Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 24th, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

A handful of people continue to access the lake, but are mainly staying in the bays. The accesses and some shorelines are in rough shape, and with the cracks on many main lake areas, ice conditions are uncertain the farther out you go.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Main lake ice continues to be good with 24 to 27 inches in most areas. Some resorts have pulled their houses and others still have them out, but work through a resort for daily ice condition changes. Walleyes and sauger continue to be found suspended so electronics do help in 20 to 33 feet. Northern pike have moved to their spawning areas so reports of 40- inch fish are heard daily. The Rainy River was open from six miles west of Birchdale on Tuesday. Some anglers had been pushing boats over shore ice on landings to the west – Birchdale Landing is open and Frontier should be soon. At the Northwest Angle, 18 to 24 inches of ice is holding in non-current areas, while current areas are opening quickly. Walleyes and perch are hitting in 20 to 30 feet on the Minnesota side, and crappies remain active on the Ontario side.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Most small lakes that were open now have a coating of ice on them, but it is expected to melt away fast. The bigger lakes, such Minnetonka, are about 80 percent ice-free and any ice that remains is floating. There weren’t any open water fishing reports worth noting.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

Lake conditions remain good for ATVs and portable shelters. With that stated, fishing reports have been limited. There just hasn’t been a lot of people fishing with the northern pike and walleye seasons now closed.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

ATVs are now the only travel option, and there is a heave on the west side that’s moving so you need to watch where you cross it. Perch continue to bite off Raven’s Point in 15 to 20 feet and out from Sugar Lake in 17 to 20 feet. The Hunter’s Hump area down to River Bar is giving up perch in 15 to 18 feet.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Perch are being caught and anglers with the most success continue to stay on the move. Pine Point, the Hardwoods, Goose Island, First Duck and Second Duck points are all worth hitting in 8 to 12 feet of water. Tullibees are being found off Stoney Point towards the Trench in 25 to 30 of water – some fish are being caught shallower as well. The ice seems to be holding up – trucks were being used early in the week, but ATVs might be a safer option by this weekend.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

The ice fishing season is winding down, although the main lake still had good ice on it. Anglers are now in boats on the Rainy River, primarily using the Nelson Park access near Birchdale. Early reports indicate a good walleye bite and this should only improve as more of the river opens. The dam below International Falls, the confluence of the Little Fork River at Pelland Junction or below the Manitou Rapids are all spots worth checking as they become available.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

There’s still plenty of ice on the lake and shoreline areas remain intact, but fishing pressure has been limited since the walleye season closed. A few anglers are looking for crappies and finding a few, but no big numbers of fish are being caught.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

Lake conditions vary from shoreline ice to skim ice depending on the lake. There’s also a lot of open water and any ice that remains will again go out quickly with some wind, rain or warm temperatures. There are open water fishing opportunities here, but not many people are going.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

Anglers are in hurry-up-and-wait mode, meaning there isn’t much ice left, but open water fishing really hasn’t started yet. Look for some of those bays, channels, and other traditional spring locations to start producing panfish as soon as the water warms.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

The ice is being eliminated fast. The ice that remains is black and many shorelines are now open beyond repair. While a few anglers continue to walk out, it’s only on a few lakes and panfish reports have been very limited.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Any ice that remains is not safe for foot travel. Many lakes have already been ice-free once, only to recap with a thin layer of ice when last week’s cold weather returned. Remaining ice also is shifting and breaking up with the wind so it should go fast, likely within the next week where it still exists.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

Ice conditions are deteriorating, so walking out is now advised on lakes throughout the area. West Battle Lake is kicking out crappies over 15 to 20 feet and Clitherall Lake is producing tullibees over 35 feet. Look to North and South Turtle lakes for sunfish in 12 to 15 feet.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Some anglers continue to use trucks, but ATVs are the safer option on area lakes. Lake Bemidji continues to produce perch on the 12- to 30- foot mud areas. Look for crappies and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet on Lake Beltrami, and Three Island Lake is worth noting for bluegills off the edges of the reeds in 6 to 15 feet.

Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781

BLACKDUCK AREA

Main lake ice remains good and some trucks were being used early this week. But on many lakes, the accesses have started to bust loose so ATVs will be a better option by this weekend. Look to Gull Lake and Pimushe Lake for crappies and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet. Blackduck Lake and Island Lake are producing perch, but these fish are moving so that means they’re in 6 to 12 feet one day and 15 to 20 feet the next.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Most anglers are now using ATVs on area lakes as some shorelines are opening, although main lake ice is holding up well. North Long Lake and Round Lake are producing crappies and sunfish in 6 to 12 feet. Cullen Lake and Nisswa Lake are giving up sunfish in 6 to 14 feet. A few tullibees are being found suspended over deep water on the north end of Gull Lake.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Ice conditions remain good enough for ATV travel throughout the area. The 6- to 8- foot reeds on the east shore and north side of Star Island on Cass Lake are producing perch. Look for crappies and bluegills in 25 to 32 feet at Grace Lake and Midge Lake.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CROSBY AREA

Some accesses are getting soft enough that they are no longer accessible so you have to really watch the shorelines and main lake ice on some fisheries. The few people still going are walking out and catching a few panfish on Black Hoof Lake, Clinker Lake, and Lake Adney.

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

DETROIT LAKES AREA

Many shorelines are getting thin, so walking or wheelers are the best way to get around the lakes here. Crappies and sunfish remain active in 12 to 15 feet on Little Detroit Lake, Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa, Height of Land Lake, and Cotton Lake.

Quality Bait and Tackle (218) 844-2248

DULUTH AREA   

Ice conditions remain in decent shape, although some shorelines have started to open – generally ice is better just to north and most anglers are now walking out. Bluegills have started hitting on Fish Lake in 10 feet, while crappies continue to bite at night on Comstock Lake, Wolf Lake, Whiteface Lake, and Fish in 10 to 12 feet. Anglers fishing from shore on Lake Superior in the French River and Sucker River areas are catching Kamloops and coho salmon.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

Limited ice remains on some lakes and others are pretty much open. Some thin ice did again form over the past week to 10 days, but it will go out fast. A few angers are fishing the Mississippi River and catching a mixed bag of fish.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

EMILY AREA 

Most shorelines and main lake ice remains good for ATV travel, but if the weather warms prior to this weekend, that could change. Look to Fox Lake for crappies over 25 feet and to Stark Lake for sunfish in 20 to 25 feet. On Ruth Lake, crappies are hitting minnows and glow jigs after dark in 18 feet.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

There’s some shoreline ice, skim ice on a few lakes, but it’s estimated that 80 percent of most lakes remain ice-free. Fishing action has been light, but should improve with the next stretch of warm weather.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

FARIBAULT AREA

Many lakes were open, but with the cooler weather last week, they now have a skim of ice on them. There’s too much ice to get a boat in and not enough to safely walk on.

Nagel’s Live Bait (507) 334-8341

GRAND MARAIS AREA

Lake trout are being taken with minnows, smelt, spoons, and jigs at Greenwood Lake over 18 to 25 feet or 45 to 60 feet, Loon Lake at 50 feet, and Trout Lake in 55 to 60 feet. Wax worms or minnows are producing rainbow trout in 17 to 22 feet at Leo Lake, 10 feet on Mink Lake, and 10 to 15 feet on Trout. Ice conditions continue to be very good in this area.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

Crappies and sunfish remain active in 15 to 20 feet at Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake, Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake, Big Splithand Lake, and Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama. You’ll find perch in 9 to 11 feet at Jay Gould Lake, bluegills in 6 to 10 feet on Bass Lake, and perch and crappies in 20 to 25 feet at Bowstring Lake. As of Tuesday morning, trucks or ATVs were being used throughout the area.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

HACKENSACK AREA 

There shouldn’t be any issues with running ATVs or walking on area lakes through this weekend. Just watch the accesses and you should be fine once you’re on the ice. Reports have been limited to some crappie and sunfish action on area lakes such as Lindsey, Birch, Webb, Pleasant, Pine Mountain, and Ten Mile in less than 12 feet.

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

LONGVILLE AREA

The 6- foot weeds near Broadwater Bay on Woman Lake are holding good numbers of perch. Hit Lake Inguadona for bluegills in 6 to 8 feet and Mabel Lake for crappies and bluegills in 10 feet. The island area on Big Boy Lake is producing good numbers of bluegills and some crappies. ATVs remain a safe bet on these lakes for this weekend.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Angling pressure has been pretty light, but many shorelines and accesses remain favorable for walking or ATVs. There should be ice fishing options through this weekend, just know the lake you’re going to. Big Mantrap Lake continues to produce crappies over 14 to 30 feet and the Crow Wing Chain is giving up bluegills in 10 to 12 feet.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

RED WING AREA

Anglers seem to be catching more sauger than walleyes this week, although a few bigger eyes have started to be taken. The sauger also have run good-sized with fish being found from Lake Pepin to the dam at Red Wing. Hand-lining, crankbaits, and a jig and minnow are all producing fish along slack water areas. Water temperature on the river was about 39 degrees early this week.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

SAUK CENTRE AREA

There were a few limited ice fishing opportunities early in the week, but those have come to end. With the shorelines now pulled away and main lake ice questionable, anglers are now waiting for open water.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

(320) 235-4097

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