Msg 1 Posted: 12:05 AM 12/10/05 (CST)
Although walking is recommended, ice fishing is taking place on all lakes. The good news is that ice depths have improved on a daily basis since last weekend. Early reports indicate a few crappies being caught on Lake Mary and some walleyes coming off the east end of Reno Lake. The best bite on these lakes takes place at sunset with minnows and jigs.
There's still open water on some big lakes and as much as four inches of ice on several small bodies of water. Expect most lakes to offer enough ice to walk on by this weekend. Clearwater Lake would be a safe bet for a few walleyes, while Dan's Lake has already kicked out crappies for anglers traveling by foot.
Fishing reports have been minimal. Three to six inches of ice seems to normal on most lakes and there were a few permanent shelters pulled out on the small lakes earlier this week. Look for the ice fishing season to really pick up by this weekend as more anglers trust the ice conditions.
You'll find six to eight inches of ice on most of the smaller lakes, but much less on the deeper, bigger bodies of water. Walleyes and perch have been hitting on Lake Irvine, straight out from the access, in between 15 and 20 feet of water. Shiner minnows have provided a decent walleye bite on Three Island Lake during the evening hours in 20 feet of water.
ATVs are being used in this area where eight to 12 inches of ice has formed. On Blackduck Lake, there's a good perch bite during the day and some evening walleye activity in 10 to 14 feet of water. Panfish reports have been limited, except for a few crappies coming off Gilstead Lake.
Most small lakes offer six to eight inches of ice, while Gull Lake was the last to freeze and has less ice. Walleyes are being caught on lakes such as North Long, Edwards, and Pelican on shiners or rainbow minnows. Rosy reds, Eurolarvae, or waxworms are turning crappies on Lake Margaret, North Long, and Pelican.
CASS LAKE AREA
Numbers of walleyes are being pulled through the ice on Cass Lake in 12 to 20 feet of water. These fish are hanging along the deep weed edges and hitting shiner minnows early and late in the day. You'll find pods of perch along the six- to eight-foot pencil reeds on Cass and Pike Bay Lake. Panfish action also is strong in the shallow bays of Cass, Kitchi Lake, and Midge Lake. Ice depths range from two to six inches on the main lake and seven to 10 inches in the bays.
The channels and bays offered three inches of ice earlier this week, and a few anglers have ventured out and fished through it. The channel between Chisago Lake and South Lindstrom Lake has produced walleyes during the evening hours in 10 to 15 feet of water. A few walleyes also have been pulled through the ice in front of the A-Frame on Chisago in eight to 12 feet of water.
You'll find up to seven inches of ice on the small lakes and about four inches on the big lakes. Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake are giving up walleyes during the evening hours in 18 to 22 feet of water. Setlines and shiner minnows have worked best. Crappie and northern pike action has been consistent on lakes such as Little Blackhoof, Mahnomen, and Hay.
CROSS LAKE AREA
Ice conditions continue to improve with the cold weather. Most lakes are ice-covered except for Trout and Whitefish. Three to five inches of ice is common on the area's smaller lakes. Angling for northern pike has gone well along the shoreline breaks of most lakes. Crappie anglers have been successful with minnows or waxworms in 12 to 16 feet of water. Walleye anglers likely will have to wait a few more days to reach their favorite early ice locations.
Most lakes now offer about eight inches of ice and ATVs have started being seen on many of the smaller bodies of water. Walleyes are biting well during the afternoon and evening hours on Fish Lake and Island Lake in 12 to 14 feet of water. You'll find a few crappies suspended over slightly deeper water on these lakes as well.
Sunfish are very active in seven to 10 feet of water on Baxter Lake and Elk Lake. A few crappies have been caught during the evening hours on Elk Lake with small minnows in 10 feet of water. Sucker minnows or shiner minnows have been the ticket for northern pike along the shallow weed edges of Fremont Lake. You'll find about six inches of ice on most small lakes.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River is producing bluegills in eight to 20 feet of water. You'll also find crappies suspended in this area over 20 to 45 feet of water. Big Splithand Lake is giving up crappies during the evening hours in 19 to 21 feet of water. Northern pike have been very active along the five- to eight-foot weedlines of Jay Gould Lake and Lake Wabana.
Ice conditions have improved from last week with three to six inches, but caution is advised due to extremely varying ice depths within the same lake. Most anglers started fishing last weekend and some found success. The best walleye report is coming off Pleasant Lake in 16 feet of water. Northern pike are hitting minnows on most lakes in less than 10 feet of water, while panfish have yet to be found.
Lake Kabetogama has six to eight inches of ice and no slush at the early ice fishing locations. Spearers report cloudy water and limited success as a result. Tom Cod Bay, Duck Bay, and Irwin Bay gave up the most fish last weekend. Small jigs and fathead minnows are fooling a few walleyes at the mouth of the Ash River. No crappie bite was reported, but those early season spots should have plenty of ice to check them now.
LAKE MILLE LACS
EAST - The entire lake is capped over and you'll find as much as seven inches of ice in the bays. There's been some decent perch action reported in Cove Bay and Isle Bay over nine feet of water. Small jigs tipped with minnows are producing good-sized fish. Look for a decent walleye bite to start when more of the lake becomes accessible.
WEST - There is ice as far out as the eye can see. Although there hasn't been any fishing activity on this end, there might be by this weekend. Three inches had formed by last Saturday and as much as five inches was confirmed by Tuesday morning. Ice depths should continue improving throughout the week if cold weather persists.
Although the bays and channels are iced-over, there was still plenty of open water throughout the area. The small lakes only offered a skim of ice as of Tuesday morning. There was no ice fishing to speak of earlier this week.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Four Mile Bay has at least 10 inches of ice and a consistent evening walleye bite in six to nine feet of water. Many resorts started pulling permanent houses past Pine Island on Monday where 10 inches of ice had formed. The best reports on the lake side of the island are coming from 16 to 19 feet of water.
Ice conditions are improving daily with four to eight inches of "good" ice on most areas of the lake. The smaller lakes offer even more. A few walleyes are coming from 16 to 28 feet of water. Key on the saddles, sharp breaks, and humps with a glow jig and minnow. There's been some nice northern pike and panfish taken from eight to 12 feet of water in the weedy, soft-bottomed bays.
A few spear houses started popping up this week, but water clarity was poor. The entire lake is locked up with as much as six to 10 inches of ice close to shore. Traveling with ATV's is expected by the weekend. Look to the south end bars, shoreline breaks, and West Winnie Campground areas to start kicking out perch very soon in nine to 12 feet of water.
LEECH LAKE AREA
The entire lake is covered with ice. Even Walker Bay, traditionally the last spot to freeze, has about four inches. Fishing reports have been minimal, but look to First Point, Second Point, the city park area, or humps and shoreline breaks in Walker Bay to be the first spots to produce walleyes in 15 to 20 feet of water.
A jig and shiner minnow is producing walleyes in the narrows of Lake Minnewawa. Bellhorn Bay on Big Sandy Lake is a safe bet for crappies during the evening hours in 16 feet of water. Four to seven inches of ice is the norm on most lakes.
Black Bay and Sand Bay are ice-covered, but the main lake still has open water. If it stays cold some of the bays may see ice anglers by the weekend, but caution is advised because ice depths really vary. Look for northern pike to be active along the shorelines where walkable ice exists.
There's eight to 10 inches of ice in most areas. A few larger fish houses are being pulled out as ice conditions improve daily. The crappie bite has been slow, but should improve as anglers travel farther out on the lake.
ST. CLOUD AREA
Four to six inches of ice is being reported in this area. On Horseshoe Lake, numbers of small walleyes and occasional keepers are being caught in 17 to 20 feet of water.There's been a few walleyes pulled from Rice Lake during the evening hours in 20 feet of water. Look to Horseshoe, Becker Lake, and Pearl Lake for crappies in 14 to 16 feet of water.
A jig and fathead minnow or plain hook and shiner minnow has been the ticket for walleyes on Lake Minnewaska. Bob's Bay and the Starbuck Beach area have produced the most fish in 16 feet of water. Pelican Lake and Minnewaska are kicking out northern pike in less than 12 feet of water. A "solid" eight inches of ice has taken shape on most lakes.
TWIN CITIES METRO
NORTHEAST METRO - A handful of anglers has begun "sneaking" on a few small lakes. Extreme caution is advised since two to four inches of ice is all people were reporting earlier this week. With less ice on the bigger lakes, it's probably best to call for ice conditions by this weekend.
WEST METRO - All the lakes are now locked up, but as of Tuesday morning, no more than three inches of ice was found on any of them. While anglers have been checking ice depths on a daily basis, none had found enough ice to walk on, yet. With continued cold weather, the possibility of ice fishing the traditional early spots exists by this weekend.
Ice depths vary from one to six inches, but most small lakes have at least a few anglers on them. Watch the bigger lakes such Green because they just locked up. On lakes such as Wagonda, Ringo, Norway, Solomon, and Long a mixture of walleyes, northern pike and crappies is biting during the evening hours. Glow jigs and fatheads or small shiner minnows have worked best. Most of these fish are biting in less than 12 feet of water.