Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 22, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

East – The south-end bays now have 10 to 12 inches of ice, but there continues to be many troubled spots on the main lake, so check with resorts before venturing out. The key to catching walleyes in the bays now is to get away from the crowds since angling pressure has been  high in 9 to 12 feet. Sucker minnows continue to produce good-size northern pike in the bays in less than 12 feet as well.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

West – On the spots people are fishing, 6 to 8 inches of ice is pretty common, but it’s thinner on the main lake. Walleyes and the occasional jumbo perch are being caught on the rock points and Garrison Reef in 10 to 16 feet. The 18- to 23-foot breaks in most bays are producing walleyes as well.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The morning bite has been best for walleyes and then the bite turns to more sauger with some walleyes mixed in during the afternoon. Ice conditions vary all over the lake so go through a resort and stay on the marked ice roads since they are checked daily. Walleyes and sauger are hitting pink and gold jigs tipped with shiners, and you’ll have to sort through smaller fish to get your keepers. On the Rainy River, ice stretches from shore to shore and some locals are out who know the river well but ice varies greatly. At the Northwest Angle, fishing is excellent and there’s good ice where resorts are traveling and fishing. There is thin ice spots in the typical current and neck down areas to be avoided. The snowmobile trail from Wheeler’s Point to Oak Island is marked and open.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

There’s still a few spots with open water on the big lakes and 2 to 5 inches on the bays and small lakes so foot travel has started. A few big walleyes are being taken on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Independence, and Medicine Lake in 20 to 25 feet – eaters have been hard to find. Panfish reports have been slow, but tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike on the weedlines of Medicine and Minnetonka.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Snowmobiles and ATVs are being used in the areas being fished, but there are some ice heaves that you need to be careful around. The mouth of Pike Bay, or the reefs around Ely Island and Birch Island are producing walleyes in 20 to 25 feet. Northern pike reports have been decent in Stuntz Bay, Everett’s Bay, and Larson Bay, primarily for spearing.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

You’ll find 9 to 13 inches of ice on the shoreline breaks, but there are some cracks on the south end that need to be approached with caution. Northern pike and perch are hitting in 6 to 10 feet along the west side. You’ll also catch perch on Snaghole Bar in 16 to 20 feet and some walleyes during the evening hours at the sunken island on the south end in 16 to 20 feet.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Ice conditions have improved, but depths still vary from pockets of thin ice to as much as 13 inches in some bays and main lake areas. It’s a tricky deal at this point since some areas are not safe for any form of travel, while ATVs are being used in other spots. The first shoreline break, 18 to 25 feet in Walker Bay is giving up a few walleyes during low-light periods. Look to Sand Point for walleyes and a few keeping-size perch in less than 12 feet and some of the main-lake reefs, those with good ice in and around them, are giving up walleyes in 15 to 20 feet.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

Reports indicate 5 to 8 inches of ice in many areas, and some ATV or snowmobiles are being used. But you have to use caution and know where you’re going since ice depths are not uniform. The reefs in Black Bay and the Birch Point area have been best for walleyes in 20 to 24 feet. Crappie reports have been slow, but northern pike are being taken via spearing and angling in Black Bay.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Walleye reports have varied, but most continue to catch limits of fish on the 12- to 14-foot mud and gravel bars. Spoons and deadsticks are both working, but there’s been more fish caught on deadsticks and minnows this week. Ice conditions are good, with some vehicle and wheelhouses being allowed, but continue to check with resorts for daily updates and travel options.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

WEST METRO

You’ll find 4 to 6 inches on most lakes, but a bit less on some of the big, deep lakes so use caution. Fishing reports have been limited to a few crappies being caught during the evening hours in 12 to 14 feet at Lake Parley, Wasserman Lake, and Pierson Lake.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

Most areas being fished now have 4 to 6 inches of ice and anglers are walking out. The south end of Prior Lake is producing walleyes in 25 feet, while crappies are hitting in Paradise Bay over 14 feet or out of the Sportsman’s Access in 15 to 20 feet. Northern pike are being caught with tip-ups and sucker minnows in the 6- to 10-foot weeds of Lake Marion, Lake O’Dowd, Spring Lake, and Prior.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

LAKE WACONIA

Ice conditions really vary and there are several spots of concern, specifically a half mile long pressure ridge that extends from the northwest side of Coney Island to the north, ending west of the south side of Keg’s Reef. Part of this area has dangerously thin ice that geese had kept open. Locations like Waconia Bay, the walleye hole between the marinas, “under the wires,” Pillsbury Reef, and into Wagener’s Bay have 5 to 6 inches of ice. Those areas are common early ice locations that are recommended for travel and fishing at this time.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ANNANDALE AREA

Some lakes still had pockets of open water earlier this week, but up to 6 inches of ice was reported on the spots being fished. Anglers have started walking on some lakes. The north end of Little Maple Lake is producing crappies and sunfish, while the 10- to 15-foot flats on Pleasant Lake are giving up panfish and pike. A few walleyes are being caught on the west side of Clearwater Lake in 16 to 20. Look to Granite Lake for sunfish and northern pike in 10 to 15 feet.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Ice depths continue to vary on most lakes, with 3 to 14 inches reported throughout the area, so you really need to watch you’re traveling. The north end of Otter Tail Lake is kicking out walleyes in 17 feet, as is West Battle Lake in 20 feet. The narrows on Pelican Lake are producing walleyes and crappies in 12 feet, the bays on Fish are giving up crappies and sunfish, while northern pike and sunfish are being taken in less than 8 feet on South Turtle Lake.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Anglers have been out in force this past week and reports have been good. Most lakes have 11 to 13 inches of ice, but there are spots with thinner ice so you need to know where you’re traveling, especially at night. Lake Bemidji is kicking out walleyes early and late in the day in 8 to 18 feet and the perch bite is picking up here as well. Look to lakes such as Pimushe, Gull, and Sandy for crappies and bluegills in 15 to 22 feet.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Blackduck Lake is giving up walleyes and perch in 10 to 15 feet and crappies on the 20- to 24-foot mud. Walleye and crappie action has been best during low-light periods. Island Lake continues to produce perch and a few walleyes in 10 to 20 feet, while bluegill reports have slowed. Most lakes now have 13 to 15 inches of ice, vehicle traffic has started, but there are spots with less ice so you need to know where you’re going.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Ice depths vary from 3 to 12 inches. It just depends on the lake or area within it, so you still need to watch where you’re going. Walleyes are being taken with shiner minnows in 17 to 24 feet on North Long Lake and Round Lake. You’ll find suspended crappies over 17 to 25 feet on North Long, Round, and Nisswa Lake, while Eurolarvae are producing sunfish on Cullen Lake, Nisswa, and Roy Lake in less than 10 feet. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows in 14 to 18 feet on Gull Lake, North Long, and Cullen.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Walleyes are being caught in 18 feet during the day or on LeRoy’s Bar and Center Bar in 16 feet during low-light periods on Pike Bay Lake. The cabbage on the west side of Pike Bay is producing perch, while Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake continues to give up northern pike. Although thin ice continues to be found, 6 to 10 inches is pretty common on the areas being fished.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

On Chisago Lake, northern pike and panfish are biting in the back bays in 6 to 8 feet, and the channel area is producing pike, walleyes, and panfish in 10 to 12 feet. The Dinner Bell area on South Lindstrom Lake is giving up panfish and an occasional walleye in 8 to 16 feet. You’ll find 4 to 6 inches of ice on the spots being fished, but less ice on most main-lake areas.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Lake Sallie is producing walleyes and northern pike in 15 to 20 feet, while Cotton Lake is giving up walleyes in 20 to 25 feet. Look to Little Detroit Lake for sunfish in 5 to 10 feet and crappies in 15 feet. Deadshot Bay is worth noting for walleyes during low-light periods in 10 to 15 feet. Ice depths vary, generally with 8 to 10 inches of ice where people have been fishing closer to shore, to much less ice on the main portions of most lakes.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

You’ll find 6 to 9 inches of ice on most lakes, but any current and deep water areas still have 2 to 4 inches, so you really have to watch it. Walleyes and crappies have started hitting on Whiteface Lake in 12 feet, while the narrows area on Fish Lake is giving up a few crappies and walleyes in 10 to 12 feet. On Boulder Lake, you have to sort through small walleyes, but they are biting well in 10 to 14 feet.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Crappies, sunfish, and an occasional walleye are being taken off Blue Lake in 11 to 14 feet. Little Elk Lake is producing panfish in 7 to 11 feet, and Baxter Lake is worth noting for northern pike and panfish in 10 to 14 feet. Ice depths haven’t improved much since last week with varying depths of 4 to 8 inches, so you need to use caution on all lakes.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

FAIRMONT AREA

Ice continues to develop slowly with 2 to 4 inches reported on area lakes and there’s still pockets of water on some lakes. As a result, there hasn’t been any fishing activity worth noting, but cold weather is expected and that could quickly improve the ice.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

GRAND MARAIS AREA

Ice depths vary from 6 to 12 inches, but the bigger lakes just recently capped so the ice is much thinner on those. Elbow Lake continues to produce walleyes and perch in 5 feet, while walleyes are being taken on Devil Track Lake in 8 to 15 feet and South Fowl Lake in 6 feet.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Ice depths are all over the place with 2 to 13 inches being found on area lakes. Crappies and bluegills are hitting in 18 to 22 feet on Big and Little Splithand lakes, Tioga Bay and Poole’s Bay on Lake Pokegama in 20 to 25 feet, and Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake in 21 feet. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 24 feet on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake, 20 to 30 feet on Bowstring Lake, and 18 to 35 feet in Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River. A few walleyes are being caught on the 20- to 40-foot humps of Pokegama and Jay Gould Lake started producing perch in 10 feet.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is producing northern pike and sunfish in 8 feet and the point just outside the bay is giving up a few walleyes in 18 feet on shiner minnows. On Lady Lake, sunfish and crappies are hitting just out from the access, while the north end of Long Lake (by the Hub Supper Club) is worth noting for sunfish in 6 feet. Ice depths vary from 4 to 8 inches depending on the lake or spots within a given lake.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

You’ll find 8 to 12 inches of ice on the small lakes, while the bigger lakes have varying ice depths from 4 to 8 inches. Birch Lake, Brockway Lake, and Moccasin Lake are producing crappies and bluegills in 14 to 22 feet. Some walleyes are being caught with rainbow minnows on Baby Lake, Birch, and Webb Lake in 18 to 22 feet during low-light periods. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows on most lakes in 10 to 14 feet.

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

LAKE KABETOGAMA

Ice conditions are improving daily, the last forecasted snowstorm was a bust, and that’s allowed the lake to seal up nicely and start making some navigable ice. Portables are starting to show up off the Kabetogama Visitor Center area and to the southeast toward Sphunge Island and Duck Bay. Anglers are reporting good success for jumbo perch and walleye. Tom Cod Bay is producing numerous pike with many trophy’s already this year for spear fishermen. The spear houses are seeing lots of fish and no one is going home disappointed.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

LONGVILLE AREA

Ice conditions are slowly improving with foot travel now an option on most lakes, keep the ATVs along the shorelines, walk out, and use caution. Girl Lake is producing sunfish during the day and crappies during low-light periods in 18 feet. Some walleyes are being caught with small sucker minnows near Government Point and in Broadwater Bay on Woman Lake over 20 to 22 feet. Northern pike are being taken via spearing and angling in the back bay of Mule Lake, while Mabel Lake is giving up sunfish in 12 feet.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

Ice depths vary from 4 to 6 inches – more on the small lakes and less on the bigger bodies of water. Walleyes and crappies are being caught on Madison Lake in 20 to 25 feet during low-light periods and Duck Lake is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 15 to 18 feet. Look to Little Jefferson Lake for crappies and northern pike in 15 to 18 feet.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

MORA AREA

Crappies and sunfish are biting on Quamba Lake in 7 feet, Lake Eleven in 12 feet, Knife Lake in 10 to 12 feet, and Fish Lake in 6 feet. Ann Lake is producing sunfish in 9 to 11 feet, walleye action is slow, and northern pike are active on most lakes in less than 10 feet. Most lakes now have 6 to 9 inches of ice and ATVs are being used.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

Big Stone Lake still had “iffy” ice earlier this week. There’s a sheet of good ice and other areas that just aren’t safe for any type of travel. As of Tuesday morning, travel was not encouraged, but if gets as cold as expected, it shouldn’t take long for ice depths to improve.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Walleyes are being caught on Fish Hook Lake in 14 to 16 feet and the east arm of Potato Lake in 16 to 20 feet. The Crow Wing Chain remains a safe bet for panfish in 12 to 20 feeet and the south side of Long Lake is producing northern pike in 12 to 18 feet. Most lakes now have 6 to 10 inches of ice with some areas over deep water supporting thinner ice.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

RED WING AREA

The dam was recently opened so water levels have gone up on the Mississippi River and that has slowed the walleye and sauger action. The backwater bays, sloughs, and marinas now have 4 to 6 inches of ice and they are kicking out perch, bluegills, and crappies.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Walleyes are being caught on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes from 10 to 25 feet, it really just depends where you can get on due to varying ice conditions. Ice depths continue to be inconsistent on all lakes so you need to watch where you’re traveling, even
in shallow areas. Anglers are reporting 4 to 6 inches of ice on the spots being fished, but less ice not far from them.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

A few crappies and walleyes continue to be caught on the north end of Sauk Lake in 20 to 40 feet. Crappies also are biting out from the hill access on the north end of Lake Osakis in 22 to 24 feet and the southwest corner of Maple Lake in 24 to 28 feet. Look to Westport Lake for northern pike in 7 feet. Ice depths vary, but it is improving with as much as 9 inches reported on the spots being fished.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Shamineau Lake started giving up walleyes and crappies during low-light periods in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Lake Alexander for walleyes in 16 feet Nokasippi Lake for crappies and sunfish in 12 feet. There’s an evening walleye bite at Round Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Ice depths continue to improve with 8 to 12 inches now being found on many lakes.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

Ice conditions vary with 8 to 9 inches on spots within some lakes, but there’s still a few spots with thin ice or pockets of open water on the big lakes. Anglers are catching a walleye or two a night on Lake Minnewaska in 14 to 16 feet. Panfish reports continue to be slow throughout the area.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WATERVILLE AREA

You’ll find a few pockets of open water in a few spots, but most lakes or areas within them, have 4 inches of ice. Northern pike are being taken in Antilles Bay on Lake Tetonka in shallow water, but most anglers have just started venturing out. Panfish and walleye reports have been limited in the area to this point.

Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873

WILLMAR AREA

Lake conditions vary from open water in some spots to as much as 7 inches of ice in other locations. A few walleyes are being caught in less than 10 feet on lakes such as Wagonda, Lillian, Big Kandi, Long, Norway, and Minnetoga. Ringo Lake is producing some walleyes and crappies in 8 to 10 feet and the northwest corner of Willmar/Foot Lake is worth hitting for crappies and walleyes as well this month.

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

Ice depths haven’t improved much from last week, but 3 to 5 inches continues to be found. Look to Lake Sarah for perch and a few walleyes in less than 8 feet and to Lake Lac qui Parle for walleyes in 6 to 8 feet. Lake Shetek is producing crappies and walleyes in 6 to 8 feet, while lakes such as Dead Coon, Lady Slipper, School Grove, and Current are producing walleyes in 5 to 7 feet.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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