Ice anglers waiting on cold temperatures, calm winds

BIG SIX

LAKE MILLE LACS

East – The entire lake is capped over and you’ll find as much as
seven inches of ice in the bays. There’s been some decent perch
action reported in Cove Bay and Isle Bay over nine feet of water.
Small jigs tipped with minnows are producing good-sized fish. Look
for a decent walleye bite to start as soon as more of the lake
becomes accessible.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

www.johnsonsportside.com

West – There is ice as far out as the eye can see. Although
there hasn’t been any fishing activity on this end, there might be
by this weekend. Three inches had formed by last Saturday and as
much as five inches was confirmed by Tuesday morning. Ice depths
should continue improving throughout the week if cold weather
persists.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

Tutt’s Bait & Tackle (320) 692-4341

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Four Mile Bay has at least 10 inches of ice and a consistent
evening walleye bite in six to nine feet of water. Many resorts
started pulling permanent houses past Pine Island on Monday where
10 inches of ice had formed. The best reports on the lake side of
the island are coming from 16 to 19 feet of water.

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau

(800) 382-FISH

LEECH LAKE AREA

The entire lake is covered with ice. Even Walker Bay,
traditionally the last spot to freeze, has about four inches.
Fishing reports have been minimal, but look to First Point, Second
Point, the city park area, or humps and shoreline breaks in Walker
Bay to be the first spots to produce walleyes in 15 to 20 feet of
water.

Walker Bait Company (218) 547-2248

LAKE MINNETONKA

Although the bays and channels are iced-over, there was still
plenty of open water throughout the area. The small lakes only
offered a skim of ice as of Tuesday morning. There was no ice
fishing to speak of earlier this week.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

RAINY LAKE

Black Bay and Sand Bay are ice-covered, but the main lake still
has open water. If it stays cold some of the bays may see ice
anglers by the weekend, but caution is advised because ice depths
really vary. Look for northern pike to be active along the
shorelines where walkable ice exists.

Loon’s Nest (218) 286-5850

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

A few spear houses started popping up this week, but water
clarity was poor. The entire lake is locked up with as much as six
to 10 inches of ice close to shore. Traveling with ATV’s is
expected by the weekend. Look to the south end bars, shoreline
breaks, and West Winnie Campground areas to start kicking out perch
very soon in nine to 12 feet of water.

Pines Resort and Campground (218) 246-8546

Nodak Lodge (218) 665-2226

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

A handful of anglers has begun ‘sneaking’ on a few small lakes.
Extreme caution is advised since two to four inches of ice is all
people were reporting earlier this week. With less ice on the
bigger lakes, it’s probably best to call for ice conditions by this
weekend.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

All of the lakes are now locked up, but as of Tuesday morning,
no more than three inches of ice was found on any of them. While
anglers have been checking ice depths on a daily basis, none had
found enough ice to walk on, yet. With continued cold weather, the
possibility of ice fishing the traditional early spots exists by
this weekend.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Although walking is recommended, ice fishing is taking place on
all lakes. The good news is that ice depths have improved on a
daily basis since last weekend. Early reports indicate a few
crappies being caught on Lake Mary and some walleyes coming off the
east end of Reno Lake. The best bite on these lakes takes place at
sunset with minnows and jigs.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

There’s still open water on some big lakes and as much as four
inches of ice on several small bodies of water. Expect most lakes
to offer enough ice to walk on by this weekend. Clearwater Lake
would be a safe bet for a few walleyes, while Dan’s Lake has
already kicked out crappies for anglers traveling by foot.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE

Fishing reports have been minimal. Three to six inches of ice
seems to normal on most lakes and there were a few permanent
shelters pulled out on the small lakes earlier this week. Look for
the ice fishing season to really pick up by this weekend as more
anglers trust the ice conditions.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

You’ll find six to eight inches of ice on most of the smaller
lakes, but much less on the deeper, bigger bodies of water.
Walleyes and perch have been hitting on Lake Irvine, straight out
from the access, in between 15 and 20 feet of water. Shiner minnows
have provided a decent walleye bite on Three Island Lake during the
evening hours in 20 feet of water.

Bluewater Bait and Sports

(218) 444-BAIT (2248)

Kobilka’s Sporting Goods (218) 751-6000

BLACKDUCK AREA

ATVs are being utilized in this area where eight to 12 inches of
ice has formed. On Blackduck Lake, there’s a good perch bite during
the day and some evening walleye activity in 10 to 14 feet of
water. Panfish reports have been limited, with the exception of a
few crappies coming off Gilstead Lake.

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA

Most small lakes offer six to eight inches of ice, while Gull
Lake was the last to freeze and has less ice. Walleyes are being
caught on lakes such as North Long, Edwards, and Pelican on shiners
or rainbow minnows. Rosy reds, Eurolarvae, or waxworms are turning
crappies on Lake Margaret, North Long, and Pelican.

S & W Bait & Tackle (218) 829-7010

CASS LAKE AREA

Numbers of walleyes are being pulled through the ice on Cass
Lake in 12 to 20 feet of water. These fish are hanging along the
deep weed edges and hitting shiner minnows early and late in the
day. You’ll find pods of perch along the six- to eight-foot pencil
reeds on Cass and Pike Bay Lake. Panfish action also is strong in
the shallow bays of Cass, Kitchi Lake, and Midge Lake. Ice depths
range from two to six inches on the main lake and seven to 10
inches in the bays.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA

The channels and bays offered three inches of ice earlier this
week, and a few anglers have ventured out and fished through it.
The channel between Chisago Lake and South Lindstrom Lake has
produced walleyes during the evening hours in 10 to 15 feet of
water. A few walleyes also have been pulled through the ice in
front of the A-Frame on Chisago in eight to 12 feet of water.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

You’ll find up to seven inches of ice on the small lakes and
about four inches on the big lakes. Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake
are giving up walleyes during the evening hours in 18 to 22 feet of
water. Setlines and shiner minnows have worked best. Crappie and
northern pike action has been consistent on lakes such as Little
Blackhoof, Mahnomen, and Hay.

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

CROSS LAKE AREA

Ice conditions continue to improve with the cold weather. Most
lakes are ice-covered with the exception of Trout and Whitefish.
Three to five inches of ice is common on the area’s smaller lakes.
Angling for northern pike has gone well along the shoreline breaks
of most lakes. Crappie anglers have been successful with minnows or
waxworms in 12 to 16 feet of water. Walleye anglers likely will
have to wait a few more days to reach their favorite early ice
locations.

Crosslake Holiday Sports (218) 692-2708

DULUTH AREA

Most lakes now offer about eight inches of ice and ATVs have
started being seen on many of the smaller bodies of water. Walleyes
are biting well during the afternoon and evening hours on Fish Lake
and Island Lake in 12 to 14 feet of water. You’ll find a few
crappies suspended over slightly deeper water on these lakes as
well.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST-CENTRAL MINN

Sunfish are very active in seven to 10 feet of water on Baxter
Lake and Elk Lake. A few crappies have been caught during the
evening hours on Elk Lake with small minnows in 10 feet of water.
Sucker minnows or shiner minnows have been the ticket for northern
pike along the shallow weed edges of Fremont Lake. You’ll find
about six inches of ice on most small lakes.

Tails and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

GRAND RAPIDS AREA

Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River is producing bluegills in
eight to 20 feet of water. You’ll also find crappies suspended in
this area over 20 to 45 feet of water. Big Splithand Lake is giving
up crappies during the evening hours in 19 to 21 feet of water.
Northern pike have been very active along the five- to eight-foot
weedlines of Jay Gould Lake and Lake Wabana.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

Rapids Tackle (218) 326-9838

HACKENSACK AREA

Ice conditions have improved from last week with three to six
inches, but caution is advised due to extremely varying ice depths
within the same lake. Most anglers started fishing last weekend and
some found success. The best walleye report is coming off Pleasant
Lake in 16 feet of water. Northern pike are hitting minnows on most
lakes in less than 10 feet of water, while panfish have yet to be
found.

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

The Outpost (320) 587-8177

LAKE KABETOGAMA

Lake Kabetogama has six to eight inches of ice and no slush at
the early ice fishing locations. Spearers report cloudy water and
limited success as a result. Tom Cod Bay, Duck Bay, and Irwin Bay
gave up the most fish last weekend. Small jigs and fathead minnows
are fooling a few walleyes at the mouth of the Ash River. No
crappie bite was reported, but those early season spots should have
plenty of ice to check them now.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

www.gatewaygeneral.com

LAKE VERMILION

Ice conditions are improving daily with four to eight inches of
‘good’ ice on most areas of the lake. The smaller lakes offer even
more. A few walleyes are coming from 16 to 28 feet of water. Key on
the saddles, sharp breaks, and humps with a glow jig and minnow.
There’s been some nice northern pike and panfish taken from eight
to 12 feet of water in the weedy, soft-bottomed bays.

Lake Vermilion Trading Company

(218) 666-6052

lakevermiliontradingco.com

McGREGOR AREA

A jig and shiner minnow is producing walleyes in the narrows of
Lake Minnewawa. Bellhorn Bay on Big Sandy Lake is a safe bet for
crappies during the evening hours in 16 feet of water. Four to
seven inches of ice is the norm on most lakes.

Willey’s Sport Shop (218) 426-3382

RED LAKE

There’s eight to 10 inches of ice in most areas. A few larger
fish houses are being pulled out as ice conditions improve daily.
The crappie bite has been slow, but should improve as anglers
travel further out on the lake.

Rogers Campground (218) 647-8262

ST. CLOUD AREA

Four to six inches of ice is being reported in this area. On
Horseshoe Lake, numbers of small walleyes and occasional keepers
are being caught in 17 to 20 feet of water. There’s been a few
walleyes pulled from Rice Lake during the evening hours in 20 feet
of water. Look to Horseshoe, Becker Lake, and Pearl Lake for
crappies in 14 to 16 feet of water.

Corky’s Gas & Bait (320) 251-1567

STARBUCK AREA

A jig and fathead minnow or plain hook and shiner minnow has
been the ticket for walleyes on Lake Minnewaska. Bob’s Bay and the
Starbuck Beach area have produced the most fish in 16 feet of
water. Pelican Lake and Minnewaska are kicking out northern pike in
less than 12 feet of water. A ‘solid’ eight inches of ice has taken
shape on most lakes.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

Ice depths vary from one to six inches, but most small lakes
have at least a few anglers on them. Watch the bigger lakes such
Green because they just locked up. On lakes such as Wagonda, Ringo,
Norway, Solomon, and Long a mixture of walleyes, northern pike and
crappies is biting during the evening hours. Glow jigs and fatheads
or small shiner minnows have worked best. Most of these fish are
biting in less than 12 feet of water.

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

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