Report from the Dock
Ice depths continue to improve across the state and there was a definite uptick with truck and wheel house use in many areas. With that, you can’t drive just anywhere, especially in many parts of northern and west-central Minnesota where deep snow and slush is limiting where people can go. Generally, if roads have been plowed you can get out with a truck, but traveling off them can be difficult due to the slush. Snowmobiles or track vehicles are ideal in many locations for any type of “off-road” travel. Walleye activity slowed a bit in most areas since last week, but that’s likely due to the cold and unstable weather patterns. With warmer weather expected this week, look for walleyes to start feeding heavily again, especially during low-light periods of the day. Improved weather should also allow panfish anglers to dig around a bit more this weekend. They were also kind of forced to sit over a hole, stay warm, and take what a given lake offered. The stream trout and lake trout season opener is Saturday.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Walleye reports have been strong with good daytime action on the mud and gravel in 25 feet or more. The evening bite has been best on the rocks and points in 16 to 18 feet. Spoons are turning fish during the day, but dead sticks are the ticket at night. Some perch action is being found in the southern bays. More of the lake is now accessible and resorts have opened roads and started pulling out houses. Use the resorts because travel is difficult if you get off the main roads due to deep snow.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Up and down weather patterns and air temperatures have made for a bit more challenging bite, but walleyes and sauger are being caught in 25 to 30 feet of water. Overall, anglers are catching fish, sorting through small fish to catch their keepers, with some slots and a few trophy walleyes as well. Jumbo perch, eelpout, pike, tullibee, and an occasional sturgeon are part of the mix. Rainy River anglers report walleye action during the morning and evening hours and sturgeon are still being caught. At the Northwest Angle, walleye fishing has been strong with glow and bright- colored spoons or jigs in 15 to 20 feet.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Look for sunfish during the day and crappies each evening on Lake Minnetonka over 15 to 20 feet in Phelp’s Bay, Harrison Bay, Black Lake, Seton Bay, and Carson’s Bay. Sunfish and crappies are being found suspended over 20 feet on Lake Sarah and the west side of Medicine Lake is producing pike on sucker minnows in 20 feet. Wayzata Bay and Harrison Bay on Minnetonka are giving up few walleyes on shiner minnows in 25 to 30 feet. Most lakes now have 12 to 14 inches of ice.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
The reefs out of McKinley Park continue to produce walleyes in 20 to 30 feet on rattle baits or glow jigs and minnows on deadsticks. Northern pike action has picked up on the shallow reef in Stuntz Bay or Larson Bay in less than 10 feet. Trucks are being used where roads have been plowed, otherwise track vehicles are best for off-road travel.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Perch are being caught on the main lake flats in 13 to 15 feet or the shoreline breaks in less than 12 feet. Some walleyes also are coming off the shallower breaks, but the tops of the bars and humps have been most productive in 16 to 23 feet – make sure to stay on top of the structure and not off the edges. You can go just about anywhere with a track vehicle and resorts are plowing roads for trucks, but getting off them becomes more difficult. There’s also pressure ridges to be aware of on certain parts of the lake.
The humps in Walker Bay or main lake structure and breaks are giving up a few walleyes in 20 feet or more, with better activity during low-light periods. Overall, the cold weather over the past week has limited walleye action and the ability for anglers to move around and look for them. Perch reports have also been light. Trucks are being used in areas with plowed roads, but deep snow and pockets of slush are limiting travel of the main roads.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250
The walleye bite has been up and down with the cold weather. It seems the bite gets good with some weather stability and slows with the wicked cold. Walleyes and pike are being caught in 30 to 35 feet of water around structure. There has been some larger perch starting to be caught in these areas as well.
RainyDaze Guide Service (218) 290-6102
Walleye activity isn’t as strong as it was a couple weeks ago, but most groups continue to put together enough fish to keep things interesting and dirty the frying pan. Low-light periods remain the best option with glow spoons or dead sticks and minnows both producing fish. The walleyes seem to come through in waves and most consistently in 12 to 14 feet of water. There’s been a few more crappies showing up over the past week as well.
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Northern pike are being taken via spearing and angling in shallow water on Forest Lake. The Bayport area of the St. Croix River is giving up walleyes around structure in 25 to 28 feet and crappies over 30 to 35 feet. A few walleyes continue to be caught during low-light periods on White Bear Lake in 20 to 25 feet. ATVs and snowmobiles remain the best means of travel on area lakes.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421
Parley Lake continues to produce crappies and sunfish in 15 feet, while Wasserman Lake is giving up crappies in 20 to 24 feet and sunfish in 15 to 18 feet. Christmas Lake and Lake Minnewashta are providing steady pike action in less than 10 feet. Sunfish can be had on Little Minnie Lake in 11 to 15 feet and Christmas in 8 to 12 feet. Trucks have started being used on some lakes and ATVs are a safe bet throughout the area.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Pike are being taken with sucker minnows and sunfish are going as well on Center Reef, in Waconia Bay, and Pillsbury Reef in 10 to 15 feet. You’ll find crappies along the 10- to 15-foot weeds on Center Reef and Pillsbury Reef during the evening hours. A few walleyes are being taken on the northwest end on Nelson’s Flat and Center Reef, overnight, in 15 to 18 feet. Vehicles have started being used on most of the lake.
Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096
A few walleyes are coming off Reno Lake and Lake Miltona in 25 to 30 feet early or late each day. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 25 feet and sunfish in 12 to 15 feet on Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Geneva, while sunfish continue to be caught on Lake Victoria in 12 feet. Trucks are being used on lakes with plowed roads, but off-road travel is an issue due to snow and slush.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255
Indian Lake, Pleasant Lake, Lake John, Lake Marie, Union Lake, Granite Lake, and Little Maple Lake are all giving up sunfish and crappies in 10 to 20 feet. Look for active walleyes during low-light periods on Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, and Pleasant in 18 to 22 feet. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows in 10 to 14 feet on most lakes. A few people just started driving on a few lakes or you can use an ATVs everywhere, with 10 to 14 inches of ice being found on some lakes.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Sunfish are going in 10 to 14 feet, as are crappies over 16 to 20 on West Battle Lake, Rush Lake, and Walker Lake. Shiner minnows are turning walleyes in 10 to 14 feet at Otter Tail Lake and West Battle in 15 to 20 feet or 30 to 35 feet. Sucker minnows are producing pike in 12 to 16 feet at West Battle, Otter Tail, and Donald Lake. Lakes have 11 to 13 inches of ice, trucks are being used, but anglers are dealing with a lot of slush and snow.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
With extremely cold temps and a few days of wind over the past week, getting around on area lakes has been difficult unless you were on a plowed road, which there are not many. For the most part, perch and walleye action has been slow, with Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet giving up some fish in 18 to 30 feet on jigging spoons and minnow heads. Look to Gull Lake and Beltrami Lake for crappies and bluegills.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service (218) 556-7172
A few walleyes are being caught during the evening hours on Island Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Gull Lake and Turtle River Lake for bluegills and some crappies over 18 to 22 feet. There’s plenty of ice for vehicles, but deep snow is limiting travel off plowed roads.
Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636
Sunfish and northern pike are going on North Long Lake in 12 feet, mainly in the Highway 371 Bay. Round Lake, Lake Edward, and Nisswa Lake are producing sunfish in 8 to 12 feet. Sucker minnows are turning pike on North Long, Edward, and Pelican Lake in 10 to 15 feet. You’ll find suspended crappies over 20 feet at North Long, south end of Gull Lake, Nisswa, and Pelican. Walleyes are most active in the evenings over 16 to 26 feet on Round, Pelican, and north end of Gull. Travel conditions vary a lot on area lakes from ATV use on some, but limited on others due to snow. Trucks are being used where roads are plowed, but it’s tough getting off the main paths.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Walleyes remain active around Deadman’s Bar and North Cedar Bar on Cass Lake, Lake Andrusia, and LeRoy’s Bar on Pike Bay Lake in 18 to 21 feet. Look for perch in 8 to 10 feet on Pike Bay, while bluegills and crappies are hitting around the island on Big Lake. Trucks are being used on the few lakes with plowed roads, but track vehicles are the best way to get around.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Spearing reports remain decent on Mahnomen Lake, Black Bar Lake, and Serpent Lake. Look for suspended crappies on Bay Lake and Nokay Lake over 25 to 30 feet or Upper Dean Lake over 15 to 20 feet. Walleye action has been limited to a few fish during low-light periods on Serpent and Rabbit Lake in 20 to 25 feet. There’s a lot of slush and snow on area lakes and that’s limiting where people can go. Track vehicles remain the best option and truck use remains limited on area lakes.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Big Pine Lake, Floyd Lake, and Big Detroit Lake are giving up crappies over 20 to 22 feet, as is Shell Lake in 15 feet. There’ some evening action on Lake Melissa for walleyes and crappies in 18 to 21 feet, while Big Cormorant Lake is producing a few walleyes in 20 feet. Roads are plowed on a few lakes, but getting off them is an issue due to slush.
Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248
Fish Lake is producing crappies in 15 feet and bluegills in 10 feet early and late each day. Boulder Lake is giving up a few walleyes in 10 to 12 feet during the afternoon hours. There’s been some limited truck use on a few lakes, but track vehicles are the best option due to deep snow and slush on most lakes.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
There’s some low-light crappie action on Green Lake, Spectacle Lake, and Eagle Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Sunfish are going on Blue Lake, Baxter Lake, and Mitchell Lake in 10 feet. Sucker minnows are taking pike at Fremont Lake and Eagle in 7 feet. There’s 10 to 14 inches of ice on area lakes and anglers were using ATVs early this week.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985
Trout Lake and Basswood Lake are giving up lake trout over 30 to 50 feet on tubes or spoons. Dead sticks and minnows are turning walleyes on Birch Lake in 20 feet throughout the day and look for crappies over 20 to 25 feet on Birch and Low Lake. It’s been cold so fishing activity has been limited over the past week and driving trucks is an option on most lakes.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sisseton are giving up yellow bass in 15 to 18 feet. Cedar Lake and Tuttle Lake are worth looking at for walleyes in less than 4 feet of water. Crappies are going during low-light periods on Hall and Budd in 15 to 20 feet, while sunfish are being found in 14 to 18 feet on Budd and Sisseton. Trucks and ATVs are being used throughout the area.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Look for suspended crappies over deep water or perch and walleyes on the 12- to 16-foot humps throughout Bowstring Lake. McCavity Bay on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is giving up crappies over 25 feet and Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 12 to 15 feet. If there isn’t a road plowed, you’ll need a snowmobile or track vehicle to get around on most lakes due to deep snow.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Crappies are going along the south end of Two Rivers Lake in 15 to 18 feet, while Kings Lake is producing sunfish, crappies, and an occasional walleye in 14 to 18 feet. The point out from Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is kicking out some walleyes in 18 to 22 feet. Fuller Lake started giving up pike in shallow water and the south end of Big Swan Lake is kicking out walleyes in 18 to 25 feet. The north end of Big Swan is a safe bet for crappies in 25 feet and sunfish in 12 to 15 feet. Trucks are being used on a couple of lakes, but track vehicles are best due to the lack of roads and slush on most.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Crappies and bluegills are being caught in 18 to 22 feet on Birch Lake, Stony Lake, and Webb Lake. Walleye reports have been light, but anglers haven’t been able to get to many prime spots due to lake conditions. If roads are plowed on a given lake, trucks are good to go, but track vehicles remain the best travel option due to deep snow and slush.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
Ripley Lake is kicking out walleyes and crappies in 14 feet during low-light periods. Belle Lake is giving up walleyes in 6 to 8 feet, while Lake Washington is producing crappies in 15 feet and a few walleyes in 6 to 8 feet. Look for crappies in 14 to 16 feet on Lake Francis and sunfish on Jewell Lake in less than 10 feet. Trucks are being used on all area lakes.
The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177
Streams and rivers are running ice-free and remain very fishable. Trout continue to be caught on #14 and #16 orange scud patterns or small nymphing patterns. For more of a challenge, but still productive, a size 20 dry fly midge pattern also is turning trout during the afternoon hours.
Root River Rod Company (507) 467-2101
MADISON LAKE AREA
On Lake Washington, Baker’s Bay is producing crappies and sunfish in 12 to 14 feet, while walleyes are going off Second and Third points in 18 to 20 feet. Northern pike continue to hit on Duck Lake in 6 to 8 feet, as are crappies and sunfish in 14 feet. On Madison Lake, Miller’s Point is giving up walleyes and East Bay is producing panfish and pike. Lake Tetonka started kicking out
walleye and crappies around Willow’s Point. Trucks are now being used on most lakes.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Perch action remains strong around the islands and Rocky Ledge areas on Big Stone Lake in 11 to 13 feet. Tungsten jigs and spikes or small spoons are working best and you’ll find some large bluegills mixed in. Trucks are being used where people have been catching fish.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Walleyes are hitting early and late each day around the 18- to 22-foot structure on Long Lake, Fish Hook Lake, and Potato Lake. Look for suspended crappies over 20 to 30 feet at Boulder Lake and the Crow Wing Chain or sunfish in the 10- to 12-foot weeds on Portage Lake and the Crow Wing Chain. Trucks are being used on the lakes where roads have been plowed, but slush is limiting travel off those roads unless you have some form of track vehicle.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099
Walleyes are being taken on the shoreline breaks and mid-lake humps in 15 to 20 feet on Big Pine Lake, Little Pine Lake, and Rush Lake. Rush, Star Lake, and Big Pine are producing bluegills in 15 to 18 feet and crappies are being found suspended over slightly deeper water. Trucks are being used where roads have been plowed, but travel is tough off the main roads on many lakes.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
The backwaters and marinas off Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River continue to produce panfish. The Frontenac and Maiden Rock areas on Pepin are giving up walleyes and perch in 18 to 20 feet. Boat traffic has been light on the river due to the cold, but look below the dam in 20 feet for walleyes and sauger.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Rice Lake continues to give up crappies and a few walleyes over 20 to 22 feet during low-light periods. Walleyes also are going on Lake Koronis in 15 to 20 feet. hit Big Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in 20 to 22 feet, while Becker Lake is kicking out sunfish in 15 feet. The deep holes, 25 feet or more, on Horseshoe Lake and Cedar Island Lake are giving up crappies and channel catfish. Anglers are using ATVs throughout the area and driving trucks on some.
Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975
SAUK CENTRE AREA
You’ll find sunfish on Maple Lake and Grove Lake in 15 feet, north end of Lake Osakis 15 to 18 feet, and Lily Lake in 20 to 28 feet. Look for suspended crappies in Red Barn Bay on Sauk Lake over 30 to 40 feet, Four Mile Bar on Osakis over 45 feet, Latimer Lake in 12 feet and Cedar Lake over 20 to 25 feet. Walleyes continue to hit on the north end of Sauk in 10 to 40 feet. There is a lot of slush to deal with on area lakes and getting around is limited to walking on most or vehicle use on the few lakes with roads plowed. Early this week, roads were open on the north end of Sauk, north end of Osakis, Cedar Lake, Kings Lake, and Grove Lake.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Shamineau Lake started giving up a few walleyes in 15 feet, as is the east side of Lake Alexander in 15 to 25 feet – low-light periods are better on both lakes. Crappies and sunfish remain active on Beauty Lake and Thunder Lake in 12 feet. Ice depths vary throughout the area – ATVs are being used on most lakes and trucks have started showing up on certain areas of a few lakes.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Sunfish and crappies are hitting off the DNR Access in 12 to 16 feet and in Bottle Bay on Lake Minnewaska. The Starbuck side of Minnewaska is giving up walleyes on dead sticks and shiner minnows during the late afternoon hours in 16 to 18 feet. Trucks are now being used on the majority of lakes if roads have been plowed.
Last Cast Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239
Green Lake started giving up walleyes during low-light periods in 20 to 25 feet and Big Kandi Lake is producing walleyes and perch in 12 to 14 feet. Look to Long Lake for walleyes and crappies in 15 feet, while Diamond Lake is producing crappies and walleyes over 18 to 20 feet. A few walleyes and crappies are coming off the north end of Eagle Lake in 25 to 30 feet. Trucks are being used on most lakes.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle (320) 235-4097
The Buckshot area on the northeast end of Waubay Lake is producing perch and a few walleyes in 22 to 28 feet. Activity on Bitter Lake has slowed, but Dry Lake by Garden City is giving up perch and some walleyes in less than 8 feet of water. Trucks are being used on lakes throughout the area.
Sportsman’s Cove (605) 345-2468
Perch continue to be taken with small rattle spoons and minnow heads or tungsten jigs with spikes over 30 to 50 feet in East Devil’s Lake, 34 to 37 feet in Black Tiger Bay Tower’s Area in 38 to 40 feet, and out from the casino. Walleye action has been more inconsistent with the 20- to 25-foot structure such as trees, rocks, points, and old roads producing some fish. The best walleye action is being found in Pelican Lake over 8 to 12 feet or Lake Irvine in 3 to 5 feet. Trucks and ATVs are being used.
Eye Hangers Guide Service (701) 230-7080
Sunfish are being found in the 6- to 8-foot weeds on Balsam Lake, Big Round Lake, and Lake Wapogasset. Balsam is producing a few walleyes in 10 to 20 feet during low-light periods. Look to White Ash Lake and Blake Lake for sunfish in 8 feet. Pike are taking sucker minnows on Mud Lake, while North Twin Lake is kicking out sunfish, pike and a few walleyes in 12 to 20 feet.
Country Store (715) 268-7482
Bluegills are being caught in 10 to 15 feet on Spring Lake and Nelson Lake. There’s some evening walleye action in 15 to 25 feet at Nelson, Grindstone Lake, and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles. Crappies are being found suspended over 25 feet or more on Smith Lake. Trucks have started being used on some lakes, while ATVs are a safe bet everywhere.
Hayward Bait & Tackle (715) 634-2921