Report from the Dock
Generally, there is more ice this week than last across parts of northern Minnesota, but as of Tuesday morning, there wasn’t enough to safely walk on anywhere. This week’s warmer weather isn’t helping the situation much, although it’s likely going to get cold enough at night for some small, shallow bays or lakes to continue building up the thin layer of ice that’s already in place. With that stated, you can probably still get a boat in lakes across the southern half of the state as well – there just doesn’t seem to be much interest for that.
LAKE MILLE LACS
There really wasn’t any ice to talk about early this week and there’s been no open water fishing worth noting. It’s going to take a stretch of cold, calm weather for ice to start forming in the bays and along shorelines.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Thin ice conditions on back bays and the Rainy River have put an end to the open water fishing season. Big Traverse Bay is still open. The Rainy River is covered in most places with a layer of thin ice. The fall season ended up with a good number of shiners in the river from the fall run. The few anglers who fished this past week had some good reports. Some anglers believe the sheer number of shiners in the river made the bite more difficult this fall. The Northwest Angle has a mix of iced over areas and open water.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
While some skim ice forms along the shorelines or shallow, wind-protected areas at night, most of it goes away during the day. Open water anglers have been almosy nonexistent over the past week.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Ice has started to again take hold in some bays and shoreline locations. It’s been getting cold enough at night for some ice to form, but not cold or calm enough for main lake or bigger stretches of open water to cap.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The small bays and river stretches are ice-covered, but with the exception of some limited shoreline ice, the main lake was wide open early this week. The lake is ready to cap, but it needs to get cold and calm for an extended stretch for that to happen.
The main lake and bigger bays were ice-free early this week. There is thin ice in the small bays and along some wind-protected shorelines, but it’s going to have to stay cold and calm for a string of days before the lake caps. There’s been some waterfowl hunters breaking shore ice and they continue to shoot diver ducks on the bigger parts of the lake.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
There’s a small amount of bay ice, but the main basin was wide open early this week. It needs to get cold and calm for an extended stretch for solid, main lake ice to take hold and stick.
RainyDaze Guide Service
The simple answer to everyone’s question this week is: There is not ice to walk on. The limited ice that has formed along the shorelines is thin enough that the wind continues to push it around or pile it up. The majority of the lake was ice-free early this week.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Fishing activity has been very limited over the past week. If weather conditions allow, open water options remain on area lakes, the Mississippi River, and St. Croix River for walleyes and muskies.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
There’s plenty of open water, but fishing pressure has been almost nonexistent. Like last week, the Minnesota River or Crow River are likely spots to produce a few walleyes. Fish the deep holes with a jig and minnow if weather conditions allow.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
The cooler weather after opening weekend of the firearms deer season seemed to produce better hunter success. Reports indicated that bucks became more active last week and that tipped the odds a bit more favorably for hunters. There are some diver ducks on bigger bodies of wate and geese being shot in fields. Ice is limited to a thin layer on local ponds or small, shallow bays and shorelines.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
It seemed like hunter numbers were down during the second weekend of the deer season compared to the first, but success was still pretty good. Bucks were definetely more active heading into the second weekend. Duck numbers have thinned, but Canadian geese are being shot, mainly on fields. With the exception of some pond ice, lakes remained wide open this week.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Ice is limited to the ponds, small bays, and some shoreline areas. Local lakes remained ice-free early this week, but open water fishing activity was nonexistent. Deer hunting reports were good during both weekends of the gun season, although hunter participation appeared down during the second weekend.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The bays and some small lakes are now locked with ice. If it gets colder and the wind stays down, walkable ice is expected to develop quickly on certain lakes. Bigger bodies of water were wide open as of Tuesday morning.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Ice just started to form again early this week on the small lakes and shoreline areas. On some small bodies of water, ice forms overnight and tends to go away during the day. Deer hunters continue to find some success. Although the overall number of deer shot seems to be down, there are some really big bucks with large racks being taken.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Open water fishing reports have become limited with just a very limited number of anglers still heading out. The only ice worth noting is taking hold along the shorelines or on ponds and it’s limited. Area lakes remained wide open this week.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Ice is just starting to develop on some bays and small, shallow lakes. Lakes of any size remained ice-free as of Tuesday morning and it’s going to take an extended stretch of cold, calm weather for any walkable ice to form on those areas that have already capped.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
With most boats put away and the firearms deer season taking precedent, open water fishing activity has come to an end. With that stated, ice was minimal early this week, so there’s probably going to be plenty of open water to get on this weekend if weather conditions allow.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Ice was slowly developing this week on small bays, shorelines, and ponds. The majority of lakes, big and small, were ice-free as of Tuesday morning. The second weekend of deer hunting saw bucks that seemed to be more active than opening weekend, which resulted in several bigger animals being shot.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
Deer hunters shot fewer deer the second weekend, but several big bucks were shot over the past week. With the exception of some portions on the bigger lakes, ice has pretty much covered everything. There is a thin layer of snow on top of the ice, but with some cold weather over the next week, walkable ice could develop on some small lake soon.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Ice is limited to the ponds and some wind-protected shoreline areas on a few lakes each morning. Open water fishing remains light, although the Mississippi River and Rum River are worth looking at for walleyes. The cooler weather appeared to get deer more active during the second weekend of the gun season and that provided better success for many groups.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
The real small lakes and bays had up to 3 inches of ice on Tuesday morning. Depending on the weather this week, there could be a few anglers walking on these areas that froze first earliest by this weekend. The wind seems to be preventing ice to take hold on the bigger lakes. The second weekend of deer hunting went much better than the first and there were quite a few large bucks shot.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
FERGUS FALLS AREA
The second weekend of deer hunting went well and hunter’s reported better deer movement, especially mature bucks, being more active. There isn’t much to report on the fishing side, except anglers are waiting for ice to form. With the exception of thin ice on some ponds and small, shallow bays ice is limited on area lakes.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Some ponds, bays, and very small lakes are ice-covered. Generally, you’d have to break some shoreline ice on most lakes at this point to get a boat in, but the main body on lakes of any size were still open early this week. The second weekend of deer hunting was quiet and there seemed to be fewer hunters in the woods.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
There isn’t anything to report for ice on area lakes, but some has taken hold on small ponds. While some ice does form along the shorelines at night if it’s calm, it’s been getting too warm and windy during the day for it to stick and expand.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
With cooler weather over the past week, deer movement was better. Hunter success sounded as if it was better the second weekend than the first, especially for bucks. There’s nothing to report for ice or fishing, with very scarce ice starting to hold on some bays, shorelines, and ponds. It just hasn’t been cold enough for the ice to set and stick.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
It’s been getting cold enough at night to freeze, so you need to start watching out for shelf ice along stream edges. Brown trout are pretty much done spawning, but fish are still active. Small flys, nymphs, and midges are producing fish on the streams within the city limits and state parks that are open to fishing during the catch and release season.
Root River Rod Company
Very limited, thin ice was being found early this week. Some small, shallow bays and shoreline areas have skimmed with ice, but it’s been warm enough during the day for it to melt or not get any thicker. It’s going to take a string of cold, calm weather before some of the small lakes in this area will be safe enough to walk on. Deer hunting reports have been mixed, but buck activity sounded like it was better the second weekend of the gun season.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
While ice continues to be limited, most anglers feel that it won’t take but a few nights of cold, calm weather for several of the areas small, shallow lakes to cap. The second weekend of the firearms deer season again yielded mixed reports, but many hunters did comment that bucks were more active than opening weekend.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Pheasant hunting continues to go well with most groups seeing a strong number of birds. Deer hunting action also sounded like it was good during the seond weekend of the gun season. Except for some limited pond ice, there wasn’t much for ice early this week.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Most people remained busy deer hunting last week and success sounded to be OK. The colder weather also seemed to get bigger bucks more active than they were during opening weekend. Ice is starting to show, but it it is limited to small bays and some shoreline ice on smaller lakes.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
You’ll find skim ice on local ponds, a few shallow bays, and wind-protected shorelines. For the most part, the majority of lakes were wide open this week with some ice forming overnight. But it hasn’t been cold enough for it to stick during middaay hours. Several large-bodied bucks with nice racks were shot last weekend and the general talk was that bucks were more active than opening weekend.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Anglers are catching more sauger than walleyes, but the bite has been good on the Mississippi River. Blade baits or a jig and minnow are working best in 16 to 20 feet at the creek mouths in Red Wing or about a one mile stretch of water below the dam.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Ice is just starting to take hold on some backwater areas and bays. With some creativity, you can probably bust shoreline ice and get a boat in on most lakes this weekend. The second weekend of the firearms deer season went well with better buck activity reported and goose hunters are doing well on fields.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The second weekend of deer hunting completed what was an excellent gun season for most groups in this area. Deer numbers were high and strong harvest numbers reflected that. Fishing is in limbo – some ice forms overnight, but it’s been melting away during the day.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
A handful of anglers continue to fish the Mississippi River when the weather allows, but fishing pressure on area lakes has been nonexistent. Ice is pretty limited to small, shallow bays or ponds and even that wasn’t very thick early this week.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
With cooler weather during the second weekend of the gun season, deer hunters seemed to see more deer than opening weekend. Anecdotal reports indicate an average, or slightly better than average, gun season compared to last year. There isn’t much for ice at this point anywhere in the area.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
Hunter reports indicate a better deer harvest after opening weekend and definetely an increase in buck movement last week. Pheasant hunting reports remain favorable, although hunting pressure was less, likely due to the firearms deer season. There isn’t anything to report on the fishing side, but there’s plenty of open water if you want to do some shore fishing.
Borch’s Sporting Goods