Msg 1 Posted: 06:15 AM 04/12/06 (CST)
Ice fishing is no longer an option and open water has become quite noticeable throughout the area. Look to the channels and northern bays on lakes such as Clearwater, Sugar, Sylvia and Cedar to start producing crappies very soon in shallow water. Look for areas that offer some moving water.
As of Tuesday morning, ice fishing was still an option on some lakes although few anglers continue to do so. The shorelines are starting to open and with some rain and warm temperatures, open water fishing may be an option within the next week.
You could still find a lake with ice in good enough shape to fish through earlier this week. But with any rain, wind or sunshine throughout the week the ice fishing season will end and open water options will soon will follow.
ATVs were being used on most lakes earlier this week and panfish action remained consistent on Pimushe Lake, Blackduck Lake, Rabideau Lake and Gilstead Lake. That could change by the weekend as many shorelines have started pulling away. Ice conditions are reported as "day-to-day" so call before venturing north.
Most anglers now are thinking about open water, which has made an appearance on many lakes. Look to the harbors, docks and bays on most small lakes to start producing crappies within the next week if the sun stays out.
CASS LAKE AREA
Walking or ATVs are now the best option for travel. The east and west sides of Cass Lake are producing perch in four to six feet of water. The shallow, sand and grass flats of Pike Bay Lake are kicking out perch as well. Most anglers are sight-fishing to prevent small fish from biting. Grace Lake remains the area's best bet for bluegills along the 12-foot weed edges.
This area is "between seasons" as most shorelines have opened. Main lake ice remains, but it's floating and black so it's expected to go out very soon. Look for crappies to be moving into their spring locations within the next week.
While a few people continued to walk on area lakes this week, ice conditions were quickly deteriorating. If this area receives any measurable rain or a few days of warm weather lakes will no longer be accessible by this weekend.
Heavy rains last week ended the ice fishing season. Travel of any kind is no longer advised on area lakes. Complete ice-out could take place by next week, which is about one week earlier than most years.
A few small crappies continue to be caught on Comstock Lake, but the ice fishing season is coming to an end. Most shorelines have started opening and most anglers are waiting for open water. Shore fishermen on Lake Superior are catching quite a few Kamloops on nightcrawlers.
Open water fishing soon will be an option as ice deteriorates quickly. Last weekend's rain and wind quashed any thoughts of ice fishing this area. With a few more days of warm weather or any additional rain, most lakes should be wide open.
The ice is completely gone in this area, although open water action has yet to develop for panfish. There are some walleyes and perch being caught from shore across the border in Iowa on Tuttle Lake.
There's still some ice, but not enough to walk on. The shorelines have pulled away and ice-out is expected by next week. Work the northern bays and shorelines for crappies when the ice goes out.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Ice fishing remains an option - probably through this weekend. The south end of Bowstring Lake is kicking out perch and crappies in 20 to 24 feet of water. Poole's Bay and Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama are producing sunfish and crappies in 10 to 12 feet of water. Bluegills and crappies also remain active on Bass Lake in 10 to 14 feet of water.
Planks are being used to access most lakes. Ten Mile Lake started producing sunfish and crappies are biting at Birch Lake. Call before heading up this weekend, because ice conditions have been getting poorer by the day.
Most lakes aren't accessible and the majority of anglers are waiting for open water, which should be an option by this weekend. This week's warm weather and rain is expected to eliminate the ice that remains.
The snow is gone and shorelines have begun to open due to heavy rains last weekend. While ice fishing remained an option as of Tuesday morning, caution is advised. Additional rain or warm weather should turn most anglers thoughts to open water.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Most shorelines now have pulled away from land and there's open water evident in several bays. Look for open water anglers to start looking for perch and crappies in their traditional spring spots soon.
The shorelines and channels have busted open and a few crappies have been pulled from open water. Look to the north side of Wayzata Bay, the Grays Bay bridge and Black Lake to be the first locations to provide open water crappie action.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Most of the Rainy River is open shore-to-shore and accesses have been plowed making way for big boats. However, the river did get muddy late last week, bringing a screeching halt to what had been a very good walleye bite. Sturgeon anglers continue to do well despite the dirty water conditions. Many resorts now have closed their access roads due to poor shoreline conditions. Where access is still an option, ATVs are recommended.
A few anglers were "sneaking" on the ice earlier this week. It was not advised due to open shorelines and poor ice conditions on the main lake. Fishing open water should be an option within the next week to 10 days.
Most resorts now have shut down their access roads for the season. The shorelines are showing signs of a spring thaw, but main lake ice remains favorable for fishing if you can get on it. This could change quickly so caution is advised.
LEECH LAKE AREA
Anglers continue to pull perch through the ice near Sand Point and Pine Point in less than 10 feet of water. Shingobee Bay is kicking out bluegills in 12 feet of water. Ice conditions were decent earlier this week, but that could change by this weekend with additional rain or warm temperatures.
Ice continues to float on some lakes, while others are completely open. This area is expected to be ice-free by the weekend so look for crappies to move shallow and begin to be caught by shoreline anglers soon.
As of Tuesday morning, ice fishing was still an option. Tullibees were hitting grass shrimp on Big Sandy Lake over 30 feet of water. Crappie action remained strong on Lake Minnewawa in 12 feet of water. The shorelines have started to pull away so walking may be the only option by this weekend.
Ice fishing is no longer an option and a few anglers have begun checking the traditional spring crappie spots with no success. The Mississippi River is producing numbers of catfish on nightcrawlers and large minnows.
Open water has started to be more noticeable than ice. The shorelines on Big Stone Lake have busted open and the ice that remains is not in good shape. A few more days of warm weather or one more heavy rain should open most area lakes.
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Anglers continue to walk out on several lakes and they might get one more weekend of ice fishing - depending on this week's weather. Look to Straight Lake and Fish Hook Lake in 12 feet of water for bluegills. Big Mantrap Lake and the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes are the area's best options for crappies in 20 feet of water.
Ice anglers continue to pull walleyes from Sand Bay in 26 to 32 feet of water. There's also some evening walleye activity in 26 feet of water in the Rainy Lake City area and American Narrows. The best open water walleye report is coming above the Little Fork River on the Rainy River.
Ice conditions were favorable for fishing on Upper Red Lake as of Tuesday morning. The best crappie bite was taking place during lowlight periods of the day about one mile out from Mort's Landing on the south shore. Make a phone call before heading up because additional rain or warm weather could put a quick end to the ice fishing season here.
RED WING AREA
Sauger action remains strong from the High Bridge to the dam on the Mississippi River. Most of the saugers are coming from 18 to 30 feet of water, while walleyes are shallower and shoreline related. Three-way rigs and Rapalas have started producing fish, but hair jigs or plastic jigs tipped with minnows continue to work as well.
ST. CLOUD AREA
The ice fishing season has ended. Open water developed quickly on many lakes, while on others, ice continues to float and break up more each day. A few anglers have begun fishing from shore with no success for panfish as of this writing.
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Most lakes are "about half open" and the ice that remains is going fast. Shoreline anglers have begun fishing their spring crappie locations and have yet to find any fish. With a few days of sunshine, the local crappie bite should improve.
There's still floating ice on the main sections of most lakes. Many of the bays and harbors have opened and they should start holding panfish with a few days of warm weather. The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska, (one of the first spots to produce panfish each spring) opened last weekend, so look for it to be the first spot to produce a few crappies.
The St. Croix River is wide open and producing a few crappies. Most of the fish are being found near docks or along shorelines. There isn't much ice left on area lakes, either. The entire area is expected to be ice-free by this weekend.
TWIN CITIES METRO
NORTHEAST - the ice that remains is melting quickly. Most anglers now have started working the traditional spring, open water crappie locations, but with limited success. A few crappies have been caught with minnows by anglers fishing from shore on the Vermillion River.
WEST METRO - The ice fishing season ended late last week. The shorelines and bays have opened and some lakes are expected to be wide open by this weekend. Once that happens, crappies should start being caught in their usual spring haunts.
There's still ice on area lakes, but not enough to get on. Some of the bays and channels have opened, paving the way for crappie anglers to start fishing from shore. Those that are checking these areas have yet to find crappies.