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Print

Minnesota fishing report 4-15-09

April 15, 2009 at 03:31 PM

LAKE MILLE LACS
East - The bays and shorelines have started to open. On the main lake, there are “pockets” or “holes” of open water. There’s still a lot of ice on the main lake, but this week’s weather should soften it and start to bust it up.
West - A few guys were ice fishing last weekend, but the shorelines are now preventing access to the lake. The ice also appears to be getting soft and there are some areas with holes of open water off the shorelines.
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LAKE OF THE WOODS
You could still ice fish the main lake early this week, but very few people are doing so. The Rainy River is open and the spring walleye run wrapped up earlier this week with marginal reports from most groups. The focus now is on sturgeon in the Rainy with the season set to begin on April 24.
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LEECH LAKE AREA
Ice fishing remained an option early in the week and given shoreline conditions there’s a good chance the ice will hold up for at least one more weekend, but call ahead. The Goose Island and narrows areas have been the best spots with limits of perch reported from both.
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LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Crappies are being found in six to eight feet with a few fish coming from the deeper weedlines on most lakes. Work the small bays with a jig and minnow under a float. Sunfish reports have been minimal in the shallows with a few small fish mixed with crappies.
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RAINY LAKE
The border walleye season is now closed so the number of anglers has dropped. The shorelines have started to open, the main-lake ice is in good shape, so you could still get on to fish pike, which remains open if you wanted to. Look to the Rainy Lake City area or Black Bay with ciscoes.
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LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH
The ice fishing season has pretty much ended. There were some people on the lake last weekend, but most accesses are closed or beat up too bad to get on. Everyone is waiting for open water, which could be a few weeks off given all the ice that remains on the lake.
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NORTHEAST METRO
Crappies are being found in the shallow bays and shoreline areas of Silver Lake, Lake Jane, and Demonterville Lake. On Beaver Lake, you’ll find sunfish and crappies in shallow water. The St. Croix River is giving up a few crappies. Work the marinas, docks, and backwater areas with small jigs and minnows.
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WEST METRO
The lakes are now open and the panfish bite is just beginning. The best reports in the area are coming from 10 to 15 feet of water on Hydes Lake, but look for them to move shallow with a few more days of warmth. The docks and fishing piers have been set on most lakes so look for those areas to hold panfish as well.
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LAKE WACONIA
The ice is now gone and docks are being put in at the marina. The marina will be open limited hours this weekend for boat launching and bait with regular spring hours beginning next Monday.
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ALEXANDRIA AREA
There was still some anglers ice fishing early in the week, but the shorelines have started to open. By this weekend, there’s a good chance most lakes won’t be accessible even though there is a lot of main-lake ice. This area is between seasons as anglers wait for open water.
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ANNANDALE AREA
Most lakes are now ice-free and the open-water season has begun. Crappies are being found in the channels and bays of Sugar Lake, Cedar Lake, and Clearwater Lake. Most of these fish are in less than four feet of water and hitting minnows under bobbers. Look for the sunfish to move into these areas very soon.
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BATTLE LAKE
The ice fishing season came to a quick end early in the week with warmer temperatures. Some of the current and channel areas have started to open and the ice on the main portions of all lakes is deteriorating quickly. Look for crappies to start being found in the shallows within the next few days.
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BEMIDJI AREA
The shorelines were still allowing anglers to get on the ice early in the week. Lakes such as Big, Pike Bay, and Bemidji were producing perch in shallow water. Whether or not you’ll be able to get on the ice this weekend will depend on the weather during the week, so call ahead.
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BLACKDUCK AREA
A few anglers were ice fishing this week and the shorelines were in decent shape on some lakes as of Tuesday morning. But given the warm weather this week most ice fishing opportunities are expected to be over by the weekend.
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BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA
Ice fishing opportunities have ended and anglers are looking for open water. Look to Bar Harbor and the ditch by Squaw Point on Gull Lake to be the first spots to produce crappies - probably within the next few days. FluFlus and minnows typically work best in these areas.
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CHISAGO AREA
Crappies and sunfish are being caught in less than six feet on white FluFlus and waxworms. The bays and docks on the south end of Chisago Lake, the north end of North Center Lake, and South Center Lake have all produced panfish.
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CROSS LAKE AREA
Early in the week ice conditions had changed very little. The shorelines were holding up and the panfish were biting on many lakes in 12 to 18 feet. With that stated, conditions could change quickly by this weekend so call ahead before heading to this area.
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DULUTH AREA
The ice is now far enough away from shore to prevent anyone from getting on the lakes. There are some Kamloops and cohos being caught at the mouth of the French River. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of fish in the rivers, but the mouths are producing some fish. Looper Bugs and waxworms or spawn bags are working best.
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EAST-CENTRAL MINN
Crappies are being found in the shallows of Little Elk Lake. Look to the channel on Briggs Lake for crappies and sunfish. Tube jigs seem to be working best here. The north end of Blue Lake might be worth checking by this weekend for crappies as well.
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FAIRMONT AREA
Minnows are producing crappies and perch on Budd Lake in 10 to 15 feet, but look for these fish to move shallower soon. On Tuttle Lake and Fox Lake, minnows also are turning perch and crappies in shallow water.
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FARIBAULT AREA
The panfish bite continues to be slow in most channels, bays, and creek areas. A few more days of warm weather are needed to get these fish active. When that happens, Cedar Lake and French Lake should be worth checking in shallow water.
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GRAND RAPIDS AREA
The shorelines have deteriorated quickly on most lakes ending the ice fishing season. There is a lot of ice on most main-lake areas, but it too was getting beat up with this week’s weather. There is some open- water panfish action reported at the power plant on the Mississippi River.
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HACKENSACK AREA
The shorelines are getting soft, but there was still plenty of ice fishing taking place early in the week. Look for sunfish and crappies in six to 12 feet on most lakes. A few consistent crappie reports also have come from 20 to 30 feet. With this week’s weather, it’s probably a good idea to call ahead for ice conditions heading into the weekend.
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LAKE VERMILION AREA
There’s still 30 inches of ice on the main lake, the shorelines have taken a hit this week, but there’s still an opportunity to fish panfish through the ice. Crappies are being found in the “hole” in Niles Bay on Lake Vermilion. The north arm of Elbow Lake also is producing crappies. Local rivers have started to bust loose so sucker fishing opportunities aren’t far off.
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MANKATO AREA
Look for crappies around Buckmasters Bridge on Madison Lake. The north end of Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington is kicking out sunfish and crappies in four to 12 feet. On the west end of Lake Francis, you’ll find crappies in less than five feet.
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ORTONVILLE AREA
Everything seems to be set for this weekend’s border walleye opener. Big Stone Lake was open all the way from town and heading north about 10 miles as of Tuesday morning. The rest of the lake had patches of ice and it was melting fast. Look shallow with a jig and minnow or minnow and bobber this weekend.
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RED WING AREA
The big walleyes and sauger have started hitting with some consistency on the Mississippi River. A bright-colored hair jig and fathead minnow is working best. The Hay Creek area and Baypoint Park continue to kick out fish, but the mouths of most feeder creeks are worth checking. There has also been some good-sized crappies caught below the dam over 20 feet.
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REMER AREA
Ice fishing remained an option early in the week. The shorelines have started to pull away on most lakes and there hasn’t been a lot of people fishing. Call ahead to check ice conditions by this weekend.
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ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
Most lakes are now-ice free and anglers have started checking the traditional spring panfish spots. The bite has been limited, but should improve quickly with some warm weather. Look to the bays and channels on Lake Koronis, Cedar Island Lake, and Long Lake as likely spots.
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STARBUCK AREA
There was still some ice floating on most lakes in this area early in the week, but it was going fast. Fish Hatchery Bay and the Starbuck Marina are open on Lake Minnewaska. Both areas should start producing panfish within the next few days - if the sun stays out.
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WATERVILLE AREA
The ice has been off the lakes for three weeks, but the water hasn’t warmed up as fast as most anglers would like. As a result, panfish reports have been limited. A few crappies and perch continue to be found in the lagoon at Lake Tetonka in shallow water when the sun is out and it warms up during midday hours.
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WILLMAR AREA
Most small lakes are now open and the big lakes should be ice-free within the next few days. Anglers have found a few crappies at Willmar/ Foot Lake and a sunfish/crappie mix in the shallows of Nest Lake. Lakes such as Florida, Elkhorn, and Norway are worth noting for panfish as well.

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