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Current Fishing Reports on Up North Outdoors.
MINNESOTA - LAND OF 10,000 Lakes - Get out on the Water!
Lake of the Woods Fishing Report - 2-2-16
Rainy Lake Fishing Report - Update Weekly
Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Report - 1-29-16
Kabetogama-Ash River Fishing Report - 2-2-16
Devils Lake, North Dakota Fishing Report from Woodland Resort

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 2-5-16

Northeast Minnesota


It was a beautiful weekend on lakes Kabetogama and Namakan. Lots of anglers were out fishing, and lots of little villages were set-up off the ice roads. Snowmobilers enjoyed the smooth lake trails, and cross country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts took advantage of the beautiful conditions. Anglers had a blast with all of the jumbo perch and large sauger action. There were also quite a few northern pike, huge whitefish, and burbot in the mix. The walleye bite remained slow, and the crappies weren’t cooperating. For these species, the best bet was live bait on ball head jigs or ice jigs. Ice road access has been great and it puts you where the fish are biting. The land snowmobile trails have been groomed, however, the high amount of weekend traffic took a toll on the trails. With a bit more snow, and another round of grooming, these trails will once again be in great shape! 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com


More and more anglers are turning their attention to trout fishing with some impressive catches coming out of area trout lakes! For the most action, use small dark jigs tipped with a wax worm during early morning hours. As the day progresses, use larger spoons such as VMC tinglers and tumbler spoons, with kastmasters and Swedish pimples also working well. Some folks are tipping the spoons with wax worms, salted minnows, and sometimes the new soft plastics, with equal success. Stay mobile to increase your chances of connecting with fish since they seem to roam over large areas instead of staging on structure. It has been best to start shallow and then move deeper as the day progresses. Lake trout have been active, but most reports are of smaller fish in the 3- to 6-pound range. White tubes, spoons, chubby darters and jigging raps are working well when worked through the entire water column. Ciscoes fished right near or on the bottom have been taking the larger lakers weighing up to 10-pounds. Spearing northern pike is making a comeback in the North Country lakes, and this winter’s ice conditions are ideal for spearing. Large suckers or artificial decoys have been drawing pike to the hole like kids to a candy store. Any of the lakes surrounding the Ely area can produce some bragging-size fish. Try the weed edges as most of the underwater plants remain green due to light snow and cover. As long as the plants stay green, they will hold both the forage fish and the predators. Crappie action remains good. Hole-hopping is still the best way to reach a limit of slabs. Mobile anglers appear to be taking the lion's share of fish. Small spoons such as lindy frostees, and northland forage minnows are perfect for run-and-gun anglers. Buckshot flutter spoons are beginning to be the go-to bait for larger crappies, and can be fished alone, or tipped with a minnow head or a few wax worms hung from the trebles. Ice conditions remain unstable for vehicles other than sleds or four wheelers. Slush pockets are beginning to show up on various lakes in the region. Some lakes have minimal ice roads, but use extreme caution when venturing off of them. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Grand Rapids

Anglers are now able fish just about everywhere in the northern lakes region. The walleye fishing has slowed a bit but savvy anglers continue to take fish early and late in the day. Smaller baits have been best, with a dead stick, plain hook and shiner or rainbow chub turning the most fish. Crappies, bluegills and jumbo perch continue to dominate the scene, slamming small tungsten jigs with a plastic body, euro larvae, or a couple wax worms. Trout fishing has also been good on several small area lakes, with many being great destinations for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Please note that while ice conditions are very good, the ice thickness varies from lake to lake and anglers must check ice as they go. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Ice fishing remained steady on Lake of the Woods throughout the weekend but the bite was different each day. The morning bite was better some days, with the afternoon bite being best on other days. Most of the walleye came from 25-35 feet of water, however, some of the largest walleye were pulled from 10–15 foot depths. Anglers had the most success using glow orange and pink colors, with a nice mix of walleye and sauger being taken. Half-ton pick-ups pulling 20-foot houses, and ¾-ton pick-ups with portables are now being allowed on the ice roads. Ice averages 15-19 inches thick. The Rainy River is iced over and being fished in areas that locals are familiar with. Anglers report a decent night bite in 16 feet of water with sturgeon and eelpout mixed in with walleye. Anglers need to work through Rainy River resorts before heading out to learn where to find the most stable ice. Up at the Northwest Angle, the ice averages 22 inches on the Minnesota side. Fishing remains good now that more moderate temperatures have arrived. Anglers fishing 24-32 feet of water at Little Oak, Norman and Shady islands are taking lots of walleye when jigging during morning and evening hours. Dead sticks are producing best during the day. For the most action, use a red buck shot, gold spoon or jigging rap. A whole minnow mixed with a glow demon or small gold spoon seems to be best when using a dead stick. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com


Most lakes in the Bemidji area have good ice conditions, with only a few inches of snow cover on the ice. There is very little slush on the lakes, with most anglers driving four-wheel drive vehicles on the lakes. There are still a few thin spots in the ice, especially on lakes that have more snow. Most lakes in the Bemidji area have between 14-18 inches of ice. Anglers wanting to go exploring off the ice roads and trails should consider using a snowmobile or travel in pairs and have a tow strap and shovel. Walleye and crappies have been biting best in the mornings and evenings. Many anglers have been switching to perch or sunfish during the day, and then setting up for walleyes or crappies as evening approaches. UV glow-colored jigging spoons tipped with half a minnow has been best for walleye under low light conditions. A “dead-stick” rod is a good second option when rigged with a lively shiner minnow on an ice jig with a larger hook. Anglers can use smaller jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head for aggressive perch, but sometimes anglers need to go smaller when the perch are finicky and not wanting a lure that is too big or moves too fast. A good downsize perch rig is a light rod with 3- or 4-pound test line, tipped with a small tungsten jig head and either wax worms or eurolarvae. Anglers can also use small scented plastics on a small jig either plain or tipped with bait. Using sonar is virtually mandatory for anyone wanting to catch more fish while ice fishing. The feedback anglers receive from using sonar is critical. Anglers can see when fish come through and don’t bite, which may mean it’s time to switch lures or jigging patterns. Anglers can also use the feedback from sonar to fine tune their presentations based on how the fish react to their bait. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Walker - Leech Lake

The recent warm-up has created a better bite on Leech Lake. Main Lake action has slowed a bit, with many fish moving off of the reefs. While some fish are still being caught on the tops and edges of the reefs, most are coming from the gravel to sand transitions, and the sand to mud transitions. Fish are relating to the transition lines that can be found off of the reefs or shoreline breaks in 15-20 feet of water. In Walker Bay, moving around on the humps while fishing 28-35 foot depths has been best. Action can be fast at dawn and dusk, as well as after dark. There have been some reports of large fish being taken on rattle reels after dark. Shoreline breaks have also produced fish in 18-25 feet of water in Walker Bay. Jigging spoons, glow jigs, and dead sticks are all producing fish -- be sure to bring a variety, as well as different kinds of bait. Please note that there are a lot of ice heaves off of Pelican and the points so check with resorts about the best routes. Ice is averaging 17-19 inches on much of the main lake. In Walker Bay, ice varies from 11-16 inches. An area near Leaning Tree on the Cedar Shoreline has some very thin ice. The rule of thumb all season is to stay where the roads have been plowed. If you want to venture off the roads, get out of your car or truck and drill holes and check the ice constantly. Most anglers are using 4-wheelers, small trucks and sleds to get around Walker Bay. 800-833-1118; www.leech-lake.com

Detroit Lakes Area Lakes

Last weekend’s warm temperatures reduced the snow cover by compacting and re-freezing the snow cover, resulting in very good ice conditions. Vehicle travel is now an option on most area lakes. The walleye bite has slowed a bit, and the bite windows are short with a flurry at sunset. Most anglers are having success chasing bluegills and crappies. The northern pike continue to cooperate, hitting large minnows on the weed flats. Little Detroit will be the site of the Poles and Holes Fishing Derby this Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. Gates open at 9 a.m. with great fishing, food, fellowship and raffle tickets, as well as fantastic derby prizes. Even the forecast looks great! 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Lakes Area

Walleye continue to bite at very specific hours. Their feeding schedule is generally best early in the day from 6-8 a.m., and then again from 5-6:30 p.m. Night anglers will find decent on-and-off overnight action, especially on lakes with better water clarity. Around mid-February, anticipate changes in the walleye feeding schedule with more midday feeding taking place. For now, concentrate on the abundant panfish and northern pike during midday hours. Look for sunfish and crappies on the weedy flats in 9-12 feet of water. Northern pike are still very active in areas with schools of sunfish so don’t be surprised if you pull in a pike. For the most panfish action, locate drop offs near weedy flats and use lures that can fish quickly, tipping them with a wax worm. For walleye, use minnow parts. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com


Fishing is excellent in the Willmar Lakes area with anglers having great success on nearly every lake in the county. The northern pike bite has been especially strong. Diamond Lake has been popular for crappies, with lots of sunfish coming out of East Solomon and Green lakes. Walleye anglers report moderate success. Minnetaga Lake gave up impressive numbers of walleye last week. The trick now is to find a quiet spot on the lake away from other anglers so the fish aren’t disturbed. Most area lakes have 12-15 inches of ice. 800-845-8747; www.willmarlakesarea.com

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity

Stillwater/St. Croix River

As of late last, ice conditions had improved significantly with 9-10 inches of ice on average in the Bayport area of the St. Croix River. This amount of ice supports ATV and small vehicle traffic, but NOT full-size trucks. Angling activity had increased, and some limits were being taken. Crappies could be found suspended in 30-45 feet of water, hitting minnows on bobber rigs, small spoons, and jigs tipped with waxworms. Fish were being caught throughout the day, but early morning and evening hours were best for numbers. 651/351-1717; www.DiscoverStillwater.com


As of Friday, Jan. 26, areas of Lake Waconia had heavy snow cover which slowed the development of ice. While there were numerous areas of mixed ice (frozen slush with clear ice) measuring 10 to 16 inches, there were also scattered locations where the snow hindering ice growth with ice measurements averaging 7-8 inches. ATVs and snowmobiles were the main mode of travel; vehicle travel was highly discouraged. 952/442-5812; www.destinationwaconia.org

The information in this report is provided courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism.

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