Minnesota fishing report

Minnesota fishing updates provided by White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake.

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Explore Minnesota Weekly Fishing Update – May 3, 2019
Maddie discovers that even a little perch can be exciting! Photo courtesy of Wildwood Resort
 

Excitement fills the air as the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Opener approaches! Nearly all lakes in Minnesota will be free of ice by the May 11 fishing opener. DNR Fisheries Staff expect most walleye to have completed their spawn and be eager to bite.

Anglers continue to take nice panfish from the warm, shallow bays. Large sturgeon and northern pike are still being pulled from northern border waters with open seasons.

Main lake water temperatures remain extremely cold so anglers need to use caution and wear a life jacket. Please review Cold Water Kills before heading out.

Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2019/2020 fishing season for most inland waters are as follows: walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass and lake trout, May 11; muskie, June 1. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

 

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Central] [Minneapolis-St. Paul Area] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The Rainy River tag season for sturgeon starts April 24 and runs through May 7 when anglers are allowed to keep one sturgeon with a previously purchased sturgeon tag. To keep a sturgeon, it must be 45 to 50 inches in length or over 75 inches. All Rainy River accesses are open, and the Ron Hall access in International Falls, located just a mile or so downstream from the dam, is always a good choice. The swifter waters in this area are usually hold an abundance of sturgeon. If you catch a sturgeon, but cannot tag it, please handle it carefully and release it quickly. Sturgeon should always be held in a horizontal orientation, holding them vertically can damage internal organs. The Rainy River is a success story in the efforts to restore sturgeon fisheries in North America. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Kabetogama

Lake Kabetogama and Crane Lake are on track for an ice-free fishing opener. The ice that once was locked tight on the north shore of Kabetogama and towards the east has now melted. Even though it has been cool, the wind combined with poor ice has done its work and we are ice free all the way to Namakan and beyond Ash River. The entire lake chain should be ice-free for opening weekend anglers.

Anglers have been out fishing for crappies but no reports are available. Once the sun shines, this bite should heat up nicely. Loons and pelicans made their first appearance the last week of April, and locally nesting waterfowl have arrived. Water levels are about 18 to 20 inches higher than this time last year. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

Lake Superior has been busy this week as smelt start to show up in the North Shore streams and rivers. According to the DNR, popular smelting waters include Lester, Knife, Stewart, Gooseberry, Split Rock, Beaver, Baptism, Cross, Temperance, Poplar and Cascade. Learn more at Smelt on the North Shore.

Anglers are taking lots of salmon when trolling the North Shore shoreline. The best tactic has been to troll stick baits in a variety of colors to learn which colors are most productive.

Stream anglers continue to report success with steelhead trout, a few salmon and an occasional brown trout. Some are taking a few suckers as well. The most successful technique is to drift spawn under float indicators. Patience is key. Anglers need to remember that these are migratory fish and eventually one will swim by.

Docks are going in on the St. Louis River. Expect to see anglers testing their boats and trying their luck with panfish prior to the May 11 opener. The MN DNR recently surveyed the spawning walleye up river and the results were very positive.

The inland lakes are giving up lots of panfish in the shallows where the water is warming rapidly. In fact, water temperatures as high as 52 degrees have been recorded. The shallow bays with decaying plants, bug larvae and/or new vegetation are generally the best fishing sites. For the most fish, use a 32-ounce jig tipped with a wax worm or soft plastic under a bobber. A few crappies are also being caught in the shallows by anglers using crappie minnows.

Please remember, that populations of fish can be very vulnerable this time of year. Please release the larger fish and harvest the more plentiful smaller fish. By doing so, we all win! 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids area offers many early season panfish opportunities once lakes are free of ice. Most anglers target crappies, but there are also great opportunities for bluegill and perch. As the shallows warm and forage increases, look for panfish in water as shallow as 2 to 3 feet. You will need to quietly sneak up on the fish since they are so shallow. A small slip bobber with a jig in soft bottom areas with old stands of pencil reeds are great spots for early season crappies. Instead of anchoring, try a trolling motor to move freely with a bit of control. Four pound test line is ideal and very manageable, even for the largest crappies and bluegills. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Northern pike and sturgeon reports have been excellent on the south shore of Lake of the Woods.  The bays on the lake and the river are open and full of pike. Large dead baits, as well as slowly rolling a spinnerbait, spoon or crankbait are the best methods. Numerous trophy-class northern pike are being caught. Please remember that all pike 30 to 40 inches in length must be returned to the water. There is a 3 fish limit with one over 40 inches allowed.

The annual Zippel Bay Resort Ice Out Pike Tournament will be held May 4-5, a bit later than usual due to later ice-out predictions. Pike anglers are already pulling nice northern pike from various bays on Lake of the Woods and Zippel Bay is usually a hot spot. Part of the appeal of Zippel Bay is that it’s more secluded, easier to hide from cold winds, and anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon fishing has been excellent. The ideal presentation a 3 to 6 ounce no-roll sinker, a sturgeon rig and a few nightcrawlers or combination of crawlers and frozen emerald shiners. The keep season for sturgeon continues through May 7. If you intend to keep a sturgeon, you must purchase a sturgeon tag ahead of time.

Up at the Northwest Angle, open water areas are increasing rapidly. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bena – Lake Winnibigoshish

As of May 2, nearly all of the ice had melted on Lake Winnibigoshish. Time to prepare for the fishing opener May 11!  Learn about recommended fishing techniques for Lake Winnibigoshish during the Minnesota Fishing Opener.   www.lakewinnie.net

Hackensack Area Lakes

The majority of lakes in the area are wide open, however, as of April 29, Ten Mile still had some ice on the main lake, as did Leech and Woman lakes. All should be free of ice shortly. 800-279-6932; www.hackensackchamber.com  

Central Region

Glenwood Area Lakes

The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska has been the giving up lots of sunfish and crappies. For the most action, use a small jig tipped with a waxworm or minnow. Other good locations have been Fish Hatchery Bay, and Pocket, Reno, Rachael and Mary lakes. www.glenwoodlakesarea.org

Brainerd Area Lakes

North Long, Hubert and all of the smaller lakes within the Gull Lake Chain are producing good numbers of panfish. The best depths and techniques depend on the day.  On sunny days, crappies are preferring minnows in depths of 2 to 5 feet. On cloudy days, bright-colored plastics have been best in depths of 6 to 10 feet. The larger bluegills are schooling at the new weed growth, with plastics and live bait both working well. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

The walleye are hungry on Lake Mille Lacs, with accidental walleye coming in on small plastic crappie baits. Ice out on Lake Mille Lacs was declared April 29, and many docks are already in for the season! Check out the Lake Mille Lacs webcams to view the progress.

Mille Lacs is known to be an excellent fishery for walleye, as well as bass. Consider attending the Bronzeback Blowout at Izatys Resort on May 4. This event helps to maintain Mille Lacs’ world-class trophy smallmouth bass fishery status. Free beer and wine will be offered during Happy Hour, followed by a wonderful buffet meal by the chefs at Izatys. Evening fun includes a silent auction, live auction, raffles and door prizes galore. Special industry guests will also attend. Last year’s event sold out get your tickets soon.

Anglers fishing Mille Lacs may keep one walleye from May 11 through May 31, but the walleye must measure between 21 and 23 inches, or be more than 28 inches long. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Consider participating in the Family Fishing on the Opener on May 11 at Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park. Learn about different types of fish, preparing equipment, baiting a hook and handling fish once they are caught — make memories on the lake with your family! Pre-registration is required.

Stillwater Area Lakes and Rivers

Opening day for walleye and sauger on the St. Croix River is May 4. According to Turk Gierke, fishing should be very good for opening weekend despite high water levels. Live bait and crankbaits should both be effective. 651/351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of May 2, most southeastern streams and rivers were clear with normal to slightly high water flow. Dark Hendricksons were being observed. Several species of caddis were hatching intermittently for the past week or so.  Blue-winged Olives would considered a possibility by DNR fisheries staff. Some anglers were having success with streamers. Learn more at the DNR’s Trout Streams page. Before you go, check out the “Area Highlights” section of the Lanesboro Area Fisheries web pagefor stream maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Albert Lea Area Lakes

The 72nd Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held May 9-12, 2019 on Fountain Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Albert Lea area. Located about 75 minutes south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Albert Lea is nestled between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes. There are 13 lakes in the area, many offering fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. In the heart of the city, the 521-acre Fountain Lake features several great fishing bays and is home to 20 species of fish, including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. 800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org

Ortonville – Big Stone Lake

The bite seems to improve each day the water warms on Big Stone Lake. Anglers having the most success are casting jigs into 1 to 5 feet of water on the rocks. The water is dirty and high so plastics have been best for walleye. The walleye season is continuous on this border water. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com

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Northern Minnesota Early Ice Fishing: Early ice is not safe, wear life jackets!

November 30, 2017

thin ice sign

With daytime temperatures still climbing above freezing even in the northern parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of early ice and use extreme caution when recreating on dangerously cold water. 

Although some locations in the northern and western regions of the state were reporting ice formation at the end of November, the recent fluctuations in weather have led to degraded ice conditions and warnings from public safety officials to stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.

“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Lt. Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs  and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”

A recent tragedy occurred in northern Minnesota when two anglers lost their lives after breaking through thin ice on their ATV. Several emergency ice rescues have also taken place over the last few weeks. Last winter, two people died after breaking through the ice.

Block stressed that once ice formation picks up again, it will be important to stay vigilant about safety on the ice, since conditions can be unpredictable and vary greatly even on the same body of water.

“In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on hard water should be wearing a life jacket,” Block said. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that exponentially increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.”

General ice safety guidelines:

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change  quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know the plan and expected return time.
  • Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
  • 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
  • 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.
  • 12-15 inches for a medium truck.
  • Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.

Open water danger
The lack of ice cover means many bodies of water in the state still have open water accessible to boaters. However, late season anglers, boaters and paddlers are cautioned that a life jacket is an absolute must on cold water.

“A fall into extremely cold water can incapacitate you within seconds,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “Air temperatures have been relatively mild, but don’t let that deceive you. Water temperatures are dangerously cold across the entire state, which means it’s more important than ever to wear that life jacket.”

State statistics show that one-third of boating fatalities typically occur during the “cold water season,” and that in the vast majority of cases the cause of death is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket.

So far in 2017, three boaters have died on cold water, and 12 total boating fatalities have been reported.

“The last three years boaters have enjoyed extended seasons with mild fall temperatures and early ice out in the spring,” Dugan said. “With increased days on the water came higher fatality numbers and a dangerous trend, which should not be ignored. Ten of the 12 deaths involved male boaters who sadly drowned while not wearing a life jacket. This is a continuing and troubling trend that will only plateau or reverse if boaters in that high-risk demographic choose to put safety first by putting on their life jacket.”

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety and mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.

Minnesota fishing report

Minnesota fishing report from White Birch Resort. Check out the great deals from White Birch Resort for your next ice fishing adventure. Offering luxury cabin rentals for the winter with private hot tubs built into the decks.

All of the homes are located on Blackduck Lake which is a well known walleye and perch fishing lake.

For more information go to www.whitebirchresort.net

Preparing ice trails on Lake of the Woods; photo courtesy of www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Few anglers are venturing out now that ice is forming on bodies of water throughout the state — very little information on fishing activity is available at this time.

This is a good time for anglers to prepare their equipment and review the DNR’s Ice Safety Guidelines web page.

For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesotaweb page.

Consider attending the Hard Water Fishing Expo at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Nov. 17-19. Discover the latest ice fishing gear, and attend seminars and Q & A sessions with Ice Team professional.

Northeast Minnesota

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

Fishing has been very slow this last week which is not unusual for this time of year. Water surface temperatures are dropping into the 30s with ice covering most bodies of water. Please note that none of the ice in the Twin Ports area is thick enough for ice fishing. Local anglers expect some fishable ice by the end of the month. Please remember no ice is ever 100 percent safe. It is important to check with area bait shops, resorts or guides before venturing out. This is the time of year to properly clean, organize and prepare your boat for winter storage. It is also a great time to clean, organize and prepare for the upcoming ice fishing season. 800-438-5884www.visitduluth.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Ice stretches as far as the eye can see from the south shore of Lake of the Woods. All of the back bays are now frozen over. The Rainy River is covered in a skim of ice aside from a few areas with open water. The water temperature is roughly 33 degrees so the cold nights will help build ice. The spearing season began Nov. 15, and spearers are eager to head out onto Bostic Bay where measurements have shown 6 inches of ice in some areas. Walleye and sauger are staged along the south shore. They can be found at Pine Island, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point. At the Northwest Angle, many areas have frozen over and some area residents who are very familiar with the lake are using snowmobiles to access the islands. Expectations are high since large schools of walleye were found in these areas just before ice-up. Before venturing out onto the ice, please check with a local resort or bait shop for the most up-to-date information on ice conditions. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Detroit Lakes

While ice has formed on most waters throughout the Detroit Lakes area, it is unsafe for travel. Most area lakes have roughly 3 inches of unstable ice at the shorelines, and a few remain entirely open. The recent pattern of cold days followed by a couple days in the high 30s will continue for a while so ice will probably not be accessible until after Thanksgiving. Please stay off the ice until there is a cold snap that lasts at least 5 to 7 days in a row. 800-542-3992www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

The DNR has announced that walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs will open on Friday, Dec. 1 with no bait restrictions. Anglers may keep 1 walleye measuring 20 to 22 inches, or one longer than 28 inches. For more information on Lake Mille Lacs regulations, check out the DNR news release from Nov. 3. 888-350-2692www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Stillwater – St. Croix River

As of Nov. 9, limits of walleye and sauger were being pulled from the St. Croix River.  Anglers were also taking some huge white bass – these fish are always fun to catch! Just some of the many techniques turning fish include jigging raps, spoons, rapalas, jigs with plastics, and rigged minnows, especially in 18-34 feet of water. www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Thursday, Nov. 16, fisheries staff reported that most area streams and rivers were clear with a normal water flow. Please note that Whitewater State Park is closed for their firearms deer hunt this weekend, November 18 and 19. No one will be allowed in the park unless they are deer hunting and have the appropriate license. There were some amazing midge hatches on Sunday, Nov. 12, with fish being caught on midge adults, pupae and larvae patterns. Southeast stream trout maps are available under “Area Highlights” on the Lanesboro area fisheries web page800-944-2670www.lanesboro.com

 

Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.

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218-835-4552

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Bemidji Region - Minnesota
18882 North Blackduck Lake RD NE Hines, MN 56630 Office 218-835-4552 Cell 218-553-0210
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