Report from the Dock
The holidays brought out a lot of anglers during the past week. Lakes and bait shops have been extremely busy, especially with the nicer weather and the fact that permanent fish houses are now being pulled out in most areas. Lake and ice conditions vary in a lot of locations, but ATVs and snowmobiles are good to go on the state’s lakes. Trucks are also showing up on more lakes in many areas, although there are some slush issues that need to be considered or require tracked vehicles to be used on some lakes. Overall, travel conditions were considered good prior to the snow that hit some parts of the state early this week. We’ll have to see what impact it has. As far as fishing, walleyes seem to be most active during low-light periods or overnight, and deadsticks with minnows seem to be most productive. Anglers are still finding bluegills in and along weeds, while the majority of crappies continue to be found suspended over deep water.
LAKE MILLE LACS
East – Walleye action has been best in 20 feet or more during the day on the gravel/mud transition areas. The evening bite has been more consistent in less than 15 feet of water along the points and shoreline breaks. A few bigger pike are being taken in the south-end bays in 9 to 12 feet. Access is limited, although ATVs and side by sides are being used out of some accesses and resorts.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
West – Most areas have 10 inches of good ice, but you’ll still find several spots with only 6 inches of good, black ice. There were reports of several trucks going through the ice last weekend. The ice is fine for ATVs and snowmobiles, but is not thick enough for safe truck travel. Walleye fishing has been good in the bays, and more consistent walleye action has kicked in on the mud flats as well. There have also been some nice perch catches reported from the mud flats.
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Anglers are sorting through walleyes to get their eaters – small fish, plenty of slot fish, and some bigger walleyes as well. Sauger of all sizes are being caught with better action in 25 to 32 feet of water. Eelpout, jumbo perch, pike, tullibees, and an occasional sturgeon have been mixed in. Jig your favorite spoon tipped with a minnow head or tail and use a deadstick and live minnow in another hole. A mixed bag of walleyes and sauger are being caught on the Rainy River with a jig and a minnow, and a few anglers are targeting sturgeon. At the Northwest Angle, the ice road from Angle Inlet at Young’s Bay to island resorts is open. A nice mixed bag of fish including walleyes, sauger, jumbo perch, eelpout, and pike are being caught on structure or just off of the edge of it.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
The weedbeds and flats throughout Lake Minnetonka are producing sunfish and crappies in 14 to 18 feet. Look for walleyes in 10 to 12 feet on the west end of Minnetonka or the east end in 26 to 30 feet. Medicine Lake is giving up sunfish and pike in 10 to 14 feet, and Lake Sarah is producing a mixed bag of panfish in 14 to 22 feet.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Lake conditions are still in rough shape – so bad that fishing activity has been light. Deep snow and slush are making it nearly impossible to get around on the lake. There are no roads plowed and no wheelhouses being pulled out. There have been a few anglers with snowmobiles and portables moving around, but even that’s difficult and mostly unsuccessful from an angling standpoint.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Walleye activity has been on and off. When they go, the bite is very good and other days have been extremely tough. Low-light periods of the day have been best on structure in 15 to 20 feet, with some fish being caught slightly deeper, out to 30 feet, during the day. Perch action has been pretty slow. The average size has been nice, but staying on numbers of perch has been difficult. The bigger fish seem to be constantly moving in 15 to 30 feet of water.
The humps and breaks in Walker Bay are producing walleyes during low-light periods in 24 to 28 feet. Setlines and rainbow minnows are producing walleyes throughout the main lake in 10 to 13 feet, especially late in the day. Work the Pine Point area in 9 to 14 feet for perch and a few walleyes, while the Sand Point area is giving up walleyes, pike, and perch in 8 to 12 feet.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Walleyes have been hitting a whole fathead minnow on jigging spoons in 26 to 32 feet. Northern pike are being taken on large golden shiners on set rods or jigs and shiners in 22 to 30 feet. Whitefish and tullibees have been mixed in with the walleyes over 26 feet or more.
RainyDaze Guide Service
The late afternoon and evening hours, along with some overnight time periods, have been best for walleyes. Deadsticks have been more productive most days, but jigging spoons that glow are also producing fish in 13 to 15 feet of water. Not every house is catching limits, but the overall bite has remained pretty consistent for most. As always, try and get away from the crowds if possible.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
JR’s Corner Access (320) 290-3838
Twin Cities Metro
The 12- to 14-foot weedlines throughout Beaver Lake are producing pike and sunfish, while Carnelian Lake is giving up crappies over 22 to 25 feet. Sucker minnows are turning bass and pike on Demontreville Lake in 10 to 12 feet. Sturgeon are being taken on crawlers, and crappies are hitting over 30 to 35 feet in the Bayport area of the St. Croix River.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
Sunfish are going in 15 to 17 feet, as are crappies along the south end in slightly deeper water on Wasserman Lake. The southwest side of Christmas Lake started giving up sunfish in 17 to 20 feet and pike in shallower water. The “Little Minnie” portion of Lake Minnewashta continues to produce a mixed bag of panfish in 11 to 22 feet. Mitchell Lake, Pierson Lake, Auburn Lake, and Minnewashta are worth hitting with suckers for pike in 12 to 15 feet.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Walleyes are hitting shiner minnows early and late each day on Prior Lake and Spring Lake along the 13- to 17-foot weedlines. Bigger bluegills are being found on Prior and Fish Lake over 17 to 20 feet. Crappies are going on Prior in 12 to 17 feet and McMahon Lake, Cedar Lake, Thole Lake, and Crystal Lake over 18 to 20 feet or more. Look for suspended fish.
Prior Lake Bait & Tackle
Northern pike, sunfish, and a few walleyes are being caught throughout Waconia Bay in 9 to 12 feet. A few walleyes are being caught each evening in 13 to 18 feet on North Reef and north of Center Reef. Wagener’s Bay is producing sunfish and pike during the day and crappies in the evenings over 12 to 16 feet.
Sunfish and crappies are being found suspended over the deep basin areas on Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lake Darling, Lake Geneva, Little Mary Lake, and Brophy Lake. Walleye action has been best at night with deadsticks and shiner minnows in 20 to 25 feet on Lake Ida and Lake Miltona. Sucker minnows are turning pike in 14 to 20 feet on Le Homme Dieu and Darling, while spearing reports have been favorable throughout the area.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Walleyes are being caught in 18 to 20 feet with deadsticks and shiner minnows on West Battle Lake and Otter Tail Lake. You’ll find bluegills in 15 feet at Fish Lake, Silver Lake, West Battle, and Rush Lake. Crappies remain active and suspended over 20 to 22 feet on West Battle, Walker Lake, and Clitherall Lake. Sucker or bigger shiner minnows are turning pike in the 15- to 20-foot weeds throughout West Battle, Otter Tail, Fiske Lake, and Clitherall.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Ice conditions are pretty good on some lakes and bad on others. The south end of Lake Bemidji has plowed roads and wheelhouse access. The north end has one road out about a quarter mile with a few houses and nothing in between. You really need to know where you’re going because there is still slush in select areas, while the slush has frozen on other parts of the lake. The deep snow and slush are even worse on many of the area’s small lakes.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Walleyes are being caught on Island Lake in 14 to 18 feet, and a few are coming off Blackduck Lake in 10 to 12 feet during low-light periods. The 18- to 20-foot mud on Blackduck is producing bluegills and crappies. Hit Gilstead Lake, Gull Lake, and Rabideau Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in 15 to 20 feet.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Walleyes are hitting rainbow minnows in 15 to 24 feet during the evening hours on Gull Lake, Pelican Lake, North Long Lake, and Round Lake. Look for suspended crappies over 18 to 24 feet on North Long, Nisswa Lake, Round, and the north end of Gull. Northern pike action is strong with sucker minnows in 10 to 14 feet at Lake Edwards, Gull, and North Long. Sunfish are going in 8 to 10 feet in Highway 371 Bay on North Long, Nisswa, Edwards, and Rice Lake.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
The sand bars and weeds on Pike Bay Lake are producing perch in 7 to 12 feet, as is Cass Lake in 16 to 30 feet. During the day, walleyes are being caught in 18 to 20 feet, while 12 to 14 feet has been better at night on Cass, Pike Bay, and Lake Andrusia. Hit Grace Lake, straight out from the access, for panfish during the day and a few walleyes each evening. Big Lake is also producing panfish in shallow water across the lake from the public access.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Look for suspended crappies during the evening hours over 25 feet or more on Nokay Lake and Bay Lake. An occasional walleye or two is caught at night on Serpent Lake in 16 to 22 feet. Hit Little Rabbit Lake for bluegills in 20 feet or Milford Lake during the day for a mixed bag of panfish in 17 to 26 feet.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Walleyes are biting best during the evening hours and overnight on Big Detroit Lake in 17 to 22 feet. Glow spoons or deadsticks and shiner minnows are turning fish. Crappies and bluegills remain active on Little Detroit Lake in 12 to 14 feet or Lake Sallie and Lake Melissa in 16 to 18 feet.
Quality Bait & Tackle (218) 844-2248
Island Lake is kicking out a few walleyes in 18 to 20 feet, and Fish Lake is giving up a few walleyes and crappies in 12 feet. Hit Boulder Lake for bigger perch in 10 feet and Rice Lake for northern pike in 6 feet. The Park Point area in the bay of Duluth (Duluth Harbor) is giving up walleyes on the Minnesota side and a few crappies off the Wisconsin side, reports indicate.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
Walleyes and some nice perch are being caught on Briggs Lake in 7 to 14 feet. Green Lake and Eagle Lake are giving up sunfish and crappies in 14 feet. Sucker minnows are turning pike on Fremont Lake and Little Elk Lake in 7 feet.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Deadsticks with shiner minnows are producing walleyes in the 16- to 20-foot mud or rocks during low-light periods on Birch Lake, Fall Lake, and Shagawa Lake. There have been bigger perch caught in the 10-foot weeds on Fall Lake, Shagawa, and Hoist Bay on Basswood Lake. Trout Lake and Knife Lake are giving up a few lake trout on white or chartreuse tubes over 30 to 50 feet. Brook trout are going on Found Lake and Altus Lake in less than 10 feet.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Yellow bass remain active over 10 to 15 feet on Budd Lake and Lake Sisseton. Crappies and a few walleyes are being caught early and late each day in 10 to 15 feet on Amber Lake and Hall Lake.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
Crappies, walleyes, and sunfish are hitting on Cedar Lake in 15 to 20 feet, while Lake Mazaska is giving up sunfish in 15 feet and some walleyes in 17 feet. Small sucker minnows are working best for walleyes on both lakes. Hit Roberds Lake in 10 to 15 feet for crappies, sunfish, and northern pike.
Lake Country Convenience & Bait
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake is producing crappies and bluegills in 22 to 25 feet. Look for crappies over 25 to 27 feet on Bowstring Lake, and a few walleyes are coming off Bowstring in 12 to 15 feet during the evening hours. Many of the small lakes in this area have started to produce panfish as well. You still need a vehicle with tracks to move around this area efficiently.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
St. Mary Lake is kicking out crappies and sunfish, straight out from the access, over 20 to 25 feet. Hunter’s Bay on Big Birch Lake is producing sunfish, pike, and a few crappies in 8 to 10 feet and some walleyes just outside the bay in 20 to 24 feet. Walleyes also are going on the 22- to 25-foot structure on the main portion of Big Birch and on Bass Lake late in the day over 20 to 25 feet. Big Swan Lake started kicking out crappies over 22 feet and sunfish in 18 feet. Work the basin area on Two Rivers Lake for crappies, most of which are suspended.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Look to Baby Lake, Ten Mile Lake, and Pine Mountain Lake for walleyes in 18 to 24 feet; shiner minnows are working best. Crappie action remains strong during the evening hours over 20 to 24 feet at Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Stony Lake, and Ten Mile. Bluegills are being caught on Pleasant, Birch, and the bays on Woman Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Some bigger pike are coming off Pine Mountain and Woman with suckers or shiner minnows in 8 to 15 feet.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
Collinwood Lake is producing walleyes in 5 to 8 feet on deadsticks and shiner minnows or spoons. There have been some bigger crappies and walleyes caught on Ripley Lake in 8 to 14 feet after dark. Vail’s Lake by Eden Valley is producing sunfish, while crappies and a few walleyes remain active on Marion Lake in shallow water. Lake Washington started giving up crappies and walleyes during low-light periods in 8 to 12 feet.
The Outpost Inc. (320) 587-8177
Crappies are being found suspended over deep water on Boy Lake and Wabedo Lake. The shallow weeds on Lake Inguadona and Boy are producing a few bluegills early and late each day. A walleye or two can be had each evening on Woman Lake and Little Boy Lake in 14 to 20 feet.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
MADISON LAKE AREA
Duck Lake is producing panfish in 12 to 14 feet and pike on suckers in 8 to 10 feet north of the access. On Lake Washington, Baker’s Bay is producing crappies and walleyes during low-light periods and sunfish during the day in 14 to 16 feet. The Squirrel’s Nest Point area on Washington is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 10 to 13 feet. Carpenter’s Point on Lake Francis is producing panfish in 16 to 18 feet. Hit Cow Bar in 10 to 15 feet and Church Bar in 15 to 20 feet for crappies on Madison Lake.
Corner Bait (507) 243-4464
Sunfish started hitting on Lake Eleven in 8 to 10 feet, while Louis Lake is producing sunfish and crappies in 12 to 15 feet early and late each day. Ann Lake is kicking out northern pike on suckers in 5 to 11 feet.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Perch, bluegills, and a few crappies are being caught on Big Stone Lake. Overall, the bite has remained solid from the Ben Heines access up to Rocky Ledge in 13 feet – basically right down the middle of the lake. Small jigs or spoons tipped with spikes are working best.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Bluegills continue to be found in the 12- to 14-foot weeds or suspended over deep water on Toad Lake, Big Mantrap Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain. Crappies are most active during low-light periods, suspending over 22 to 30 feet on Big Mantrap and the Crow Wing Chain. Walleye activity has also been best early or late each day along the 15- to 18-foot breaks on Fish Hook and Potato lakes.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Big Pine Lake, Rush Lake, and Little Pine Lake are kicking out walleyes in 12 to 26 feet during low-light periods, mainly on deadsticks and sucker minnows. Hit Star Lake and Big Pine for crappies over 25 to 28 feet each evening and bluegills during the day on Rush, Star, and Dead Lake in 12 to 18 feet.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
The Methodist Point and Maiden Rock areas on Lake Pepin are giving up a sauger/walleye mix in 8 to 14 feet. Baypoint Park Bay is worth hitting for crappies and sunfish in 10 to 12 feet. There have been a few boats on the Mississippi River when the weather is nicer. Sauger are being caught below the dam on jigs and plastics or crankbaits.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
You’ll have to do some sorting through small fish, but crappies are being found suspended over 20 to 24 feet on Lake Koronis, Rice Lake, and Horseshoe Lake. Becker Lake, Schneider Lake, and Pearl Lake are kicking out sunfish in 8 to 12 feet and some crappies in 10 to 15 feet. Walleye reports have been limited to mostly small fish and the occasional keeper off Horseshoe or Koronis in 14 to 20 feet.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Walleyes continue to be caught throughout Sauk Lake in 8 to 28 feet of water. You’ll also find walleyes on the main-lake humps and bars on Lake Osakis in 18 to 22 feet and at Long Bridge Lake in 14 feet. Sunfish are being caught in 12 feet on Maple Lake, the north end of Osakis in 18 to 21 feet, and along the weedlines throughout Grove Lake. Work the north end of Sauk in 28 to 40 feet and the north end of Osakis in 20 to 22 feet for crappies.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Walleye action has been limited to a few fish during the evening hours in the Thoroughfare area on Lake Alexander in 14 to 18 feet. You’ll find active crappies and sunfish on Lake Pepin, Beauty Lake, and Mound Lake in 12 to 14 feet.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Walleye activity has been hit and miss on Lake Minnewaska with better action after dark in 12 to 25 feet on deadsticks and rainbow or shiner minnows. The west end of Lake Emily is giving up some walleyes on shiner minnows in 6 feet. The Glenwood side of Minnewaska (Bottel Bay, DNR access, and Ballroom area) is producing crappies and bluegills in 12 to 17 feet. Look to Little Mary Lake for sunfish during the day and crappies each evening.
Last Cast Bait and Tackle
The north side of Lake Shetek continues to kick out walleyes and a few crappies in 6 feet. Hit Lake Lac qui Parle for crappies and some eating-size walleyes in 7 to 9 feet or the Claybanks area in shallower water. Cottonwood Lake is producing perch and a few walleyes in 7 feet. Lake Shaokotan is giving up pike and some walleyes in 8 to 10 feet.
Borch’s Sporting Goods