ALBERT LEA AREA
It’s almost time for open-water panfish action and some warm weather should start making them active. Fountain Lake only has ice remaining in a few spots and it’s floating, while Albert Lea Lake is totally ice-free.
Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau (800) 345-8414
The shorelines and access points have deteriorated a bit more since last week, but plenty of fishing options remain heading into this weekend. Crappies and sunfish are being found in 4 to 10 feet on Lake Irene, Lake Geneva, and Lake Darling. Betsy Ross Bay and Christopherson’s Bay on Lake Ida are also producing panfish in less than 10 feet.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
If you can find a shoreline to walk on, there’s still plenty of ice on most main-lake areas. Unfortunately, the majority of shorelines have pulled too far away and that’s prevented people from getting on the ice.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
Most anglers are now walking out and some continue to use ATVs – it just depends on the lake and shoreline ice conditions. Sunfish are suspended just below the ice over the 5- to 10-foot weeds on Blanche Lake, Ethel Lake, Star Lake, Dead Lake, and Rush Lake. Look for crappies in 10 to 15 feet on West Battle Lake, Stalker Lake, Blanche, and Dead. Waxworms below flashers are producing tullibees over 30 feet at Clitherall Lake, Lake Lida, and Star.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Most shorelines remain intact and utilizing ATVs for travel is not an option on area lakes. Perch reports are strong off Island Lake in 5 to 10 feet or 25 to 30 feet. Hit Round Lake for crappies in 15 to 20 feet or for perch in 5 to 10 feet. Crappies also are being found scattered between 5 to 20 feet on Blackduck Lake, while Big Lake is kicking out crappies and bluegills in 6 feet. Hit Pimushe Lake and Gull Lake for bluegills in 15 to 18 feet.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Walking out is now the best option on all lakes and people continue to find panfish. Crappies have bit best during the evening hours in 10 to 16 feet of water at Gull Lake, North Long Lake, and Sylvan Lake. Sunfish are hitting best in 6 to 10 feet of water at Round Lake, Nisswa Lake, Cullen Lake, and North Long.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Main-lake ice conditions remain good for ATV travel, but the edges have started to open so access is becoming an issue. Cass Lake and Pike Bay Lake are producing perch in 8 to 12 feet during the morning hours or 25 to 40 feet during the day. Look for suspended crappies over 30 feet or more on Lake Andrusia and the north arm of Kitchi Lake. Garfield Lake is kicking out crappies and sunfish in 8 feet.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
The shorelines are now too far gone to allow people to get on the ice. Ice remains on area lakes, but it is deteriorating fast and is no longer safe to walk on.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
ATVs are being used on some larger lakes and the shorelines have pulled away on others, but fishing is still an option on area lakes. Rainbow trout remain active on Manuel Pit over 100 feet, but most fish are suspended 10 to 20 feet down. Black Hoof Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 18 to 20 feet, while the west end of Mission Lake is kicking out panfish in shallower water.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
Anglers fishing the shorelines or mouths of the French and Sucker rivers are catching Kamloops and some coho salmon. The morning and evening hours have been best with crawlers, spawn sacs, or Looper Bugs tipped with waxworms under a float. Ice conditions remain good for foot travel on most inland lakes with crappies and bluegills hitting in 12 to 15 feet at Island Lake, Comstock Lake, and Fish Lake.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
Lake trout action has picked up with ciscoes or jigs over 30 to 50 feet at Burntside Lake and Snowbank Lake. Crappie reports also have improved with lakes such as Garden, Farm, and Birch giving up fish over 18 feet. Ice conditions remain favorable and anglers are having no problem accessing lakes with an ATV.
The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744
ATVs were being used on some lakes last weekend, but with the shorelines pulling away, walking is probably the best option now. Fishing pressure has been really light over the past week and main-lake ice on certain fisheries has turned black.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
The ice went out last week and although a few people have been in boats and fishing from shore, the panfish bite has been slow. Warm weather could change that quickly.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Most small lakes are ice-free and the ice that remains on bigger lakes is rotten and being pushed with the wind. Look for open-water panfish action to start as soon as the weather warms the water a bit.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
The shorelines are in great shape and main-lake ice is even better; plenty of fishing options remain. Walleyes are hitting chubs on North Fowl Lake in 10 feet and South Fowl Lake in 6 feet. Look for rainbow trout at Ram Lake in 12 to 15 feet and Leo Lake in 18 to 20 feet. Spoons or ciscoes are producing lake trout on Greenwood Lake in 45 feet, Loon Lake in 55 feet, Pine Lake in 60 feet, and Kemo Lake in 18 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Vehicles continue to be used on many lakes and ATVs are a safe option everywhere, but fishing pressure has really dropped off. Crappies and perch are hitting in 20 feet on Bowstring Lake and 36 feet at Sand Lake. Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is giving up perch, crappies, and sunfish in 20 to 40 feet, while Little Cutfoot is giving up crappies and sunfish in 20 feet. Hit Lake Pokegama in 6 to 15 feet and Big Splithand Lake in 18 to 20 feet for a mixed bag of panfish. Bass Lake is producing sunfish in 7 to 17 feet.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
The shorelines have held up enough to allow one more weekend of ice fishing on some lakes, but open shorelines have prevented people from getting on other lakes. Overall, fishing activity has been limited this week and there hasn’t been much in the way of reports. It seems as though most anglers are content waiting for open water.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
You can still walk on most lakes and use ATVs on others, but there hasn’t been many people fishing. The only bites worth noting are some rainbow trout action on the Judson Pit and Brule Pit.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
The ice went completely out last weekend on all lakes, but the cool weather and snow have prevented anglers from fishing open water at this point.
The Bobber Shop (507) 625-8228
Although a few people continue to walk out on a couple of lakes, ice-fishing opportunities have just about ended. The shorelines have now pulled away and any current area is flowing and that’s helped deteriorate the main-lake ice as well.
Willey’s Sport Shop & Spirits (218) 426-3382
It’s no longer safe to trust the ice, although there’s still a lot of it on all lakes. The edges are open, but any thoughts of fishing have been put on hold until open water exists.
Monticello Bait & Tackle (763) 295-1187
The number of people fishing has been minimal and those who have continued to venture out are walking. Look to Fish Lake in 6 to 8 feet and Knife Lake in 5 feet for crappies and sunfish.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
The majority of Big Stone Lake has 3 to 10 feet of open water along the shorelines and the ice that remains is black and moving. The small lakes and sloughs have started to open as well.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Ice fishing will remain an option throughout the area at least through this weekend, but walking out is probably the best option at this point due to some shoreline issues. Bluegills are being caught with waxworms in 12 feet on Eagle Lake, Fish Hook Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes. Crappies continue to be found suspended during low-light periods over 20 feet on Big Mantrap Lake and the Crow Wing Chain.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
The ice continues to hang on, not changing much at all from last week. Although you can still find ice to get on and fish comfortably, there hasn’t been anyone going out. The word in this area is that most people have put away their ice-fishing gear until next year.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Cooler weather and 10 inches of fresh snow have limited the number of people fishing the Mississippi River this week and water temperatures on it have dipped back down to the upper 30-degree range. Hair jigs and minnows are working best for walleyes and sauger and the boats have been more scattered in recent days. Hay Creek, High Bridge area, the “Y,” and below the dam have been some of the better spots in 20 to 25 feet.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
Some floating ice remains on a couple lakes, but most are wide open. This area received 10 inches of snow on Monday and that’s limiting fishing activity for shore anglers. Some people are using Power Bait and fishing from shore at Foster Arend Pond and catching rainbow trout.
Hooked on Fishing (507) 282-4982
ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
The shorelines have pulled far enough away that most anglers have given up for the season. A few people have used planks to get on lakes such as Cedar Island, Goodner, and Clear and they have caught a few panfish, but not much for size.
Mike’s Bait and Tackle (320) 453-2248
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Sunfish action has picked up on Little Fairy Lake in 8 feet, Maple Lake in 5 feet, and Big Swan Lake in 6 feet. Lake Osakis continues to produce crappies in the Battle Point area over 20 feet and a mixed bag of panfish on the north end in 6 feet. Anglers are now walking on all lakes with honeycombed ice and some shoreline openings being reported.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Ice-fishing options are just about done and the few people going are reporting deteriorating shorelines and honeycombed ice. Early in the week, some crappies were being caught at Fish Trap Lake and the southeast end of Lake Alexander. Changing ice conditions could end that by this weekend, so call ahead.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
The ice-fishing season has come to an end now that the shorelines have pulled away and main-lake ice throughout the area is no longer safe. Fishermen in this area are waiting for the bays and harbors to bust loose so they can fish open water.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
The shorelines are solid and ATVs continue to be used throughout the area, but fishing pressure has been limited. Rainbow trout are hitting small baits with waxworms at the Gilbert Pit, Kinney Pit, and Lake Mine Pit. Anglers hole hopping on Birch Lake are finding a few crappies.
Lucky Seven General Store (218) 741-3617
Although most shorelines have started to open, you can still find plenty of lakes to get on. But over the past week, there hasn’t been enough people fishing to offer any reports.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
The only ice left is floating or pushed up to the shorelines. Most lakes are now ice-free in this area so look for panfish opportunities to begin in shallow water as soon it warms.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880
This area is close to being ice-free, but the cooler weather and 8 inches of snow that fell Monday have slowed fishing pressure on the Mississippi River. The anglers going out are catching walleyes on jigs tipped with minnows or plastics in the main river channel below most dams. You’ll also find perch sitting in the calm water areas to the sides of most dams.
West End Bait (507) 452-6241