Report from the Docks
Overall, lake conditions have improved even more since last week across the northern part of the state. The slush that has been causing travel issues in many areas seems to have diminished a lot and anglers are now starting to travel off plowed roads with trucks. You’ll still want to watch out for any drifts and slush pockets, but the added travel opportunities seemed to get more people on the ice this past week. With the last weekend of the inland walleye and northern pike season upon us, most reports indicate pretty consistent northern pike activity in relatively shallow water. Walleyes have been a bit more sluggish, but remaining mobile and fishing low-light periods of the day will produce fish. Many anglers have been jigging spoons to draw walleyes in, but they seem to get more bites on deadsticks with live minnows. Look for suspended crappies over deep basin areas or a mixed bag of bluegills and crappies in the shallow- to mid-depths weeds. Eelpout and tullibee reports are on the increase with most fish coming out of deep water.
LAKE MILLE LACS
East – The mud flats and deep gravel areas are producing some walleyes during the day in 22 to 30 feet. If you’re willing to move, you’ll catch better numbers or implement a deadstick and sucker minnow if you stay in one location. Walleyes also are being taken on the 18- to 20-foot rocks during the evening and overnight. There has been some jumbo perch and tullibees coming from the basin areas in 30 feet or more.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
West – Look for walleyes on top of the mud flats during low-light periods or off the edges in 28 feet or more during the day. Anglers catching more fish have been willing to get away from the big groups of houses. Jig a spoon on one rod and use a deadstick set up with a sucker minnow on another. The deep basin areas, 30 feet or more, continue to kick out tullibees and some perch.
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Good walleye and sauger fishing continues 16 to 22 miles out on the south shore. Jig and spoon colors vary, but on sunny days gold has been consistent, while glow pink, green, orange and chartreuse are better on cloudy days and don’t be afraid to downsize presentation if the fish are not active. On the Rainy River, there’s been some reports of local anglers catching a few walleyes in the river, but most anglers are hitting the lake. At the Northwest Angle, 26 to 32 feet of water has been best for walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, and northern pike.
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies and sunfish continue to be caught in 18 to 24 feet throughout the North Arm, Phelp’s Bay, and Carson’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka. Northern pike are taking sucker minnows along the 10- to 15-foot weeds on Minnetonka. Walleye action is sporadic with a few fish coming out of 30 feet and some on the weedlines of Minnetonka during low-light periods. You’ll find suspended crappies over 33 feet on Lake Independence, and Medicine Lake is producing a few sunfish in 8 to 10 feet.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Walleye reports have been limited to a few fish coming off the mid-lake reefs in 20 to 30 feet. Most anglers are using portable shelters and snowmobiles, bouncing around, basically hole hopping and picking off a few more fish. Overall, fishing pressure has dropped way off due to the lack of plowed roads and opportunity to get wheel houses and trucks on the lake.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The slush has gone away some, roads are plowed out of certain resorts, and snowmobiles are being used more regularly across the lake. Fishing pressure continues to be light with better access, but those going are catching perch in 10 to 12 feet or on the main lake flats in 15 to 22 feet. Call ahead and work through a resort for access and travel options.
Lake conditions have improved enough that off-road truck use is now an option in many areas. The slush has diminished as well, just avoid any large drifts. The reefs on the south shore are giving up a few walleyes during the evening hours in 17 to 26 feet, as are the 25- to 30-foot humps in Walker Bay. The 12- to 15-foot breaks in Walker Bay are producing some perch during the day and a few walleyes each evening – the shallow perch bite has been slow. A few tullibees are being caught in the deep basin areas off Stoney Point and look for eelpout in 20 feet or more throughout Walker Bay.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
Walleyes are most active during the morning and evening hours over 22 to 25 feet. Deadsticks with live minnows and jigging baits are both producing fish. Crappies have started moving through these depths as well, often suspended, and providing quick spurts of action during low-light periods.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Although not everyone is catching limits of walleyes, the bite is pretty strong for this time of year. Low-light periods and overnight hours have been best with deadsticks and minnows in 11 to 13 feet and some fish are being caught on smaller jigging spoons. Roads are well established as far out as seven miles and there have been more crappies and bigger perch in the mix this week. You’ll still find spots with slush off the plowed road areas.
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 and bass along the weedlines of Beaver Lake, Silver Lake, and Demontreville Lake. Walleyes are being caught on White Bear Lake and Bald Eagle Lake in 22 to 25 feet with deadsticks and minnows at night. A few crappies are being taken during low-light periods on White Bear over 15 to 20 feet.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
Hydes Lake is giving up crappies in 14 feet, while Whaletatil Lake is producing crappies in 12 feet and northern pike in 8 to 10 feet. Look to Rietz Lake in 8 to 12 feet for crappies and sunfish. Lake Zumbra and Lake Auburn are kicking out northern pike in 10 to 12 feet with sucker minnows.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Sunfish and crappies are being caught on Prior Lake, Cedar Lake, and Carl’s Lake in 4 to 10 feet, but you’ll still find suspended fish in 20 feet or more as well. An occasional walleye is caught on the north end of Prior during low-light periods in 14 to 18 feet and there is some daytime northern pike action in 5 to 10 feet here as well.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096
Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 25 feet in Wagener’s Bay and on Center Reef. Sucker minnows are turning northern pike in 11 to 14 feet on Center Reef or in Waconia and Wagener’s bays. Walleyes are tough to catch, but sunfish are being caught in Wagener’s Bay and on Center Reef in 11 to 15 feet.
Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096
Crappies and an occasional walleye are being taken in the bay on Lake Reno in 12 to 20 feet of water. Lake Geneva is producing crappies in 20 to 24 feet of water, while Lake Ida is kicking out crappies in over 20 feet of water and sunfish in 8 to 12 feet of water. A few walleyes are being taken on Lake Miltona during the evening hours in 20 to 24 feet of water and Smith Lake is kicking out a mixed bag of panfish and northern pike in 12 to 14 feet of water. Look to Lake Le Homme Dieu for crappies in 24 to 30 feet of water, while Lake Agnes is giving up crappies and sunfish, straight out from the access, in 8 to 15 feet of water.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
A walleye or two is caught during low-light periods from 18 to 25 feet on Sugar Lake, Big Swan Lake, and Clearwater Lake. Look for crappies in 18 to 22 feet and sunfish in 10 to 15 feet on Pleasant Lake, Buffalo Lake, Lake Sylvia, Limestone Lake, Indian Lake, and Rock Lake. Sucker minnows continue to trigger northern pike on Clearwater and Pleasant in 12 to 15 feet.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Crappies and sunfish continue to be found suspended over 20 to 25 feet on Walker Lake, Ellingson Lake, Clitherall Lake, and West Battle Lake. A few walleyes are caught during low-light periods in 24 to 30 feet on Otter Tail Lake, West Battle, and Ten Mile Lake. Some tullibees are being found suspended over 30 feet or more on Clitherall and Lida Lake.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
With the walleye season winding down, panfish have become a bigger focus for most anglers. Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet are kicking out perch in 18 to 30 feet on jigging spoons and minnow heads or waxies. Look to Gull Lake, Moose Lake, and Midge Lake for crappies and bluegills.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
Blackduck Lake is producing yellow perch during the day and walleyes each evening in 8 to 12 feet. Look for crappies and bluegills in 18 to 20 feet on Blackduck as well. Gull Lake, Pimushe Lake, and Rabideau Lake are giving up crappies in 20 to 22 feet and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet. Benjamin Lake is kicking out rainbow trout – look for fish suspended about 5 to 8 feet below the ice over deep water.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Eelpout action has picked up during the afternoon and evening hours on Gull Lake over 30 feet or more. Look to Lake Edwards and North Long Lake with sucker minnows for northern pike in 10 to 14 feet. Walleyes are hitting shiner minnows in 18 to 30 feet at North Long, Gull, and Pelican Lake. Crappies are sitting along the 8- to 12-foot weeds or suspending over 20 to 30 feet on Gull, Round Lake, and North Long. Sunfish reports remain best off Nisswa Lake, Lake Margaret, and North Long in 8 to 12 feet.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
You’ll find sunfish and crappies on the south ends of Chisago Lake and Big Green Lake in 6 to 12 feet. The Highway 8 side of Little Green Lake is kicking out panfish, northern pike, and some walleyes in 6 to 14 feet. Work the back bays on South Center Lake for panfish and pike or North Lindstrom Lake in 8 to 12 feet for crappies, sunfish, bass, and northern pike.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
A few walleyes are coming off Serpent Lake in 30 to 35 feet and Nokay Lake in 20 to 25 feet during low-light periods – spoons and deadsticks with minnows are both working. Huntington Pit and Manuel Pit are kicking out rainbow trout about 20 feet down early in the day or down 50 to 70 feet during midday hours over deeper water. Look for suspended crappies during the evening hours on Bay Lake over 30 feet or more, Black Hoof Lake in 20 to 22 feet, and Little Rabbit Lake in 20 to 30 feet.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Little Floyd Lake, Big Floyd Lake, Little Detroit Lake, Lake Melissa, and Big Detroit Lake are producing sunfish in 12 to 15 feet and crappies in slightly deeper water. A few walleyes are being caught during low-light periods on deadsticks and minnows in 20 to 24 feet on Big Detroit, Lake Sallie, and Melissa. Some anglers have started hitting the deep holes on Long Lake for tullibees.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Look for bluegills in 12 to 15 feet and crappies in 20 to 25 feet on Island Lake. Tip-ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike on Rice Lake in 6 feet, while the Duluth Harbor (Park Point area) is producing walleyes, northern pike, and the occasional sturgeon in 10 to 12 feet. Look to Boulder Lake in 12 to 14 feet or the Hi-Banks area of Fish Lake in 15 feet for crappies at night.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Blue Lake is producing sunfish and crappies in 17 feet, while Green Lake is giving up crappies in 17 to 20 feet. Look to Elk Lake and Mitchell Lake with sucker minnows for northern pike in 7 to 14 feet. Crappies are going on Eagle Lake in 14 feet early and late each day.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
Burntside Lake and Snowbank Lake are giving up lake trout on bucktails or tube jigs in 30 to 50 feet. High Lake is producing rainbows and brook trout in 12 feet on small Rippin’ Raps or jigs and waxworms. Hit Low Lake for bluegills in 10 to 15 feet and Bass Lake for crappies in 20 to 30 feet. Eelpout action has picked up during the evening hours with jigs and dead smelt on Shagawa Lake and Snowbank in 20 to 50 feet.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
The snow and slush has settled enough allowing anglers to now get on most lakes, just avoid the drifts. Walleye and northern pike action has been slow, but crappies and some sunfish are being caught on Lake Mary, Lake Esquagamah, and Mitchell Lake. Numbers are good, but you’ll have to sort through quite a few small fish.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Hit Hall Lake and Budd Lake for crappies and yellow bass in 15 to 20 feet. Hall Lake started giving up a few walleyes during low-light periods in 10 to 15 feet, as is Tuttle Lake in 5 feet.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
FERGUS FALLS AREA
West Lost Lake is producing sunfish in 10 feet, and northern pike reports have been strong with sucker minnows on most lakes in 12 to 15 feet. Crappies are going on Orwell Lake in 12 to 18 feet and Wall Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 8 to 15 feet. Look for suspended tullibees over the deep basin areas of Pebble Lake and Pickeral Lake.
Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Walleyes are being taken with deadsticks and chubs on South Fowl Lake and Elbow Lake in 4 to 6 feet or McFarland Lake in 12 to 15 feet. Rainbow trout are hitting minnows on Trout Lake in 15 to 22 feet, as are lake trout in 38 to 50 feet. Mink Lake continues to produce rainbow trout in 18 to 22 feet on waxworms, while lake trout are going on Daniels Lake with smelt or salted minnows down 35 to 40 feet. On Greenwood Lake, chubs are producing lake trout at 25 to 35 feet.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Crappie action has improved on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake in 25 to 30 feet and Six Mile Lake in 20 to 25 feet. Crappies and perch are hitting in 25 feet on Bowstring Lake, while Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 10 to 14 feet. Spoons or minnows are turning lake trout on Caribou Lake around 40 feet.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Northern pike have become active in less than 10 feet on Pine Lake, Rooney (St. Anna) Lake, Mound Lake, Big Birch Lake, and Big Swan Lake. Look for sunfish and crappies on Moose Lake in 15 to 18 feet, while Lady Lake is giving up sunfish and a few crappies in 18 to 20 feet. The north end of Big Swan is kicking out crappies over 28 feet and sunfish in 18 to 20 feet. Hit Little Birch Lake in 18 to 20 feet and Big Birch in 18 to 30 feet for a few walleyes on small sucker minnows.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
A few walleyes are being caught on Baby Lake with fatheads or small sucker minnows during low-light periods in 20 to 22 feet. Look for bluegills on Birch Lake and the north end of Mule Lake in 12 to 16 feet and suspended crappies on Stoney Lake and Webb Lake over 20 to 22 feet.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
It’s more of the same this week for trout anglers at Trout Run and the state park streams in this area. The rivers and streams are running clear and manageable making for ideal fishing conditions. On the sunny days, Midge Larvae, Scuds, and Prince Nymphs are producing trout in deeper water.
Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101
Setlines and a rainbow minnow have worked best for walleyes on Woman Lake in 20 to 22 feet. Anglers are starting to move around on Big Boy Lake and Girl Lake, and they’re sorting through small sunfish in 8 to 10 feet to put together some keeping-size fish. You’ll also find crappies over 25 to 30 feet on Big Boy and over 16 feet on Girl.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
On Madison Lake, bluegills are hitting throughout East Bay in 6 to 8 feet, crappies are biting during the evening hours over 16 to 22 feet in front of Church Bar and Cow Bar, while panfish, northern pike, and a few walleyes are being caught south of the narrows in 18 to 20 feet. On Lake Washington, walleyes and crappies are being taken over 20 to 22 feet off Second and Third points, and Baker’s Bay is producing bluegills in 18 to 20 feet.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Crappies and sunfish are being taken on Knife Lake in 8 to 10 feet, especially during the afternoon hours. Look to Ann Lake for sunfish in 7 to 9 feet, while Fish Lake is kicking out sunfish and northern pike in 7 to 10 feet.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Perch remain active on Big Stone Lake around the south end islands, Schmidt’s Landing area, and Rocky Ledge in 11 to 13 feet. Small spoons or tungsten jigs with Eurolarvae continue to work best. You’ll find a few quality bluegills mixed with the perch and some walleyes are being taken on Big Stone along the shorelines in less than 6 feet early and late each day.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Crappies are being found suspended over 20 to 30 feet or on the 14- to 18-foot weedlines of Big Mantrap Lake, Fish Hook Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain. A few walleyes are coming off Potato Lake, Long Lake, and Fish Hook in 14 to 18 feet during low-light periods. The Crow Wing Chain of Lakes, particularly Fourth and Eighth, are producing bluegills in 12 to 18 feet.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
Look for bluegills in 12 to 15 feet and suspended crappies over 25 to 30 feet on Big Pine Lake, Star Lake, Rush Lake, and Walker Lake. Tullibee anglers have started finding suspended fish over the deep basin areas of most lakes. Look for northern pike to hit sucker minnows in 12 to 15 feet on Star and Rush.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Anglers in boats on the Mississippi River are catching sauger during the day with a jig and minnow in 20 to 24 feet. After sunset, dragging jigs and plastics has turned walleyes and sauger in less than 15 feet. Ice anglers are finding improved northern pike action in the bays with sucker minnows.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Pearl Lake, Becker Lake, and Schneider Lake are producing sunfish and some crappies in 8 to 14 feet. You’ll also pop some crappies over 20 feet or so on Eden Lake and Schneider early and late each day. Walleye action has slowed, but the basin areas on Horseshoe Lake and Cedar Island Lake continue to produce channel catfish in 25 feet or deeper.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Freshwater shrimp are producing sunfish on the north end of Lake Osakis and you’ll find crappies in the Battle Point area over 20 to 22 feet. The southeast corner of Maple Lake is kicking out sunfish and crappies in 20 to 24 feet. Work the north end of Fairy Lake in 10 to 12 feet and southeast corner of Fairy Lake in 12 to 18 feet for sunfish. Sauk Lake continues to produce walleyes in 12 to 18 feet, but you’ll have to sort through a lot of small fish, while Lily Lake, Fairy, Long Bridge Lake, and Sauk are kicking out northern pike on shiner minnows in 12 to 14 feet.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
The Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska continues to produce sunfish during the day and a few crappies at night in 14 feet out from the Lakeside Ballroom. Minnewaska also started giving up more northern pike in 10 to 15 feet and some walleyes can be had here at night, off the points, in 14 to 22 feet.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Lake Lac qui Parle is producing crappies and a few walleyes in 8 to 13 feet. Look to Lake Shetek for perch, crappies, and walleyes in 8 to 12 feet. Perch continue to be caught at Lake Benton in 6 to 10 feet.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880