Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Warm weather ignites shallow panfish bite across state

BIG SIX

LAKE MILLE LACS

The ice is out and crappies are showing up in the shallows. Most
boat harbors are producing fish, with the Malone Island area and
Twin Bay providing the best numbers. Small jigs and minnows in less
than eight feet of water have worked best.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811 www.johnsonsportside.com

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The ice is quickly deteriorating, but remains quite evident
throughout the bays and main lake. Once the bays do open, look for
the northern pike bite to be very good. The catch and release
sturgeon season also remains an attraction on the Rainy
River.

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

LEECH LAKE AREA

The lake is completely ice-free so look for crappies, bluegills,
and perch to start showing up in the shallow bays. Shingobee Bay,
the channels, and boat harbors should start producing in three to
six feet of water.

Walker Bait Company (218) 547-2248

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA

Crappies continue to be caught, but the bigger fish seem to be
pushed out of the shallows. The best reports are coming from
Wayzata Bay and Carson’s Bay in 10 to 15 feet of water on Lake
Minnetonka and from the bays on Lake Independence, and Medicine
Lake. Sunfish are being found in the shallows throughout the
area.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

RAINY LAKE

The lake is ice-free and a few northern pike are being caught in
shallow bays. Crappies have yet to show in shallow water, but Black
Bay would be a good place to start looking. Nightcrawlers are
turning suckers in most creeks.

Loon’s Nest (218) 286-5850

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The ice is off the main lake, so look for perch to start showing
up in the shallows. Work the sandy or rock-covered shorelines and
points in four to eight feet of water with a jig and minnow.

Pines Resort and Campground (218) 246-8546

Nodak Lodge (218) 665-2226

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Small jigs and minnows are producing crappies in two to six feet
of water on White Bear Lake, Bald Eagle Lake, Big Marine Lake, and
Lake Elmo. The best bets for sunfish are the shallows of Lake
Peltier and Little Lake. The channels on Lake Gervais and Lake
Phalen are producing a mixed bag of panfish.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

The north end of Lake Bavaria is providing steady crappie
action, as are the shallow shorelines of Whaletail Lake. Hydes Lake
and Steiger Lake are worth noting for panfish in less than eight
feet of water as well.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

Cut baits have been the ticket for catfish on the Mississippi
River. White bass and walleyes also can be had at the mouth of
Minnehaha Creek on the Mississippi. Small panfish have started
hitting in the shallows of Lake Nokomis, Lake Calhoun, and Lake
Harriet.

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

LAKE WACONIA

Tube jigs and minnows are turning crappies in the shallow water
of Waconia Bay. Small jigs and waxworms will produce sunfish in
this area throughout the day. Sunfish and crappies can be had in
most channels and north end shorelines.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Look to the north ends of Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lake Carlos, Lake
Geneva, and Lake Darling for crappies. Flu Flu’s or Cubby jigs are
working best. Most anglers report a few sunfish mixed in with the
crappies and the majority of fish are being caught in two to six
feet of water.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Crappies and sunfish are being found in the shallow bays and
channels on most lakes. Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, Cedar Lake,
and Lake Sylvia are the area’s best options for bigger fish in two
to four feet of water.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE

The culvert area on Ten Mile Lake started producing crappies on
minnows this week. The best sunfish reports are coming off
Bass/Elbow Lake in four to six feet of water. Small jigs tipped
with waxworms have worked best.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

The ice went out last weekend and the shallow bays and
shorelines are holding a few crappies and bluegills. Rat Finkies
and waxworms are turning the majority of fish in less than six feet
of water. Look for perch on Lake Bemidji in four to six feet of
water. Small jigs and crappie minnows are turning bigger fish.
Sucker action has been very good with nightcrawlers in most creeks
and small rivers.

Bluewater Bait and Sports (218) 444-BAIT (2248)

Kobilka’s Sporting Goods (218) 751-6000

BLACKDUCK AREA

The ice went out of area lakes in a hurry and the crappie bite
started almost immediately. Small jigs and minnows are working best
in the shallow bays and shorelines of Gilstead Lake and Rabideau
Lake. A few perch have been caught in the shallows of Blackduck
Lake on minnows and jigs.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA

Crappie action has been very good in six to 10 feet of water.
White, pink, or chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows and waxworms
have been most productive. The Bar Harbor Dock and pier by Bar
Harbor on Gull Lake has produced fish. The shallow bays and
shorelines on Lake Margaret, North Long Lake, and Lake Hubert also
have provided steady panfish action.

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

CHISAGO AREA

You’ll find sunfish and crappies in every bay on Chisago Lake.
Crappies continue to be caught at a good pace in shallow water on
South Center Lake with minnows. A mixture of panfish can be had
along HIghway 8 on South Lindstrom Lake as well. Small leeches,
minnows, and waxworms all have produced fish this week.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

DULUTH AREA

The ice is out and crappies have just started showing up in the
narrows of Fish Lake. Smelt began running this week, with the best
reports coming from the Lester River. Wind has limited coho salmon
fishing this week on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST-CENTRAL MINN

Flu Flus tipped with minnows or waxworms are providing
consistent panfish action throughout the area in less than six feet
of water. Crappie action has been particularly good on lakes such
as Green, Blue, Fremont, and Elk. Look to the Mississippi River
with crawlers for catfish.

Tails and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

FAIRMONT AREA

The channel between Amber Lake and Hall Lake started producing
crappies. Wonder Bugs and minnows have been the hot presentation.
You’ll also find steady crappie activity at the power plant on
George Lake. Bluegill reports have been limited.

Master Sport and Bait (507) 235-5225

GRAND RAPIDS AREA

The ice is out and crappie anglers are beginning to find fish in
shallow water. Lake Wabana, Lake Pokegama, and Jay Gould Lake are
producing decent numbers of fish. Sucker action has been very good
in most creeks and the smelt started running during the early part
of the week on several lakes.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

Rapids Tackle (218) 326-9838

HUTCHINSON

Crappie activity remains consistent in the shallows of Lake
Washington, Stella Lake, and Belle Lake. Small jigs tipped with
waxworms are producing sunfish in two to four feet of water on
Green Leaf Lake, Stahls Lake, Lake Minnie Belle, and Ripley
Lake.

The Outpost (320) 587-8177

LAKE OSAKIS

A few crappies and sunfish have been pulled from the creek area
of Miller’s Bay. The channel on the east side of the lake also is
worth noting, although it has yet to give up a lot of
numbers.

Fisherman’s Corner (320) 859-2181

MANKATO AREA

The Buckmaster’s Bridge area of Madison Lake is producing
crappies during the afternoon hours. Look to the west end of Lake
Francis for sunfish and crappies in shallow water. There’s also
some consistent crappie activity taking place in Crystal Lake
during the evening hours. Nightcrawlers are turning numbers of
channel catfish on the Minnesota River.

The Bobber Shop (507) 625-8228

McGREGOR AREA

Sucker fishing has kept most anglers busy in the creeks and
small rivers in this area. Crappie action has yet to start, but
look to Big Sandy Lake and Lake Minnewawa to start producing fish
in shallow water soon.

Willey’s Sport Shop (218) 426-3382

MONTICELLO AREA

The east side of Pelican Lake is a safe bet for crappies.
Catfish action remains strong on the Mississippi River with
nightcrawlers and sucker minnows working best. Look to Lake
Constance for crappies in five feet of water, while the shallows of
Little Eagle Lake are worth noting for crappies and sunfish.

Shuman’s Outdoor Sports (763) 295-3222

RED LAKE

If you can keep the walleyes off your hook, there are crappies
to be caught out from Hillman’s RV Park in six to eight feet of
water. Small jigs and minnows are working best and look for these
fish to continue moving closer to shore.

Dr. Tackle Sports (218) 647-8657

RED WING AREA

Bright-colored jigs tipped with minnows or plastics have started
producing big walleyes in the rip-rap areas close to shore on the
Mississippi River. Saugers continue to hit in 18 to 30 feet of
water from the Head of the Lakes to the dam. The shallow rocks and
Pier area of Lake Pepin are safe bets for crappies and smallmouth
bass.

Ike’s Bait and Tackle (651) 388-2111

ST. CLOUD AREA

You’ll have to sort through some small fish, but crappies and
sunfish are biting throughout the area. Most fish are coming from
three to six feet of water on lakes such as Koronis, Horseshoe,
Rice, Grand, Pearl, and Cedar Island. Look to the north ends and
bays of these lakes to be holding bigger fish.

Corky’s Gas & Bait (320) 251-1567

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake started producing sunfish in
three to eight feet of water. Bailey’s Bay on Big Sauk Lake is a
safe bet for sunfish as well. Hennington’s Bay on Fairy Lake is
giving up a mixture of sunfish and crappies during the afternoon
hours.

Fletcher’s Bait (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

Two areas on Lake Minnewaska, Starbuck Marina and Fish Hatchery
Bay, continue to provide limits of crappies and a few sunfish. Most
of these fish remain in two to six feet of water. The north side of
Pocket Lake also is worth noting for crappies during the evening
hours.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

STILLWATER AREA

The Bayport Beach area of the St. Croix River is producing
crappies in 10 to 30 feet of water. On the Wisconsin side of the
St. Croix, you’ll find steady crappie action in the Stillwater
Bridge area. Big Carnelian Lake started giving up sunfish and
crappies in 10 to 15 feet of water.

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

WILLMAR AREA

Sunfish and crappies are biting very well in the shallows on
lakes such as Nest, West Norway, Florida, Diamond, and Andrew.
Small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms have worked best in
three to six feet of water.

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

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