First ice-fishing reports are goodIce fishing is starting to get into full swing throughout Minnesota with good fishing reports coming from the Grand Rapids area, Lake of the Woods and Lake Mille Lacs.
Anglers have started to pull houses onto Lake Mille Lacs, which has 9 inches of ice on the main part of the lake, said Bill Lundeen at Lundeen’s Tackle Castle. He said ice is 10 to 12 inches deep in the bays.
Walleye anglers have had the most success in 25 to 28 feet of water using either a jigging spoon with a fathead minnow or a glow hook with a shiner minnow.
Perch and northerns were in 10 to 12 feet of water in the bays. Northerns were going after sucker minnows and large shiner minnows; perch were biting on wax worms. Lundeen said the perch bite has been the best, because it lasts all day, while the “walleye bite toward dark is awful good.”
Resort owners on Lake of the Woods have started to set up ice houses in Four Mile Bay near Pine Island over 20 to 25 feet of water. They have reported anglers catching many eating-size fish as well as a few bigger ones.
Some of the smaller lakes in the Grand Rapids area have up to 1 foot of ice, but spear anglers have reported the water as being a little cloudy in Swan Lake, Cutfoot Sioux and Jay Gould Lake. People fishing for northern pike have set up tip-ups on those lakes over 10 to 15 feet of water outside the weedline and were using sucker minnows and large shiner minnows.
Don Wendt at Rapids Tackle said crappies have been biting in Poole Bay on Lake Pokegama as well as Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River. Other anglers have reported catching crappies out of Cutfoot Sioux.
Wendt said it is still too early for the perch anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish. “The locals don’t fish them that much. Mostly, it’s people from out of town, and they wait until after Christmas. There should be plenty of ice by then.”
Walleye anglers caught fish in 22 feet of water in Lake Pokegama using a small jig with a shiner minnow.
Wendt said icehouses were starting to show up on the lakes with some people driving on the lakes. “They should use caution out there. I’m a believer in having plenty of ice for driving,” he said.
— Jim Olichwier, Pioneer Press