Report from the Dock
With snow, cold, and wind covering the entire state over the past week, fishing activity has almost been non-existent. With the exception of a few diehard muskie and walleye anglers, there hasn’t been any traffic on lakes – understandably so given weather conditions. While ice has started to form on ponds, some shallow bays, and shoreline areas, there should be no problem getting a boat in most lakes this weekend. With warmer weather expected to arrive this week, anglers who kept their boats out should have at least one more week of open water fishing opportunities. River fishing or other shoreline-fishing options are worth looking at as well.
LAKE MILLE LACS
While the cold weather has prevented anglers from hitting the lake, its shorelines and bays remain ice-free, so there should be some good fishing to be had heading into this weekend. Muskies should be active, chasing tullibees on the shallow rock piles and points.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Anglers braving the cold are catching walleyes with a mix of small fish, eaters and some big fish. Look to areas such as the Lighthouse Gap, Morris Point Gap, Zippel Bay, and Long Point in 7 to 26 feet. Most anglers anchor and jig with an emerald shiner. Northern pike are active in the bays and along shorelines. On the Rainy River, anglers are seeing good numbers of walleyes on electronics along with a lot of bait. With so many shiners in the river, catching walleyes has been tougher than normal. The river is still low and its current is slow with better reports from 7 to 24 feet. Walleyes also are being caught in Four Mile Bay over 10 to 15 feet, while sturgeon anglers are focusing on deeper holes with current. Nice walleyes are being caught at the Northwest Angle for anglers willing to fight the cold. Work a jig and a minnow on points or areas with current in 13 to 26 feet. Look for pike and muskies in the bays or off rock points.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Fishing activity has been non-existent with the cold weather, but area lakes and accesses are ice-free. There should be no problem getting a boat on any lake this weekend and with warmer weather expected, it could be a good week of fishing for those that still have their boats out.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Pike Bay was mostly ice-covered early this week, but Big Bay was wide open. Although fishing pressure has been nonexistent due to the weather, fishing open water this weekend will not be an issue. Look to the reefs in 20 to 25 feet for walleyes or muskies on top of the rocks in 12 to 20 feet.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Fishing pressure has been minimal since the cold weather moved in, but the lake remains ice-free. With some warmer weather moving in, there should be good opportunities left to catch walleyes and perch on the points and shoreline breaks.
Skim ice did form along some shorelines and among bulrushes or rice beds early this week, but the main lake and bigger bays are open. There hasn’t been enough people on the lake this week to garner a report, but with better weather moving in, that should change this weekend. Waterfowl hunters are doing well on bigger bodies of water with a push of diver ducks now in the area. Grouse reports also remain favorable for hunters willing to get of the main trails.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Skim ice has formed in some bays and shoreline areas and it’s been cold enough to keep anglers off the lake. It’s likely open water fishing will be an option this weekend, but most people have put their boats away.
RainyDaze Guide Service
There was 75 to 100 yards of wind-blown shoreline ice piled up early this week, but open water beyond that. The wind also has been pushing any ice that forms and with the warmer weather this week, the ice-making process will likely slow down.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Ice is not an issue, but angling activity has been non-existent with the consistent cold and windy conditions. With warmer weather in the forecast, look to the St. Croix River for walleyes in 25 to 30 feet. Muskies also should be active along the shorelines of area lakes.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
With the cold weather, there hasn’t been much to report on the fishing front, butice has not formed. If weather conditions improve, open water fishing options remain on all lakes heading into this weekend.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Some skim ice has taken hold on the ponds and a few small bays, but the lakes remained open early this week. Although there hasn’t been much to report, lakes such as Reno, Ida, and Mary are worth noting for walleyes if weather conditions allow people to get out. There has been a push of ducks into the area, with more divers being seen on bigger bodies of water. The corn is mostly out and pheasant hunting reports have been pretty good.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
With the exception of some pond and shoreline ice, there should be no issues getting on any lake this weekend. Waterfowl hunters are seeing more divers, including a strong push of ringbills and some bufflehead this week, Archery hunters are starting to see more rutting activity and pheasant reports have been light.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
There has been some anglers on West Battle Lake fishing muskies with sucker minnows in 15 feet, but that’s been about it. Most ponds capped with ice Monday night, some small lakes do have a thin layer of shoreline ice, but you can still get a boat in any lake. Duck hunters have seen a push of northern mallards and divers move into the area.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The open water season has pretty much come to an end. The docks at the accesses have all been pulled and many small to mid-size lakes now have ice forming along the edges. It is supposed to warm up a bit this weekend, so that could get a few folks out if they can get on the water. Grouse hunting has been good and there has been a push of new ducks into the area.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
The ponds are ice-covered, but the lakes and shorelines on them remain open, so fishing from a boat remains an option. Grouse hunters continue to do well, and there is more diver ducks and mallards in the area this week than last.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Limited ice took hold on most ponds and along the shorelines of some lakes early this week, but there shouldn’t be an issue getting a boat on any lake this weekend. Look for walleyes to hit a jig and minnow in 15 to 30 feet on lakes such as Gull, Pelican, and North Long.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The cold weather obviously put an end to any fishing since last week, but that should change with warmer weather expected. With the exception of some limited shoreline ice in spots, the lakes are ice-free. Look for walleyes in 30 feet or more during the day on Cass Lake or Pike Bay Lake and as shallow as 5 feet in the current areas between lakes on the Cass Chain. Muskies should be chasing tullibees throughout Cass, so find them and you’ll find muskies. There’s been a real noticebale push of northern ducks into the area. Large flocks of divers and mallards were being seen early this week.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
There should be no shoreline or access ice issues on any lake this weekend and still some good fishing to be had. Green Lake and Chisago Lake are worth noting for walleyes in 12 to 15 feet and crappies should be stacked and suspended over 15 feet or so on most lakes. Some waterfowl hunters are experiencing decent field shoots for geese and mallards.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
There’s ice on some ponds and a few small lakes and bays have a thin layer of ice on them as well. Many access areas also are iced up, but there should be plenty of open waater fishing options this weekend. Waterfowl reports have been good and there has been a push of mallards and divers into the area.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
You might have to bust some thin shoreline ice to access a few lakes, but open water fishing remains an option across the area. Look for muskies to hit sucker minnows on Big Detroit Lake and Pelican Lake in 12 to 15 feet or minnows to produce walleyes in 15 to 20 feet on Big Cormorant Lake, Lake Sallie, and Big Detroit.
Quality Bait and Tackle
The small, shallow lakes are locked up, as are the bays and access areas on most bigger lakes. Even with some warm weather, there’s probably enough ice taken hold to prevent any additional open water fishing. A few bigger bucks have been taken this week and archery hunters are seeing more buck activity in the woods. Grouse hunting remains good, with a bunch of strong reports from the Isabella area to the north.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
There isn’t much to report for fishing due to the cold. Some skim ice has started to form on the ponds and shorelines, but anglers that still have their boats out should be able to get them in most lakes this weekend. There’s still quite a few geese in the area and some diver ducks have started being seen on bigger ponds and river areas.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Most lakes are starting to freeze along the shorelines, while many small lakes and bays have remained ice-covered over the past week. A few open water anglers were hitting Miner’s Lake and Tofte Lake for stream trout in less than 10 feet. Grouse hunting reports continue to be positive, especially for those willing to get off the primary walking paths and trails.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Most ponds had a thin layer of ice Tuesday morning and some shorelines had ice as well, but area lakes remain ice-free. Those wanting to wet a line this weekend should have the opportunity to do so on most lakes. Deer movement seems to have picked up and although hunting pressure has been light, there seems to be more ducks in the area.
Redding Sports and Spirits
There is ice on most small ponds, but the lakes are open. A few anglers continue to fish from shore with nightcrawlers and catch yellow bass on Budd Lake and Sisseton Lake. Waterfowl reports have been light and the majority of ducks seem to have move out of the area quickly.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
FERGUS FALLS AREA
With the exception of a handful of muskie anglers, the cold weather has kept most people off the lakes. Some shoreline and pond ice was noticeable early this week, but open water fishing should not be a problem this weekend. It’s likely some ducks have moved out, but hunters are still finding redheads and ringbills on larger bodies of water, as well as mallards and geese in the fields.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
There was some ice on the ponds and along shorelines early this week, but nothing of any size has capped, so open water fishing will be an option this weekend. Waterfowl hunters have done well, especially on bigger bodies of water with more redheads, canvasback, and bluebills in the mix. Grouse hunting also has been good with better reports just north of the immediate area.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
With the cold, some ice has formed on the ponds and shorelines, but the weather has kept people off the lakes. With warmer temperatures this week, there should be no problem getting a boat in most lakes this weekend. There are ducks being seen, especially on bigger bodies of water and grouse hunting reports remain favorable.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
Local ponds are mostly ice-covered and some shoreline ice has taken hold, but the lakes are open. With the cold weather over the past week, there hasn’t anyone fishing, and hunting reports have been light as well.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Big Stone Lake remains ice-free, but some ice has formed on the ponds or small, wind-protected waters. There should be no problem getting a boat in this weekend. Pheasant hunters are doing well, the corn is out, and birds seem to be bunching up. Ducks and geese seem to be moving through the area with hunters reporting a mix of mallards and divers.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
A few diehard muskie anglers continue to hit Big Mantrap Lake with sucker minnows in 12 to 14 feet. Overall, it’s been too cold and windy for people to get out. Some ice has formed on the ponds, and on a more limited basis, in some bays and wind-protected areas. There isn’t enough ice to prevent boats from being put in on most lakes this weekend. Grouse hunters continue to do well, deer have definetely started to move more, and a mix of mallards, geese, and diver ducks are being shot by waterfowl hunters.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
While ice has locked up most small ponds, any ice that existed early this week on local lakes will likely be gone by this weekend. Trolling crankbaits should turn walleyes in less than 10 feet, as should minnows in 15 to 20 feet on Big Pine Lake and Rush Lake. The lack of ice on bigger bodies of water has kept good numbers of northern ducks in the area. Some hunters are shooting geese and quite a few mallards in fields as well.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Blade baits or a jig and minnow are turning walleyes and sauger on the Mississippi River. Anglers are finding fish in 16 to 20 feet from town to the dam with a big concentration of fish just below the dam. Although puddle ducks have become scarce, waterfowl hunters are shooting quite a few divers on Lake Pepin and other bigger bodies of water.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Ice now covers local ponds and some shallow bays, but main lake areas are open. Depending on how warm it gets this week, you still might have to bust shoreline ice to get a boat in on some lakes this weekend, but open water fishing will be an option. Duck hunters that have stuck it out are shooting ringbills, bufflehead, geese, and some mallards on bigger ponds that have remained ice-free.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Some ice has started to form, but not enough to prevent people from fishing this weekend. There should be no issues getting a boat on most lakes, especially with warmer weather moving in. Look to Lake Osakis for crappies or Sauk Lake for walleyes.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Fishing pressure remains light, even though open water options remain throughout the area. The small ponds and wind-protected bays have a thin layer of ice, but it will likely be gone by this weekend with warm weather expected to move in. The Mississippi River will be worth hitting for walleyes and smallmouth bass. Archery hunters are seeing quite a few deer, along with more buck activity. Duck hunting reports have been minimal.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
It’s been another week of no fishing activity on area lakes due to the cold and wind. On the upside, area lakes remain ice-free and with better weather moving in, there should be plenty of opportunities to get on local lakes this weekend. There is some thin ice on the ponds and that seems to have limited duck hunting activity, but pheasant hunters continue to see good numbers of birds.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
The wind-protected ponds and shallow bays had skim ice on them early this week, but most of it is expected to be gone by this weekend. Anglers should be able to get out more over the next week than they have over the last two due to warmer weather. Pheasant hunting reports have been OK in the immediate area, but slightly better just to the west. The number of people duck hunting seems to have declined a lot since pond ice started to form.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle
The lakes are open and the few anglers fishing from shore with minnows continue to catch a few walleyes on Lake Sarah, Rock Lake, Dead Coon Lake, and Lake Shetek. The corn has been harvested and this has improved pheasant hunting success even more. Overall, the pheasant season has gone well.
Borch’s Sporting Goods