Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Minnesota Fishing Report – December 15, 2020

Report from the Dock

It’s taken a while, but the state finally received a quick shot of cold air early this week. While it was short-lived, the couple days of cold temperatures improved ice conditions in most areas and anglers are now finding enough ice to walk on or in some areas, ATVs are starting to be used. With that stated, most big, deep lakes or areas within them are still open or have a very thin layer of ice. Avoid these bodies of water and focus on those that have been ice-covered longest and continue building ice. Generally, 4 to 7 inches of ice common on most small lakes across the northern part of the state with a bit more in some areas. There’s walkable ice south of that, but you need to be more diligent when approaching lakes in the central and southern parts of mInnesota. You can fish these regions, but continue to check ice depths as you venture out. Overall, fishing reports have not been outstanding, but some walleyes and panfish are being caught. The best action is taking place early and late each day and expect everything to improve as ice conditions do.

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

The bays on the east side have good ice with 5 to 8 inches being reported, but anglers have just started venturing out, catching a few pike and perch. Expect more of the lake to be accessible and more fishing activity in other areas by this weekend. As of Tuesday morning, it appeared that the entire lake was capped, but check with resorts for ice conditions and fishing opportunities. 

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

 

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Ice fishing has begun, but work through a resort and stay on their marked trails. Resorts are using light ice rigs to transport guests to fish houses, while anglers on their own are using ATVs, snowmobiles, and side by sides.  Fishing has been good with a mix of walleyes and saugers in 15 to 24 feet. Some local anglers have been fishing on the Rainy River, but most are now venturing to the lake. At the Northwest Angle, the Guest Ice Road will begin when ice conditions allow, most likely in early January. The snowmobile trail will be staked soon across the lake.

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

 

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

The big parts of Lake Minnetonka and Lake Independence still had spots with open water on Tuesday morning, but ice has started to form in the bays and along shorelines. Generally, the small lakes and small bays have up to 3 inches of ice in spots, but less ice should be expected in many areas.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

 

LAKE VERMILION

Fishing activity has picked up with the improving ice depths. Anglers continue to walk out and now use ATVs on some bays or shorelines that have been capped for a couple weeks. The 18- to 20-foot break and structure out of the McKinley Park access has produced walleyes, as is the mouth of Pike Bay in 18 to 24 feet.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

 

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Perch and northern pike are being caught in 6 to 8 feet along the west side. Angling and spearing for pike has been consistently good in most areas. Walleye reports have been limited, but look for them to start being found as more of the main lake structure starts being worked. Before this week’s cold weather moved in, 6 to 9 inches of uniformed ice was being found and ATVs are being used in some areas.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

                   

LEECH LAKE

Most of the main lake is now ice-covered with as much as 5 inches being reported in some spots. Anglers have started walking out to some shoreline breaks and catching a few walleyes during the evening hours in 10 to 15 feet. Other areas, such as Walker Bay, partially capped early this week. Ice conditions on it are sketchy at best. There has been quite a bit of walleye and panfish activity on the area’s small lakes where 5 to 7 inches of ice was being found early this week.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company

(218) 547-2250

 

RAINY LAKE     

There was still open water on the main basin Monday afternoon. At this point, it’s kind of a holding pattern with only some shallow bay ice safe enough for walk-out fishing. That fishing has been limited to low-light conditions with some walleyes, sauger, perch and northern pike being caught. It’s likely some deeper water might be able to safely get to early next week.

RainyDaze Guide Service

(218) 290-6102

 

RED LAKE

Most areas now have 8 to 11 inches of ice. ATVs are being used and light wheel houses are being allowed through some access points. Continue to work through resorts to find out what they will allow on the lake by this weekend. The bite continues to be strong, somewhat slower on the weekends due to all the traffic. Even so, limits of walleyes are being caught from 9 to 13 feet of water with spurts of activity throughout the day and peak action early and late each day.

West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998

JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Ice is slowly developing and there should be a few spots thick enough to walk on after the cold weather early this week. With that, many areas just recently capped, so you really need to check ice depths as you go. Avoid the big, deep lakes and look to those shallow lakes and small bays for better ice conditions.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle

(651) 777-2421

 

WEST METRO

Anglers just started walking on a few lakes with 4 inches of ice being found, but pockets of water remained in spots on the big lakes such as Waconia. Hit Parley Lake in 8 to 10 feet and Wasserman Lake over 22 feet for crappies during the evening hours. 

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The north side of Reno Lake is producing crappies in 10 to 14 feet and walleyes in 12 to 18 feet early and late each day. Little Mary Lake is worth hitting for crappies in 8 to 12 feet and sunfish in 6 to 10 feet. While some spots on the big, deep lakes still have thin ice, anglers are walking on most lakes and bays with 4 to 6 inches of ice being found.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle

(320) 763-3255

 

ANNANDALE AREA

Anglers have just started venturing out on a few lakes with up to 5 inches of ice being found in spots. The area’s big lakes or spots over deep water were still open or covered with a thin layer of ice early this week. Look to Lake Francis for crappies and northern pike or Little Maple Lake for panfish. 

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

 

BATTLE LAKE AREA

While 3 to 5 inches of ice is being found on most lakes, West Battle still had a pocket of water on Monday afternoon. Anglers are walking on the east side of Rush Lake and narrows on Pelican Lake and catching crappies and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet. Buchanan Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish in 10 to 15 feet, while Rush has been the area’s best walleye option in 15 to 20 feet. 

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

 

BEMIDJI AREA

Ice depths vary from 4 to 7 inches on Lake Bemidji and 8 to 10 inches on most small lakes. Look to that first shoreline break on Bemidji for walleyes early and late each day. Lake Plantagenet, Grace Lake, and Lake Irving are also producing walleyes early and late in the day. Look to Gull Lake and Beltrami Lake for bluegills and crappies in 15 to 20 feet.

Dick Beardsley Guide Service

(218) 556-7172

 

BLACKDUCK AREA

Perch have started hitting on Blackduck Lake, Island Lake, and Round Lake in less than 10 feet. You’ll pop a few walleyes in 10 to 14 feet on these lakes during low-light periods as well. Panfish reports have been limited, but look to Gull Lake, Gilstead Lake, and Pimushe Lake to produce some in 18 to 22 feet. There’s now enough ice on area lakes for ATV use.

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636

 

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Ice depths vary from 4 to 8 inches on most lakes, but you will find thinner ice on portions of the big lakes such as Gull. Round Lake started producing walleyes during the evening hours on rainbow minnows and glow jigs in 8 to 14 feet. Hit North Long Lake and Nisswa Lake for crappies and sunfish in 6 to 13 feet. Lake Edward is kicking out walleyes and crappies in 12 to 14 feet during low-light periods.

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

 

CASS LAKE AREA

Look for suspended crappies on Wolf Lake, Kitchi Lake, and Lake Andrusia over 20 to 25 feet. Pike Bay Lake is kicking out perch during the day and a few walleyes each evening in 8 to 10 feet. Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake also is giving up walleyes during low-light periods in 15 feet and some perch during the day out from the access in town over 8 to 10 feet. Spearing and angling for pike has been best on Andrusia in 6 to 8 feet. Ice conditions are good with 6 to 8 inches being found in most spots being fished.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

 

CHISAGO AREA   

The lakes are now all ice-capped with about 3 to 4 inches in most areas. While there is enough ice to walk on, anglers were just starting to get out early this week. Look for fishing activity and reports to improve by the weekend if ice continues to build.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

 

CROSBY AREA

A few walleyes are being caught on Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake during low-light periods in 15 to 20 feet. Look for suspended crappies over 25 feet or more at Little Rabbit Lake and Cedar Lake or Big Mahnomen Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing pike on the 12-foot weedlines of Bass Lake and Serpent. Anglers are finding 6 to 9 inches of ice throughout the area.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle

(218) 546-6912

 

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Little Detroit Lake and Little Floyd Lake are producing sunfish in 10 feet, while crappies are going during low-light periods at Lake Melissa, Tamarack Lake, and Floyd over 18 to 20 feet. Big Detroit Lake and Lake Sallie started giving up a few walleye in 15 to 20 feet.  Expect 6 to 8 inches of ice throughout the area and ATVs are being used on some lakes.

Quality Bait and Tackle

(218) 844-2248

 

DULUTH AREA   

Walleyes are hitting spoons or shiner minnows on Boulder Lake in 10 feet, Rice Lake in 6 feet, and Fish Lake in 10 feet. There’s also some evening crappie action on Fish in 15 feet. You’ll find 6 to 8 inches of ice and ATVs are being used on some lakes.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

 

EAST CENTRAL MN

There hasn’t been much fishing activity throughout the area, but that likely changed after cold weather moved in on Monday. Check ice depths as you go, but there should be numerous lakes with ice thick enough to walk on by this weekend.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop 

(763) 856-3985

 

ELY AREA

Sucker minnows are producing pike in less than 10 feet of water in the bays at Birch Lake, Robinson Lake, and Shagawa Lake. Walleye action has been best in 18 to 25 feet on Flash Lake, Birch, and Shagawa. Look for crappies over 18 to 30 feet on Bass Lake, Range Lake, Bear Head Lake, and Eagle’s Nest Two Lake. Most spots being fished have 5 to 10 inches of ice and ATVs are being used.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

 

EMILY AREA 

Ice depths have improved with 4 to 8 inches now being found on most small lakes and bays, but thin ice does remain on the bigger bodies of water. Generally, anglers just started venturing on most lakes early this week and with the exception of some small crappies being caught, reports have been light.

Redding Sports and Spirits      

(218) 763-2191

 

FAIRMONT AREA

While all area lakes are now ice-capped, it was tough to find more than 3 inches of ice early this week. Look for some of the small lakes or shoreline areas to firm up enough for foot traffic to begin if it stays cold and continues building ice.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

 

FARIBAULT AREA

Anglers are starting to walk out and find 3 to 5 inches of ice on some small lakes or bays, but there are lakes or spots within several lakes that still have skim ice. West Cedar Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 6 feet. Sucker or shiner minnows are turning northern pike on the lakes in the Waterville area in shallow water.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

 

FERGUS FALLS AREA

Ice conditions vary from skim ice covering certain spots on a few big lakes, but as much as 8 inches on most small, shallow lakes. Hit Pleasant Lake in 10 to 20 feet or Norway Lake in 8 to 16 feet for sunfish and crappies. Walker Lake is giving up crappies and a few walleyes in 12 to 18 feet at night, while Orwell Reservoir is producing crappies in 18 to 20 feet and a few walleyes in 12 feet during low-light periods.

Little Chief Outpost

(218) 998-5050

 

GRAND MARAIS AREA

You’ll find 8 to 10 inches of ice on the small lakes and about 6 inches on most bigger bodies of water. Walleyes have been tough to find, but a few are coming off Gunflint Lake and Seagull Lake in 20 to 23 feet. Binagami Lake is producing walleyes in 5 to 7 feet as well. Hit Elbow Lake and White Pine Lake for some keeping-size perch, while Aspen Lake is kicking out crappies in 16 feet.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

 

GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA 

Crappies and perch are hitting on the north end of Bowstring Lake in 18 to 22 feet. Hit Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake for walleyes and pike in 12 to 16 feet or crappies and perch in 20 to 22 feet. Bluegill action has picked up on Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake in 7 to 10 feet and Ball Club Lake in 18 to 20 feet. Jay Gould Lake is giving up perch in 10 to 12 feet. You’ll find 5 to 8 inches of ice on local lakes and anglers are walking on some or using ATVs on a few.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710

 

GREY EAGLE AREA

Crappies and a few walleyes were reported on Two Rivers Lake. Look to St. Mary’s Lake for sunfish and perch in 12 feet. Swan Lake started producing  panfish near shore. Lady Lake is giving up sunfish and crappies in front of its access. McCormick Lake is producing walleyes in 8 feet. Anglers found 2 to 5 inches of ice early this week, but some areas just capped Monday night. 

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

 

HACKENSACK AREA 

The small- to medium-size lakes now have 5 to 8 inches of ice, while the big lakes are capped with spots of thinner ice. Birch Lake and Pleasant Lake are giving up crappies and bluegills in 17 to 20 feet, as is Stoney Lake in 18 to 22 feet. Walleye and northern pike reports have been light.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle

(218) 675-6176

 

LANESBORO AREA 

The cooler weather has limited the number of people stream fishing, but those going out are catching trout. Reports have been best within the city limits of Preston and Lanesboro with small nymphs tight to bottom. With the cold weather, you’ll want to start being careful around areas with developing shelf ice on area streams.

Root River Rod Company

(507) 467-2101

 

LONGVILLE AREA

Anglers were finding 4 to 6 inches of ice early this week on most spots being fished, but there is thinner ice in spots on most large lakes or over deep water. Crappies have started hitting in the back bay On Girl Lake in 17 feet and Big Boy Lake in 12 feet during the evening hours. Look for bluegills during the day in 15 to 17 feet on Girl, while walleye action has been slow. 

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

 

MADISON LAKE AREA

Ice depths vary from open water spots in the middle of some big lakes, but up to 5 inches in some bays and on a few small lakes. For the most part, anglers are just starting to venture out so there hasn’t been much to report as far as local bites. Look for fishing to quickly pick up with ice depths starting to improve.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

 

MORA AREA

Anglers are walking on area lakes with 5 to 7 inches of ice now being found in most areas. A few sunfish and crappies are being caught on Quamba Lake in 7 feet or the Indian Mounds area on Knife Lake. The narrows on Ann Lake started giving up some walleyes and crappies during the evening hours.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop 

(320) 679-2151

 

ORTONVILLE AREA

Parts of Big Stone Lake have up to 5 inches of ice, but there was still a few areas with open water or thin ice early this week. While a handful of people have started walking out, reports continue to be limited, but should improve quickly as depths improve.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

 

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Everything is capped with 6 to 8 inches of ice being found on most areas being fished. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 30 feet on the Crow Wing Chain and Boulder Lake. There’s some evening walleye action on the weedlines or mid-lake structure in 18 to 20 feet at Fish Hook Lake and Potato Lake. Look for bluegills on Toad Lake and the Crow Wing Chain in 16 to 21 feet.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors 

(218) 237-5099

 

PERHAM AREA

Anglers are walking or using ATVs on 5 to 7 inches of ice with some thicker ice being found on most bays. Walleyes are going in 14 to 18 feet at Big Pine Lake and Rush Lake during the evening hours. The east bay on Rush and Rice Lake are producing bluegills and crappies in 8 to 10 feet.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

 

RED WING AREA

Saugers remain active in 18 to 21 feet below the dam on the Mississippi River, hitting a jig and minnow or bright-colored plastics. The marinas in town are ice-covered and you’ll find a mixed bag of panfish in these areas from 5 to 8 feet. 

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

 

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

Ice depths vary from 3 to 6 inches with better ice being found on the small, shallow lakes. Anglers started venturing on area lakes last weekend, so fishing reports have been limited. With ice being added this week, there should be more fishing opportunities and more people out this weekend.

Channel Marine and Sports

(320) 597-5975

 

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Walleyes are being caught on Sauk Lake in 15 to 25 feet and Lake Osakis in 15 to 21 feet. Spoons or setlines with brassy shiner minnows are both working. Look for sunfish on the north end of Sauk in 9 feet, north end of Osakis in 18 to 21 feet, and Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake in less than 9 feet. Red Barn Bay on Sauk is kicking out crappies over 25 to 30 feet during the evening hours, while northern pike are being taken in 12 feet on the north end of Sauk, Guernsey Lake in 9 to 11 feet, and Osakis in 12 to 14 feet. Area lakes now have 5 to 7 inches of ice.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

 

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Anglers started walking on area lakes, but some small, shallow areas have up to 6 inches of ice. There’s were few reports of panfish and an occasional walleye on Crow Wing Lake. Crappies and walleyes should hit during evening hours in Thoroughfare Bay on Lake Alexander in 15 to 18 feet.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

 

STARBUCK AREA

You’ll find 4 to 7 inches of ice throughout the area. Crappies bit on Pomme de Terre Lake in 9 feet and Lake Emily is giving up pike and an occasional walleye in 4 feet. On Lake Minnewaska, northern pike are being caught in 8 feet and a few walleyes can be had during the evening hours with shiner minnows in 16 to 18 feet. 

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle

(320) 239-2239

 

WILLMAR AREA

Foot Lake is producing crappies in 10 to 12 feet. A few walleyes are coming off Ringo Lake during low-light periods in 9 to 12 feet. Anglers are just starting to hit area lakes and most are finding 4 to 6 inches of ice on the small, shallow lakes with less on the bigger lakes.

J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle 

(320) 235-4097

 

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

All lakes are capped with 3 to 5 inches of ice being found close to shore and in the area’s people are fishing. Walleyes are being caught close to shore in 6 feet at Lac qui Parle, Lake Shetek, Goose Lake, Dead Coon Lake, and Lake Sarah. A few crappies were  shallow on Sarah and Shetek. 

Borch’s Sporting Goods 

(507) 532-4880

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