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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 - 1-17-17
Rainy Lake Fishing Report - Update Weekly
Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Report - 1-20-17
Kabetogama-Ash River Fishing Report - 1-10-17
Devils Lake, North Dakota Fishing Report from Woodland Resort

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 1-20-17

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls - Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

Rainy Lake walleye and sauger appear to be most active in the early afternoon with the best bite between noon and three. Anglers are jigging and bobber fishing with minnows around Sand Bay to pull in those walleye and sauger. Crappie fishing can be very good, but has also been inconsistent. People with portable gear are getting to the more remote, and potentially better fishing spots, within Voyageurs National Park. The Rainy Lake Ice Road has been plowed into Black Bay increasing access for those without portable gear. Snowmobile trails are open and groomed as are the cross country ski and snowshoe trails. We’ll have some moderate weather over the weekend which could have an effect on trail conditions. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org


While there has been great ice-making weather, the ice on Lake Kabetogama had not cooperated due roughly 20 inches of snow cover that has provided an insulating layer. Last weekend, there was approximately 12-18 inches of good ice under snow, slush and surface water so four wheel and vehicle travel was nearly impossible. Snowmobiles were the way to go. Some spear anglers continued to have success using live decoys, with some pike measuring over 36-inches. Anglers using a glow jig with a chub or shiner in 30-38 foot depths took the most fish. Anglers reported a great jumbo perch bite, decent sauger and pike action, and an occasional walleye. Snowmobiling has been great along nicely groomed land trails. The lake trails are marked and staked, but remain ungroomed. Forecasted mild temperatures may improve slush issues. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Anglers headed out for the trout opener last weekend, and enjoyed excellent conditions due to mild temperatures and cooperative fish. Anglers successfully landed numerous lake trout in the 3- to 6-pound range, along with a few 8- to 10-pound fish. White jig and tube combos were best, along with jigging raps, chubby darters, and buckshot spoons. A few anglers also caught some nice walleye while working 20-25 foot depths. Rainbow trout were active too with some nice splake thrown in the mix. The rainbows were hitting small jig and wax worm combos and small jigging spoons. A few folks has success using salted minnows. Crappie anglers took some limits from a variety of area lakes. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Duluth - Lake Superior and inland waters

While comfortable without an ice shack, the warm temperatures are stalling ice-making. This also makes it difficult to reach some excellent lake trout spots. The St. Louis River has given up lots of fish recently, with a variety of presentations working well. Change lures until you get a bite then stick with it! Dead sticks fished a few inches of the bottom with a large fathead are turning some nice sturgeon. The lakes area bite has slowed a bit in areas that are receiving lots of pressure -- set up away from crowds to find areas that have not been over-fished. Bluegills, crappies, and a few nice perch are coming in on small clam tungsten jigs tipped with maki plastics. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

Later in the ice fishing season, walleye become most active early and late in the day on the edges of bars and points. It is critical to drill six to eight holes and hole-hop on the edges, points and bars where fish head when feeding. Moving from hole to hole can be essential to finding these fish when they are on the move. Low light conditions may improve your odds when fishing shallower areas such as the edges of weed beds near deeper water. Downsize your spoons to 1/8-ounce and tip them with a minnow head while using subtle jigging techniques since fish are more lethargic this time of year. The exception to the rule are trout and northern pike which stay active. Soon, panfish will turn more active than most other species, and the trout will continue to bite. Remember to downsize your presentation to the 1/16- or 1/32-ounce size and bait it with a couple of wax worms or euro larva, placing these just above the fish viewed on your electronics. Trout fishing can be very good this time of year, with lots of great trout lakes in the Grand Rapids area. For rainbow trout, try the many smaller lakes north of Grand Rapids, as well as Tioga Pit near Pokegama Lake. Also consider several lakes stocked with lake trout such as Caribou, Pokegama, and Trout lakes. Please remember that live bait is not allowed on most designated trout lakes; a jig and white twister tail is a great alternative. Often, you will have to fish as deep 70-90 feet. Lake trout are not as territorial as other species and tend to roam. Again, drill several holes and use your electronics to find active fish. Other baits to consider are jigging rapalas, and gold or silver spoons. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Ice fishing remains great on Lake of the Woods. Key depths are 28-31 feet, especially when using a glow red, pink or gold colors. Lots of walleye and sauger are being reported, along with some nice jumbo perch, eelpout and sturgeon. Most fish are holding on the bottom so electronics will help your catch rate. There is 20-plus inches of ice in most areas of the lake. The Rainy River has also been great for walleye during a morning and evening hours. Anglers should consult with a resort or guide to learn which areas are the safest. The snowmobile trail is staked from Wheeler's Point to Baudette on the river. Please do not deviate from the trail unless you are familiar with ice conditions. Excellent fishing continues up at the Northwest Angle. Anglers are doing well at Rabbit Ears, Four Blocks and Little Oak. At Little Oak, depths of 24-28 feet off the structure and out in the mud are best. At Four Blocks, 22-27 feet of water has been best. At Rabbit Ears, hit depths of 21-26 feet. Anglers having the most success are using pink and gold jigs tipped with a minnow. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com


Milder temperatures have increased the number of anglers on the lakes this week. The ice on most area lakes is now thick to drive on, although snowmobiles remain the best mode of travel on the more remote areas on the lakes. Cracks and ice heaves are potently dangerous all winter long, and anglers should drive slow enough to be able to avoid any obstacles on the ice, especially at night. More anglers get stuck or go through the ice near cracks and ice heaves. Fishing for all species picked up this week. Walleye, crappies and eelpout are biting best under low light conditions, while sauger, northern pike, sunfish and perch are biting better during the day so anglers are staying most of the day. Using sonar while ice fishing gives anglers real-time feedback on how the fish are reacting to their presentations. Change lures, color or bait until you find what works. Sometimes all it takes is a different cadence while jigging to get the fish to bite. Start planning for the Hardwater Classic Ice Fishing Tournament held Feb. 4 on Lake Bemidji with over $30,000 in prizes to be given away! This fishing tournament is held during Bemidji’s Winterfest Celebration so bring the entire family! 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Walker - Leech Lake

Ice conditions on Leech Lake are very good, with trucks everywhere on the ice. Anglers should still call ahead for the most current ice conditions and up-to-date reports on cracks and ice heaves. The peak feeding periods for walleye are currently dawn and dusk. On the main lake, set up during these times on the tops, edges, or points in 15-18 feet of water. Consider Huddles Reef, the structure off of Diamond Point, and Variety Reef. During the day, slide out deeper to depths of 22-30 feet and work the transition areas. Rattle spoons, jigging raps, and set lines have been best. Switching sizes can be the key to catching more fish. The perch bite has been decent, but not a lot of anglers are chasing them. Try 8-12 feet of water, and remain mobile on the flats around Goose Island, Agency Bay, and near Walker Narrows. Upsize your presentation to keep the smaller perch off your line, with a whole minnow working well at times. 800-833-1118; www.leech-lake.com

Park Rapids

Fishing has been steady. Crappies are moving to the deeper holes in most area lakes, with fish found suspended from 20- 30 feet down in 35-45 feet of water. For the most action, use 2 lines: one with a crappie minnow on a glow jig, and the other with a small jig tipped with a wax worm. Northern pike are still cruising the shallow weed beds as the oxygen levels seem to be maintaining. Anglers are having success in 7-12 feet of water at the weedy flats when suspending a medium-sized shiner on a #2 chartreuse hook about 2 feet off the bottom. Walleye are using the deep weedlines in the 12-18 feet of water, feeding primarily at dawn and dusk. Set a tip-up rigged with a shiner minnow on a #2 glow hook, and use a gold- or perch-colored jigging spoon tipped with a small minnow head on another rod. Look for deep, sunken islands for a potential daytime walleye bite and stick to the jigging spoon only while covering water with multiple holes. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes

As of late last week, anglers found the evening bite to be the best. Crappies were active over basin areas in 25-35 feet of water. The sunfish were in the weeds in the 9-25 feet of water. A mix of bass, northern pike and perch were also biting in green weed areas. The walleye bite was very good early and late in the day, especially away from the crowds. The deeper humps and sharp breaks off of underwater points in 18-24 feet of water were the best places to fish, especially when using a jigging spoon and minnow head, or a red hook with a live shiner. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Lakes Area

The walleye have been a bit more temperamental, but the northern pike continue to feed actively. The best and most consistent presentation for walleye has been a plain hook and minnow, anchored with a split shot on a dead-stick or under a slip-bobber. Small spoons have also worked well. Northern pike have been feeding on perch and panfish so if you locate these species don’t be surprised to catch a northern. While active in most depths, they are most often by weeds and weedlines. Use large or mid-sized suckers and shiners on tip-ups, and wait for the flags to fly. Make sure there’s enough gas in your auger, and drill, drill, drill. Check your holes with a flasher unit and a little spoon and wax worm—it shouldn’t take much time before you mark fish or catch one. If not, keep moving and keep drilling. Panfish have been very active, so if you’re near them, they should bite. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

As of late last week, the ice ranged from 17-22 inches thick in most areas of Lake Mille Lacs. There were some pressure breaks, so anglers are advised to call ahead to learn if there is a road or bridge to your favorite structure. The walleye bite has been good in depths ranging from 10-35 feet, with the best range being 22-26 feet. Jigging spoons tipped with a piece of a minnow were productive, but many anglers reported a better reaction to glow jigs tipped with a live shiner or small sucker. Northern pike activity had improved, with fish pulled from 9-14 feet of water on sucker minnows. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com


Anglers have been out in force on Willmar area lakes to take advantage of the mild temperatures and great bite. The most popular lakes have been Norway, Nest and South Long for crappies. Green Lake has been great for sunfish, crappies and walleye! Most lakes are averaging 14-16 inches of ice, with some reports even thicker. It is still important to check ice thickness often since it can vary greatly from one area to another. 800-845-8747; www.willmarlakesarea.com

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity

White Bear Area Lakes

White Bear Lake is giving up lots of crappies, especially on the VFW side of the lake in 14-18 feet of water. Anglers are having the most success using a fiska jig. On Bald Eagle Lake, anglers are taking walleye and crappies west of the island. For the most walleye, use a rip rap or demon jigs. Ice measurements show an average of 15 inches in most areas. 651/653-5122; www.ExploreWhiteBear.org

Stillwater/St. Croix River

As of Tuesday, Jan. 17, ice thickness measured 10-14 inches in the Bayport Area of the St. Croix River. Most anglers were targeting crappies using crappie minnows and bobbers. 651/351-1717; www.DiscoverStillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro - Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Wednesday, Jan. 18, some area streams and rivers were off in color with a normal water flow. The catch-and-release trout season reopened on most area streams and rivers on Jan. 1. Fisheries staff reported that a big brown trout was taken on opening day -- it was a 29-inch male! 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

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

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