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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 - 12-15-14
Rainy Lake Fishing Report - 12-5-14
Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Report -12-18-14
Kabetogama-Ash River Fishing Report - 12-15-14
Devils Lake, North Dakota Fishing Report from Woodland Resort

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 12-19-14

Northeast Minnesota

Lake ice is holding up well despite last week’s unseasonably warm temperatures. Anglers have been very happy with the warm angling conditions and great fishing. Last weekend was the busiest winter fishing weekend seen in the past few years. Northern pike have been the primary target for most anglers, with spearing and tip-up techniques working equally well. This week, more anglers have turned their attention to perch, sauger and walleye. Good ice is supporting sleds and fish houses, and allowing anglers to access their preferred walleye holes. For the most fish, hit depths of 28 feet using an ice jig and minnow. Spearing has been good for most, with plenty of small pike taken each day, along with occasional 12-20 pound fish. Voyageurs National Park has staked their snowmobile trails throughout Kabetogama on down to Crane Lake, and the thin layer of snow has made most of the lakes accessible. Still, please use extreme caution where thin ice is marked and near the ice ridges. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Tower -Lake Vermilion

Ice conditions have been excellent this season, with 9-14 inches of good, solid ice on most of Vermilion and other surrounding lakes. Only about 3 inches of snow covers the ice so travel conditions have been great for walking, snowmobiling, ATVing, and even car and truck travel in many areas of Vermilion. Even better, the walleye and jumbo perch have been very co-operative! Anglers having the most success are working 14-16 feet of water during low light hours, with an occasional good midday bite also being reported. Nice-sized northern pike are coming in on pike suckers and rainbow chubs; shiners often work as well. The best presentations have been bobber rigs, tip-ups, and rattle reels with pink or red hooks tipped with a minnow. Jigging has produced a few fish, but generally fish are drawn in by the jigging technique, then hitting the set line. Please remember that no ice should ever be considered completely safe. Always check ice often as you venture out. 800-648-5897; www.lakevermilionresorts.com


Walleye continue to bite. Most of the successful anglers are using a dead stick, and suspending a minnow just off the bottom. The larger fish, however, seem to be responding best to jigged baits such as buckshot spoons and chubby darters further up in the water column. Crappie action has been slow to pick up, but some anglers are catching a handful of fish along with a bunch of sunnies, perfect for a great fish dinner! Northern pike are hitting live suckers and frozen ciscoes from strategically placed tip-ups near old weed lines and submerged bars and points. Spearers are taking a few fish in depths of 6 feet or less, with some measuring up to 46 inches. A few of these anglers also reported quite a few walleye stopping to investigate the decoys. Last weekend, the lakes became a bit sloppy due to the warm temperatures and rain, but a good, solid foot of ice remains on most lakes. As always, check the ice as you go as no ice should ever be considered totally safe. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Cook County: Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage

The lakes at the end of the Gunflint Trail are covered with a thick layer of ice, and Seagull Lake, on the Minnesota/Canadian border, has ice measuring 23 inches! Fishing has been best in depths of 25-30 feet, especially very early in the morning, and during early evening hours. Anglers report a good walleye bite when using bright colors and a live minnow. On Cascade Lake, near Lutsen, depths of 14-17 feet just off shore are producing nice walleye and northern pike. On Trout Lake, just north of Grand Marais, northern pike and smallmouth bass are eager to take frozen shiners. Remember to get your trout stamp for the upcoming trout season which begins January 1, 2015! www.visitCookCounty.com


The St. Louis River ice has deteriorated following the recent warm temperatures and rain. New cracks have formed in the harbor between the entries making the ice sheet very unstable. Other areas of the river are still fishable, but extreme caution must be used. Lake Superior is completely out of the question for anglers at this time, but it should freeze up again later this winter season. Other Twin Ports lakes are suitable for fishing, with anglers catching a nice mix of bluegills and crappies. Nice pike are also being pulled from Duluth's Fish Lake. Boulder Lake is producing as well, with anglers having success with perch, pike and walleye. Ice travel in the region should get better as colder temperatures take hold. Live bait rigs have been best during this year’s early ice bite. A plethora of baits are working well, including rattling flyers, buck shots, blade and bomb spoons, and old-fashioned ice jigs tipped with soft plastics or live bait. For now, travel should only be by foot, snowmobile or ATV. Please use caution, and consult with an area bait shop before venturing out! 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Northwest Minnesota
Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Many Lake of the Woods anglers are reporting a mix of half-walleye, half-sauger in their catches. Some perch, eel pout, and sturgeon are also showing up. Anglers are having success when fishing 18-26 feet of water at Four Mile Bay, the Lighthouse Gap, and off Pine Island. To the west, Graceton, Zippel Bay, Long Point, and Arnesens are producing fish in 24-26 feet of water during the day, and in 17-20 feet of water during afternoon and evening hours. The best colors have been gold, bubble gum, and pink when tipped with live minnow. Electronics are extremely helpful in locating suspended fish. Ice thickness ranges from 14-17 inches for most areas of the lake. Some ice roads are now open to full-size trucks and fish houses. On the Rainy River, locals who know the ice well are catching good numbers of walleye during morning and evening hours. An active presentation in 14-17 feet of water has been best. Up at the Northwest Angle, a solid 15-17 inches of ice is being reported and vehicles are driving out. Good reports are coming from anglers fishing 18-22 foot depths. The road from Young's Bay is open to Oak Island and Flag Island. Snowmobile trails are staked from the South Shore to the Northwest Angle, with measurements of 14-15 inches of ice on average. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com


Three consecutive days and two overnights with temperatures well above freezing created heavy fog and near 100 percent humidity last weekend in the Bemidji area. Most of the snow on the lakes and on the ground melted during this unusual mid-December thaw. The melting snow made for spring-like conditions on the lakes, with the surface of the lakes covered with water and the water draining into any old fishing holes or cracks in the ice it could find. The return of more seasonable temperatures this week have helped improve ice conditions and most of the lakes should be in good shape again by this weekend. The hottest lake in the area continues to be Upper Red Lake primarily due since it offers ice thick enough for vehicle travel. Many local lakes such as Bemidji, Cass, Pike’s Bay and Winnibigoshish have less than 12 inches of ice so they do NOT have enough ice for vehicles. Most anglers are still accessing these lakes with ATV’s or by foot. Upper Red Lake anglers have been catching walleye along the shoreline breaks in 7-11 feet of water. The best action has been during the first two hours and the last two hours of daylight. Jigging spoons with a minnow head has been the best presentation on most lakes for walleye, with anglers changing styles and colors of spoons until they find a productive combination. Charging up the UV glow spoons with a light has been helpful during low light conditions, and downsizing the spoon size has helped when the bite is tough. Anglers usually concentrate their efforts on walleye early in the season, putting more effort into fishing for crappies, sunfish and perch as the lakes get develop more ice and access improves on additional lakes. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Cass Lake

Anglers are pulling walleye from depths of 6-8 feet on Cass Lake. Northern pike and perch are also being reported. Ice measurements average 12-14 inches thick, with some anglers driving smaller vehicles out onto the lake. Please check with your area bait shop or resort for the most current ice conditions before venturing out. 800-356-8615; www.casslake.com

Detroit Lakes

The ice deteriorated very little on lakes in the Detroit Lakes area during last week’s warm spell. The melt on top of the ice has since refrozen. While the forecast calls for melting temperatures again this weekend, ice conditions should remain good, although there may be a bit of slush on top of the ice. Look for most walleye in depths of 16-22 feet, with jigging turning more fish than bobber rigging. The crappie and sunfish bite has been very good. Crappies can be found suspended off the breaks over deeper waters in large schools. Sunfish are holding tight to the weed edges, or in holes and pockets in the weeds. Northern pike remain fairly shallow, relating to the weeds, and responding to larger suckers on tip-ups. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Brainerd Lakes Area
Prior to the warm up, panfish were active 9-35 feet of water. The key was to move from hole to hole until you located consistent action. The most reliable spots were the 9-15 foot weed flats next to deeper basins. Clam drop jigs tipped with plastic and two wax worms were best for crappies, perch, and sunfish. Fishing success generally increased when using a fish finder. Walleye and northern pike continued to roam the edge of the sharper breaklines. A clam blade spoon and jig worked well. The most productive lakes were North Long, Gull, and Round. Ice ranged from 6-13 inches thick late last week, but thickness can quickly change so caution is a must! 800-450-2838; www.explorebrainerdlakes.com

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

Overall ice thickness on Lake Mille Lacs remains largely unchanged despite the warm temperatures last weekend. Other than the pressure breaks flexing (which is common when there are extreme temperature changes), much of the main lake ice still measures a foot or more, with 15-plus inches of ice in the bays. Areas you must avoid are the emergent weeds, areas near an inlet where run-off water spills into the lake, pressure breaks, and areas where current runs near islands, shallow reefs and structure. For northern pike, stick to the traditional early season areas such as Cove, Wahkon, Isle, Vineland, Wigwam, and the north-end break in 7-12 feet of water. Live sucker decoys have out-produced artificials. Much of the walleye action has been in depths of 22-28 feet over the deep rock and also on the mud flats. Jigging spoons and jigging rapalas tipped with a piece of a minnow will work best on your jig line, while a shiner on a glow teardrop is best under a bobber or tip-up. More private houses and rentals are being pulled out each day. 888 -350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Willmar Lakes Area

Most anglers pulled their fish houses off the ice before last Friday’s “heat wave.” Ice conditions should improve significantly by this weekend as a result of colder temperatures. If you do head out, please travel with caution and check ice conditions often since they can change dramatically from one area of a lake to another. 800-845-8747; www.willmarlakesarea.com

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity

The warm 50 degree temperatures and rain last weekend have affected ice thickness on Lake Waconia. Despite the melting, ice remains thick enough in many areas for travel by four wheelers. Waconia Bay ice measures 8-10 inches, with 6-7 inches in the Old Goose Hole. Center Reef measurements showed mostly 7-8 inch depths, with some areas as thin as 6 inches and others as thick as 11 inches. Pillsbury Reef measurements were 8-11 inches. Please note that there are a couple of springs in the lake that impact ice thickness; check with a local bait shop to learn their locations before venturing out. Please be sure to check ice thickness often, especially when traveling away from a group. 952/442-5812; www.destinationwaconia.org

Southern Minnesota
Lanesboro -Southeast Bluff Country Trout Streams

Area parks had a very busy weekend! The weather was good for trout anglers, with reports of fish coming in on dark streamers at Whitewater State Park. Tan midge pupa patterns were working best at Forestville State Park. Please remember to stay out of the riffle areas where trout redds with eggs beneath may be located. As updates on stream conditions become available, they are posted on the Southeast Minnesota Stream Conditions web page. You are also welcome to call the office for updates at 507-467-2442. Before traveling, please check out the new detailed fishing easement maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

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

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