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

Fish Tales Archive

© 2017 OutdoorsWeekly.com - Copyright Info

BATTLE LAKE
- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)

Sunfish and crappies are biting on Stalker, Blanche and Walker in 15 feet of water. Tullibee action has picked on Star and Ida lakes. Call us for updated reports!

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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)

Perch and walleyes are being caught Blackduck in 15 feet. Crappies and bluegills are biting in 15-20 feet on Pimushe and Gull. Gilstead is producing crappies in 20-25 feet. Give us a call for current ice conditions.

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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)

The walleye bite remains sporadic on the lake.  When we are able to get some consistent weather patterns the bite seems to pick back up and then the cold fronts can slow it back down.  On the Main Lake, continue to seek out new spots that haven't been touched.  Key in on high percentage areas such as pinch points, inside turns along breaklines, or under water points and edges on main lake reefs.  18-25 ft are good areas to start, but don't be afraid to go deeper depending on the conditions.  Jigging spoons such as flutter type baits or rattle baits are all working tipped with a minnow head, but when the bite has been tougher the dead sticks have been best. 

In Walker Bay, focus on deeper humps in 25-30ft of water.  It seems the steeper edges of these humps are often times better than the gradual sides, but once again key in on high percentage areas on the structure.  The shallow bite near Cedar has been sporadic, but can be really good this time of year if you are able to get set up and be there when the fish move through.  

The perch bite has been improving as well.  Still alot of sorting to be had.  Try looking anywhere between 5-12 ft of water.  That is alot of area on Leech, but look for sand/weed transitions or any greed weeds.  1/8th oz jigging spoons packed full of euro larvae or a minnow is a great search tactic.  Drill alot of holes and keep on moving until you connect.  Look to West Goose Flats, Hardwoods, and the Duck Points as well Agency Bay for possible starting locations.. 

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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)

Sunfish, crappies and pike are hitting on the south end in 10-12 feet and west end in 15 feet on Chisago Lake. North and South Center lakes are producing a few walleyes. Give us a call for current ice conditions.

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DULUTH
- 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.

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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)

3-13-Many folks are taking advantage of the fairly mild weather patterns of late and the exceptionally good ice conditions to extend their hard water season. Ice thickness varies marginally, but most lakes still have twenty to twenty-two inches of good, solid ice. Some thinner ice is still being reported, but it remains mostly where there is some current and flowing water. If you can avoid these areas, you should have no problem manuevering around on nice, smooth ice with very little snow cover. Crappies are beginning to bunch up around deep water structure adjacent to shallow bays in preparation for ice-out and Spring spawn patterns. The most productive lakes are Birch, Fall, and Twin Lakes, although other lakes such as Bass, and Low Lakes are producing their fair share. Dead sticking minnows are working well, but small soft plastics on a jig seem to be working equally well. Sunnies too are snacking on wax worm and jig combos and in some cases, the larger ones are taking small minnow rigs targeting crappies.Lake trout action remains good on Burntside Lake and Snowbank. Most action has been attributed to jigging tube baits on both lakes, and dead sticking smelt or suckers have been working on these lakes as well. Some folks are taking advantage of the ideal lake travel conditions and have been trekking into the border lakes within the Boundary Waters as travel conditions remain excellent. A reminder that trout season ends on the 31st of March outside the Boundary Waters.

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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
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)

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)

4-16-Well folks we can Celebrate and say Good-bye to hard water. The concensus is Kabetogama ice out occurred either Friday April 14th or overnight into Saturday, April 15th. This ice out is a couple weeks earlier than the norm and water levels are slightly above normal for this time period in April which could be a good combination for opener. If weather stays stable and warm weather persists the walleyes should be done spawning this month, and hopefully leave them hungry come the May opener. What depth is going to work for Opener? If the waters warm slightly that could find the smaller fish out a little deeper than usual. If the water warms in the high 50’s, bait fish will be in spawning, attracting pike and walleye into shallow depths. Let’s all have a Happy, Safe and Great Season on Kabetogama, the Lake with the nation’s Most Fantastic Sunrises and Sunsets, according to National Geographic! Gateway General Customer Appreciation and 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Hart’s is April 21st – Hope you Can Join us for Lunch, Door Prizes and the Opportunity for Us to Say Thank You for the Last 20 Years of Loyalty!! You Have All Been Great To Us – It is Hard to Believe that This is a Job and that 20 Years have Passed Us By!! Thanks for Your Friendship – Arrive at Gateway as a Customer and Leave as Our Friend!! See You Soon!!
Crabby Phil & 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)

4-17- The spring walleye season closed with a bang as the water cleared up and the fish had the feed bags on with walleyes and saugers of all sizes boated. Now that walleye season is closed until the MN Fishing Opener May 13th, we turn our attention to sturgeon, pike, and sucker fishing. Many big sturgeon boated this past week. Sturgeon fishing has been excellent.  Use a 3-4 ounce no roll sinker, a 1-1.5 foot leader, and a circle hook loaded (called a sturgeon rig) with frozen shiners and crawlers for best results. Anchor boat up stream of a deeper hole and pitch sturgeon rig into the hole. Heavy equipment is preferred.  

Pike becoming active in bays. Ice just left the lake and most bays and water starting to warm up. Nothing heard yet on suckers running but not far off. 

Up at the NW Angle, the ice is gone (in most areas) and it's open water.  Remember, walleyes open May 13th, pike and crappies open all year for LOW MN and sturgeon fishing through May 15th and then again July 1st.  www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com.     

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

Come fish Leech Lake with us today, tomorrow and forever! We are in the closed season for pike, walleye and bass, so it means panfish and whitefish time! Perch numbers are high right now, the large ones are hard to find. Crappies and sunfish in the shallow bays are fun to chase. I personally have not chased the whitefish out on Stoney Point but there are many that do and do very well! Keep Leech Lake in mind this year! We would like to show you how good this lake is! May is wonderful, June is so much fun! Bass and walleye! Summer is pike, muskie and panfish time, then September-October is when the big ones get caught! We are able to keep 4 walleyes, and sounds like 10 pike this year! Come enjoy it with us!

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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!

Mille Lacs walleye bite has been great on the mud, fish the edges. Reefs also good. Lot of big fish and slot fish. Try jigging spoons. Tullibie starting to bite. Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee, Anne lakes doing great on panfish. Dickies has a special for Vets during the week, ask about it! Roads are good, but check with resort owners or Bill at Lundeen's Bait Store. Dickie's has roads out to 3 mile and east side. Agate Bay has roads, anglers catching perch. Liberty Beach is reopened for food and plowed roads! Osakis north end doing well for panfish and walleye. Listen to Chris and Stan on Outdoors Adventures iHeart radio for fishing reports! Call Chris for a guided ice fishing trip or a report anytime!

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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 are biting in deeper water on Minnnetonka and Independence during the evening hours. Crappies are also biting on Independence. Medicine is producing panfish and northern pike in 15-20 feet.

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

Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minnesota
March is the month where walleye and sauger fishing can be fantastic. Weather conditions can affect the bite though as the cold temperatures of early March can shut down a good bite.
As March progresses toward April the warmer temps are more stable and the bite becomes more dependable.
This is the time to get real good-sized walleye as they weigh heavy this time of year - ten pounders will be caught! Saugers also are receptive, but most anglers concentrate on the walleye.
An angler can catch fish many ways from trolling deep to casting shallow or drifting in between.
Casting depths are from 2 – 10 feet, Drifting is from 12 to 26, and trolling from 16 to 28 these are good general depth ranges.
When the shallow bite is poor the trollers usually do well – they troll Rapala Original Floaters on Wolf River Rigs.
The majority of the fishermen target the dam area and there are other places to fish that hold walleye and sauger. These other locations will also receive fisherman’s attention but far less than the dam area.
Popular baits are plastic worms with the ringworm being the best. These ringworms can be cast or drifted. Usually follow the old standby color guide of- bright colors on sunny days and go neutral/clear/dark on the overcast. Actually many different plastics will work, but the ringworm is a proven bait. Other angler’s choose minnows as bait and do well; they either use jig/minnow or hair jig and minnow.
Looking over my notes from previous years, this year we have much higher water right now than I have found in previous years.
River water levels are at stage 8.2. Practically speaking the river is four to 5 feet higher than normal. Flow is up then of course and water clarity decreased. This decrease in clarity helps the day bite. I always launch at Evert’s resort as they have a great “on the water “ bait shop with lures specific to the river that are very hard to find.

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

With the weekly averages hovering around 50 degrees the ice conditions on some lakes are very unstable so be careful and constantly check ice thicknesses on any lake this time of year. Both Sunfish and Crappies up around 8'-20' of water slowly moving into the shallows looking for the thick weed growth. Tie on a VMC "Tungsten Tubby" tipped either with a crappie minnow or waxy for best luck at filling the bucket!

https://www.facebook.com/SmokeyHills/

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LAKE TRAVERSE
- 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.

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

Looks like it’s portable season again! Lake Waconia’s ice fishing season will take a hit this weekend with the predicted temps in the mid-to-upper 50’s for several days. All In Towne Marina rental fish houses will be taken off the lake by end of day Thursday.  We have taken 3 of our 5 rental houses off already.  For those of you who have permanent houses on the lake at this time, we highly recommend taking them off the lake before the weekend.

As of now, our access is still usable, but we anticipate closing it to car and truck traffic before Saturday, 2/18/17. We hope we can still allow ATV traffic through our access this weekend depending on the condition of the shoreline ice.

We had reported on an active spring in Wagener’s Bay the other day, and have marked another one between the west end of Coney Island and Keg’s Reef.  That makes 3 active springs we are aware of that we have marked, but it is impossible to mark everything.  We are cautioning everyone to pay closer attention when on the ice during this time, as there is the potential for other springs to activate with the warm weather that will not be marked.  If you find one, please do what you can to mark it (tree branches make a good marker to use) and let us know so we can inform others.

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WINNIBIGOSHISH
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.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.

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