Report from the Dock
With the return of cooler weather over the past week, most crappie bites around the state have slowed down. Water temperatures have dipped back down and that seems to be pushing panfish in and out of shallow water. Look for better activity on days when the sun is shining or during the afternoon and evening hours when water temperatures are their warmest. If they aren’t in those traditional, shallow spots, they likely haven’t moved far. There were quite a few reports this week that indicated suspended crappies in 8 to 12 feet or so, just outside the bays or other shallow locations. Heading into this weekend’s fishing opener, you should expect to find walleyes in shallow water as well. In most cases the spawn has wrapped up and these fish, especially smaller males, should be bunched up and ready to eat. Minnows or leeches will be the best bait options statewide and most encouraging, minnow supplies look pretty good – better than most years. Spottail shiners might be a bit limited, but there should be some available for opening day in some areas.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Fishing pressure remains light, but crappies and sunfish should start showing up in the shallow bays or boat harbors as water temperatures improve. Look for good numbers of walleyes and smallmouth bass to be shallow during this weekend’s fishing opener.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Big Traverse Bay is ice-free, so walleyes and saugers will be spread out across the south shore this weekend. Good numbers of northern pike are being caught in the bays right now. On the Rainy River, anglers should expect plenty of walleyes in the river and Four Mile Bay. The sturgeon bite has been hot with numerous fish over 70 inches being caught.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies continue to move in and out of the shallow bays on Lake Minnetonka, but they are biting. If it stays cool, look for fish just outside of the bays or channel areas and expect them to move into 6 feet or so as the water warms.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
There hasn’t been much fishing activity over the past week with cold weather returning. The ice is gone so look for crappies in the bays and walleyes to be shallow this weekend.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
There isn’t much to report on the fishing front, but that will change with this weekend’s walleye opener. Word is that the spawn is done, the fish are back in the lake and should be active in shallow water.
The cooler weather has slowed any crappie activity that had started in the bays. Shingobee Bay and Boy Bay were giving up a few crappies last week, but that has slowed as water temperatures cooled back down since last weekend.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
There is some activity on the Rainy River by sturgeon anglers, but crappie reports have yet to be heard. The good news is that the ice went out completely last Friday so look for walleyes to be shallow this weekend.
International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766
Although there hasn’t been anybody looking for crappies, the ice is gone. Local anglers are expecting a good fishing opener with numbers of walleyes congregated in shallow water along most shorelines.
Mort’s On Upper Red (218) 647-8128
Twin Cities Metro
Crappie action has slowed a bit, but fish are still being taken in 3 to 7 feet on Lake Jane, Demontreville Lake, White Bear Lake, and Lake Elmo. A few more sunfish have shown up in shallow water this week as well.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
The north end of Lake Minnewashta and south side of Lake Wasserman are producing crappies in 8 to 10 feet, but look for them to move shallower again as water temperatures warm. The northeast corner of Lake Riley is giving up sunfish in less than 5 feet and Lake Bavaria is kicking out crappies near the access. Crappies also are going in Waconia Bay or the rock dock area on the southwest side of Lake Waconia. The inlet areas on the Minnesota River are worth hitting for catfish and carp.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
If the sun is out, crappies move into 3 to 5 feet, but if it’s cool and cloudy, anglers are finding more fish in 6 to 12 feet. The shorelines or bays on Reno Lake, Mary Lake, Lake Darling, Lake Carlos, Lake Louise, and Lake Irene continue to produce crappies and a few sunfish.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
Some crappies continue to be found in the shallow bays, channels, and boat harbors, while others seem to be suspended over deeper water just outside these areas this week. Cedar Lake, Clearwater Lake, Maple Lake, Lake Sylvia, Granite Lake, Buffalo Lake, and Maple Lake are worth noting for crappies.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
You’ll find a few crappies and sunfish in shallow water on Clitherall Lake, Norway Lake, and Silver Lake. The bite was better a week ago, but the cooler weather has dropped water temperatures again. Look for staging panfish just outside the traditional shallow locations until the water begins to warm.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Crappies and bluegills had been going in the shallow bays and shorelines on area lakes, but colder temperatures have pushed many of those fish out to deeper water. Look to Lake Irving and Lake Bemidji for some walleye action this weekend in less than 12 feet of water.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
The bays on most lakes are holding crappies in less than 5 feet, while Gilstead Lake and Beltrami Lake are producing crappies and a few bluegills. Some perch are being taken on Blackduck Lake in 4 to 8 feet with jigs and minnows.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Crappies and sunfish are moving in and out of shallow water on Nisswa Lake, south end of Gull Lake, Lake Margaret, and the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake. If the sun is out they’ll be in as little as three feet, but if it’s cloudy and cool, look in the 10- to 15-foot range.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Crappies and bluegills were being found in many shallow bays and boat harbors last weekend, but the cooler weather has pushed most of them out. Until these shallow areas warm up again, look for suspended fish just outside these shallow locations on the north end of Lake Andrusia, west side of Wolf Lake, north end of Kitchi Lake, or Dick’s Bay and Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
When the sun is out, crappies and bluegills are being found in the shallow bays, shorelines, and channel areas. A small hair jig tipped with live bait or plastics (both under a float) are turning panfish on Green Lake, Chisago Lake, Little Green Lake, North and South Lindstrom lakes, and North Center Lake.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
The shallow water crappie bite has slowed a bit since the weather cooled down, but fish continue to be caught over 6 to 10 feet on Bay Lake, north end of Clearwater Lake, Black Hoof Lake, and Little Rabbit Lake. As water temperatures spike again, these fish will move back into shallow water.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
People fishing from boats are catching crappies and bluegills on Little Pelican Lake, Little Detroit Lake, and Lake Melissa in 4 to 7 feet. Anglers fishing from shore are finding crappies in less than 6 feet at the Mitchell Dam on Height of Land Lake or Long Bridge Lake.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
A few crappies are being found scattered from 5- to 20-feet on Island Lake, but there hasn’t been a big push of panfish into shallow water on local lakes. Trolling stickbaits in the top of 15 feet of the water column has produced a few brown trout, lake trout, and coho salmon on Lake Superior.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Look for crappies and sunfish in the shallow bays or channel areas on Briggs Lake, Lake Julia, Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Little Elk Lake. Bright days and afternoon hours have been best, likely due to warmer water temperatures.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
A small jig and minnow under a float is producing perch along the shorelines in the Winton area of Fall Lake. Crappies are being caught, some shallow and some just outside the shallow bays, it just depends on the weather each day. Look to Low Lake, Birch Lake, and Armstrong Lake for crappies.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Eagle Lake started producing crappies in 3 to 5 feet, as is the east side of Lawrence Lake along the 5- foot weedlines. There hasn’t been a big push of panfish into shallow water on area lakes at this point, according to most anglers.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Bluegills are hitting on Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Sisseton Lake in less than 6 feet. Look for yellow bass on Budd and Sisseton in 4 to 8 feet. Crappie action has been best in shallow water during the morning and evening hours on Budd, Sisseton, and George Lake or in 15 to 18 feet during the day. Walleyes and northern pike continue to be caught on Tuttle Lake in 4 to 6 feet with jigs and plastics.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
FERGUS FALLS AREA
Crappies and sunfish have been moving in and out of shallow water with the changing water temperatures. The afternoon hours or days with sun seem to improve the bite in less than 5 feet on Swan Lake, Orwell Reservoir, Anna Lake, Wall Lake, and North Turtle Lake.
Little Chief Outpost (218) 998-5050
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Crappies had started moving into shallow water on a few lakes late last week, but they seem to mostly moved back out with the cooler weather. As water temperatures continue to warm, hit the back bays on Lake Pokegama or Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake for panfish.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Crappie action has been more hit and miss this week as they move in and out of shallow water locations. If they’re not up shallow, you’ll find suspended fish over 10 to 12 feet on Pine Lake, Big Birch Lake, Mound Lake, Swan Lake, and Long Lake by St. Rose.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Crappie action has been spotty as water temperatures have dipped back down since last weekend. Until it warms, look in that 4- to 8-foot range for staging crappies out from the shallow bays and marinas on area lakes.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
A few crappies have been caught from the shallow bays on Woman Lake, but there hasn’t been a big push of panfish into shallow water areas on most lakes. This week’s cooler weather has kept water temperatures down, but look for the bays and shorelines to hold panfish as water temperatures start to improve.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Crappies are being taken with small jigs and minnows by the inlet in East Bay, the Narrows, and the southeast corner by Buckmaster’s Bridge on Madison Lake. On Lake Washington, crappies also are hitting in 4 to 6 feet in Mud Bay and northwest end of Baker’s Bay or off Second Point in 8 to 10 feet.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
When the sun is out and water temperatures jump, you’ll find crappies and sunfish close to shore on area lakes. Knife Lake, Ann Lake, and Fish Lake have been producing both in less than 5 feet of water.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151
A jig and minnow or slip bobbers and leeches are producing walleyes in 5 to 8 feet from Schmidts Landing to the Sodak area on Big Stone Lake. You’ll find sunfish and crappies around the south end islands in 5 feet, while white bass and perch are being found in shallow water on the south end of Big Stone as well.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Water temperatures have cooled down some since last week, so there still hasn’t been a major push of panfish into the shallow bays and shoreline areas. Some crappies move in when the sun is out, while others continue to set up in 8 to 12 feet on Long Lake, Fish Hook Lake, The Crow Wing Chain of Lakes, and Big Mantrap Lake. Small jigs and a minnow are producing under a float.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
A pink and white Flu Flu and minnow is producing crappies on Star Lake, Dead Lake, Rush Lake, and Big Pine Lake in 3 to 6 feet. Bluegill reports have been minimal, but a few are being found mixed in with the crappies.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Walleye action remains strong, mainly in the Head of the Lakes area on the north end of Lake Pepin. Live-bait rigs with leeches or crawlers, as well as lead-core and crankbaits are working best in 12 feet. Panfish reports have improved in the marinas with crappies and bluegills being caught in shallow water.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Poor weather conditions limited fishing activity since last week, but when it’s nice, you’ll find sunfish and crappies in the shallow bays. Panfish are being taken in 2 to 5 feet on Cedar Island Lake, Lake Koronis, Rice Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Mud Lake, and Long Lake.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
A small jig and live bait is turning crappies and sunfish in the south bay on East Long Lake in less than 2 feet. Sunfish are being taken in shallow water on Fairy Lake, Lilly Lake, Long Lake, Maple Lake, and Lake Osakis in shallow water as well.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
Look to Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska for crappies in 6 to 8 feet. Sunfish and a few crappies have been moving in and out of the Starbuck Marina on Minnewaska, but when it’s nice out they are active and hitting small leeches, minnows, or waxworms.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
The shorelines, bays, and culvert areas are best for crappies and sunfish on the majority of lakes. Most fish are being caught on small jigs with live bait or plastics under a float in 2 to 8 feet. Nest Lake, Eagle Lake, Elkhorn Lake, Foot Lake, Long Lake, and Norway Lake are all worth checking.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle (320) 235-4097
Crappies are being caught in less than 6 feet of water on Lake Shetek, Lake Sarah, Bloody Lake, and Fox Lake. Perch continue to be taken in less than 5 feet of water on Cottonwood Lake or East and West Twin lakes. Walleyes are hitting jigs tipped with minnows or plastics in 5 to 9 feet of water along the shorelines of Lake Hendricks.
Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880