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Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!

Fish Tales Archive

© 2016 OutdoorsWeekly.com - Copyright Info

BATTLE LAKE
- 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!

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LAKE BENTON
- Veire's Mini-Mart - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)

Anglers on the west side of Lake Benton found little action, with relatively little wind. Even the bullheads weren’t biting, and only a few walleyes were pulled out. Action was a little steadier on the east end of the lake, with several nice fishing caught using minnows. Most of the walleyes were smaller males, and many of the females may still be in a pre-spawn pattern.
Rock Lake was also fairly slow, with only a few walleyes coming out, although one group of anglers hooked a channel catfish.
The action on Lake Shetek was also pretty slow, as anglers crowded the banks searching for the year’s first walleyes. Even using a variety of methods, from a bare hook and worm, to Lindy rigs tipped with a minnow, to casting crankbaits, anglers only found a few walleyes worthy of a trip to the frying pan.
Lac Qui Parle had a pretty steady bite a couple of spots on the lake, with the best action coming right at sunrise. Walleyes here seemed to be firmly in a pre-spawn pattern, as most walleyes were caught off shore, vertical jigging from the boat. Small jigs pitched over rocky areas and retrieved slowly caught some heavy pre-spawn females. Fishing should continue to pick up as walleyes cycle through the spawning areas and start to feed heavily post-spawn.

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BLACKDUCK AREA
- 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.

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BRAINERD AREA
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)

1-25- Well, the walleye fishing has definitely slowed down and gotten tougher. The bite as a whole as gotten to the point where unless you are constantly on the move and fishing new spots, that your best bet is to bet up on prime pieces of structure during the early AM and evening bites. There has also been reports of some over night bites for the people in Sleepers.

Main Lake
On the Main Lake, your best best is to still fish reefs in 16-22' of water focusing on steep edges, underwater points, and ledges. If you have snowmobiles being able to get out to some of the reefs around Pelican Island and North of there will give you some areas that have been less pressured. During the day time sliding out into the gravel or mud is your best bet in 25-30' of water.

Walker Bay
Find unfished water and you may find some of your best success. With traffic on the Bay being fairly easy going, you need to search out some of the lesser known areas by paying attention to your map and looking for humps, under water points, or bars in 25-35' of water.
Jigging Spoons and dead sticks are still best. Try mixing up your sizes of your spoons and maybe not always worrying about colors. Perch are a big part of a walleyes diet so find something that has that look and try to match it with size and profile.
There have been some good reports of a decent perch bite at times. Look for sand and sand grass transitions in the Goose Island area and flats as well as up in Sucker Bay off of the Duck Points.

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CHISAGO CITY
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)

Chisago and South Center are your best bets for walleyes using minnows. Crappies and sunfish are also biting on area lakes for the anglers going out. Give us a call for current reports!

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DULUTH
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)

Island Lake is producing walleyes in 10-12 feet. Try Fish Lake for crappies in 15 feet. Call us for updates!

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ELY
- 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)

2/12 - Panfish anglers are enjoying the mild temperatures and steady action on area lakes recently. Good numbers of chubby sunnies and nice slab crappies have been coming out of Fall, Low, Birch, and East Twin lakes. Travel is best by sled or four wheelers, but some folks are finding that travel by truck is not out of the questin, as most lakes have at least sixteen inches of ice. The snow cover is the only adverse feature to deal with.

Stream trout are still providing action on Miners, Tofte, High and Dry lakes. Small spoons and jig and wax worms are used by most active anglers, but some are finding a tip-up with a dead and salted minnows work well too, as you kick back and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.

Lake trout action, while not "hot", has been providing some fun to those fishing Burntside Lake. Active jigging working best as those fish are smacking tube jigs and small Jigging Rap style baits. Most are sweetening up their offerings with either a minnow head or whole minnow, just to give the fish a little scent and taste as an added incentive to bite. This same set of tactics are woking on northern pike on Birch Lake.

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GLENWOOD
- Fish On Bait & Sport www.habitatnow.com
Kyle, 201 S Franklin St, 2 blocks south of stoplights in Glenwood (320-634-3667)

Visit the Habitat Outlet on line at www.HabitatNOW.com for all your habitat needs.  Fish On!

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HACKENSACK
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Jim Tuller, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)

1-11-Ice conditions vary by lake but most lakes are between 12" to 22". Leech lake is seeing 16" to 22" on the main lake with vehicle traffic on most the lake. The bite has slowed due to colder temps but has still been consistent! Most walleyes are being caught in the 18' to 20' range. Dead sticking a shiner has been producing as well as rattling spoons such as the Buckshot or BB Ratttler. Walker bay has been producing off the shoreline breaks as well as the deeper humps.  The pike bite has been strong with most anglers going with a sucker minnow on a tip-up. The panfish bite has been strong with good numbers being reported! Small jigs such as the Bro Bug tipped with a wax worm or maggie seem to be the ticket! Stay warm and be safe!

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KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN
- 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

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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)

2-6-Resorts are on the move to stay on fish. The bite has been good overall. Working every fish is a must! The anglers working a jigging spoon with a rattle and a dead stick are being rewarded.  Key depth is 29-31 ft and best colors continue to be glow red, pink and gold on jigging spoons tipped with minnow head or tail.  Dead stick plain hook (try glow or colored) or smaller walleye jigs and live minnow.  Some jumbo perch being caught as well. Electronics improving catch rate.  

The Rainy River morning and evening bite has been good. 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.

Good fishing up at the NW Angle. Best colors include glow pink and gold. For walleyes on MN side, morning / evening bite in 13-20' targeting rock reefs and points.  Mid-day move off structure in 22-30 feet of water. Ontario, walleyes in 25' or deeper. Big crappies in 30+ feet on small rippin raps, small jigs/plastics/minnows. Keep crappies if fishing deeper than 25' as high mortality if released in deep water.  Work through resorts and stay on ice road. Some frozen ruts off trail can be dangerous use caution on snowmobile or ATV.  Fish houses out through March, walleyes/saugers through April 14th.  Resorts and ice fishing reservations at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

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LEECH LAKE
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) spirit@arvig.net (e-mail) 

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!

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MILLE LACS
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - www.kuduksguideservice.com
(320-630-1761)
For up to the minute reports, call Chris at 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!

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LAKE MINNETONKA
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)

Walleyes havin been biting on Lake Minnetonka for the anglers that are going out. Try 18-25 feet of water. Some muskies have also been hitting in 15 feet of water.

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MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
www.croixsippi.com
(651-208-2811)

1-17-Ice thickness is 10-14 inches on the St. Croix River’s Bayport area trucks have been driving on the ice lately.  Most anglers target crappies using crappie minnows and bobbers.

Here’s some info from the old days I remember an angler named “Tom” from River Falls, had a home made three hole shelter.  All  holes were inline and about seven feet in length from hole one to three.  Anyway he chain smoked these cherry cigarillo’s with his three holes in front of him and he hammered fish.  He fished all the time out there and did better than anyone.  He always fished all three of his legally allowed lines using bobbers staggered in certain depths off of the bottom. He set up and stayed put—moved from trip to trip but not much on a given day.

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PARK RAPIDS
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
Park Rapids, Minnesota (218-237-5099)

Walleye – With most of the nights falling below 60 degrees now, the water temp on the surface is starting to cool down, triggering most fish to start packing on the pounds for the long frigid northern Minnesota winters. Still hanging around the weed lines in about 16’-22’ of water. On the hunt for a VMC “Neon Moon Eye” either rigged under a slip bobber or dropped to the bottom and jigged. Both methods paired with a redtail or crawler works well.
Northern Pike – Hunkered down in the thickest weed growth in anywhere from 8’-16’. Looking for an easy perch or shiner to swim by. Find a lure that resembles a perch or shiner or tie on a Rapala “Rippin Rap” to imitate the bait fish and to fish any various depth.
Bass – Similar to last week, the majority of the bigger bass will be out in 12’-16’ of water. For deeper swimming bass tie on a VMC “Heavy duty wide gap” hook paired with a YUM “Christie Craw” to get down to their depths. For the shallower fish up in the pads, cabbage, and around docks tie on a Lunkerhunt “Pocket Frog” or “Combat Frog”  that will make bass jump out of the water!
Sunfish/Crappie – Scattered through 5’-15’ in the thicker cabbage beds, coontails, and deep growing bulrushes. Mostly on the hunt for a Lindy “Little Nipper” either underneath a slip bobber or even cast and retrieve. Tip the little nipper with a crappie minnow, worm, or waxy for best luck at filling the bucket.
Josh Severtson w/Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
Need advice or help on how to do it? Come see Josh in the fishing department!

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LAKE TRAVERSE
- Wheaton Service & Bait    www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)

There is a great bite going on on Lake Traverse! In a boat or from shore! The bite will only get better as ice arrives right through mid Jan. Looking for place for your ice fishing trip this winter? Make Wheaton Service and The Fishin Hole Lodge your winter ice fishing trip destination:) We offer stay and fish/spear packages. New this year, "The Full Meal Deal" 2 days fishing/spearing , all meals included for only $249.00 ea. based on groups of 4. $159.00 ea. without meals. We go that extra mile to insure you and your group have a successful outing! After all, isn't that what you pay for? Give us a call! We'd love to get you on the ice! 320 563-1400 - wheatonservice.com or Wheaton Service on Facebook! Hope to hear from you....Take a Kid Fishing......or Spearing:)

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WACONIA
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)

1-20-

The warmer temps this week have made conditions on the ice wet and slippery.  Bring your ice cleats! The ice itself has been holding up quite well so far.  The majority of the water on the ice is due to snow melt.  We are still seeing between 15 to 19 inches of ice as of this writing today, 1/20/17.  The access remains in good condition as well.

If you have a permanent fish house on Lake Waconia, we suggest keeping an eye on it the next several days.  Weather forecasters predict some light rain the next day or two, but thankfully the winds are supposed to be minimal through the weekend.  We don’t expect any major problems regarding the ice or fish houses in the near future, but it’s best to pay attention.  If you were hoping to bring a house out and leave it out for several days without checking on it, it may be best to move it off the holes or bring it to shore or home with you.

If you choose to move it off the holes, leave it cranked down as close to the ice as you can without freezing it in, to minimize air flow under the house (as wind mixed with water can created a whirlwind effect that erodes the ice under the house).  Keep in mind, we anticipate some snow by Tuesday or Wednesday that could make things slushy too. 

Again, it’s no time to panic regarding the conditions, but it’s best to remain diligent and watchful.  Pay attention to other’s houses too and report anything that concerns you to us so we can inform.


See you at the lake!

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WINNIBIGOSHISH
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)

Weather has been a big dictator on the walleye bite for Big Winnie. Besides all that the fishing has been good. Many of the humps and bars are turning out catches of big fish and eaters as well. Crawlers and leeches on rigs have been best for the deeper bite. The shallows in and around weed beds all over the lake have also been excellent choices. We have been pulling spinners with a half crawler, leech or a minnow at speeds of 1.0 to 1.5 mph and doing quite well. Stony Point, Tamarac, Musky Bay, and the Bird Houses are great places to try spinner presentations. Covering water trolling crank baits has also been good with bonus northern pike in the mix. A new bait from Rapala the Shad Dancer is a bait to try. Great action and dives from 8-11 feet. Panfish have been okay and expect that to get better in the upcoming weeks. Weed edges with small baits and spinners have been taking crappies in Big Cutfoot lake. Perch fishing on the north rocks has been good. Sorting through the smaller ones to keep nicer perch has provided plenty of action. Summer is winding down so get out and enjoy Big Winnie and all it has to offer.

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