Minnesota Fishing Report – This area only received about two inches of snow, which was good since ice had taken shape on some lakes. A handful of anglers found walkable ice on small lakes last weekend. The big lakes were still open Tuesday, but with cold weather, its possible they could lock up this week.
Ice fishing isn’t an option, but small lakes could see foot traffic soon if cold continues. The wind and rain allowed many fisheries to remain open earlier this week. Once the wind calms, ice is expected to develop very rapidly.
A few small walleyes have been pulled through the ice on several small lakes and sloughs. Four to five inches of ice was reported on these fisheries. Other lakes, such as Otter Tail, were still open Tuesday. Three inches of snow fell Monday night, but it didn’t seem to affect ice conditions where it existed.
Portable fish houses popped up on several small lakes last weekend. Lake Irvine was most popular, though no fishing reports were received. If this area avoids measurable snow, there may be increased ice fishing activity by the weekend.
You’ll find as much as five inches of ice on many small lakes where a few crappies have been caught. Ice anglers started fishing Blackduck Lake last weekend and reported a limited walleye bite. Overall, ice conditions are good and should continue to improve with cold weather.
There were boats on Gull Lake last weekend and ice anglers catching northern pike on North Long Lake. Four inches of ice was reported in this area of North Long. Despite the rain earlier this week, the ice that formed seemed to hold up.
With some cold weather, there’s a slim chance a few ice anglers could sneak out on the small lakes and bays. As of Tuesday morning, there was too much ice to fish out of a boat and not enough to walk on. Most lakes were about half frozen earlier this week.
Many small lakes have iced-over, but walking on them is not advised. Six inches of fresh snow also could pose problems on these lakes. Fortunately, most big lakes were still open when the snow arrived. A few additional nights of cold weather are needed before ice fishing is an option.
Last weekend, lakes such as Boulder, Rice, and Fish had ice anglers on them. Foot traffic was the only option and there were a few walleyes caught. Ice conditions deteriorated after Monday’s rain and snow. Ice fishing this weekend will depend on how cold it gets this week.
Fremont Lake and Baxter Lake saw anglers walking on three inches of ice last weekend and catching northern pike. After Monday’s rain, a few nights of cold weather are needed before walking on these same lakes is advised.
Ice formed on shorelines and bays before warm weather and rain last weekend. As of Tuesday, there was no ice.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
Many traditional early ice spots offer ice depths thick enough to walk on. Most importantly, this area avoided measurable snow. Best reports have come from Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River where crappies have bit during the evening.
Big lakes were open earlier this week, but ice has formed on small lakes. A few anglers walked on Squaw Lake last weekend, but fishing reports were nonexistent. This area received about four inches of wet snow on Monday night, which wasn’t good for the ice that did exist.
Ice depths vary from zero to six inches on Lake Kabetogama. After Monday’s snowfall, ice conditions deteriorated more. Its going to take extremely cold nights to think about ice fishing.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Prior to Monday’s rain the bays and shorelines were ice-covered. It was looking good for fishing activity in the bays late this week, but most ice deteriorated due to the wind and rain by Tuesday morning.
You could still put a boat in the lake Tuesday. Shore ice had formed, but warm weather and rain earlier took care of that. With a few nights of cold weather there’s potential for a few small bays to offer walkable ice this weekend.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
You’ll find five inches of ice in Four Mile Bay and a consistent walleye bite during the morning and evening hours. If it stays cold, there’s potential for activity beyond Pine Island. As of Tuesday, nobody had traveled beyond the bay.
The entire lake was ice-covered, but strong winds started opening it on Monday. If it gets cold, the winds are calm, and measurable snow is avoided there’s still a chance that foot travel could be an option as early as next week.
There’s limited ice in the bays and on many small lakes. The big portion of Leech was still open earlier this week, although if the wind doesn’t blow and it gets cold, it wouldn’t take much for it to lock up.
Although most lakes are ice-covered, its only a thin layer so ice fishing was not an option earlier this week. The ice that has formed held up through Monday’s wind and the snow didn’t seem to have an impact, either. A few nights of cold weather are needed before walking is an option.
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Anglers have begun sneaking on the areas small lakes. Caution is advised, especially after six to eight inches of snow fell Monday. Most big lakes were open earlier this week so more cold weather is needed to jump-start the ice fishing season.
There was one guy fishing Black Bay over the weekend and some ice in Sand Bay earlier this week. Unfortunately, it started raining Sunday night and continued into Monday. The rain was followed by snow so possible ice fishing opportunities this weekend will be determined by the amount snow this area received.
ST. CLOUD AREA
Limited ice is forming on small lakes and bays. Just how soon ice fishing is an option will depend on temperatures and wind speed this week. As of Tuesday, nothing was safe for foot travel.
SAUK CENTRE AREA
A few anglers were working the small lakes. but its not advised after the wind this week. That could change by the weekend if it gets as cold as its supposed to.
Lake Emily has three to four inches of ice and some anglers on it. Expect to catch walleyes on Kastmasters and fathead minnows. A few anglers have been seen on Red Rock Lake, Pocket Lake, and Little Mary Lake. Bigger bodies of water were mostly open as of Tuesday morning.
TWIN CITIES METRO
NORTHEAST METRO – A few anglers ice fishing on a couple of small lakes last weekend. But after Monday’s rain, it’s not recommended. There is optimism, with cold weather, that ice anglers will be out by this weekend.
SOUTHWEST METRO – Ice was starting to form, but not enough to walk on. The rain and wind didn’t help earlier this week and if doesn’t get cold, ice fishing may be another week to 10 days out. Look to the small, shallow lakes to offer the first walkable ice in this area.
SOUTH METRO – Strong wind and rain took care of any ice that started to form. Most lakes were ice-free Tuesday morning, but “ready” to freeze if the weather allows them to.
Big lakes are open, but ice has taken shape on small bodies of water. If the weather gets cold and the wind calms, look for the first ice fishing to begin very soon.