Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report for Nov. 22, 2019

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

There’s some ice along the shorelines and in the bays, but the wind is pushing any ice that’s developed farther out. The ice that’s moving is soft, which is good, since it will likely disappear and reform when it gets colder and the wind calms.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

There’s 4 to 8 inches of ice on some back bays along the south shore and there is some ice on the main lake, but big pockets of open water as well. The Rainy River is iced over in most areas with a thin layer over a strong current. Some anglers fished last week with decent success and some big walleyes were caught before the freeze up. At the Northwest Angle, there’s been some reports around the inlet of good ice forming, but no ice travel is recommended. Most bays and some areas throughout islands are ice-covered.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The very small lakes and ponds still had skim ice early this week, but everything else was pretty much wide open. Even where some ice had formed in the channels, bays, and small lakes, it disappeared with the warmer weather and rain since last week.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Much of the main lake is ice-covered, but it’s a thin layer with pockets of open water. Most bays also are capped with as much as 5 to 6 inches of ice being found close to shore on Pike Bay.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

The lake appears to be totally capped with ice, but it is not safe for any type of travel at this point. Ice depths vary from 3 inches to 6 inches in many areas with thinner ice on other spots, and there is some rough ice out there due to the lake freezing when it was windy. Some spear houses are being set in the Third River area.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

Some bays off the main lake develop a thin layer of ice, but the wind is continually pushing it or breaking it up. The main lake is ice-free, and muskie anglers were still putting boats in Walker Bay early this week. The small lakes in this area have 4 to 7 inches of ice and anglers have been getting out on some of them.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

The recent frigid weather is building ice, but it’s still too early to venture out. The National Park Service has issued a warning noting that the secluded bays may look fine, but ice conditions can vary greatly, and there’s still plenty of open water on the main lake.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Anglers continue to walk out or use ATVs on the northwest corner of the lake where 8 to 9 inches of ice has developed about a half mile out and walleyes are being caught in 7 to 8 feet. The south end continues to have a crack about 300 yards from shore that was still moving early this week and preventing resorts from allowing people get out. There’s 7 to 10 inches of ice around it, but the crack needs to heal before anglers will be allowed to go.

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Weather-wise, it hasn’t been a good week for making ice and the ice that was in place has deteriorated and even melted away. A few muskie anglers were still venturing out in boats on the St. Croix River and a few local lakes. It’s going to take another stretch of cold weather for ice to again take hold.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

There’s still plenty of open water on the big lakes and the small, shallow lakes that did have a layer of ice have shown a setback since last week. The limited ice that did exist has deteriorated greatly so it’s advised to stay off it at this point.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Anglers were walking on some of the area’s small lakes early this week with about 4 inches of ice being found. The big lakes were mostly ice-free and those small, shallow lakes will only be an option this weekend if some cold air arrives. Much of the ice in place was starting to look soft as of Tuesday morning.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

While there was some ice forming on the small lakes, it has deteriorated quite a bit since last week. Any ice that remained early this week also looks soft and most big lakes were being kept open by the wind and warm weather of late.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Ice conditions have deteriorated since last week with rain and warmer weather taking a toll on the ice that was forming. Many big lakes that were capped with ice have reopened, while the ice on smaller lakes looked dark and soft early this week.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Despite the lack of cold weather, ice on area lakes continues to hold up. Lake Bemidji is buttoned up, but as of early this week there hasn’t been anyone on it. The small- to medium-size lakes have 5 to 8 inches of ice and people are walking out or using ATVs on a few. Lake Irving is kicking out some walleyes early and late in the day and perch all day long. The south end of Midge Lake is producing a few crappies and bluegills. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

There are a few cracks that developed with last week’s wind and some warmer weather of late, but most lakes have about 6 inches of ice and anglers are walking out, or on a few lakes, using ATVs. Basically, ice conditions are the same as they were a week ago. The few people going out are hitting Blackduck Lake, Island Lake, and Round Lake for perch during the day and a walleyes or two each evening in 10 to 12 feet.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

The small lakes and bays have ice depths that vary from 3 to 6 inches and anglers have been checking them thoroughly as they go. Some panfish are being caught on those lakes that froze earliest, although ice thickness didn’t improve since last week. The big lakes or anything that’s wind-exposed, remained open or partially open early this week.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Ice conditions have not improved since last week due to the warmer weather. The few people checking ice depth are finding 3 to 5 inches in spots and less ice on other areas and there hasn’t been anyone fishing at this point.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

CHISAGO AREA   

The channels and small bays have skim ice, but any other ice that had started to form has been eliminated with the warm weather and wind. A few muskie anglers were still getting out in boats early this week on some lakes.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Not much has changed with ice conditions since last week. If anything, ice depths may have diminished a bit with the warmer weather. Some small lakes and bays have 3 to 4 inches of ice and open water remained on the big lakes. Until it gets cold again, extreme caution is advised on any ice in this area.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Anglers are finding 4 to 8 inches of ice on most small lakes or bays and a bit less on the bigger bodies of water. Generally, any ice intact seems to be holding up. Tamarack Lake and Height of Land Lake have started giving up a mixed bag of panfish. The best walleye report is coming off Deadshot Bay in 9 to 11 feet during the evening hours.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

The small, shallow lakes have 3 to 5 inches of ice, which is about the same as last week and a few people have been fishing them, although it is not recommended. The big lakes are capped with a thin layer of ice, but it’s just been too warm to build additional thickness.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Just about all lakes remained covered with ice as of Tuesday morning, and there was some limited ice fishing options late last week. But the ice in place has deteriorated, got soft, and isn’t advised to walk on until another stretch of cold air arrives.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Anglers are finding 3 to 8 inches of ice on the small and medium-size lakes, but some open water remained on portions of the larger lakes. Shagawa Lake is producing walleyes in 18 to 23 feet on spoons or a minnow/bobber combination. The small lakes south of the immediate area are giving up plenty of walleyes as well. Tip-ups with sucker minnows or frozen smelt are turning northern pike in the shallow bays of Birch Lake, Low Lake, and White Iron Lake. Look to Low, Range Lake, and Stub Lake for bluegills and a few crappies in less than 10 feet. 

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

EMILY AREA 

Some very small lakes and bays have 3 to 4 inches of ice, which hasn’t got any thicker since last week. The large, deep lakes remained open or partially open early this week.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FARIBAULT AREA

There was some walkable ice and some limited fishing taking place on a few small lakes last week. But with the warm weather and rain since then, it was no longer advised early this week. People are fishing from shore below the dam on the Cannon River and catching a mixed bag of fish.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

FERGUS FALLS AREA

The big, deep lakes were mostly wide open early this week, while a few small, shallow lakes held walkable ice. “Fishable” ice is limited at this point and there hasn’t been many people venturing out, especially since it warmed up.

Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050

GRAND MARAIS AREA

While there’s still quite a bit of open water on the big lakes, some small lakes and bays have 6 to 8 inches of ice. Some limited fishing has started on those that froze first, with Elbow Lake producing perch and a few walleyes in 4 to 6 feet.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA 

The small lakes that froze earliest have 4 to 6 inches of ice and some spear houses and limited angling has started on those. A couple of big lakes, those that traditionally freeze later, still had pockets of open water early this week.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710

GREY EAGLE AREA

There was a few ice fishing options last week on some small, shallow lakes, but the ice has deteriorated with the recent warm up, wind, and rain. Any ice that remained has become soft and the big lakes that also had a layer of ice have mostly reopened.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

There were people fishing on some small lakes last weekend with 2 to 6 inches of ice being found. Warm, windy weather since then likely deteriorated the ice and rain on Monday night didn’t help, either. It’s going to have to get cold for a few nights before this weekend for the ice to firm up again or anglers might not be able to get out.

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

LAKE KABETOGAMA

There was still some open areas to the north, but most of the lake froze over last week. The bays off the main lake have now been ice-covered even longer, but it’s likely going to take at least one more stretch of cold temperatures before people start to seriously think about ice fishing.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

MORA AREA

The lakes in this area still have 4 inches of ice, but its condition has deteriorated since last week. The few people checking ice depths reported that it has become soft early this week, so even foot traffic is not recommended until it gets cold again..

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

ORTONVILLE AREA

Some of the sloughs have reopened, but Big Stone Lake remained locked up early this week with a thin layer of soft ice. Ideally, the ice that’s in place melts away and refreezes once it gets cold.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Ice conditions haven’t changed much since last week with 3 to 6 inches being found on some small lakes and bays – people have been walking out and fishing several smaller bodies of water. The area’s big lakes remained partially open early this week.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

Some limited ice fishing options were possible last weekend, but the 4 inches of ice or so that was built on the small lakes hasn’t improved at all since then. Any thin ice on the big lakes has mostly melted away as well.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Numbers of sauger and some bigger walleyes are being caught from Red Wing to the dam on the Mississippi River. A jig and minnow or Dubuque Rigs are working best along the current seams – depth doesn’t matter, just work breaks in the current. Lake Pepin is ice-free, but the bays have a thin layer of ice.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Ice remains on most lakes, but the wind, warmer weather, and rain over the past week hasn’t allowed it to thicken at all. While a few lakes were being walked on, it’s no longer advised until it gets cold, firms up again, and builds more ice.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

There was quite a bit of fishing activity late last week, but ice conditions have deteriorated with warmer weather and rain taking its toll on the ice that did exist. It’s recommended that people stay off the ice until it gets cold down again.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

Everything has remained ice-covered, but ice depths have not got any thicker since last week. Anglers poking around on some of the small, shallow lakes were finding about 3 inches of ice, so fishing options are limited at this point.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

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