With the exception of some floating ice on the big part of Lake Minnetonka, lakes in the area were wide open as of last weekend. Anglers started hitting the traditional spring crappie spots such as channels and shorelines, but hadn’t found fish early this week.
The ice was out by last Sunday and anglers have made a quick transition to open-water fishing. On Lake Phalen, they’re finding crappies and sunfish along the shorelines. The marinas on the St. Croix River near Bayport and Hudson are producing crappies and walleye fishing has improved on the Mississippi River in St. Paul.
Small lakes opened Saturday and big lakes were ice-free by Monday morning. No fishing reports have been heard, but a few people have started hitting those traditional spring crappie locations.
Some lakes are completely open and others should be by the weekend. The ice that remained on Tuesday morning was black and floating, in most cases.
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Guys were walking on some lakes Monday, but the shorelines have really started to pull away. It also rained Monday night, so ice fishing options will likely be limited by the weekend. Best bet will be to call ahead if you plan on sneaking one more weekend of ice fishing out of the season in this area.
You’ll still find ice in this region and there was some limited ice fishing options last weekend. That has ended. Shallow spring spots should start producing crappies soon.
The ice is going out quickly on the inland lakes and getting on it is no longer an option. There has been quite a bit of activity along the shore of Lake Superior where anglers are fishing from shore and from boats for Kamloops and coho salmon. The bite has been a hit and miss endeavor at this point with more cohos in the mix. From shore, Looper Bugs and waxworms, spawn sacs, or nightcrawlers are working best. Guys in boats are trolling with small spoons and stickbaits for their fish.
LAKE MILLE LACS
The creek mouths and shorelines are open and in some locations where people were walking last weekend, open water is now evident at the those access points. There’s a lot of ice on the main lake, but it is black and melting fast, especially after Monday night’s rain.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Anglers are hitting the Rainy River with boats and catching walleyes and sturgeon. Boats were being put in at the Frontier Landing on Monday with no shore ice to deal with and the river continues to open further every day. Most of the traditional access points should be open by this weekend.
A few people were getting on the ice as late as Monday, but it is no longer recommended. Walker Bay, for example, turned extremely black after Monday night’s rain and most shorelines have opened too far for foot travel. Main-lake ice conditions are not looking good so the ice fishing season came to a quick end.
Fishing is no longer an option, despite the fact that there’s still a lot of ice on the main lake. The shorelines have pulled away too far to allow foot travel and most anglers are now looking towards open water opportunities on the Rainy River.
There’s still quite a bit of ice on the main lake, but Monday night’s rain put an end to any thoughts of walking on it. The shorelines are opening quickly and the main-lake ice seems to be deteriorating just as fast. As of Tuesday morning, even the small lakes in this area weren’t favorable for foot travel.
Anglers were walking on some lakes last weekend, but by Tuesday morning the ice fishing season had come to a quick end. There’s still a lot of ice on area lakes, though the shorelines have opened and the main-lake ice looks black – like it should at the end of April, not the third week of March.
There was quite a bit of ice fishing activity through last weekend and into Monday. But this area received significant rain Monday night, which deteriorated main-lake ice and damaged most shorelines enough that people could no longer get on the lakes.
There was still quite a bit of ice on area lakes last weekend, but Monday night’s rain really chewed it up. Most lakes had open water spots by Tuesday morning and there’s a good chance this area will be ice-free by this weekend. A few anglers have started fishing the channels and ditches that were already open for crappies, although the fish hadn’t moved in as of earlier this week.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
There were plenty of spots to get on the ice through last weekend, but that changed quickly by Tuesday morning. Most shorelines are now open too far to walk on and the main-lake ice is black, honeycombed, and deteriorating faster than anyone can remember.
Anglers were walking out and finding decent numbers of keeping-sized perch and the occasional slab crappie as of Monday in 10 to 14 feet. But with continued warm weather, ice fishing won’t be an option by this weekend.
ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
The little ice that remained was eliminated with Monday night’s rain. Anglers are waiting for the traditional spring spots to start producing crappies, which could happen fast if it stays warm.
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The ice completely went out with Monday night’s rain. There wasn’t any open-water fishing taking place early this week, but with some sunshine, that could change by the weekend. Look to the shallow bays and channel areas for crappies and sunfish soon.
RED WING AREA
The walleye and sauger bite seems to be getting better each day as the water continues to warm on the Mississippi River. Early this week water temperatures were about 47 degrees with good reports coming from the dam down to Lake Pepin. Anglers fishing toward the lake are doing best with three-way rigs and crankbaits, while a jig tipped with minnows or plastics were working best up river. The sauger bite has been best during the day in 16 to 20 feet, while walleyes have bit better during the evening hours in eight feet or less.
The lakes completely opened last Saturday and a few crappies have started being caught. They haven’t moved into the traditional, shallow locations with some fish being found by guys in boats suspended as deep as 30 feet on German Lake and Lake Washington. A few crappies have been found along the shorelines in shallower water, so look for that shallow bite to only get better as the water warms.