Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 1, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Ice has remained intact in most bays during the recent warm weather, but it has deteriorated since last week. The main lake is wide open, and there were a few reports of boats being put in on the west side last weekend.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The lake has locked up with ice but there are still a few open spots. Some local guides have ventured out, finding varying ice conditions. So far, a bit of rough ice is near shore, but it’s not bad. Water clarity appears good, with fish being caught by guides testing things out. Resorts will be out measuring ice thickness and assessing ice conditions during the week. The Rainy River has a skim of ice across it with only a few open areas left, and the back bays are frozen over with 4 to 8 inches in many areas. On an average year, resort fish houses are out on the main lake around Dec 10, ATVs and collapsible fish houses could get out a bit earlier, but it’s weather-dependent. Walleyes and sauger are staged up nicely along south shore with fish populations favorable. The Northwest Angle is frozen in most areas with a few current areas remaining open.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The wind and warm weather have eliminated the majority of ice that had formed. Only skim ice remains in a few locations – there was more open water than ice early this week, with little cold in sight in the near future.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Some small, shallow bays have 4 to 6 inches of ice, and a few anglers have started walking on them. The main lake is mostly ice-capped as well, but there isn’t enough ice to think about walking on it at this point. After the warm and windy weather this week, caution is advised even for foot travel.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The entire lake has remained ice-covered and in pretty good shape. You’ll find 4 to 7 inches of ice in most areas with more close to shore and less ice the farther out you go.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

With the exception of some shoreline ice, the entire lake is again wide open. This week’s wind and high temperatures took care of most of the ice that had started to form – there was still a boat or two in Walker Bay last weekend. Anglers are fishing the small lakes for panfish where 4 to 6 inches of ice is being found.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

Ice had started to take shape in the bays and along most shorelines, but warm weather and rain has deteriorated it. As of early this week, no ice travel of any kind was recommended throughout the lake.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

The walleye bite has been pretty good for most in 10 to 12 feet. A jig and minnow or deadsticks are both working at times. The ice is at 8 to 10 inches in most areas of the lake. Foot travel and ATVs are being used, but you have to check with your resort for marked roads and safe travel. Some areas still have compromised ice, so talk with a resorter or outfitter before venturing out.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

With the exception of a few shorelines and ponds, ice is difficult to find. The warm weather and wind took care of the little ice that had started to form. There are still plenty of opportunities to fish open water here.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Open-water angling is the only option after another week of unseasonably warm weather. Any ice that had formed is gone, but it should redevelop quickly with some cold, calm weather.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The big lakes are still wide open, while some small, shallow lakes and bays have about 4 inches of ice. Although some foot travel has continued on these shallow areas, it is not advised due to varying ice conditions after this week’s warm weather and wind.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Most lakes are ice-covered or partially covered, and the big lakes still had quite a bit of open water on them early this week. With the warm weather, ice depths have not improved and in some cases deteriorated since last week.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Another week of warm and windy weather has left any ice in place unsafe to walk on. The small lakes have remained ice-covered, but ice depths have not improved. Open water is still quite evident on the bigger bodies of water.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

The weather this week has not been good for making ice. It has been dropping into the teens and 20s at night, so the area isn’t really losing any ice. Ice cleats on your boots are a must when walking on the ice with the slick conditions. Many lakes have around 7 inches of ice, but extreme caution needs to be used. Water has been pooling on the ice during the day. Lake Irving is kicking out some perch and a few walleyes in 8 to 12 feet, while some crappies and bluegills are being caught on Midge and Grace Lake along the 8- to 12-foot cabbage.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

The majority of ice maintained its depth since last week, although it hasn’t got any thicker. Ice depths also vary, but anglers are walking on most lakes and using ATVs on others. You need to know where you’re going. Blackduck Lake is producing walleyes at dusk and perch during the day in 10 to 12 feet.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

The big lakes remained ice-free early this week, but anglers were reporting about 5 inches of ice on some small lakes and bays early this week. You really need to use caution, and only foot travel is advised on the few areas being fished, especially after this week’s warm weather. Some panfish and northern pike were being caught on Nisswa Lake, Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake, and Jones Bay on Pelican Lake. Anglers fishing the Mississippi River continue to catch walleyes, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

The small lakes and bays continue to have walkable ice, while the bigger bodies of water have pockets of open water and thin ice. With the warm weather this week, caution is advised on all areas, but the spots that froze earliest continue to have people walking on them. Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake is producing northern pike in 12 to 15 feet, Little Wolf Lake is giving up perch, while Midge Lake and Grace Lake are kicking out panfish in 20 feet.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

Ice is pretty scarce throughout the area. Any that had formed has been eliminated with the wind and warm weather this week. If you still have a boat available, that’s the only option for fishing at this point.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Ice conditions have not improved since last week, with some limited foot travel on a few shallow, small lakes continuing. After this week’s warm weather, caution is advised on all area lakes. Even the big lakes have mostly stayed intact, but ice depths on them are not thick enough to think about walking on.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Ice conditions are reported as soft after another week of warm weather. Anglers continue to walk on a few small lakes or bays with about 4 inches of ice reported, but caution is advised throughout the area. Pockets of open water can still be seen on most bigger, wind-swept bodies of water.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

The lakes have not lost any ice since last week, but it hasn’t gotten thicker, either. Anglers continue to walk on some small lakes and bays where to 4 to 5 inches has remained intact. Avoid the big lakes or main-lake areas at this point and check the ice heading into this weekend, since the warm weather likely compromised ice depths on some lakes in the area.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Ice has held on at a few lakes, but it’s limited – most of it got beat up with the wind this week. Open water is once again more evident than ice throughout the area.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Ice conditions have taken a step backward since last week. There’s still ice intact on many lakes and bays, but the warm weather and wind has softened it. Anglers are advised to use caution, even on those areas that have been locked up for more than a week.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

FAIRMONT AREA

Nothing has changed since last, which means the entire area is still ice-free. It’s just been too warm and windy for any ice to form so open water fishing opportunities remain.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

GRAND MARAIS AREA

A few small lakes or bays have 4 to 6 inches of ice, but it has not improved any since last week. Anglers need to use caution and check ice depths diligently after this week’s warm weather. Any ice that had formed on the big lakes, and it was minimal, has been lost as well.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Anglers are reporting 6 to 7 inches of ice on some small lakes and bays so foot travel and limited ATV use has started. These areas that have been ice-capped for more than a week seem to be holding up despite the warm weather.
The big lakes are still open or have skim ice at best.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

HACKENSACK AREA 

Anglers were still walking on some bays and small lakes early this week with 3 to 6 inches of ice reported. Unfortunately, ice depths have not improved since last week and you need to be diligent checking it as you venture out, especially with warm weather expected to continue this week.

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

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

Even though all lakes have remained ice-covered, ice conditions have deteriorated since last week. There was 6 inches of ice reported on some lakes last week, but that likely has changed with continued warm weather. Travel of any kind is not advised until it gets cold again and the ice firms up.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LAKE KABETOGAMA

The wind this week opened up an area from Woodenfrog through the Grassy’s all the way to Cutover, Ram, Picnic and over to Echo Island. The area around the mouth of Ash River had opened but now has a skim layer of ice again. Anglers are walking out on the Ash and spear shacks are being placed in the southeast bays, as well as Tom Cod Bay. Use good judgment when venturing out as ice depths really vary.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

LONGVILLE AREA

The small lakes were locked up last week with 4 to 6 inches of ice being reported and some foot travel had started. This week’s weather likely deteriorated ice depths so extreme caution is advised on all lakes throughout the area.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

Any ice that had taken hold was eliminated over the past week with the wind and warm weather. You could get a boat on most lakes in this area earlier this week.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

MORA AREA

Most lakes continue to have a layer of ice on them, but it has not firmed up since last week. Foot travel is not recommended after this week’s warm weather, but as it cools down, walkable ice should not take long to redevelop.

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

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Ice depths vary from 2 to 6 inches with some foot travel reported on a few bays and small lakes. Caution is advised after this week’s warm weather, even on those areas that have been froze for a while. The bigger lakes still have pockets of open water and the wind has chewed away at the ice on them.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

The big lakes remain ice-free and ice depths on the small lakes and bays has not improved. It likely deteriorated this week. You need to check ice conditions as you go due to varying ice depths on all lakes. Although some people were walking on a few lakes and bays that have been capped for more than a week, this week’s weather has left a lot of uncertainty with the ice.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Jigs or hair jigs tipped with minnows continue to produce walleyes and sauger on the Mississippi River. The best bite has been early and late each day on the 16- to 20-foot current seams. Any ice that had formed in the back channels and bays has melted away since last week.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

You’ll find a thin layer of ice on some lakes and mostly open water on others. Any ice that’s in place was compromised with this week’s wind and warm temperatures. Basically, there’s too much ice to put a boat in and not enough to walk on.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

With the exception of some areas on the bigger lakes everything is capped with ice. Unfortunately, the recent warm spell has taken its toll on the ice that’s in place. Venturing on area lakes was not an option early this week due to deteriorating ice conditions. The muzzleloader season has gone well with many reports of hunters getting their deer.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

For the most part, the ice that was in place has stayed intact, but it ice depths have not improved since last week. Anglers are walking on a few small, shallow lakes or bays with about 4 inches of ice reported. The big lakes also are skimmed with pockets of open water.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

Ice is pretty limited after this week’s warm weather and wind. The small, shallow lakes and bays have a thin layer of ice, but most main lake areas are wide open. Ice conditions actually deteriorated since last week due to the weather.

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

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