Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 4, 2018

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

The shorelines have started to bust loose, and the ice in most bays looked rotten and has started to break away as well. There’s still a lot of main-lake ice so it needs to continue to stay warm, and some rain would help, in order to deteriorate it faster.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Ice continues to melt in a big way. Northern pike are close to coming into the bays for boat anglers. A smelt laid on bottom, trolling crankbaits, and buzzbaits are all options this time of year. The sturgeon harvest season lasts through May 7, while catch and release runs from May 8 to 15 on the Rainy River. Anglers who remain mobile fared better again this past week as the Little and Big Fork rivers opened up. Water clarity is already clearing and should be cleared up by the walleye opener. For sturgeon, work deeper holes and lay a sturgeon rig (18-inch leader of 60-pound test, with a 5/0 circle hook) and a crawler/shiner mix with a 3- to 5-ounce no-roll sinker on bottom. At the Northwest Angle, anglers will be targeting pike by boat soon as ice is deteriorating quickly.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The channels, shorelines, and current areas have opened on Lake Minnetonka, but there was still a lot of main-lake ice. The small bays on Minnetonka have started to open as well and most small lakes in the area are partially ice-free. Many of those could be completely open by this weekend.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Pike Bay is expected to be ice-free this weekend, as are most small bays. The main-lake ice that remains is black and rotten, with pockets of open water. The channels and any current areas are ice-free and chewing up lake ice as well.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The shorelines have pulled away quite a distance, there were small pockets of open water, and main-lake ice was black and moving with the wind early this week. As the lake looked Tuesday morning, there appeared to be a very good chance for fishable water on opening day.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

Heavy rains on Sunday and Monday night started to take their toll on the ice, but the shorelines were only open about 6 to 10 feet on Tuesday morning. The ice in Walker Bay is black, and with the rain, there was quite a bit of water on top of it. Ice conditions on the main lake looked pretty solid early this week. Some small bays and small lakes are expected to be open by this weekend.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

The Rainy River sturgeon tag season is on, and anglers were catching fish. The Ron Hall access in International Falls is close to the dam, and that’s a great place to check for sturgeon. Ice conditions on Rainy Lake have deteriorated. While there may seem to be sufficient thickness, the quality of the ice is poor. It’s likely there will still be some ice cover for the walleye opener, but spots to fish as well.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

The shorelines have been open so the wind has been shifting the ice pack. It will be close to a complete open water situation by opening day, depending on temperatures and winds over the next week. The Tamarac River and other tributaries will be open to anglers on opening day. Northern pike, walleyes, and suckers are starting spawning runs.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Most lakes should be ice-free by this weekend or early next week. Some already have opened and any ice that remained appeared to be going out fast with this week’s wind and warm weather.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Any ice that remained early this week was black and moving with the wind. Some small lakes were already open and there’s a good chance that the entire area will be ice-free by this weekend.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The small, shallow lakes were close to ice-free early this week and are expected to go out by this weekend. Even the bigger lakes, where more ice exists, it’s looking rotten and should be gone in plenty of time for opening day.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

The shorelines have pulled away and although there’s still a lot of main lake ice, it’s looking black and rotten. Some small lakes could be ice-free by this weekend or early next week, but it’s all dependent on the weather.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

With the exception of some floating ice on a few big lakes, the ice is gone throughout the area. Anything that remains is expected to be gone by this weekend as well.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BLACKDUCK AREA

The ice has deteriorated really fast in this area. Lakes such as Rabideau and Gull are ice-free and most small lakes should be wide open by this weekend. Even a bigger body of water such as Blackduck has started to open and is expected to be ice-free well before the fishing opener.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

By this weekend, many small lakes and some bays on the bigger lakes should be completely ice-free. As of Tuesday morning, open water was quite evident throughout the area, with Gull Lake being one exception where main-lake ice was still quite prevalent. There should be plenty of water to fish during next weekend’s fishing opener.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

The bays have started to open on Cass Lake, the river channels between the lakes on the Cass Chain are flowing, and that’s helped push the ice out in these areas even more. There was still plenty of main lake ice on the bigger bodies of water, but some small lakes opened with last weekend’s wind and rain. There will be water to fish on opening weekend.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

CHISAGO AREA   

Although some floating ice remained early this week, the entire area should be ice-free by this weekend. Start looking to those channels and other traditional spring crappie spots to start holding fish.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Many small lakes opened early this week and any remaining ice, even on the big lakes, should be out by this weekend. Anglers have just started hitting the traditional spring crappie spots, but success has been limited.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

The majority of small lakes opened last weekend, but there was some floating ice on the bigger lakes. Based on how the remaining ice looked early this week, it should all be gone by opening day.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

EAST CENTRAL MN

Any ice that remained is expected to be gone by this weekend. Some lakes opened last week and the ice that remained on Tuesday was rotten and being chewed up by the wind.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

FAIRMONT AREA

The ice completely went out last weekend and everything is now wide open. Panfish reports have been light, but most anglers are just starting to venture out. A few walleyes have been caught on the West Des Moines River below Tuttle Lake on jigs.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

Most lakes were ice-free early this week and anything that was still floating around will be gone by the weekend. Anglers have started fishing the shallows, but crappies have been tough to find.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

The shorelines have started to pull away a bit on some small lakes, but most lakes remained tight to shore. Just how much water is available for next weekend’s opener is dependent on the weather between now and then. Steelhead have started to stage at the mouths of the rivers off Lake Superior. Rooster Tails or Mepp’s spinners are producing fish in front of the Brule and Cascade rivers.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

The small lakes have started to open quickly, as have some bays on the bigger lakes, but there’s still a lot of ice on the main portions of the bigger bodies of water. It needs to stay warm, and some rain or wind will help open these areas. Panfish are being caught at the warm water discharge on the Mississippi River in town and suckers are showing up in most rivers.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

The shallow lakes opened early this week and any ice that remained throughout the area was black and deteriorating fast. With some wind, there’s a chance the entire area could be ice-free by this weekend or early next week.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

Some lakes have already opened and most small- to medium-size lakes should be ice-free by this weekend. As it looked early this week, ice should be gone throughout the area within the next week.

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

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

Although area lakes still had ice on them, it is deteriorating fast. Ice conditions on most small lakes are poor enough that many of them could be open by this weekend – if the warm weather holds. It might take a few days for the bigger lakes to be ice-free, but fishing options are looking good for the opener.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LONGVILLE AREA

Most small lakes opened last weekend and those that had ice on them as of Tuesday are expected to open this weekend. Based on ice conditions early this week, it looks promising that even the big lakes will be ice-free or mostly opened by the middle of next week.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

McGREGOR AREA 

Several small lakes opened last weekend and any ice that remained is floating and should be gone by this weekend, including the bigger lakes such as Big Sandy and Minnewawa. There’s been a few crappies caught in the shallows of Big Sandy.

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

MORA AREA

Some lakes were ice-free on Tuesday and most are expected to be completely open by this weekend. Any ice that remained was black, being pushed with the wind, and deteriorating fast. A few anglers have been fishing from shore for crappies with limited success.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

A few walleyes are being caught on Big Stone Lake along the shorelines on the north end in shallow water. The bite hasn’t been stellar, but should continue to improve as water temperatures climb. A jig and minnow is working best.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Several small lakes are now ice-free and even the big lakes are partially open. There’s a strong chance that the ice will be completely off all lakes by this weekend. Some shoreline crappie fishing has started on those traditional spring spots, but success has been limited.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

Most lakes are ice-free and those that had marginal ice on them early this week are expected to be open by this weekend. A handful of panfish anglers have started fishing from shore, but reports have been light.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

The spawn is wrapped up, but bigger, post-spawn walleyes continue to be caught along the shallow shorelines of the Mississippi River with jigs. Better numbers of walleyes and sauger are being taken with live-bait rigs or three-way rigs and crankbaits in 14 to 16 feet towards Lake Pepin. Look for bigger numbers of fish to continue moving towards the lake as water temperatures climb.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Any ice that remains is black and going fast. Most lakes are expected to be ice-free by this weekend or early next week. Anglers on the Sauk River are catching catfish and rough fish with nightcrawlers and start looking to the shallow bays for crappies.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Ice conditions took a big hit since last week and anything that remained on Tuesday morning was being pushed with the wind and breaking up. With the exception of a couple big lakes, and even those could open, the ice should be gone by this weekend. Suckers are running and being caught in local creeks.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Most small lakes completely opened last weekend and the bigger lakes only had patches of floating ice early this week. The entire area should be ice-free by this weekend, most suspect. 

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

There’s still some ice on a few lakes, but others are ice-free. Lake Minnewaska, for example, completely opened on Sunday, while others still had black, floating ice on them early this week. It is expected to be gone well before opening day, which is great news for area anglers.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

With the exception of a couple large lakes, which still had some floating ice early this week, the entire area is now ice-free. Anglers have started hitting the traditional spring spots for crappies, but success has been limited. A few crappies and sunfish are being caught at the culvert on Willmar/Foot Lake. 

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

There was still limited ice on most lakes as of Tuesday, but it was going fast. This area should be ice-free by this weekend or early next week based on how the remaining ice looked early this week.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News

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