Msg 1 Posted: 07:29 AM 04/25/08 (CST)
On Rainy Lake, the shoreline ice is breaking up, however the main lake ice remains intact. The only fishing action currently taking place is on the Rainy River, where nightcrawlers are producing suckers, as well as an occasional, accidental sturgeon.
Open water along the shorelines is keeping ice anglers off area lakes. Some nice panfish are being taken from the open water at the warm water discharge plant on the Mississippi River.
On Lake Kabetogama, some shorelines are becoming inaccessible. If the weather remains relatively warm, lakes should be ice-free by opening weekend.
On Lake Vermilion, the shoreline ice has started to pull away. Earlier in the week, anglers were able to access the lake at Niles Bay, where a few crappies were being taken. River anglers in search of suckers are having to dodge the ice flows, however conditions should be better by this weekend.
The ice is black and soft on the inland lakes, with most shorelines now open. Considerable rainfall on Monday night caused stream levels to rise, resulting in greater kamloop and steelhead action. For the most fish, use spawn bags on the Sucker and Knife rivers. Kamloops also continue to be caught at the river mouths on Lake Superior, with crawlers and looper bugs working best.
On Lake of the Woods, a good amount of ice remains, however the lake is in transition to open-water angling. The Rainy River is completely free of ice, and anglers are catching and releasing numbers of sturgeon. Fishing is reported to be good all the way from Birchdale to Four Mile Bay.
While anglers can no longer access the lake, open-water angling options are still a few days away.
On Lake Winnibigoshish, the shoreline ice has started to pull away. The main-lake ice is looking black, and showing signs of a spring thaw. It will be another week or more before the entire lake is free of ice.
On Leech Lake, theres too much ice to fish the open water and not enough ice to access the lake. Some of the narrows and channel areas have started to break up, and the main-lake ice has turned black. If the weather cooperates, the ice should be off the lake by May 1.
Although most lakes are still covered in ice, the shorelines have become inaccessible. Open water anglers may want to start checking the channels and bays for crappies as early as this weekend.
Most of the smaller area lakes should be ice-free by this weekend. The larger area lakes should be free of ice by next week. The first open water angling options should be crappie fishing in the bays and channels.
The Starbuck Marina and Fish Hatchery Bay on Lake Minnewaska have started to produce crappies. Crappies are also being taken from the shallows on the north end of Pocket Lake.
Most lakes are now open, although some floating ice can still be found on some of the larger area lakes. The open-water panfish bite remains slow, with anglers just starting to venture out.
Open-water anglers are now fishing the usual spring hot spots, such as the channels, ditches and harbor areas, however there are no reports of consistent crappie action.
Many of the creeks and channels are now open, and the remaining ice is deteriorating rapidly. It is still a little early for a good panfish bite in the shallows. Anglers are enjoying all of the rough-fish action on the rivers, with suckers and redhorse catches being reported.
St. Cloud/Eden Valley
The shorelines, bays and channels are now open, and anglers are hitting the water in search of panfish.
On Lake Mille Lacs, the entire lake is covered with ice, however the shoreline ice has started to pull away. Expect ice to linger for at least another week. Look to the channels and boat harbors for good panfish action in the near future.
Twin Cities vicinity
Area lakes are free of ice, and the panfish have started to bite. The shallow bays of Elk and Blue lakes are producing crappies during afternoon hours. On the Mississippi River, nightcrawlers are producing quite a few catfish.
Some anglers have begun fishing the open water, however the panfish have not yet moved into the shallows. Expect the panfish bite to improve within the next week.
Prior Lake/West Metro vicinity
While area lakes are ice-free, there is no panfish activity to report. On the Minnesota River, sucker minnows are triggering a good channel catfish bite.
On Lake Minnetonka, the ice should be completely melted by the end of this week. Anglers are now taking a few crappies from the shallow shorelines, as well as from several bays. The best early season reports are coming from Wayzata Bay, Maxwell Bay, Black Lake, and the Coffee Bridge area.
A few anglers have started fishing the typical spring hot spots, but the sunnies and crappies remain hard to find.
White Bear/Northeast Metro vicinity
While the lakes are free of ice, anglers have been unable to locate crappies and sunnies in the shallows. On the St. Croix River, anglers using nightcrawlers are having success with a variety of rough fish.
On the Mississippi River, the walleyes are now in their post-spawn mode, and the larger fish have been sluggish. The best reports are coming from less than three feet of water. For the most fish, use a jig tipped with a minnow or nightcrawler. Expect fish to become more active next week.
The panfish have started to bite. The best crappie action is taking place on Shields Lake, where crappies can be found suspended over the deep holes. The south end of Hunt Lake is giving up smaller panfish in the shallows.
The lagoon on Lake Tetonka is kicking out good numbers of sunfish and crappies. For white bass, hit the Cannon River. Bullheads are active at the sawmill between German Lake and Jefferson Lake.
Anglers are taking advantage of the many open-water options. Crappies are being pulled from 16-20 feet of water off Second and Third points on Lake Washington. The shallows on the west end of Lake Francis are kicking out sunnies and crappies. For lots of channel cats, use sucker minnows and nightcrawlers on the Minnesota River.
Some of the bays and shorelines are now inaccessible. A few anglers are already hitting the shallows of West Norway, Willmar and Nest lakes, with a few panfish being taken.
Big Stone Lake is now free of ice. Walleye anglers are taking a few fish from the south end of the lake during evening hours. The best approach has been to fish close to shore using either a jig tipped with a minnow, or a slip bobber and minnow combination.
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