Open water crappie and sunfish action in full swing

BIG SIX

LAKE MILLE LACS

The ice is close to being out on most bays and another week of
warm weather should eliminate any ice left on the main lake. Look
to Isle, Cove, and Wahkon bays to be the first spots to produce
crappies.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

www.johnsonsportside.com

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Walleye activity on the Rainy River has been slow, but sturgeon
remain active from Four Mile Bay and further down river. ATVs and
foot traffic were still an option on the main lake as of this
writing, but this week’s warm weather has taken its toll on most
access points.

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau

(800) 382-FISH

LEECH LAKE AREA

A few anglers were still on the ice last weekend, but it was not
advised as of Tuesday morning. The shorelines have begun to open
and the ice looks as if it will be gone in a hurry. Look for
Shingobee Bay to start providing open water crappie action
soon.

Walker Bait Company (218) 547-2248

LAKE MINNETONKA

The lakes are ice-free and there are crappies being caught in 10
feet of water on Lake Minnetonka. Minnows and small jigs have been
the ticket in Wayzata Bay, Carson’s Bay, and in Black Lake.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

RAINY LAKE

There’s still ice on the main lake although not enough to fish
through. There has been some anglers in boats off Birch Point in
Sand Bay catching walleyes on a jig and minnow combination.

Loon’s Nest (218) 286-5850

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

There’s still quite a bit of ice on the main lake although it’s
showing signs of deteriorating rapidly. The shorelines and access
points have already opened so this area should have plenty of open
water within the next week.

Pines Resort and Campground (218) 246-8546

Nodak Lodge (218) 665-2226

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

The channel on Lake Phalen is producing sunfish and crappies in
less than five feet of water. Look to Sucker Creek for crappies and
Vadnais Lake for sunfish in three to five feet of water. Small jigs
tipped with minnows or waxworms are working best.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Crappies have moved shallow and started hitting minnows in the
north bays of Lake Minnewashta. The north ends of Lake Bavaria and
Hydes Lake are kicking out crappies and an occasional good-sized
sunfish. Look to the shallow shorelines of Steiger Lake for panfish
as well.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

The Ford Dam area of the Mississippi River is producing numbers
of walleyes, saugers, and crappies. Catfish are on the bite at the
lock and dam section of the river as well. Shallow water panfish
action should turn on soon at lakes such as Nokomis, Harriet, and
Calhoun.

Moore’s Bait and Tackle (612) 861-7412

LAKE WACONIA

The ice is completely off, but the panfish bite has yet to
start. A few anglers have found crappies along the shorelines and
in shallow bays. A couple more days of warm weather should get the
bite cranked up.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The ice is out and panfish have begun to show up in the
dark-bottomed bays of most lakes. The late afternoon and evening
hours have provided steady crappie and sunfish activity in two to
four feet of water. Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lobster Lake, Lake Darling,
and Lake Carlos have been most consistent.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

The shallow bays and channels on Clearwater Lake, Cedar Lake,
and Sugar Lake are holding panfish. Flu Flus or Stingerz jigs
tipped waxworms and minnows have been most productive.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE

The ice went out on Monday so panfish anglers had yet to find
fish as of this writing. Traditionally, West Battle Lake is a safe
bet for crappies, Otter Tail Lake for perch, while Star Lake, West
Lost Lake, and South Turtle Lake should provide numbers of sunfish.
Look to the shorelines and bays in three to five feet of water.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Several of the area’s small lakes are now ice-free. There’s
still quite a bit of ice floating on the big lakes so look for
crappies to move shallow within the next week on the small
lakes.

Bluewater Bait and Sports

(218) 444-BAIT (2248)

Kobilka’s Sporting Goods (218) 751-6000

BLACKDUCK AREA

Most lakes still have quite a bit of ice. There was actually
some ice fishing taking place as recently as last Saturday, but ice
conditions have deteriorated rapidly since then. Gilstead Lake and
Rabideau Lake are usually the first bodies of water to provide an
open water panfish bite.

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA

Crappies are being caught in the ditches by Squaw Point, from
shore at the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake, and by Bar Harbor.
The channel on Upper Gull Lake and the shorelines of Nisswa Lake
have produced panfish as well.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

The ice is ‘going in a hurry’ on most lakes. Even the bigger
bodies of water are showing signs of a significant spring thaw.
Although crappies have yet to show up in shallow water, they should
soon if it stays warm.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA

Crappie action has been very good on South Center Lake, along
Highway 8 on South Lindstrom Lake, and at Paradise Park on Chisago
Lake. More crappies than sunfish have been caught and bigger
minnows seem to be the ticket for larger fish.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

The ice is out on most lakes. Even the big lakes in this area
now have nothing more than patches of floating ice. Crappie action
remains slow, although the first open water anglers of the season
just started checking their usual crappie spots earlier this
week.

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

DULUTH AREA

The ice is just about gone on most small lakes. Although open
water crappie action might be another week away, smelt have started
to run a bit. Kamloops continue to be caught on Looper Bugs and
spawn sacs or nightcrawlers in the French River area of Lake
Superior.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST-CENTRAL MINN

The big crappies have yet to bite, but there’s been plenty of
small fish caught this week. Look to the bays and shorelines of Elk
Lake and Blue Lake with minnows under floats and you should have no
problem catching crappies.

Tails and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

FAIRMONT AREA

Perch Lake is providing the area’s best crappie and perch bite
in shallow water. Look for Temperance Lake to start kicking out
perch very soon. Across the border into Iowa, Tuttle Lake continues
to give up a number of walleyes on a jig and minnow
combination.

Master Sport and Bait (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

The channel on Cannon Lake is providing steady crappie action
during the afternoon and evening hours. Look to the bays on Shields
Lake, and Bulrush Bay on Lake Mazaska to follow suit very soon.

Lake’s Bait and Tackle (507) 334-2768

GRAND RAPIDS AREA

Some of the bays have opened and a few crappies have started
showing up in the shallowest of the bays. Most of the big lakes
also are opening at a rapid pace. Suckers have started hitting on
the Prairie River, Moose Willow River, and Mississippi River.
You’ll also find crappies and bluegills at the power plant area of
the Mississippi River. A few smelt have shown up in the flowage
areas of Lake Pokegama so look for that run to be in full swing by
the end of the week.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

Rapids Tackle (218) 326-9838

HACKENSACK AREA

There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but the bays and
shorelines have opened. If it stays warm, crappie anglers should
start pulling fish from open water, possibly by this weekend.

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

HUTCHINSON

Green Leaf Lake, Stahls Lake, and Lake Minnie Belle are
providing steady sunfish action. The bays on Lake Washington and
Stella Lake are holding crappies. The current area of Belle Lake
has kicked out a lot of crappies as well. Small jigs tipped with
waxworms or minnows have worked best under a float.

The Outpost (320) 587-8177

LAKE KABETOGAMA

The main lake remains covered with ice. The shorelines have
started to break away and the Ash River has opened. The ice that
does remain seems to be noticeably fading on a daily basis.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

www.gatewaygeneral.com

LAKE OSAKIS

The entire lake is now ice-free, but panfish have yet to be
found in their traditional spring locations. Look to the shallow
weeds on the north end of the lake or the Curtis Creek area of
Miller’s Bay to start kicking out fish within the next week.

Fisherman’s Corner (320) 859-2181

LAKE VERMILION

The bays have started opening and the shorelines are melting
away quickly. Some suckers have shown up in the creeks, so look for
crappies to be found shallow within the next week to 10 days.

Lake Vermilion Trading Company

(218) 666-6052

lakevermiliontradingco.com

MANKATO AREA

The west side of Lake Francis is producing sunfish and crappies
in less than 10 feet of water. On Lake Washington, crappies are
hitting small jigs and minnows in 12 to 14 feet of water. There’s
also some crappies being pulled from Madison Lake in 12 feet of
water throughout the afternoon and evening hours.

The Bobber Shop (507) 625-8228

McGREGOR AREA

There’s still quite a bit of ice on most lakes. The exception is
Lake Minnewawa, which is completely open. It’s also the first body
of water to start producing crappies, so look for that bite to
begin in shallow water within the next week.

Willey’s Sport Shop (218) 426-3382

MONTICELLO AREA

The entire area now is free of ice and panfish have started to
move shallow. On Buffalo Lake, crappies and sunfish are being
caught in less than six feet of water. Look to the shallow bays and
shorelines of Pelican Lake with minnows and small jigs for
crappies.

Shuman’s Outdoor Sports (763) 295-3222

PARK RAPIDS AREA

There’s still ice on the big lakes, but most small bodies of
water are opening. There’s been a few crappies pulled from the
shallow shorelines and bays of Long Lake. The Fish Hook River is
open shore-to-shore and it’s produced some crappies and bluegills
as well.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

RED LAKE

There’s ice on the main lake, but the ice is shifting and the
shorelines have begun to pull away. Indications are that the entire
lake could be open within 10 days to two weeks.

Dr. Tackle Sports (218) 647-8657

RED WING AREA

The Mississippi River is producing walleyes and saugers from the
High Bridge to the dam. Most saugers are in 18 to 30 feet of water,
while walleyes are active close to shore near the mouths of Hay
Creek and Vermilion Creek. Bright-colored hair jigs or plastics
tipped with minnows have been best, but three-way rigs and
crankbaits also have worked. On Lake Pepin, shallow rocks are
holding smallmouth bass and crappies.

Ike’s Bait and Tackle (651) 388-2111

ST. CLOUD AREA

The shallow bays of Goodner Lake, Cedar Island Lake, Becker
Lake, and Horseshoe Lake are producing small panfish. The bigger
crappies and sunfish have yet to show up in shallow water. Look to
the bays and channel areas of Rice Lake and Lake Koronis to start
producing panfish as well.

Corky’s Gas & Bait (320) 251-1567

SAUK CENTRE AREA

The south side of East Long Lake is kicking out sunfish and
crappies in three to six feet of water. Hennington’s Bay on Fairy
Lake is producing numbers of small panfish in shallow water. Look
to Bailey’s Bay on Big Sauk Lake to start giving up crappies within
the next week if it stays warm.

Fletcher’s Bait (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

Sunfish and crappies have started to be pulled from the Starbuck
Marina on Lake Minnewaska. Fish Hatchery Bay on Minnewaska also has
produced numbers of panfish. Most them are hitting in three to five
feet of water on small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms. A few
crappies are being caught off County Road 4 on Pocket Lake during
the afternoon hours.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

STILLWATER AREA

High water on the St. Croix River have limited fishing
opportunities. The Prescott area of the Mississippi River is
producing walleyes and saugers. A jig and minnow has worked best.
Although shallow water crappies have yet to be found, Big Carnelian
Lake, School House Lake, Big Marine Lake, and Square Lake are worth
checking now.

Jimmy’s Bait and Tackle (651) 430-2554

WILLMAR AREA

The panfish bite has started. Work shallow bays, docks, and
channels with small jigs and live bait and you’ll find crappies and
sunfish. Lakes already producing fish include Nest, Florida,
Norway, Diamond, and Andrew.

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

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