice had formed providing some limited fishing options. After the warm weather early this week, extreme caution is advised due to uncertain ice depths and the impact the weather had on the ice.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

MADISON LAKE AREA

A few small lakes have a thin layer of ice, but nothing that is safe to walk on. Even with the warm weather this week it seemed to stay intact, but any amount of wind could chew away at it. The big lakes are ice-free, and a few anglers continued to fish from boats with limited success.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Three inches of ice was being found on some small lakes and bays, while the big lakes continue to be ice-free. After the warm weather this week, foot travel is not advised until it gets cold again, but it shouldn’t take but a few nights of freezing temperatures for that to happen on select fisheries. The second weekend of deer hunting went well, and several big bucks were shot in the area. Duck numbers have dipped a bit, but there are geese in the area.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

The big lakes are either open or just partially ice-covered. You’ll find limited ice cover on the small lakes and bays, but there wasn’t enough to warrant walking on as of Tuesday morning. Deer hunters shot several big bucks in the area last weekend and most report that rutting activity continues.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Walleyes and sauger continue to be caught on the Mississippi River from the dam to Lake Pepin in 12 to 16 feet. Hair jigs tipped with minnows are working best on the current breaks, and there seems to be a pretty even split between the number of walleyes and sauger being caught. There isn’t any ice worth noting in this area.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

The access areas, shorelines, and small ponds have skim ice, while most lakes remained open early this week. If not for ice along the shorelines, you could still drop a boat in most lakes. Deer hunting reports were OK last weekend, but some hunters commented that they expected to see more deer since more corn had been removed.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Anglers were ice fishing a few small lakes last weekend, but the warm weather this week deteriorated ice conditions. The bigger bodies of water have some open water and ice, but a few nights of cold temperatures would quickly improve ice conditions. The second weekend of deer hunting went well, better than opening weekend, as far as harvest and deer being seen.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Fishing on the Mississippi River continues to be good for smallmouth bass and a few walleyes. There hasn’t been many people out since the deer season started, but those going are catching fish. With the exception of some skim ice there isn’t much to report. There’s still a lot of open water.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

The big bodies of water are wide open, but some of the small, shallow lakes had enough ice for a few people to walk on last weekend. That’s no longer advised – this week’s warm weather slowed the ice making process

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

Some ice took hold on the small bays and ponds, but the lakes were ice-free  on Tuesday morning. Some shoreline ice had started to form on the lakes, but the wind and warm weather took care of most of it early this week.

Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

Ice has started to form, and some of the small ponds and lakes do have a thin layer of ice but nothing safe to venture on. Duck hunting reports have dwindled due to some of the ponds locking up, but pheasant hunting has improved now that the corn is harvested and deer season has ended – there’s more people chasing roosters now.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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