Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – April 27, 2018

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Main lake ice hasn’t deteriorated much since last week, but most shorelines and access areas have started to bust loose. Fishing pressure has been light and options could be even more limited by this weekend.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The ice took a beating last weekend and there’s now large cracks with thin and soft ice near shore. Big northern pike are being caught in pre-spawn areas and shallow bays. Live suckers and big smelt are working, and auger extensions are still needed in these areas. Rainy River sturgeon fishing has been best for those willing to stay on the move. Find deeper holes and lay a sturgeon rig (18 inch leader of 60-pound test line and a 5/0 circle hook) with a crawler/shiner mix and a four- or five-ounce no-roll sinker the ticket.  

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The shorelines are now pulled away, main lake ice is starting to get soft, and some channels have opened. There weren’t any reports of open water fishing early this week, but crappies should start showing up in those traditional spring spots soon. 

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Four-wheelers are still being used as shorelines and accesses continue to hold up. There’s been very few people fishing, although a handful of anglers are looking for crappies with minimal success. Depending on the weather, ice fishing could be an option through next week.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The river on the west side is starting to open and shorelines are popping free as well. Although there’s still 30 inches of ice on the main lake, it’s honeycombed, turning dark, and starting to deteriorate a bit.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

Based on lake and shoreline conditions early this week, using ATVs should be an option at least through this weekend. Tullibee action has been minimal, but the perch bite definitely picked up with good reports coming from Sand Bay, Agency Bay, and Second or Third Duck points in 8 to 10 feet.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

International Falls area anglers are taking advantage of the warmer weather and catching sturgeon on the Rainy River. Sturgeon is strictly catch-and-release right now, but you can also fish for northern pike or smallmouth bass. For sturgeon, the best advice has been to locate a deeper hole in the river, then drop a well-weighted circle hook with some worms and minnows above that hole. Sturgeon will head upstream to check it out. 

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

There’s still more than 30 inches of ice on the lake, but some shorelines and river areas have started to open. Opening weekend fishing options are still up in the air and dependent on the weather over the next two weeks.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

WEST METRO

A few anglers walked on lakes last weekend, but any ice fishing options have now come to an end. The shorelines or areas with creek inlets have opened and main-lake ice is starting to deteriorate fast.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

There’s still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but it is starting to deteriorate. Most shorelines also have opened enough that any rain, strong winds, or continued warm weather should open these lakes quickly.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Anglers were still using ATVs early this week, but some accesses are starting to deteriorate so that option could be eliminated by this weekend on select lakes. Crappies and sunfish are being caught in Christopherson’s Bay on Lake Ida in 8 to 10 feet or on Reno Lake and Lake Mary in 6 to 10 feet.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Most shorelines were favorable for ATVs or walking out early this week, but that could change rapidly depending on the weather so use caution. Fishing pressure has been light, but those going were catching a mixed bag of panfish in 5 to 8 feet on lakes Sylvia, Clearwater, Maple, Rock, Sugar, and Granite.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

The ice on most main lake areas looked pretty solid early this week, and there was a few people fishing on it last weekend. But most shorelines and access points have now opened enough that even walking out probably won’t be an option by this weekend.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

There has been a few folks out perch fishing on Lake Bemidji this past week, but that is pretty much done now. You can still get out on most area lakes, although shorelines are opening quickly, which will completely put a end to the ice fishing season. If the nice weather continues it will still be a close call if ice will be off by the opener, since there’s still a lot of it left to melt.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Early this week, trucks were being used on a few lakes and ATVs were an option on others. Most shorelines and accesses were in good shape on Tuesday, but that will change fast if it stays warm. Look to Blackduck Lake for perch in 8 to 12 feet or bluegills and crappies in 12 to 20 feet. Pimushe Lake and Gull Lake are giving up bluegills in 10 to 15 feet, while Island Lake is producing perch in 10 to 14 feet.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

The channel by Bar Harbor on Gull Lake is open, but the crappies haven’t shown up, and there’s still plenty of ice on area lakes. North Long Lake and Round Lake are giving up a few panfish in less than 12 feet. Ice conditions are changing rapidly so call ahead for ice and shoreline conditions this weekend.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Most bays now have honeycombed ice, some shorelines have opened, and main lake ice continues to be solid. Walking or ATV use should be an option this weekend. Look for perch on the north side of Wishbone Bar on Cass Lake or the northwest corner of Pike Bay Lake in 6 to 8 feet. Crappies and bluegills are hitting on the west end of Big Lake in 6 to 8 feet.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831          

CHISAGO AREA   

Most shorelines have now deteriorated enough to no longer allow anglers to get on area lakes. The ice that remains appears to be questionable as well and it is expected to go out fast if the warm weather continues for another week.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Although some shorelines have started to bust loose, there’s still plenty of ice on area lakes. But the ice in place is compromised and getting soft, so fishing pressure has been minimal.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Fishing pressure has dipped as some shorelines have started to pull away, but there might be some options for foot travel this weekend. The ice is deteriorating quickly and conditions vary from lake to lake.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Shorelines have pulled away and the lakes are starting to turn black, so ice fishing options have come to an end. Anglers fishing from shore near the French River, Stoney Point, and Two Harbors areas of Lake Superior continue to catch Kamloops trout and coho salmon. The ice is out enough at accesses to also allow boats on the big lake. Trolling stickbaits near the surface has produced Kamloops and cohos, while vertical jigging spoons and smelt over 100 feet is turning lake trout. There hasn’t been a smelt run, but it’s expected to start within the next week.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

FAIRMONT AREA

Shorelines on all lakes are open quite a distance and the ice that remains is floating and moving around. With some wind, rain, and continued warm weather, there’s a chance all lakes could be ice-free by next week.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

A few anglers were walking on lakes early this week, but most seem to no longer be interested in fishing through the ice. With the shorelines starting to open and main lake ice reported as soft, fishing options have ended until the ice goes out.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Shorelines remain intact and ATVs should still be a travel option this weekend. Angling pressure has been light, although Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is producing crappies in 18 to 22 feet. Look to Bowstring Lake in 15 to 18 feet for crappies and perch, Jay Gould Lake for perch in 10 to 12 feet, and Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama for a mixed bag of panfish in 13 to 25 feet. Big Splithand Lake also is giving up bluegills and crappies in 20 feet.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

HACKENSACK AREA 

ATVs continued to be used on area lakes early this week, although the shorelines are getting beat up fast. Walking out should still be an option this weekend on most lakes. Bluegills and crappies are being caught on Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Webb Lake, and Mule Lake in 5 to 12 feet. Look for perch in less than 10 feet near the island and Government Point area on Woman Lake. 

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

LANESBORO AREA 

The main stretch of the Root River remains high, but the small- to medium-size spring fed creeks are running clear and fishing great. By this weekend, look for the South Fork and South Branch off the Root to be more clear as well. Anglers should expect to see midday caddis hatches this week on the small creeks and most fish are being taken with Caddis and Pheasant Tail Nymphs or soft tackle flies.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101

McGREGOR AREA 

Anglers were still fishing and some were using ATVs early this week. Many accesses are now rutted up or busting loose so walking out will be the best option this weekend.

Willey’s Sport Shop & Spirits (218) 426-3382

MORA AREA

Ice fishing is no longer an option now that the shorelines are busted up and main lake ice is turning black. The Ann River and Snake River are open and a few suckers are being caught.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

Big Stone Lake still had lots of ice early this week. A handful of people ice fished it during last weekend’s border walleye opener with no success. The shorelines have opened and main lake ice is going fast, so there’s a slim chance boats could be put in it this weekend.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

The shorelines have started to pull away a bit and anglers are reporting that the top six inches of ice on main lake areas is getting soft. People were still fishing early this week and some options should remain this weekend, but plan on walking out. No need to take any chances with ATVs.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

The few anglers that have been out are reporting 18 to 20 inches of ice that has started to get soft and honeycombed. Most shorelines also have deteriorated a lot since last week, so ice fishing options will be limited by this weekend.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

The Sauk River is open and water is starting to extend through the channels into the lakes in the system. Shorelines have pulled away and any remaining main lake ice is mostly black and going fast. A few were fishing open water for catfish.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

There might be a few lakes in good enough shape for anglers to walk on this weekend, but ice conditions are deteriorating fast. The majority of shorelines have now pulled away and the ice on area lakes is getting soft and no longer safe.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

The shorelines have pulled away and main lake ice is looking like it’s going to go out fast. There were a few anglers on the ice last weekend, but with warm weather again this week, that is no longer an option.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

The ice fishing season is over now that most shorelines and culvert areas have pulled away and main lake ice is compromised. The shallow, prairie lakes, those that had aeration systems in place, are now more than half open.

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

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News