Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 23, 2018


The number of people fishing has been minimal, although a few anglers are using snowmobiles and traveling to the mud flats for tullibees. Work off the flats in 32 feet or more in the deep basin areas and look for pods of suspended fish.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430


Fishing reports have been all over the board this week, with some anglers filling the bucket, while others getting just enough for dinner and there’s a lot of little fish to sort through. Key depths have been in 24 to 33 feet with glow and gold spoons working best. Many big pike are being caught in shallower water. The Rainy River is open about 7.5 miles east of Birchdale, and it’s possible that smaller boats could be pushed over ice near Franz Jevne this weekend. Fishing at the Northwest Angle continues to be solid. Walleyes and saugers are in traditional areas with some pike in shallower. Work 17 to 19 feet during low light periods and 21 to 25 feet during the day.

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH


The key to catching panfish on Lake Minnetonka is to drill a lot of holes and keep moving. The North Arm and Carson’s Bay continue to produce sunfish and crappies in 14 to 16 feet, while Black Lake and Seton Bay are giving up sunfish in 8 feet. Look to Medicine Lake for sunfish in 8 to 13 feet and Lake Independence is producing crappies in 24 feet.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227


There isn’t much to report, and the number of people fishing has been minimal. The few anglers heading out are looking for crappies, but that’s been difficult to do. The ice is so thick that it’s hard to punch a bunch of holes and stay on the move while looking for them.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430


Snowmobiles remain the best travel option due to deep snow and a lack of access options. At this point, you have to check with resorts to see if they are maintaining roads, off-road travel is difficult, and many resorts have ended their ice fishing season. Perch reports have been OK on the 16- to 18-foot main lake structure for the few anglers still venturing out.

Lake Winnie Resort Association


Deep snow and slush continues to limit where anglers can get to. Perch reports have been spotty at best with a few fish coming off the Sand Point area in 9 to 12 feet. Tullibees continue to be caught off Stoney Point over 30 to 45 feet and eelpout are hitting at night in Walker Bay – some are deep and others are being caught in less than 20 feet. There’s been a few reports of crappies being found suspended in Shingobee Bay over 20 to 24 feet.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250


Sand Bay continues to produce a few walleyes and crappies in 28 to 35 feet. Look to Cranberry Bay and Black Bay for northern pike in 14 to 20 feet. Ice conditions remain favorable for vehicle travel as long as there is a road plowed, but fewer people have been ice fishing. Most anglers seem to be waiting for the Rainy River to open enough to allow boats to be put in.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766


Fishing pressure continues to be light, which is always the case this time of year. There have been a few more crappies caught on the north end of the lake, not huge numbers, but reports indicate that those targeting them are finding some slabs.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro


Look to the Bayport area of the St. Croix River for suspended crappies in the deep holes. Big Marine Lake is giving up sunfish and crappies in 10 to 14 feet and sunfish remain active on Demontreville Lake in 8 to 10 feet. Many anglers are reporting that panfish have started moving shallow on most lakes.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421


Look for crappies and sunfish in 10 to 14 feet on Pillsbury Reef and Center Reef on Lake Waconia. Look to Hydes Lake for sunfish in 10 to 16 feet. Whaletail Lake is giving up sunfish and crappies in 10 feet and Wasserman Lake is kicking out crappies in 12 to 16 feet.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022


You’ll find sunfish in 12 to 16 feet or in the shallower bays on Prior Lake – move until you find some active fish and then work the area over. Many accesses on the lakes here are beat up, so angling pressure has dropped now that walking out is the only option on most lakes.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096



Reno Lake started giving up sunfish and crappies in 8 to 10 feet and Lake Le Homme Dieu is producing crappies over 18 to 22 feet. Christopherson’s Bay on Lake Ida is giving up crappies and sunfish in 7 to 12 feet. For the most part, panfish have started to move shallower on most lakes.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255


Crappie and sunfish action is improving on many lakes and accesses are holding up. The majority of fish are coming from 5 to 15 feet on lakes Sylvia, Cedar, Clearwater, Sugar, Indian, Limestone, Granite, Union, and Maple.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297


Look for suspended crappies on West Battle Lake, Rush Lake, and Dead Lake over 20 to 25 feet. Sunfish are going on Rush, Stalker Lake, and Fish Lake in 8 to 12 feet. Some tullibees continue to be found suspended on Mollie Stark Lake and Clitherall Lake over 30 feet.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596


The snow is settling on area lakes, but travel by vehicles is still very difficult and slush is beginning to be a problem. Accesses are still in pretty good shape. If you can get out, the perch bite has been good on Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet. There is a shallower bite going in 8 to 12 feet, but perch also are being found in 20 to 30 feet. Tullibees are biting well, with most suspended over 30 to 50 feet on Bemidji and several smaller lakes int the area.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172


Perch are scattered and active between 8 to 20 feet on Island Lake and Blackduck Lake – keep hole hopping at these depths and you’ll put together a nice bunch of fish. Perch also are being caught on Round Lake in 6 to 10 feet and Blackduck is producing crappies over 18 to 20 feet. Bluegill action has been best in 14 to 20 feet on Gull Lake and Pimushe Lake.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636


Crappies are hitting on the 8- to 18-foot weed flats and weed edges on North Long Lake, Round Lake, and Gull Lake. Sunfish are being taken in 6 to 12 feet on Nisswa Lake and North Long, while Gull continues to produce perch in 6 to 12 feet out from the Highway 371 access. Look for eelpout in 20 to 30 feet and suspended tullibees at 40 to 80 feet on Gull – work from Squaw Point to the north end of the lake.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010


Cass Lake and Pike Bay Lake are producing eelpout during the day in 40 to 50 feet. Work the tops of the bars in 6 to 8 feet on Pike Bay for perch, while crappie action has slowed this week. There’s a lot of slush to deal with on area lakes so snowmobiles are the best means of travel.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831


The points and Nelson’s Island area on North Center Lake are giving up sunfish and crappies in 8 to 12 feet. The back bays on South Center Lake are also giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 6 to 12 feet. You’ll find sunfish and crappies in 10 to 14 feet on North and South Lindstrom lakes, while the south end of Chisago Lake is producing panfish in 8 to 12 feet. Hit the Girl Scout Camp area on Big Green Lake for crappies during low-light periods.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334


Look to Lake Melissa and Floyd Lake for a few sunfish in 10 to 15 feet. Tullibees are being found suspended over deep water on several lakes in the Vergas area – Long Lake stood out this week. Some accesses are getting beat up so snowmobiles and ATVs are your best travel options moving forward.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248


Crappies have started being caught during the evening hours on Comstock Lake and Caribou Lake in 16 feet. On Fish Lake, bluegills are hitting in 10 feet, as are crappies in 14 to 16 feet. Anglers fishing from shore on Lake Superior are catching Kamloops and a few coho salmon at the French River and McQuade Launch areas on Looper Bugs and spawn sacs. Many access points on the inland lakes have started to deteriorate to the point that trucks are no longer a safe travel option. Snowmobiles or ATVs are your best options on all lakes.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094


French Lake and Roberds Lake are  producing crappies over 30 feet. Look to Cedar Lake for crappies and sunfish in 12 to 15 feet, while Cannon Lake is giving up perch and sunfish in 6 to 8 – these fish are right under the ice. On Shields Lake, crappies and sunfish are being caught in 10 to 12 feet.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341


Lake trout have started hitting on Moss Lake in 15 to 23 feet, Trout Lake in 30 feet, and Gunflint Lake in 30 to 35 feet – minnows or frozen smelt are working best. Splake have moved shallow and are hitting waxworms on Musquash Lake and Esther Lake in 6 to 12 feet. Look to Leo Lake in 18 to 22 feet and Mink Lake in 12 to 20 feet for rainbow trout.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280


Sunfish have started hitting on St. Anna Lake (Rooney Lake) in less than 15 feet. Look to Cedar Lake by St. Rose for sunfish in 8 to 10 feet and the bar on the north end of Long Lake by the Hub Supper Club is producing sunfish in 8 to 10 feet. Crappies and sunfish continue to hit on the north end of Big Swan Lake in 10 to 20 feet.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405


Crappies remain active during low-light periods in 16 to 20 feet on Mule Lake, Birch Lake, and Webb Lake. Look for sunfish in 12 to 16 feet during the day at Mule, Birch, and the north end of Pleasant Lake. Lake conditions have improved enough that four-wheel drive trucks and snowmobiles are being used on most lakes.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176


Mable Lake is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 12 feet and Big Boy Lake is producing bluegills in 8 to 12 feet. You’ll find suspended crappies over 35 feet on Long Lake and Blackwater Lake during the evening hours. Hit Big Sand Lake for crappies in 10 to 14 feet and Lake Inguadona for sunfish and a few crappies in 6 to 8 feet. Vehicle travel is slowly improving as the snow settles, but there are still pockets of slush that are causing issues on some lakes.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252


Some accesses have started to deteriorate, so you need to watch those on certain lakes. Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 12 to 18 feet and Madison Lake continues to give up crappies in 20 to 25 feet, mainly on or near Church Bar.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464


Knife Lake started giving up sunfish and crappies during the afternoon hours in 12 to 14 feet. Look to Mud Lake for sunfish in 6 feet and Ann Lake requires quite a bit of sorting, but crappies and sunfish are biting in 7 to 8 feet.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151


You’ll find perch and a few bluegills and crappies in 12 feet at the Rocky Ledge and Schmidt’s Landing areas of Big Stone Lake. The number of people fishing has dropped way off and many accesses are no longer in good enough shape for vehicle traffic. The few anglers going are using ATVs or walking out.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480


Tamarack Lake started giving up sunfish in 8 to 12 feet and Sixth Crow Wing Lake is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 10 to 12 feet. Look for suspended crappies on Big Mantrap Lake over 20 to 26 feet. Tullibees are being found suspended over deep water on Big Sand Lake and Boot Lake. Fish Hook Lake continues to produce crappies in 20 to 24 feet and bluegills in 8 to 12 feet.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099


Look for sunfish and crappies on Star Lake, Dead Lake, McDonald Lake, Little McDonald Lake, Rush Lake, Lake Marion, Big Pine Lake, and Height of Land Lake in 5 to 28 feet – depends on the lake. Tullibee action has picked up on Little Pine Lake, Star, Long Lake, and Loon Lake over 50 to 70 feet. ATVs are probably your best option for getting around on most lakes at this point.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355


Anglers fishing on the ice at Lake Pepin are catching walleyes and sauger in 15 to 18 feet and some panfish are being pulled through the ice around the docks in most bays. Boat anglers are finding walleye success from Everts to the dam on jigs tipped with minnows or plastics in 20 to 25 feet during the day. Some fish are being caught shallower at night on the river as well.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334


Look for sunfish and crappies on Cedar Island Lake, Long Lake, Brown’s Lake, and Rice Lake in 12 to 18 feet. These fish seem to be moving shallower, on the flats and shoreline areas of most lakes, which usually happens this time of year. Channel catfish reports remain strong with some fish being caught deep, but most are now in 10 to 14 feet. Many accesses have started to deteriorate so trucks are no longer a safe mode of travel – ATVs are now the safer option.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975


Grass shrimp continue to produce crappies and sunfish on the north end of Lake Osakis in 19 feet. Anglers also are finding suspended crappies over 45 feet in the Battle Point area of Osakis. Work the west side of Maple Lake for bluegills in 7 to 9 feet.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155


Coal Lake started giving up crappies, as is Fish Trap Lake in 12 to 18 feet. Look to Green Prairie Lake for crappies in 12 to 15 feet and to Platte Lake for sunfish in 8 to 11 feet.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056


The Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska continues to produce sunfish in 10 to 14 feet. Look to Pocket Lake and Grant Lake for sunfish in 9 to 11 feet, while crappies have been tough to find throughout the area.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239


The southeast corner of Diamond Lake is worth hitting for crappies and sunfish in 16 to 20 feet. Look for suspended crappies in 20 feet on Willmar/Foot Lake during low-light periods. The northwest corner of Green Lake is giving up a few sunfish in 16 to 20 feet.

Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097


Crappies remain active on Bloody Lake in 7 to 10 feet, Lake Shetek in 6 to 8 feet, and Lake Lac qui Parle in 8 to 10 feet. Fox Lake is producing perch, as is East Twin Lake in 10 to 14 feet, West Twin Lake in 6 feet, and Island Lake in 6 to 9 feet.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News