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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)

Walleyes are biting in 10-15 feet on Ottertail. Try West Battle Lake in 30 feet for walleyes. Sunfish are in 12-15 feet on East and West Battle lakes. Crappies have been biting on Rush, Fish, Stalker, and Blanche. Try West Battle, Otter Tail or Stalker for some northern pike. Anglers report using sucker minnows on a tip-up.

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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)

Gull and Pimushe are producing panfish in 15-20 feet during the evening hours. Try Blackduck, Round and Island for walleyes are perch in 10-15 feet of water.

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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)

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.

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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)

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)

WOW-quite the weather, 58 degrees, 53 degrees and high 40’s in February, weather records were shattered here near the Canadian border. Fortunately for us winter enthusiasts we still have 12” of snow base and a safe ice road as of the close of today. Land snowmobile trails are showing wear, with some bare spots. The trails on the lake are a soft ice surface, but still very useable. The ice road has a soft surface with some caution spots, most permanent houses have been removed due to conditions, although most of the lake still has 24-26” of good ice. Conditions will change throughout the week, however ice should remain safe for some time as cooler temperatures begin mid-week. Portable houses are a good option for anglers as well as tip-ups. In the past week the most consistent catch was perch, mostly jumbos followed by saugers, enough action to keep anglers happy. A few big pike were taken on tip-ups and sucker minnows and an occasional walleye showed up for anglers. Most folks fishing in 30-35’ using jigs with minnow head, or hook and full minnow. Chubs seem to be best bait choice and some days a shiner minnow fares well. No word on a crappie bite, but Spring lake weather might get the bite going. Call to check our conditions as the inland lake season for big game fish ends at the end of the month. Namakan, a Canadian border lake will remain open well into March. There is still time for a visit, 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)

3-20-Ice continues to be good with 24-27 inches in most areas.  As always, use a resort or outfitter road for safety as they are monitored daily.  Some resorts have pulled houses, some still have houses out.  Some ice roads closed, others still open.  Call ahead.  Bite has been great overall with many keepers among smaller year classes. Fish are very aggressive but electronics are very helpful as some walleyes and saugers are suspended.  Jigging spoon tipped with minnow head or tail and a dead stick with a plain hook or small ice jig and minnow are doing good.  Key depth  20-33 ft.  Best colors glow pink/red. Northern pike are on fire in spawning areas and are very active with fish over 40" caught daily. Some resorts have pulled houses for the year but others are still going strong depending on where on the lake they are stationed. 

Game On!  The Rainy River is open from 4-5 miles west of Birchdale. Birchdale landing is open to all boats. Frontier will be soon.  Some anglers pushing boats over the ice on landings more west. Good reports so far of walleye bite. Daily open water progress on Rainy River at http://lakeofthewoodsmn.com/rainy-river/

Up at the NW Angle, ice conditions decent with 18-24 inches of solid ice in non-current areas but current areas are opening up quickly.  Travel with caution. On the Minnesota side, walleye fishing is good in 20-30 feet. Jumbo perch still turning up in buckets.  In Ontario the crappie bite is hot with all this warm weather.  Remember to shift to another species after you have your limit of crappies as these fish have a high mortality rate over 25' of water. Work through resorts and give them a call before you head up as ice conditions change rapidly this time of year. Fish houses can stay on ice through March, walleyes/saugers through April 14th.  Pike and crappies open all year for LOW MN.  Resorts and ice fishing reservations at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.   Please remember to "Keep It Clean" and remove trash from ice.

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

1-25-Fishing has been good on Leech Lake this winter. Another winter where you can move around and cover the lake with very little effort. Jigging spoons with minnow heads are still the ticket! Good pike action as well as walleyes at dusk and dawn. Perch numbers are here but size has been hard to find! Eelpout Festival is just around the corner! After the walleye season is done then it's time to downsize your bait rigs and go after he panfish. YES, Leech has them and they are huge! Pick a weedy bay and let the hunt begin. Once you find them you will have a great day! Please practice some catch and release on some of them! Before you know it we will be talking opener - it's just around the corner! Come fish Leech Lake with us this summer!

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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!

1-26- 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 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)

2-16-Catching walleye and sauger on Pool Four of the Mississippi River.  Today our best luck was using ringworm soft plastic baits.

Here is Paul Earney with a nice chunk of a walleye that hit a ringworm. Paul said the bite was very light. This fish fought well in the current.
Here is Paul with a nice chunk of a walleye that hit a ringworm. Paul said the bite was very light. This fish fought well in the current.

This time of year it is often necessary to tempt the walleye and sauger with minnows, though the plastic baits work well too.  Hard to generalize but often bigger fish come on plastics.

The wonder of Pool Fouir is the encyclopedia of techniques that catch fish. The venerable old man the jig and minnow vertical caught this eye. Nothing big but an example go the good healthy eaters in the river.
The wonder of Pool Four is the encyclopedia of techniques that catch fish. The venerable old man the jig and minnow presented vertically caught this eye. Nothing big but an example the good healthy eaters in the river.

THUMP!

The other fish hit light... Paul said this one crushed it. The whole jig and plastic worm deep in the mouth.
The other fish hit light… Paul said this one crushed it. The whole jig and plastic worm deep in the mouth. Nice job Paul!

The weather should warm, look for more good fishing soon.  Actually mid 30’s is great when you dress right, the wind well not so fun, but when the fish hit, the weather doesn’t matter.

A 16' walleye a perfect fish. Close up on baits that work.
A 16″ walleye a perfect fish. Close up on baits that work.

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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)

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)

2-14-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)

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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