Report from the Dock
The ice is now gone in most areas with the fishing opener set to kickoff this Saturday. There is still some ice, especially on bigger lakes, in the far northern part of the state, but most of it was eliminated with last weekend’s wind, warm weather, and rain. Expect walleyes to be shallow this weekend and actively feeding with the spawn now wrapped or just about done in most areas. Shallow, windswept points and shorelines should be holding plenty of walleyes. This week’s warm weather also pushed water temperatures up and that means crappie and bluegill action is improving in shallow water. In fact, if the walleyes don’t cooperate this weekend, panfish would be a fine Plan B in most areas based on reports throughout the state this week. For the most part, this shallow panfish bite is just getting started and you can expect a big push of crappies into those bays, shorelines, harbors, and culverts by this weekend in most areas. Plastics or small jigs and minnows should do the trick.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Windy conditions and rain over the past week has limited fishing activity for crappies. With the weather expected to get warm throughout this week, look for crappies to continue biting in the channels, bays, and boat harbors throughout the lake.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The ice is deteriorating and moving around the big part of the lake – Big Traverse Bay. There will be plenty of prime open water to fish and late springs typically produce excellent walleye fishing. Northern pike fishing in back bays is on fire with numbers and big fish being caught with dead bait, spoons or crankbaits. The Rainy River is still running fast, but sturgeon fishing has been very good this week. Work the deep holes in the main channel or current breaks. At the Northwest Angle, open water areas are growing quickly, but deteriorating ice is still floating around.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies are hitting a jig and minnow in 4 to 8 feet on Lake Minnetonka, Medicine Lake, Lake Sarah, and Lake Independence – there’s been some sunfish starting to show up as well. The water temperature on local lakes was about 55 degrees early this week.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Pike Bay is ice-free, but there was some ice floating around the main lake early this week. There might by some sheets of ice on the big part of the lake this weekend, but the fishing opener will not involve any ice issues.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Vermilion Dam Lodge (218) 666-5418
The ice deteriorated quickly with last weekend’s wind and warm temperatures. Most of the ice was gone by last Sunday evening and anything that was left was expected to be out early this week. There will be no concerns with ice for opening day.
There was some ice moving around on parts of the north end of the lake early this week, but main lake ice deteriorated fast last weekend. By this Saturday’s fishing opener, the entire lake is expected to be ice-free and walleyes should be shallow.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Early this week, current areas were open, ice was busting loose in the bays, but there was still quite a bit of ice throughout the main lake. What’s left is deteriorating fast and expected to be gone soon, just maybe not all of it by opening day. But there’s going to be plenty of water to fish.
RainyDaze Guide Service
The ice went out quickly last weekend. Walleyes were spawning or wrapping up their spawn in the rivers and ditches early this week, so expect big numbers of walleyes in shallow water across the lake this weekend.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
Crappies have just moved into the shallow bays and shorelines on many lakes and are being caught in less than 6 feet of water. Big Marine Lake, White Bear Lake, and Big Carnelian Lake have stood out this week. A jig and minnow or crankbaits are turning walleyes on the St. Croix River in 6 to 12 feet.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
Crappie action really picked up this week in less than 5 feet of water in the bays or along shorelines of most lakes. The Little Minnie portion of Lake Minnewashta, Wasserman Lake, and Hydes Lake are a few spots worth noting for crappies.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Crappie action has improved over the past week in shallow water on most lakes. Look for better numbers of fish and a bit more consistency in less than 5 feet on Prior Lake and Cedar Lake.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle
The bait shop and marina opens for the season this Friday. Crappies have started pushing into shallow water with better reports coming out of Waconia Bay and Wagener’s Bay during the afternoon and evening hours.
Panfish are starting to show up in shallow water. The north side of Reno Lake, south side of Lake Victoria, and the lagoons on Lake Le Homme Dieu have been a few of the first spots to produce crappies and a few sunfish.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Any ice that remained early this week, was expected to be gone by the fishing opener. A few crappies are being on Silver Lake, Clitherall Lake, and Ten Mile Lake just outside the bays and shorelines in 8 to 12 feet. Look for a big push of panfish into shallow water by this weekend.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
All lakes in the area are ice free. Strong winds last Saturday took out the ice on most lakes and the big lakes such as Lake Bemidji were completely ice-free on Monday. Look for panfish and walleyes in shallow water this weekend.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
The ice went out quickly last weekend with the wind and warm temperatures. There hasn’t been much for panfish activity, but most anglers were just starting to look for crappies in shallow water early this week.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Anglers are just starting to hit those traditional spring crappie spots and these areas should start holding numbers of panfish by this weekend. Early this week, the Bar Harbor area on Gull Lake and North Long Lake were giving up a few fish.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
There was some ice floating on a few big lakes early this week, but there should be no issues with ice on opening day. Fishing activity has been minimal, water levels are up on area lakes, and look to those shallow current areas to hold a lot of walleyes this weekend.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Crappies have just started showing up in shallow water, providing some action for boat and shore anglers early this week. The channel between North and South Lindstrom lakes is worth hitting, as are the shallow, mud-bottom bays on other lakes. With warm weather expected this week, expect a big push of panfish into the shallows.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
A few crappies are being caught in shallow water, while others were being found in 6 to 10 feet early this week. Bay Lake, Clearwater Lake, and Little Rabbit Lake have been the first to produce, but expect plenty of shallow water panfish action on most lakes heading into this weekend.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Anglers just started finding crappies on a couple of lakes early this week. Minnows or plastics are producing fish on the shallow flats of Lake Melissa and the bays on Lake Lida. With warm weather expected this week, expect most lakes to start producing panfish in shallow water.
Quality Bait and Tackle
Any remaining ice locally went out last weekend. A few crappies are being caught on Island Lake over 25 feet and Fish Lake in 15 feet – expect these fish to move shallow throughout this week. A few steelhead are being caught in the rivers, but the majority of the spring run is starting to wind down. A steady week of wind has limited fishing opportunities on Lake Superior. When the weather allows, troll stickbaits in the top 25 feet of the water column for coho salmon, an occasional brown trout, and a few lake trout.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
Crappie and sunfish action has really picked up in shallow water this week. Green Lake, Eagle Lake, Blue Lake, and Thompson Lake – most lakes have started to kick out a mixed bag of panfish in less than 5 feet of water.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
With the exception of ice still on some lakes to the east, primarily in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, lakes are open. The majority of ice went out last Sunday and expect walleyes to be along shorelines and in current areas on the opener.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Crappies, bluegills, and yellow bass are being caught in 4 to 8 feet on Hall Lake, Budd Lake, and Lake Sisseton. Crappies are being found over 8 to 14 feet on Amber Lake as well. A jig tipped with minnows or plastics continue to produce walleyes in shallow water on Tuttle Lake along the Minnesota/Iowa border.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Crappies are being caught in less than 5 feet on Cedar Lake and Lake Mazaska. Sunfish are hitting in 5 to 8 feet on Shields Lake, Cedar, and Mazaska as well. Expect plenty of panfish activity in shallow water on area lakes by this weekend.
Lake Country Convenience & Bait
FERGUS FALLS AREA
The ice is gone and panfish have started showing up in shallow water on many lakes. Look for crappies and sunfish in less than 5 feet on Bass Lake, Pleasant Lake, Norway Lake, and Long Lake among others.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
The ice is gone, but panfish reports have been limited. The ice just went out late Sunday into Monday afternoon so there hasn’t been enough people fishing to get much for reports. Look for panfish to start moving into those traditional spring spots as water temperatures continue to climb.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Anglers are just starting to look for panfish with some nicer weather to do so. Early this week, crappies were being found in less than 5 feet at Higgins/Long Lake, Pine Lake, and Two Rivers Lake. Look for many lakes to follow suit now that water temperatures have started to climb.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
The ice just went out last weekend, so there wasn’t much for panfish activity kicking in. With warm weather in the forecast this week, that could change quickly. Look to those shallow, traditional spring spots – bays, harbors, and shorelines to start holding crappies and bluegills.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
Fishing activity has picked up, but there wasn’t much to report as far as panfish action early this week. Look for crappies to make a quick move into shallow water with the warmer weather, likely as soon as this weekend.
The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177
Early this week, the ice was honeycombed close to shore and appeared as though it wouldn’t take much to break it up. Further out on the lake, ice around the islands is starting to show signs of deterioration as well. With more rain and warm weather expected this week, the ice is expected to go out quickly.
Gateway Store (218) 875-2121
Any ice that remained melted away early this week and anglers should expect to find walleyes in shallow water this weekend. Panfish anglers were just starting to get out, but with warm weather expected this week, those bays, harbors, and shorelines should start holding crappies.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Crappies are being caught, but they were scattered from shallow to deep on area lakes early this week. With the warmer weather throughout the week, expect a big push of panfish into shallow water. The culvert on West Jefferson Lake and the Sawmill area on German Lake have already given up a few panfish.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
The pier and bay on Knife Lake is producing crappies and a few sunfish. Quamba Lake started giving up crappies in shallow water, while the Ann River bridge continues to kick out sunfish and crappies as well.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
The walleye bite on Big Stone Lake has picked up. The islands and shorelines on the south end are producing walleyes on jigs and minnows or rattle baits. There’s also been some better walleye reports coming off the north of Big Stone in shallow water. Crappie reports have picked on the south end of Big Stone, mainly on the Minnesota side of the lake.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Any remaining ice went out last weekend on the small lakes and early this week on the big lakes. Crappies are starting to move shallow on many lakes with Long Lake, Fish Hook Lake, and Boulder Lake already producing fish in less than 6 feet of water.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
The ice went completely out late last weekend and the back bays on several lakes have started to produce a few panfish. Look for a big push of crappies and bluegills into the shallow water by this weekend with the bays on lakes such as Star, Dead, Big Pine, and Little Pine being good starting spots.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
With the spawn complete, walleyes are in transition mode and seem to moving from the Mississippi River towards Lake Pepin. Three-way rigs and stickbaits and crawlers or leeches on live bait rigs are turning fish along current seams and Head of the Lakes area in 10 to 15 feet. A few walleyes continue to be caught below the dam by pitching jigs during the evening hours.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
There’s been a few crappies caught in shallow water on Lake Koronis, Rice Lake, Pearl Lake, and Horseshoe Lake. For the most part, anglers just started getting out and looking for panfish early this week as weather conditions improved. Look to those traditional spring spots to hold better numbers of crappies and sunfish as the shallows continue to warm.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Panfish action is improving and this week’s warm weather is expected push bigger numbers of fish into shallow water. Sunfish and a few crappies were being caught early this week on the north end of Lake Osakis, the channel on Fairy Lake, and north end of Sauk Lake.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Crappies are being found in shallow water at the Highway 10 bridge on Little Rock Lake, the culvert in Thoroughfare Bay on Lake Alexander, the bays on Shamineau Lake and Fish Trap Lake, and the culvert area on Green Prairie Lake.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Leeches, minnows, and waxworms are producing a mixed bag of panfish in the Starbuck Marina in 3 feet of water and out from the Lakeside Ballroom in 7 feet on Lake Minnewaska. The north bay on Pocket Lake is giving up sunfish and crappies as well.
Last Cast Bait and Tackle
The bridge on the south end of Lake Lac qui Parle started producing crappies, as is the inlet between Bloody Lake and Lake Shetek. Start looking for crappies in shallow water on most lakes. Water levels have risen, but the Redwood River in Camden State Park continues to produce a few trout.
Borch’s Sporting Goods