Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report — April 21, 2017

Great Eight

LAKE MILLE LACS        

The ice is gone, but there hasn’t been much to report from anglers. As water temperatures continue to warm, many of the bays and boat harbors will start to hold panfish.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

LAKE OF THE WOODS

Sturgeon fishing continues to be good in the Rainy River with a 3- to 4- ounce no-roll sinker, 1- to 1 1⁄2- foot leader and a circle hook loaded with frozen shiners or nightcrawlers. Anchor up stream of a deeper hole and pitch into it. The ice is now off the lake and with most bays warming, pike have become active in them. The ice is mostly gone at the Northwest Angle as well.

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

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA    

Crappie and sunfish continue to hit in the bays, backwater areas, or channels over 5 to 8 feet on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Sarah, Lake Independence, and Medicine Lake. Most metro lakes are now giving up shallow panfish.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

LAKE VERMILION

The ice recently came off the lake. Fishing pressure has been limited over the past week and likely will be until water temps climb a bit in the bays.

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

There hasn’t been anything to report on the fishing front, although the ice is now off the lake. Reports will continue to be light until the walleye season begins.

Lake Winnie Resort Association

LEECH LAKE

Start looking to the bays and harbors to hold crappies as soon as the sun comes out and water temperatures climb in these shallow areas. The ice is gone, so it shouldn’t take but a few days of warm weather to get these fish moving into the traditional, spring haunts.

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250

RAINY LAKE     

With the exception of some pretty good sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River, reports have been limited as the last remaining pieces of ice leaves the main lake areas.

International Falls CVB (800) 325-5766

RED LAKE

The lake was ice-free on April 12, which is about one week earlier than the past couple of years. Angling pressure has been non-existent due to cold weather and cold water — no crappie reports, yet.

Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

White Bear Lake and Lake Jane are giving up crappies in shallow water. The developing weeds on Jane are producing a few sunfish as well. Water temperatures were hanging in the low 50-degree range early this week. Pool No. 4 on the Mississippi River has been giving up sauger and hit Pool No. 2 for big walleyes – jigs and plastics have been working best.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

The docks and shorelines in Waconia Bay on Lake Waconia continue to produce crappies in less than 12 feet of water. Look to Lake Bavaria for crappies in 4 to 8 feet of water and Whaletail Lake in 3 to 6 feet of water.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

SOUTH METRO

Crappies and sunfish are being caught in less than 6 feet of water on the south end of Prior Lake, north shore and northeast corner of Spring Lake, and along the shoreline of Cedar Lake. Plastics or hair jigs such Flu Flus are producing the majority of fish.

Prior Lake Bait & Tackle (952) 447-6096

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Crappies and sunfish continue to move in and out of the shallows with the changing weather conditions. When they’re in, most are being caught in 2 to 8 feet early and late each day on Oscar Lake, Mill Lake, north end of Lake Carlos, or Christopherson’s Bay and Schwab’s Bay on Lake Ida.

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

ANNANDALE AREA

Crappies and a few more sunfish were being caught in the shallow bays on most area lakes. Some of the better reports this week are coming off Sugar Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake John, Lake Sylvia, Cedar Lake, and Maple Lake in less than 5 feet of water.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297

BATTLE LAKE AREA

You’ll find crappies outside the shallows when it’s cool and in the shallows when the sun is out on Bass/Elbow Lake, the culvert on Ten Mile Lake, the channel on Wall Lake, and the shorelines of Stalker Lake or Fish Lake, and Phelp’s Mill. Sunfish are being found in less than 6 feet at East Lost Lake and Deer Lake.

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

The ice is gone, but there hasn’t been much to report on the panfish front. People are just starting to head out and most are stating that the bite has been slow and water temperatures remained cool early this week. There are suckers being caught in most rivers and creeks.

Taber’s Bait (218) 751-5781

BLACKDUCK AREA

The ice has been out for two weeks and there has been some limited crappie and bluegill action reported. These fish are mainly coming from the bays and shorelines of the area’s small lakes, but look for the shallows on many bigger bodies of water to start producing panfish as well.

Timberline Sports and Tackle (218) 835-4636

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA 

Water temperatures remain right  around 50 degrees in most shallow bays. Look for crappies and sunfish at Nisswa Lake, Upper Gull Lake, Cullen Lake, and North Long Lake in 3 to 6 feet. The afternoon bite has been better as the water warms, and minnows or wax worms are producing the most fish.

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

CASS LAKE AREA

Bluegills have moved into 8 to 10 feet on Grace Lake and Midge Lake. Crappies continue to be found suspended over 18 feet on Lake Andrusia and Grace, but look for them to move into the bays as soon as water temperatures climb a bit more.

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831

CHISAGO AREA   

Work the shallow bays or channels for crappies and sunfish at Chisago Lake, North Center Lake, South Lindstrom Lake, and South Center Lake. Generally, when the sun pops out, most lakes have been producing panfish in shallow water.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

The bays on the south end of Bay Lake are giving up crappies in 4 to 8 feet. The north end of Clearwater Lake is giving up crappies, just off the pencil reeds. Look to the channels on Milford Lake for crappies and bluegills, while the east side of Rabbit Lake is kicking out crappies in less than 5 feet. Lower Mission Lake is worth noting for bluegills in 3 feet.

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

DULUTH AREA   

The smelt run has started, but strong winds have limited opportunities to get after them on the lake side of most rivers. Most reports indicate that this weekend should provide a good push of smelt into the rivers. Crappie reports have been limited, although the ice is now off all lakes. With Tuesday’s rain, steelhead really pushed into most rivers and that bite might currently be at its peak.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

EAST CENTRAL MN

The north end of Blue Lake is giving up crappies and sunfish in less than 6 feet. Little Elk Lake also is producing crappies in 5 to 7 feet, while Lori Lake and Lewis Lake are providing crappies in 4 to 6 feet. The channels on the Briggs Lake Chain started giving up crappies as well.

Tales and Trails Sport Shop (763) 856-3985

ELY AREA

The lakes are all ice-free, which is slightly ahead of schedule compared to most years. There hasn’t been much crappie fishing activity at this point, but that will change as water temperatures warm.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

EMILY AREA 

Water temperatures continue to be in the 40-degree range so panfish action has been relatively slow. The shallow bays on Lake Emily and Lawrence Lake are giving up a few crappies when the sun is out in less than 4 feet.

Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191

FAIRMONT AREA

Crappies continue to be found in 8 to 12 feet of water at Budd Lake and Hall Lake. George Lake and Lake Sissiton have been giving up perch and bluegills in 4 to 6 feet of water. These bites tend to be better if the sun comes out and water temperatures jump a bit.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225

GRAND MARAIS AREA

The steelhead run is in full swing with orange and pink yarn-tied flies and spawn sacs producing fish on most rivers including the Cascade, Brule, Poplar, Kadunce, and Flute Reed. There was still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but it is honeycombed and expected to go out this weekend or early next week.

Buck’s Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA 

If the sun comes out, crappies are showing up in the shallow, muddy bays. Lakes such as Pokegama, Bowstring, Sand, Wabana, and Cutfoot have already given up crappies. Look the Hot Pond, a backwater of the Mississippi River, for sunfish.

Ben’s Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

GREY EAGLE AREA

Anglers are having a tough time finding crappies or sunfish in shallow water. Most traditional, spring panfish spots are giving up a few fish, but no big numbers anywhere. With nice weather expected to return this weekend, look for a big push of crappies and sunfish into the shallow bays on most lakes. Suckers are being caught in most streams and small rivers and nightcrawlers.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405

HACKENSACK AREA 

Crappie and sunfish reports continue to be pretty light and angling pressure has been limited. This will change as the weather warms with lakes such as Pleasant, Woman, Ten Mile, Pine Mountain, and Lindsey among others worth looking at for panfish in shallow water.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle

(218) 675-6176

HIBBING/CHISHOLM AREA

The ice has been gone for about a week, but poor weather has limited crappie fishing opportunities. This area even received some snow on Tuesday, so water temperatures continue to be cool.

Lucky 7 General Store (218) 254-7168

LAKE KABETOGAMA

The entire lake was ice-free as of last weekend. This is a couple weeks earlier than normal and water levels are slightly above normal for this time of the year.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121

MADISON LAKE AREA

Water temperatures have not changed much since last week so panfish continue to bite in the same locations. Crappies are hitting at the Buckmaster Bridge, and sunfish are biting in East Bay on Madison Lake. You’ll find crappies in 6 feet off Carpenter’s Point at Lake Francis and a mixed bag of panfish in less than 7 feet at Duck Lake.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464

MORA AREA

Sunfish are being caught at Knife Lake in less than 3 feet of water, but you have to sort through some small fish here. Knife also is producing crappies in shallow water, as is the Ann River Bridge area on Fish Lake.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop (320) 679-2151

ORTONVILLE AREA

Water temperature on Big Stone Lake was in the low 50-degree range early this week and that should bode well for a strong start to the Minnesota/South Dakota border walleye opener on Saturday. These fish should be in the post-spawn phase mostly and actively feeding on the shorelines and shallow rocks in less than 5 feet of water. Fishing pressure has been light with a few perch and white bass being caught along the shorelines.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Sunfish have been tough to find, but crappies have started showing up in shallow water on the north end of Long Lake. The bays on the Crow Wing Chain also are giving up crappies, most of which are being found near the reeds in shallow water.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors (218) 237-5099

RED WING AREA

Walleyes are spawning in the Mississippi River, slowing the bite a bit, but fish are still being caught. Pitch plastics on the shorelines for larger walleyes or throw a jig and minnow along the current seams for bigger numbers of males. The Hay Creek and High Bridge areas have been most productive.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334

RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA

The backwaters, channels, and bays on most lakes are now producing panfish, especially on those days when water temperatures spike a bit. Look to Rice Lake, Lake Koronis, Long Lake, Cedar Island Lake, Mud Lake, and Horseshoe Lake among others for crappies and sunfish.

Channel Marine and Sports (320) 597-5975

SAUK CENTRE AREA

When the weather is decent for a couple of days and the sun is out, anglers are finding crappies on the far northeast corner of Lake Osakis and the west side of Long Bridge Lake. Hennington’s Bay on Fairy Lake is producing crappies, as is the south side of Higgin’s/Long Lake.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155

STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA

A few crappies are being caught, but they continue to be found staged outside the shallow bays and shorelines in deeper water. Lakes such as Fish Trap, Shamineau, Alexander, and Pierz are worth looking at, and these bites should improve in shallower water with a couple more days of good weather.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056

STARBUCK AREA

The Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska is producing crappies in 8 feet from Fish Hatchery Bay to the Lakeside Ballroom. The Starbuck Marina on Minnewaska is giving up sunfish and a few crappies as well. Anglers fishing from shore on the south side of Long Lake towards Morris also started catching crappies.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle (320) 239-2239

VIRGINIA AREA

The ice is gone, but it’s been too cold and windy for most people to start looking for crappies. It snowed and rained here early in the week so it might be a few days for the shallow water areas to warm up and turns things on.

Lucky Seven General Store (218) 741-1629

WATERVILLE AREA

The lagoons on Lake Tetonka continue to produce crappies and a few respectable sunfish. You’ll hook crappies on the west end of Lake Francis in less than 8 feet with minnows.

Axel’s Tackle Box (507) 213-1873

WILLMAR AREA

The panfish bite hasn’t improved much since last week, likely due to water that’s been slow to warm. Once it does jump a few more degrees look to the bay on Nest Lake for crappies, and the north end of Eagle Lake or Dogfish Bay on Diamond Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in less than 6 feet.

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

WINDOM/MARSHALL AREA

Crappie action has been slow, but lakes such as Yankton, Shetek, Sarah, and Island are all worth looking into after a few days of warm weather. These fish should start biting more consistently as water temperatures climb. Flashy spinners, nightcrawlers, and flies are producing trout on the Redwood River in Camden State Park.

Borch’s Sporting Goods (507) 532-4880

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