Report from the Dock
It’s been another busy week of ice fishing across the state. Anglers have come out in full force and seem to be doing well for most fish species. Generally, ice depths haven’t changed from a week ago, but lakes are in good shape. So what you had for ice last week is about what you should expect heading into this weekend, although some slush has started to develop in a few areas. ATVs remain the best travel option, but some trucks have started showing up on lakes in a few areas across northern Minnesota. Crappie and bluegill activity seems to have really improved with the majority of ‘gills still weed-related in less than 15 feet. Crappies are mixed in with the bluegills on some lakes, but most are now being found suspended over deep basin areas and more active during low-light periods. Walleye action has been hit and miss with the morning and evening hours also best for them. There seems to be more structure-related walleye bites rather than weed fish this week, with 15 to 25 feet being a common depth.
LAKE MILLE LACS
East – Walleyes are biting best during the evening hours on the 12- to 20-foot rocks and most are being taken on deadsticks with sucker minnows. Reports from the deeper mud and gravel have been limited. Anglers are sorting through perch and finding some 9- to 11-inch fish in the southern bays, while pike are being taken on the north end or south bays in 12 to 15 feet. There has been wheel houses and vehicles used in the bays and ATVs are being used throughout the rest of the lake.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
West – The bays and rock points continue to give up walleyes during low-light periods in 17 to 20 feet. Anglers also are finding walleyes and some good-size perch on the mud flats. Works the edges during midday hours and tops each evening. Deadsticks with small sucker minnows and jigging spoons are both working. The bays have 8 to 10 inches of ice and the flats have 7 to 9 inches, so ATVs remain the best travel option.
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Walleyes and sauger are being caught in 23 to 28 feet along the south shore. Jigging one line and using a bobber with a live minnow on the other is the best option with gold, glow, glow red, pink and orange jigs and spoons working best. There’s been a lot of small fish to sort in order to find keepers and there has been jumbo perch, big pike, tullibees and eelpout mixed in. On the Rainy River, walleye fishing has been best during the mornings and evenings. Ice conditions vary greatly on the river so continue to work through a resort. There is four ways to get to the Northwest Angle without crossing the border – the Angle Guest Ice Road (open soon), snowmobile trails across the lake, Lake of the Woods Passenger Service (bombardier), and Lake Country Air. Angle ice fishing has been excellent with good numbers of walleyes being caught. Walleyes, sauger, jumbo perch with an occasional pike, eelpout, or tullibee is what anglers will catch in 20 to 26 feet.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies are being caught early and late on Lake Minnetonka in Carson’s Bay, Phelp’s, Bay, and Grays Bay over 18 feet and sunfish are hitting in the shallow bays throughout the day in 10 to 12 feet. Grays Bay and Phelp’s Bay are producing pike in 14 to 16 feet and look to Medicine Lake for suspended crappies over 35 feet. Anglers are finding 3 to 8 inches of ice and walking out or using ATVs with a bit more in some of the bays.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Walleye action remains best off the reefs out of McKinley Park access in 20 to 30 feet. Spoons and deadsticks are both working, but the mornings have been best. In Stuntz Bay, walleyes are hitting in 20 to 25 feet and pike are going in shallower water. Trucks are being used, although there are now pockets of slush to watch for.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
On the south end, there’s 12 inches of ice and some cracks have developed, so ATVs are the best way to move around. The perch bite has been on and off and the people moving around are doing best for bigger fish in 18 to 23 feet. Walleyes also are being caught in 18 to 23 feet with some keeping-size fish, big walleyes, and numbers of small fish mixed in. On the west side, 13 to 14 inches of ice is being found and although some trucks have started being used, ATVs are the safest option. Work the 14- to 23-foot structure for walleyes or the 10- to 15-foot breaks, points, and flats for perch. Check with resorts for travel options heading into this weekend.
Walleye action continues to be best during low-light periods on main lake structure and points in 15 to 18 feet. Walker Bay started giving up walleyes along its shoreline breaks in 18 to 22 feet and the deep humps. Perch action has been much slower this week. Most main lake areas have up to 12 inches of ice, while Walker Bay has 8 to 9 inches. Trucks have started being used out of a few areas, but ATVs are your safest option.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Walleyes are taking small shiner minnows in 25 to 30 feet and there has been several pike in the 20 pound range mixed in. Look for perch on the 30- to 36-foot mud flats. You’ll find 6 to 12 inches of ice with minimal snow cover on the lake.
RainyDaze Guide Service
Fishing for most has been slower over the past week likely due to all the traffic on the lake. There was still a fair amount that had good fishing, especially north of Center Bar in 15 feet or west by the rock pile in 8 to 12 feet. There’s been a lot of short fish in the mix this week and the best bite continues to be at night. The ice roads are in great shape with most resorts now allowing truck and wheel house use, but check with them individually.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
Twin Cities Metro
The Bayport area on the St. Croix River is producing crappies and walleyes during low-light periods in 25 to 30 feet. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike and bass on Demontreville Lake in 8 to 12 feet. Hit Tanners Lake for sunfish, crappies, and pike in 8 to 10 feet. Most areas now have 8 to 10 inches of ice.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
Hit Wasserman Lake in 20 to 25 feet for crappies and 15 to 17 fet for sunfish. The north end of Lake Parley is giving up sunfish in 12 to 14 feet and crappies in 16 feet. Look to the north end of Lake Minnewashta for crappies and sunfish in 18 to 20 feet. Numbers of small pike are an easy catch in 8 to 10 feet on Lake Ann and Susan Lake. Anglers are reporting 10 to 12 inches of ice.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Look for crappies, sunfish, and northern pike in Waconia Bay and Wagener’s Bay over 8 to 12 feet. Walleye action has been slow, but varying ice depths are limiting anglers from getting to better walleye spots unless they walk. There’s 9 to 13 inches in thebays and thinner ice on the main lake.
Low-light periods have been best for crappies and walleyes on Reno Lake in 18 to 20 feet. On Lake Ida, walleyes are hitting over 35 to 45 feet and Lake Miltona is producing crappies and walleyes in 16 to 18 feet. Look to the north sides of Lake Victoria and Lake Geneva for sunfish in 8 feet. ATVs are being used on area lakes with 10 to 12 inches being reported.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
The 12- to 18-foot weed edges on Pleasant Lake, Lake John, Lake Marie, Clearwater Lake, Granite Lake, and Maple Lake are producing sunfish and pike. Crappies are going in 15 to 25 feet during the evening hours on Clearwater. John, and Lake Francis. There’s a short window of evening walleye action in 16 to 24 feet at Buffalo Lake, Big Swan Lake, and Clearwater. You’ll find up to 10 inches of ice on many lakes, but as little as 3 inches on parts of others.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Look for walleyes to hit shiner minnows on deadsticks or glow spoons in 15 to 35 feet on Otter Tail Lake, West Battle Lake, the narrows on Pelican Lake, Silver Lake, and Walker Lake. You’ll find sunfish in 8 to 15 feet and suspended crappies over 20 to 25 feet at Clitherall Lake, South Turtle Lake, Buchanan Lake, Stalker Lake, and Fish Lake. Northern pike are being taken with sucker minnows on the 15- to 20-foot weeds on Silver, Otter Tail, West Battle, Clitherall, and North and South Turtle lakes. ATVs are being used on all lakes and trucks are an option on a few with 9 to 13 inches of ice throughout the area.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Most lakes have 13 to 17 inches of good, clear ice and vehicles are now being used. The walleye bite is a pretty short window early and late in the day with spoons and minnow heads or deadsticks with a larger fathead or shiner. Look to the 12- to 14-foot breaks or 25 to 30 feet on Lake Bemidji, Lake Irving, and Lake Plantagenet. The perch bite has picked up during the day on Bemidji with spoons and minnow heads or Tungsten jigs and waxworms. Crappies are hitting on Gull Lake, Lake Beltrami, and Wolf Lake early and late each day.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Gull Lake and Pimushe Lake are giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 15 to 20 feet. Walleyes are being caught early and late each day on Island Lake, Blackduck Lake, and Gull in 10 to 15 feet. Hit Round Lake and Blackduck for a few good-size perch in 10 to 15 feet. Trucks are now being used on most lakes.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Spoons and rainbow minnows are turning walleyes in 16 feet on Gull Lake or Pelican Lake and North Long Lake in 20 to 24 feet. Crappie reports have improved in 14 to 18 feet at Nisswa Lake, North Long, south end of Gull, and Pelican. Look for sunfish on most small lakes in less than 12 feet and pike on the south end of Gull, Pelican, North Long, and Lake Edward in 14 to 18 feet. Ice depths really vary with 4 to 12 inches being found. The small lakes have good ice, but the big lakes still have spots with 4 to 6 inches.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The edges of the main lake bars on Pike Bay Lake are producing walleyes and perch in 20 to 22 feet. On Cass Lake, walleyes are hitting spoons and minnow heads in 10 to 12 feet during the evening hours – Allen’s Bay has been one of the better spots. Hit the 18- to 20-foot rock bar on Lake Andrusia for walleyes, while Midge Lake, Lower Sucker Lake, and Grace Lake are kicking out panfish in 18 to 20 feet. Most lakes now have 14 to 16 inches of ice.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Panfish, pike, and a few walleyes are hitting in 8 to 12 feet in the channel between Chisago and South Lindstrom lakes. Work the A-Frame area on Chisago for panfish, bass, and an occasional walleye in 6 to 12 feet. The southeast side of North Lindstrom Lake is producing panfish in 8 to 16 feet and the “road bed” area on South Lindstrom is giving up panfish and pike in 10 to 12 feet. Ice depths vary from 5 to 10 inches.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Look for crappies on Nokay Lake in 28 to 34 feet, Big Mahnomen Lake in 15 to 20 feet, and Milford Lake in 22 to 26 feet. Sunfish are going on Milford and Big Mahnomen in 15 to 22 feet. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike on Serpent Lake in 15 to 20 feet and Little Black Hoof Lake in 10 to 15 feet. Serpent remains the best option for walleyes in 20 to 25 feet, while Bay Lake is giving up a few over 18 to 20 feet. ATVs and snowmobiles remain the best travel options with 9 to 12 inches of ice being found.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Walleye action has slowed, but a few are being caught during low-light periods on Lake Sallie and Big Detroit Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Look for suspended crappies over the deep holes on Height of Land Lake, Cotton Lake, or Lake Melissa and sunfish at Toad Lake, Little Detroit Lake, and Tamarack Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Ice depths remain at 10 to 13 inches.
Quality Bait and Tackle
Hit Boulder Lake in 10 feet for walleyes and Fish Lake for crappies over 15 feet during the evening hours. Northern pike and a few walleyes can be had late in the day on Rice Lake in 6 feet, while crappies are being found suspended over 30 to 35 feet at Island Lake. On the St. Louis River, walleyes and sturgeon remain active in 8 to 10 feet. ATVs are being used throughout the area.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
There’s some evening walleye action on Green Lake and Little Elk Lake in 10 feet. Briggs Lake, Lake Julia, and Rush Lake are giving up crappies in 10 to 14 feet. Hit Mitchell Lake and Eagle Lake for sunfish in 8 to 10 feet, while tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike at Fremont Lake in 7 feet. Most lakes now have 9 inches of ice and ATVs are being used.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Walleyes are hitting rattle spoons or Rippin’ Raps on Birch Lake in 18 to 25 feet, while pike are taking sucker minnows on Shagawa Lake, Birch, and Hoist Bay on Basswood Lake in 10 to 25 feet. Crappies and bluegills are biting over 15 to 30 feet at Bass Lake, Armstrong Lake, and Hobo Lake. Lake trout reports with the BWCAW have been strong off Trout Lake and Knife Lake with tubes or Airplane jigs over 40 to 80 feet. Brook trout are being caught on Lewis Lake and Found Lake in 10 feet or less with small spoons and waxworms. Trucks are being used on 12 to 17 inches of ice, but some slush has developed on the small lakes.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
The north end of Sisseton Lake is giving up bluegills in 13 to 15 feet, while Amber Lake is producing crappies during low-light periods in 15 feet. Yellow bass, perch, and crappies are hitting in 13 to 15 feet at Hall Lake and Budd Lake. You’ll find 8 to 10 inches of ice, but some ice heaves have developed so ATVs remain the best bet.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Tip ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike on Cedar Lake in 6 to 12 feet. Hit Kelley Dudley Lake for sunfish in 8 to 12 feet and crappies are going on Shields Lake in 12 to 17 feet. Look to the bays on French Lake for crappies during low-light periods. Most lakes have 8 to 11 inches ice, but thinner ice exists in certain areas on some lakes.
John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787
Lake Country Convenience & Bait
FERGUS FALLS AREA
Crappies and bluegills remain active on Norway Lake and Pleasant Lake in 12 to 18 feet. Jewett Lake is giving up crappies over 22 to 25 feet during the evening hours. A few walleyes are being caught during low-light periods at Pebble Lake, Eagle Lake, and Walker Lake in 16 to 20 feet. Spearing and angling for pike continues to go well on most lakes. You’ll find 8 to 14 inches of ice, but ATVs remain the best travel option.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND MARAIS AREA
Lake trout reports have been strong off Duncan Lake in 20 to 30 feet with smelt or Jiggin’ Raps, while Topper Lake is kicking out brook trout in 17 feet with waxworms. Walleyes are hitting chubs in 12 to 14 feet on Lake Saganaga and Elbow Lake in 8 to 10 feet. Hit South Fowl Lake and Elbow in less than 14 feet for perch. Ice depths are still 10 to 14 inches on most lakes with some slush, but there are spots that have as little 6 inches in spots.
Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Crappies remain active over 22 to 25 feet on Bowstring Lake and Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake. Hit Round Lake in 15 feet for perch or Deer Lake and Bowstring during the evening hours with deadsticks and shiners for walleyes in 12 to 15 feet. Northern pike are active in shallow water on Ball Club Lake, Little Winnie Lake, and Lake Pokegama. Trucks are being used on some lakes and ATVs are good to go on all.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Two Rivers Lake continues to produce crappies over 30 feet. Look for sunfish in 12 to 15 feet and crappies in 25 to 30 feet on the North end of Big Swan Lake St. Mary’s Lake is kicking out sunfish in 12 to 15 feet and Mound Lake is giving up a few walleyes in 15 to 18 feet. Look to Big Birch Lake for eating-size walleyes in 18 to 22 feet or Moose Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in 12 to 15 feet. ATVs remain a safe bet for travel on area lakes.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Deadsticks and shiner minnows are turning walleyes on Birch Lake, Baby Lake, Pleasant Lake, and Woman Lake in 17 to 22 feet. Look for crappies over 20 to 24 feet on Moccasin Lake, Pleasant, Birch, Webb Lake, and Stoney Lake, while sunfish are being found in 15 to 18 feet on Birch, Mule Lake, and the bays on Woman. Tip ups and large sucker minnows are producing northern pike on Child Lake and Woman in less than 12 feet. You’ll find 10 to 14 inches of ice on area lakes.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
MADISON LAKE AREA
Caution is still advised on area lakes with ice depths varying from 5 to 10 inches. The west end of Lake Francis started giving up crappies and sunfish in 10 to 15 feet. You’ll find pike and panfish in 10 to 16 feet on Duck Lake, while East Bay on Madison Lake is kicking out crappies and sunfish. Look to West Jefferson Lake for a mixed panfish bag from 8 to 15 feet.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
ATVs continue to be used on 8 to 10 inches of ice throughout the area. Look for sunfish and crappies in 5 to 8 feet on Knife Lake, Ann Lake, Fish Lake, and Quamba Lake. Walleye and northern pike are still tough to catch, but a few pike have come off Quamba in less than 10 fet.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Ice depths on Big Stone Lake vary from 8 to 13 inches and ATVs are being used. The perch and sunfish bite has picked up with fish being found in 13 or 14 feet in many spots, including the Ben Hines and Schmidt’s Landing areas. Stay on the move until you hit a pod of bigger fish.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Bluegills are being caught on Island Lake (west) in 14 to 20 feet, Toad Lake in 15 to 18 feet, and the Crow Wing Chain in 20 to 24 feet. There’s some evening walleye action in 15 to 18 feet on Potato Lake and Fish Hook Lake. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 25 feet on the Crow Wing Chain or Long Lake. Most lakes continue to have 8 to 12 inches of ice.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Deadsticks and shiner minnows or spoons are producing walleyes at Big Pine Lake, Little Pine Lake, Rush Lake, and Star Lake during the evenings in 15 to 20 feet. Panfish reports light, but you’ll find some crappies over 20 to 25 feet and bluegills in 10 to 14 feet at Rush, Star, and Big Pine. Trucks are starting to go out on a few lakes, but ATVs remain the best option for getting around.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Anglers in boats continue to catch saugers and a few walleyes below the dam on the Mississippi River. Dubuque Rigs are working best in the afternoons over 10 to 15 feet, while jigs and plastics are turning fish after dark in shallower water. There’s 7 to 9 inches of ice in Baypoint Bay with panfish and pike going around the docks. The Methodist Point area on Lake Pepin has 5 to 7 inches of ice with white bass, walleyes, and crappies are being caught.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Becker Lake is producing sunfish and a few crappies in 11 to 15 feet. Look to Cedar Island Lake and Horseshoe Lake for a few walleyes during the evening hours in 12 to 18 feet. Schneider Lake continues to produce walleyes and crappies in 15 to 18 feet, while Rice Lake is giving up crappies over 15 to 20 feet. Hit the deep holes on Cedar Island and Horseshoe for channel catfish. ATVs are being used, but ice depths vary from 8 to 11 inches.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
You’ll find sunfish on Lake Osakis in 8 to 12 feet or 18 to 22 feet, Lily Lake in 18 to 24 feet, and Maple Lake in 9 to 12 feet. Look for crappies on Long Bridge Lake over 18 to 24 feet. Walleyes continue to come off Sauk Lake in 20 to 24 feet and McCormick Lake in 9 feet early and late each day. Tip ups and sucker minnows are producing pike along the weedlines of Osakis, Sauk in 12 feet, and Guernsey Lake in 8 to 12 feet, and Lily in 12 to 18 feet. Ice depths range from 9 to 13 inches.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
Walleyes are hitting shiner minnows on Lake Emily in 5 feet or Lake Minnewaska in 16 to 18 feet during the evening hours. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows throughout Minnewaska and Emily. Crappies and northern pike have started biting on Mountain Lake in 10 feet and Steenerson Lake is still producing walleyes in 8 to 10 feet. You can expect 14 to 16 inches of ice on area lakes.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
Foot Lake is kicking out sunfish, crappies, and a few walleyes over 15 feet. Hit Diamond Lake in 20 feet for crappies or Dogfish Bay for pike in 8 to 10 feet. Norway Lake is producing crappies and walleyes in 18 to 20 feet, while Lake Andrew remains a good bet for walleyes in 15 feet. On the north end of Lake Florida, you’ll find crappies in 15 to 30 feet and pike in 10 to 15 feet. Most lakes now have 12 or more inches of ice and trucks have started being used on some lakes.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle
Ice depths have not changed with 8 to 10 inches on most lakes. Hit Lake Benton for perch and walleyes in 8 feet, while Lake Lac qui Parle continues to kick out crappies and walleyes in 10 to 14 feet. A few walleyes also can be had in 5 to 8 feet on Lake Shetek, Dead Coon Lake, Lake Sarah, and Goose Lake during low-light periods.
Borch’s Sporting Goods