Msg 1 Posted: 08:14 PM 12/15/06 (CST)
Ice continues to form on most Minnesota lakes and rivers. Please remember that ice is never considered totally safe. The Department of Natural Resources reports that 4 inches of ice is the minimum thickness recommended for travel by foot. Ice safety guidelines also recommend a minimum of 5 inches of new, clear ice for snowmobiles and ATV's, and 8-12 inches of new, clear ice for cars and small trucks. Melting and refreezing of ice makes it less stable, especially in areas with springs or current, such as near lake inlets and outlets. |
Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/agents.html
Roughly 7 inches of ice covers Fish Lake, and anglers are now taking four-wheelers out to their favorite fishing holes. Good northern pike action is being reported on Grand Lake. Boulder Lake has been good for walleyes. Please use extra caution in shallow areas with weeds. On Lake Superior, a few anglers continue to do well casting from shore near the French River. The best approach has been an inflated crawler. Trolling has been good when the wind is down, with lakers and loopers being taken. On the St. Louis River, anglers are walking out onto the bays, and are catching walleyes and crappies.
On Lake Kabetogama, anglers are taking limits of northern pike when jigging and spearing in the shallow bays. A few walleyes are also coming in. A new law allows both spearing and tip-ups in the same house. The Lake Kabetogama and Namakan bays contain the only fishable ice at present.
On Rainy Lake, most walleye anglers are concentrating on the Birch Point area, with many taking good numbers of fish using jigs and shiner minnows in depths of 20-25 feet. Local anglers report that there is adequate ice in most areas for portable gear, but not enough ice to support vehicles and heavier fish houses. Northern pike anglers are doing well in Black Bay. Although the crappie bite has been sporadic, anglers are graphing fish regularly in Sand Bay. Several anglers have brought home limits of crappies. All anglers must use extreme caution, especially in areas with current where ice thickness can vary greatly. Please check ice depth often.
On Lake of the Woods, anglers are catching their daily limits of walleye and sauger. Most walleyes are in the 14-17 inch range. The best approach has been a shiner minnow worked in depths of 17-18 feet. The ice is now roughly 11-12 inches thick, and frozen smooth. Water clarity is very good. Adrians Road has been marked, and is being traveled by ATVs and snowmobiles. Rainy River fishing has also been very productive. At the Clementson Rapids area, ice is 6-7 inches deep. Anglers are having the most success when fishing between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. right in front of the rapids in 15-17 feet of water. A shiner on a purple or orange jig is the recommended approach. Morris Point has 11-12 inches of ice, and fish are hitting shiners and fatheads in 19-22 feet of water. The Lake of the Woods Tourism Director and her family were fishing last Sunday afternoon on the Rainy River near Baudette, and each of the five members of her family took their limits within one hour! They were fishing in 14-17 feet of water, on 9 inches of ice.
Most area lakes have from 7-13 inches of ice, and four-wheelers are carrying anglers to their favorite fishing holes. Caution is still advised due to varying ice thickness. A decent perch and walleye bite is being reported. Bluegills and crappies are very active on Rabideau Lake. On Upper Red Lake, ice is 8-15 inches thick, with thinner ice towards the middle of the lake. A few successful walleye anglers recently ventured out as far as 3 miles on sleds and 4-wheelers.
On Lake Bemidji, ice continues to thicken. Some good northern pike action is being reported by spear anglers. Perch are biting on Pike Bay. Walleye anglers are taking 3 and 4 fish a night, with a few limits coming in. Bluegill action has been good on many area lakes. For the most fish, hit Turtle and Grace lakes. Roughly 6-10 inches of ice covers most area lakes.
On Lake Winnibigoshish, ice conditions are the best they've been in years. There is currently 6-9 inches of ice on Big Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux, however anglers must still use extreme caution due to varying ice depths. Avoid the ice ridges that form this time of year. Good numbers of northern pike are being taken by both spearers and tip-up anglers. Perch anglers are taking lots of fish from the shallows--the average size should increase once anglers can move to deeper waters. Walleye anglers are doing really well at dark on the points and humps of Big Cutfoot Siioux. Big Winnie is also producing a few fish at some of the off shore structure.
Lots of tip-up and spear anglers are catching fish. The best time to fish has been during morning and late afternoon hours. Sunnies and crappies are biting in their typical winter locations. There is roughly 8-10 inches on most of the smaller area lakes. Please check ice thickness often if you venture out.
Panfish action has been very good in 14 feet of water on the Crow Wing chain. The crappie action has been also been good in depths of 30 feet of water, with the fish found suspended. Northern pike are active on most area lakes, and especially on Big Man Trap Lake. For the most fish, hit 14 feet of water using a sucker minnow. Walleyes are being pulled from depths of 18-28 feet on Potato, Fish Hook and Long lakes.
Walleye action has been good on Lida and Prairie lakes, with 3- to 5-pound fish being common. Lots of sunnies and crappies are coming out of Prairie Lake. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows under tip-ups on most area lakes. Ice averages 6-8 inches thick on most bodies of water.
Lake Minnewaska now has 8-9 inches of ice. Walleye anglers are taking limits of smaller fish, with some nice-size fish also coming in. Several groups reported that it was hard to get any sleep since the rattle reels kept rattling all night! For the most fish, try fatheads and shiners on glow white or glow red hooks. Crappies are also active, especially out from the DNR wall along the old township road to the area in front of Lakeside Ballroom. For nice-sized panfish, hit the old weedlines in 13-16 feet of water using wigglers, waxworms or small crappie minnows. Towards the city of Starbuck, walleyes are coming in on jig and fathead combinations, as well as on shiners on a plain hook, worked on the edge of the weedlines in 12-15 feet of water. Nice-sized perch are being taken along with the walleyes.
On Lake Osakis, lots of walleyes are being reported, however it's been difficult to find any fish over the 15-inch mark. For the most fish, check the area in front of the hill access. Jigging spoons or rapalas tipped with minnows heads worked a foot off the bottom in 18-22 feet of water has been best for the largest fish. Some nice-size sunfish are being pulled from the east side of Caughren's Point along weedlines in 10-12 feet of water. Wet flies tipped with waxworms has been the best approach. Please note that ice conditions remain sporadic, with ice ranging anywhere from 3-11 inches thick. Lots of water can be found on top of the ice in some areas. Watch for some large ice heaves off of Miller's Point.
Most lakes have 6-8 1/2 inches of ice, but there are still quite a few thin and weak spots. Please use extreme caution and check as you go. Good walleye reports are coming from anglers fishing Round, North Long and Pelican lakes, as well as around the edges of Gull Lake. For the most fish, try golden shiners, or jigging with fatheads. The northern pike action is good anywhere there are weeds. The best approach has been a tip-up and a shiner or sucker minnow. Crappies and sunnies are hitting glow jigs tipped with a maggot or crappie minnow on most of the bays and smaller area lakes.
Most lakes now have 6-8 inches of ice in the bays, but the middle of the lakes have less ice and even some open areas due to currents and wind. Please check the ice as you go. Excellent northern pike action is being reported on most area lakes, with tip-ups and pike minnows working best. Walleye anglers are having success on Whitefish Lake. For the most fish, try shiner minnows on tip-ups or under bobbers, as well as jigging spoons and fathead minnows. The best time is just before sunset, especially in 16-24 feet of water.
Walleye anglers are doing well on East and West Rabbit, Pelican, Nokay, Serpent and Edwards lakes. On Pelican and Serpent lakes, fishing has been best in the deeper waters, such as 19-27 feet, with a weasel and a half a shiner working well on tip-ups and set-lines. Crappie action has been good on Perry, Upper Dean, Blackhoof, Black Bear, Milford and Little Pine lakes. Small jigs tipped with waxworms are working well for both crappies and sunnies. Perch are also active on Perry Lake. For northern pike, hit the weed edges and flats on most area lakes using a giant shiner. Spear fishing has also been successful. Lakes to hit for pike include Serpent, Lower Mission, Mahnomen, Little Mahnomen and Edwards.
Anglers are reporting 4-8 inches of ice on the east side, and most bays have 6-8 inches of ice. Isle and Wigwam bays are producing perch and walleye in 15 feet of water on fatheads. Walleye anglers are reporting good action on the east and north ends, especially in depths of 15-26 feet. Jigging with fatheads seems to be the best approach. Crappie and perch action has been good on the smaller lakes north of Malmo, where anglers report ice measuring up to 10 inches thick on the smaller lakes.
TWIN CITIES VICINITY
Local anglers are catching sunnies and crappies on area lakes using waxworms, eurolarvae and crappie minnows. For the most fish, try Clearwater, Sugar, Grand, Pearl and Julia lakes. Crappies and walleyes are biting on the Mississippi River near the Sartell Dam. River anglers are also doing well near Monticello.
On Lake Waconia, there is 7-8 inches of ice in the bay. Perch and sunnies are active during the day. Crappies, and a few walleyes, are being taken during morning hours, inside the weed edges--check the outside edge of the weeds during afternoon hours. Walleyes are biting at Cemetery Ridge which now has 6-7 inches of ice. Please note that there is a large crack in the ice running from the island, and some open water by Farmers Point that has been kept open by the geese.
On Lake Minnetonka, ice thickness ranges from 37 inches in the bays. Please check the ice often when venturing out. Towards the city of Shorewood, anglers are hitting the bays, but the main lake remains dangerous. From 4-6 inches of ice is being reported in the bays, however caution is advised. Walleyes are being taken from 12-20 feet of water from Carsons Bay, with lots of smaller fish, and a few nice-sized fish coming in. Lotus Lake has been good for lots of smaller crappies.
Panfish are biting on Carnelian, Bohsolm, Lilly and Bass lakes. Northern pike are active on most area lakes.
Crappies are being pulled from Big Marine Lake, which now has 4-6 inches of ice. Northern pike are biting on Beaver and Battle Creek lakes.
Anglers are venturing out on the bays and taking northern pike on suckers and shiners under tip-ups. Some anglers continue to hit the water by boat, and are doing well in 15-18 feet water near the dam. For panfish, hit the docks at Baypoint Park using Chena bait.
Lake Elysian remains the hot spot. Walleyes averaging 17-20 inches are being taken on large shiner minnows. Lake Tetonka is very clear, and is also giving up a few fish. Northern pike anglers are taking fish from Sakatah Lake on tip-ups with sucker minnows. Spearing is working well on Gorman Lake. Please use extreme caution due to varying ice thickness.