Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!
Fish Tales Archive
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- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
3-9- Rush and Fish lakes are your best bets for sunfish in about 10-12 feet of water. West Battle and Rush lakes are kicking out some crappies in 18-20 feet of water. Clitheral is a great option this time of year for some tullibie action. Stop in or call for updates!
- Veire's Mini-Mart - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
3-9- Perch are biting on Blackduck, Round and Island lakes. Sunnies and crappies are hitting on Gull Lake in 18-20 feet of water. Stop in for updated reports and bait!
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Walleye and perch fishing success has begun to slow down a bit as we hit the mid-winter point of our ice fishing season. Angling pressure, noise and colder than normal weather have been the main reasons for the decrease in fishing success. Anglers who have done the best have moved back to shallow water, targeting bottom transition areas of weeds/sand or sand/mud. 12 feet of water or less seem to be best, and evening and overnight hours have been the best bite times. Rainbow minnows on set lines seem to be the best tactic as of late.
Ice conditions are pretty solid on the main lake with 14-24 inches being found all over the lake. Walker Bay is coming along nicely with 14-20 inches in most areas except where there is current. As always, please use caution when venturing to unknown areas, but most of the lake and bay is good for vehicle traffic.
The beauty of this area is that a tougher bite on Leech provides anglers to seek and select other area smaller lakes in search of panfish or northern pike. Anglers in the area have found the panfishing this year to be very good on many other smaller lakes. Areas to concentrate on for these lakes are the deeper basins or along breaklines with vegetation close by. Smaller tungsten jigs and jigging spoons tipped with a plastic or waxworm is a safe bet any time during the winter for these fish. If venturing out on smaller lakes, please continue to check the ice as you go, as ice depths vary here.
- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)
Crappies are starting to head to deeper water, after they have spent a longer than normal vacation in the shallow weeds. I am still catching crappies in 6-10 feet of water (some never leave) but the easy fish for most people to catch are starting to filter out into the “deep holes” on most lakes if they are not there already. Northern pike remain active in the shallows (7-2 feet) probably due to good oxygen still found in the half alive weed beds. That’s the benefit of clear ice and no snow! Walleyes are doing the usual. They are everywhere. Deep, shallow, and in between. Scout for “eyes” with small jigging spoons tipped with a small minnow head. Odds are if fishing muddy areas a perch or two may jump into the bucket. Fish deeper during the day, shallower at night. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
3-9- North and South Lindrstom are producing some sunfish and some crappie action. For crappies, try Chisago's south end or Little Green. Stop in or call us for updates!
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
3-9- Crappies are biting on Fish Lake. Lake Superior shore anglers are catching kamloops in the French River area. Give us a call for more details!
- 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- While the walleye fishing continues to dissappoint, the trout fishing picks up the slack. Most anglers in the area have turned their attention to trout fishing as a good alternative recently and many have had some good success. Lakes such as Burntside and Snowbank have been turning out a few nice lakers up around seven pounds, with many more in the three to five pound range. Active jigging seems to be the most productive method, with baits such as soft tubes, Jigging Raps, Slender Spoons, and Airplane Jigs leading the way in preferred lures. Anglers are also picking up fish right on or near the bottom with smelt or live suckers fished either under a tip-up or hanging on a "dead" stick.
Stream trout fishermen are scoring some impressive numbers of rainbow trout on Miners, Tofte, and Dry Lakes with most of the action within viewing distance of the hole. It is great fun to actually see the trout come in and approach your bait, and to see how they react to your offering. Most fish are responding to either small jigs tipped with wax worms, or to salted minnows fished from ten to fifteen feet below the surface. The viewing is as much of a pleasure in these clear waters as is the actual hook-up of a fish.
Crappies are beginning to show up for many anglers who are now turning their focus to them as the season progresses. East Twin, One Pine Fall Lake and Birch have been the most popular of late. This action should continue to gain momentum as the season wears on, as the fish begin to bunch up, and the weather improves bringing out more folks on the ice. Small minnows fished near the bottom are the bait of choice right now but as the fish become more aggressive, small micro soft baits will begin to turn more fish into biters rather than lookers.
- 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!
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
3-5-We melted a bunch of snow over the weekend, but we just got a 3-5" of light snow overnight! Temps are supposed to stay fairly mild so we should see the snow settle right down pretty fast. Getting around on the lakes has been mostly okay, but there are some tough spots where older drifts got covered. Take your time and be careful and you should be able to get around with 4WD.
Fishing was pretty good over the weekend. We're hearing a bunch more perch reports, and some shallower bites in some of the bays on Leech. We had heard some as shallow as 10', but for the most part 10-15' seems to be the sweet spot. They've been liking the minnows over the waxies too, but the waxies are always worth having in case they're touchy.
Panfish have been slower to heat up, but they are catching some crappies on the small lakes in the area. It seems like on the bigger water the crappie are not moving into the shallows much yet, but we should see that start to happen as the snow disappears on the ice. For now focus in 15-20' on the panfish with a few lakes producing gills up on the shallow weed flats.
We're expecting it to be a great tullibee year this year once the snow melts some more and getting around is easier. We've heard reports off and on all year which is a good indication that it could be a great late ice bite. Get out over that deep water and watch for them in the early morning and afternoon halfway down. They're usually extremely aggressive, and if they aren't biting, make them chase the bait. In many cases a tullibee will chase a jig 15-20' in the water column up and down. It's hard to beat a hot tullibee bite when the sun is shining! A small jigging spoon with a waxie is the ticket, and a small tungsten jig would work well also, especially if they're a little more finicky and shying away from the little jigging spoons.
- 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)
2-20 - SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW!!!!
So our forecasted 3-7 inches turned into about a foot of snow in the last 24 hours and its still coming down! Needless to say the trails are being groomed and are in premier shape. If you can get up here, the next couple weeks should be awesome riding around the entire area. Always check with the Park Service and local snowmobile clubs for the latest conditions.
On to fishing……the walleye bite has slowed some but with the warmer weather coming through the weekend we should rap up the walleye and pike season with a bang. Right now, 30-34 ft over mud seems to be producing the best. Casey form Reef Runner Rentals and Voyageur park lodge is starting to move his houses onto the mud in preparation for what should be a fantastic late season perch bite. We have some monster jumbo perch on Kab and the fishing can be fast and furious! And don’t forget about our great crappie fishing. Rumor has it they are biting but you need to explore a little to find them. Generally the area around Ash River is a great place to start.
Snowmobiling and fishing aren’t the only activities to take advantage of in Voyageurs National Park right now. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, the park service sledding hill and skating rink are just a few things to keep you busy in our winter wonderland. We also have winter camping for the brave ones!
It is absolutely beautiful out there right now. Load up the bus and come visit us in Gods country! Gateway General continues to offer the most up to date reports as well as carrying all your ice fishing and Snowmobiling needs.
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)
3-6- Fish activity increasing as we roll into March. The fish have always been there but temperamental. Stable weather helpful. As always, some houses doing better than others and some days better than others. Electronics continue to be very helpful. Most resorts are out in 24-33' and making a push shallower. Smaller presentations working well tipped with a shiner or chub head. Pike fishing continues to heat up. Auger extension needed if fishing on your own with 4+ feet of ice in most areas. Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail. Ice houses allowed to be left on lake LOW through March 31st, walleyes open through April 14, pike open all year.
Rainy River pushing out some bigger walleyes in the morning/evening with an occasional sturgeon. Morning, evening bite most effective. Lots of ice but spring river walleye anglers looking for that to change by end of month.
The NW Angle continues to bring nice fish topside. Walleyes, saugers and pike strong bite with some perch in the mix relating to sand bars. Day bite in 18-26 feet and the 16-22 foot range for the evening bite In Ontario waters, crappies in holes of 28-34' off of points. Remember releasing crappies in deeper water causes mortality. Catch your fish and move on. Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed. A complete list of lodging, ice fishing packages and sleeper houses are available through March at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Sportsman's Lodges, Lake of the Woods, Rainy River - www.sportsmanslodges.com (1-800-862-8602)
3-9- The Bite
Sporadic fishing this week. Some doing better than others. A mix of sizes including a few lunkers! Walleyes, saugers, few perch and pike coming up the holes. Best bite has been using electronics and mix of jigging and dead sticking using pink glow, green/glow and gold jigs and small spoons tipped with a chub minnow in 19'-26' of water. Hugging bottom or reeling up just a few inches and jigging have been a successful approach. As we move closer to spring, the warming weather should only heat up the bite!
Walleye season is open until April 14 on Lake of the Woods and we have ice fishing trips available until March 31. Come see us! Lodging and fishing packages starting at only $215 per person.
25% off all Lodging March 25-31
No changes in the ice conditions this week, we have lots of ice. We have 40-50 inches of ice in the areas we fish and travel on the groomed trails at this time. Forecast says the freezing will continue. If you are looking to venture out on your own, there are a number of plowed roads in the area. Be sure to stay on marked trails and roads and check with local resorts before going out.
21st Annual Mardi Gras Party is March 24
Visit us for great fishing and a whole lot of fun! Entertainment, beads, free hurricanes, food and drink specials, lip sync and costume contest win $100 CASH and much more. Click here to check out all of the fun we have planned and book your stay and play package today!
Give us a call 800-862-8602 or click here to book.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge, NW Angle/Oak Island, MN - www.oakislandlodge.com (800-772-8411)
3-9-Better bite this week
Depths in 22'-28' around structure using gold and pink jigs, Glo Shot spoons, Buckshots, Charmers and flashy small spoons tipped with a minnow have been working to catch the attention of the hungry walleyes and saugers this week. Some guests have reeled in a limit by noon. Mix of vertical jigging and dead sticking. Lots of good ice on the lake and according to the forecast we will have plenty for a while. We will be open through March 18 here and Sportsman's Lodge Rainy River will have ice fishing trips available through March 31. So if you are looking to make one more trip, give us a call! March is a fun time to be out!
We have 40+ inches of ice in the areas we fish and travel.
Ice Road from Young’s Bay to Oak Island
The ice road is in good shape. Follow the signs and take a ride. It is about 10 miles out. The gravel road to the Northwest Angle has been a little sloppy. Use caution.
Time to book your spring and summer trip.
It is never too early to start planning your spring trip! Come visit the islands this spring and get into some hot soft water action. Spring lodging specials available May 11-25! Contact us today.
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)
Leech Lake is going strong for ice fishing! Jigging spoons with minnow heads seem to be the ticket. They are spread all over right now so if you want to fish Walker Bay breaklines or humps, please use caution as pulling them up too fast will blow their air sacks. The narrows are fun for a mixed bag of walleye and perch. Main lake has been great. The only issues I have heard is that the main lake fish are too big (slot fish). Pike fishing has picked up now that we are out of the deep freeze! I have not heard much on panfish but check the bait stores and head into the shallow bays such as Steamboat, Shingobe, Boy. Never too early to think about getting the group together for opener! We would love to see you up here on Leech lake in 2018!
- 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 walleyes are being caught on the edge of the breaks, jigging in the mud on jigging spoons with minnow heads and waxies. Tullibies are being caught in the mud in deeper water. Terry's has roads to the flats. Dickie's has roads out to the perch bite. Some 2-pound perch were caught during the Perch Extravaganza. Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee, Knife and Anne have a great panfish bite going. Move around to find the panfish. Anglers report great open water bass fishing action on the river by Monticello. Chris has guide trip openings for walleyes and tullibies. Please call Chris anytime for 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)
3-9- Minnetonka sunnies and crappies are biting in 15-20 feet of water in the bays. Try Carson's or the North Arm for best results. On Independence, crappies are biting with some walleye and pike mixed in. Call us anytime for a report!
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
Pool 4. In southeastern Minnesota and the southern suburbs some anglers start to fish the Mississippi River open water bite in February. March will see even more anglers floating there boat on the river. If the weather is nice February is a good month to catch walleye. The saugers become more of the catch in March. The capitol of the Mississippi River bite is Red Wing, MN and if the capitol has an official state house it would be Evert’s Resort. (www.evertsfishingresort.com), they keep the launches open all year, and the bait shop is stocked with hard to find gear.
In Red Wing Pool 4 before the spring melt the water is clear and the river fishes like a lake then, where low light and clouds are better. Vertical jigging in 17 to 27 feet in the day works well, and shallower in the mornings and dusks. ¼ to 3/8 ounce jigs will work tipped with fathead minnows, ringworms, paddle tails, and fluke style plastics. Neutral colors are also preferred.
Trolling Rapala original minnows on three way rigs will also catch some, and dragging jigs shallow in 12 to 17 feet of water.
St. Croix River. The Bayport area of the St. Croix has had very good reports this winter season of crappies. Many are “slab” sized. There have also been many anglers in this area. The river has several areas of fish towns where fish have been caught. Because it is a deep water basin fishery you can find them in other areas as well. The average depth here is 34 to 37 feet of water so be prepared for that. Bobbers holding fatheads work well, and many have done well this season actively jigging small minnows, minnow heads, and even wax worms. There is open water near the Power Plant, Malileau dam, Swing bridge, and ice strength varies.
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
Park Rapids, Minnesota (218-237-5099)
Walleye- starting to hear some shallower depths up to about 15"-22" looking for a smaller shiner or fathead swimming on a plain red or pink hook.
Northern- looking for weeds in 8'-16'. Rig up a 3'-5', 30-50 lb fluorocarbon leader and 2/0 circle hook with big sucker or shiner to entice and trick that monster northern!
Sunfish/Crappie - Spread out from lake to lake in 18'-30'. Looking for a small tungsten jig tipped with a Northland "impulse plastic" or waxie/crappie minnow for best luck!
- Wheaton Service & Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)
Lake Traverse, on the MN/SD border, is on fire! The walleye bite has been great, as well as the other species of fish we catch on our quest for walleye:) Water temps are relatively cool for this time of the year. Wheaton Service bait shop is relocating to Hwy 75 in Wheaton. Way better location, You will be able to drive right into our new lot pulling a boat, no hassles like our old location. Like always, Wheaton Service will have the "Best Bait in Town" and we always have up to date info on the bite that is going on on Lake Traverse. Our website will remain the same until our new shop is up and running. Wheaton Service will once again be building lite weight fish houses this fall. Our houses brand is Fishin' Hole Lodges. Lite weight skid houses, all aluminum, We use the same 3m tape that Yetti uses on their houses, less screws, makes for a great finished look! Available in most any color. The average 6x8 is $3,795.00 and weights about 360 lbs.Check us out at wheatonservice.com... 320 563-1400 Ask for Steve! Take a Kid Fishin!
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
2-23-All of the lake roads we have plowed all season have been opened back up by Ben today after last night’s snowfall. Conditions off-road have gotten more difficult with drifts scattered all over. Those with 4-wheel drive trucks can still get around off-road, but if we continue to get measurable snow this weekend, removing fish houses will get exponentially more difficult. We will continue to plow to the same areas we have all winter while we remain open for the season, but will not be plowing to new areas. We close for the Winter Season after Sunday, March 4th.
As for the fishing, we continue to get good sunfish reports during the daytime. Wax worms and larva have been doing the trick in 11 to 15 feet of water in areas like Waconia Bay, Center Reef and Wagener’s Bay/Pillsbury. Crappies continue to bite shallower than normal for this time of year. Using crappie minnows and fishing in the same areas as the sunfish, but in the evening after 6 pm has worked for many. Gamefish season closes after this weekend, so get after those walleye and northern pike while you can. There continues to be a large-minnow shortage, so for those going after the big fish will have to use fathead minnows unless you possess stock of shiners or suckers from earlier in the season.
This is weekend (the 24th/25th) is our final weekend renting fish houses for the season. We want to thank those who used our rental service this year! Lots of nice sunfish, crappies and northern pike were caught by many groups and families. We will be pulling our houses off the lake early in the week.
We’ll see you on the lake!
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, email@example.com, (218-327-2312)
The ice conditions have been good on Big Winnie and resorts have roads plowed to several good locations. With not a lot of snow, moving around has been good. There should also be caution when traveling on the lake for there are a few ice ridges to maneuver. Walleyes have been showing themselves early and late in the day on the mid lake humps and bars in 20-25 feet. Bonus perch have been in the mix as well. The crappie and bluegill fishing has been decent on Little Cutfoot and there have been scattered reports of northern pike spearing success north in the bay of Third River and at the mouth of Sugar Lake. Get out and enjoy the winter fishing opportunities that Big Winnie has to offer.