Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 15, 2017
LAKE MILLE LACS
The entire lake appeared to be capped Tuesday morning with varying ice depths up to 5 inches reported on the north and west sides of the lake. The south end bays now have 8 to 10 inches of ice, and some ATVs are being used there. Isle Bay is producing big walleyes and big northern pike in 9 to 12 feet. Some walleyes also have been caught on the north-end sand breaks in 12 to 14 feet.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Varying ice conditions are being reported all over the lake so go through a resort and use the ice roads since they are checked daily. Water clarity is good and trails have been staked by resorts. Ice is stacked up in most areas, so drilling and finding a spot where you can get an auger through is a must. Auger extensions could be necessary in spots. Each lake access is different right now so please call ahead to the resort you plan on going out of to check ice reports and what’s being used for travel. Walleyes and sauger are snapping at anything with a shiner on it, but sorting through smaller fish is necessary to find keepers. Northern pike action in back bays continues to be hot. On the Rainy River, ice stretches from shore to shore but is unsafe for travel and fishing at this time. The Northwest Angle is frozen over with good ice in most spots, but with some weak areas in some known locations. ATV and snowmobile travel should occur on designated, marked trails only.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Lake conditions vary from pockets of open water to 4 inches of ice on some small lakes and bays. Anglers were just starting to venture out and check ice depths earlier this week. You need to check the ice as you go, but there should be some opportunities
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Although snowmobiles and ATVs are being used, there are many spots on the main basin that you really have to avoid due to thin ice. Some walleyes have started hitting at the mouth of Pike Bay in 15 to 20 feet during the evening hours. The reefs in Big Bay are giving up walleyes in 18 to 24 feet, as is the mouth of Stuntz Bay.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Perch and northern pike are being caught in shallow water throughout the lake. You’ll find 9 to 13 inches of ice in these shoreline break areas and less ice the farther out you travel.
The main lake has 2 to 7 inches of ice, but it varies throughout the basin. Thin ice was still being found in many areas and there was a pocket of open water from Pine Point to Goose Island earlier this week. Trader’s Bay has 5 to 9 inches of ice and Walker Bay is now ice-covered with a thin layer. Anglers have just started to venture out.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
The main-lake ice is not in good enough shape for any type of travel as of this writing, but the back bays do have fishable ice, with some snowmobiles already being used. Use extreme caution, particularly at this point of the year. Spearing for northern pike has been good in the bays, but fishing reports have been limited. Look for the reports to improve as more of the lake becomes accessible.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
A strong walleye bite continues in 8 to 14 feet of water along most shorelines with a jig and minnow or dead sticks both working. The average ice depth is 12 to 14 inches with ATVs going out and lighter vehicle travel expected to start soon. Check with your resort access point for current conditions.
Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro
Anglers have started walking on some small lakes and bays where 3 to 5 inches of ice is being found, but the big lakes are not in great shape. People have just started fishing, with early reports indicating some northern pike and panfish action in 5 to 10 feet on Mud Lake, Silver Lake, and Demontreville Lake.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
Ice depths vary from a skim on portions of the big lakes, but walkable ice has formed on some small lakes and bays. Fishing pressure has been light, but there should be some options for foot travel this weekend.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
A few people have just started walking on some of the small lakes and bays, but fishing reports have been limited. Look for foot traffic to increase by this weekend as ice depths continue to improve. Use caution, especially on the bigger lakes.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096
Ice depths vary from 3 to 8 inches on the small lakes to skim ice on most bigger bodies of water. Look for walleyes and crappies on Lake Irene in 15 to 17 feet or Reno Lake in 12 feet. Lake Cowdrey is producing sunfish in 7 to 12 feet, Maple Lake is giving up crappies in 10 to 15 feet, while a mixed bag of panfish can be had off Little Mary Lake in 7 to 10 feet or Christopherson’s Bay on Lake Ida.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
Ice has been slow to develop, with open water still on some lakes and up to 4 inches on others. Although anglers have started walking on a few lakes, extreme caution is advised regardless of the lake you’re on at this point.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Most lakes now have 5 to 7 inches of ice or even a bit more in some spots. Pelican Lake by Ashby started giving up crappies in 10 to 12 feet and the bay on Clitherall Lake is producing northern pike. Walleyes are hitting during low-light periods at Otter Tail Lake in 18 to 20 feet.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The cold weather this past week has really helped build good, solid ice. Most area lakes have 9 to 12 inches of ice, and some ATVs are now being used to travel about. Lake Bemidji is kicking out some walleyes and perch, especially on the south end. Gull Lake is producing some crappies and bluegills, as are Sandy Lake and Midge Lake.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
Most lakes now have 10 to 12 inches of ice so ATVs are being used throughout the area. Look to Blackduck Lake and Island Lake for walleyes during the evening hours and perch during the day in 10 to 14 feet. Crappies and bluegills are biting on Rabideau Lake, as are bluegills on Pimushe and Gull lakes – all in 15 to 20 feet.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Although you’ll find skim ice on parts of the big lakes, the lakes being fished now have 4 to 8 inches of ice. It just depends on the area. Look for suspended crappies over the deep holes on Round Lake, North Long, and Nisswa Lake. Sucker minnows are turning northern pike in the 7- to 15-foot weeds of Cullen Lake, Pelican Lake, and North Long. Walleye action is best with spoons or shiner minnows at North Long, Round, and Lake Edwards in 15 to 22 feet.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Walleyes are being taken over 18 feet in Allen’s Bay, the north shoreline, and Kettle area on Cass Lake. On Pike Bay Lake, walleyes are hitting out from the “Box Factory” during the day in 18 feet or at night in 8 to 10 feet. The 10- to 12-foot cabbage on Pike Bay is producing perch as well. Pockets of water could still be seen on some big lakes Tuesday morning, but 6 to 10 inches of ice is pretty common where people are fishing.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Anglers are fishing on 4 to 6 inches of ice in some spots, but ice conditions are much thinner in other areas. The channel on Chisago Lake is producing a mixed bag of fish, including panfish, pike, and walleyes in 12 feet. The Dinner Bell area on South Lindstrom Lake is kicking out panfish and some walleyes in 6 to 16 feet. Hit the Pancake Island area on South Center Lake for panfish and northern pike in 6 to 8 feet.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Crappies and sunfish are being pulled from 10 feet at Little Detroit Lake, Cotton Lake, Height of Land Lake, and Lake Melissa. Shiner minnows are turning walleyes in 18 to 22 feet at Big Detroit Lake and Melissa during low-light periods. You’ll find 8 to 10 inches of ice where people are fishing, less in some spots, and even open pockets on some big lakes.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Ice depths vary, but anglers are finding 7 to 9 inches where they’ve started fishing. That’s primarily been on Boulder Lake and Fish Lake, where northern pike and some walleyes are being caught in 8 to 10 feet.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Fishing reports have been limited, but anglers have started walking out on a few lakes with 3 to 4 inches of ice reported. Look to Little Elk Lake and Blue Lake for panfish in less than 10 feet.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
Fishing pressure has been limited despite the fact that 6 to 8 inches of ice has formed on many small lakes. The big lakes still have areas with marginal ice and even some pockets of water, so you need to know where you’re going on all lakes.
The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744
Ice continues to be very limited throughout the area. With the exception of a few small lakes and ponds that have about 3 inches of ice, there was still open water on most earlier this week. No walkable ice has formed at this point.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Anglers are reporting 2 to 4 inches of ice on the few spots being fished and skim ice on many others or portions of lakes. Tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike on Cedar Lake in 5 feet, and a few perch are being caught by the swimming beach area on Cannon Lake.
Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Although the big lakes just capped, 4 to 6 inches of ice is being found on some small bodies of water and people have just started to fish. Elbow Lake is giving up walleyes and perch in 4 feet, and Devil Track Lake is producing a few walleyes in 8 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
The main-basin areas of the big lakes still have questionable ice, while most small lakes and bays now have enough ice for foot travel or ATV use. Crappies are hitting during the evening hours over 20 feet at Big and Little Splithand lakes, Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake, and Bowstring Lake. Sunfish are being caught in 4 to 18 feet on Bass Lake and 18 to 20 feet on Big and Little Splithand. Look to Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama for crappies and sunfish in 7 to 30 feet. Walleye action is slow, but northern pike are beng taken via angling and spearing on most lakes.
Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281
GREY EAGLE AREA
Some spots on certain lakes just capped Monday night so you need be aware of the varying ice depths, but some small lakes and bays have 5 to 7 inches of ice. Look to St. Mary’s Lake, Lady Lake, and north end of Long Lake for crappies. Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is producing northern pike and sunfish, while the narrows area on Big Swan Lake is giving up pike and panfish.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Ice depths vary from 4 to 12 inches. Expect more on the small lakes and less ice on the bigger bodies of water. The north side of Mule Lake, Brockway Lake, Birch Lake, and Portage Lake are producing bluegills 14 to 18 feet during the day and crappies in the evenings over 20 to 25 feet. Birch and Baby Lake are giving up a few walleyes in 20 to 22 feet. Tip-ups are producing northern pike on most lakes in less than 12 feet.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
Some lakes still had pockets of water earlier this week and others had as much as 12 inches of ice so you really need to use caution throughout the area due to varying ice depths. Bluegills are being caught by the island on Big Boy Lake in 9 feet, and Lake Inguadona is giving up some crappies in 12 feet. A few walleyes have been caught during the evening hours on the shoreline breaks of Woman Lake.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Ice depths vary from 2 to 5 inches, but everything appears to be locked up. Jigging spoons and setlines are both producing walleyes in 7 feet at Eagle Lake and Lake Henry. Look for crappies in 13 to 15 feet and northern pike in 8 to 10 feet on Little Jefferson Lake.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Ann Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish in 7 feet, while Quamba Lake is producing panfish and northern pike in 8 feet. Look for sunfish by the island on Fish Lake and crappies off the first point on Knife Lake. Anglers are reporting 5 to 7 inches of ice where they’re fishing, but still quite a bit of thin ice in other areas.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
Big Stone Lake appeared to be locked up Tuesday morning, with 2 to 5 inches of ice reported in most areas. A few anglers have started walking out in select areas, but fishing reports have been nonexistent due to the limited ice and lack of pressure.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
ATVs have started being used on some lakes, foot travel is best on others, and ice remains very thin on the big, deep lakes. Crappies and northern pike are being taken on Big Mantrap Lake in 20 to 24 feet and Fourth Crow Wing Lake is kicking out northern pike in 22 to 24 feet. Walleye action has picked up on the 16- to 20-foot humps along the east arm of Potato Lake, while panfish are hitting in 12 to 14 feet on Portage Lake and Pickeral Lake.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
There’s an evening walleye bite in 8 to 12 feet at Big Pine and Little Pine lakes. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 30 feet on Rush Lake and Big Pine. Northern pike action has been strong in shallow water on most lakes. You’ll still find pockets of open water some big lakes, with 6 to 10 inches of ice reported on many small lakes.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Anglers have been catching a few more sauger than walleyes this week, but the bite remains good on the Mississippi River. Jigs and minnows are turning the majority of fish on the edges of the 16- to 20-foot current seams. The backwaters and marinas now have about 3 inches of ice so there has been some reports of panfish starting to bite.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Some lakes still had pockets of open water earlier this week, but foot travel has started on others. Most reports indicate 2 to 5 inches of ice on the few spots being fished and angler success has been limited.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
You’ll find as much as 6 inches of ice on some lakes, but most continue to have sketchy ice areas and even some open-water pockets. Walleyes are being caught during low-light periods in 8 feet on McCormick Lake and 15 to 18 feet at Big Sauk Lake. Look for crappies west of Diamond Point on the north end of Sauk over 40 feet or the north end of Lake Osakis in 18 to 20 feet. The east shore on Maple Lake is kicking out crappies and pike in 22 feet, while some jumbo perch and northern pike are hitting in 7 feet at Westport Lake.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Some small lakes have 6 to 8 inches of ice, while most bigger lakes have much less ice. Look to Lake Alexander during the evening hours for walleyes in 16 feet and to Nokasippi Lake for sunfish in 12 feet.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Ice depths vary from 5 to 7 inches on the spots being fished and ATVs are being used. There has been a lot of people fishing, but the bite has been slow. Sunfish are being caught on the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska in 12 to 15 feet, although most have been small. Walleye action has been slow throughout the area.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Most lakes have 2 to 5 inches of ice in spots, but there was still pockets of water on many lakes earlier this week so you need to be really diligent checking ice conditions. The western basin of Norway Lake is giving up a few walleyes in less than 10 feet, as are the south ends of Ringo Lake and South Long Lake in 5 to 8 feet. Hit Ringo Lake for walleyes and crappies in 6 feet or Solomon Lake for walleyes in 6 feet as well.
Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097
There might be a few spots with open water, but most lakes are capped with 3 to 4 inches of ice and anglers have started walking on some lakes. Walleyes are being caught in less than 6 feet at Lake Shetek, Lake Sarah, Lady Slipper Lake, and School Grove Lake.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880