Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – December 20, 2022

Report from the Dock

Everything was lining up nicely for good ice and lake conditions prior to last week’s snow. Anglers were getting out, using ATVs, side by sides, and even trucks in some areas, but most of that has come to an end. While snow depths varied across the state, enough of it fell just about everywhere to cause slushy conditions and water underneath it. With a significant cold front behind the snow early this week, there hasn’t been much fishing activity, at least not as much as there could have been if lake conditions remained favorable and ice would have continued building. Anglers have continued to walk out and use ATVs or snowmobiles in those areas that weren’t hit the hardest, but there’s quite a few locations that you now need a track vehicle to get around if there hasn’t been any roads or trails opened. Hopefully, it gets cold enough to freeze the existing slush and the state doesn’t receive another round of measureable snow this week. 

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

East – Resorts have been working at opening up some in-close roads, plowing out, and packing the snow. There hasn’t been much for fishing activity on the main lake since last week’s snow and the few venturing out are finding pockets of slush. Trucks are showing up in the bays on the south end, while snowmobiles or other track vehicles are needed to get around anywhere else on the lake. A few walleyes have been caught on dead sticks and small sucker minnows along the 18- to 20-foot shoreline breaks. 

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

West – Last week’s winter storm was not good for the lake. There’s 8 inches of ice, with 3 to 4 inches of water on top of it, and 12 inches of snow on top of the water. A few people tried to go out with ATVs last weekend, but their machines iced up so bad they had to come back in. With more snow forecast this week, travel options could remain limited.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Fishing reports have been good with a mixed bag of fish for many.  Walleyes and sauger are the norm with eelpout, jumbo perch, pike, tullibees, and even some sturgeon being caught in 22 to 28 feet. There’s been some reports of decent walleye fishing in 18 to 21 feet as well, but not as many fish or variety fish species. Jigging with your favorite spoon and a minnow head or tail has been consistent, as are dead sticks with a live minnow on a plain red hook. Ice conditions are good but vary across the south shore. Some sleeper houses are out and with the cold weather, weight limits have been naturally increasing along with thickening ice.  Check with each ice road operator for specifics. The Rainy River is locked up and fishing is taking place on a few different areas of the river. A jig and a minnow is working well for walleyes and saugers. Ice conditions vary and on the river and there is current, so like the lake, work through a resort or outfitter. Some Northwest Angle resorts have pulled fish houses out and are fishing, while other resorts will stick with their normal schedule and begin just after Christmas. Initial fishing reports are very good with nice walleyes in the mix. 

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Anglers are starting to use ATVs or walking out on 4 to 8 inches of ice and there isn’t much slush to deal with. There’s some evening crappie action in the North Arm and Seton Bay over 14 feet and sunfish are going in Carson’s Bay and Black Lake in 15 to 18 feet on Lake Minnetonka. Look for walleyes late in the day in the small bays over 10 to 12 feet or the big bays in 24 to 26 feet on Minnetonka. Sucker minnows are turning pike along the weedlines throughout Minnetonka and Medicine Lake in 18 feet. 

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

There’s quite a bit of snow on the lake and some slush underneath it, but snowmobiles and ATVs are being used – no truck travel at this point. Charity Island Reef in Big Bay is giving up walleyes in 22 feet, as is the Birch Island area and out of McKinley Park in 18 to 25 feet.  

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

There’s 10 to 12 inches of ice being found on much of the lake, but about a foot of snow on top of it after last week’s storm. While there’s been some activity on the lake, access remains limited through most resorts, but expect them to start plowing a road system after Christmas. Others have already started letting people out with snowmobiles or ATVs so continue working through them. There’s been some perch and a few walleyes being caught in Tamarack Bay over 12 to 15 feet, but fishing pressure has been limited since the cold weather moved in.  

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   

LEECH LAKE

Between 8 and 11 inches of snow fell last week and that caused slush to develop throughout the lake. Tracked vehicles or snowmobiles are probably the best means to get around on the main lake where up to 11 inches of ice is being reported, but there are still spots with 7 to 9 inches, and less than that in Walker Bay. Most resorts or outfitters are shooting for the week after Christmas to start letting people out. The few people fishing are catching some walleyes in 10 to 16 feet off the points and shoreline breaks. There’s been some foot traffic in Walker Bay, where a few walleyes are being taken off the shoreline breaks in 12 to 18 feet.  

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company

(218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE

Ice conditions are improving with around 5 to 8 inches on much of the main basin area. Walleyes are active in 25 to 30 feet, mainly on rock reefs or mud points. Northern pike are being caught along with the walleyes. There is some slush to deal with, but the hope is that this week’s round of extreme cold will help freeze it. Anglers are advised to take extreme caution while traveling on the lake at this time. 

RainyDaze Guide Service

(218) 290-6102

RED LAKE

As of Tuesday morning, ATVs with trailers were being allowed on parts of the east shore and some resorts have started pulling houses out. Trucks might be an option after Christmas. The best bite has been early or late each day about 1-1/2 to 2 miles out in 11 feet of water. On the south shore, trucks with houses were being allowed in certain areas as of Tuesday morning. Continue to work through resorts and outfitters for ice conditions and travel option. The walleye bite has been best in 11 to 13 feet on the south end.   

West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998

JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

There is some slush on area lakes, but anglers are walking out, or using ATVs on a few lakes, with 5 to 8 inches of ice being found. Fishing pressure has dropped off since the cold air moved in, but White Bear Lake continues to produce crappies and sunfish. The deep holes on Bald Eagle Lake are giving up crappies and Lake Jane is worth noting for pike and sunfish in 8 to 12 feet. 

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle

(651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Walking out is still the main option on most lakes, but ATVs have started being used on a few. Most reports indicated about 7 inches of ice with pockets of slush being found. Lake Virginia is producing pike during the day and crappies each evening to th left of the access. The “Little Minnie” portion of Lake Minnewashta is giving up pike and panfish in 12 to 20 feet. Hit Lake Parley for sunfish in 10 to 12 feet or Hydes Lake in 14 feet and Wasserman Lake for in 17 to 22 feet for crappies.   

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

You’ll find suspended crappies over the deep holes on Little Mary Lake during low-light periods. There’s been a few walleyes hitting during the evening hours on Lake Reno in 15 to 17 feet and Lake Miltona in 15 to 20 feet. Overall, fishing pressure has dipped since the cold weather moved in. Slush developed on most lakes after last week’s snow, but most of it has froze, so lake conditions have improved and ATVs are being used on most lakes.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle

(320) 763-3255

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Anglers are getting out, but there is a lot of slush and snow on area lakes. The small lakes are in better shape than the big lakes and snowmobiles or side by sides are being used. A few walleyes are being caught on the north end of Otter Tail Lake in 12 to 15 feet and the narrows on Pelican Lake in 10 feet. Fish Lake, Walker Lake, Rush Lake, Fiske Lake, Clitherall Lake are giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 15 to 20 feet – look for suspended fish. Northern pike action has been OK with tip ups and sucker minnows in 12 to 15 feet on North Turtle Lake, South Turtle Lake, and Bass Lake.    

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

This area received about a foot of snow last week and that has limited people from getting on the ice. There is quite a bit of slush underneath the snow, so even getting around on a snowmobile can be tricky. Look to the first break in 12 to 14 feet on Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet for some walleyes and perch. The Turtle River Chain of Lakes and Gull Lake are kicking out panfish. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service

(218) 556-7172

BLACKDUCK AREA

There is slush on some lakes, but many lakes had enough ice to handle last week’s snow. Some roads have been plowed, trucks are being used on a few lakes, but snowmobiles might be the best bet. Blackduck Lake is kicking out bluegills and crappies in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Gull Lake for walleyes and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet, while Island Lake is giving up walleyes and a few keeping-size perch in 15 feet.   

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Walleyes are hitting spoons and minnow heads in 16 to 18 feet on Pelican Lake, North Long Lake, and Round Lake. Crappies are being caught during the evening hours over 12 to 19 feet on Lake Edwards, Nisswa Lake, North Long, and Round. Look for sunfish along shallow weed edges on Nisswa, North Long, and the north end of Gull Lake. You’ll find slush on most lakes, but much of it has froze since last weekend, so ATVs and snowmobiles continue to be used.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/

Nisswa Guide League  (218) 829-7010

CASS LAKE AREA

There is quite a bit of slush on area lakes, but anglers are getting around with snowmobiles and tracked ATVs. Perch are being caught during the day in 18 feet on Pike Bay Lake and Allen’s Bay or out from the access on Cass Lake. Lake Andrusia is giving up a few walleyes in 18 feet and you’ll find crappies suspended over the 30- foot mud on Kitchi Lake.  

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              

DETROIT LAKES AREA   

Over 12 inches of snow fell here last week and that’s caused issues on local lakes. Slush has developed under the snow, making it nearly impossible to get around. Unless there’s some roads plowed, which allows the slush to freeze, travel of any kind will remain difficult heading into this weekend. There hasn’t been enough people fishing due to lake conditions to garner any reports. 

Quality Bait & Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

This area received over 2 feet of snow, which obviously caused deep slush to develop underneath it. Surprisingly, there has been a few people venturing out and working through the slop, but the bite’s have been slow. It’s going to be very difficult getting around on any lake in the near future without some type of track vehicle.  

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Lake conditions vary – some lakes have a lot of slush and others are in better shape where some of the water has froze. The few anglers venturing out are walking or using ATVs, again it depends on the lake. A few sunfish are coming off Green Lake and Blue Lake in 10 feet, while sucker minnows are turning some pike on Fremont Lake and Little Elk Lake in 6 feet. 

Tales and Trails Sport Shop 

(763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

Most bites have slowed since last weekend’s snowstorm. A few walleyes are being caught with dead sticks and sucker or shiner minnows in 16 to 20 feet on Shagawa Lake, Fall Lake, and Birch Lake. There’s been some northern pike caught on dead or live sucker minnows in the 10- foot weed beds in Hoist Bay on Basswood, Birch, and Armstrong Lake. Bigger perch have been taken on Shagawa and Fall Lake in 20 to 25 feet. This area had enough to ice to handle the snow last week, there is slush in areas, but snowmobiles or plowed roads are being utilized. 

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358

FAIRMONT AREA

Yellow bass continue to hit in 10 to 14 feet on Hall Lake and Sisseton Lake. You’ll catch a few crappies on Sisseton each evening as well. Look to Amber Lake in 8 to 14 feet for a few crappies and walleyes. Hit Big Twin Lake in 10 to 14 feet and Cedar Lake in 4 to 6 feet for walleyes and crappies. Lake conditions are favorable with 5 to 9 inches of ice, no slush, and no problem walking. 

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT/SHIELDSVILLE AREA

Anglers continue to walk out on area lakes and most reports indicate limited slush and good walking conditions. You’ll find crappies over 20 feet and sunfish in 8 to 12 feet on Shields Lake and Lake Mazaska. Crappies are also being found suspended over 20 to 25 feet on Cedar Lake during the evening hours.  

Lake Country Convenience & Bait

(507) 334-9711

GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA 

Fishing activity has been minimal since last week’s snow and the cold weather that followed. The few people going are out are reporting varying degrees of slush with more on some lakes that are tough to get around on and others where much of the water has froze under the snow. Anglers are walking out or using snowmobiles on those.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710

HACKENSACK AREA 

Fishing activity has dropped since last week’s snow due to slush developing on local lakes. People willing to work through it are continuing to use snowmobiles or side by sides on some lakes. Look to Birch Lake and Pleasant Lake for bluegills and crappies in 10 to 15 feet and there is an evening crappie bite on Ten Mile Lake over 20 to 25 feet. 

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle

(218) 675-6176

HUTCHINSON AREA 

Belle Lake and Lake Washington are kicking out walleyes in 8 feet. Lake Marion is producing crappies and some walleyes, while Collinwood Lake continues to give up a few walleyes in 8 to 10 feet. There is some slush to deal with, but ATVs or walking out remain options throughout the area.   

The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177

LONGVILLE AREA

There’s quite a bit of slush on area lakes, enough that you’re going to need a strong pair of legs or some type of tracked vehicle to get around until it freezes. Ideally, enough people venture out and blaze some trails that freeze, which would allow for better travel options. Since the cold moved in, activity has been limited to a few anglers on Boy Lake and Wabedo Lake, mainly fishing the basin areas for panfish. 

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

This area didn’t get hit with as much snow as many places did, so ice conditions are good –  no slush, 8 to 10 inches of ice, and ATVs are being used. The cold weather after the snow has limited the number of people fishing, so once it improves, look to those spots that were productive. Areas worth hitting include Third Point on Lake Washington for walleyes, panfish, and pike, Duck Lake for panfish in 12 to 14 feet, and Lake Elysian for walleyes in 6 feet. 

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464              

 

MORA AREA

Ice fishing options pretty much came to an end after last week’s snow, which measured a solid 12 inches in this area. The few people that have been out are reporting a lot of water under the snow and nearly impossible conditions to move around.  

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop 

(320) 679-2151

ORTONVILLE AREA

Conditions look pretty good on Big Stone Lake, especially at the County Road 68/Ben Heins access. The majority of slush has refroze and there’s very little water under the deeper snow pack with about 13 inches of ice being found in the middle third of the lake. The north and south ends still have some questionable ice areas. Travel on the ice will be fine for walking, ATVs, and snowmobiles if a big snow event is avoided this week. Look for perch and bluegills in 11 to 13 feet throughout the middle of the lake. 

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

It’s tough to get around on any lake after last week’s foot of snow hit the area. Most small lakes have 7 to 10 inches of ice, there’s less on the big lakes, and a lot of water on top of it, making travel by any means very difficult. There hasn’t been enough people out since the snow to gather any fishing reports.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors 

(218) 237-5099

PERHAM AREA

Last week’s wet, heavy snow did a number on local lakes. About 12 inches of snow hit the area and that has caused a lot of slush to develop underneath it. With current lake conditions and the onset of cold weather, there’s been very few people venturing out since the middle of last week.  

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

There hasn’t been any boats on the Mississippi River since the cold weather moved in. Anglers are walking on a few areas where ice depths are allowing and catching panfish. North Lake, the Baypoint Park area, and Frontenac Pond are worth noting.  

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Sunfish are being caught on the north end of Lake Osakis in 12 to 21 feet, Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake, and Maple Lake in 9 to 12 feet. Crappies continue to be found on Latimer Lake in 8 to 12 feet or suspended over deep water west of Diamond Point and in Red Barn Bay on Big Sauk Lake. Walleyes are hitting on the north end of Sauk in 8 to 12 feet, Osakis in 18 to 24 feet, Big Birch in 21 feet, and there’s been a few coming off Long Bridge Lake in 14 feet. Lake conditions held up well through last week’s snow, most of the slush that developed froze, and ATVs or snowmobiles are being used. 

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

There’s a night bite for crappies on Lake Pepin in 17 feet. Mill Lake is producing crappies and sunfish in 15 to 17 feet, as is Mound Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Lake Shamineau in 15 to 20 feet and the east side of Lake Alexander, out from the access, for a few walleyes each evening. There’s 8 to 10 inches of ice and pockets of slush, especially on the big lakes, but ATVs have started being used. 

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

On the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska, sunfish, crappies, and a few walleyes are being caught in 10 to 15 feet. The Starbuck end of Minnewaska is giving up a few walleyes in 12 to 17 feet during overnight hours. There just hasn’t been many people on area lakes since the cold weather moved in after last week’s snow. The snow hasn’t had much of an impact on travel, so most lakes are still in good enough shape for ATV and side by side use. 

Last Cast Bait and Tackle

(320) 239-2239

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

There hasn’t been much activity on local lakes since last week’s snow and the cold weather that moved in after it. The few people going out are reporting pockets of slush on area lakes, but a lot of it has froze this week. The cold, more than the slush, has kept anglers off the lakes this week, so there hasn’t been anything to report.   

Borch’s Sporting Goods 

(507) 532-4880

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