Minnesota Statewide Fishing Report 12-15-17

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 12-15-17

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

As of Tuesday, Dec. 12, staff at Voyageurs National Park state that there is not enough ice to start staking trails. All park snowmobile and ski trails remain closed due to the lack of safe load-bearing ice. For the most up-to-date information on Voyageurs’ ice and trail conditions check Voyageurs National Park’s website. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org


Ice conditions have been improving daily. Fortunately, the last snowstorm fell apart, allowing the ice to form rapidly without a blanket of snow. Portable fish houses are starting to appear near the Kabetogama Visitor Center area and in areas southeast towards Sphunge Island and Duck Bay. Anglers are reporting lots of success with jumbo perch and walleye. Foot travel and light machines are the best modes of travel at this time. Always check with the Park Service (Facebook and website page) for the most up-to-date ice conditions. Anglers are asked to only travel in areas that have been checked. Spear fishing has been exceptional, some say the best in years! Tom Cod Bay is producing numerous pike, along with many trophies. No one is going home disappointed. Anyone planning to fish the Tom Cod Bay area should give Sandy Point Resort a call for the most current reports. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

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

Ice is beginning to stabilize. There are some decent ice conditions for walking and even a few areas where snowmobiles and ATVs can access the ice. As always, extreme caution must be taken when heading out. At this time, the ice cannot support vehicles. Ice on area lakes averages 5 to 12 inches thick depending on size of the lake and other factors. Most of the small to mid-size inland lakes have the thickest ice for ice fishing — the deeper lakes that hold a larger volume of water are lagging behind. The smaller lakes can be the most productive fishing lakes for fast action, whether it’s chasing tip-ups for northern pike, bass or the occasional walleye, or jigging for panfish. Anglers are having the most success when fishing the vegetation. Use small 1/32–ounce jigs tipped with a couple spikes or a wax worm for panfish and an occasional predatory fish. A nice set-up is a dead stick hole with a crappie minnow under a float about one-quarter off the bottom, and a jig stick hole nearby. Crappies seem to be most active at dusk, but a few are being taken throughout the day. Tip-ups are working well near shorelines in shallower waters. Northern pike and bass are fun to fish for during the day, with walleyes are showing up in the late afternoons and past dark. The ice on the St. Louis River is dangerous in many locations. While some anglers are starting to venture out onto the Duluth Harbor, the ice ranged from 1.5 to 4 inches at the time of the report. Just because you witness somebody walking on areas that look “sketchy” doesn’t mean that you should. For those that fish the river system, it is important to have the proper safety equipment and always check the ice often! No ice reports are available for Lake Superior. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

While all of the Grand Rapids area lakes have frozen over, many still do not have enough ice for vehicle travel. Fortunately, ice is building daily. Crappies and bluegills are active on several area lakes and panfishing will remain good throughout most of the winter. Walleye anglers are starting to move away from the breaklines near shore, venturing out to off shore locations and points – the sunken islands are generally the best bet. Early and late in the day are usually best for walleye, especially at the edges of the structure where walleye travel to feed. Sometimes the window of opportunity is an hour or so or just a few minutes can make a difference. Cloudy days can extend the period of time the walleye will feed. Having 2 to 3 rods rigged and ready to go can be key to getting bite. A ripping rapala, which is a slow falling bait with action and sound can be a stellar presentation when trying to attract a school of nearby walleye. Once visible on the electronics, drop a spoon tipped with a minnow head to get a hit — just a slight jiggling often does the trick. The best depths are anywhere from 8 to 20 feet depending on the lake. Big Cutfoot, Sand, Ruby, Long, Moose and Bowstring lakes are all good early season lakes. Most importantly, please use caution while enjoying the early season walleye bite. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Ice fishing is excellent on Lake of the Woods, however, ice conditions vary throughout the lake so anglers are asked to please work through a resort and use their ice roads which are checked daily. Lake trails are being staked by the resorts. Auger extensions may be necessary in some areas. Walleye and sauger are active, hitting almost anything with a shiner attached. Color does not seem to be a factor. Northern pike action remains great in back bays. On the Rainy River, ice stretches from shore to shore but it is unsafe for travel. At the Northwest Angle, the lake is frozen over with good ice in most areas, however, there are some areas with weak spots. ATV and snowmobile travel should only occur on designated and marked trails. The resorts are checking ice conditions often, marking trails, and now placing houses. There are 10 to 15 inches of ice where resorts are taking their guests, and fishing is reported to be excellent. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com


A week of cold temperatures has allowed good ice to develop. While most area lakes have 10 to 12 inches of solid ice, it is still extremely important to check conditions before venturing out. Walleye and perch are biting on Lake Bemidji, especially on the south end of the lake. Nice numbers of perch and a few walleye are being pulled from Lake Irving. Some nice bluegills are coming from Midge and Gull lakes. Grace Lake is kicking out some crappies, along with a few walleye. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Hackensack Area Lakes

Many anglers are accessing the ice on the small to medium-sized lakes. Some of the larger lakes also have fishable ice, but pockets of open water have just frozen over on Pine Mountain, Pleasant, Birch and Baby lakes. Anglers must be extremely careful on all area lakes due to inconsistent ice thickness from lake to lake, and often from one area to another on the same lake. Panfish action has been very good on the smaller area lakes. Crappies are hitting hard in the evening and sometimes during the day in depths of 14 to 18 feet of water. Sunfish have been active early in the day until early afternoon along the significant weed edges in 6 to 16 feet of water. Walleye reports are picking up now that more anglers are heading out. The best reports are coming from Birch, Baby and Leech lakes. Anglers having the most success are using rainbows and shiners on the deep weed edges. 800-279-6932; www.hackensackchamber.com

Detroit Lakes

The Detroit Lakes area had a good week of ice-making with consistent cold temperatures and very little snow. Ice on most pf the shallow basin lakes ranges from 9 to 14 inches thick. Most anglers continue to walk out, but some are using ATVs/UTVs. It will probably be another week to 10 days before vehicle traffic is an option. All fish species have been relating to the outside weed edges. Use small jigs tipped with plastics or wax worms for the panfish. For walleye, try vertical jigging baits tipped with a minnow head or half a minnow. Little Detroit Lake is producing some nice crappies and bluegills off the weed edges in 10 to 12 feet of water. The best technique is a small jig tipped with wax worms or spikes. Big Floyd Lake is giving up bluegills off the green weeds in 10 to 14 foot depths. Walleyes are active early and late in the day, hitting Swedish pimples with minnow heads in 12 to 17 feet of water on Melissa and Sallie lakes. Northern pike are active on many area lakes. As always, please check with a resort or bait shop for the most current ice conditions for the lake you intend to fish. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Area Lakes

While there is some good ice for ice fishing, there is also a lot of open water. Anglers are asked to use extreme caution, and plan ahead before heading out. Traveling by foot is very peaceful. Walleye anglers will want to head for areas that are best in late-May and early-June. Use a jigging spoon on one line, and hang a nice sucker or shiner on a set line for the most success. Northern pike should be near the walleye on many lakes this time of year. A sucker on a tip up or rattle reel can work wonders. They’re a lot of fun to catch on “hand” lines. For panfish, check out the mid-depth weed flats and holes in the lake’s basin. Keep an eye on the weather and shifting ice conditions if you’re going to head out on a lake this week. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Alexandria Area Lakes

As of late last week, the ice on Alexandria area lakes was very inconsistent, ranging from 1 to 10 inches thick. It was so variable that while some anglers were already using wheel houses in some areas, there were lakes that had just frozen over. Overall, fishable ice could be found around the edges of most small- to medium-sized bodies of water. 800-245-2539; www.explorealex.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

There is 4 to 8 inches of ice in Isle Bay on Lake Mille Lacs, with nice numbers of northern pike and walleye being taken. Last weekend, three northern pike measured between 41 and 42 inches. Anglers will want to brush up on specific Lake Mille Lacs regulations for both species. Learn more at the DNR’s Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations web page. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Contact White Birch Resort for Your Next Minnesota Vacation Experience

Connect with us


Bemidji Region - Minnesota
18882 North Blackduck Lake RD NE Hines, MN 56630 Office 218-835-4552 Cell 218-553-0210
Email - vacation@whitebirchresort.net