Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report for April 26, 2019

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

East – The bays are partially open, as are any areas with moving water, and the shorelines have pulled loose quite a ways out into the lake. There’s still a lot of main lake ice, but it really took a beating over the past week and looked pretty rotten on Tuesday morning.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The back bays are becoming ice-free and northern pike are staging for the spawn. The pike season is open year round on these border waters, and some fish are in the shallows and ditches. Parts of the main lake have big stretches of open water. On the Rainy River, sturgeon fishing remains good despite some dirty water. Most anglers are using a 3- to 4-ounce no-roll sinker, with an 18-inch sturgeon rig, a colored bead and 4/0 – 5/0 circle hook with a gob of crawlers, frozen emerald shiners or both. At the Northwest Angle, there’s pockets of open water.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The ice went completely out last weekend in this area. Anglers are fishing from shore out to 8 feet on Lake Minnetonka and catching crappies with minnows in the channels. Look to the west side of Lake Independence to start producing crappies as well.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Some areas such as Pike Bay should be open by the weekend and some of the other shallow bays are partially open as well. Areas with creeks or streams flowing into the lake are open and even though there was still a lot of main lake ice early this week, it was black and soft.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The ice has broken away from shore and seems to be extending farther out into the lake each  and every day. There’s still a lot of main lake ice, but it is dark and appears to have deteriorated quite a bit since last week.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

There was still plenty of ice on the lake early this week, but the shorelines are open and the ice is turning black. It appears as though it won’t take long for the ice to go if it stays warm, rains, or there’s a combination of both.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

There’s still a lot of main lake ice, although it has started to break down and get soft. Ice-out is expected to be normal or slightly ahead of schedule based on the way it looked early this week. Sturgeon fishing continues to be consistently good on the Rainy River.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

The shorelines have opened and spots with moving water are chewing the ice away as well. The main lake ice is deteriorating quickly, looking soft and black early this week.

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

The ice is out and people have started fishing from shore. Most of the better crappie reports are coming from the shallow bays and shorelines on the area’s small lakes. Look for this shallow panfish bite to only improve with nice weather and warming water.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

SOUTH METRO

The ice is gone and anglers are fishing from shore in a few of those traditional, spring panfish spots. Early this week, some crappies and sunfish were being caught in the shallow bays of Cedar Lake and Prior Lake. Look for the bite to improve quickly as water temperatures climb.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The ice is gone and people have started fishing from shore in a few spots. The crappie bite was slow early this week, but those shallow bays, shorelines, and lagoons should start holding more panfish as water temperatures rise.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

The ice is gone throughout the area – the rest of it went out last weekend. Anglers are just starting to hit the shallow bays and channels for crappies but success was poor early this week. By this weekend, lakes such Clearwater, Sylvia, Sugar, and Maple are worth looking at for panfish.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

A handful of small lakes are ice-free, as are most bays, but the big lakes still had quite a bit of ice on them early this week. There are pockets of water on the bigger lakes and the ice that remains on them is black, soft and expected to go out within the next week if it stays warm or rains.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Anglers are waiting for more open water to open up. Lake Bemidji has opened quite a bit on the south end where the Mississippi River enters. The ice is pulling away from shore, but there’s still a lot of ice on the main areas of most lakes. However, that ice is getting dark and very soft. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

As of Tuesday morning, the lakes were still covered with ice, but it’s black and looking like it could go out very soon. Most ponds are ice-free and anything with moving water has started to open as well. It’s likely the lakes in this area will be open within the next week to 10 days based on how the ice looked early this week.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

The way it looked early this week, most lakes should be ice-free by this weekend. Many small lakes are already open and the ice that remained on the bigger lakes is black, rotten, and busting up. Anglers have just started fishing from shore at the channels and harbor areas, but crappie success has been limited.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake and many small lakes opened last weekend. Any remaining ice on the main portion of Cass and surrounding large lakes is expected to go out within the next week if the weather stays warm.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

CHISAGO AREA   

Any ice that remained went out late last week and anglers have started catching panfish. Most are fishing from shore, hitting the channels and shallow, north bays for crappies and sunfish. South Lindstrom Lake, Chisago Lake, and North Center Lake have been the better early spots, but look to Little Green Lake to start producing panfish as well.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

There was still some limited ice on the big lakes early this week, but that was expected to be out within a few days. The small lakes opened last weekend and anglers were just starting to check the shallows for crappies.

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

DULUTH AREA   

The inland lakes are starting to open with black ice, open shorelines, and pockets of open water on most lakes Tuesday morning. Shore anglers along Lake Superior are catching more steelhead than Kamloops rainbow trout. Most are being caught at the mouths of the Knife, Stewart, and Lester rivers. If warm weather persists, look for the smelt to start running soon.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Any ice that remained went out last weekend. Anglers are just starting to fish from shore on Blue Lake and Green Lake for crappies. Early this week, they hadn’t shown up in shallow water, but that could change quickly with a spike in water temperature.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

There was still a lot of ice on area lakes early this week, but it really took a beating last weekend. The ice that was on the lakes is soft and rotten and expected to go out quickly.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

EMILY AREA 

The shorelines continue to pull farther away and there are some pockets of open water on a few small lakes. There was quite a bit of ice on the main portions of most lakes early this week, but it is black and could go out fast if the warm weather persists.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

Walleye action has picked up on Tuttle Lake in 4 to 6 feet with jigs tipped with plastics or minnows. A few crappies have shown up in the channels between Amber Lake, Hall Lake, Sisseton Lake, and Budd Lake. Some crappies also are being found outside these areas in 12 to 15 feet. 

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

The ice is out, but water temperatures remain cool so there hasn’t been much for panfish showing up in shallow water. If the weather is warm this week, crappie and sunfish action should pick up in most shallow, traditional spring panfish spots.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

FERGUS FALLS AREA

There was still some limited ice floating around the bigger lakes early this week, many small lakes were open, and any remaining ice could be gone by this weekend. Anglers fishing Orwell Lake from shore and in boats are finding crappies in shallow water. The bays on Swan Lake also have kicked out a few crappies – boats are needed here.

Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050

GRAND MARAIS AREA

There’s still a lot of ice on all lakes with minimal deterioration on most of them. Steelhead reports indicate that some fish are starting to move into the streams, but most are staging in front of them. The big run is still to come and should kick in with several consecutive days of warm weather.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GREY EAGLE AREA

Any remaining ice went out last weekend, but there wasn’t a lot of people fishing as of early this week. Now that the ice is gone, many of those shallow bays and channels should start holding panfish as water temperatures warm.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

Most bays and small lakes were ice-free on Tuesday and others are expected to be open by this weekend. On the big lakes, where more ice remained, those are expected to be completely open within the next week to 10 days.

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

LANESBORO AREA 

Stream conditions are excellent for fishing and the trout bite continues to be very good. Use streamers if you’re fly fishing, while small crankbaits and spinners are working on spinning gear. The best dry fly this week has been a size 14 Caddis. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific stream since most are producing trout.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101

LONGVILLE AREA

The ice is melting fast with many bays and small lakes going out last weekend. Even where ice remained early this week, it looked like it wouldn’t last long. There’s a chance that complete ice-out could occur within the next week to 10 days.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MORA AREA

The ice that remained on a few lakes went out last weekend. Anglers are just starting to hit those traditional spring crappie spots, but success has been limited. With a few days of warm weather leading up to this weekend, you should find crappies in the shallows.

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

Big Stone Lake completely opened last weekend, but there is some floating debris on the lake that you need to watch for. Some walleyes are being caught with a black or fluorescent jig and minnow on the far north end of the lake. The water is slightly warmer on the north end so anglers are finding some active fish close to shore.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Some small lakes are ice-free and the shorelines have really started to pull away on the bigger lakes. The ice that remained on lakes early this week was rotten and expected to be gone soon. Anglers are catching some crappies from shore on some of the small, shallow areas, but they haven’t been much for size.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

The small bays, some small lakes, and the river mouths on area lakes have opened. The big lakes still had quite a bit of ice early this week, but it looked rotten and is expected to go out quickly.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Water levels rose again early this week on the Mississippi River shutting down what had been a good walleye bite. The one access that was open, Everts Landing, also closed due to the rising water. River conditions could improve enough by this weekend to allow boats back on the river, but call ahead.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

There were patches of ice left on a few lakes Tuesday morning, but it was expected to be gone by this weekend. The crappies and sunfish hadn’t shown up in the bays early this week, although anglers are catching quite a few catfish in the deep holes of the Sauk River and in the bays of the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

The lakes are ice-free and anglers just started looking for panfish. A few crappies have been caught in the shallows of East Long Lake, but that was about the only report early this week. Look to most of those traditional spring spots to start producing sunfish and crappies this weekend. Reports will surely pick up once the crappie bite starts to heat up.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska started giving up a few crappies, but this bite should only improve as water temperatures climb. Anglers fishing from boats in Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood end of Minnewaska are catching crappies in 5 feet.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

With the exception of some floating ice on Green Lake, all area lakes were wide open early this week and panfish are showing up in shallow water. Anglers fishing from shore at Elkhorn Lake are catching crappies and sunfish, Foot Lake is producing crappies, and the Nest Lake bridge area is providing a mixed bag of panfish.

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

Every lake is now free of ice. Most people are fishing from shore in shallow water and catching perch and crappies on Lake Sarah, perch at Island Lake, and crappies off Lake Lac qui Parle or Lake Shetek. The shallow inlet and outlet areas on East and West Twin lakes are giving up perch. Walleye action also has been good on Hendricks Lake and Lake Thompson along the Minnesota/South Dakota border.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News

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