Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report — April 7, 2017
LAKE MILLE LACS
The shorelines, bays, and harbors are mostly ice-free. There’s still plenty of main lake ice, but it has started to move when the wind blows. The ice fishing season is over so start looking for panfish to show up in the harbors and bays as the water warms.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Ice fishing season has come to an end due to deteriorating ice. The lake is now open just outside Lighthouse Gap stretching to the 18 to 20 feet of water range. Walleye fishing on the Rainy River continues to be good, but it’s all about timing. Last week, water clarity was better than 3 feet and anglers were catching big walleyes and numbers. Clarity has diminished since, so there isn’t as many fish being caught, but the bite remains respectable. A three-quarter to one-ounce jig tipped with one or two frozen shiners was working best. All accesses are open to boats, and sturgeon remain active as well.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappie action has picked up in the channels and lagoons on Lake Minnetonka over 6 to 10 feet of water and on the west side of Lake Independence in 6 feet. Hit the north side of Medicine Lake in 6 to 8 feet for crappies and sunfish.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Ice conditions have deteriorated a lot since last week. There’s still plenty of main lake ice, but it’s soft and no longer favorable for any type of travel. In addition, many shorelines have pulled away so fishing is no longer recommended.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Ice fishing is no longer an option with rapidly deteriorating shoreline and main lake ice conditions. There’s still plenty of ice covering the main lake, but it is looking rotten and shouldn’t take very long to go out.
There was some limited ice fishing last weekend, but it’s no longer advised. With the shorelines opening and an uncertainty with the main lake ice, the winter season has ended here.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
Main lake ice continues to cover most of the lake, but it is deteriorating at a rapid pace. Walleye reports off the Rainy River remain good and that’s where most people’s attention is now focused.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Ice fishing is no longer an option as warmer temperatures have taken a toll on the main lake ice pack. The ditches and creeks are now flowing into the lake so shorelines are loosening at a rapid pace as well.
Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro
Crappies have started hitting on White Bear Lake in 12 to 15 feet. You’ll find crappies and perch on Bald Eagle Lake in 10 to 12 feet. White bass are biting well on the Mississippi River. Start looking for panfish to move shallow on most lakes within the next week.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
Crappies continue to be caught in 8 to 10 feet throughout Waconia Bay on Lake Waconia. There wasn’t much crappie action reported from the small lakes early in the week, but that should change soon with nice weather expected to continue.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
People have just started looking for crappies and having some success on a couple of lakes. The majority of fish are coming from the weeds in 6 feet or less on Spring Lake and Prior Lake, and others should soon be an option.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096
The ice is gone throughout the area and some sunfish and crappies have started being caught on tube jigs and hair jigs. Look to the lagoons or shallow bays on Lake Reno, Lake Darling, and Lake Le Homme Dieu for panfish. Other lakes should soon start producing crappies as well.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
A few crappies have started showing up in the shallow bays, boat harbors, and channels. The best bites have been during the afternoon hours in less than 6 feet at Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, Maple Lake, Lake Sylvia, and Cedar Lake.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
The ice is entirely gone, anything that was left went out Monday, so start looking shallow for crappies. Just how soon these fish move into the bays, channels, and shorelines will depend on the weather. But if it’s nice, that will happen soon.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The ice fishing season has ended. There was still quite a bit of ice on area lakes Tuesday morning, but it was rotten, black, and the shorelines have pulled away. Open water crappie action could start soon in shallow water if it stays relatively warm.
Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but it is deteriorating fast. The shorelines have pulled away and any ice that was fished last weekend is no longer safe. The ice fishing season has ended and it’s time to start looking for those spring crappie spots to start producing as the ice goes and water temps climb.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Several bays are now open and any ice that remains is rotten and shifting with the wind – complete ice-out could occur within the next week. Look to the channels and boat harbors for crappies since they have been ice-free for more than a week and hold warmer water.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The ice fishing season has come to an end as the shorelines have now pulled away and any remaining main lake ice is rotten. Many small lakes and bays are now wide open and complete ice-out is expected to occur on the big lakes within the next week or two.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Crappies and sunfish are starting to show up in shallow water. Work the bays and channels of Chisago Lake, South Lindstrom Lake, and North Lindstrom Lake at this point. But with warm weather expected to continue, the shallows on most lakes should start holding fish.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Some big lakes still had minimal ice on them early this week, but the majority of lakes are ice-free. Anglers are catching crappies and sunfish in the channels on Milford Lake and in 8 to 10 feet at Big Mahnomen Lake. Start looking in shallow water for panfish on most lakes by this weekend.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
There’s still ice on most lakes, but it’s not safe enough to get on so any ice fishing options have ended here. The ice is expected to be out with the next week or two. All accesses are open to boats on Lake Superior so trolling stickbaits in the top 25 feet of the water column has produced coho salmon and Kamloops are being found close to shore. Anglers vertical jigging over 100 to 120 feet are catching lake trout as well.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
The few crappies being caught continue to be found in deep water, so look for them to move shallow as water temperatures continue to climb. Lakes such as Blue and Little Elk will be worth hitting very soon in less than 6 feet. Channel catfish continue to hit crawlers and minnows on the Mississippi River.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
There was still ice on most lakes early in the week, but it was black and shifting with the wind. There’s too much ice to get a boat in and not enough to get on. Look for some lakes to be ice-free within the next few days.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Crappies are being caught on Cedar Lake in 4 to 6 feet and below the dam on George Lake. At Tuttle Lake on the Iowa border, crappies and perch are biting on the north side in 4 to 6 feet. Jigs tipped with plastics or minnows are producing walleyes on the West Des Moines River.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Crappies have been tough to find even though the ice has been completely gone for more than a week. The only report worth noting is coming from the Warsaw Bridge area on the Cannon River where some perch and crappies are being caught with minnows.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Ice continues to cover the lakes in this area and there has been some walleyes biting for the few anglers still interested in ice fishing. Look to Lake Saganaga in 15 to 20 feet and South Fowl Lake in 4 feet. Steelhead have started hitting a bit in the Cascade and Brule rivers.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
There’s still ice on area lakes, but it’s rotten and the shorelines have pulled away so ice fishing has ended here. People are catching suckers on the small rivers, panfish at the warm water discharge area of the Mississippi River and channel catfish south of town on the river as well.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
The shorelines have pulled away and even though there was still quite a bit of main lake ice early in the week, it’s black and honeycombed. The ice fishing season has ended here, so it’s time to start thinking about open water crappie options.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
MADISON LAKE AREA
Sunfish and crappies are biting on Duck Lake in 8 feet, while the Carpenter’s Point area on the west end of Lake Francis is giving up crappies in 6 to 8 feet. Hit the Buckmaster Bridge for crappies and East Bay for sunfish on Madison Lake.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Panfish are just starting to bite during the afternoon hours and this action should only get better by the weekend. At this point, the bridges and piers on Knife Lake have been giving up the most fish.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
Big Stone Lake is now ice-free, as are all lakes in this region. Fishing reports have been light as most anglers are just starting to get out and fish open water.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Most ponds are ice-free, but the majority of lakes still had ice on them Tuesday morning. It was black and honeycombed and expected to go out within the next week. There might even be some shore fishing opportunities by this weekend.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
The small lakes are open and even though there was some floating ice on the big lakes early in the week, it is expected to be gone by this weekend.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
A jig and minnow is producing walleyes in 20 to 25 feet along the current seams of the Mississippi River. The bigger walleyes also are becoming more active in 15 to 18 feet. Water temperatures as of Tuesday morning on the river were between 40- and 45-degrees.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Panfish reports have been slow to develop, but there is some afternoon and evening action in the bays throughout the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes. Many of the traditional spring spots haven’t started kicking out fish but should very soon as water temps climb. Channel catfish are biting throughout the Sauk River as well.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The ice has been gone for more than a week and anglers are just starting to hit the traditional spring bays, channels, and shoreline areas for crappies. Water temperatures were a bit cool early in the week to push these fish into shallow water, but that could change by the weekend.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
Crappies have been hitting on the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska in 8 feet of water – you need a boat here. Shore fishermen are catching crappies and sunfish in the Starbuck Marina of Minnewaska as well. This bite is just getting started and should only get better as the water warms.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Panfish anglers are starting to hit those spring crappie and sunfish spots, but the bite has been slow develop. Look to the lagoons on Lake Tetonka for small crappies and the west end of Lake Francis for sunfish.
Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873
The culverts and shorelines on Willmar/Foot Lake are producing crappies and a few sunfish. The bays on Nest Lake, Elkhorn Lake, Norway/Games Lake, Lake Andrew, and the north end of Eagle Lake are worth hitting for panfish as well.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
Water temperatures remain cool, but a few perch and crappies are being caught. Look to Island Lake and Lake Sarah for perch in shallow water, while Yanton Lake and the inlet area on Lake Shetek are producing crappies.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880