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)
11-20-Not too much ice fishing going on just yet. A few people are still musky fishing using the big musky decoys in 20 feet of water on West Battle. People are waiting for ice! Very few lakes have walkable ice just yet. We need some cold and windless nights. Keep checking online for updates!
- 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)
11-21-Ice is starting to form and some anglers are walking out. Reports of walleye and perch on Blackduck Lake in about 8 feet of water. We will keep you updated here or call us for a daily report!
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
11-21-Much of Leech Lake is still completely wide open, so the lake is not ready for ice fishing. There are reports of ice starting to work its way out on the South End of the Main Lake, but it is no where near ready to be fishing on safely. Other smallers landlocked lakes are locking up and some have fishable ice in the 3-4" range. These lakes are going to be best for crappies and panfish. Look to the main basins to find these fish roaming or weed flats. It won't be long and some of the bigger lakes will start to lock up, so be patient and get all that ice fishing gear ready to go.
- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Captain Josh Hagemeister (218-732-9919, 320-291-0708)
11-21-The river is the place to be. Walleyes are stacked under the dams thick. Any open water I am finding walleyes at the weedline along with nice bluegills and pike on the shallow weed flats. On that note: All applies if you find safe ice which is starting to appear in the northern part of the state on small bodies of water. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
11-21-Ice is forming on the small, shallow bays and ponds. With some cold weather, anglers should be walking out soon. We will post ice conditions as they come in!
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
11-21-Anglers are reporting that ice is forming on the small lakes and bays, with a few walking out. Be safe and call us or check back for updates as they come in!
- 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)
Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep, as that's where they were catching them. Lately though, they have been getting caught all throughout the water depths. Some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are being caught using crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos should start to produce once again as they had done in the Spring. Crappie anglers are beginning to converge on Birch Lake as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don't have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool as you slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies. Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool them time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out your biggest crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rockpiles to bring some giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
11-14-Much of the small water has frozen over in the last week, and we've actually heard of a few guys going out and drilling some holes though we don't recommend it until ice conditions are more consistent and safe. Most of the bigger water is still open or has poor quality ice on it - with the mild temps this week ice conditions will not improve much. If you choose to try going out onto the ice be extremely careful!! There are also a few guys venturing out in boats where open water is available - the walleye have actually been doing pretty well.
- 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)
11-21- Promising early ice conditions hampered by high winds and inconsistent temperatures.
While some of the smaller lakes in the area have enough ice to walk on, Kabetogama is struggling to make ice. Just when we thought an early winter season was in store, mother nature slaps us in the face with high winds and fluctuating temps. Needless to say, we are a ways out from the main lake having serviceable ice.
On the bright side, small bays famous for its world class spear fishing are seeing some action as ice is thick enough to walk on. Gordon at Sandy Point Lodge is planning to have his spear houses out and ready to go after the Thanksgiving holiday. Sandy Point is the only spear fishing outfitter on the lake and if you haven’t spent time in a spear house, it’s an experience you won’t forget. Don’t forget to stop into Gateway General for all your spear fishing needs! We have spears, decoys and anything else you will need for your unforgettable day in the spear house!
Duck hunting ends on the 21st in the north zone and was poor at best as the season came to an end. Most hunters were limited to large bodies of water after the cold snap we had 2 weeks ago.
Deer hunting also has come to an end with hunters experiencing average success. Weather was the deciding factor early on making hunting tough in the northland but improved as the season progressed.
We are in a transition period and hoping for light winds and cold temps to get the hard water season in gear.
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Gateway General!!!
and as always, we all hope to see you soon…..
Jason and Robyn
Cooper’s Gateway General Store
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)
11-20-The wait for the lake to get entirely locked up with ice continues. Good sections of ice with pockets of open water. This time of year, this is common based on direction of wind. Everyone hoping for calm winds and cod weather. It is coming, only Mother Nature knows when. The Rainy River has a skim of ice across it with only a few open areas left. Back bays are frozen over. Water temperature is 32.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
On an average year, resort fish houses get out on the main lake around Dec 10th and stay on the ice through March 31st. ATV's and collapsible fish houses will get out a bit earlier based on when resorts who maintain ice roads feel it is safe. When resorts open ice roads, stay on marked trails and don't deviate for safety. Walleyes and saugers are staged up nicely along south shore including Pine Island, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point. Early ice fishing is looking to be very good once ice is thick enough.
NW Angle is frozen in most areas with a few areas of open water in neck down areas with current. Expectations are high as big schools of walleyes inhabited the area all the way up to freeze up. Resorts are monitoring ice conditions. The tradition of Lake of the Woods ice fishing in on the horizon. A complete list of lodging, ice fishing packages and sleeper houses are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
11-21-Ice is here to stay, so it's time to start planning ice fishing trip up to Leech Lake! Small rattle spoons with minnow head is the perfect starting point for walleye and perch fishing! Pike fishing is also great at first ice! They like the shallow bays and points when the ice is forming and making lots of noise! Be safe - check at bait stores and check ice regularly! We are not open during the winter months but love fishing out there with you! Never too early to make opener and summer plans! Happy holidays!
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - (320-630-1761)
11-21-Smaller area lakes such as Shakoppe, Platte, Sullivan, Anne and Knife, are starting to form ice. Anglers should be walking out soon enough. Please call Chris for up-to-the-minute fishing reports. Visit with him at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show! Listen to Chris and Stan live 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)
11-21-The smaller bays and channels are forming ice. The cold weather should help. Keep checking back here for updates!
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
St. Croix River fishing in December is mainly for those waiting for the river to freeze to get after the big river crappie.
The Bayport area of St. Croix River ice time crappie fishing is the attraction. The Crappie bite can be very good but as a whole not the most consistent. Normally the morning bite is be the best though, from a half hour after sun up till 8:30, with an ok bite from 3:00 till sun down. Same techniques that catch crappies are crappie minnow and bobber on a light wire hook or small jig. Space out your lines in terms of depth above bottom as these crappies suspend up to 18 feet of the bottom, though four to ten feet above bottom is common. Smaller crappie minnows work better than the larger ones for numbers of caught crappies; minnow heads can be productive on jigs (for anglers actively jigging) instead of a whole minnow when the bite is slow. Crappies always roam the basin; this soft fluffy bottom covers the majority of the Bayport pool, and the majority of the basin is 33 to 36 fow, look for deeper spots in 40 feet of water to produce better (it is no coincidence that these are the places where the largest community shanty towns are). Also the shallower basin (the north part of the pool) in 26 to 30 feet can also be productive. Without a doubt these crappie roam and a mobile angler does better.
Walleye and sauger catches remain inconsistent traditionally, and a few being taken constitutes a good day (15” minimum size for walleye), Jigging Rap’s are a best bet to tangle with river walleyes and saug dogs (glow green tiger, clown, and rainbow trout colors in sizes W3, W5, and W7) either tipped with a minnow head or plain.
White bass are a bonus and very good out of the ice-cold water the top loin is white meat and good eating. Avoid the meat red to eat, too fishy imho.
Trucks will eventually drive on the ice, but it is a river folks! Please be aware that there is open water on the river. Because of currents and historically anglers do not go there, I would not drive within a mile of the train bridge (swing bridge) near Hudson or the Stillwater lift bridge. The NSP plant also has a warm water discharge. The Malileau Dam also flows into the Bayport pool. Learn the river in the day and stay on the beaten path until you are experienced enough to trail blaze. Keep Catchin’ Turk
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
Bass- Most of the fish and size has been up shallow around a lot of standing structure. Mostly looking for very shady areas on these hot, calm, sunny days! Like Lilly pads, docks and cabbage weeds! A surface bait has proven to outshine any other lures. Tie on either a Scum frog “Trophy Series” or Terminator “Walking Frog” for your best chances on catching that 5lb pig!
Walleye- Found out schooling deeper waters between 20’ and 28’. Pulling Crawler harness spinner rigs paired with crawlers or redtails at a slow speed have been out fishing most other baits. And sometimes stripping the rigs of their beads and blades for more of a plain appearance also proving positive as well!.
Crappie/Sunfish- Sunfish have been between 6’-12’ around the tall standing vegetation and structure. Crappies swimming between 15’-20’ suspended or around deeper growing weeds. Either casting/jigging a small Rapala “Ultra Lite rippin rap” or tying on a VMC “Hot Skirt” jig tipped with either a crappie minnow or worm for best luck!
- Steve's Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
The Fishing on Lake Traverse has been HOT!! From walleye to catfish, They are all hungry. The bite will only get better, right up to freeze up!! Our Wheaton Service bait shop will be relocating to Hwy 75 here in Wheaton, and will operate under the name STEVE'S BAIT! As always, Steve's Bait will offer 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)
10-1-Closed for the season. We will see you this winter!
We are currently closed for the season. We hope you had a great summer on Lake Waconia! We will open again for Winter ice fishing and announce those hours at a later date sometime in December. Have a great fall!
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, firstname.lastname@example.org, (218-327-2312)
11-21-The transition from open water this season to ice couldn’t be easier. For the first time in several years we have early ice and some anglers are starting to show up in Third River and several other close to shore areas of Big Winnie. There seems to be 4-5 inches of ice in many places, but venturing out too far may have not quite enough ice just yet. Make sure when going out for the first time wear a life jacket and take a ice spud with you to check the ice where you are traveling. When you get to your spot you intend to fish make sure your return the same way back. It’s a good practice. Big and Little Cutfoot may be good early choices for early ice destinations for panfish. Again be careful where you walk and let someone know where you intend to fish. It’s a great start to the 2017 ice season on Big Winnie so get out and enjoy some early season ice fishing.