ALBERT LEA AREA
The cool weather has limited anglers from fishing open water, but plenty of options exist. Minnows are producing some crappies in shallow water at Fountain Lake and this bite should only improve as the water temperature increases.
Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau (800) 345-8414
The big lakes still had quite a bit of ice early this week, but the wind was taking a toll on it on a daily basis. The bridge areas and small lakes are now ice-free. There hasn’t been any crappie action reported from shallow water but the lagoons, harbors, and bays should start holding fish soon.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
The majority of lakes are now ice-free and what remains on other lakes will likely be gone by this weekend. There hasn’t been any open-water reports as of early this week, but look for crappies to move shallow on most lakes with the next stretch of sunshine and warm weather.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
The ice is deteriorating and the winter fishing season has come to an end. The shorelines have opened beyond repair and the few people fishing last weekend indicated the ice on most main-lake areas has become soft. Early this week, some small lakes had more open water than ice.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The shorelines have opened far enough to make it nearly impossible to get on most lakes. A few people have been getting on some lakes “tucked back in the woods” and finding decent ice once they’re on, but most anglers have put away the ice fishing gear for the season.
Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
Early this week, most lakes continued to have favorable main-lake ice for fishing. The problem now is getting on it since most shorelines have loosened and pulled away. For the most part, the ice-fishing season has ended throughout the area.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
The majority of small lakes should be ice-free by this weekend and some channels and bays are already open. Anglers have been hitting many of the traditional ice-out crappie spots, but early success has been limited.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Main-lake ice is evident, but the shorelines have opened far enough that anglers can no longer get on it. The ice-fishing season has come to an end and weather conditions will dictate how fast the rest of the ice will go.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
The ice is gone throughout the area, but this week’s cool weather hasn’t done much for the crappie bite. Start looking to the mud-bottomed bays and other traditional spring locations for crappies as soon as the sun returns and water temperatures rise.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
There’s still ice on select lakes, but what remains is going fast. The wind this week has helped chew away at the ice, so there should be some open-water fishing options developing with the next stretch of warm weather.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
Although some ice continues to float and be pushed with the wind, it is deteriorating quickly. With some warmer weather there’s a good chance the entire area will be ice-free within the next week.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Kamloops and coho salmon reports are favorable along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Anglers fishing closer to shore are catching fish on Looper Bugs and waxworms suspended under a float or with nightcrawlers or spawn sacs tight to the bottom. There’s been some good reports from boat fishermen trolling spoons or stickbaits near the surface along the shoreline. Better areas have been Stoney Point, or the mouths of the French, Lester, and Sucker rivers. There’s ice on most inland lakes, but the shorelines have opened so you can no longer get on them.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
There’s been some open-water fishing, but the crappie bite has been slow, likely due to cold water. Start looking to the shallow bays and channels for panfish as soon as the water starts to warm.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Shorelines are deteriorating, but main-lake ice is in good shape. Early this week, you could get on any lake, but that could change quick with the right weather. Despite fishable ice, there hasn’t been anyone going out.
The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744
Some of the small lakes are completely open and although there is ice on most big lakes the shorelines are open so getting on them is no longer an option. There hasn’t been any open-water fishing to report, but start looking for crappies in the shallow bays as soon the water warms a few degrees.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Jigs and twister tails or live-bait rigs and minnows are producing walleyes for anglers fishing from shore at Tuttle Lake (border water). You’ll also catch crappies and perch on minnows along the shallow shorelines of Budd Lake and Lake Sissiton during the evening hours. The bite is just starting and should improve with warmer weather.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
The ice is gone, but the cool and windy weather has prevented most people from fishing. The shoreliness on the west end of Cannon Lake are worth hitting for panfish now and look for other shallow areas to start producing fish soon.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
The ice remains intact and still looks white, so it could be a while before it’s gone. The rivers still have started flowing, either. Fishing reports have been limited to some walleye action the border fisheries such as South Fowl Lake in 6 feet and North Lake in 8 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
You could get on some lakes if you wanted to early this week, but there hasn’t been anybody fishing. Others have started to melt away along the shorelines and most flowage areas have now opened. Given the way the ice looked this week, it will likely go out fast if the weather warms.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
The limited ice that remains is going fast and it won’t be long before crappies start showing up in many of those traditional spring locations. A few anglers have started hitting those spots, but the water needs to warm so panfish success has been non-existent.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Most lakes have varying degrees of ice on them, but it’s going fast. On those lakes where ice remained, the wind was taking its toll on it this week. Complete ice-out is expected to take place within the next week throughout the area.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
The ice is going fast, with some lakes nearly open and others still holding more ice than open water. No fishing options remain through the ice, but open-water fishing doesn’t appear to be too far away.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
A few crappies continue be caught at the Buck Master Bridge on Madison Lake and German Lake is producing sunfish in 5 feet. There hasn’t been a lot of numbers caught this week with the cooler weather, but some sunshine will quickly improve the area’s shallow panfish bites.
The Bobber Shop (507) 625-8228
The lakes are ice-free and anglers have started looking for crappies in many of those traditional spring spots, but success has been limited. This can change quickly with some sunshine and warm weather, so start looking for panfish to show up in shallow water.
Monticello Bait & Tackle (763) 295-1187
The majority of lakes still had some ice on them early this week, but it was going fast. It’s likely most lakes will be ice-free by the weekend and with some warmer weather, crappies should start showing up in the bays and along shorelines.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
The ice is gone, but there hasn’t been any open-water fishing taking place. The Minnesota/South Dakota border water walleye opener is Saturday, April 18. The ice has been off Big Stone Lake since April 1.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but it’s impossible to get on. The shorelines have pulled away and the ice that remains is black and deteriorating quickly. Look to the bays and shorelines for crappies with the next stretch of warm weather.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
There was still quite a bit of ice on the main portions of most lakes Tuesday morning. The shorelines on all of them have opened so ice fishing is no longer an option and the weather needs to warm up and melt the ice that remains before open-water fishing is possible.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Walleye action continues to be consistent on the Mississippi River from the dam down to the head of Lake Pepin. The majority of fish are being caught in 14 to 18 feet during the day and along the shorelines in the evenings on plastics or blade baits. Saugers also have been in the mix, but they tend to be caught deeper and with minnows.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
Crappie action has picked up a bit and some warm, bright weather could improve it even more. Currently, crappies are being found in 5 to 10 feet on Willow Creek Reservoir, with a few fish coming off Lake Zumbro over 15 to 20 feet. The rainbow trout bite on Foster Arend Pond also remains consistent with Power Bait.
Hooked on Fishing (507) 282-4982
ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
Most small lakes are ice-free, but there is ice floating around on some of the bigger lakes and the wind this week has chewed it up. Although some anglers have started looking for crappies in the shallows, they had not shown up early this week.
Mike’s Bait and Tackle (320) 453-2248
SAUK CENTRE AREA
There was still ice on some lakes early this week, but it was being pushed with the wind and getting chewed up in the process. If the sun comes out most of it could be gone by this weekend and if not, it might take a few more days, but it’s close to being out.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
The small lakes are ice-free, the rivers are open, and there is some ice on the bigger lakes such as Fish Trap and Alexander, but it’s going fast. The shorelines of Little Rock Lake are giving up crappies and perch, while anglers fishing from shore on Green Prairie Lake and Beauty Lake are finding the occasional crappie as well. A few suckers have shown up in some of the creeks and shallow rivers.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
The crappies have not started showing up in the shallows, but the ice is completely off most lakes. The channels, bays, harbors, and marinas will be the first spots to hit as soon as water temperatures jump a few more degrees in these shallow areas.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
The ice continues to hold together and the shorelines remain fairly tight. The top 6 inches of ice has turned spongy, but below that the ice is solid. There were people fishing on a couple lakes early this week and there might be a chance to ice fish this weekend, but this late in the year you’ll want to call ahead for daily ice conditions.
Lucky Seven General Store
The ice has been out for about two weeks, but some warmer weather is needed to get the shallow-water panfish bite going. A few sunfish and crappies are biting at the Warsaw Bridge on Cannon Lake and bullheads are being caught from shore at German Lake and Morris Town Dam on the Cannon River.
Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 362-4444
There was some floating ice on a couple of big lakes early this week, but everything else is wide open. The cooler weather has limited panfish action and that can change fast with some sun and warm weather. The culvert area on Willmar/Foot Lake and Elkhorn Bay on Elkhorn Lake have given up a few panfish, so look for many of those other traditional spring spots to start producing fish as soon as the weather improves as well.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
Fishing reports have been limited despite the fact that the ice has been gone for more than a week. Most anglers feel it’s just been too cold to start driving panfish into the shallows, but some improved weather could change that within a few days.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880
Periods of rain and strong winds have limited fishing activity throughout much of the last week. But when anglers go, they are catching walleyes on the main river channels below most dams on the Mississippi River. Jigs tipped with minnows or plastics are working best. Red worms also are producing perch on the river, mainly in the tail water areas or flats of pools 7, 8, and 9.
West End Bait (507) 452-6241