Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Nov. 24, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Ice has taken hold in the bays and along some shorelines, with about 3 to 4 inches found. Strong winds on Tuesday likely chewed away at the ice that had formed, but the lake is ready to cap with some calm, cold weather.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The wait for the lake to get entirely locked up with ice continues. Early this week, good sections of ice with pockets of open water were seen on the main lake, which is common this time of year based on wind direction. The Rainy River has a skim of ice across it with only a few open areas left and the back bays are locked up. The Northwest Angle is capped in most areas with a few spots of open water in neck down areas with current.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

You’ll find skim ice on some bays and wind-protected areas, but the majority of lakes remained open early this week. It wouldn’t take but a few nights of calm weather for most lakes to cap, since some were, only to re-open with the wind. A few diehard muskie anglers continue to fish open water on Lake Minnetonka with some success reported on sucker minnows.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Ice forms on the main basin, but typically opens each day with the wind. There is better ice in the shallow bays, up to 4 to 6 inches, but there hasn’t been anyone fishing or spearing on it quite yet.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The entire lake is ice-covered and there’s enough of it in place that the wind early this week likely didn’t have a negative impact on it. Fishing pressure has been light, but as much as 5 inches of ice was reported in some areas. The small lakes have seen some foot travel with 4 to 6 inches of ice reported on them.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

After strong winds on Tuesday, any thin ice that had formed on the main basin had re-opened. With the exception of ice on the wind-protected bays and shorelines, there was more open water than ice early this week. Some small lakes in this area have enough ice to walk on, but you need to check it as you go since ice depths vary.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

Most of the main lake was still ice-free on Tuesday morning, but ice has taken hold on some bays. The ice fishing season has not started, but that could happen soon in a few bays with an extended stretch of cold, calm weather.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Walleye fishing has been good in 8 to 12 feet and the ice is 7 to 8 inches thick in the areas being fished. Setlines and jigging spoons are both producing fish. Travel by foot, ATV, and side by side, but no heavy trailers or wheelhouses were being allowed out early this week.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Walleyes are being taken with a jig and minnow on the St. Croix River, and a few diehard muskie anglers continue to venture out on area lakes. Ice has been slow to develop and the warmer weather and wind early this week didn’t helped.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

A thin layer of ice has held up on a few small bays, but there was more open water than ice on area lakes early this week. A handful of muskie anglers are still heading to Lake Waconia, but fishing pressure has been limited.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

With the exception of some shoreline ice and ice cover on some small bays, most lakes are still wide open. Some cold, calm nights are needed to form some fishable ice here. A few people have been fishing off the local piers or from shore and catching the occasional northern pike or largemouth bass.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Ice has taken hold on most small, shallow lakes or bays and although some foot travel has started, extreme caution is advised after the warm weather and wind early this week. The big lakes had white caps on them Tuesday morning.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

You could still get a boat in most lakes this week, and the wind tore up most skim ice that had started to form on main lake areas. Ice is limited to the ponds, wind-protected bays, and some shorelines and its a thin layer so walking on any of it is not advised.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Ice has been slow to develop throughout the area. The big lakes were still open early this week, while anglers checking the small lakes and bays were having a tough time finding enough ice to walk on. There hasn’t been any fishing taking place on the ice at this point. That could be just a few cold, calm nights away, though.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

The ice fishing season has begun in the Bemidji area! On the smaller shallower lakes ice is in the 4- to 7-inch range. Extreme caution is urged, especially if you are unfamiliar with the lake you are heading out on. The bigger lakes like Lake Bemidji are still partially open. Lake Irving is producing some jumbo perch and a few walleyes. Midge Lake is kicking out some crappies and bluegills along the 10- to 12-foot weedlines on small tear drop jigs and wax worms.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Ice depths vary from as much as 7 inches in the bays to 3 to 4 inches on most main lake areas. Everything is locked up, but you still need to watch where you’re going on all lakes. Perch and walleyes are being caught on Blackduck Lake in 8 to 10 feet, and some of the area’s small lakes are kicking out panfish.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Anglers are walking on some of the small lakes and on the Highway 371 Bay of North Long Lake with 4 to 6 inches of ice reported. Crappies are being caught in 11 to 15 feet here with minnows and Eurolarvae. The main basin areas of all big lakes are still ice-free, and anglers continue to catch walleyes on the Mississippi River on jigs and minnows.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

The bays and small lakes have 4 to 5 inches of ice, while the main basin areas of the big lakes have much thinner ice, and with the warm weather some cracks and heaves have developed. Spearing and angling has started in Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake in 10 to 12 feet and early reports have been good.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

With more wind and warm weather last week, ice conditions have deteriorated. Although some small lakes and bays cap with ice at night, most of it disappears during the day. People were still fishing open water on a limited basis early this week.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

The big lakes locked up last weekend and most of the ice stayed intact through the wind early this week, but pockets of open water did reappear. The small, shallow lakes have 3 to 5 inches of ice, and some anglers have started walking out with marginal success for panfish and northern pike reported.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

With the exception of the big lakes, ice has taken hold with as much as 5 to 7 inches being found on some bays and small lakes. Anglers have been walking out and catching a few panfish at Height of Land Lake, Floyd Lake, and Cotton Lake.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Anglers are reporting as much as 5 inches of ice on the small lakes and bays and some foot travel has started. A few walleyes have been taken with shiner minnows on Rice Lake and Boulder Lake. The big lakes also have capped, but Tuesday’s wind was a concern. If they did pop open or bust loose, it shouldn’t take much for them to lock up again.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Any ice that has formed is thin and has not gotten thicker since last week. Most big lakes were still ice-free this week, but with a string of cold, calm days some of those traditional first-ice spots could form ice thick enough to walk on quickly.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Ice has formed, even the big lakes had skim ice last weekend, but most of them had blown open with the strong winds early this week. People checking ice conditions have found as much as 6 inches on some small lakes and bays, but fishing reports have been limited.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

EMILY AREA 

Fishing and hunting reports have been very limited. Although some ice has taken hold, its limited and not thick enough to walk on. This could change quickly on some small, wind-protected bays or lakes with cold weather, but nothing was happening early this week.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

The lakes are all ice-free and only a few people have been fishing open water – success has been minimal. The majority of ducks are gone, there are geese around, and pheasant hunting reports have been average at best.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

There isn’t any ice worth noting. It just hasn’t been cold enough for a layer of ice to take hold and when it does, the wind usually opens it during the day. Some shore fishing was taking place on the Cannon River where a few walleyes were being caught with minnows.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

Anglers have started walking on some small, wind-protected lakes where up to 5 inches of ice is being found. Elbow Lake was producing a few walleyes, northern pike, and perch in 4 feet. The big lakes are not totally ice-covered, but some ice does exist on them and it won’t take but a night or two of calm weather for them to completely cap.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

The areas that have been froze for about two weeks have around 5 inches of ice and anglers have started walking on some of these small lakes and bays. Angler success has been limited, and the bigger, deep lakes remained wide open as of Tuesday morning.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

Ice is limited to the small, shallow lakes and even that is minimal. The area’s big lakes remain open or partially capped, and it might only take a night or two of calm conditions for the small lakes to firm up enough for foot travel.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

The big lakes had skim ice, but they continue to open with the wind most days. The small lakes, those that have been ice-covered for more than a week, have stayed tight and should provide walkable ice by this weekend. Check it as you go, but walking out should be an option on some lakes.

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

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

All lakes are ice-covered with 6 to 8 inches pretty common on the spots that froze earliest. Anglers are just starting to head out with some early reports for crappies off Shoepack Lake and Long Ear Lake.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

MORA AREA

The lakes are ice-covered, some have been for more than a week, but ice depth has not improved much. Anglers have been checking ice conditions and most feel that walkable ice should be an option on some lakes within the next week.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151

ORTONVILLE AREA

A thin layer of ice has been forming, but the wind usually takes care of most of it during midday hours. A string of cold, calm nights and days are needed before walkable ice will form. Hunting reports have been good for pheasants now that the corn is out and waterfowl hunters continue to find good numbers of ducks and geese as well.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Ice has taken hold on all lakes, but ice depths vary from as little as 2 inches on the bigger bodies of water to as much as 6 inches on the small, shallow lakes and bays. Anglers have started walking on a few of these small lakes and some panfish are being caught.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

A few small, shallow lakes and traditional first-ice locations have 4 to 6 inches of ice and some anglers have started walking out, but the bite has been slow. Many lakes still had open water early this week and there hasn’t been a lot of people venturing out at this point.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Walleyes and sauger continue to be caught on the Mississippi River. A jig and minnow or plastics are producing fish in the 12- to 15-foot current seams. Start at the dam and work your way down river and you’ll find pockets of fish. Skim ice has started to form on some back bays and sloughs, but it’s minimal.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

You could still get a boat on many lakes this week, while ice has formed on some bays, access areas, and ponds. With strong winds and warmer temperatures early this week, any thoughts of ice fishing locally have been put on hold.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Ice conditions deteriorated since last week even where ice has taken hold. The warm weather and wind has made for some uncertain ice conditions on all lakes. Prior to Tuesday’s wind, even the big lakes had some skim ice, but that was eliminated. The ice-making process is basically starting over from scratch.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Ice conditions have not improved since last week, which means there’s still a lot of open water. With the exception of some skim ice on a few bays or ponds, it just hasn’t been cold enough for any ice to form. A handful of anglers continue to fish the Mississippi River above and below the Little Falls dam for walleyes and smallmouth bass.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

Some small lakes and wind-protected bays have about 4 inches of ice and a few anglers have started walking out, but you need to know where you’re going, and caution is advised. Even the big lakes such as Minnewaska had a skim of ice early this week, but Tuesday’s wind likely busted some of that up.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

After Tuesday’s strong wind event, ice is limited to the small bays and lakes. The big lakes were still open or partially ice-covered and fishing was not yet happening. Look to the shallow, prairie lakes to be the first to provide walkable ice.

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

Ice conditions deteriorated since last week and the wind early this week likely took care of any ice that did exist. With open water still evident, ducks and geese have hung around, while the majority of pheasant hunting reports have been favorable since the corn came out.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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