Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report — Feb. 24, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

East – Anglers continue to catch more big walleyes than small fish on the edges and tops of the mud flats. Perch are being caught in most bays in less than 12 feet, but better numbers of jumbos continue to come from the deep basin areas in 30 feet or more. You’ll also find tullibees on the flats and in the Tullibee Hole. Make sure you contact a resort for ice conditions.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

West – Walleyes continue to bite on the tops of the flats early and late each day or off the edges during midday hours. St. Alban’s Bay is giving up walleyes in 22 feet as well. Perch reports have been best in 30 to 32 feet away from the mud flats along with a few tullibees. This access will be open to vehicle traffic this weekend.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Electronics remain a huge help as some walleyes and sauger continue to come through suspended during the day in 29 to 33 feet in the morning and early afternoon hours. Fish also are being caught over 17 to 24 feet at dusk each day and there has been more tullibees and jumbo perch in the mix over deep water. At the Northwest Angle, dead sticks are producing more walleyes than spoons in 25 to 30 feet. On the Canadian side, walleyes are biting in the transition areas and large crappies continue to be taken in the 30- foot mud areas.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Northern pike have moved into the 8- foot weeds on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Independence, Medicine Lake, and Lake Sarah. Sunfish are being caught on Medicine Lake in 8 feet and a few crappies are coming off the North Arm of Minnetonka in 15 to 18 feet during the evenings. Some accesses are beat up putting an end to vehicle traffic, but ATV and foot travel remains an option on all lakes.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

The reefs out from McKinley Park continue to produce walleyes in 28 to 32 feet during low-light periods. There has been some fair crappie action above and below the dam on the Pike River as well. ATV and snowmobile travel are the best options at this point.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Perch and northern pike are hitting from Hunter’s Hump to River Bar in 15 to 18 feet. You’ll also find perch on the 18-foot rocks off Raven’s Point or off the main lake structure in 30 feet during midday hours. ATVs are the best mode of transportation off the public access areas, and check in with resorts around the lake for private access and travel options heading into this weekend.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Most accesses have held up through the rain and warm weather, and with some colder air predicted, vehicle travel should remain an option this weekend. Perch are being caught, but you have to move and do some sorting in Sucker Bay, off Pine Point, and around Goose Island. Anglers continue to catch a few walleyes each evening off Sand Point and Cedar Point in 14 to 22 feet. A few tullibees continue to be caught off Stoney Point, but no big numbers at this point.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

Walleye and sauger continue to bite best during the early morning hours throughout Sand Bay in 25 to 30 feet. Crappies have been suspended and somewhat active in the deep water around Black Bay, while good-sized northern pike continue to hit at the mouth of Black Bay.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

Walleye reports have been spotty with some groups catching fish and others struggling. The 8- to 12- foot gravel or 13- to 15- foot mud flats remain the best options and there has been some perch, crappies, and northern pike in the mix. Truck travel is expected to continue this weekend.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

WEST METRO

After Monday’s rain, most accesses and shorelines were no longer favorable for any type of travel. The few anglers venturing out also noted that ice depths vary and the ice is soft. Whether or not walking out is an option again will depend on how cold it gets over the next week.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

Anglers are finding sunfish in 5 to 10 feet and crappies in 10 to 15 feet on Prior Lake and Spring Lake. Shorelines and accesses have deteriorated a lot over the past week so extreme caution is advised on all lakes and only walking is recommended if you do head out.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

LAKE WACONIA

The marina is now closed due to poor ice conditions along the shorelines and some main lake areas. Extreme caution is advised here if you go out.

Mase’s In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Walleye and northern pike action has been slow, and walking out or ATV use is now suggested due to deteriorating access areas. Anglers are finding crappies and bluegills in 6 to 12 feet on many lakes with Le Homme Dieu, Geneva, Darling, Miltona, and Ida standing out this week.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle (320) 763-3255

ANNANDALE AREA

Anglers have been reduced to walking out and even that has become difficult on some lakes. Where they can get on, panfish are being found on a limited basis in shallow water. Look to lakes such as Granite, Cedar, Sugar, Sylvia, and Clearwater for crappies and sunfish in less than 12 feet.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Driving trucks is no longer recommended on area lakes, but ice conditions remain favorable for ATV and foot travel. Sunfish and crappies are biting on Stalker Lake, Blanche Lake, and Walker Lake in 15 feet. Walleye action is slow, but northern pike remain active at West Battle Lake and Otter Tail Lake in the 15- to 20- foot weeds. Tullibee action has picked up over 70 feet on Star Lake or over 40 feet Lake Ida.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Perch action continues to improve on Lake Bemidji along the 20- to 40- foot mud flats and on Lake Plantagenet in 20 to 30 feet. Look to Three Island Lake and Grace Lake for crappies and sunfish in 15 to 30 feet. Walleyes are biting early and late each day in 27 to 32 feet on Bemidji or off the hump in the middle of Plantagenet. Trucks were being used on area lakes early this week, but you have to pay attention to the condition of the accesses.

Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781

BLACKDUCK AREA

Perch and a few bonus walleyes are being caught on the 20-foot mud of Blackduck Lake or in 15 to 30 feet at Island Lake. Look for crappies and bluegills in 16 to 20 feet on Pimushe Lake and Gull Lake, while Gilstead Lake is kicking out crappies in 18 to 25 feet. Ice conditions are good here and trucks continue to be used on area lakes.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Shiner minnows continue to produce a few walleyes on the north end of Gull Lake in 17 to 38 feet. Northern pike also are hitting shiner minnows in 10 to 26 feet at North Long Lake, Cullen Lake, Whitefish Lake, and Gull. Look for sunfish in 6 to 10 feet and crappies over 8 to 16 feet on Nisswa Lake, Hubert Lake, Cullen, Gull, and North Long. Trucks were still being used early this week on area lakes, but call ahead for travel options going into this weekend.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League  (218) 829-7010

CASS LAKE AREA

Walleyes continue to be caught during low-light periods on Deadman’s Bar, North Cedar Bar, and off O’Neil’s Point on Cass Lake in 20 to 22 feet. On Pike Bay Lake, perch are going on the 12- foot humps and walleyes are biting in 22 feet. Work the north side of Star Island on Cass for perch in 8 feet and Kitchi Lake is producing crappies in 12 feet.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

The accesses are starting to go so walking or ATVs are now your safest travel options. Sunfish, crappies, and northern pike are hitting on the south end in 8 to 11 feet and west end in 16 feet on Chisago Lake. The gravel and rock areas on North and South Center lakes are producing a few walleyes during low-light periods.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Black Hoof Lake is kicking out crappies over 22 feet and bluegills in 15 to 19 feet. Look to Clinker Lake for crappies and bluegills in 15 to 17 feet on the back side of the island or 24 feet on the front side of the island. Serpent Lake is giving up a few walleyes and northern pike in 24 to 35 feet. Huntington Pit, Section Six Pit, and Manuel Pit continue to produce trout. Trucks are no longer an option on area lakes, but ATVs are being used, although you have to watch some access areas.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Crappies are being caught at Rock Lake and Cotton Lake over 20 to 25 feet, while northern pike continue to hit on Little Detroit Lake and Lake Melissa in 10 to 15 feet. Sunfish action has picked up on Floyd Lake, Height of Land Lake, and Little Detroit in 11 to 15 feet. Tullibees have started being found suspended over deep water on Long Lake by Vergas. Some access points and shorelines have started to deteriorate and whether or not ATVs or vehicles can be used this weekend will depend on the weather leading up to it.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

The ice has held up well and ATVs or foot travel remain options on area lakes. The Spirit Lake area of the St. Louis River is giving up walleyes and crappies in 12 feet. There’s some evening crappie action in 15 to 20 feet on Fish Lake and Whiteface Lake. Look to Island Lake for walleyes during low-light periods in 15 to 20 feet. Anglers fishing near shore on the north shore of Lake Superior are catching Kamloops and cohos in the French River area with spawn bags, nightcrawlers, or wax worms.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

The string of warm days and rain Monday took its toll on most lake accesses. Extreme caution is advised even when walking due to the uncertain ice conditions on area lakes.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

EMILY AREA 

Crappies have started hitting near the island on Ruth Lake over 28 to 30 feet and Round Lake is giving up walleyes on fathead minnows in 18 to 20 feet at night. Look to Stark Lake with sucker minnows in 12 to 14 feet for northern pike, while Lawrence Lake is worth noting for sunfish in 15 to 18 feet.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

Although there’s still ice on the main portion of area lakes, the channels, shorelines, and accesses have opened so there hasn’t been anyone fishing. It would take an extended stretch of very cold weather in order for walking on the ice to again be sensible on lakes here.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

The rain Monday pretty much put an end to any immediate ice fishing opportunities. There’s a chance, if it gets cold enough, that walking out could be an option down the road. But as of early this week, anglers couldn’t get on the ice.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

There’s been a good number of people fishing, but the bite has been poor, especially for splake and walleyes. Minnows and spoons are turning a few lake trout on Duncan Lake and Greenwood Lake over 35 to 40 feet. Wax worms are producing some rainbow trout in 12 to 15 feet at Mink Lake and Kimball Lake.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Bowstring Lake and Sand Lake are giving up perch and crappies in 20 to 30 feet. Look to Big Cutfoot Sioux for crappies in 20 to 30 feet or to Little Cutfoot Sioux for crappies and bluegills in 18 to 21 feet. Middle Pigeon Lake started producing crappies in 20 to 25 feet, while Bass Lake is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 16 to 20 feet. Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama is producing crappies, bluegills, and perch. Hit Jay Gould Lake for perch in 10 to 12 feet or Big and Little Splithand lakes for panfish in 20 to 25 feet. Walleye, trout, and northern pike action is slow, and ice conditions remain favorable for vehicle traffic.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

HACKENSACK AREA 

The accesses are a bit rough, but ATVs are an option on all lakes and on some lakes, vehicles are still being utilized. Crappies remain active on Webb Lake in 10 to 16 feet, while Tenth and Eleventh Crow Wing lakes are kicking out crappies and sunfish in 12 to 14 feet. Panfish reports also have been favorable on Ada Lake and Horseshoe Lake in 10 to 16 feet or Lindsey Lake in 16 to 20 feet.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

There’s a lot of water on top of the ice and it is slippery, but vehicle travel was an option early this week. The bite hasn’t changed much, which means crappies on McQuade Lake in 18 feet and 24 to 26 feet on McCormick Lake. The Kinney Pit is giving up rainbow trout, and Side Lake is kicking out northern pike in 13 to 15 feet.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LAKE KABETOGAMA

The ice road has softened and although most of the lake still has 24- to 26- inches of good ice, most permanent houses have been removed. The majority of jumbo perch, sauger, and walleyes are being caught in 30 to 35 feet. Sucker minnows continue to produce nice northern pike in shallow to deep water, but crappie reports remain light.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

LONGVILLE AREA

The accesses and main lake ice are in good shape throughout the area. You have to do some sorting, but Woman Lake is giving up nice perch in 8 feet. The channel on Boy Lake and Lake Inguadona are producing bluegills in 8 feet. Look to Lake Wabedo for suspended crappies over deep water at night.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

MADISON LAKE AREA

Fishing pressure has been light mainly due to rapidly-deteriorating ice conditions. Although there’s more than one foot of ice on most lakes, warm weather and rain Monday took its toll on accesses and shorelines so it’s tough to get on the ice.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

ORTONVILLE AREA

Ice conditions have deteriorated a lot in the past week on Big Stone Lake. Many accesses have been closed with the rain and warm weather and a few larger holes have developed on the main lake. With that stated, fishing could resume if it gets cold enough to button-up those access points.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PERHAM AREA

You have to watch certain shorelines and access areas, but ice conditions are generally good throughout the area. The bite on the other hand has been anything but good. Panfish, walleyes, and northern pike were all tough bites in the past week.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355

RED WING AREA

Nice weather has brought a lot of boats to the Mississippi River, and the walleyes and sauger have been biting. During the day, a jig and minnow is producing numbers of fish in 16 to 20 feet, while low-light periods have been better for big fish in less than 10 feet with a jigs and plastics. Anglers are finding fish from the dam down to the Head of the Lakes area.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

The ice looks black and anglers have been reduced to walking out. Even that isn’t advised on most lakes after Monday’s rain, which opened the shorelines and access areas – likely beyond repair.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

Fairy Lake, Lilly Lake, and Maple Lake are giving up sunfish in 8 to 12 feet. Grass shrimp are turning sunfish and crappies on the north end of Lake Osakis in 18 to 21 feet. Foot travel was the best option early this week due to deteriorating accesses on most lakes.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

Fishing pressure has been light, likely because ice conditions only now allow foot travel or some limited ATV use on certain lakes. A few crappies and sunfish are being caught on Fish Trap Lake, Crow Wing Lake, and Lake Alexander but not with any consistency.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

Even though main lake ice remains in pretty good shape, anglers are now limited to walking out and even that’s been a sketchy deal due to poor shoreline ice conditions. Fishing reports have been light as a result of these deteriorating ice conditions.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

WILLMAR AREA

Some anglers continue to walk on a few lakes, but ice conditions have got bad in a hurry. Extreme caution is advised along any access or shoreline in this area. Even if it does get cold again, ice conditions are bad enough on certain lakes that it might not matter.

Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports (320) 235-4097

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

It depends on the lake, but walking out or ATV use are viable travel options. Lakes such as Lady Slipper, Cottonwood, and School Grove are producing walleyes in 5 to 6 feet. Lake Shetek is giving up walleyes and a few crappies in 4 to 6 feet, and Lake Sarah is a safe bet for perch in 8 to 12 feet. Look to Lake Benton for perch and walleyes in 5 to 9 feet, and Bloody Lake is giving up crappies in 10 to 12 feet.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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