The Merrifield end of North Long Lake is producing walleyes in 12 to 28 feet of water. Shiner minnows have been the ticket here. Round Lake started giving up walleyes over the past week in 12 to 20 feet of water as well. Big sucker minnows are turning northern pike on the south end of Gull Lake in 6 to 20 feet of water. Look to Nisswa Lake for the area's best panfish action.
Pleasant Lake is kicking out northern pike in 8 to 14 feet of water, and you'll find active walleyes along the 12- to 14-foot weed edges. Lake John is producing sunfish in 10 to 14 feet of water and a few walleyes during the evening hours in 14 to 18 feet of water. Look for suspended crappies over deep water near Bungalo Island on Clearwater Lake. The sunfish bite also has picked up on Clearwater near the bulrushes in 12 to 16 feet of water.
Anglers are finding consistent crappie and walleye action on Battle Lake in 15 to 22 feet of water. Otter Tail Lake started producing perch and walleyes in front of Graystone in 16 to 20 feet of water. Clitherall Lake and Blanche Lake are giving up a few walleyes as well. Sunfish have been tough to find throughout the area.
Most lakes in this area offer 4 to 6 inches of ice. Pelican Lake and North Long Lake are giving up walleyes on jigging spoons or fathead minnows during the evening hours. The smaller lakes in this area are kicking out plenty of panfish in 12 to 14 feet of water.
The south end of Island Lake is producing walleyes in 14 to 17 feet of water. Little Detroit Lake is worth noting for panfish in 12 feet of water. Deadshot Bay on Big Detroit Lake started giving up walleyes in 14 to 17 feet of water. Walleyes continue to hit shiner minnows on Big Sugarbush Lake in 14 to 17 feet of water as well. On the west side of Cotton Lake, you'll find walleyes and panfish active in 12 to 17 feet of water early and late in the day.
There's a pretty good evening walleye bite in the narrows of Fish Lake in 10 to 12 feet of water. Look for a few crappies in this area in slightly deeper water as well. Boulder Lake started giving up a few walleyes in 10 to 12 feet of water. The lakes all are ice-covered, but thin ice still exists in many areas. Check it before you go as 3 to 5 inches of ice is the norm in most bays, with much less ice on the main lake areas. Kamloop action along the North Shore of Lake Superior has been slow in recent weeks.
Ice depths still are too thin for motorized vehicles. Caution should be advised when walking in all areas other than shallow bays. Northern pike are hitting at a good pace in the shallows of Tom Cod Bay, Duck Bay, and Irwin Bay.
The north end bay has 4 to 6 inches of ice on it, and there are a few walleyes being caught during the evening hours in 22 to 25 feet of water. The crappie action has been slow, as has sunfish action.
Walleye action continues to improve as the ice thickens and more spots become accessible. Low-light periods of the day are your best bet in 18 to 22 feet of water. Northern pike, many of which have been larger than 20 pounds, are being taken in 8 to 15 feet of water. You'll find some very nice sunfish in the same areas holding pike. Seven inches of ice is common on the main lake, but many of the bays and channel areas should be approached with caution due to deeper snow.
Northern pike in the 4- to 6-pound class have been common from Waconia Bay. There are a few crappies being caught in the bay as well in 12 to 14 feet water. Cemetery Reef and Waconia Bay are producing a few walleyes along the 12- to 14-foot weed edges. Expect to find 3 to 5 inches of ice in the locations being fished, but check it thoroughly before venturing out.
Perch anglers have been traveling as far as 2 miles out and finding perch in 25 to 30 feet of water. The Sugar Bay area also has started giving up perch in 8 to 11 feet of water. Northern pike are active in the shallower water near the Mississippi River.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
The Four Mile Bay area of the Rainy River continues to produce quite a few walleyes early and late in the day. Resorts along the south shore have started to pull out houses on 8 to 11 inches of ice. The best reports for walleyes have come from 16 feet of water during the morning and evening hours. Sauger also can be had during the day in 20 to 24 feet of water. The Pine Island area and Gap have been two of the more consistent spots this week. You'll find as much as 10 to 12 inches of ice at the Northwest Angle/Islands area. Walleye reports have been very good from 18 to 24 feet of water, with plenty of limits to go around.
There's been some limited perch and walleye action in the bays. The main lake action is getting started as ice depths are just now allowing anglers to begin venturing to portions of the main lake. Northern pike activity seems to be consistent along the weed edges and breaks in most bays. Big fish have been the exception, but numbers of pike haven't been a problem.
The west end of Lake Francis is kicking out crappies in 10 feet of water. Lura Lake is worth noting for walleyes in 9 feet of water. On Lake Elysian, there's a pretty good evening bite for walleyes in 14 feet of water. The back bays on Lake Crystal have started giving up walleyes, after dark, in 5 to 8 feet of water.
EAST -- The main lake is ice-covered, and you'll find significant ice in the bays. Isle Bay and Cove Bay are covered with 6 to 10 inches, while most bays up the east side of the lake have 4 to 10 inches of ice close to shore. Excellent perch reports are coming from the bays in less than 15 feet of water. Walleye reports are starting to trickle in as more of the reefs and flats farther out can be reached.
WEST -- Five to 7 inches of ice is common on this end of the lake, and with cold temperatures in the forecast, expect to find more by the weekend. Look to the deeper breaks, flats, and reefs close to shore to be kicking out the first walleyes. The bays and points are worth noting for perch. Foot travel is not a problem, and ATVs are a possibility within the next week.
The walleye bite is going strong on Fish Hook Lake in 18 to 24 feet of water. Look for some great northern pike action in 8 to 12 feet of water here as well. On Potato Lake, use fathead minnows for walleyes in 16 feet of water during the evening hours. Panfish reports have been nonexistent so far.
There's still open water on the deep portions of the main lake, but the bays have plenty of ice for safe walking. Tillson Bay continues to be the best bet for northern pike, with numbers of fish in the 6- to 10-pound class coming from shallow water. There's been some morning and evening walleye action in Sand Bay in 20 to 24 feet of water.
The ice is in great shape, but the crappie bite has been sporadic. One night they bite and the next they don't. The fish caught have been good-sized when they do turn on. There are some big northern pike being caught as well. Most of these fish are coming from less than 14 feet of water.
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