LAKE MILLE LACS
The majority of the lake capped with ice last week, just before the snow hit. Early this week, resorts were still cleaning up the 12 inches of snow that fell and didn’t have a chance to really check the lake. Some bays have as much as 8 inches of ice and are still favorable for foot travel, but there is some water under the snow. You need to check with resorts at this point.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The majority of the big lake is iced over and resorts are monitoring ice conditions closely. The area was missed by heavy snowfall last weekend, which will continue to help building ice. Resorts have been out checking ice and in some cases starting to mark trails, but no fishing was happening early this week. Spearing is taking place for pike on the back bays. On the Rainy River, areas of the main channel have open water with the edges and bays iced up. There is no traffic on the river at this time while ice is forming. At the Northwest Angle, ice is forming nicely. With that being stated, there is higher than normal current this year so working through a resort or outfitter is always a good idea as they will keep you away from areas that are suspect.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
There’s still some open water spots on the big lakes, but most are now ice-covered. Even more important, the majority of lakes capped Monday night, after the snow fell, so with some cold weather ice conditions should continue to improve.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
About 8 to 10 inches of snow fell here, but with the exception of some slush pockets, ice conditions remain favorable. Portable shelters are being pulled out with snowmobiles or ATVs and walleyes are being caught on the reefs out from McKinley Park, all the way out to Birch Island. Jigging spoons and deadsticks are working best from 20 to 24 feet.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Anglers are reporting 6 to 9 inches of ice and there’s about 6 inches of snow on top of it. There is some slush on top of the ice, but it is manageable. Spear houses are set up along the shorelines and Third River area and snowmobiles are being used. There’s been a few perch caught in shallow water and some walleyes are coming off the shoreline breaks during the evening hours.
Walker Bay capped over on Sunday night – after the snow hit. The area received around 10 inches of snow, but it was windy enough that it blew around and some people have started venturing on the 4 to 8 inches of ice that’s set up on parts of the main lake. The area’s small lakes have more ice and have seen quite a bit of angling activity.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
This region avoided the big snow and temperatures have been below freezing so ice is forming and trails are getting firmer. There’s probably enough snow for skiing and sledding now. Some people have been venturing on the ice to fish, but it’s not yet advised due to varying ice depths.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Ice conditions remain favorable and only 4 to 6 inches of snow fell here – there’s a few drifts, but no slush, and 10 inches of ice is pretty consistent. On the north shore, limits of walleyes continue to be caught in 10 to 11 feet, along with some bonus northern pike and an occasional crappie. On the south end, limits of walleyes also remain common from 11 to 13 feet. Work through a resort and stick to the game plan and travel areas they suggest.
Beacon Harbor Resort (218) 647-8291
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
Twin Cities Metro
The majority of lakes froze after last weekend’s snow and there were still pockets of open water on the big lakes early this week. Depending on the weather, there could be enough ice to walk on within the next week on some small lakes and bays.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
There might be some limited areas of open water on the big lakes, but everything seems to have skimmed over early this week. If the snow stays away and with a few nights of cold air, people could be fishing on some of the small lakes within the next week to 10 days.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096
This area received about 6 inches of snow last weekend and most small lakes have 4 to 6 inches of ice, while the big lakes were mostly open during the snowfall. Anglers are walking out on the small lakes and catching panfish at Blackwell Lake and Lake Brophy in less than 10 feet. Hit Reno Lake for crappies and Little Mary Lake for bluegills and crappies in 7 to 12 feet.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
The good news is that the lakes were ice-free during last weekend’s snow event. With the exception of a few spots on some of the larger lakes, everything again covered with a thin layer of ice early this week.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
There hasn’t been enough people on the ice since last weekend’s 6 to 8 inches of snow fell over the area to get any type of lake/ice condition reports. Prior to the snow, most small lakes and bays had 3 to 5 inches of ice and some foot travel had started.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The area picked up 8 to 10 inches of snow last weekend. Unfortunately, the north half of Lake Bemidji capped the day before the snow arrived. There has been a few anglers out on the south end of the lake, but it’s very limited. Lake Irving is kicking out a few walleyes early and late in the day with perch going during midday hours. So far, there just hasn’t been much activity on area lakes.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
Gull Lake, Rabideau Lake, and Pimushe Lake continue to produce panfish in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Blackduck Lake for a few perch and walleyes in 10 to 15 feet and crappies over 15 to 20 feet. About 8 inches of snow fell in the immediate area, but lakes seem to be handling it. ATVs are being used on 6 to 10 inches of ice on most lakes and there’s even a bit more on some. You will have to watch out for a few slush pockets, but anglers seem to be moving around fine.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Crappies are being caught on Cullen Lake and in the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake in less than 10 feet. Round Lake continues to give up a few walleyes on the first shoreline break in 12 to 15 feet. Although a foot of snow fell here, anglers continue to walk on most lakes and are utilizing snowmobiles, too. There are some slush pockets and a few drifts to watch out for and ice depths vary, so you need to keep checking ice conditions as you go on all lakes.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake and the area’s small lakes have 6 to 8 inches of ice. There’s thinner ice on the main portion of Cass and 6 to 8 inches of snow on top of it, but ATVs are being used where people are fishing. Work the 10-foot weeds for perch and the 16- to 18-foot break for walleyes in Allen’s Bay. Spear houses also have been set in Allen’s Bay, Lake Andrusia, and Wolf Lake.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
The main portions on some of the area’s big lakes capped with ice Monday night, while the small lakes were covered and now have some snow on them. Some slush has developed along the shorelines where ice had been previously established, but anglers are starting to walk on a few lakes, bays, or channels. Basically, they’re going where ice conditions allow them to.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
This area received 15 to 19 inches of snow last weekend so any lakes that had ice on them are not in good shape. A few anglers have been walking out, but they are reporting a lot of slush under the snow. On the positive side, the big lakes were mostly ice-free during the snow event and have capped since.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Snow depths varied from 10 to 14 inches throughout the area and ice depths are inconsistent. With that, anglers are continuing to walk on a few lakes, finding some slush, but fishing where ice depths allow. Height of Land Lake, Cotton Lake, and Tamarack Lake are giving up some panfish.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Any ice fishing options in the immediate area have been put on hold after more than 20 inches of snow landed here last weekend. People were still digging out early this week, so it was way too early to know what effect the snow had on the 8 to 10 inches of ice that had formed on most lakes.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Most lakes still had spots with open water early this week and where ice had taken hold, slush has developed after the 6 to 8 inches of snow that fell here last weekend. There are no ice fishing options at this point throughout the area.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
Shagawa Lake and Birch Lake are producing walleyes in 18 to 23 feet – deadsticks and spoons are both working. Northern pike are being taken with tip-ups and minnows in the bays of Birch in less than 10 feet. Grassy Lake, Range Lake, and Bass Lake are giving up panfish around the 10- to 15-foot weeds. Snowmobiles are being used on area lakes with 6 to 8 inches of snow on top and 8 to 11 inches of ice on most lakes.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
More than one foot of snow hit the area last weekend, which was unfortunate since 6 to 8 inches of ice was being found on many small lakes. Any ice fishing that was happening has ended and anglers were just starting to get out early this week and check lake conditions again. The big, deep lakes were still open prior to the snow, so they might be in better shape once it gets cold and walkable ice forms on them.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
This area received 7 to 9 inches of snow, but the lakes were mostly ice-free while it fell. Early this week, most of them capped with a thin layer of ice so while the snow had no impact on lake conditions, it needs to get colder before walkable ice is an option.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Ice conditions continue to improve with about 6 inches on the small lakes. There old snow on the ground, but nothing new fell over the area last weekend. Pike are being taken on Devil Track Lake in 8 to 12 feet and Elbow Lake in 4 feet with tip-ups and suckers. Walleyes are hitting at Crescent Lake in 10 to 12 feet and Elbow is producing perch and some walleyes in 6 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
The small lakes and bays have 8 to 10 inches of ice, while the larger, deep lakes completely capped Sunday night – after the snow fell, about 8 inches total. So the lakes are manageable for travel, but anglers were just starting to get out early this week and check conditions after the snow.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
The small lakes have 4 to 6 inches of ice, but are now covered with snow and slush, making it difficult to get around on them. The lakes that froze or refroze after the snow hit, might have some walkable ice by this weekend.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Ice fishing options are limited after last weekend’s 12- to 14-inch snowfall. If there’s an upside, it’s that most small lakes only had 4 to 8 inches of ice and the slush that has developed should settle, freeze, and potentially not limit additional ice making, if it gets cold. The big, deep lakes were open or partially open before the snow and have since skimmed over so they should continue to make ice.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
Kabetogama Lake was spared of any significant snow last weekend and is making good ice. Spearing has been great in the bays and along shorelines, and the lake looks to be on track for some early season hard water angling on the main lake in the not too distant future. Ice thickness varies dramatically throughout the area so caution is advised. As some anglers begin to venture out in search of walleyes and perch, most are staying close to shore and having excellent success in their spear houses. As far as angling goes, reports are few and far as ice conditions are not safe enough to venture out quite yet.
Gateway Store (218) 875-2121
Travel of any type on the ice was not advised early this week. There are several areas of the lake that have opened again and the area received approximately 6 inches of snow over the weekend along with high winds. There is some areas of ice up to 4 or 5 inches, but way too many open areas and bad ice to trust going out.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
About 12 inches of snow has piled up on area lakes and slush has developed on most of them. A handful of anglers have ventured out on foot since last weekend’s snow and they reported pockets of slush on the small lakes where 6 to 8 inches of ice had formed. Unfortunately, the big lakes had thinner ice and with the snow cover, adding ice depth could be a slow process.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
Anglers were finding 4 to 7 inches of ice on many small lakes, but with a foot of fresh snow, there’s quite a bit of water on top of the ice. Some people are still venturing out, but they report that water comes up fast once you a drill a hole. The lakes that were open during the snow have since capped and continue to make ice.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Evert’s Landing remains open and when the weather allows, anglers are catching saugers and a few walleyes from it up to the dam in 16 to 20 feet. Lake Pepin is mostly ice-free and the marinas are capped with a thin layer of ice.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Any ice that did exist prior to last weekend’s snow is not safe and now has water on top of it. Strong winds accompanied the snow and it opened up a lot of areas on many lakes, which refroze Sunday night. Those locations will be making better ice than most of it that stayed intact.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
This area received about 8 inches of snow last weekend and it did take its toll on the ice. Basically, there are parts of lakes in good shape and parts that are not. The spots that froze earliest now have some slush, but those that capped after the snow fell will have better ice by this weekend. There hasn’t been anyone fishing since the snow.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
The ice that was in place on the small lakes and bays now has slush under the snow, so there wasn’t anyone venturing on it early this week. Most big lakes were open or reopened with the wind last weekend, but have since iced over. Those areas might have better ice over the next week or so if it gets cold.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Many lakes had reopened or were partially ice-free before last weekend’s measurable snow hit. They have since refroze and should be in good shape if it continues to get cold. There really hasn’t been anyone on the lakes that remained ice-covered and now have snow on them.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880