Msg 1 Posted: 01:06 PM 04/16/06 (CST)
The ice is out and panfish have begun to show up in the dark-bottomed bays of most lakes. The late afternoon and evening hours have provided steady crappie and sunfish activity in two to four feet of water. Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lobster Lake, Lake Darling and Lake Carlos have been most consistent.|
The shallow bays and channels on Clearwater Lake, Cedar Lake and Sugar Lake are holding panfish. Flu Flus or Stingerz jigs tipped waxworms and minnows have been most productive.
The ice went out on Monday so panfish anglers had yet to find fish as of this writing. Traditionally, West Battle Lake is a safe bet for crappies, Otter Tail Lake for perch, while Star Lake, West Lost Lake and South Turtle Lake should provide numbers of sunfish. Look to the shorelines and bays in three to five feet of water.
Several of the area's small lakes are now ice-free. There's still quite a bit of ice floating on the big lakes so look for crappies to move shallow within the next week on the small lakes.
Most lakes still have quite a bit of ice. There was actually some ice fishing taking place as recently as last Saturday, but ice conditions have deteriorated rapidly since then. Gilstead Lake and Rabideau Lake are usually the first bodies of water to provide an open water panfish bite.
Crappies are being caught in the ditches by Squaw Point, from shore at the Highway 371 Bay on North Long Lake and by Bar Harbor. The channel on Upper Gull Lake and the shorelines of Nisswa Lake have produced panfish as well.
CASS LAKE AREA
The ice is going in a hurry on most lakes. Even the bigger bodies of water are showing signs of a significant spring thaw. Although crappies have yet to show up in shallow water, they should soon if it stays warm.
Crappie action has been very good on South Center Lake, along Highway 8 on South Lindstrom Lake and at Paradise Park on Chisago Lake. More crappies than sunfish have been caught and bigger minnows seem to be the ticket for larger fish.
The ice is out on most lakes. Even the big lakes in this area now have nothing more than patches of floating ice. Crappie action remains slow, although the first open water anglers of the season just started checking their usual crappie spots earlier this week.
The ice is just about gone on most small lakes. Although open water crappie action might be another week away, smelt have started to run a bit. Kamloops continue to be caught on Looper Bugs and spawn sacs or nightcrawlers in the French River area of Lake Superior.
The big crappies have yet to bite, but there's been plenty of small fish caught this week. Look to the bays and shorelines of Elk Lake and Blue Lake with minnows under floats and you should have no problem catching crappies.
Perch Lake is providing the area's best crappie and perch bite in shallow water. Look for Temperance Lake to start kicking out perch very soon. Across the border into Iowa, Tuttle Lake continues to give up a number of walleyes on a jig and minnow combination.
The channel on Cannon Lake is providing steady crappie action during the afternoon and evening hours. Look to the bays on Shields Lake, and Bulrush Bay on Lake Mazaska to follow suit very soon.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Some of the bays have opened and a few crappies have started showing up in the shallowest of the bays. Most of the big lakes also are opening at a rapid pace. Suckers have started hitting on the Prairie River, Moose Willow River and Mississippi River. You'll also find crappies and bluegills at the power plant area of the Mississippi River. A few smelt have shown up in the flowage areas of Lake Pokegama so look for that run to be in full swing by the end of the week.
There's still quite a bit of ice on area lakes, but the bays and shorelines have opened. If it stays warm, crappie anglers should start pulling fish from open water, possibly by this weekend.
Green Leaf Lake, Stahls Lake and Lake Minnie Belle are providing steady sunfish action. The bays on Lake Washington and Stella Lake are holding crappies. The current area of Belle Lake has kicked out a lot of crappies as well. Small jigs tipped with waxworms or minnows have worked best under a float.
The main lake remains covered with ice. The shorelines have started to break away and the Ash River has opened. The ice that does remain seems to be noticeably fading on a daily basis.
LAKE MILLE LACS
The ice is close to being out on most bays and another week of warm weather should eliminate any ice left on the main lake. Look to Isle, Cove and Wahkon bays to be the first spots to produce crappies.
The lakes are ice-free and there are crappies being caught in 10 feet of water on Lake Minnetonka. Minnows and small jigs have been the ticket in Wayzata Bay, Carson's Bay and in Black Lake.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Walleye activity on the Rainy River has been slow, but sturgeon remain active from Four Mile Bay and farther down river. ATVs and foot traffic were still an option on the main lake as of this writing, but this week's warm weather has taken its toll on most access points.
The entire lake is now ice-free, but panfish have yet to be found in their traditional spring locations. Look to the shallow weeds on the north end of the lake or the Curtis Creek area of Miller's Bay to start kicking out fish within the next week.
The bays have started opening and the shorelines are melting away quickly. Some suckers have shown up in the creeks, so look for crappies to be found shallow within the next week to 10 days.
The ice is completely off, but the panfish bite has yet to start. A few anglers have found crappies along the shorelines and in shallow bays. A couple more days of warm weather should get the bite cranked up.
There's still quite a bit of ice on the main lake although it's showing signs of deteriorating rapidly. The shorelines and access points have already opened so this area should have plenty of open water within the next week.
LEECH LAKE AREA
A few anglers were still on the ice last weekend, but it was not advised as of Tuesday morning. The shorelines have begun to open and the ice looks as if it will be gone in a hurry. Look for Shingobee Bay to start providing open water crappie action soon.
The west side of Lake Francis is producing sunfish and crappies in less than 10 feet of water. On Lake Washington, crappies are hitting small jigs and minnows in 12 to 14 feet of water. There's also some crappies being pulled from Madison Lake in 12 feet of water throughout the afternoon and evening hours.
There's still quite a bit of ice on most lakes. The exception is Lake Minnewawa, which is completely open. It's also the first body of water to start producing crappies, so look for that bite to begin in shallow water within the next week.
The entire area now is free of ice and panfish have started to move shallow. On Buffalo Lake, crappies and sunfish are being caught in less than six feet of water. Look to the shallow bays and shorelines of Pelican Lake with minnows and small jigs for crappies.
PARK RAPIDS AREA
There's still ice on the big lakes, but most small bodies of water are opening. There's been a few crappies pulled from the shallow shorelines and bays of Long Lake. The Fish Hook River is open shore-to-shore and it's produced some crappies and bluegills as well.
There's still ice on the main lake although not enough to fish through. There has been some anglers in boats off Birch Point in Sand Bay catching walleyes on a jig and minnow combination.
There's ice on the main lake, but the ice is shifting and the shorelines have begun to pull away. Indications are that the entire lake could be open within 10 days to two weeks.
RED WING AREA
The Mississippi River is producing walleyes and saugers from the High Bridge to the dam. Most saugers are in 18 to 30 feet of water, while walleyes are active close to shore near the mouths of Hay Creek and Vermilion Creek. Bright-colored hair jigs or plastics tipped with minnows have been best, but three-way rigs and crankbaits also have worked. On Lake Pepin, shallow rocks are holding smallmouth bass and crappies.
ST. CLOUD AREA
The shallow bays of Goodner Lake, Cedar Island Lake, Becker Lake and Horseshoe Lake are producing small panfish. The bigger crappies and sunfish have yet to show up in shallow water. Look to the bays and channel areas of Rice Lake and Lake Koronis to start producing panfish as well.
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The south side of East Long Lake is kicking out sunfish and crappies in three to six feet of water. Hennington's Bay on Fairy Lake is producing numbers of small panfish in shallow water. Look to Bailey's Bay on Big Sauk Lake to start giving up crappies within the next week if it stays warm.
Sunfish and crappies have started to be pulled from the Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska. Fish Hatchery Bay on Minnewaska also has produced numbers of panfish. Most them are hitting in three to five feet of water on small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms. A few crappies are being caught off County Road 4 on Pocket Lake during the afternoon hours.
High water on the St. Croix River has limited fishing opportunities. The Prescott area of the Mississippi River is producing walleyes and saugers. A jig and minnow has worked best. Although shallow water crappies have yet to be found, Big Carnelian Lake, School House Lake, Big Marine Lake and Square Lake are worth checking now.
TWIN CITIES METRO
NORTHEAST METRO - The channel on Lake Phalen is producing sunfish and crappies in less than five feet of water. Look to Sucker Creek for crappies and Vadnais Lake for sunfish in three to five feet of water. Small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms are working best.
WEST METRO - Crappies have moved shallow and started hitting minnows in the north bays of Lake Minnewashta. The north ends of Lake Bavaria and Hyde's Lake are kicking out crappies and an occasional good-sized sunfish. Look to the shallow shorelines of Steiger Lake for panfish as well.
SOUTH METRO - The Ford Dam area of the Mississippi River is producing numbers of walleyes, saugers and crappies. Catfish are on the bite at the lock and dam section of the river as well. Shallow water panfish action should turn on soon at lakes such as Nokomis, Harriet and Calhoun.
The panfish bite has started. Work shallow bays, docks and channels with small jigs and live bait and you'll find crappies and sunfish. Lakes already producing fish include Nest, Florida, Norway, Diamond and Andrew.