Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report — April 14, 2017
LAKE MILLE LACS
Most of the lake is wide open and any ice that remained early this week was being pushed with the wind and deteriorating fast. Complete ice-out is likely to occur by the weekend, if not sooner.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The lake is now open about one mile outside the Lighthouse and Morris gaps. Walleyes of all sizes are being caught at a variety of depths – the key has been to stay close to the ice pack. Rainy River fishing slowed when the Little Fork and Big Fork rivers broke loose and the water muddied, but it has cleared quite a bit since last week. Sturgeon action is hot right now with numbers of fish 50-inches and up being boated.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies and a few sunfish are being caught throughout Lake Minnetonka in 4 to 10 feet. There are some weeds starting to develop and those “green” areas seem to be holding the most fish. Crappies also are being caught in 4 to 8 feet on Lake Independence and Medicine Lake.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Main lake ice continues to hold on, but it has started to move around with the wind. Some bays are more open than ice capped, but it might be at least another week to 10 days until the lake is completely ice-free.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The ice is mostly gone with a good chunk of it chewed up last weekend. Anything that was left early this week was floating and being pushed with the wind so it should be completely ice free soon – possibly by this weekend, which is slightly ahead of schedule.
Last weekend’s wind chewed up most of the ice. As of Tuesday, anything that remained was floating and being pushed with the wind. Complete ice-out should occur soon.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Walleye and sturgeon remain active on the Rainy River. Sand Bay is ice-free, Black Bay is just about open, and there’s been some walleyes caught here as well. Sheets of floating ice remained on the main lake early this week.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Main lake ice is deteriorating quickly and might be gone within the next week. Pike and some walleyes have begun spawning runs in the creeks and rivers. Weather conditions over the next week or so will dictate if the spawn wraps up earlier than normal.
Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro
Crappies are being caught in 10 to 15 feet at White Bear Lake and Bald Eagle Lake. Many anglers are expecting these fish to move shallower as water temps warm on these lakes and most others.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
You’ll find crappies in 4 to 12 feet or on the docks in Waconia Bay on Lake Waconia. Whaletail Lake is producing crappies in less than 6 feet, as is Lake Bavaria in 4 to 8 feet.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Panfish reports have slowed since last week, but some crappies are being caught in shallow water at Spring Lake and in the bays on Prior Lake. More lakes will follow as water temps climb.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096
The majority of panfish bites have slowed since last week, likely due to a drop in water temperatures. Crappies and sunfish were shallow, but most moved out after Monday’s cooler weather. Look to lakes such as Reno, Ida, Darling, and Le Homme Dieu as soon as warm weather returns for a few days.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
Crappies and sunfish continue to be found in shallow water, especially during the afternoon hours. The bays and harbors on lakes such as Clearwater, Sylvia, Cedar, and Sugar are all worth looking at for panfish heading into this weekend.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
The ice is now off all lakes, but the panfish being caught are coming from deep water. Look for sunfish in 10 to 15 feet on West Battle Lake, Clitherall Lake, and South Turtle Lake. Crappies are suspended over 17 to 20 feet at West Battle, Buchanan Lake, and Rush Lake.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The small lakes are wide open, but there was some floating ice on the big lakes early this week. Any ice that remained is expected to be gone by this weekend. Panfish action has not yet started in shallow water, but should soon.
Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781
Last Saturday’s wind eliminated any remaining ice on area lakes. But it was cold in this part of the state since then, so there really wasn’t any anglers fishing open water as of Tuesday morning. With better weather expected throughout the week, crappies should start being a focus for more people.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Hit the Merrifield Bay on North Long Lake for crappies in 3 to 6 feet and the Highway 371 Bay in shallow water on North Long for sunfish. The channels on Nisswa Lake are producing a few crappies and sunfish, as are the docks at Bar Harbor on Gull Lake.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
Small crankbaits or Flu Flus tipped with live bait are producing crappies and some sunfish in the channels and shallow bays on most lakes. Better spots this week have been North Center Lake, South Center Lake, Chisago Lake, and South Lindstrom Lake.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
The bays on the Deerwood end of Serpent Lake are giving up a few crappies during the afternoon hours. Crappies are moving in and out of shallow water on the southwest side of Bay Lake. Crappies also can be had in shallow water on Black Hoof Lake, Milford Lake, and Big Mahnomen Lake. These bites have slowed since Monday’s cooler weather, but should improve very quickly as temperatures climb.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
Most lakes are covered with black ice and there are pockets of open water on all of them so it’s going fast. The bridge on Island Lake is giving up a few crappies, but most open water attention has been on Lake Superior. Cohos and Kamloops are being caught via trolling out from the Lester River and Park Point areas. Several rivers are starting to hold more steelhead and Kamloops as well.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Crappies and sunfish are being caught in shallow water on the north end of Blue Lake. The backwaters on Little Elk Lake are holding crappies, and channel catfish continue to be caught with nightcrawlers on the Mississippi River. Most shallow bays should be kicking out crappies soon.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
The lakes are open and fishermen have just started checking many of the spring crappie locations. Water temperatures were cold early this week and with the ice just going out, the shallow bays and small lakes might need a few more days to warm up and drive panfish into them.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Look for bluegills and perch in 4 to 6 feet on George Lake and Lake Sissiton. Crappies are biting in 8 to 12 feet on Budd Lake and Hall Lake.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Steelhead are just starting to show up in the Brule, Cascade, and Poplar rivers. Most anglers are fishing the river mouths or just inside the mouths with pink and orange yarn-tied flies and spawn sacs and catching fish. There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but it’s turned black, the shorelines are open, and it’s no longer safe to get on.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
The small lakes are ice-free and although some ice was floating on the big lakes early this week, it’s expected to be gone by the weekend. A few anglers have started hitting those traditional spring panfish spots with limited success. A few days of bright, warm weather should kick the bite into gear.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
When the sun comes out and water temperatures jump a few degrees, the occasional pod of crappies does move into shallow water. The bite wasn’t great early this week, but look to the bays on Big Birch Lake, Mound Lake, and Higgins/Long Lake to be a few of the first to produce fish.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
The lakes are now open so start looking to the bays, channels, and shorelines for panfish. A few crappies were being caught over deep water at a couple of small lakes last week, but no big numbers. These fish will push into shallow water very soon on most lakes.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
The good news is that the lakes are ice-free, but the water remains too cold for spring panfish action to kick in. Like most areas, this should change quickly, so start looking to shallow water as soon as area lakes warm a few degrees.
Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168
MADISON LAKE AREA
Crappies continue to be caught at Buckmaster Bridge, and sunfish are being pulled from East Bay on Madison Lake. Look to Duck Lake in less than 8 feet for sunfish and crappies and to Carpenter’s Point on Lake Francis for crappies in 6 to 8 feet.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
The panfish bite was actually better prior to the cold weather on Monday. Crappies and sunfish were biting in the shallows of Knife Lake and the Ann River so look to those to continue producing fish.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Anglers are fishing from shore on Long Lake and catching crappies when the sun is out and the water warms up. The lakes are now all open, so look for additional shallow water crappie options to start soon.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
RED WING AREA
Walleyes have bit best in shallow water, 3 to 5 feet, and sauger are more active in 16 to 20 feet on the Mississippi River. Jigs and plastics or blade baits are working best. Water temperatures took a dip early this week, but males are active and dripping, so the spawn is very close.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
The bays and shorelines on lakes such as Rice, Upper Spunk, Mud, Cedar Island, and Horseshoe among others were producing crappies and sunfish. These bites have slowed since last week, likely due to a dip in water temperatures.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Hit the far north end of Lake Osakis in 12 feet and at the outlet of Little Sauk Lake for crappies. The bite has been best during the afternoon when water temps are warmest. Sunfish action has been slow to develop.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Crappies are being found suspended over deep water and others have moved into the bays on Fish Trap Lake and Lake Shamineau. Lake Alexander also is giving up a few crappies over 15 to 20 feet, and nightcrawlers are now producing suckers in most rivers and creeks.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska is producing sunfish and a few crappies. On the Glenwood end of Minnewaska, crappies are being caught in 8 feet from Fish Hatchery Bay to the Lakeside Ballroom area.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Crappies and sunfish continue to be caught in the lagoons on Lake Tetonka. The west end of Lake Francis also is giving up crappies, but both lakes have been more productive when the sun is out.
Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873
A few panfish have been caught, but there hasn’t been a big push of crappies or sunfish into shallow water. The water needs to warm a bit more and when it does, look to lakes such as Willmar/Foot, Nest, Norway Games, and Dogfish Bay on Diamond to produce fish.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
Some crappies and perch had started biting last week, but with the return of cold weather (4 inches of snow fell here on Monday), the bite has slowed. As the weather and water warms, look to the shorelines and bays on area lakes for panfish.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880