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Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Minnesota Fishing Report – April 7, 2020

Report from the Dock

If your heart is set on going ice fishing one last time, you can probably find lakes to do that in the northern part of the state this weekend. After that, it’s probably going to be over everywhere with main lake ice deteriorating quickly and shorelines in even worse shape – even across the northern part of the state. There were some pretty good crappie reports this week in areas with open water. Lakes such as Minnetonka, Waconia, and others around the Twin Cities area have started producing crappies and a few bluegills, which is encouraging since these lakes still had some ice on them last week. Look for other areas to follow suit, if water temperatures have the opportunity to warm up. If it stays cool, you should be able to find crappies staged just outside those traditional spring locations in slightly deeper water. Some anglers have reported northern pike are starting to run in creeks in certain areas (even where ice is still on lakes) and others are fishing small streams and catching redhorse and suckers. Time to get the long rods and boats out.

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

The shorelines continue to pull away and although there’s still plenty of main lake ice, it’s also starting to show signs of a spring thaw. With the rain and warm temperatures early this week, ice conditions appear to be deteriorating fast.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

 

LAKE OF THE WOODS

There’s still plenty of main lake ice, but with the exception of a few northern pike anglers around, fishing pressure and overall activity in the area remains light. The Rainy River stretch of open water continues to extend farther, although the anglers with private access have reported dirtier water and a slower walleye bite.

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

 

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The ice is gone throughout the area and anglers are fishing open water with good success. Crappies are being taken with a jig and minnow in 4 to 8 feet in the mud-bottom bays and channels of Lake Minnetonka. There’s a few sunfish mixed in, while boat and shore anglers have been out in good numbers. The bait shop is operating under normal hours.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

 

LAKE VERMILION

The majority of shorelines are now starting to get soft and deteriorate, but main lake ice still looks favorable for fishing. With that stated, there really hasn’t been anyone on it to garner any type of report – although still an option,  it seems as though the ice fishing season has ended.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

 

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Ice fishing activity has become even more limited, although the main lake still has plenty of ice on it. Shoreline and current areas have been deteriorating and the ice in place seems to be following suit quickly with the warmer weather.

Lake Winnie Resort Association       

           

LEECH LAKE

Although there were some perch and tullibee anglers on the lake last weekend, that might not be an option any longer. While main lake ice is probably favorable for some form of light travel, deteriorating shoreline ice is limiting people from getting on it, or even wanting to go on it.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

 

RAINY LAKE     

While the Rainy River continues to open in bigger stretches, there’s still a lot of ice on the lake. Shorelines are busting loose, but there hasn’t been anyone venturing out.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

 

RED LAKE

Main lake ice is starting to rot and look soft, while shorelines have busted loose, extending small stretches of open water farther into the lake.

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Open water fishing has started throughout the area in a big way. Anglers are out in boats or fishing from shore and doing quite well for crappies on the St. Croix River, Big Marine Lake, Big Carnelian Lake, and Clear Lake by Forest Lake, among others. The Mississippi River also has been busy with boat traffic, despite high water. The bait shop is operating under normal businesss hours.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

 

WEST METRO

The ice is gone on all lakes. Crappies are being caught on Lake Parley or in Wagener’s Bay and Waconia Bay on Lake Waconia in 10 to 14 feet. Pierson Lake also is giving up a few crappies in 12 to 15 feet. The store is operating under normal business hours.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

 

LAKE WACONIA

The ice went out on Lake Waconia early Thursday, April 2nd. The marina will remain closed for the next several weeks (even though the ice is out) during dock installation. Watch for  updates on potential store opening hours as they become available. The marina access will remain closed over the next couple weeks as well.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Main lake ice was quite abundant early this week, but it was looking soft. The shorelines have pulled away enough that getting on the ice is no longer an option so open water fishing opportunities should be coming soon. The bait shop remained closed as of Tuesday morning due to state mandates, but that might change this coming weekend, so call ahead.

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

 

ANNANDALE AREA

Any ice that remained early this week was rotten and going out fast. It’s likely the entire area will be ice-free by this weekend. Start looking for the shallow bays, harbors, and channels – those traditional spring areas to start producing crappies soon. The shop is operating under normal business hours.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

 

BATTLE LAKE AREA

While there were some people getting on the ice early this week, they were being creative to do so. The shorelines and accesses are now pulled away, likely ending any fishing options for this weekend. The bait shop is open normal hours.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

 

BEMIDJI AREA

Heavy rain and warm temperatures in the area early this week have really deteriorated ice conditions and prevented people from getting on the lakes. Local anglers are now waiting for open water options to develop. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172

 

BLACKDUCK AREA

Ice was holding up and most shorelines remained fine for ATV use early this week. Some accesses could be compromised by this weekend, but ice fishing options should continue, at least through the weekend. Gull Lake is producing bluegills in 5 to 10 feet, while Blackduck Lake is giving up bluegills and crappies in 8 to 12 feet and peerch in 5 to 8 feet. Hit Three Island Lake for crappies and bluegills in 5 to 10 feet, or  Island Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in less than 10 feet. 

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

 

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

The shorelines are gone and main lake ice seemed to be going out fast, especially after heavy rains on Monday night. The channels on Bar Harbor at Gull Lake are ice-free and seeing some boat traffic as well. Open water crappie reports have been limited, but should quickly improve as water temperatures climb. Evening store hours are slightly shorter, but the shop remains open during the day.

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

 

CASS LAKE AREA

The current areas and bays are open, but the shorelines and main lake areas were in good enough shape to still allow anglers to venture out early this week. There hasn’t been many people fishing and the few going out are finding a few good-size perch in 20 to 25 feet on Cass Lake. They seem to be moving in and out with some deep and others shallow, but again, fishing pressure has been light.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

 

CHISAGO AREA   

The ice is gone and people are just starting to look for panfish in the traditional spring locations. Expect crappies to start showing up in shallow water as water temperatures climb. The bait shop remained closed early this week due to state mandates related to coronavirus, but self-serve bait is available curbside.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

 

CROSBY AREA

The ice fishing season is over as most lakes have stretches of open water and shorelines that are gone. Any main lake ice that remains is soft, black, and going out quickly so there should be some open water fishing options soon. The bait shop will resume normal business hours this weekend.

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

 

DULUTH AREA   

Most shorelines are rotten or pulling away making it difficult to get on area lakes. While some anglers were fishing early this week, main lake ice is now soft and honeycombed – ice fishing options have pretty much ended. Lake Superior has seen a lot of activity with boats being put in at Two Harbors and the McQuade Landing when the wind isn’t blowing. Trolling stickbaits or spoons near the surface has produced a mixed bag of coho salmon, a few lake trout or brown trout, Kamloops, and steelhead. The store is operating under normal business hours.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

 

EAST CENTRAL MN

The ice went out quickly last week and all lakes are now ice-free in this area. Anglers have started fishing open water, but crappie success was limited early this week. Look to those traditional spring spots – bays, harbors, channels, and shorelines to start holding panfish soon. The store is operating under normal business hours.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

 

ELY AREA

There was quite a bit of crappie fishing activity through the ice last week and early this week, but those might not be an option heading into this weekend. Many shorelines have become soft and loose so you might have to be creative in order to get on the lakes any longer. The bait shop remained closed due to state limitation requirements, but that could change by this weekend.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

 

FAIRMONT AREA

With the lakes all ice-free for more than a week, there has been quite a few anglers venturing out, but the crappie bite has been slow to develop. There has been a few fish caught, but water temperatures need to warm up before the bite starts to kick in. The bait shop remained closed early this week, but that could change by this weekend, so call ahead.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

 

GRAND MARAIS AREA

South Fowl Lake, along the border, continues to produce nice perch and a few walleyes in 12 to 18 feet and most of the bigger perch are suspended a few feet below the ice. Ice conditions remained favorable for snowmobile use early this week and the store is operating under normal daytime hours, but limited in the evenings.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

 

GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA 

The shorelines are soft, but people were still getting on some lakes last weekend. This area also received heavy rain on Monday night, so that likely deteriorated ice conditions even more, making fishing opportunities even less likely heading into this weekend. The bait shop will remain closed through the end of April.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710

 

GREY EAGLE AREA

Ice conditions continue to deteriorate fast and it’s likely most lakes will be open within the next week. Although open water crappie fishing hasn’t started, people are fishing the local creeks withnightcrawlers and catching suckers.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

 

HACKENSACK AREA 

There was still quite a bit of main lake ice throughout the area early this week, but the shorelines have now deteriorated enough that getting on it has become difficult. With some creativity, you might be able to get on a lake this weekend, but most ice fishing options have ended.

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

 

LANESBORO AREA 

Stream conditions remain favorable for trout fishing – they have for a couple of weeks. The catch and release trout season is going strong with good numbers of fish being caught and anglers report that just about everything is producing trout. These fish are hungry and aggressive hitting spinners or Rapalas thrown at them by spincast anglers or blue-wing olive and midge patterns by fly fishermen. On the bigger streams, there has been a stone fly hatch, so #8 rubber-legged stone fly nymps have bene productive.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101

 

MORA AREA

There was still ice floating around on most lakes early this week, but it was going out fast. There was enough open water along some shorelines or bays that a few anglers have started fishing from shore. Water temepratures are cool so success has been limited. The bait shop is open with shorter hours during the week.

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

 

ORTONVILLE AREA

There was one small patch of ice on the north end of Big Stone Lake on Tuesday morning, but the rest of the lake was wide open. There hasn’t been much fishing activity at this point and those going out are reporting 40 degree water temperature.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

 

RED WING AREA

The Mississippi River was nearly at flood stage early this week, but the boat ramp at Everts Resort was open Tuesday morning. The walleye bite has been good along wing dam areas with Dubuque Rigs and plastics. The bait shop was closed early this week, but open with limited hours on the weekends. 

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

 

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

The ice is going out fast and some lakes are already open, others are partially open or just about ice-free. Look for open water crappie fishing to start soon in the bays, along shorelines or near culverts soon. The store remained closed early this week, but that could change by the weekend so call ahead.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

 

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Anglers are waiting for open water fishing options to develop, which could be soon. There’s still main lake ice, but the shorelines have pulled away and the ice intact was was looking rotten. The bait shop is operating under normal hours.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

 

STARBUCK AREA

There was still a fair amount of ice on the main portions of most lakes early this week, but it was deteriorating fast. The marinas and many bays have opened and they should start producing panfish as soon as water temperatures climb a bit. The bait shop is operating under normal business hours.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

 

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

With the exception of some limited floating ice, the lakes are wide open. There hasn’t been much for open water fishing reports as most anglers are just starting to venture out and hit those traditional spring crappie spots – water temeprature needs to rise a bit. The store was operating with shorter afternoon hours this week, but normal hours are expected to return soon.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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