Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 11, 2018

Great Eight


Most bays were ice-free by Monday afternoon, but many still had ice beyond them. The ice was shifting with the wind, and with rain expected this week, more of it will deteriorate, even on the main lake where ice depth was still quite thick. Depending on the weather leading up to opening day, the lake could be wide open or still have some ice – either way there’s going to be plenty of water to fish.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430


Ice continues to break up, float around, and melt on the lake. Walleyes should be stacked in shallow areas, Rainy River, and Four Mile Bay this weekend. Most anglers on opener will be bouncing a jig and frozen shiner off the bottom. Pike season is on fire right now, with a big smelt laid on bottom, trolling crankbaits or buzz baits all producing fish. The Rainy River is looking to be the go-to spot for opening weekend as walleyes of all sizes will be looking to feast after spawning late. At the Northwest Angle, ice is disappearing and is clear around the Angle Inlet area for a few miles. 

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


Crappie action is strong from the shorelines out to 6 feet in most bays of Lake Minnetonka, Lake Independence, Medicine Lake, and Lake Sarah among others. Small jigs tipped with minnows are turning numbers of fish.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227


Many bays have started to open and others, such as Pike Bay, are already ice-free. There could be a raft of floating ice on the main lake this weekend, but there shouldn’t be enough of it to cause issues for anglers on opening day.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430


The ice was mostly gone on Tuesday morning and what’s left will be out by opening day. Look shallow for walleyes on the points and shoreline breaks.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   


As of Tuesday morning, most small bays were open, and the ice in Walker Bay was busted up and looking close to going out. There will be plenty of water to fish this weekend, even if there’s still some ice floating on the main lake, and there’s a chance, with the right weather this week, that it could all be gone. Look for crappies in the small bays and boat harbors as well.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250


The Kuttes Landing was overflowing last weekend as anglers went after sturgeon during the short tag season that ended Monday. Most reports indicated that sturgeon continued to bite. Ice on Rainy Lake deteriorated rapidly, Black Bay is open, and the main lake ice that remained was floating. So even if the lake isn’t completely ice-free, there will be spots to fish on opening day.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766


There was quite a bit of open water on the shorelines early this week, enough to fish with a boat. Although main lake ice was still quite noticeable it was soft, moving, and deteriorating fast. There might be some ice left on the lake for the fishing opener, but likely not enough to prevent anglers from getting out.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro


Panfish reports have been limited, although people are starting to find a few in shallow water on area lakes. There has been a consistent walleye bite with a jig and minnow in the Prescott area of the St. Croix River. 

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421


Anglers fishing from shore with a small jig and minnow are catching crappies on Lake Bavaria. The north side of Lake Minnewashta also is producing crappies in shallow water. Sunfish reports have been limited at this point.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022


Crappies and sunfish are being caught on most lakes in 2 to 6 feet. Prior Lake, Cedar Lake, and Spring Lake have been especially good this week. Small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms are working best.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096


The docks were being put in this week and should be ready by opening day. Waconia Bay is giving up some crappies, and the bite should only improve as the water warms heading into this weekend.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096



Crappies and a few sunfish have started hitting in the shallow bays of most lakes. Reno Lake, Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lake Carlos, Lake Geneva, Lake Mary, and Lake Darling among others are all producing panfish in less than 6 feet.

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


Crappies and sunfish are hitting in the shallow bays of Lake Sylvia, Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake John, Granite Lake, Rock Lake, and Maple Lake. Crappies are hitting best in the late afternoon and evening hours, while sunfish are biting throughout the day.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297


Crappies are scattered, but being caught. Look in 4 to 6 feet on some lakes or 11 to 15 feet on others. Fish Lake, Mollie Stark Lake, and Bass/Elbow Lake have been a few spots already producing crappies on minnows, plastics, and waxworms.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596


As of Tuesday morning, there was still a bit of floating ice on Lake Bemidji’s east side, but that’s it and it will be gone by opening day. A jig and minnow will be a hard combination to beat. Don’t forget about crappies – by the opener they should be up in those shallow bays and be actively biting on most lakes.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172


Crappies and bluegills are hitting in the shallow bays and shorelines of most lakes. Blackduck Lake, Gull Lake, Pimushe Lake, Gilstead Lake, and Rabideau Lake are all producing panfish in less than 6 feet.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636


The Bar Harbor area and channels on Gull Lake are giving up crappies. Panfish reports have been light off the other lakes, but North Long and Cullen are worth looking at in shallow water as well.

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


The main body of Cass Lake still had ice on it Tuesday morning, but as it looked, there’s a good chance it will be gone by opening day. The connected lakes on the Cass Chain and bays were already open. Some crappies are being found in the bays over 18 to 20 feet during the day, but they have been sliding shallower along shorelines and in bays during the afternoon and evening hours.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              


Crappies and bluegills have shown up in the dark, shallow bays or channels on most lakes. Chisago, South Lindstrom, North Lindstrom, and the northeast side of North Center Lake are all worth noting.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334


Sunfish have been tough to find, but crappies are being caught in shallow water. Look to the backwaters on Milford Lake, the Deerwood end of Serpent Lake, Little Rabbit Lake, and the backwater areas on the Mississippi River. 

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


Crappie action has really picked up in less than 6 feet on Acorn Lake, Long Bridge Lake, Deadshot Bay, Lake Melissa, and Floyd Lake. Sunfish reports have been best off Little Detroit Lake, Deadshot Bay, and Floyd in 2 to 4 feet.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248


As of early this week, crappies had not moved into the shallows, but they should soon. Kamloops and steelhead trout have moved into the rivers and are being caught with spawn bags. Reports have been best off the Lester, Knife, and Sucker rivers.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094


Crappies have started hitting on Green Lake in 2 to 4 feet and sunfish are being caught in 2 to 6 feet on Blue Lake. The channels throughout the Briggs Lake Chain are giving up crappies, as well.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985


Some lakes still had ice on Tuesday, while others opened last weekend. Even where ice did exist, it looked black and soft and with rain in the forecast, it could be eliminated prior to opening day. There will be lakes to fish walleyes on this weekend.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744


Jigs tipped with plastics or minnows are producing walleyes on Tuttle Lake and the West Des Moines River. Crappies are being caught in 12 feet on Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sisseton, but look for them to slide along shallower shorelines by this weekend.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225


Crappies and a few sunfish are being caught at Shields Lake and Lake Mazaska in 8 to 12 feet. The Warsaw Bridge area on Cannon Lake is producing crappies, sunfish, and perch. Cedar Lake is giving up crappies in 8 to 12 feet or in shallower water around the docks. 

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341


The warm weather took its toll on the ice since last week. Many had thought open water was a long shot. Although some ice remains on the big lakes, others have opened so there is going to be spots to fish walleyes this weekend. Even the big lakes should have spots with open water.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280


There was still some ice hanging around early this week, but most of it is expected to be gone by this weekend. The bays on lakes that are already ice-free will be the first to start giving up crappies. The warm water discharge area on the Mississippi River continues to produce panfish.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281


The ice is gone, but reports have been light. Anglers have just started looking for crappies or getting prepared for the fishing opener. Everything is a week or two behind, so if the walleyes don’t cooperate this weekend, there should be plenty of opportunities to catch panfish in the shallows.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405


The shorelines and reed edges on Little Birch Lake are kicking out a mixed bag of panfish. Crappie action has been best during the evening hours in 2 to 6 feet on Mule Lake, Webb Lake, Portage Lake, and Pleasant Lake. Broadwater Bay on Woman Lake is kicking out crappies and bluegills as well.

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


Most bays are open and ice on the main lake was floating and deteriorating fast. It was warm early this week and rain was forecasted for mid-week, so there’s a chance most of the ice will be out. At the very least, there will be plenty of water to fish for walleyes this weekend.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121


The South Branch of the Root River is running high and offering off-colored water so fishing has been slower. The small streams such as Trout Run and Gribbon Creek are in much better shape and giving up brown trout. A Grey Caddis Hatch (size 18) or Zebra Midge Dropper (size 20) have been the hot flies this week.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101


You’ll find crappies in the shallow, dark bays on Mule Lake, Blackwater Lake, and Girl Lake. Some bluegills also have started hitting in 2 to 5 feet on Mable Lake. Look for most lakes to be producing panfish in shallow water by this weekend.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252


Crappies have started hitting in from Buckmaster’s Bridge and in East Bay on Madison Lake. On Lake Washington, Baker’s Bay and Mud Bay are producing crappies, while the west end and Carpenter’s Point area of Lake Francis are kicking out crappies and sunfish.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464


A few crappies are being caught in the shallow bays and along the shorelines of Big Sandy Lake, Lake Minnewawa, and Round Lake. These fish have just started to move in so the bite should only improve as water temperatures climb.

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


Work the shallow bays and shorelines for crappies and a few sunfish at Ann Lake, Knife Lake, Mud Lake, Fish Lake, and the Ann River. Small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms are producing numbers of panfish throughout the area.

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


There’s some evening walleye action along the shorelines on the south end of Big Stone Lake. The docks and shorelines on the north end also are giving up a few walleyes during low-light periods. Most fish are being caught in 4 to 8 feet with bright-colored jigs or crankbaits.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480


Crappies and some large bluegills have started to hit in the shallow bays. As of early this week, Long Lake, Fish Hook Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain were most productive in less than 6 feet.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099


Crappie and sunfish action has really improved since last week. The shallow bays on Little McDonald Lake, McDonald Lake, Star Lake, Dead Lake, Big Pine Lake, and Rush Lake are all giving up panfish in less than 6 feet.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355


The better walleye and sauger action is now taking place in the Head of the Lakes area on Lake Pepin or the Mississippi River edges in 10 to 14 feet. Leadcore and crankbaits or live-bait rigs and chubs are working best. Northern pike action has picked up in the bays off the main river.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334


Crappie and sunfish reports have been limited, but a few fish are being caught in the shallow bays or culvert areas. Look to Cedar Island Lake, Mud Lake, East Lake, and Horseshoe Lake to be some of the first to turn on in less than 6 feet.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975


Panfish anglers have just started to hit those traditional spring crappie locations. As of early this week, reports were light, but start looking to the shallow bays and shorelines on most lakes to be holding panfish by the weekend.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155


Beauty Lake, Fish Trap Lake, and Lake Shamineau started giving up a few crappies in shallow water. They just started to move in and should be even more active this weekend. There’s been a few sunfish reports off Nokasippi Lake in less than 6 feet, as well.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056


Anglers fishing from shore in the Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska are catching crappies and sunfish. Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood end of Minnewaska is producing crappies in less than 5 feet.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239


Anglers fishing from shore in the lagoon on Lake Tetonka are catching crappies in less than 4 feet. The Morristown Dam area on the Cannon River is producing some crappies as well.

Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873


The culvert on Willmar/Foot Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish, as is the west side of Lake Florida. Look to the northwest corner of Lake Andrew, Dogfish Bay on Diamond Lake, Nest Lake, Elkhorn Lake, and Eagle Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in shallow water as well.

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


There hasn’t been a lot of panfish activity, but a few crappies are coming off the shorelines of Yankton Lake and Lake Shetek. Look for perch in shallow water as well on Island Lake, East and West Twin lakes, and Lake Sara.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News

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