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)
1-12- Ottertail and West Battle are producing some great walleye action in 15-25 feet of water. Crappies are biting on Rush and Pelican. Look for sunfish on Rush and West Battle in 10-15 feet of water. Pike are hitting on Ottertail, also also on North and South Turtle lakes in about 12-15 feet of water. Call or stop in for daily reports!
- Veire's Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Please call Dave for a fishing report!
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
1-12- Blackduck Lake is producing walleyes, crappies and bluegills in 12-15 feet of water. Bluegills reported on Gull Lake in about 20 feet of water. A mixed bag of walleyes, crappies and perch are being taked on Island Lake in 20-25 feet of water. Stop in for the latest reports!
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Things are finally starting to settle in on Leech Lake with this frigid cold snap that has sunk into Minnesota. As cold as its been you might think ice has been forming by the second, but the 4-6" of snow on the lake has slowed it down, but it is still progressing nicely.
Walker Bay - Ice still varies throughout Walker Bay 8-12", but by the end of the New Years weekend it should be getting even more solid people driving soon. Be sure to stick to the areas that have travel because of the varying ice conditions. Fishing in Walker Bay has been overall pretty decent. 22-30 feet of water has been best on humps, under water points, or shoreline breaks. Dead sticks with a fat head or shiner have been good under cold front conditions, otherwise an 1/8th oz jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head will coax fish into biting.
Main Lake - There are still some sketchy ice conditions in between Pine Point, Goose Island, and Ottertail. So be very careful in and around these areas. Many people have been accessing the Main Lake on the far south end and fishing those reefs such as Olson's, Huddle's, Variety, and areas around Pipe Island in 15-20 feet of water. When weather allows hole hopping has produced more fish and during the daylight hours walleyes will slide off these structures into deeper water. One thing to do if you can is utilize a set line such as a tip up on the edges or key features of the structure you are moving around from hole to hole. Jigging spoons, swim style lures such as jigging raps or chubby darters, and swim style jigs have also been productive when putting walleyes on the ice. Ice conditions are thicker on the south end with people driving trucks on the plowed roads. Once again use caution, check as you go if you venture off the roads and to new pieces of structure.
Be safe and good luck!
- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Captain Josh Hagemeister (218-732-9919, 320-291-0708)
1-4 - Alexandria area lakes have been knocking the panfish out of the lakes. Big ‘gills and crappies coming from Darling, Victoria, and Osakis, The depths vary from 10-22 feet using plain hooks with a crappie minnow or tiny glow jigs and a wax worm. Live bit and plastics have been neck and neck.
St Cloud area lakes have been hot tip-up fishing for Pike ad some bonus walleyes. Look around shallow weeds in the 6-10 foot range using a chartreuse hook and a shiner minnow. Clearwater Lake has been giving up crappies and walleyes in the 13-20 foot range as well. Use a small jigging rap on the old weed line -- both can be caught at dusk or dawn. The Horseshoe Chain has been consistent in the walleye and sunfish department as well. A decent night bite has been occurring. Small sucker minnows are the best choice for the walleyes.
Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
1-12-Panfish and pike are biting on the south end of Chisago in about 12 feet of water. South Lindstrom and North and South Center are great options right now for panfish, pike and walleyes in 10-14 feet of water. Try Green for crappies in 15-20 feet of water. Stop in or call us anytime for a daily report!
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
1-12- Crappies are biting on Fish Lake. Rice Lake is producing pike in shallow water. Try Boulder Lake for some walleyes and pike, also in shallow water. Stop in or call us anytime for daily reports!
- 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)
The trout fishing opener had a less than stellar turnout this year, undoubtedly due the the arctic temperatures which had the thermometers registering around minus thirty degrees here in the North Country. Those folks who did venture out had moderate success, much in part that many anglers stayed in their shacks, rather than moving around in the frigid wind. Burntside Lake fishermen reported that the fish were not as aggressive, with tales of many fish that happened to dislodge the hooks easily, as they were not striking as aggressively as is typical of the species. Travel conditions on the lake were good though, with many areas having an ice road to navigate on. The recent snowfall hasn't had much of an effect for travel as it is mostly light and fluffy. Tofte Lake traffic was minmal with very few fish being taken there.
Walleye success has been hit or miss as of late. Some anglers fishing in water depth from twelve to sixteen feet of water doing the best. I doesn't seem to matter whether you"re fishing with a dead stick or actively jigging, both tactics seem to work equally well.
Crappie action has been slow, but should begin to build momentum as the season wears on. Birch, East Twin, and One pine Lakes are showing the best results at this time.
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
1-9-Ice fishing in the area is in full swing! It was a slow start with the strange ice conditions, but guys are able to get out all over now. We're seeing many more larger houses pop out on a lot of the lakes in the area. It is still important to be very careful out there, but for the most part fishermen are getting out where they want to go.
The walleye bite has been steady over the last week with many walleye lakes in the area putting up a few fish in the evenings. The best bite has been the last couple hours of light, and the fish that are biting are being pretty aggressive chasing baits around. We've talked to groups doing well with Jiggin Raps and jigging spoons. As it gets later into the evening, the fish settle down and the dead sticks have been producing the best with rainbows and shiners. 18'-20' seems to be the sweet spot on most lakes. We've heard reports coming out of Leech, Birch, Woman, Pine Mountain, Baby and Little Boy.
Panfish have been pretty stead as well. Great reports out of the big bays up on Leech, Birch, Portage, and a bunch of smaller lakes in the area. Get out early for the bluegill with some waxies or maggies and target them up on the tall weed flats. 14'-18' has been a good range to start with though we have heard some fish coming in shallower water on some lakes. We've had a few reports of crappie suspended out over deep water 25+ and we've heard of crappie coming mixed in with the sunfish up top. As it gets later in the day I would definitely roll the dice on the deeper edges and get away from the shallow flats.
There has also been a few fishermen chasing big Pike on tip-ups doing pretty well. Though it is hard to beat a big shiner on a plain hook, a Heavy Pike or Light Northern sucker minnow are great options also. Get out there in the mid to late morning and get a good spread going with a couple buddies. Focus on areas of shallow water flats (10'-15')with adjacent deeper water.
1-2- Fishing Report, Trail and ICE CONDITIONS
- Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Jason and Robyn Cooper, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
We are making ice and the fishing is good. Now if we could get the temps above zero, life would be even better!
Even though the Kab/Ash ice road has not been opened for vehicle travel, we have been making good ice and most anglers venturing out on atvs and snowmobiles are catching a variety of fish.
With the brutally cold temps this past week the bite has slowed down but is still consistent. Casey with Voyageur Park Lodge and Reef Runner Rentals is seeing the same kind of action. He is consistently moving his houses to keep them on active fish with 25ft-35ft a good place to start. Walleye, sauger and jumbo perch are making up for most of the action. Tullibee seem to be a nuisance in the deeper water but do put up a good fight and are great for the smoker.
Spearing has slowed down with the colder weather and reports are limited.
Fishing is just a fraction of what you can experience when visiting Kabetogama and Voyageurs National Park this time of year. Deer, otter, wolves and many other species of wildlife are a common sight when visiting the park. Most often it is easier to catch a glimpse of something scurrying across the lake or through the woods due to the white snowy background. Taking a hike, snowshoeing or cross country skiing can be a rewarding and relaxing way to spend your day and to see these animals in a different environment than in the warmer summer months.
Please check with local businesses and the National Park Service for the latest ice and trail conditions. The links below can help plan your trip.
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)
1-15- A nice bite continues with anglers catching all sizes of walleyes and saugers. Most of the action on the south shore is in 24-30' of water. Daytime bite continues thanks to stained waters of LOW. There has been a good morning evening bite in 15-17' as well. Resorts and outfitters keeping ice roads in good shape. One two punch of jigging line and dead stick (hook/jig with live minnow under bobber) effective as is the use of electronics to mark fish. Jigging spoons in gold, glow, glow red and pink uv. Small rippin raps also good. If not fishing in a resort fish house, auger extension could be necessary in spots where ice is layered. Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail.
Rainy River pushing out some nice walleyes with an occasional sturgeon through the ice. Fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay. Morning, evening bite most effective.
The NW Angle also has good ice conditions where resorts have ice roads / trails and fishing has remained great. Ice road goes to Flag and Oak Island from Young's Bay. Good walleyes in 22-28' with saugers and perch in water deeper than 26'. Combo of jigging spoons and dead sticks with a jig and minnow effective. Resorts are guiding anglers to slab crappies on the Ontario side of lake. Preserve the resource, catch your crappies, move on to walleyes or another species as mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper. Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed. A complete list of lodging, ice fishing packages and sleeper houses are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Sportsman's Lodges - www.sportsmanslodges.com (1-800-862-8602)
|1-11- Reeling in some nice fish
Fishing has been a pretty good week. Some days are better than others of course but overall pretty good. We have noticed a larger percent of walleyes compared to saugers for this time of year in a mix of sizes. Best depth hasn’t changed much lately, 16’-29’. Hot tackle has been good old gold and pink jigs but also plain hook and a bobber as well as glow in the dark jigs, buckshots, rattling charmers, gem-n-eyes and forage minnows tipped with a chub minnow. Guide Tip: If you are not finding success, change it up! Change up your approach; try different tackle and electronics help. A mix of jigging and dead sticking is the best approach to start out a day. Curious what dead sticking is? Click here to read more.
What a day for Christi, one of the Sportsman's Staff! Caught this Sturgeon today! (1/10) Fishing with my dad. We had our limit of walleye by 9:15am before hooking into this bad boy. 58 incher on a plain red hook with a fat head. All before coming to work today! Whoo Hoooo!!
Currently we have 24-30 inches of ice in the areas we travel and fish and more in some areas where the ice built up during the freeze. Our ice fishing trips all include transportation to and from the fish house; we do not maintain a plowed road. If you venture out on your own, Adrian’s Resort and Morris Point Resort have public ice roads near us. Check with them for the latest conditions. Be sure to stay on marked roads and trails. The lake froze pretty rough this year and the entire lake never freezes equally so as always use caution and check local conditions before going out.
Snowmobile Trail Conditions
The trails are marked and grooming is in full swing. We received a few inches of snow last night. Windy day today but it sounds like it is going to start settling down later in the day. The lake froze pretty rough this year so we strongly encourage riders to stay on the trails, go slow and use caution. Lots of ice chunks sticking up off the trails. For more information about the trails click here or contact: Lake of the Woods Drifters and the Northwest Angle Edge Riders.
Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge, NW Angle/Oak Island, MN
www.oakislandlodge.com - 800-772-8411
Here Fishy Fishy…..
Decent bite this week, morning and late afternoon bite continues to be the strongest. We are seeing mainly walleyes coming through the holes along with some sauger and the occasional perch and pike. Jigging and dead sticking with gold and/or pink jigs, plain hook or macho minnow #29 has been working well in 20’-26’ of water. Electronics help too! Rentals available, call to reserve ahead of time.
Currently we have 20-24 inches of ice in the areas we fish and travel. If you venture out on your own, be sure to stay on marked trails and roads. The ice is rough this year! Lots of ice chunks sticking up.
The ice road from Young’s Bay to the resort is plowed and it good shape! Come on out!
Snowmobile Trail Conditions
The trails are marked and grooming is in full swing. We received a few inches of snow last night. Windy day today but it sounds like it is going to start settling down later in the day. The south shore has several spots of bare ice and anywhere from 0”-10” of snow on the ice, more snow in our area of the lake. The lake froze pretty rough this year so we strongly encourage riders to stay on the trails, go slow and use caution. Lots of ice chunks sticking up off the trails. For more information about the trails click here or contact: Lake of the Woods Drifters and the Northwest Angle Edge Riders.
We ice fish until late March!
Make your reservations today 800-772-8411 www.oakislandlodge.com
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
Leech Lake is iced and ready for you to come have a great time! Jigging spoons with minnow heads are the ticket. Green and Glow pink/red have been really good! Pike action is great with tip ups and spearing! I have not seen or heard of any hot panfish yet! Always ask at the bait shop for current hot tips! As of today we have very little snow so you can chase them anywhere you wish! Come enjoy it with us!!!
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - (320-630-1761)
1-11- Anglers are moving out to the mud with houses now. Great walleye and perch bite going on Mille Lacs! Roads are good, but make sure to check with Chris or a local resort or a bait shop beforehand incase there are cracks. Area lakes such as Platte, Sullivan, Knife, Shakopee and Anne have a great panfish bite going. Platte and Sullivan are kicking out some nice pike! Chris is now booking ice fishing trips as his houses are ready to go to the hot spots! Please call Chris for ice conditions and up-to-the-minute fishing reports. Listen to Chris and Stan live for a weekly fishing report from 5-6 pm Saturdays on Outdoor Adventures on www.twincitiesnewstalk.com (iheart Radio)! Or listen to the podcast!
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
1-12-Minnetonka walleyes biting on minnows in 20-25 feet at night. Independence is also producing walleyes, try shiners during mornings and evenings. Northern pike are starting to bite on most area lakes. Try a tip-up and a sucker minnow on the weedline for the best results. Crappies and sunnies are going on Medicine, Sarah and also on Minnetonka. Give us a call for daily updates!
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
1-3-St. Croix River ice anglers are now driving vehicles on the river as of New Years Day ( fyi - anglers drive on the river every year that they feel the ice is thick enough - I'm certainly not the first person to do that!!). The St. Croix sees most anglers fishing for crappies in the Bayport area. Here it is a deepwater basin bite. Fish can suspended easily 20 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. As mentioned many of these fish are suspended up off the bottom and can be hard to decipher at times from the abundant shad baitfish. Don’t forget about fishing the bottom often though the best bite is just off of the bottom, especially for saugers.
NOTE- there are multiple areas of openwater on the St. Croix - only fish where you know.
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
1-4- Walleyes have been swimming mostly shallow between 12-18 feet in and around the most abundance of weeds around. Tie on a Rapala "Ultra Lite Rippin Rap". Or tie on a plain red hook to a dead stick and pair it with a shiner or rainbow!
Northern are on the hunt for a big easy meal! Search for 8-14 foot and structure like weeds, timber and steep drops. Tie on a clam "Bigtooth" rig paired with a big sucker minnow or shiner!
Crappie/sunfish- look for 10-20 feet to find the majority of the schools of fish! Tip a Northland "Flutter Spoon" with a waxy or minnow head for the aggressive bite, if not tie on a Smokey Hills "Panfish pounder" paired with a 13 fishing plastic or wax worm!
Good luck fishermen and women!
- Steve's Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
Steve's Bait offers everything you need to be successful on Lake Traverse!! From the hot jig or plug, to the Best LIVE BAIT to be had within 75 miles!!! Pop, water and snacks will also be available! Lodging is also available at our Fishin' Hole Lodge, along with ice fishin packages. Good luck on the water!! Take a Kid Fishin! You can also check us out on Facebook!
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
1-2- We opened up our lake access for vehicle traffic on Dec 28. We are finding a lot of very good ice in the 11.5 to 13 inch range on areas like Cemetery Reef, Waconia Bay, Parts of Center Reef (where there aren’t marked spots), Pillsbury Reef and Wagener’s Bay. We are NOT driving all over the lake, as we have not checked ice everywhere and still have areas of concern that we have found marked with thin ice signs or lath board with flagging tape. If you are looking for ice thicknesses on areas we have not mentioned, we likely will not be doing any checks to locations like the north shore, Keg’s, Red’s, North and Anderson’s Reefs. We understand many people will be excited to spread out with wheel houses to locations away from the crowds, but please check ahead of yourself. If you would like to use our access it is $1 to walk out, $2 to drive with any vehicle or $25 for a season pass. As always, when driving out from our access, it is drive at your own risk.
We are now RENTING FISH HOUSES! We have all 5 houses on the lake and will be in full swing this weekend. We have them set up on locations best for sunfish, crappies and northern pike, with the occasional chance at a walleye. The fish houses are about a mile out, so they are beyond walking distance. We look forward to accommodating you on the ice, but please realize you will either need to drive to the fish houses with a vehicle, 4-wheeler or snowmobile. Currently the ice on the way to and around the rentals is averaging 12 to 12.5 inches. Please call (952) 442-2096 to reserve!
We look forward to seeing you on the lake!
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, firstname.lastname@example.org, (218-327-2312)
The colder temperatures of late have provided anglers on Big Winnie with better ice conditions. Fisherman have been getting to off shore structures with snowmobiles, side by sides, and wheelers. There still needs to be caution when venturing out on ice. Walleyes have been taken on off=shore structures even during the day light hours. Most often early and late in the day seem to be best times. There also have been some nice perch mixed in with the walleyes which is a sort of a bonus. The humps and breaks on the north end seem to be the best areas of Big Winnie to try. Jigging Raps, Rippin Raps, Tingler Spoons, and dead sticks with a shiner minnow. The Third River area has also been good for northern pike spearing and locations near and around Bowen’s Flats, Raven’s Point, Sugar Bay, and the mouth of the Mississippi River. Crappie fishing has been decent in Big and Little Cutfoot and there are also bluegills available in the mix. Happy New Year to all. Let’s make 2018 a joyous and memorable year.