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

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Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – November 23, 2021

Report from the Dock

Ice has started to form, but there’s still plenty of open water across most parts of the state, especially as you head south from central Minnesota. The bays and ponds are ice-covered in many locations, but the wind seems to be limiting ice from developing on the lakes. In a lot of areas, ice develops overnight, but is eliminated due to the wind during the day. The farther north you go, the odds improve on finding ice-covered lakes. With the right weather conditions this week, there might be some lakes that do have enough ice to walk on, it won’t be area-wide or on every lake in a given location, but it sounded as if there was a chance early this week that some ice fishing could begin by the weekend. There’s no guarentees, but there’s probably going to be people ice fishing somewhere this weekend. As always this time of year, use extreme caution, check ice conditions as you go, and use some common sense. Use the contacts in this fishing report to get the most up-to-the-minute ice reports as well.

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

Fishing by boat is pretty much done with most of the shore accesses now iced up. There were quite a few muskie anglers on the lake last weekend and a couple of big fish were reported being caught. The main lake is open, but finding an access without ice has become difficult. A couple of walleye reports also were heard with decent fishing on the rock points.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The few anglers who got out this week on open water had good success, but most have put their boats away and are hunting or looking ahead to the ice fishing season. As of Tuesday morning, the bays such as Four Mile, Zippel, and Bostic have varying ice thickness. Resort guides are monitoring conditions daily and will make the call when it is time. The resort and outfitter ice guides are on the ice daily checking thickness, avoiding springs, cracks, shifting ice, unclear and weak ice. In some cases, they are actually flooding the ice to thicken it quicker. Ice has also started to form on Big Traverse Bay, which is a good sign.  Many resorts are providing ice reports on their Facebook pages this time of year. The Rainy River is ice-covered with pockets of open water. With the current of the river throughout the year, knowing when, where and where not to travel on the ice is a must. At the Northwest Angle, Angle Inlet and various areas throughout the islands are ice covered with random areas of open water as ice continues to form.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Muskie anglers continue to venture out to Lake Minnetonka and hook fish with sucker minnows in 10 to 14 feet. Skim ice had formed on some small bays early this week, but the shorelines and main lake areas were open, allowing for open water fishing to continue.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

The ice that took hold on Pike Bay last week has mostly remained intact and is now about 3 inches thick. The exception are any current areas in Pike Bay, which have reopened in spots. The main part of the lake is wide open and shoreline ice has started forming, so getting a boat in is no longer an option.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

Vermilion Dam Lodge (218) 666-5418

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Ice has started to form in the connected rivers and shoreline areas, but the main lake was mostly open early this week with some patches of ice. Basically, skim ice forms each night on the rivers and shorelines, but consistent winds have been busting it open during the day.

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

A thin layer of ice has taken hold on a few small, wind-protected bays. The main lake was wide open early this week and there were a few boats on it last weekend. The small lakes in this area also had some ice on them, but it is a thin coating.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company

(218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

A small formation of thin ice has taken hold on several back bays, but nothing close to accessible as of Tuesday morning. It’s going to take an extended stretch of cold weather before any walkable ice is available.

RainyDaze Guide Service

(218) 290-6102

RED LAKE

Has has taken hold throughout most of the lake, but pockets of open water remained early this week on the main body. The ice that’s in place along the shorelines had remained intact as of Tuesday morning. It did get windy on Tuesday, so that could have changed conditions and could dictate if safe, walkable ice is an option by this weekend. Indications early in the week were that there might be a chance that anglers will be able to walk out by this weekend, but check with local resorts and outfitters before doing do so. 

JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838

West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Muskie anglers have continued to head out with some decent action reported off Forest Lake and Bald Eagle Lake. You could still get a boat on most lakes early this week with some limited ice starting to form on some bays, ponds, and small lakes.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle

(651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

With most accesses still accessible, there has been a few die-hard muskie anglers heading out, but most open water anglers have put their gear away. Ice is minimal, limited to ponds and some wind-protected, shallow bays on  few small lakes.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Ice has started to form on the ponds, shorelines, and some shallow bays. Much of it forms overnight and disappears throughout midday hours either due to wind or rising air temperatures. There was much more open water than ice throughout the area early this week.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle

(320) 763-3255

ANNANDALE AREA

You could still get a boat in on most lakes as of Tuesday morning. The ponds have skimmed with ice and some shoreline and bay ice has developed on several lakes, but it hasn’t stayed cold enough for it to remain intact or thicken from one day to the next. 

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

With the exception of some shoreline ice, the big lakes were wide open early this week. There is a thin layer of ice on some small lakes and bays, but nothing that’s close to walking on and with the wind and warm weather last weekend and early this week, even that ice has been compromised.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

A few anglers have started to venture on some of the very small area lakes to kickoff the ice fishing season, but it’s going to take a stretch of colder weather for walkable to ice form on most lakes. If you do venture out, use extreme caution and take all safety measures with you. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service

(218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

The majority of lakes are covered with ice and others had pockets of water early this week – nobody was walking out as of Tuesday morning. It depends on the weather, but some small lakes or bays might have ice thick enough to walk on by this weekend.

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Ice has taken hold on some small lakes and bays, including parts of Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake. There is some shoreline ice starting to develop on a few of the bigger lakes, but most were wide open early this week.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/

Nisswa Guide League  (218) 829-7010

CASS LAKE AREA

The bays and some small lakes have been covered with ice since late last week, so if it gets cold enough, those might have enough ice to walk on within the next week. Lakes of any size have not ice capped, typically being kept open by the wind or the wind busts open any ice that forms overnight.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

CHISAGO AREA   

Ice is very limited and windy conditions during most days has chewed away at any ice that does form along the shorelines or in small bays overnight. There’s ice on most ponds, but you could have probably found a lake that you could get a boat on early this week as well.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Many ponds and shallow bays are ice-covered, but it’s a thin layer. Shoreline ice also has started to form on some lakes, mostly on those that are wind-protected, but most bodies of water with any size were still ice-free as of Tuesday morning. 

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle

(218) 546-6912

DETROIT LAKES AREA

The ponds and some shallow bays that had skim ice on them last week have mostly remained ice-covered. The ice that is in place throughout the area has not thickened over the past week and the majority of lakes were wide open early this week.

Quality Bait and Tackle

(218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Most small lakes and bays have been covered with ice since late last week so there might be some ice thick enough to walk on some of those small, shallow lakes soon. Strong winds have been busting open any ice that has tried to take hold on the bigger bodies of water.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

There’s ice on some small ponds, but the lakes remain ice-free. It has not been cold enough and generally too windy for any bay, lake, or pond with some size or depth to start forming ice. 

Tales and Trails Sport Shop 

(763) 856-3985

EMILY AREA 

There’s ice on the ponds, some shallow bays, and other small bodies of water, but it’s thin and minimal. Anything that has been wind-protected might have a slightly thicker layer of ice, but there’s still open water on the big lakes and not enough ice anywhere to walk on.

Redding Sports and Spirits      

(218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

As of Tuesday morning, the wind was preventing any ice to form on area lakes. There was a thin coating of ice on some ponds, but it likely got warm enough early this week for that to be eliminated as well.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT/SHIELDSVILLE AREA

There was still plenty of open water on area lakes this week. The only noticeable ice is on some small ponds and even that was minimal after Tuesday’s wind and warmer weather. It’s going to take a string of cold, calm nights and days for ice to take hold enough to cap local lakes.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

Lake Country Convenience & Bait

(507) 334-9711

FERGUS FALLS AREA

There’s an inch or two of ice on some very small lakes and bays, but lakes of any size were wide open early this week. Ice tends to form along the shorelines on the bigger bodies of water overnight, but it melts away or gets torn up by the wind each day.

Little Chief Outpost

(218) 998-5050

GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA 

The small lakes and bays are ice-covered, while larger bodies of water remained mostly ice-free early this week. There’s been a few people checking ice depths where it has taken hold, but nothing more than 2 inches was being found.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710

GREY EAGLE AREA

Ice has taken hold on most ponds, some shallow bays, and a few shorelines. Most lakes were ice-free early this week and even where shoreline ice existed, it didn’t extend far from shore. If the wind calms down for a few days, some small lakes should cap with ice as well.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

Some small lakes and ponds have been ice-capped for about one week so those will be the first to provide ice thick enough to walk on soon – if it gets colder. The area’s larger lakes were wide open as of Tuesday morning with just some shoreline ice starting to develop on a few of them.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle

(218) 675-6176

HUTCHINSON AREA 

Most lakes are covered with ice, but some pockets of open water exist within them. In most cases, the spots that have not capped are being kept open by geese or the wind. If it gets cold for a few nights and the wind calms down, ice depths should improve enough on some lakes to possibly allow for some foot travel soon.

The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177

LANESBORO AREA 

Rainbow and brown trout continue to be caught on sub-surface midges. The streams that remain open during the catch-and-release season, those within the state parks and city limits, are providing consistent trout fishing action.

Root River Rod Company

(507) 467-2101

LONGVILLE AREA

There’s been ice on some bays and small, wind-protected lakes for about one week. While the area’s larger bodies of water were wide open early this week, anglers have started checking ice depths on those spots that froze early.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

Ice comes and goes, freezing along the shorelines overnight, but opening during the day with the wind. There is some ice on the small ponds, but you could get a boat on area lakes as of Tuesday morning.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

MORA AREA

Ice conditions vary throughout the area. Some lakes are completely capped, others are partially covered, and there are pockets of open water being seen on the majority of lakes. The consistent winds of late seem to be having the biggest impact on ice from forming, so a few nights and days with calm weather could quickly improve ice depths.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop 

(320) 679-2151

ORTONVILLE AREA

Ice has started to form with most ponds and sloughs now ice-covered. Pockets of ice were forming on Big Stone Lake as well, although the wind and slightly warmer temperatures early this week were eliminating anything that formed overnight.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Ice has taken hold on the ponds, and some shallow bays or shorelines, but the main bodies of most lakes were wide open as of Tuesday morning. The lakes are ready to cap, and will likely do so soon, if the wind calms down and colder air moves in.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors 

(218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

A thin layer of ice has formed on the ponds and some shallow bays. The lakes are ice-free, with the exception of shoreline ice, which takes hold overnight only to reopen during midday hours due to the wind. With some cold, calm weather, ice conditions should improve rapidly.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Saugers and walleyes continue to be taken from Red Wing up to the dam on the Mississippi River. Jigs tipped with plastics or minnows are working best along current seams in less than 20 feet of water. Water temperature on the river was at 45-degrees early this week.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

There were still boats on some lakes last weekend, only limited by a thin layer of ice on some bays and shorelines. There’s also ice on area ponds and some very small lakes, but there was more open water than ice throughout the area early this week.

Channel Marine and Sports

(320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

The ponds and some bays have a thin layer of ice or they develop ice overnight and it tends to go away during the day. With the exception of a few very small, shallow lakes that skimmed with ice, the majority of lakes remained ice-free early this week.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STARBUCK AREA

Ice takes hold along the shorelines overnight, but tends to be blown away during the day. Area lakes are wide open, although a thin coating of ice has developed on the ponds and some very small, shallow bays on a few lakes.

Last Cast Bait and Tackle

(320) 239-2239

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

The small, wind-protected lakes have some areas with a thin layer of ice, while the big lakes or anything that gets hit by the wind remain open. Many of the lakes in this area are relatively shallow, so it probably won’t take more than a night or two of calm weather for them to cap. 

Borch’s Sporting Goods 

(507) 532-4880

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