ALBERT LEA AREA
Fountain Lake continues to provide the best option for early season crappie action. The warmer weather this week should start pushing bigger numbers of panfish into the shallows of other lakes as well.
Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau (800) 345-8414
Anglers have just started looking for crappies in shallow water now that the ice is off all lakes. The lagoons and bays on Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lake Darling, or Christopherson’s Bay and Schwab’s Bay on Lake Ida were producing a few fish in 2 to 6 feet early this week.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
The shallow bays on Lake Sylvia, Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, and Cedar Lake have started giving up a few crappies. Anglers have yet to find any big numbers, but they have started to show up in most of the traditional spring locations.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
The ice went totally out last weekend throughout the area, so it’s going to take a few days for the crappies and sunfish to move shallow. There has been a few crappies caught in 3 to 6 feet on Wall Lake, Clitherall Lake and Ten Mile Lake, but not much for size or numbers.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
There’s still quite a bit of ice on most of Lake Bemidji, although the south end of it has started to open. Most small lakes could be open by this weekend, so it will take several days of warm weather to start moving panfish shallow.
Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
Ice conditions are deteriorating fast, but most lakes in the immediate area still had ice on them early this week. Some lakes are open just south of the area and the wind is expected to eliminate much of the remaining ice within the next week.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
The ice went completely out last weekend and a few crappies have started being caught in the Ditch area and harbors on Gull Lake. A few days of warm weather should quickly improve the local panfish bite in shallow water.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The ice is off Dick’s Bay, while Allen’s Bay was about half open and expected to be ice-free by this weekend. There’s still quite a bit of ice on the main lake, but with any amount of wind and warm weather this week, it, too, should be gone about one week ahead of a normal ice-out year.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Panfish have just started moving into the shallow bays and shoreline areas of most lakes. Water temperatures are approaching 50 degrees, so look for better numbers of bigger sunfish and crappies to start showing up within the next few days.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
The ice is gone, but anglers are finding more sunfish than crappies with better action during the evening hours in shallow water. A handful of anglers have started looking for crappies in the shallows, but as of Tuesday morning, they had not shown up.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
The ice went completely out last weekend so most anglers have just started searching for panfish. Start looking to the shorelines and shallow bays, those wind-protected and sun-driven areas, to hold fish as soon as this weekend.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
The ice is just about gone and some lakes such as Island, Rice, and Boulder are ice-free. Any ice that remains on the inland lakes should be gone by this weekend. Kamloops trout and salmon fishing along the North Shore of Lake Superior remains favorable as these fish continue to nudge toward the rivers, but the push has been slow due to low water. Trolling stickbaits and spoons has been productive off Park Point for kings, lake trout, and coho salmon. The French River area has provided the best Kamloops fishing for shore anglers.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
There has been quite a few people fishing the shallows for crappies, but the bite has been slow. These fish should start moving into the dark-bottom bays and shorelines as water temperatures continue to climb.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
The ice is going fast and several small lakes were looking as if they could be open by this weekend. The bigger lakes such as Snowbank and Burntside might take another week, but ice-out is ahead of schedule.
The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744
The ice is off the small and medium-sized lakes, but there was still some floating ice on some bigger lakes early this week. A few guys have started looking for panfish in the shallows, but the fish haven’t shown up and the wind has limited many open-water fishing opportunities this week.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Crappies are being caught during the evening hours along the shorelines of Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sissiton with minnows. Jigs tipped with plastics or Lindy rigs and minnows have turned a few walleyes on Tuttle Lake in less than 5 feet.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
The panfish bite has been slow, but the west end of Cannon Lake is producing crappies, sunfish, and perch in 4 feet. Water temperatures have remained low and the wind has kept people from getting out in boats, so the fishing will improve as weather conditions do.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Ice continues to cover most lakes, but the shorelines have started to open and the main-lake ice is getting rotten. It might take another week or two for the ice to be out in this area, especially on the bigger lakes.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Many lakes opened last weekend and although some ice remained on a few bigger lakes early this week, it should be gone soon. Shallow bays and harbors started to produce some crappies and these areas should only improve as the water warms. Anglers fishing with nightcrawlers have caught numbers of suckers in the small creeks and rivers.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
The ice that remained went out last weekend and although a few people have started fishing open water, crappies have been tough to find. This can change quickly and likely will with a few days of bright, warm weather, so start looking to those traditional spring spots to be holding fish.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
The wind chewed up the ice this week and with the exception of some floating ice on a few bigger lakes, there’s nothing but open water. Ice that remains should be gone by the weekend, so start looking for crappies to move to the dark-bottom bays and harbors.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
The ice is mostly gone and if a lake still holds some ice, it should be gone within the next few days. Fishing reports have been limited, but the wind has prevented most people from getting out and the water needs to warm a bit in order to drive the crappies into shallow water.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
Fishing reports have been non-existent and the ice is deteriorating rapidly. All the shorelines have pulled away and the ice that remains was black with pockets of open water. There’s a good chance most of the area could be ice-free by this weekend.
Gateway Store (218) 875-2121
Big Jefferson Lake and German Lake are producing crappies in less than 5 feet. Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington started giving up crappies as well and look to the Buck Master Bridge area on Madison Lake for crappies during the evening hours.
The Bobber Shop (507) 625-8228
With the exception of some limited floating ice on the bigger lakes, everything is wide open. Crappies started to show up in limited numbers along the shorelines, bridges, and in shallow bays. Look to Big Sandy Lake, Rat Lake, Round Lake and Horseshoe Lake in 3 to 6 feet with small jigs and minnows.
Willey’s Sport Shop & Spirits (218) 426-3382
Anglers have just started working the shallow bays and shorelines for panfish, but the crappie bite has been slow. Briggs Lake and Little Maple Lake are giving up a few crappies during the evening hours, but the bite will improve as the water continues to warm.
Monticello Bait & Tackle (763) 295-1187
With the ice being gone for more than one week, anglers have started finding panfish. Look to the Ann River for crappies and sunfish or Knife Lake for crappies in 1 to 4 feet of water.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
There hasn’t been much to report even though the ice has been out for two weeks. That should provide some excellent walleye-catching opportunities on Big Stone Lake this weekend during the Minnesota-South Dakota border opener. Look shallow, along the rocky shorelines, with a jig and minnow.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
The small lakes have been ice-free for about one week, Fish Hook Lake opened completely on Monday, and Big Sand Lake still had floating ice on it early this week. Anglers have just started to hit the traditional spring panfish spots, but the shallows remain cold and the fish haven’t shown up.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
The ice went totally out last weekend and a few panfish were being caught, but no big numbers as of early this week. Look to the bays or shorelines on Little McDonald Lake, Big Pine Lake and Rush Lake for crappies in 3 to 6 feet.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Vertically-presented hair jigs or plastics are producing walleyes on the Mississippi River. Better numbers of fish are coming from 15 to 18 feet, but you’ll find bigger walleyes in shallower water. With water levels in the back channels low, crappies are being caught on the rock piles throughout the main river channel. Most northern pike have remained in the river as well.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
Brush piles on Lake Zumbro are producing crappies in 5 to 10 feet and Foster Arend Pond continues to kick out rainbow trout via Power Bait. Crappies also remain active at Willow Creek Reservoir in 5 to 10 feet.
Hooked on Fishing (507) 282-4982
ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
The ice is gone and a few crappies have started showing up in the shallow bays. Anglers aren’t finding big numbers of fish, but the Highway 55 bridge on Lake Koronis, as well as the bays on Cedar Island Lake and Long Lake, have produced some smaller fish.
Mike’s Bait and Tackle (320) 453-2248
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The ice that remained on a few lakes went out last Saturday, but there hasn’t been any open-water fishing to report. Start looking to the shallow bays and lagoons for panfish as soon as the water warms a bit more.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Sunfish have moved shallow on Pierz Lake, while crappies and sunfish are being caught in less than 6 feet at Beauty Lake and Green Prairie Lake. Suckers have started running the small creeks and anglers fishing from shore are doing well with nightcrawlers.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Crappies and sunfish have started in the Starbuck Marina of Lake Minnewaska. Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood end of Minnewaska is producing panfish, although more crappies than sunfish are being caught here. Anglers fishing from shore on the northeast end of Pelican Lake are catching crappies, the north end of Pocket Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish, and the east side of Lake Reno is a safe bet for crappies.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
The ice is deteriorating fast and it looks as though most of it will be gone within the next week, even on the bigger lakes. Low water is limiting sucker fishing in the creeks and it shouldn’t be long before crappies start moving shallow on area lakes.
Lucky Seven General Store (218) 741-3617
Crappies and sunfish continue to be caught in shallow water at the Warsaw Bridge area of Cannon Lake. Most lagoons and shallow bays on other lakes are extremely clear and that seems to be keeping panfish out of them. If they are in, they are spooky.
Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 362-4444
Anglers are fishing from shore and starting to find panfish. The bays on Nest Lake and Elkhorn Lake are producing sunfish and the channel on West Norway Lake is giving up crappies. Look to the northwest corner of Lake Andrew, Dogfish Bay on Diamond Lake, and the north end of Eagle Lake to start giving up panfish as well.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
The panfish bite has been slow to develop, but there hasn’t been a lot of people fishing. Water levels are very low and that’s eliminated some usually good river and creek fishing as well.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880
Walleyes continue to be caught on the main river channels, below dams, and along wing dams throughout the Mississippi River. A jig and minnow, blade baits, plastics, and crankbaits are all producing fish in these areas. Crappie reports have been limited, but the backwater areas have started producing sunfish. With the stream trout opener this Saturday, anglers should find favorable river and stream conditions; an “excellent” opener is expected.
West End Bait (507) 452-6241