Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Minnesota Fishing Report – April 28, 2020

Report from the Dock

With the exception of a few locations in the Arrowhead region and far northern Minnesota, the ice is gone and it went out extremely fast. In some areas, there was still some limited ice fishing options last week, but the ice went out in about four days in those locations. The nice weather late last week, over the weekend, and this week also seemed to jump start spring crappie and bluegill fishing opportunities. In those parts of the state where the ice was already gone for more than a week, anglers have been cashing in on some pretty consistent panfish action. In some areas, the fish seem to be staging outside those shallow, traditional spring spots in 8 to 12 feet, but they are biting and those fish will move up as water temperatures continue to climb. In other locations, those shallow bays, harbors, shorelines, and lagoons have warmed quickly and they are producing a lot of panfish. The nice weather and good panfish action also seemed to fire a lot of people up, as bait shops and accesses have been busy with activity.

Great Eight


The entire lake is ice-free with any remaining ice going out last weekend. There hasn’t been much fishing activity, but start looking for crappies to show up in the shallow bays or harbors as water temperatures continue to climb.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430



The majority of Big Traverse Bay was still ice covered this week, but more open water is showing up daily. Some big northern pike are being caught in the bays that are ice-free. The Rainy River is open into the lake and the sturgeon bite has been strong. Find a hole in the river, anchor up with a sturgeon rig loaded with crawlers or a combination of crawlers and frozen emerald shiners. At the Northwest Angle, open water is expanding quickly, but the larger basins are still ice covered.

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


Crappies are moving in and out of the shallow areas on Lake Minnetonka. The mud-bottom bays, typically on the north side, have been best in 6 to 8 feet. Small jigs with minnows or plastics are both producing fish for anglers in boats and those fishing from shore. 

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227



Most of the ice is gone in Pike Bay and what’s left should be out by this weekend. There’s more ice on the main lake areas, but the way it looked early this week, it too should be gone within the next 10 days. A few people have started looking for crappies in the bays, but success has been limited.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430



The entire lake is ice-free with most of it going out last weekend and early this week. It went out extremely fast once it started moving with the warm winds and warm weather late last week.

Lake Winnie Resort Association   



The shallower bays and most of the main lake were wide open this week as the warm weather took care of the ice faster than many years. There was sheets of ice floating around in Walker Bay on Tuesday morning, but it, along with any other ice that remained, will be gone this week.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250



Although there’s still plenty of ice on the main lake, it seems to be continuing a normal schedule for ice-out. With warm weather last weekend and again this week, the ice should deteriorate quickly. Current areas, parts of some bays, and shorelines are open.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766



Any ice that remained early this week was black and floating. As it moves, the ice continues to deteriorate so it is expected to be gone by this weekend or sooner. 

Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro


Crappies have moved shallow and are being caught on most lakes. Some of the more consistent reports are coming from White Bear Lake, Lake Elmo, Demontreville Lake, Lake Jane, and the north Hudson area of the St. Croix River in less than 6 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with minnows or tubes are producing fish.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421



Crappies and some sunfish are biting on most lakes. Anglers continue to find crappies in 8 to 10 feet, but most have now slid shallower into the bays and shoreline areas, especially on the warm days. Lake Waconia, Lake Wasserman, Lake Parley, and Hydes Lake are worth noting for panfish in 3 to 6 feet.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022



The bays on the north end of Prior Lake and the rocky shoreline on the south end of Prior are giving up a mixed bag of panfish. The shorelines on Cedar Lake and Carls Lake are producing sunfish and crappies, while Spring Lake is worth noting for crappies as well. Small jigs under a float are working best in 2 to 6 feet.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096



Look for crappies in shallow water on the bright, warm days or out in 6 to 9 feet on the cooler, cloudy days. Work the bays on Reno Lake, Lake Irene, Lake Louise, and Lake Darling  with small jigs and minnows. The bays on the bigger lakes such as Ida or Le Homme Dieu should start kicking out panfish as water temperatures improve as well.

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



The shallow bays, channels, and boat harbors on most lakes are giving up crappies. Better reports this week have come off Clearwater Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake Sylvia, Maple Lake, and Granite Lake in 3 to 6 feet with small jigs and minnows or plastics. There hasn’t been many sunfish mixed in, but they should start showing up in these areas as well.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297



Crappie action has been somewhat slow, but there is fish being caught in the shallow bays and weeds on West Battle Lake, Clitherall Lake, Bass/Elbow Lake, and Walker Lake. Pink and white Flu Flu’s with a minnow have been the best presentation. Sunfish also are being caught on these lakes and both bites should continue to get better with rising water temperatures.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596



Ice on the area’s small and medium size lakes went out on Monday and the bigger lakes such as Bemidji should be completely ice-free by the end of the week. Look for shallow water crappie action to start quickly with warm weather in the forecast.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172



The ice went out fast over the past week. There was some very limited ice on area lakes early this week, but it should be gone by the weekend. Most lakes opened within a few days of last weekend, so start looking for crappies to show up in those shallow bays and shoreline areas.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636



Crappie action has been a bit off, but  few last weekend look to the channel by Bar harbor on Gull Lake, the channels on Upper Gull Lake and Nisswa Lake from shore. People in boats are looking north long and southern part of Gull

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



Any ice that remained early this week will likely be gone by this weekend. What was left was rotten and moving and being chewed up quickly. Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake for example, completely opened last weekend, as are any areas with moving water. Anglers have just started looking for crappies in the shallow bays and shoreline areeas.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              



Anglers fishing from shore and from boats have started finding crappies and sunfish in the shallow, dark-bottom bays, shorelines, and channels between lakes. There’s been decent panfish reports off lakes such as Green, Little Green, Chisago, North Center, South Center, North Lindstrom, and South Lindstrom.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334



Look for crappies in 5 to 10 feet and sunfish in 3 to 5 feet in the bays or backwaters on most lakes including Milford Lake, Black Hoof Lake, Bay Lake, north end of Clearwater Lake, and the channel on Lake Emily. The evening hours seem to be more productive for crappies, while sunfish action goes throughout the day.

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



Early this week, crappies and sunfish were scattered, some in 8 to 10 and others in shallow throughout the bays and shorelines. These fish should all transition into shallow water as soon as the water warms a few more degrees. Lake Melissa, Lake Sallie, Big Detroit Lake, and Big Floyd Lake are worth hitting for a mixed bag of panfish, but look for most lakes to start producing soon.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248



There was still ice on many lakes early this week, but most of it is expected to be gone as soon as this weekend. Steelhead and Kamloop action has been good as these fish enter the rivers. The Knife and Sucker rivers have produced quite a few fish on spawn bags. Crawlers are turning brook trout on the north shore streams as well. Activity on Lake Superior has been minimal due to strong east winds during many days over the past week. Smelt have started running, but again, the winds have made it difficult to work seines many nights in the Park Point area. The peak of the run will likely happen over the next week.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094



Crappies and some sunfish are hitting in less than 7 feet of water on most lakes. The bays, channels and shorelines are producing a mixed bag of panfish on Little Elk Lake, Briggs Lake, Blue Lake, and Green Lake.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985



The ice is going out quick and some small lakes are open, but the bigger lakes still have ice on them. Any ice that remains should be gone within the next week or so. Open water crappie action has started on Low Lake and Bass Lake over 10 to 15 feet. These fish are being caught at the mouths of the bays and they will move shallower as water temperatures rise.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358



You’ll find crappies and bluegills in 4 to 6 feet early and late each day on Amber Lake, Sisseton Lake, and George Lake. Anglers are fishing from shore with small jigs and live bait under a float. Walleyes are being caught on floating jigs and minnows or jigs and plastics on Tuttle Lake in less than 5 feet – most people are using waders here.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225



Crappie action has been pretty strong in less than 6 feet on Lake Mazaska and Cedar Lake. There’s been a few sunfish mixed in and most of the panfish are being taken with small jigs and live bait or plastics.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787



Crappies have moved shallow into the north-facing bays on most lakes. Good crappie bites are being reported from Wall Lake, Swan Lake, Orwell Reservoir, Anna Lake, and North Turtle Lake among others in 3 to 6 feet of water.

Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050



The current areas have busted loose, the shorelines have pulled away on most small lakes, and the ice is starting to deteriorate quickly throughout the area. The big lakes still have quite a bit of ice, but there should be some open water developing soon.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280



Any ice that remained went out throughout the day on Monday and all lakes are now wide open. The ice went fast, within three days across the area, so crappies should move into those shallow, traditional spring locations as water temperatures continue to warm.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710



Long Lake by St. Rose, Mound Lake, and Pine Lake are producing crappies in 10 feet if the sun isn’t out. When it does shine and the water warms, these fish do move into the shallow bays and shoreline areas. The edge of Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is giving up crappies in 12 to 15 feet and these fish tend to be suspended.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405



With the exception of some floating ice on Woman Lake and Ten Mile Lake, everything was wide open early this week. There wasn’t much fishing activity as of Tuesday morning, but that could change fast as the water begins to warm in the shallow bays and shoreline areas.

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



Streams continue to be in excellent condition for fishing and the trout have been cooperating. They are aggressive, fat, and eating well with size 16 caddis nymphs, caddis emergers, and caddis dry flies all producing fish. The gray caddis hatch has been incredible over the past week and that’s leading to some stellar fishing with caddis patterns.

Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101



The northwest corner of Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington continues to produce sunfish and crappies, while crappies remain active in the Grassy Island area in less than 8 feet. Crappies action is still going strong in 6 to 8 feet around Buckmaster’s Bridge and in East Bay on Madison Lake.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464



Crappies and sunfish are being caught in less than 4 feet on Knife Lake and Fish Lake. Anglers are fishing from boats or from shore and both are doing well on mixed bags of panfish.

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



Walleyes are being taken with a jig and minnow or bobber and leech in 5 to 8 feet from Schmidt’s Landing to Hartford Beach on Big Stone Lake. Anglers fishing from shore or docks during the late evening hours also are catching walleyes on Big Stone. A jig and minnow is producing good numbers of perch in 5 to 6 feet in the Mallard Point area of Big Stone.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480



Crappies are being caught, but they hadn’t move into shallow water as of early this week. A jig and minnow under a bobber is producing fish on the north end of Long Lake, Crow Wing Chain of Lakes, Big Mantrap Lake, and Fish Hook Lake in 8 to 14 feet. Look for these fish to start moving shallower as water temperatures rise.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099



Any ice that remained on the bigger lakes went out on Monday, so the entire area is wide open. Anglers are just starting to look for crappies, but water temperatures were still pretty cool early this week. They will start to move in, so look to the bays and shorelines on the small lakes, which will warm fastest.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355



Water levels have pretty much come back to normal on the Mississippi River. Walleyes are hitting live-bait rigs with crawlers and leeches or leadcore and crankbaits on the 12- to 15-foot channel edges. The Head of the Lakes and back channel areas have been best on Lake Pepin. The marinas and backwater areas off the river and Pepin are starting to produce crappies.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334



The shallow water bays and culvert areas are producing crappies and sunfish on most lakes. Reports have been good in less than 5 feet on Cedar Island Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Big Lake, Rice Lake, Lake Koronis, Long Lake, and Mud Lake among others.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975



Some crappies and sunfish have started biting in the shallow bays or other traditional spring areas on Fairy Lake, Maple Lake, Lilly Lake, and Lake Osakis. These bites are just starting and should only get better as water temperatures continue to warm.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155



Crappie action has picked up in 3 to 6 feet on Pierz/Fish Lake and the Benton Beach area of Little Rock Lake. Start looking to the bays and shorelines of Fish Trap Lake for crappies as well. Anglers on the Mississippi River are catching suckers and carp with nightcrawlers.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056



Sunfish action has been good in Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska with small leeches or waxworms. Fish Hatchery Bay towards Lakeside Ballroom on the Glenwood end of Minnewaska has been the best spot for numbers of crappies in 8 feet or so.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239



Crappies and sunfish are being caught along the shorelines out to 8 feet on Nest Lake and Foot Lake or at Elkhorn Lake in 4 to 6 feet. You’ll find crappies on Long Lake in 10 feet, Eagle Lake in 6 to 9 feet, and Elkhorn Lake in 2 to 5 feet.

J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle (320) 235-4097



The shorelines on Lake Shetek, Fox Lake, Bloody Lake, and Lake Sarah are producing crappies and perch. Perch also are being caught in shallow water on Island Lake, East and West Twin lakes, and at the inlet on Cottonwood Lake. Hit Lake Lac qui Parle in 2 to 5 feet for crappies or Hendricks Lake with minnows and plastics for walleyes in 4 to 7 feet.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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