Report from the Dock
Finally, some better weather has arrived across the state and that should improve fishing opportunities. Not just in the number of people getting out, but lake conditions to the north as well. Early this week, deep snow and slush was still limiting where anglers could get to across most of northern Minnesota. That should change quickly with the warmer air, but it’s anyone’s guess just how much better lake conditions will be by this weekend. Generally, the snow will settle, but there’s probably going to be some water still on top of the ice. From a fishing standpoint, this seemed to be a transition week, which means some panfish are still being found suspended over deep water, while others are more active in shallow water. Expect this transition into shallower depths to happen quickly given the nice weather forecast. It’s time to start looking to those traditional, late-ice panfish spots to start holding better numbers of fish rather than those deep basin areas.
LAKE MILLE LACS
There’s been a handful of people looking for perch and reports indicate that they’re sorting through huge numbers of short fish to find a few to keep. Tullibee action has been limited and look for northern pike activity to pick up in shallow water in the bays.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Anglers are reporting a mixed bag of walleyes, sauger, jumbo perch, pike, eelpout, tullibee and even a few crappies. Some resorts have started moving fish houses closer to the south shore, and fish remain scattered from 17 to 30 feet. Keep lures moving to get walleyes and sauger to commit – jig one line and deadstick the second with a live minnow. Northern pike activity is picking up with quick strike rigs, sucker minnows or frozen bait in 10 to 20 feet. Ice fishing has been limited on the Rainy River as anglers wait for open water. The open water mark is currently a number of miles east of Loman.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Sunfish remain active in the 8- to 12-foot weeds on Lake Sarah, Lake Minnetonka, Medicine Lake, and Lake Independence. Crappie action has been best during the evening hours with fish being found suspended over 18 to 22 feet on Minnetonka, Sarah, and Medicine.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Fishing pressure has been minimal, but lake conditions are fine for snowmobile and truck use. Crappies remain scattered with a few fish being caught around Raspberry Island and the mouth of Stuntz Bay in 12 to 15 feet.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Perch action has been somewhat slow, but they were biting better early this week in 17 to 23 feet on the flat east of Raven’s Point and off Sugar Point – look for these fish to start pushing shallower. Most resorts have closed or limited their access use at his point, so track vehicles are the best way to get around with roads no longer being maintained.
Deep snow was still limiting fishing activity early this week, but lake conditions should quickly improve throughout the week. The few folks venturing out were finding a few keeping-size perch in deeper water, 10 to 15 feet, off the points and flats. These fish should make a quick swing into shallow water, so start looking to the shoreline breaks and points in less than 9 feet to hold fish. Tullibee and eelpout reports also have been minimal, but there hasn’t been many people chasing them due to the conditions.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Fishing pressure remains light, mainly due to lake conditions, which should improve throughout this week. Look for walleyes, crappies, and pike to be deep, 25 feet or more, but starting to slide shallower in the days ahead.
RainyDaze Guide Service
Nothing to report this week with limited activity. There really hasn’t been much going on since the walleye season closed and resorts stopped plowing roads.
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Look for crappies and a few sunfish out from the access on Lake Parley in 12 feet. The north end of Lake Minnewashta is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 14 to 17 feet. On Wasserman Lake, crappies and a few sunfish are being caught during the evening hours in 17 feet. Look to Wagener’s Bay on Lake Waconia for sunfish in 12 feet and a few big crappies are coming out of the back part of Whaletail Lake over 20 to 22 feet.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Fishing activity continues to be limited to some evening crappie action on Cedar Lake in 15 to 17 feet. Reports off Prior Lake and most other lakes have been pretty much nonexistent.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle
Look for sunfish in 8 to 12 feet and crappies in slightly deeper water on Lake Victoria. Crappies remain suspended over 20 to 25 feet on Lake Geneva and Lake Le Homme Dieu, but start looking to the west side of Le Homme Dieu for crappies in 6 to 8 feet. The snow is starting to settle, so travel conditions are slowly improving, but there’s still quite a bit of slush to deal with.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
Look for sunfish during the day and better crappie activity in the evenings on most lakes. Better reports continue to come from 10 to 15 feet of water, but with the nicer weather, these fish should start moving shallower. Lakes such as Indian, Limestone, Clearwater, Sylvia, Sugar, Cedar, Marie, and Little Pulaski are worth hitting for a mixed bag of panfish.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Crappies and bluegills are being found suspended and caught over the 10- to 20-foot weeds on Star Lake, West Battle Lake, and South Turtle Lake. Tullibee reports have picked up with waxworms below flashers over 30 to 35 feet on Mollie Stark Lake, Clitherall Lake, Lida Lake, and Star. Anglers were still limited to lakes with roads plowed, but conditions should improve on most lakes by this weekend with the warmer weather.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
There are a few folks getting out on Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet, but only with a snowmobile or track vehicle as deep snow is limiting where you can go. You’ll find some perch on deeper mud areas and some are being found on the shallower flats. There just isn’t many people out fishing at this point. With some warmer weather moving in that might help settle the snow, which will help accessibility.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Gull Lake is kicking out bluegills and a few crappies in 10 to 14 feet. Look to Round Lake for crappies and perch in 16 to 18 feet or to Rabideau Lake, Blackduck Lake, and Pimushe Lake in 15 to 17 feet for bluegills and crappies. Travel conditions were still tough early this week, but should improve a lot by this weekend.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Eelpout continue to be caught during the evening hours on the north end of Gull Lake in 12 to 16 feet. Sunfish are being caught in 8 to 12 feet on North Long Lake, Nisswa Lake, Pelican Lake, and Lake Edwards. Crappies are still suspended over 20 feet or more on Gull, Pelican, and Round Lake, but look for them to make a quick push into shallower water soon.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
Perch action has been limited, with a few pods of fish being found on the 25- to 30-foot mud on Cass Lake and Pike Bay Lake – look for these fish to start moving shallower soon. Look to Grace Lake for bluegills, out from the access, in less than 15 feet of water. Travel conditions remained difficult on area lakes early this week, but the snow is starting to settle. With that, slush will likely remain an issue on most lakes.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
The south end of Chisago Lake and North Lindstrom Lake are producing sunfish and crappies in 6 to 12 feet. The channel between South Lindstrom Lake and Chisago is kicking out panfish in 12 to 14 feet, as is the Pancake Island area on South Center Lake in 6 to 10 feet.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Panfish action remains slow, although the number of people fishing continues to be very light. Deep snow and slush was still an issue on most lakes early this week, so look for the fishing to improve as the snow settles and anglers can get around easier. Trout action has been quiet, with a few coming off Yawkey Pit, Sagamore Pit, and Huntington Pit close to shore.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
There still isn’t a lot of people fishing mainly due to deep snow and slush on area lakes. If the warmer weather this week settles the snow pack, lake conditions should improve, but still plan on needing track vehicles heading into this weekend. A few anglers have ventured to Long Lake and Sybil Lake by Vergas and found some tullibees suspended over deep water. Crappie and sunfish action has been slow, but again, there hasn’t been many people out looking for them.
Quality Bait and Tackle
Panfish reports have been limited to some crappies coming off Fish Lake in 12 feet, but deep snow and slush continues to limit where people can get to. Anglers were still walking on Lake Superior early this week, out from 21st Avenue in Duluth, but that could change quickly with the nice weather this week. Lake trout, coho salmon, and herring were being caught over 70 to 80 feet of water.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Look for suspended crappies on Eagle Lake, Green Lake, and Blue Lake over 20 to 25 feet – the early morning and evening hours have been best. Sunfish action has been best off Mitchell Lake and Green in 12 to 14 feet
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Lake trout are being caught over 40 to 50 feet with small spoons or bucktails at Burntside Lake, Snowbank lake, Knife Lake, and Basswood Lake. Look for crappies on Bass Lake, Low Lake, and Grassy Lake in 20 to 30 feet. Hanson Lake, Tofte Lake, and Norway Lake are producing splake in 15 to 20 feet on small spoons and waxworms. Bailey’s Bay on Basswood is producing a few walleyes in 25 to 35 feet, while eelpout are hitting in 15 to 35 feet during the evening hours on Burntside and Snowbank.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Fishing activity has been limited and with the nice weather this week, the shorelines and accesses on most lakes were starting to bust loose. There’s a good chance that you won’t be able to get on local lakes after this weekend.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Bowstring is producing perch and crappies in 25 feet, while McCavity Bay on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is giving up crappies over 25 feet. Look to Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake for crappies and bluegills 7 to 10 feet and the north end of Round Lake is producing perch in 10 feet. Snowmobiles or track vehicles were the best means of getting around on area lakes early this week.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
You’ll find suspended crappies on the north end of Big Swan Lake early and late each day in 22 feet. Hit St. Mary’s Lake for crappies and sunfish in 20 to 22 feet or Lady Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in 16 to 18 feet. Long Lake, by the Hub Supper Club, is producing sunfish in 8 feet. Look to Two Rivers Lake and King’s Lake for crappies during the evening hours.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Lake conditions were still limiting where anglers could get early this week and snowmobiles or vehicles with tracks remain the best option to move around. Look for bluegills on Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, and north side of Mule Lake in 12 to 15 feet. A few crappies are being caught early and late each day on Birch, Stony Lake, and Webb Lake over 18 to 22 feet.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
The sharp break on the southeast corner of Manuella continues to produce crappies in 14 to 22 feet. The basin area on Big Wolf Lake started giving up crappies and Clear Lake by Watkins is kicking out sunfish in 14 feet.
The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177
With the warm weather and runoff occurring, some big streams may cloud up, so start keying on the small streams for trout. Midge dry flies or midge and scud nymphs are productive and a better streamer pattern would be a size 10 or 12 black leech.
Root River Rod Company
As of Tuesday morning, deep snow and pockets of slush still made for difficult travel conditions on lakes throughout the area. With the warmer weather this week, expect the snow to settle, but track vehicles will still likely be the best means of getting around. Look to the shallow weeds on Boy Lake, Wabedo Lake, Moccasin Lake, or Lantern Bay on Woman Lake to start producing mixed bags of panfish.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
Look to Ann Lake in 9 feet of water for crappies and sunfish. The main point on Knife Lake is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 12 feet, as is Louis Lake, but look for suspended fish over 20 feet or more.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Perch action has slowed a bit on Big Stone Lake, but you’ll find pods of fish in 11 to 13 feet around the islands and Meadowbrook area. You’ll find bluegills during the day and a few crappies each evening over 13 to 15 feet near the Rocky Ledge/Windmill Reef area and Manhattan Reef on Big Stone. A few walleye reports are coming off the north end of Big Stone in shallow water.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Look for sunfish in 12 to 15 feet and suspended crappies over 18 to 24 feet on Toad Lake, Boulder Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes. There’s some evening eelpout activity on Bad Medicine Lake in 20 to 24 feet with large glow spoons or tube jigs. The snow has started to settle, but there’s still a lot of slush on area lakes, so travel conditions remained difficult early this week.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Bluegill action has improved on Big Pine Lake, Rush Lake, Star Lake, and Height of Land Lake in 10 to 15 feet. Crappies also have started moving out of deep water and into 12 to 15 feet at Big Pine, Rush, and Star. Look to Little Pine Lake and Star for suspended tullibees over 30 feet or more.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Boats are showing up on the Mississippi River with good walleye and sauger reports during the day. Most fish are being caught below the dam in 18 to 24 feet on jigs tipped with minnows or plastics and blade baits. The ice was still in good shape early this week in the Baypoint Park area where panfish are hitting in 8 to 12 feet.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Sunfish are going in 5 to 8 feet on Cedar Island Lake, Schneider Lake, Clear Lake, and Brown’s Lake. Crappies are being found suspended over 14 to 18 feet at Horseshoe Lake, Schneider, and Long Lake or over 20 to 24 feet on Lake Koronis. Hit Pearl Lake for a mixed bag of panfish.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Fishing pressure has been limited, but with the nice weather, there should be more people out this weekend. Look to lakes such as Fairy, Maple, Smith, Lily, and Osakis for panfish. These fish should start moving into shallower water as well.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Coal Lake started giving up crappies during the evening hours in 22 feet, as is Lake Pepin in 17 to 20 feet. Beauty Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 10 to 12 feet and look to Stanchfield Lake for crappies over 20 to 22 feet. The first island area on Lake Alexander is kicking out a few crappies late over 15 to 18 feet.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Look to Bottle Bay on Lake Minnewaska for sunfish and crappies in 10 to 15 feet. The Glenwood Beach area on Minnewaska is giving up sunfish in 10 to 12 feet. Overall, there hasn’t been a lot of people fishing, but look to those traditional late ice spots to start producing panfish on most lakes with the nicer weather moving in this week.
Last Cast Bait and Tackle
Fishing pressure continues to be light, but look for panfish action to start improving in shallower water on many lakes with the nicer weather. Work the shallow to mid-depth weed edges on Diamond Lake, Foot Lake, Nest Lake, Point Lake, and Lake Calhoun. Expect some pods of crappies to still be suspended over 20 feet or so as well.
J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle
Lake Shetek started giving up perch and crappies in 8 feet, while the north side of Lake Lac qui Parle is kicking out crappies in 8 to 10 feet. Additional perch reports have been limited to a few keeping-sized fish coming off Cottonwood Lake in less than 8 feet.
Borch’s Sporting Goods