Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!
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- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
Try Ottertail in 15-20 feet and West Battle in 25-30 feet for walleye action through the ice. Panfish are starting to also hit in about 10-12 feet of water on area lakes. Call us for updates!
- Veire's Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Call us for current ice fishing conditions!
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
Pimushe, Gull Lake, and Rabideau are producing crappies and bluegills in 20 feet. Blackduck and Island Lake are also producing walleyes in 15-20 feet.
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
1-4- Well, ice season is in full swing and people are officially out and catching fish throughout much of Minnesota. Up here in the Northland the walleye bite has been the main focus for many with panfish and perch still #2 on the list. Here are the reports for Leech Lake and Mille Lacs from this past week.
The main lake rock reefs and bars are producing well during the early AM and more so in the evening and into the night. Try focusing on 12-18 feet of water. Using the combo of a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head and a dead stick with a glow jig or hook next door is a great way to see what is going to work best. Those fish are going to slide up during those peak periods and actively feed. The spoon or swimbaits, such as a jigging rap will call the fish in and sometimes provoke that reaction bite. Other times the walleyes will see the struggling minnow on the set line and take that. If you are hole hopping try deadsticking with a rod near bite or setting out a tip up. During the daylight hours slide out into the mud or deeper sand/gravel in 20-28 ft of water for the best action.
Walker Bay has had some feeding windows mainly in the evening fishing on the humps in 25-30ft of water.
Perch fishing has been best shallow in 5-10 ft of water in areas where you can find green cabbage. Look to the weedier bays such as Steamboat, Portage, and Sucker. Drill alot of holes and be aggressive, don't be afraid to upsize to keep those smaller perch away.
Panfishing on local lakes in the area has been very good. Look to fishing on the edges of the holes or basins. Our best luck was in 13-17 ft of water fishing for suspended fish. The deeper basin is close by and those fish will slide in and away from those edges. Tungsten jigs with plastics or small jigging spoons were the lures of choice.
Ice is 12-15" on the Main Lake with Walker Bay being 8-12".
The walleye bite on Mille Lacs is great right now. Fishing the steep edges of the mud flats in 28-30 feet of water has been the most productive. Jigging spoons, jigging raps, and set lines have all produced fish. At times you can find active fish up on the tops of the flats, especially during low light periods, but the steeper edges, points, and shelves seems to be the best fishing. There also have been good reports coming from the North End sand and shoreline breaks in 15-20 feet of water.
It is a great time of year! Remember to use caution, call ahead of time to get the up to date ice reports, and be sure to stop in at the local bait shops.
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
A-frame area on Chisago is producing sunfish. North Center is producing crappies and sunfish in 10-15 feet. Walleyes and pike are biting in the channel between Chisago and South Lindstrom, on Green Lake and South Lindstrom ranging from 5-15 feet.
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
Boulder and Rice are producing walleyes. The St. Louis Harbor area of Lake Superior is also a good bet for walleyes. Pike are hitting tip-ups on Fish Lake.
- Babe's Bait and Tackle - BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)
Fishing report 1/16/17
For many of the anglers heading out for trout opener, conditions were excellent, with mild temperatures, reasonably good ice conditions, and fish that were eager to bite.Burntside Lake led the way for angler success, with numerous lake trout in the three to six pound range and a few eight and ten pound range fish coming into the hole. White jig and tube combos were by far the bait to use, along with Jiggin' Raps, Chubby Darters, and Buckshot spoons which were also producing. A few anglers also caught some nice walleyes while working relatively shallow water around twenty to twenty-five feet. Rainbow trout were active on Miners Pit and Tofte Lake with some nice splake thrown in on Tofte. The rainbows were hitting small jig and wax worm combos and small jigging spoons. A few folks were using salted minnows with some success as well.
Walleye fishing elsewhere in the area was a bit disappointing, as many small fish were caught and released, with only a few solid keepers being taken.
Crappie fishermen were still managing some limits from Birch and East Twin, with lesser amounts from, Fall and Bass Lakes.
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Jim Tuller, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
12-22-Ice conditions vary by lake but most lakes are between 7" to 12". Leech lake is seeing 8" to 12" on the main lake and 6" to 8" on Walker Bay. Please advise there are heaves and cracks opening up throughout the lake as well as some holes on Walker Bay by Cochran's/Marine Max Landing! Pine Point has been producing nice walleyes in the 12' to 14' range with most fish being caught in low light conditions. Walker bay has been producing off the shoreline breaks as well as the deeper humps. Jigging spoons seem to be the ticket along with shiners! The pike bite has been strong with most anglers going with a sucker minnow on a tip-up.
- Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Phil & Ellen Hart, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
Kabetogama-Namakan-Ash River Fishing Report 1/16/17
Cold weather continued through the week into a pleasant temperature weekend. Sunday was the first day above freezing in January. In fact we have gone below zero every night in January except for one. Although we’ve had great ice making weather, the lake is still not cooperating. 20+ inches of snow cover does a remarkable job of insulating the ice from forming. Approximately 12-18” of good ice remain under snow, slush and surface water. 4 wheel and vehicle traffic nearly impossible as of this weekend. Snowmobile traffic somewhat difficult, but doable. Some spear fishermen still having success using live decoys, not unusual to see an occasional pike over 36” accompanied by numerous smaller pike. Anglers using jig and minnow, glow jigs having the best success with chubs or shiners. Most common depth for some success varies between 30-38’. Jumbo perch bite remains pretty strong, followed by sauger and pike, occasionally some walleyes show, but they’ve been elusive. Snowmobiling has been great, nice land trails, lots of snow, nice base. The lake trails are marked and staked, but remain un-groomed. Looks like mild temperatures for the next 10 days, that may help the lake slush problem, hopefully. No news on a forthcoming ice road, the park staff in on stand-by checking ice for safety. Have a Beautiful Week, Crabby Phil and Ellen Hart
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau - www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)
1-18- Great ice fishing continues on Lake of the Woods. The key depth's are 28 - 31 ft with glow red, pink and gold overall best colors. Walleyes and saugers mix with some jumbo perch, eelpout and sturgeon as well. Most fish on the bottom. Electronics really help your catch rate. Live emerald shiners available. 20"+ of ice on the lake in most areas.
The Rainy River has been good for walleyes. More of a morning / evening bite. Know the river or use a resort or guide for safety. The snowmobile trail is staked from Wheeler's Point to Baudette on the river. Do not deviate from trail unless you are familiar with ice conditions.
Excellent fishing continues up at the NW Angle. Reports of 20 inches of ice in areas traveled by resorts. The ice road from Young's Bay to resorts on Flag Island and Oak Island is open to vehicles. Resorts are fishing in 21-28 feet of water with a nice walleye and sauger bite. Best colors include glow red, pink and gold. Big crappies, 12-16" in good numbers being caught in Ontario in 28-34'. Crappies caught in 25' or greater have high mortality rate, thus keep up to limit and move on to another species. Walleyes and perch biting very well. Work through resorts and stay on ice road. Resorts and ice fishing reservations at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging. Check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism Facebook page www.facebook.com/lakeofthewoodsmn for day to day reports.
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
1-3-Winter is here on Leech Lake! Fishing has been great Walker Bay humps and breaklines have been holding lots of fish (small mostly) be careful if you are fishing deep water if you reel them up to fast you will blow out there air sacks. Jigging spoons with minnow head seem to work the best, the main lake has been giving up larger walleyes and perch. I have not heard of many people going after pike. If you want them, go to any of the bays and set up some tip-ups until you figure where they are! Come enjoy Leech lake this winter! Two of the main snowmobile trails cross here in Walker... many miles of trails to enjoy when you're done fishing!
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - (320-630-1761)
1-3-Mille Lacs anglers are catching walleyes using 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, should be trucks soon. Check with Bill Lundeen at Lundeen's, Liberty Beach and Dickie's for current ice conditions. Panfish are biting on Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee. The north end of Osakis has been producing panfish and walleyes. Listen to Mille Lacs reports on iHeart Radio on Outdoor Adventures Radio with Chris Kuduk or call Chris anytime for an up-to-the-minute report. He also has some opening for guided ice fishing trips on Mille Lacs!
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
Ice is forming nicely on area lakes with this cold weather. Please give us a call for a current update!
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
1-1-St. Croix River ice thickness is 5-6 inches as of New Years Day. The St. Croix sees most anglers fishing for crappies in the Bayport area. Here it is a deepwater basin bite. Fish can suspended easily 12 feet off of the bottom. The crappies roam the entire area. Dead stick minnows is often best versus active jigging. Crappies can be found across the whole basin and are caught best on a crappie minnow. Many of these fish are suspended up to 12 feet off the bottom and can be hard to decipher at times from the abundant shad baitfish. NOTE- there are multiple areas of openwater on the St. Croix - only fish where safe, and driving automobiles on the ice is not safe yet.
Now that the St. Croix River is iced up, I migrate south to fish Pool 4 of the Mississippi River, this is openwater boat fishing for walleye and sauger all winter. I launch at Everts Resort (www.evertsfishingresort.com), Everts is a walleye oasis, providing water for your boat to launch all year. During winter much of the fishing is vertical jigging and dragging jigs. Usually a solid bite is found both dragging jigs in 13 to 17 feet of water and vertical jigging the deepwater. Plan on fishing soft plastics. Ringworms and paddle tails work very well, as do as fathead minnows on plain jigs or buck tails, we use mono 6-pound test and medium light Limit Creek rods. Believe it or not cranks also do well on three way set ups. Crankbait presentations are on floating Rapalas. Troll slowwww.This bite is weather related and it is best accomplished when you have a warming trend in winter. Of the fish you catch 95% will be a walleye or a sauger, all the other species really slow down. Walleye need to be 15” minimum and saugers have no size restriction to keep.
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
The northern lights bounce on the pine tree silhouettes in the distant night sky. A large gathering of laughing ice fishermen are shoulder to shoulder huddled around a hissing propane powered upright heater as they give each other light-hearted jabs about each other’s fishing abilities all while eating a freshly grilled Polish bratwurst. Strobe lights dance in different colors and cadences from the surrounding 100 or so accumulated Ice Castles on the frozen lake. Children playing “tag” zig-zag around the snow suit laden legs of hearty Minnesotans, Wisconsinites and oil rig workers from the nearby Dakotas. A young girl mitten-grips a plastic yellow rope as she pulls a frozen-faced toddler over near the humming Yamaha generators that are powering the night’s festivities. Joyous screams and boisterous laughter come from an Ice Castle hosting a card game. These are all things that you will see and hear at the Ice Castle get-together the weekend of the locally famous fishing derby. The Park Rapids American Legion is holding their 19th annual Ice Fishing Derby on beautiful Fish Hook Lake. The tournament is held on the first Saturday of February which lands on February 4th this coming year. With over $130,000 in prizes, there are many chances to win. Prizes include a brand-new Chevrolet pick-up truck, a 2017 Ice Castle Itasca Vacation Series fish house/rv and countless other prizes and cash prizes. The Smokey Hills crew will be on the Ice with family, friends and Ice Castle customers all weekend long. Over 100 Ice Castles are expected to be at the family friendly event! Bring your Ice Castle for a long weekend, most people will be showing up on the ice Friday, February 3rd and leaving Sunday the 5th. Call Smokey Hills Outdoor Store (218-237-5099) if you need more information! We hope to see everyone there!!
- Wheaton Service & Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)
Looking for a place for an Ice fishing trip? Wheaton Service and The Fishin Hole lodge once again this winter is offering stay and fish or spear packages starting at $159.00 per person based on groups of 4. Our houses are available to our guests 24 hrs a day! If the fish are eating at night, then you need to be able to fish them at night! After all, isn't that what you pay for! Give us a call at 320-563-1400 or wheatonservice.com. Take A Kid Fishin! Neighbor Steve, owner operator, Wheaton Service and The Fishin Hole Lodge.
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
1-8-We were on the ice for another check today. Ice continues to build with the cold. We found a range between 12.5 to 15 inches, with it averaging about 14. If you watch the video, we mistakenly said January 7th, but it was taken today on the 8th. Lots of nice fish have been brought in this weekend, including some big northerns and nice walleyes. The crappie and sunfish action has been good as well!
1-5- The cold snap this week is already helping thicken up the ice on Lake Waconia! We’ve gained 3+ inches of thickness since last week. We have checked the usual, well-fished areas, such as Waconia Bay, Center Reef, Pillsbury Reef and the deep hole of Wagener’s Bay. We also checked behind the island to Kegs, North, Reds and over to Anderson’s Reef. From what we’ve seen, the ice is ranging between 10-3/4 to 12-1/2 inches.
We have OPENED up our access for cars and lighter trucks TODAY, 1/5/17! Our Access Fees are $1 per person for walking on, $2 per ATV or Vehicle, or $25 for a Season Pass. Keep in mind, we still have at least 1 active spring on the east central part of the lake (between Cemetery and Anderson’s Reefs). Because of that and the fact that we can’t cover every spot on the lake, we have to caution that ice is never safe and to DRIVE AT YOUR OWN RISK. We suggest if you are headed to areas that are less populated with fishermen, to do your own checking before driving out with heavy equipment. We look forward to seeing you!
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, email@example.com, (218-327-2312)
If you want ice, we’ve got it. This will be a good season for ice fishing opportunities on Big Winnie. With good ice conditions anglers are starting to be seen on several areas of the big lake. Northern Pike spearers have been doing well in the Third River Area and the weed beds along the south near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Thickness of ice varies, but most conditions are favorable for ATV and snowmobile travel. Six to eight inches of ice are common and safety should always be a priority. As in years past if you are chasing walleyes the humps and bars will be your best bets especially early and late in the day. Depths of 18-23 feet are prime locations and outside edges should be critical spots to fish. Spoons with a minnow head like the VMC Tumbler and Tinglers are usually my first choices fished close to the bottom and paying close attention to my electronics for a walleye to come sniffing into the bait. Perch fishing will be good on the shallower rocks on the north side and look for the crappie bite to be good on Big and Little Cutfoot. Small VMC Tubby jigs with wax worms or plastics will be good for crappies and bluegills. Keep moving until you find active fish.