Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 8, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Open water could still be seen on the main lake early this week. The bays are ice-covered and have been for more than a week. It’s possible that ATV use on the southern bays could happen this weekend. A few walleyes and northern pike are being caught in these bays in 7 to 9 feet.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Ice conditions vary, but water clarity appears to be good. Resorts have been out measuring ice thickness and assessing ice conditions where they can and will continue to do so throughout the week. The back bays are frozen with about 4 to 10 inches of ice in many areas and some northern pike action already reported. The Rainy River had a skim of ice across it with only a few open areas left as of early this week. The Northwest Angle is locked up in most areas and there’s already been some local ATV travel on designated, marked trails.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Strong winds early this week kept area lakes open, but with cold weather in the forecast, it should only take a night or two of calm winds for most lakes to cap. Look for some walkable ice to form quickly on the small lakes and bays.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Snowmobiles and ATVs are being used close to shore and in some bays. You’ll find 6 to 8 inches in those areas that froze first, but less on the main lake. Early this week, anglers were fishing the mouth of Pike Bay, Birch Island area, Stuntz Bay, and off McKinely Park – a few walleyes and northern pike were caught.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The entire lake remained ice-covered through the strong winds early this week, but ice depths vary the farther out you go. As much as 8 inches of ice is being reported on the west side, and there has been some limited perch fishing and spearing taking place.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Walker Bay was wide open on Tuesday morning, but some of the other bays were ice-capped. The wind early this week kept pockets of open water from locking up on the main lake, although some limited foot travel has started, not far from shore on parts of the main lake. The small lakes have better ice conditions, and they’re providing better fishing options.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

There was still patches of open water on the main lake early this week, while most bays have remained ice-covered. On the bays that froze first, anglers have been walking out or using snowmobiles in a few spots, but not far from shore. Angler success has been limited, but will improve as more of the lake becomes accessible.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

The walleye bite has been strong in 8 to 13 feet along most shorelines. There is some midday action, but lowlight periods have been best. A jigging spoon and minnow or dead sticks are both putting fish in the pail. Average ice is 10 to 12 inches in most spots, but some areas need to be avoided so be sure to check with a resort for an ice trail map for foot and ATV travel.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Ice still hadn’t taken hold earlier this week, but that is expected to change quickly. After strong winds to start the week, cold weather was expected to continue. With cold weather predicted, it shouldn’t take long for walkable ice to form.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Any ice that had formed, and it was limited, was eliminated with the strong winds earlier this week. With a night or two of calm winds and with cold weather expected to continue throughout the week, walkable ice on some small lakes or bays is expected to develop quickly.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The big lakes such as Ida, Miltona, Carlos, and Le Homme Dieu were wide open on Tuesday morning, but they could cap quickly with limited wind. Anglers have been walking on a few small lakes already, so there could be some ice fishing opportunities by this weekend. But definitely call ahead for the latest intel.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

The warm weather last week and strong winds early this week took care of the majority of ice that had started to develop. A few nights of cold, calm weather (which was expected), should quickly allow ice to again take hold and possibly allow for some foot travel on the small, shallow lakes soon.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

There was still open water on the big lakes early this week, but some foot travel has started on a few small lakes with 4 to 6 inches reported in some areas. Ice conditions should improve throughout the week with the cold weather, check it as you go, but more walkable ice is expected to develop quickly.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

This area didn’t gain much ice, but it didn’t lose any over the past week, either. There were a few folks on the south end of Lake Bemidji last weekend and they were catching perch in 12 to 16 feet. The small, shallower lakes had more people on them and some were using ATVs. Most of the small- to medium-sized lakes have 7 to 8 inches of good, clear ice. Lake Irving is kicking out perch and a few walleyes in 8 to 12 feet.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Ice conditions are in good shape and ATVs are being used on some lakes, while walking out is an option on most. Blackduck Lake continues to produce perch during the day and walleyes during low-light periods in 10 feet. You’ll find crappies over 20 to 25 feet early and late each day on Blackduck as well. A few perch are being caught in 8 to 14 feet on Island Lake.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Strong winds prevented the big lakes such as Gull and Whitefish from locking up early this week. Anglers are walking on North Long Lake, Nisswa Lake, and Lake Edwards with 4 to 6 inches of ice being found. Crappies, northern pike, and sunfish are being caught on these lakes in 12 to 14 feet.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

The lakes are all locked up with 6 to 8 inches of ice being found on the small lakes and much less ice on the bigger bodies of water. Midge Lake, Lower Sucker Lake, and Grace Lake are kicking out crappies and sunfish in 18 to 21 feet. Dick’s Bay and Allens’ Bay on Cass Lake or the north end of Lake Andrusia are producing northern pike for people spearing and angling.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

There wasn’t much to report for ice on Tuesday morning, but with cold weather expected to continue, walkable ice should form quickly. Some small lakes and bays were ice-covered earlier in the season only to re-open, so it could be a quick transition into walkable ice.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Most lakes are now completely covered with ice, and some foot travel has started on many small lakes with 4 to 6 inches of ice being found. Some panfish and pike were caught on these smaller bodies of water, but fishing reports have been limited.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Anglers walked on some small, shallow lakes, while the big lakes were open or partially open. Some panfish were caught on Little Detroit Lake and Height of Land Lake where 4 to 6 inches of ice was found.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

All lakes are ice-covered with as much as 6 to 8 inches on the small lakes. Crappies and walleyes are hitting on Fish Lake in 13 feet. Walleyes were caught in 8 to 10 feet at Boulder Lake and in 5 feet on Rice Lake with jigging spoons and shiners.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Any ice that formed was mostly gone on Tuesday. The ice-making process started over, but is expected to form fast given the cold weather this week. Look to the small, shallow lakes to offer walkable ice first.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

You could see white caps on most big lakes earlier this week, while 4 to 6 inches of ice was reported on some small lakes and bays. Anglers have been walking out on these spots and catching a few walleyes, but nothing too consistently at this point. Expect to find plenty of ice for walking or possibly ATV use by this weekend.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

EMILY AREA 

There was ice on some small lakes and bays earlier this week and open water on other large lakes. With the arrival of cold weather, there could be walkable ice very soon.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

Another week of warm weather and strong winds early this week did not allow any ice to form as of Tuesday morning. The lakes are ready to cap, so with a few nights of cold, calm weather, walkable ice could form quickly on some lakes.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

There was no ice to report on Tuesday morning, but that was expected to change quickly given the cold weather forecasted. The small lakes and bays will be the first to provide walkable ice, likely within the next week if it stays cold.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

The big lakes still had pockets of open water, but the cold weather this week should help lock those areas up. Several small lakes currently have 4 to 7 inches of ice, and that should continue to improve as well. Fishing reports were limited over the past week due to varying ice depths.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Some ATV use has started on the small lakes where 6 to 9 inches of ice has set up. Any big water has minimal ice or pockets of water due to Tuesday’s wind. With no snow on the lakes and cold weather throughout the week, many lakes should be in good shape by this weekend.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

Some ice had taken hold on a few small lakes and bays, but most of it was eliminated with Tuesday’s wind. It’s only going to take a couple nights of cold, calm weather for walkable ice to again form throughout the area.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

With the exception of the big lakes, which had some ice only to have it blown away with strong winds earlier this week, the ice has stayed intact on the bays and small lakes. There was even some ice fishing taking place last weekend, despite the warm weather, and anything that was covered stayed in pretty good shape. You should find plenty of spots to fish with good ice by this weekend.

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

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

Everything is capped with as much as 6 to 10 inches of ice being found on some lakes. Anglers are walking out on most lakes or using ATVs on a few locations, but fishing success has been limited.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LAKE KABETOGAMA

Poor ice conditions remain throughout most of the area, excluding Tom Cod Bay where some spearing for pike has started. The National Park Service was checking ice thickness around the Ash River Visitor Center area, and there was barely 3 inches not far from shore last weekend. The cold weather this week should quickly improve ice depths across the lake.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

MADISON LAKE AREA

The lakes were ice-free early this week, mainly due to strong winds. With colder weather this week, look for ice to form quickly if the wind doesn’t blow and break up any ice-making progress. Look to the small, shallow bays or lakes to be the first areas that provide walkable ice.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

MORA AREA

There was still ice on most lakes earlier this week, but the warm weather last weekend beat up the shorelines enough to prevent people from getting on it. With the return of cold air, foot travel should be an option on some lakes by this weekend.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

White caps were flying on Big Stone Lake Tuesday morning and there wasn’t any fishable ice to report. Once the wind lies down, ice should form quickly so look for walkable ice to be an option within the next week to 10 days so long as the weather forecasted materializes.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

The small lakes had 5 to 7 inches of ice and all lakes remained ice-covered earlier this week. Ice conditions should be in fine shape by this weekend. Portage Lake is producing panfish in 14 to 16 feet, while tip-ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike in 6 to 8 feet at South Twin and North Twin lakes.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

Strong winds earlier this week caused many open water spots on the big lakes  to open even more. The small lakes held up better through the wind and some of them should be in good enough shape for foot travel this weekend.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Up until the arrival of Monday’s cold front, walleye and sauger action was going strong on the Mississippi River. The stretch from Everett’s Resort to the dam was producing fish on the 16- to 20-foot current breaks. Hair jigs and minnows or jigs and plastics were working best. The bite should improve again as the weather stabilizes.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Any ice that was forming got chewed up with the wind earlier this week. But some ice remained on the wind-protected small lakes and shoreline areas, so it shouldn’t take long for a few lakes to become accessible by foot with cold weather expected to continue.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

The ice-making process is basically starting over after strong winds earlier in the week. The wind caught any ice that was in place and tore it up, but a few nights of calm weather should allow ice to re-develop fast, especially on the small lakes.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

As of early this week, all lakes were wide open with some skim ice in a few shallow bays. The lakes are ready to cap and with the weather remaining cold this week and with minimal wind, it shouldn’t take long for walkable ice to form.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

All area lakes remained ice-covered this week, but fishing pressure has been limited. That is expected to change by this weekend as ice conditions continue to improve throughout the week, providing plenty of fishing options this weekend.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

Most of the ice that had formed was blown away with Tuesday’s strong wind. Limited ice was being found in some wind-protected areas and with cold temperatures continuing throughout the week. With less wind, walkable ice should form quickly, likely on some small lakes by this weekend.

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

There wasn’t any ice worth noting on Tuesday, but as soon as the wind lies down, ice is expected to develop quickly on the numerous shallow lakes in this area. A few anglers were taking advantage of some open water walleye fishing on the Redwood and Minnesota rivers.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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