Report from the Dock
Despite an extended stretch of cold weather, walleye fishing has been about as good as it’s been all winter. Ice conditions have improved a lot and that’s likely opened up more opportunities or areas for anglers to look for walleyes. Generally, low-light periods are best, but there’s been plenty of reports of decent daytime walleye action as well. Bluegills continue to be weed-related and active in most areas, while others are being found suspended over deeper basin areas and mixed with crappies – it just depends on the lake. As for crappies, there’s been a definite swing to low-light periods and overnight feeding activity, especially for bigger fish. While ice depths vary across the state, at the very least, ATVs or side by sides are now being used everywhere. There’s also been more truck activity on some lakes in the northern part of the state, but it’s worth noting that some areas do have a lot of snow on top of the ice and quite a bit of slush underneath it.
LAKE MILLE LACS
East – The majority of daytime walleye action is happening over 20 feet or more, while low-light activity is best in less than 16 feet. Overall, walleye reports have been favorable with a combination of spoons and dead sticks both turning fish. Anglers are finding decent numbers of keeping-size perch along with some pike and walleyes in the bays over 8 to 12 feet. Much of the lake now has 12 inches of ice and resorts have been plowing roads, but continue to work through them for allowable travel options.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
West – Fishing pressure has been light and walleye action has been tough, but a few are being caught early and late each day on the mud flats or rock points. Many anglers are stating that there’s an abundance of small perch in the lake so there’s plenty for walleyes to eat. St. Alban’s Bay has 11 to 13 inches of ice and much of the main lake has about 8 inches, so ATVs are good to go on most of the lake.
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
As the ice thickens, some resorts and outfitters are using bombardiers and others are allowing one ton trucks on ice roads. Check with ice road operators for specifics as ice conditions vary and stay on marked ice roads and trails. Anglers are still catching numbers of walleyes and sauger, sorting through small fish to find keepers. There’s also been plenty of slot and trophy walleyes in the mix along with eelpout, jumbo perch, pike, tullibee, and sturgeon. Reports have been best in 25 to 28 feet with vibration or rattle baits. Even if the fish aren’t hitting noisier presentations, they will draw fish in. Continue to deadstick with a second line. For those who are portable, walleyes are being caught in 10 to 15 feet along shore early and late each day. The Rainy River is ice-covered and where there is good ice, anglers are finding walleyes during the morning and evening hours. The sturgeon bite continues with frozen shiners and crawlers on a hook with a 3/4-ounce egg sinker or with a spoon worked on bottom. The snowmobile trail is marked from Baudette to Wheeler’s Point up to the Angle. At the Northwest Angle, walleye fishing remains strong with saugers, jumbo perch, and pike mixed in over 15 to 18 feet off shoreline and island points adjacent to structure early and late each day. There’s been more daytime action on deep structure and mud.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Sunfish and crappies are hitting in Seton Bay, Harrison Bay, Gray’s Bay and Black Lake on Lake Minnetonka over 16 to 20 feet. Cook’s Bay, Harrison Bay, and Wayzata Bay on Minnetonka are producing walleyes over 20 to 30 feet with shiner minnows during low-light periods. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike on Medicine Lake in 20 feet. Ice depths really vary with 7 to 10 inches on the upper end of most lakes so anglers are walking or using ATVs.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Rattle spoons or dead sticks with small sucker minnows are turning walleyes on the reefs in 18 to 25 feet out from McKinley Park. Northern pike reports have been limited, but a few keeping-size perch are being found mixed with the walleyes near Ely Island. Roads are plowed and trucks are being used in the areas being fished.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
The flats and shoreline breaks continue to produce perch and some walleyes in 6 to 15 feet. Portable anglers have been traveling to the main lake bars and humps and finding decent walleye action during low-light periods in 22 to 24 feet. Northern pike reports remain strong, both spearing and angling, in shallow water. Trucks are being used, but there are pressure ridges throughout the lake that you need to be aware of.
The recent cold snap has slowed walleye activity, but some fish continue to be caught on the main lake in 20 to 25 feet and on the humps in Walker Bay. Eelpout continue to hit on the main lake in 15 to 20 feet, especially during low-light periods. Expect some pike and keeping-size perch mixed in with the walleyes. Walker Bay has 14 to 18 inches of ice, while the main lake has 16 to 20 inches.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Walleye fishing has picked up this week with many larger fish being caught early and late each day in 28 to 32 feet. Small jigging spoons and a minnow head or full fathead minnow is working best. There’s also been some perch and pike being caught in these areas during midday hours.
RainyDaze Guide Service
More of the lake continues to become accessible and that’s allowed anglers to venture to new areas and stay on fish. Some groups do very well and others struggle, with better activity taking place during low-light periods. Glow, white, or gold spoons along with glow hooks on dead sticks are producing fish in 12 to 14 feet most consistently, but shallower fish continue to be caught. Stay away from crowds as much as possible.
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Crappies are being found suspended over 30 to 35 feet in the Bayport area of the St. Croix River. Powers Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish along its 15-foot weedlines, while White Bear Lake is kicking out a few walleyes during the evenings in 20 to 25 feet. ATVs are being used on most lakes with 8 to 11 inches of ice being reported.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
Wasserman Lake continues to produce crappies in 22 to 24 feet and sunfish in 16 to 18 feet early and late each day. Hit the north side of the deep hole on Lake Parley for crappies and sunfish over 16 feet. The Nagley’s Point area on Lake Minnewashta is giving up a mixed bag of panfish and some good-size northern pike in 11 to 18 feet. Look to Lake Auburn or the north side of Lake Riley for pike in 14 feet. Anglers are running ATVs on area lakes.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Look for crappies on Lower Prior Lake over 20 feet during the evening hours. Sunfish also are going in the 6- to 8-foot weeds throughout Lower Prior. There’s some evening walleye action in 16 to 18 feet on Prior as well. Most lakes now have 10 to 12 inches of ice.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle
Sunfish are hitting during the day along the 10- to 15-foot weeds in Wagener’s Bay, Waconia Bay, and on Center Reef. Look for crappies during low-light periods in 15 to 18 feet on Pillsbury Reef and Center Reef. A few walleyes are being taken after dark on Center Reef in 15 to 18 feet and Wagener’s Bay has been best for pike in 12 to 15 feet.
Crappies and sunfish are being taken on Lake Le Homme Dieu over 20 to 25 feet. Hit Reno Lake in 18 to 25 feet for walleyes during the evening hours and Lake Victoria is giving up some sunfish straight out of the access. Trucks are now being used on most lakes, but there is slush to deal with off the main paths.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
Walleyes are hitting during low-light periods on Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, Cedar Lake, and Pleasant Lake in 16 to 22 feet – glow spoons or dead sticks and a fathead minnow are both producing. Look for crappies and sunfish on Maple Lake, Clearwater, Pleasant, Granite Lake, Rock Lake, and Indian Lake over 9 to 15 feet. Tip ups and sucker minnows are producing pike in 8 to 12 feet at Pleasant, Granite, Sugar, Clearwater, and Lake Francis. Ice depths vary from 8 to 12 inches, so ATVs remain the best travel option.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Sunfish and crappies are hitting during low-light periods over 10 to 20 feet at West Battle Lake, Walker Lake, Silver Lake, Rush Lake and Ellingson Lake. Look for walleyes in 10 to 16 feet on Otter Tail Lake, West Battle, Clitherall Lake, and Rush – rattle spoons or shiner minnows are both working. Northern pike are being taken with tip ups and sucker minnows in 10 to 18 feet on West Battle, Otter Tail, Donald Lake, and North Turtle Lake. Trucks are being used on most lakes, but there is a lot of snow and slush to deal with on many.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
This area received over 20 inches of snow last week, so if your venturing onto the ice with a vehicle, four-wheel drive is a must. Bitterly cold temperatures this past week have limited folks going out. The walleye/perch bite has been good on Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet in 12 to 16 feet or on deep humps around 30 feet. Jigging spoons and minnow heads have been working best. Midge Lake, Gull Lake, and Moose Lake are kicking out crappies and bluegills along deep weed edges or deep basin areas.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Walleye action has slowed, but Blackduck Lake and Island Lake are producing some fish in 15 to 20 feet during low-light periods. Look for crappies and bluegills in 10 to 20 feet at Gull Lake, Blackduck, and Rabideau Lake. Northern pike remain aggressive on most lakes in 8 to 15 feet. Trucks or snowmobiles are being used on area lakes and there is a lot of snow to deal with off any main roads.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Hit the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake for crappies, walleyes, and pike in 8 to 18 feet. Walleyes are hitting on Pelican Lake in 24 to 26 feet and north end of Gull Lake in 12 to 24 feet. Sunfish are being found in the shallow weeds on Nisswa Lake, Lake Edward, and Lake Margaret. Look for crappies over 10 to 25 feet on Nisswa and Round Lake, while the south end of Gull, North Long, and Edward are producing pike in 8 to 15 feet. Anglers are driving trucks on some lakes and ATVs are being used everywhere, but there is some slush and deep snow to deal with.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The 18- to 20-foot shoreline breaks on Cass Lake are producing walleyes, as are the east and west shorelines on Pike Bay Lake. Big Lake is kicking out perch, crappies, walleyes, and bluegills in 12 to 15 feet. Hit Pike Bay for perch in 10 to 12 feet, while the shallow weeds on Midge Lake and Grace Lake are producing bluegills. There’s also some decent crappie action over deep water on Lower Sucker Lake. There’s a lot of snow and slush on area lakes.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Walleyes, pike, and panfish are being taken on Green Lake in 8 to 12 feet. The channel between Chisago Lake and Lindstrom Lake is producing pike, bluegills, and walleyes. The A-Frame area on Chisago Lake is giving up crappies and walleyes after dark in 8 to 12 feet. Work the Pancake Island area on South Center Lake for pike and panfish in 8 to 10 feet. ATVs are being used on 8 to 11 inches of ice.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake are giving up a few walleyes each evening in 17 to 22 feet – dead sticks and rainbow minnows or spoons are both working. Look for crappies over 25 to 30 feet on Nokay Lake and Bay Lake during low-light periods. Bluegill reports have been light, but northern pike action remains strong in less than 12 feet around Thompson Point on Serpent, Black Lake, and Black Bear Lake. Snowmobiles, side by sides, and ATVs are being used and there is slush pockets to deal with on many lakes.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
The evening hours have been best for walleyes and crappies on Lake Melissa in 18 to 21 feet. Big Cormorant Lake started kicking out walleyes during low-light periods in 20 feet as well. A few walleyes and panfish are coming off Little Detroit Lake in 12 to 15 feet and look for suspended crappies over 15 feet on Shell Lake. Roads have been plowed on some lakes and vehicle traffic has started on those, but ATVs remain the best travel option on most lakes.
Quality Bait and Tackle
The narrows area on Fish Lake is giving up crappies and bluegills in 12 feet, while the Duluth harbor on the St. Louis River is kicking out walleyes. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike and an occasional walleye in 6 feet at Rice Lake. Side by sides or snowmobiles continue to be used on area lakes.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Green Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 14 to 17 feet, as is Eagle Lake in 10 to 14 feet. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike at Elk Lake and Fremont Lake in 7 feet. ATVs and side by sides are being used with 8 to 11 inches of ice being found on area lakes.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Spoons are turning walleyes on Shagawa Lake and Birch Lake in 18 to 22 feet. Northern pike remain active, hitting sucker minnows, on Birch or Hoist Bay on Basswood Lake in 5 to 10 feet. Lake trout action has been strong over 40 to 60 feet with tube jigs on Trout Lake, Knife Lake, and Basswood. Trucks are being used on the majority of lakes.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Small spoons or tungsten jigs with waxworms are turning yellow bass on Hall Lake and Budd Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Budd or Sisseton Lake for bluegills in 14 to 18 feet and a few crappies are coming off Hall and Amber Lake during the evening hours. Look to Tuttle Lake and Cedar Lake for a few walleyes in 4 feet of water. ATVs and side by sides are being used on area lakes.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Shields Lake started giving up crappies and sunfish in 12 feet. Look to Lake Mazaska for walleyes and crappies during low-light periods in 12 to 20 feet. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning northern pike on Shields, Mazaska, and Cedar Lake in less than 10 feet. There’s 8 to 12 inches of ice on most lakes.
John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787
Lake Country Convenience & Bait
FERGUS FALLS AREA
A few walleyes are being taken on Walker Lake and Pebble Lake in 13 to 18 feet. Crappies and bluegills remain active on Pleasant Lake in 15 to 18 feet and Norway Lake in 8 to 12 feet. Look for suspended crappies over deep water on Jewett Lake, Walker, and Rush Lake. Northern pike remain active on most lakes in less than 15 feet. There is a lot of snow on the lakes, but if roads have been plowed, trucks are being used.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Perch and walleyes are hitting on Bowstring Lake in 12 to 15 feet, as are crappies over 25 feet or more. McCavity Bay on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is giving up crappies over 30 feet, while Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama remains a safe bet for crappies and bluegills in 15 feet. Trucks are now being used on area lakes, but there is quite a bit of snow to deal with on some.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Cedar Lake and Pine Lake are producing sunfish in 8 to 12 feet. The north end of Big Swan Lake is giving up sunfish in 12 to 15 feet and crappies over 22 feet. Hit Moose Lake for a mixed bag of panfish and an occasional walleye in 8 to 12 feet. Big Birch Lake is giving up walleyes in 18 to 22 feet during low-light periods and pike during the day in less than 12 feet. Snowmobiles or ATVs with tracks are needed for travel due to deep snow and slush on area lakes.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Crappies are going after dark on Birch Lake and Stony Lake over 20 to 30 feet. Look for bluegills on Lindsey Lake, Brockway Lake, and Variety Lake near Backus in 8 to 15 feet. There is deep snow and some slush on certain lakes with about 12 to 14 inches of ice being found. The snow and slush is limiting vehicle use on many lakes.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
Walleyes are being caught in 6 feet of water on Belle Lake and Thomas Lake during low-light periods. Lake Washington is giving up walleyes in 6 to 8 feet and crappies over 14 to 18 feet. Crappies are going on Lake Francis in 14 to 16 feet and a few walleyes can be had during the evening hours on Ripley Lake. The shallow weeds on Jewell Lake are producing sunfish during the day and Otter Lake continues to kick out walleyes. Trucks are now being used on most lakes.
The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177
Brown and rainbow trout are being taken with small caddis nymphs or orange scud patterns – #14 and #16. Local streams are clear and low so be extremely stealthy when fishing them. Fly fishing has been more productive than in-line presentations over the past week.
Root River Rod Company
Bluegills are hitting on the 13- to 15-foot weed edges throughout Boy Lake and Girl Lake. Look for suspended crappies over the deep holes, 25 feet or more, on Wabedo Lake and Boy. The shoreline points are producing walleyes in 16 to 18 feet at Woman Lake and Little Boy Lake during the evening hours. Anglers are finding 10 to 14 inches of ice, trucks are being used on some lakes and ATVs on others, but pockets of slush are being found on some lakes as well.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Duck Lake is kicking out panfish in 14 feet and pike on the 6- to 8-foot weedlines throughout the day. Carpenter’s Point on Lake Francis is producing sunfish, crappies, and northern pike. Hit East Bay for panfish and pike or the Narrows and Miller’s Point for walleyes on Madison Lake. Anglers are finding 9 to 12 inches of ice and ATVs are being used.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
There’s been plenty of fishing pressure, but success has been limited throughout the area. The best option early this week was on Louis Lake for crappies and sunfish in 15 to 20 feet. Side by sides or ATVs are the best way to get around, but a few trucks started being used on a couple of lakes early this week.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Perch and bluegills remain active on Big Stone Lake from the Ben Heines access area up to Rocky Ledge in 12 to 14 feet. Tungsten jigs and spikes or small spoons and minnow heads are producing most fish and stay on the move until you locate a pod with bigger perch in it. Ice depths vary, not quite enough for truck use in most areas, but ATVs and side by sides are good to go.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Fish Hook Lake is giving up walleyes and panfish in 15 to 20 feet early and late each day. The south side of Long Lake is giving up a few walleyes in 18 to 22 feet and Portage Lake is producing crappies and sunfish, along with an occasional walleye in 14 to 18 feet. You’ll also find panfish on the Crow Wing Chain in 12 to 15 feet. Anglers are finding 8 to 14 inches of ice and there is a bit of slush to deal with on some lakes.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Big Pine Lake, Little Pine Lake, and Rush Lake are kicking out walleyes in 18 to 22 feet. Dead sticks and a shiner minnow are working better than spoons early and late each day. Look to Star Lake and Rush for bluegills and crappies in 10 to 15 feet. Trucks are being used on most lakes, but you will find spots with slush.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Crappies and bluegills continue to be caught in the marinas and backwater areas in shallow water. A few boats hit the Mississippi River when the weather allows and there are walleyes and sauger being caught below the dam in 18 to 20 feet with jigs.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Look for walleyes on the 10- to 25-foot structure and breaks throughout Lake Koronis. Rice Lake is producing crappies and walleyes in 15 to 25 feet during the evening hours. Crappies also are being found suspended over 20 feet or deeper on Horseshoe Lake and Cedar Island Lake. Catfish are suspended and active over the deep holes on Horseshoe as well. ATVs are being used on lakes throughout the area.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The 18- to 36-foot structure on Sauk Lake is kicking out walleyes early and late each day with dead sticks and brassy shiner minnows. You’ll find suspended crappies in Red Barn Bay on Sauk over 36 to 48 feet. The north end of Lake Osakis is producing sunfish in 16 to 18 feet and pike on tip ups and sucker minnows in slightly shallower water. Work the northwest corner of Lily Lake for sunfish in 14 to 20 feet. Trucks and ATVs are being used, it just depends on the lake, and there are pockets of slush on some lakes.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
The Thoroughfare area on Lake Alexander continues to produce walleyes and crappies in 12 feet during low-light periods. Look for crappies and sunfish in 15 feet on Beauty Lake, Thunder Lake, and Coal Lake. Truck use was not an option early this week and there is quite a bit of slush to work through on most lakes.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Look for walleyes in 16 to 23 feet on Lake Minnewaska early and late each day – shiner minnows or rattle spoons are working best. The Glenwood end of Minnewaska is giving up crappies during low-light periods in 12 to 15 feet. Most lakes now have 12 to 14 inches of ice and trucks are being used on a few.
Last Cast Bait and Tackle
Long Lake is producing walleyes, crappies, and perch in 12 to 14 feet, while Norway Lake started giving up crappies over 15 to 20 feet. You’ll find sunfish out from the access on Diamond Lake and the Farm Bar on Eagle Lake is giving up walleyes and crappies in 18 to 25 feet. Big Kandi Lake started giving up walleyes during the evening hours in 12 to 14 feet. Most lakes now have 12 to 14 inches of ice and trucks are being used on many lakes.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle