LAKE MILLE LACS
The crappie bite has been slow. A few fish are being found in the boat harbors and bays, but they have been small and limited in number. Everyone seems to be waiting for the walleye season to begin.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
There was still some ice on the main lake early this week, but it was out quite a distance from shore so there shouldn't be any problems fishing this weekend. Four Mile Bay and the south shore were wide open and both should provide plenty of walleyes. The sturgeon bite in the Rainy River is going well and there has been quite a few pike caught here as well.
LEECH LAKE AREA
Shingobee Bay is kicking out crappies in six to 12 feet on Leech Lake. Look to the other bays, channels, and harbors off the main lake to be holding crappies as well. Most small lakes have started giving up crappies in shallow water over the past few days.
The ice went out last Thursday and the shallow, warm bays have started producing big northern pike via crankbaits. The sturgeon bite on the river also remains decent with crawlers or minnows both turning fish.
The ice has been out for more than a week, but there isn't much to report as far as fishing. You could probably catch some perch along the west-side points in five to nine feet on a jig and minnow prior to opening day.
The south side of the lake, between the two marinas, continues to provide steady sunfish and crappie action. White tube jigs fished empty or with live bait are the best option in five to 10 feet.
Sunfish have been tough to find, but crappies are biting during the evening hours in shallow water. Minnows are working best on small jigs in the bays at Lake Le Homme Dieu, Lobster Lake, Lake Geneva, and Lake Darling. The wind seems to push the fish in and out of these shallow areas so key on wind-protected bays.
Most lakes are now producing crappies in shallow water. With the exception of Pelican Lake, where crappies and sunfish are being caught, crappies have provided the best numbers. Pleasant Lake, Cedar Lake, Sugar Lake, and Clearwater Lake are the area's best options in four to six feet.
Small minnows or Berkley Gulp is producing crappies in four to six feet on West Battle Lake, East Battle Lake, Ten Mile Lake, Wall Lake, Clitherall Lake, and Stuart Lake. Sunfish also can be had on waxies or crawlers in shallow water at Blanche Lake, Elbow Lake, South Turtle Lake, Wall, and Stuart.
The crappies have just started moving into shallow water. Minnows under floats are working best on many of the small, shallow lakes such as Evergreen, Schoolcraft, and Hennepin. Bluegills have yet to show up in the shallows, but should with a few more days of warm weather.
The crappie bite has been inconsistent, but there are a few fish coming from the shallows. Minnows are the ticket in less than seven feet on Turtle River Lake, Gull Lake, Rabideau Lake, and Gilstead Lake. The creeks are full of suckers right now so there's plenty of opportunities to go after them.
Several shallow areas of Gull Lake are giving up crappies and a few sunfish. Work the upper channels, Wilson Bay, and the Madden's area for panfish in four to 15 feet. The Merrifield end of North Long Lake and Round Lake also are giving up crappies in less than 10 feet.
The bays and docks on most lakes are providing good numbers of sunfish and crappies. These fish continue to be found in six to eight feet with small minnows and waxworms both doing the trick. Lakes worth noting include Chisago, North Lindstrom, South Lindstrom, South Center, and North Center.
Crappies have been hitting very well on the Deerwood end of Serpent Lake, Hanson's Bay and Whitehawk Bay on Bay Lake, the backwaters on Milford Lake, and the inlets of Little Mahnomen Lake. Puddle Jumpers have been best, but minnows or waxworms on hair jigs also have produced. For bluegills, hit the backwaters, downstream of Little Rabbit, on the Mississippi River.
CROSS LAKE AREA
The channels and bays of most lakes are producing good-sized crappies. Some fish are being found in eight to 12 feet early in the morning, but they tend to slide shallower as the day warms. Crappie minnows or waxworms on small jigs or plain hooks under a float are working best.
Minnows are producing crappies in the grassy island areas of Fish Trap Lake in five to seven feet. On Lake Alexander, the bite hasn't been as consistent, but it's also giving up crappies in less seven feet. The east end of Lake Shamineau is worth checking for crappies in five to eight feet of water.
The crappies and sunfish are moving in and out of the bays according to the weather. If it's warm for a few days the bite really improves in less than six feet. When they're in, lakes such as Sallie, Sour, Little Detroit, Deadshot Bay, Floyd, and Mud all seem to kick out sunfish and crappies.
The eight- to 10-foot weedbeds on Fish Lake are holding crappies and bluegills. On Island Lake, you won't find as many crappies, but they are bigger fish and most are in 15 to 18 feet. The Kamloops bite has been a bit slower this week at the mouths of the rivers. Look to the Lester River and Knife River to be the best options this weekend. On Lake Superior, small stickbaits are producing cohos and lake trout in 30 to 40 feet.
Crappies are being caught on minnows and small jigs in five to eight feet on Green Lake, Elk Lake, and Blue Lake. Sunfish action has been best in shallow water on Green Lake. Crawlers and plain hooks are turning a few catfish in the deeper holes on the Mississippi River.
The panfish bite is just getting started and a few more days of warm weather would help matters. Lakes to check by this weekend include Lawrence, Perry, and Eagle in four to eight feet. Minnows and FluFlus under floats always seem to work on these lakes.
Crappies, sunfish, and perch are being found around the shallow docks of Budd Lake, George Lake, Hall Lake, and Fox Lake. Small jigs and minnows under a float have worked best in less than seven feet throughout the day.
GRAND MARAIS AREA
The rivers are flowing so there has been some salmon fishing in them. There's still quite a bit of ice on many of the lakes in this region. Some of the wind-exposed lakes are open, so there should be spots to fish this weekend, but it will be limited for the first few days of the walleye season.
GRAND RAPIDS AREA
The shallow crappie bite is just getting started. The water remains relatively cool so the best panfish action is yet to come. Currently, the harbors and bays on Lake Pokegama are kicking out crappies, but the bigger fish are being found at the mouths of these areas in eight feet. The warm-water discharge area of the Mississippi River is kicking out bluegills and crappies in two to eight feet. The suckers are in most creeks and they've been keeping people busy.
The crappies are just starting to move shallow. Early in the week, the best reports were still coming from 10 to 12 feet in areas adjacent to bays and channels. If it stays warm, look for more fish in the three- to six-foot depths by the weekend with lakes such as Big Birch, Pleasant, and Woman likely spots to check.
Crappies and sunfish can be had in the lagoon near Head of the Lakes Resort. The channel by Black's Resort also has kicked out a few sunfish. This action is just getting started and should only improve as the water warms.
Crappies have started showing up in the shallow, muddy bays in two to four feet of water. The bite is improving each day as the water warms. Look to Black Bay, Wakemup Narrows, Wolf Bay, Everett Bay, or Muskego Bay and key on areas with wood or shallow structure.
The crappie bite remains slow. Most anglers continue to blame the cold water for the lack of panfish in shallow water. If it stays warm, look to the bays on Lake Minnewawa and Big Sandy Lake to produce crappies this weekend in five to eight feet.
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Crappies and sunfish remain active in the shallow bays of most lakes. Minnows and waxworms are working best on small hair jigs in less than eight feet. Long Lake, Third Crow Wing Lake, Fish Hook Lake, Lake Belle Taine, and Sixth Crow Wing Lake all have spots worth noting.
The crappie bite has really picked up this week. The first break near The Ditches on the north end has produced limits of crappies in five to eight feet. Small jigs tipped with minnows under a float have provided steady crappie action.
RED WING AREA
Bright-colored Shad Raps trolled in five to eight feet has been the ticket for walleyes and sauger at the Head of the Lakes around Maiden Rock Flat and the Bay City Flats. Walleyes and sauger also continue to be caught below the dam on the Mississippi River in 12 to 25 feet on hair jigs and minnows. For panfish, hit the Covill Park and Baypoint Park areas.
The crappies and sunfish have just started moving shallow. They seem to be most active during the mid-afternoon hours after the water warms a bit and then they move out again in the evening. Small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms are working best in the bays and reed areas of Boy Lake, Sugar Lake, and Lower Trelipe Lake in four to six feet.
ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA
Look for crappies in three to six feet on Cedar Island Lake, Lake Koronis, Rice Lake, and Horseshoe Lake. You'll find a few more sunfish on Long Lake, Cedar Island and behind the islands on Koronis in four to eight feet. FluFlus and waxworms are turning both species.
Crappies and sunfish continue to be found in the shallows. The bite has not been outstanding but enough fish are being taken to make most lakes appealing. Spots worth noting can be found in the bays and shorelines of Nest Lake, Lake Florida, Lake Andrew, Games Lake, and Diamond Lake.
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