LAKE MILLE LACS
Ice thickness varies throughout the lake, and with additional snow, slush continues to be a problem in most areas of the lake that people are allowed to access. Heading into this weekend, you’ll want to check with resorts about ice conditions, access options, and spots to fish.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Along the south shore, walleyes and sauger are being caught in 23 to 30 feet during the day or 16 to 18 feet early and late. Glow or gold jigging spoons are turning fish, but deadsticks and shiner minnows are just as productive many days. Anglers continue to catch good numbers and sort through some small fish to get their keepers.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
The evening hours are best for crappies in Seton Bay, North Arm, and Black Lake on Lake Minnetonka in 12 to 20 feet. Lake Independence is kicking out crappies over 30 feet, and northern pike seem to be hitting sucker minnows on the weedlines of most lakes. A few walleyes are coming off Lake Minnetonka in 30 feet during the day or 20 feet early and late. Buckshot spoons or deadsticks and shiner minnows are both working.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Walleyes remain active early and late each day out of McKinley Park around the reefs in 20 to 25 feet. Setlines and shiners or spoons are both producing fish. Most bays have started giving up good numbers of northern pike in less than 10 feet. This area received about 10 inches of snow last weekend, but there is enough ice that trucks and plows are being used to open roads and move larger fish houses around.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
With an additional 12 to 14 inches of snow hitting the area last weekend, snowmobiles are now the only travel option and there is some slush to deal with. Perch reports have been best in 12 to 14 feet, and walleyes are being caught on the main-lake structure in less than 14 feet as well.
Travel options were limited early this week after another 10 inches of snow hit the area last weekend. Ice depths are good, with 11 to 15 inches reported in the areas being fished on the main lake, but the deep snow and additional slush are making it difficult to get around. Heading into this weekend, it’s probably best to check with a resort for current road and travel options. The anglers venturing out were catching walleyes and northern pike in 15 to 26 feet.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
Minnows and jigs are producing walleyes during the morning hours out from the access areas around Birch Point and Black Bay. Some pockets of slush have developed with additional snowfall, but snowmobiles and ATVs are being used.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Roads have been reopened after last weekend’s snow and wind, but you’ll still want to work through a resort before venturing out. Walleye reports have been a bit more inconsistent, but plenty of fish continue to be caught in 11 to 13 feet throughout the lake. Glow spoons are turning some fish, but deadsticks and live minnows remain productive, especially during low-light periods.
Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
Twin Cities Metro
Tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike in 10 to 12 feet on Lake Minnewashta, Zumbra Lake, and Pierson Lake. Low-light periods have been best for crappies on Whaletail Lake in 8 to 10 feet, Hydes Lake in 12 feet, and Pierson in 14 to 18 feet. Anglers are walking on all lakes, and some limited ATV use has started on a few.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Waconia Bay is producing sunfish and northern pike in 9 to 12 feet. Hit Center Reef, Pillsbury Reef, or Wagener’s Bay for crappies and sunfish in 12 to 17 feet. Walleyes are hitting best during low-light periods on Pillsbury and Center reefs in 14 to 17 feet. ATVs and snowmobiles were being used early this week, but there is some slush to deal with.
Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096
You’ll find suspended crappies over 14 feet on Reno Lake and Little Mary Lake. Reno also is giving up a few walleyes in 14 to 17 feet, and sunfish are going on Little Mary in 8 to 12 feet during the day. Area lakes now have quite a bit of slush on them.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
Shiner minnows continue to produce walleyes early and late each day on Buffalo Lake and Clearwater Lake in 15 to 22 feet. Tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike in 12 to 14 feet on Maple Lake, Clearwater, Granite Lake, Cedar Lake, and Lake John. Look for sunfish in 8 to 14 feet and suspended crappies over 15 to 25 feet on Clearwater, Sylvia Lake, Maple, and Sugar Lake.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Snowmobiles or walking out are travel options after another foot of snow fell here late last weekend. There are pockets of slush to deal with on most lakes, and limited roads or trails were open early this week. If you can get to them, walleyes are biting on Otter Tail Lake in 15 to 20 feet and West Battle Lake in 35 to 40 feet. Crappies were biting prior to the snow in 14 to 16 feet at Rush Lake and Walker Lake.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
There was a lot of slush on area lakes before last weekend’s storm and it’s even worse now, so getting around on any lake has become even tougher. There is no vehicle traffic on Lake Bemidji and because of all the snow and slush, very few people are fishing the lake. Before the storm, Lake Irving was kicking out perch and a few walleyes on the south end, and there were folks driving vehicles out. Lake Plantagenet was producing perch and a few walleyes on the northwest side of the lake. On Gull Lake, crappies and bluegills were being caught in 12 to 18 feet.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
Another 12 to 14 inches of snow fell here last weekend, so people were still digging out early this week. Expect slush and tough travel conditions on area lakes, especially the small lakes, at the present time. Before the snow, walleyes were being caught on Blackduck Lake and Island Lake, while panfish action was good on many lakes as well.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Walleyes remain active on the north end of Gull Lake, hitting setlines with minnows in 18 to 24 feet. Hit North Long Lake, Lake Edwards, and the north end of Gull for crappies in 12 to 22 feet early and late each day. Northern pike action is strong in less than 10 feet on most lakes, while Round Lake, Nisswa Lake, and the Highway 371 Bay on North Long are giving up bluegills.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Another foot of snow hit this area last weekend, which has made moving around area lakes even more difficult. Snowmobiles or vehicles with tracks were the only options early this week due to deep snow and slush. If you can get to them, the 18-foot humps on Cass Lake were producing walleyes prior to the snow, and perch were being caught in 6 to 8 feet on Cass and Pike Bay Lake.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Northern pike are being taken on Serpent Lake in 10 to 15 feet, and few walleyes can be had in 20 to 26 feet during low-light periods. Snowmobiles and ATVs are being used here. The area’s small lakes are giving up crappies, but there is a lot of slush on them and it’s nearly impossible to get around on most unless you’re walking.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
This area received 10 to 14 inches of snow and the lakes have become even more difficult to travel on due to slush and deep snow. Early this week, there wasn’t any activity on area lakes, so call ahead going into this weekend to see what fishing options are available.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Sisseton Lake are giving up crappies and yellow bass in 15 to 18 feet – spikes and wax worms are both working. Budd and Sisseton also are kicking out bluegills in 12 to 15 feet, while a few walleyes and northern pike are being caught on Tuttle Lake and Cedar Lake in 3 to 6 feet. Most lakes now have about 9 inches of ice, but the point on South Silver Lake still has a spot that was kept open by geese, so you need to avoid this thin-ice area.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Walleyes and perch are being caught with setlines and minnows on Elbow Lake in 6 feet. Walleyes also are going on Cascade Lake in 6 to 10 feet, Devil Track Lake in 12 to 15 feet, and South Fowl Lake in 5 to 7 feet. Deep snow and slush are limiting anglers to walking out on most lakes.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Walking out, snowmobiles, and other track vehicles are now the only way to get around on area lakes. Another 10 inches of snow hit this area, and slush has become an issue on all lakes, especially the small ones. Those battling lake conditions are catching crappies in 25 to 30 feet on Bowstring Lake, and a mixed bag of panfish is coming out of McCavity Bay on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake over 30 feet.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
Area lakes have become even more sloppy as another 8 to 10 inches of snow fell last weekend. On most lakes, the best travel option at this point is to walk out or utilize a snowmobile to pack an area down and then come back to it once it refreezes. Prior to the most recent snow, crappies were biting during the evening hours on Birch Lake, Mule Lake, Stony Lake, and Pleasant Lake. Walleyes also were coming off lakes such as Pine Mountain, Baby, and Birch.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
There’s now 10 to 16 inches of ice in most areas, but some anglers have reported less than 7 inches when venturing farther north and east past Martin Island and then toward Lost Bay. Continue to check ice conditions while moving around. Walleye fishing has been fair, with a good mix of sizes being caught on rock/mud transition areas in 25 to 35 feet. Some nice bonus perch are mixed in, while northern pike spearing remains good throughout the lake.
Gateway Store (218) 875-2121
Crappies are being found suspended over 35 feet or more on Wabedo Lake. On Girl Lake, bluegills and crappies are hitting in 16 to 22 feet. The Government Point area on Woman Lake is producing a few walleyes and crappies during low-light periods in 12 feet, while angling and spearing for northern pike have been decent on most lakes in less than 12 feet. Anglers are finding 6 to 12 inches of ice, snow on top, and pockets of slush on all lakes in the area.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
The west end of Lake Francis is producing crappies and a few walleyes in 12 to 14 feet. German Lake is giving up crappies over 15 to 20 feet and bluegills in 8 to 10 feet, while the west end of Big Jefferson Lake is kicking out crappies over 18 to 20 feet. You’ll find crappies and walleyes in the Narrows and crappies on Church Bar of Madison Lake.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
This area received about 12 inches of snow last weekend, which temporarily limited travel on Big Stone Lake. Anglers have started to move around again, but call ahead for up-to-the-minute lake conditions heading into this weekend. Prior to the snow, the perch bite on Big Stone was excellent, with limits of fish as well as plenty of throw-backs being caught in 13 feet. There have been some bigger bluegills mixed in, and walleyes were being caught in shallower water.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
This area received another 12 inches or so of snow last weekend. It was difficult getting around on lakes prior the most recent snow event, so expect even more slush and sloppy conditions now. It’s probably best to call ahead leading into this weekend to see if any roads or trails have been opened on any lakes.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
RED WING AREA
The rain and warmer weather deteriorated ice conditions in many areas last weekend. Anglers are finding 4 to 6 inches of ice in the Maiden Rock area of Lake Pepin where a few walleyes are being caught. There’s also foot traffic in the Baypoint Marina for sunfish, and boat traffic on the Mississippi River has been limited.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Sunfish and crappies are being caught from 8 to 14 feet at Eden Lake, Pearl Lake, Browns Lake, Becker Lake, and Big Lake. Northern pike seem to be hitting in less than 14 feet on most lakes, but walleye action remains slow. Use caution on the lakes here, as most are extremely sloppy and offer varying ice depths.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The north end of Lake Osakis continues to produce sunfish in 22 to 24 feet and crappies in front of Holiday Resort during low-light periods in 22 to 40 feet. Northern pike action also is strong throughout Osakis in less than 12 feet. Sunfish are being caught at Maple Lake in 12 to 14 feet and Lilly Lake in 18 to 21 feet. Sauk Lake remains a safe bet for walleyes in 18 feet during low-light periods or 25 to 35 feet during the day.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155