Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report for April 12, 2019

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

There’s still a lot of main lake ice, although most reports indicate that it is getting soft and honeycombed. Some shorelines remain intact and others have started to pull away – most resorts have shut down their accesses. There was some limited action for tullibees last weekend, but fishing pressure continues to be fairly light.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Good walleye and northern pike ice fishing has been reported, but most have put away their ice fishing gear and are focused on the open water bite on the Rainy River.  Back bays will be open soon and big pike will be the target – walleyes are open through April 14 and pike season open continuous. On the Rainy River, boat ramps are open from Baudette to Birchdale and the river is open in front of resorts at Wheeler’s Point with access predicted to open any day. Many big walleyes are being caught via jigging with a minnow or plastics and some are trolling crankbaits with success. There’s been a lot of sturgeon in the mix – sturgeon are catch and release through April 23, with the keep season starting April 24. At the Northwest Angle, a few anglers are still ice fishing and catching walleyes in 14 to 22 feet. This time of year, call ahead to resorts for daily info and ice conditions.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Many small bays are starting to open, but the lakes and larger bays remained ice covered early this week. Basically, the ice is not in good enough shape to get on and there’s too much of it to fish open water.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Any areas with moving water have started to open and some shorelines have busted loose quite a bit. There’s still a lot of main lake ice, but fishing action has been nonexistent.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

A lack of access options and deteriorating shorelines has meant very limited perch fishing over the past week. Resorts have shut things down for the season so it’s tough to get on.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

There was still quite a bit of activity last weekend for tullibees and perch, but a lot of anglers reported that the shorelines are getting rough and main lake ice is getting soft. If you can get on the ice, the bite should be good, but many people stated that it was risky early this week.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

The lake still has plenty of ice, but fishing on it seems to no longer be much of a draw. Most anglers are fishing the Rainy River, accesses are open, boats of all sizes are being used, and the walleye and sauger action has been good.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Ice fishing remained an option early this week, but there hasn’t been enough people on the lake to garner any type of report. 

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

After Monday’s warm weather, many lakes are now ice-free. The ice that does remain is limited, rotten, and going out quickly. A handful of anglers have started fishing from shore for crappies, but success was limited early this week.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

The small lakes are now mostly open and any remaining ice throughout the area is limited. Monday’s wind and warm weather chewed away at the ice and seemed to eliminate most of it.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

Lakes such as Crystal, O’Dowd, and Spring are open or close to being ice-free. Even the ice on the bigger lakes such Prior is melting fast. A few anglers have tried some of those traditional spring crappie spots, but the fish hadn’t shown up as of this writing.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

There were people walking on some lakes last weekend, but after Monday’s warm weather and wind, most anglers have put away the winter gear. Ice conditions were deteriorating fast early this week so it’s likely that getting on the ice won’t be a safe option this weekend.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

There’s a lot of open water around the shorelines of all lakes and anything with a channel or moving water has opened and started extending into the lakes. Much of the ice that remains looks pretty rotten so ice fishing has come to an end.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

A handful of anglers were walking out last weekend on a few lakes, but the shorelines and accesses have started to open enough that those might not be an option this weekend. The best bet is to call ahead and see how conditions have changed in the past few days.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

There isn’t much to report as very few anglers continue to venture onto the ice any longer. You can still get on many lakes, but shoreline ice is pulling away and fishing reports have been limited.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

Gull Lake is producing bluegills and perch in 10 to 15 feet, while Blackduck Lake and Island Lake are giving up perch and an occasional crappie in 7 to 12 feet. ATVs were still being used on area lakes early this week, so there should be some ice fishing options this weekend.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Anglers are walking on both ends of North Long Lake and catching sunfish and crappies in 5 to 10 feet. Most small lakes were seeing some foot traffic early this week, but many channels have opened. Ice conditions vary from lake to lake and some shorelines have deteriorated quite a bit, so plan on walking and checking the ice before you venture out.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

There are patches of open water near any current areas, but the shorelines are holding up on most lakes. There hasn’t been anyone on Cass Lake or Pike Bay Lake over the past week, but people are heading to Big Lake for sunfish, crappies, and perch in 6 to 8 feet. 

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

CHISAGO AREA   

The shorelines have now opened enough that anglers can no longer get on any lake. The ice that remains is starting to turn black and some channels are starting to open as well. 

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

The ice fishing season has come to an end as the shorelines have now pulled far enough away on area lakes to prevent people from getting on. There’s still a lot of main lake ice, but it’s also deteriorating, and any areas with moving water have started to open.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Most shorelines have started to bust loose, but people were walking out early this week for panfish on Height of Land Lake, Cotton Lake, and Deadshot Bay. Tullibees also were being found suspended over deep water on Long Lake. Ice conditions are changing rapidly and people are limited to where the shorelines are still allowing them to walk on.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

The inland lakes are not fishable with open shorelines and deteriorating ice throughout them. Anglers are fishing the mouths of the Lester and French rivers on Lake Superior for Kamloops with a few fish being caught, but success has been limited. The rivers and creeks are starting to move and with this weekend’s stream trout opener, there should be some brook trout in the creeks.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

The ice took a beating during last weekend’s rain and Monday’s wind and warm weather. The ice that remains continues to deteriorate, while most channels and shorelines have started to open.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Most anglers are walking out as the shorelines are getting soft. You’ll find crappies in less than 15 feet on Hobo Lake and Bass Lake. The bigger lakes such as White Iron, Fall, and Birch are producing crappies over 20 to 30 feet.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

EMILY AREA 

There was enough ice to walk on last weekend on most lakes, but the few people going had to be creative to get on it due to open shorelines and access points. At this point, the ice fishing season has come to an end.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

The lakes are ice-free and some open water fishing has started. Anglers fishing from shore on Tuttle Lake, along the Minnesota/Iowa border, are catching walleyes in 4 to 6 feet with jigs and plastics or minnows. Crappies have yet to show up in their traditional, early spring locations.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

Any ice that remained melted away on Monday and all lakes are now completely open. There hasn’t been much for open water reports at this point, but look to those, shallow spring spots for crappies as soon as the water begins to warm.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

HACKENSACK AREA 

It’s likely there’s going to be people walking out this weekend on some lakes, but the shorelines are opening and accesses are getting beat up. Look for perch and some bluegills in the bays on Woman Lake in 6 to 10 feet. Bluegills also were going in less than 10 feet on Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Mule Lake, and Ten Mile Lake. Crappie reports have been best at Stoney Lake or the  north side of Webb Lake with some being found shallow and others suspended over deep water. 

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

LANESBORO AREA 

Early this week, stream conditions were perfect for fishing and the bite has been going strong. With rain and snow in the forecast late this week, that could change so watch the weather. The small creeks have been kicking out numbers of brown trout and brook trout with spinners, streamers, dry flies, and nymphs all producing fish. Rainbow trout action has been good with similar presentations at Whitewater State Park. 

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101

MADISON LAKE AREA

The lakes are completely ice-free and some open water fishing has started. Anglers are using boats and heading into Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington for crappies and sunfish over 14 to 20 feet. People fishing from shore are catching panfish at the culvert on the west end of Lake Francis, and look to the Sawmill Pond area of Big Jefferson Lake to start producing crappies. 

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

ORTONVILLE AREA

The south end of Big Stone Lake has some open water out from the bridge. The shorelines also have opened and the ice that remains on the main lake is black and melting fast.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

There’s still a lot of main lake ice, but the few people fishing last weekend reported black, honeycombed ice with some spots that were very thin and weak. The shorelines also have pulled away, putting an end to this ice fishing season.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

There were a few opportunities to walk on some lakes last weekend, but after Sunday’s rain and Monday’s warm temperatures, the ice fishing season has come to an end. The anglers going out last weekend reported open shorelines and soft, main lake ice.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

The public ramps and accesses on the Mississippi River remain closed due to high water levels. The river was not expected to drop any this week and with measurable rain and snow in the forecast, conditions likely won’t improve.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Shorelines continue to open farther into the lakes and much of the ice that remains is black and deteriorating fast. Any culverts, streams, or current areas also have opened large stretches of water on some lakes. There has been a few anglers fishing open water on the Sauk River Chain and catching catfish.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

There was some ice fishing activity on a couple of lakes last weekend, but that has come to an end. The shorelines on most lakes have opened beyond repair and main lake ice appears to be deteriorating fast.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska is ice-free and although a few people have been fishing it, crappies have not shown up. Many bays or moving water areas are mostly ice-free, main lake ice remains throughout the area, and shorelines have now busted open.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

There’s still quite a bit of main lake ice, but the shorelines, bridge areas, and culverts have opened enough that ice fishing is no longer an option. Anglers have started fishing from shore for crappies with limited success on a few lakes. The culvert on Ringo Lake has produced some crappies.

J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle (320) 235-4097

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

The majority of lakes are ice-free and those that aren’t are getting very close to being completely open. Anglers fishing from shore are catching crappies on Lake Sarah and Lake Shetek. Depending on the weather this week, crappies are expected to start biting on many lakes that traditionally produce them in the spring.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News

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