Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report for May 3, 2019

Great Eight


The lake has been ice-free since late last weekend with the wind chewing up any ice that was left. There hasn’t been much for fishing reports, but look to the shallow bays and harbors to start holding crappies as water temperatures climb.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430


The northern pike and sturgeon seasons are open and reports have been excellent. Most back bays on the lake and river are open and full of pike. A combination of dead baits or slow rolling a spinnerbait, spoon or crankbait are the go to methods. On the Rainy River,  sturgeon continue to be caught with a 3- to 6-ounce no-roll sinker, sturgeon rig with nightcrawlers and frozen emerald shiners. At the Northwest Angle, open water areas are increasing rapidly. Basin ice is deteriorating quickly.

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


Wayzata Bay, Tanager Bay, and Black Lake on Lake Minnetonka are producing numbers of crappies in 6 to 8 feet on jigs and minnows. The west side of Lake Independence is worth looking at for crappies as well.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227


Pike Bay, Niles Bay, and a few small bays are ice-free, while Big Bay still had ice on it. Typically, Big Bay and the rest of the main lake goes out about one week after the aforementioned areas open, so ice shouldn’t be an issue by opening weekend.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430


On Tuesday morning, there was still ice on the lake, but it was floating and being pushed with the wind. The ice that’s left is soft, black, and bouncing with the waves so it is expected to be gone very soon – possibly by this weekend.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   


Walker Bay, Steamboat Bay, and Kabekona Bay were ice-free early this week. There was still some floating ice on the main lake, but it’s expected to be gone by this weekend or early next week. There has been some decent crappie reports coming out of Sucker Bay in 10 feet.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250


Rainy River accesses are all open, and the Ron Hall access in International Falls will be a good bet, it is just a mile or so downstream from the dam where sturgeon fishing has been good. The swifter water in this area is usually abundant with sturgeon. Ice-out continues to move forward with many bays now open or opening and main lake ice is deteriorating fast.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766


With the exception of some slush ice on the south end, the entire lake is open. Most of the ice that was left went out last Sunday. Walleyes and northern pike have been reported to be running in every creek and ditch around the lake, so the spawn should be done soon.

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro


The shallow bays on White Bear Lake, Jarvis Lake, Spoon Lake, and Lake Jane have started giving up crappies. The bite has been on and off with the weather (sunny days are much better)and the afternoon hours have been best once water temperatures climb a bit.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421


Crappie reports have been limited, likely due to the cool weather. The shallow bays and channel areas on most lakes have not warmed enough to hold big numbers of panfish. Early this week, the best crappie action was coming from Waconia Bay on Lake Waconia in 4 to 6 feet.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022


There hasn’t been a lot of people looking for panfish, but weather conditions haven’t been the best over the past week. When the sun comes out and water temperatures jump, crappies and sunfish are being caught in the shallow bays of Prior Lake and Cedar Lake.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096



Anglers fishing from shore in the bays on Reno Lake, Lake Geneva, Lake Victoria, and Lobster Lake have started catching crappies. The bite has been inconsistent, but mainly due to poor weather conditions. The bite is best when the sun shines and this shallow water heats up a few degrees.

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


Anglers are finding a fair number of crappies and a few sunfish in the shallow bays or harbors on most lakes. Reports this week have been best at Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, Lake Sylvia, Maple Lake, French Lake, and Cedar Lake in 3 to 5 feet.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297


Any remaining ice went out last weekend and anglers have just started fishing open water for crappies. Reports have been limited and the cool, cloudy weather seems to be keeping the majority of panfish out of shallow water.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596


The ice on Lake Bemidji went out Monday, which was the last lake in the area that still had ice on it. It has been cool here so there hasn’t been any panfish reports, yet. A day or two of sun and warmer air should drive the crappies into shallow water.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172


There was only small patches of ice floating on a few lakes early this week. Most lakes opened completely on Monday, while others have been ice-free for about one week. Docks are being put in, the spring panfish bite had yet to start, but should soon as water temperatures rise.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636


The harbors and shallow bays on the south and north ends of Gull Lake are kicking out crappies. For the most part, anglers have just started working the shallow bays, channels, and shorelines for panfish – the traditional spring spots. Some are just starting to attract crappies and a few days of sun and warm weather is expected to really kick the panfish bite into gear.

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


The ice is off, but there hasn’t been much fishing pressure. Over the next week, crappies should start showing up outside the bays and channel areas, along the first break staging in those areas before they move shallow.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              


Crappies and sunfish are being caught by anglers fishing from shore in the shallow bays and shoreline areas of South Lindstrom Lake and South Center Lake. Start looking for most lakes to produce panfish in shallow water as water temperatures continue to warm.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334


The ice is all gone, but the shallow panfish bite hasn’t kicked in mainly due to cool water temperatures. The few crappies being caught are coming from 6 to 10 feet on a few lakes, just outside the more traditional spring locations.

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


Anglers are fishing from shore and catching crappies at Long Bridge between Big Detroit Lake and Deadshot Bay. Crappies also are being caught at the Mitchell Dam and Cotton Lake in shallow water – jigs tipped with minnows or plastics are working best. 

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248


The inland lakes are mostly ice-free and some crappies are being caught during the evening hours by anglers fishing from shore at the dam on Rice Lake. Boats are being put in at the McQuade Small Craft Harbor on Lake Superior and trolling stickbaits along the ice line, near the surface in the Park Point area has produced coho salmon. The smelt are staging in that area and should run as soon as water temperatures climb a bit – there was a limited smelt run in the Lester River early this week.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094


Crappies have just started moving into the shallows and the bite seems to be best on those days when the sun is out. Little Elk Lake and the channel or bayou on Briggs Lake have been the best spots so far with small jigs and minnows.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985


Ice continued to linger on some of the bigger lakes on Tuesday, but many have been open for about one week. Any ice that remained is rotten and expected to be gone very soon. There has been some decent open water crappie action in the shallow bays of Farm Lake and Fall Lake with minnows.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358


The shallow bays on Lake Emily started giving up crappies in less than four feet. The bay on Lawrence Lake is kicking out sunfish and a few crappies in three to five feet. This area became completely ice-free with the wind last Sunday. 

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191


Crappies are moving in and out of the shallows with the lack of warm weather and some fish continue to be caught in 12 to 15 feet just outside the shallows. When they move in, look to the channels between Amber, Hall, Budd, and Sisseton lakes, A jig tipped with plastics or minnows continues to produce walleyes at Tuttle Lake in 4 to 6 feet.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225


Crappies were biting in the shallow bays on Circle Lake, Cedar Lake, and several other small lakes last weekend. But with cooler weather early this week, those bites have slowed. Look for them to move back in after a day or two of sun and warmer temperatures. 

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787


Crappies and sunfish are being found in 3 to 5 feet in the ditches at Norway Lake and North Turtle Lake. Wall Lake, Swan Lake, and generally most small lakes with shallow bays or channels have started producing panfish.

Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050


The Brule, Cascade, and Poplar rivers are producing steelhead on spawn sacs and yarn-tied hooks. Open water on area lakes might be a ways off based on conditions early this week. Most lakes were ice-covered shore to shore, but some deterioration was showing. Unfortunately, the midway point of the Gunflint Trail received 10 inches of snow Monday.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280


Fishing reports have been limited as anglers are just starting to look for panfish. Look to Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake or the small bays on Mound Lake to be the first to start producing crappies as soon as the sun comes out for a few days in a row. 

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405


Anglers have started finding crappies, but most are coming from 8 to 12 feet, just outside the bays and shoreline areas. Pleasant Lake and Birch Lake are giving up some fish, but look to the shallows on most lakes as soon as water temperatures climb in them a bit more.

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


There’s a lot of ice moving or floating around on main lake areas and the shorelines are breaking up. Most reports indicate that the lake should be wide open soon – well before opening day. Suckers have been running in the streams and rivers, which is keeping anglers busy until open water allows boaters to get to the crappie holes.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121


The trout bite remains strong and stream conditions remain excellent for fishing. There continues to be midday Gray Caddis hatches on most streams so anglers are matching that with a size 14 Caddis fly. Spinners, small crankbaits, and streamers also are producing trout. While most streams are providing good fishing, those within the state parks such as Whitewater, Beaver Creek, and Forestville are worth noting.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101


The shallow bays have started producing some crappies during the afternoon hours. There also has been crappies showing up along the first break outside of the bays in 10 to 15 feet. Girl Lake, Broadwater Bay and Lantern Bay on Woman Lake, or the pughole between Wabedo Lake and Little Boy Lake are worth looking into. 

The One Stop (218) 363-2252


Anglers are just starting to look for crappies in the shallow bays and some dock areas on Big Sandy Lake and Lake Minnewawa. Reports as of Tuesday morning have been light, but should pick up as water temperatures climb.

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


Crappie action really improved in 3 to 5 feet with minnows at Knife Lake and the Ann River. Look to Mud Lake to start producing crappies shallow.

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


Walleye action has been sporadic on Big Stone Lake, but fish are being caught in shallow water, close to shore. The south end has been producing bigger fish in 4 to 6 feet, while better numbers of males are being caught to the north in the Hartford and Sodak areas. A 1/16-ounce jig and minnow has been most productive.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480


Anglers fishing from shore on the north end of Long Lake are finding crappies. Anglers in boats are fishing the bays or pencil reed edges on Fifth and Sixth Crow Wing lakes and Boulder Lake for crappies as well. 

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099


The ice is off the lakes, but fishing pressure has been light. A few anglers have been fishing from shore looking for crappies, but water temperatures remain too cool to drive them into the shallows. Until the sun comes for a day or two and warms those bays up, look to the first break just outside of them for panfish. 

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355


Most boat landings remained closed early this week due to high water, but Everts Landing is again open. Water levels were still high, but they are dropping quickly and the walleye bite has been good for those venturing out. Dubuque Rigs with plastics and live-bait rigs or pitched jigs with live bait or plastics have been most productive on the current breaks.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334


Crappies have started hitting along the shorelines and bays throughout the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes, Lake Kornis, and Rice Lake. Clear Lake and Eden Lake are giving up crappies in 3 to 6 feet as well.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975


Panfish reports continue to be slow, likely due to cool water temperatures. The sun hasn’t been out enough to warm those shallow, spring spots so crappies and sunfish have not moved in. Look for a good bite to begin with a few days of sun and warmer air.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155


The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska is producing crappies and sunfish, especially when the sun is out for a day or two. Fish Hatchery Bay on Minnewaska is giving up a few crappies in less than 6 feet. 

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239


The bay on Nest Lake started giving up a mixed bag of panfish, while the culvert on Foot Lake is producing crappies. The back bay on Elkhorn Lake also is providing steady crappie action.

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


Hendricks Lake is kicking out good numbers of walleyes in shallow water with jigs and plastics – most anglers are fishing from shore. The channels or shallow areas of Lake Shetek, Fox Lake, and Bloody Lake are producing crappies. Look to Lake Sarah for perch and crappies in less than 5 feet, while Island Lake is producing perch. On Lake Lac qui Parle, crappies are going in shallow by the Milan Bridge or 6 to 12 feet on the main lake. There’s a lot of excellent shore fishing opportunities on these lakes right now.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

Categories: MInnesota Fishing Reports, News

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