Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Jan. 5, 2018

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS

East – Numerous resorts are now allowing vehicle travel but check with each one before you go. Walleye fishing has been normal, meaning mobility, getting away from the crowds, and bigger profile baits have been keys to success. The best walleye reports are coming off the structure in 18 feet or deeper. Walleyes and some nice perch are being caught in the main basin areas over 28 feet or more as well. Sucker minnows continue to produce northern pike in the bays and main lake structure areas.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

West – Trucks have been driving out of some accesses, but it’s still not recommended due to varying ice depths. Fishing continues to be good for walleyes with a mix of jumbo perch in the bays over 18 to 23 feet. The rock points also have been good in 10 to 17 feet. Anglers using ATVs to travel to the mud flats report good walleye fishing as well.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

In the Pine Island, Bostic Bay, and Morris Point areas there’s an average of 18 inches of ice, but in other areas, ice thickness varies so it’s good to call ahead. Along the south shore, fish have spread out, which is traditional this time of year, yet with all the cold temperatures anglers are still managing to pick through different-sized fish and find limits of keeper walleyes and sauger. The cold temperatures have made dead sticks the go-to fishing tactic. The bite is good in 15 to 18 feet during morning and evening hours, while 24 to 30 feet is producing more in the afternoons. At the Northwest Angle, reports of ice depth around the 18 to 24 inches is consistent where resorts are fishing. Good walleye action is reported in 22 to 28 feet with sauger and perch in 26 feet or deeper.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA

A few sunfish have started hitting at Medicine Lake in 15 feet, while walleyes are being caught on Lake Minnetonka in 21 to 25 feet and Lake Independence in 20 feet. Hit the weedlines on Minnetonka with sucker minnows for northern pike. The lakes now have 8 to 16 inches of ice, with the thickest ice being found on the bays and small lakes.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Walleye action has been best early and late each day on the reefs out from McKinley Park in 20 to 25 feet. Walleyes also can be had at the mouth of Stuntz Bay and the mouth of Pike Bay in 17 to 25 feet. The northeast side of Pine Island is giving up a few crappies, while northern pike are being taken in shallow water throughout Stuntz Bay. Trucks and wheel houses are being used on most areas of the lake being fished.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Walleyes and perch are being caught on the sunken island out from Nodak’s Resort in 19 to 22 feet. Look to the Snaghole Bar in 16 to 20 feet for walleyes, perch, and northern pike. On the west side, perch are biting best in 8 to 12 feet, and northern pike action has slowed. Vehicles are being used on 15 to 17 inches of ice, but there are some cracks to look out for so check ahead.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Ice depths vary with vehicles being used in some areas and ATVs on other parts of the lake. Walleye action has been best during low-light periods on the humps and rocks out from Trapper’s Landing. The 16- to 22- foot breaks or 25- to 30-foot humps in Walker Bay have kicked out walleyes as well. The Sand Point area is worth noting for perch and a few walleyes in 6 to 12 feet.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

With thicker ice, anglers have started to reach more of those main lake walleye spots. Glow jigs and minnows are working best in 20 to 24 feet throughout Sand Bay. Anglers with portable gear are heading to the reefs in Sand Bay for walleyes, but there is a few ice heaves to watch out for. The staked trail through Black Bay offers access to more of the lake as well.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Walleyes continue to be caught on the gravel bars in 8 to 12 feet and the mud in 12 to 14 feet along most shorelines. Deadsticks seem to be working better than spoons and there has been some nice northern pike mixed in. Vehicle travel is an option throughout the lake, but check with resorts.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Crappies, silver bass, and a few walleyes are being caught in 20 feet on the St. Croix River. The Belleaire Beach area on White Bear Lake is producing crappies and northern pike. Look to Demontreville Lake with shiner minnows for northern pike, bass, and crappies on the 12-foot weedlines. Ice conditions are good with about 12 inches being found on area lakes.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Northern pike are being caught with sucker minnows on Pierson Lake, Lake Zumbra, and Lake Auburn in 10 to 12 feet. Panfish and walleye action has been slow, with a few crappies coming off Lake Minnewashta in 12 to 15 feet. Area lakes now have 12 to 16 inches of ice.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

The Sportsman’s Access area on Prior Lake is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 12 to 15 feet during the day and crappies in 15 to 20 feet after dark. Look to Spring Lake for crappies in 15 to 20 feet and Lake O’Dowd is giving up some crappies around the island in 15 to 20 feet. Fish Lake is producing walleyes after dark in 16 to 20 feet, while tip ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike on the weedlines of Prior. Most lakes have 11 to 15 inches of ice.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

LAKE WACONIA

Sunfish are hitting during the day in 12 feet on Center Reef, while Waconia Bay and Wagener’s Bay are safe bets for northern pike in 10 to 12 feet. Look for crappies on Pillsbury Reef in 15 to 19 feet and some walleyes are being taken away from the crowds on the back side of Center Reef, Wagener’s Bay, and south side of Cemetery Reef. There’s a few areas to watch, but 13 to 16 inches of ice is pretty common.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Lakes such as Reno, Miltona, Ida, and Le Homme Dieu are giving up a few walleyes for most anglers each night along the 12- to 25-foot weedlines. Smith Lake and Le Homme Dieu are kicking out crappies over 22 to 25 feet. Truck use and wheel houses are now an option on most lakes.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Crappies are being caught during low-light periods on Clearwater Lake, Pleasant Lake, Lake John, Granite Lake, Rock Lake, and Little Maple Lake over 15 to 30 feet. A few walleyes can be had in 16 to 24 feet on Clearwater, Sugar Lake, Lake Sylvia, and Pleasant early and late each day. Look for sunfish on Little Maple, John, Pleasant, and Lake Marie in 10 to 18 feet. Tip ups are turning northern pike on Sugar, Clearwater, Pleasant, and John in 12 to 14 feet. Most lakes now have 12 to 17 inches of ice.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Look for walleyes on Otter Tail Lake in 18 to 22 feet and West Battle Lake in 36 to 40 feet. Sunfish have started biting at Fish Lake and Stalker Lake in 10 to 12 feet, while crappies are hitting on West Battle and Silver Lake during low-light periods in 12 to 16 feet. Hit Clitherall Lake and Otter Tail Lake for pike in less than 10 feet. Trucks are now an option on most lakes with 14 to 16 inches of ice reported throughout the area.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Walleyes are hitting spoons or deadsticks with shiners on the 11- to 18-foot shoreline breaks of Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet during low-light. These areas have produced nice perch as well, while bluegill and crappie reports have been best on Pimushe Lake, Gull Lake, and Sandy Lake. Vehicle travel has started on many lakes.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Blackduck Lake is giving up walleyes, perch, bluegills, and crappies in 20 to 22 feet. Look to Island Lake in 15 to 20 feet for crappies, perch, and walleyes, while Gull Lake continues to produce panfish in 15 to 18 feet. Trucks are being used on all lakes with 15 to 18 inches of ice being found.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Look for suspended crappies over 15 to 17 feet on North Long Lake and Nisswa Lake – rosy reds or spikes are working best. Some sunfish are being caught in 12 to 14 feet on North Long and Nisswa, while Gull Lake and North Long have been best for walleyes in 17 to 26 feet. Northern pike action has been best on Gull with shiner minnows in 10 to 12 feet. You’ll find more than 12 inches of ice on area lakes.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Look for walleyes along the 18- to 20-foot breaks during the day or in the 12-foot cabbage at night on Cass Lake and Pike Bay Lake. Pike Bay is giving up perch in 10 to 12 feet, the west end of Midge Lake is kicking out crappies over 30 feet, and Lake Andrusia is best for pike in 8 to 10 feet. Vehicle traffic has started on area lakes, just stay away from any channels or current areas.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

The south ends of Green Lake and Chisago Lake are producing panfish during the afternoon hours. Walleyes have bit best during the evening hours in 10 to 25 feet at Green Lake and North and South Center lakes. Northern pike action is strong on most lakes in less than 14 feet and anglers are driving with up to 13 inches of ice reported on area lakes.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

You’ll find suspended crappies over 25 to 30 feet at Nokay Lake, Crooked Lake, and Portage Lake. The 18- to 21-foot rock areas of Serpent Lake are giving up a few walleyes during the evening hours, while tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike on Serpent in 10 to 15 feet. Ice depths average 12 to 14 inches and vehicles have started being used.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Crappies and sunfish have started hitting on Little Detroit Lake in 10 to 13 feet, while northern pike are being taken with sucker minnows on Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa, and Little Detroit in 10 to 15 feet. A few walleyes are being caught on Big Detroit Lake and Deadshot Bay in 20 to 25 feet during low-light periods. Trucks are now being used on most lakes, but there are still some areas that you need to look out for.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Look to Fish Lake for crappies in 15 feet or to Rice Lake for walleyes, northern pike, and crappies in 6 feet. The Park Point area in Lake Superior Bay is producing walleyes during the morning hours in 8 to 10 feet. Anglers have just started driving on some lakes.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

A few sunfish and crappies are coming off Blue Lake in 14 to 17 feet. Look to Little Elk Lake for walleyes in 7 to 11 feet and the Briggs/Julia Chain of Lakes are giving up crappies during low-light periods. Most lakes now have at least 12 inches of ice.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

FAIRMONT AREA

Crappies are being caught at Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sissiton in 12 to 15 feet. Look to Twin Lake for perch and Cedar Lake for pike in less than 6 feet. Most lakes have 9 to 11 inches of ice as of earlier this week.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

Sunfish, crappies, and pike are hitting on Cedar Lake in 10 to 15 feet, while Roberds Lake and French Lake are giving up panfish and a few walleyes in 15 to 20 feet. Look to Shields Lake in 12 feet for pike and sunfish and Lake Mazaska is producing a few walleyes during low-light periods in 20 feet. Ice depths vary from 12 to 14 inches.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

Look to South Fowl Lake in 5 feet and Saganaga Lake in 20 to 25 feet for walleyes. On Gunflint Lake, walleyes are being caught in 20 to 30 feet, while pike are hitting suckers in 10 to 15 feet on Devil Track Lake. Ice depths vary from 8 inches to more than one foot.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Crappies and bluegills are being caught in 18 to 22 feet on Big and Little Splithand lakes or in 13 to 20 feet in Poole’s Bay and Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama. Hit Bowstring Lake and Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake for crappies in 20 to 30 feet, while pike action is strong on most lakes in 12 to 16 feet. Walleye reports were best during evening hours on the humps of Pokegama, Big Splithand, Bowstring, and Lake Wabana. Vehicle travel is an option.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

A few crappies and walleyes are coming off Big Birch Lake over 18 to 25 feet. Pike are hitting suckers on Big Swan Lake and Birch in less than 12 feet, while a few sunfish and crappies are being caught at Lady Lake in 15 to 18 feet. Hit Bass Lake by Grey Eagle for crappies and Big Swan for sunfish in 10 to 12 feet. Most lakes have 10 to 16 inches of ice.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Webb Lake, and Moccasin Lake are giving up crappies and bluegills in 15 to 18 feet – look for suspended crappies in deeper water after dark. A few walleyes are coming off Baby Lake, Pine Mountain Lake, Woman Lake, and Birch in 18 to 22 feet during low-light periods with rainbow minnows and deadsticks. Trucks are being used on many lakes and ATVs are an option on any lake.

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

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

You’ll find suspended crappies on Dewey Lake and McCormick Lake in 15 feet during low light. Tip ups are turning pike on Side Lake in 10 to 12 feet. Ice varies from 10 to 15 inches.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LONGVILLE AREA

Sunfish and crappie action has picked up on Girl Lake in 18 feet, while the shallow weeds on Lake Inguadona are producing sunfish and crappies. A few walleyes are coming off Big Boy Lake during low-light periods in 12 to 18 feet. Hit Blackwater Lake for suspended crappies over 32 feet. Pike action is strong in shallow water on Mule Lake. There’s suspended crappies over 40 feet or more on Lake Wabedo.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

Lake Elysian started producing walleyes and crappies in 14 to 26 feet, while the 25-foot hole on Duck Lake is giving up crappies and perch. Hit the Church Bar on Madison Lake for walleyes in 18 to 22 feet or 22 to 28 feet. Crappies also can be had on Church Bar and Cow’s Bar on Madison in 14 to 16 feet. There’s an evening crappie bite on West Jefferson Lake in 14 to 18 feet. Area lakes had 13 to 16 inches of ice.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

McGREGOR AREA 

Walleyes are hitting during low-light periods on Lake Minnewawa in 16 to 22 feet. You’ll find suspended crappies over the deep holes on Big Sandy Lake and Minnewawa, while pike are active on most lakes in 10 to 12 feet. Most anglers continue to use ATVs, but it shouldn’t be long before trucks start being used.

Willey’s Sport Shop & Spirits (218) 426-3382

MORA AREA

Ann Lake, Fish Lake, and Knife Lake are producing sunfish and crappies in 7 to 9 feet. Walleye action is slow, but northern pike are being caught with tip ups and sucker minnows on Knife, Fish, and Quamba Lake in less than 10 feet. You’ll find 12 to 14 inches of ice on most lakes and some vehicle travel has started.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

Perch are biting on Big Stone Lake, but they are spread out in several areas from the Peninsula to Ben Hines, Rocky Ledge, and Mallard Point in 12 to 13 feet. You’ll find a few walleyes, bluegills, and crappies in the mix as well. The spots being fished now have 14 to 16 inches of ice.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Walleye action has been best at Fish Hook Lake in 14 to 18 feet and Potato Lake in 18 to 24 feet – rainbow minnows are working best during low-light periods. The Crow Wing Chain of Lakes is giving up a mixed bag of panfish over 25 to 30 feet. Northern pike remain active in shallow water on Long Lake, and although vehicles are being used on some lakes, ice depths continue to vary.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

Look for walleyes and northern pike on Big Pine Lake and Little Pine Lake in 18 to 28 feet. Crappies and sunfish are hitting best early and late each day at Lake Marion, Rush Lake, Star Lake, and Dead Lake in 8 to 14 feet. Area lakes now have 12 to 16 inches of ice, but there continues unsafe spots.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Walleyes are being caught with setlines and shiners in 15 to 22 feet on Horseshoe and Cedar Island lakes. You’ll find crappies suspended over 20 to 25 feet on Cedar Island, Long Lake, and Horseshoe. Hit Rice Lake for crappies and walleyes in 20 to 22 feet during low-light periods. Trucks are being used on many lakes.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Walleyes are being caught on Sauk Lake in 16 to 35 feet during low-light periods and overnight on shiners or rainbows. On Lake Osakis, walleyes are hitting in 18 to 24 feet and Long Bridge Lake is giving up walleyes in 14 to 16 feet. Sauk is producing crappies west of Diamond Point and the Red Barn area over 30 to 38 feet. Guernsey Lake is giving up crappies in 14 to 18 feet, as is the Battle Point area on Osakis over deep water. Latimer Lake is kicking out crappies straight out from the access.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Sunfish and crappies are coming off the weedlines of Green Prairie Lake and Beauty Lake. A few walleyes and crappies are being caught in 14 to 20 feet on Lake Shamineau, Fish Trap Lake, and Lake Alexander during low-light periods. Ice improved with some trucks being used on certain lakes.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

Look for walleyes on Lake Minnewaska during the evening hours  in 20 to 22 feet. The Glenwood end of Minnewaska is producing crappies over 15 feet during the evening hours and sunfish during the day. Lake Pomme de Terre is giving up a few walleyes on shiner minnows in 10 feet. There was 14 inches of ice on area lakes.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

VIRGINIA AREA

Anglers are going out from McKinley Park on Lake Vermilion and catching walleyes in 15 to 20 feet – small sucker minnows are working best. Panfish and pike reports have been slow.

Lucky Seven General Store (218) 741-1629

WILLMAR AREA

Reports have been limited to a few walleyes and perch being caught in less than 10 feet on lakes Lillian, Big Kandi, Elizabeth, Wagonda, and Minnetoga. Look to Norway Lake for crappies and walleyes in 15 to 18 feet and to Nest Lake for panfish and pike in 10 to 12 feet. An occasional walleye and some crappies are pulled from lakes Ringo, South Long, and Solomon in 12 to 14 feet. Ice is 12 to 16 inches thick.

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

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