Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report — December 16, 2016
LAKE MILLE LACS
The ice was shaping up nicely earlier this week. The entire lake is capped with reports of as much as 6 inches in some of the bays and some ATVs being used in some of these areas. With the cold weather expected to continue, look for some parts of the main lake to be accessible by this weekend. Fishing reports have been limited, however, although some northern pike spearers have commented that they’re seeing more walleyes than pike swimming under their dark houses. Reports of catching should roll in by the weekend.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The main lake is capped so resorts and guides are checking ice conditions daily. Reports indicated 5 to 8 inches of ice early this week out from Pine Island and 8 inches in Four Mile Bay. With the exception of some walleyes being caught in the bay, there hadn’t been anyone fishing on the lake as of this writing earlier this week. A road was being staked Tuesday through the bay for snowmobile and ATV travel later in the week. The Rainy River was locked up with about 2 to 6 inches of ice reported from the Northwest Angle as well.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau, (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Portions of most big lakes still had pockets of open water early this week. The small lakes are ice-covered with varying ice depths reported and no fishing at this point in the immediate area. That could be an option by this weekend, but use caution as you go.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
The ice was coming along nicely with fishable ice in the bays early this week. Ice conditions varied on the main lake, but with the continued cold weather, there should be opportunities to fish by this weekend.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The entire lake appeared to covered with ice early this week, but ice depths have not been checked very far off shore. Some spear houses have popped up on the west shoreline and a few other spots around the lake so the ice in these areas is good and could allow for ATV travel by the weekend – just call ahead.
The entire lake is now ice-covered and some limited fishing has begun. Anglers have started walking out “a couple hundred yards” on parts of the south end and off Pine and Stoney points. Early this week, 3 to 5 inches of ice was reported in these areas so there should be some decent fishing options by this weekend.
Reed’s Sporting Goods, (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company, (218) 547-2250
The secluded bays have a layer of ice and although there is some ice on the main lake, there are stretches of open water as well. While it’s been too cold for anyone to get out and check ice depths, but it’s likely that fishing, in some areas, will be an option by this weekend.
International Falls CVB, (800) 325-5766
Ice depths averaged 6 to 8 inches early this week with a bit more in some areas. A few anglers have walked out, but walleye success has been limited due to poor water clarity. That typically happens at first ice if it’s windy when the lake freezes, which it was, but moving around shouldn’t be a problem this weekend.
Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro
Anglers are reporting 4 to 5 inches of ice pretty consistently on the small lakes with varying ice depths on the bigger bodies of water. People have started fishing on some lakes and with this week’s cold weather, ice conditions should only continue to improve.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle, (651) 777-2421
Everything is locked up, but there is quite a bit of snow on top of it. Fortunately, it’s been cold enough to keep making ice with 3 to 5 inches being found on the majority of lakes. Some anglers have started walking out on some small bodies of water, but fishing reports have been limited.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Although ice has taken hold throughout the lake, there seems to be just enough snow on top of it to prevent it from thickening as much as you’d expect. As of Monday afternoon, 2 to 3 inches of ice was confirmed about 75 yards out from shore. Call ahead to see if it has improved any going into this weekend.
Mases In Towne Marina, (952) 442-2096
Anglers have started fishing with 4 to 6 inches of ice reported on the small lakes and thinner ice on portions of the bigger bodies of water. The east end of Reno Lake is producing crappies and walleyes in less than 8 feet. Pocket Lake, Maple Lake, Little Mary Lake are giving up a few panfish in shallow water. The east side of Lake Darling has produced some walleyes in 8 to 17 feet – walking is the safest option for travel at this point.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle, (320) 763-3255
There was still a bit of open water on a couple of the area’s large, deeper lakes as of Tuesday morning. But anglers have reported up to 5 inches of ice on some small lakes and bays so it really varies and is worth checking as you go. Lake Edwards is producing a few walleyes, while the north end of Maple Lake is producing panfish and northern pike.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Some small lakes have 4 to 6 inches of ice, but there’s less ice on the big lakes. Anglers are just starting to walk out on the small bodies of water and there hasn’t been anything to report as far as a decent bite anywhere. That should change by the weekend given the weather, which should improve ice conditions and allow people to start hitting more lakes.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Ice depths vary from 1 to 4 inches on Lake Bemidji, with up to 6 inches on some small lakes as of Tuesday morning. There’s very little snow on the lakes so ice depths should only improve and there should be plenty of fishing options by this weekend.
Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
You’ll find 4 to 10 inches of ice on area lakes, with an average of 6 inches reported. The lakes that froze before the snow have less ice and those that were still open offer thicker ice depths. Although anglers have started to get out, there hasn’t been much of a bite anywhere worth noting.
Timberline Sports and Tackle, (218) 835-4636
With the exception of some limited thin ice on Gull Lake, anglers are reporting 4 to 6 inches of ice on most other lakes. Crappies are biting on Hubert Lake and in the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake in 6 to 10 feet, while reports have been slow on the majority of lakes.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Ice conditions are good with up to 8 inches in the bays and less on the main portions of the big lakes, but everything is capped. Anglers have started walking out on a few lakes, but fishing reports have been limited to a few walleyes coming out of the bays on Cass Lake.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Everything is capped, with 4 to 5 inches of ice in the bays, but the ice is thinner on the main portions of most big lakes. Anglers have started walking out in a few areas with reports of northern pike being caught on tip-ups in the channel between Chisago Lake and South Lindstrom Lake, and some sunfish are being pulled from 8 to 10 feet on the south end of Chisago.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
You’ll find 3 to 7 inches of ice on area lakes, although there are some “sketchy spots” on the bigger bodies of water. Northern pike are being taken with tip-ups at Lake Adney and Perry Lake in 8 to 12 feet, while crappies are biting on Black Bear Lake and Little Black Hoof Lake. A few walleyes can be had during the morning and evening hours along the 16-foot breaks on Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle, (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
The ice is shaping up nicely with as much as 6 inches on some lakes, but less ice on others. For the most part, people just started venturing out last weekend so detailed fishing reports have been limited.
Quality Bait and Tackle, (218) 844-2248
Ice depths average 3 to 5 inches, with more on the small lakes and less ice on the bigger bodies of water. Rice Lake is give up walleyes and northern pike in 6 feet, and Boulder Lake is producing walleyes in 8 feet. Anglers just started heading out last weekend.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Anglers have started walking on some small lakes with 4 inches reported on those, but less on the big lakes as of Tuesday morning. With cold weather continuing there should be plenty of walkable ice to fish through in this area by the weekend.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop, (763) 856-3985
The big part of Burntside Lake still had some open water on Tuesday morning, but all other lakes were covered with ice. Fishing reports have been light, and anglers checking ice depths are finding 3 to 5 inches in most areas.
The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744
Ice conditions vary, but most lakes now have 4 to 6 inches of ice and very little snow on top of it, so it should keep building. Anglers have started walking out, mainly checking ice depths but had yet to do much fishing.
Redding Sports and Spirits, (218) 763-2191
For the most part, the majority of lakes have 4 to 5 inches of ice with 6 to 7 inches on the small lakes. People are walking out and using portables and although fishing reports have been light, anglers are on Tuttle Lake, Wilmont Lake, the north side of Lake Sissiton, and south side of Amber Lake.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Reports indicate 1 to 4 inches of ice throughout the area, but there is 8 inches of snow on top of it so there is some slush in certain areas. Fortunately, it’s been cold enough that the slush should refreeze – the key now is to avoid another measurable snow event. West Cedar Lake is giving up sunfish and Roberds Lake is kicking out a few walleyes during the evening hours.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Anglers are reporting as much as 8 inches of ice on the small lakes, but the bigger lakes have less ice. There is snow on top, so there is slush to watch out for. Elbow Lake is giving up walleyes, northern pike, and perch in 4 feet. Lichen Lake and Cascade Lake are producing walleyes in 8 to 12 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
With the exception of some open spots on the big, deep lakes, 5 inches of ice is pretty common throughout the area. People are out fishing, but many anglers are saying that the water is dirty and that might be contributing to some slow angling and spearing action. Look for ice fishing to start in earnest throughout the area this weekend.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
Area lakes are capped with ice, and 3 to 5 inches is pretty common on most lakes. McCormick Lake is giving up walleyes in 8 feet, and the north end of Trace Lake is producing walleyes in 15 feet. Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is kicking out a few sunfish and northern pike, while Buck Lake is producing sunfish as well. Look to Moose Lake for crappies and walleyes in 12 feet and Lady Lake is giving up panfish straight out from the access.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Anglers are starting to walk on most lakes with 4 to 6 inches of ice reported throughout the area. Fishing reports have been limited to a few crappies and northern pike being caught, but there hasn’t been many people out – that’s expected to change this weekend given the ice conditions.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle, (218) 675-6176
All area lakes are capped with ice, and 4 to 6 inches seems to be pretty common here. There hasn’t been much fishing at this point and most anglers are looking towards this weekend for their first outing of the season.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
Not every lake is safe to walk on quite yet, but anglers were out and reporting 2 to 4 inches on most small lakes Tuesday morning. Ice depths should keep improving this week given the cold weather so look for even more opportunities to fish through walkable ice by this weekend.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Everything is locked up, but ice depths vary from 3 to 5 inches on most lakes. People have started walking out on area lakes with limited angling success reported. The best report is coming off Eagle Lake where a few walleyes are being caught in 6 to 8 feet.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Anglers are walking out on 3 to 5 inches of ice, which is pretty common on the lakes in this area. Fishing reports at this point are limited to a few northern pike coming off Mud Lake in shallow water.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop, (320) 679-2151
As of Tuesday morning, the south end of Big Stone Lake had 6 to 8 inches of ice. You might not find that much throughout the entire lake, but ice conditions are looking good. Perch reports have been limited, mainly due to a lack of anglers, but some have gone out and caught perch and with the good ice, there should be a lot of activity here this weekend.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Reports have indicated a solid 4 inches of ice on most lakes, with less on the bigger bodies of water and a bit more ice on many small lakes. People have just started heading out and some crappies are being caught in 14 to 16 feet at Potato Lake.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors, (218) 237-5099
The lakes are completely ice-covered with 4 to 7 inches of ice on most lakes. A few houses are being pulled out, but most anglers are walking. With continued cold weather, ATVs should be an option on more lakes by the weekend. Big Pine Lake, Little Pine Lake, and Rush Lake are producing walleyes in 10 to 18 feet
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Fishing reports have been limited on the Mississippi River since the cold weather arrived. Ice has started to form, 2 to 3 inches, in some of the back bays and dock areas.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Some small, shallow lakes and bays have walkable ice, but the big, deep lakes and parts of the Horseshoe Chain still have sketchy ice so caution is advised. Even with cold weather, use caution this weekend.
Channel Marine and Sports, (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Walleyes are hitting in 16 to 20 feet at Big Sauk Lake where 4 to 6 inches of ice has taken hold. You’ll find walkable ice on all area lakes and anglers are just starting to venture out.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Ice depths vary from 2 to 5 inches on area lakes and some foot travel has started, but caution is advised due to the varying ice depths. Fishing reports have been limited due to the ice conditions and lack of anglers at this point.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Area lakes now have uniformed, 6 to 8 inches of ice with foot travel and some ATVs being used – ATV travel depends on the lake, so call first. Look for walleyes on Lake Minnewaska in 20 to 22 feet and the west side of Lake Emily in 6 feet.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle, (320) 239-2239
People have started walking out on area lakes and ice depths do vary, so caution is advised. Although not all of Lake Vermilion was capped people were walking out from McKinley Park and catching a few walleyes. Tip-up fishing for pike also has started on the small lakes throughout the area.
Lucky Seven General Store, (218) 741-1629
You’ll find about 5 inches of ice on area lakes with some indications of thinner ice on the bigger bodies of water – there is measurable snow on top of it as well. People are just starting to get out, checking ice conditions and equipment so there hasn’t been any fishing reports worth noting.
Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873
The ice is coming along, but this area received 5 to 7 inches of snow on Saturday so that might have slowed the ice-making process a bit. Prior to the snow, 4 to 6 inches of ice was being found on some lakes. Most of the fishing has been taking place on the shallow prairie lakes such as Wigonda, Minnetoga, and Big Kandi where a few walleyes have been caught. Anglers also were walking out on Ringo Lake, South Long Lake, and Willmar/Foot Lake.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports, (320) 235-4097
Anglers are reporting 5 to 6 inches of ice on area lakes and foot travel has started. Early fishing reports indicate a decent perch bite throughout Lake Sarah in shallow water, while walleyes are being caught in 5 to 6 feet at Dead Coon Lake, Lake Shetek, and Rock Lake.
Borch’s Sporting Goods, (507) 532-4880