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Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!

Fish Tales Archive

© 2017 OutdoorsWeekly.com - Copyright Info

BATTLE LAKE
- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)

Sunfish and crappies are biting on Stalker, Blanche and Walker in 15 feet of water. Tullibee action has picked on Star and Ida lakes. Call us for updated reports!

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LAKE BENTON
- Veire's Mini-Mart - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)

Anglers on the west side of Lake Benton found little action, with relatively little wind. Even the bullheads weren’t biting, and only a few walleyes were pulled out. Action was a little steadier on the east end of the lake, with several nice fishing caught using minnows. Most of the walleyes were smaller males, and many of the females may still be in a pre-spawn pattern.
Rock Lake was also fairly slow, with only a few walleyes coming out, although one group of anglers hooked a channel catfish.
The action on Lake Shetek was also pretty slow, as anglers crowded the banks searching for the year’s first walleyes. Even using a variety of methods, from a bare hook and worm, to Lindy rigs tipped with a minnow, to casting crankbaits, anglers only found a few walleyes worthy of a trip to the frying pan.
Lac Qui Parle had a pretty steady bite a couple of spots on the lake, with the best action coming right at sunrise. Walleyes here seemed to be firmly in a pre-spawn pattern, as most walleyes were caught off shore, vertical jigging from the boat. Small jigs pitched over rocky areas and retrieved slowly caught some heavy pre-spawn females. Fishing should continue to pick up as walleyes cycle through the spawning areas and start to feed heavily post-spawn.

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BLACKDUCK AREA
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)

Perch and walleyes are being caught Blackduck in 15 feet. Crappies and bluegills are biting in 15-20 feet on Pimushe and Gull. Gilstead is producing crappies in 20-25 feet. Give us a call for current ice conditions.

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BRAINERD AREA
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)

The walleye bite remains sporadic on the lake.  When we are able to get some consistent weather patterns the bite seems to pick back up and then the cold fronts can slow it back down.  On the Main Lake, continue to seek out new spots that haven't been touched.  Key in on high percentage areas such as pinch points, inside turns along breaklines, or under water points and edges on main lake reefs.  18-25 ft are good areas to start, but don't be afraid to go deeper depending on the conditions.  Jigging spoons such as flutter type baits or rattle baits are all working tipped with a minnow head, but when the bite has been tougher the dead sticks have been best. 

In Walker Bay, focus on deeper humps in 25-30ft of water.  It seems the steeper edges of these humps are often times better than the gradual sides, but once again key in on high percentage areas on the structure.  The shallow bite near Cedar has been sporadic, but can be really good this time of year if you are able to get set up and be there when the fish move through.  

The perch bite has been improving as well.  Still alot of sorting to be had.  Try looking anywhere between 5-12 ft of water.  That is alot of area on Leech, but look for sand/weed transitions or any greed weeds.  1/8th oz jigging spoons packed full of euro larvae or a minnow is a great search tactic.  Drill alot of holes and keep on moving until you connect.  Look to West Goose Flats, Hardwoods, and the Duck Points as well Agency Bay for possible starting locations.. 

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CHISAGO CITY
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)

Sunfish, crappies and pike are hitting on the south end in 10-12 feet and west end in 15 feet on Chisago Lake. North and South Center lakes are producing a few walleyes. Give us a call for current ice conditions.

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DULUTH
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)

St. Louis River is giving up walleyes and crappies in 12 feet. Crappies biting 15-20 feet on Fish and Whiteface. Island Anglers fishing near shore on the north shore of Lake Superior are catching Kamloops and cohos in the French River area with spawn bags, nightcrawlers, or wax worms.

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ELY
- Babe's Bait and Tackle - BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)

3-20-Lake trout season is rapidly coming to an end here in Minnesota and some anglers have seen some good succes catching these tackle testing fish. Burntside, Snowbank, and Basswood Lakes have definitely been placed on the list of go to places to target the species. Active jigging has proved to be the best method to achieve success. Stream trout action has been sporadic, but some anglers have managed to catch at least a few on Miners, Tofte, and High and Dry lakes.
Crappie fishing has been somewhat disappointing when compared to past seasons, although there have been some reports of decent catches. Live minnows suspended above the bottom where the fish are beginning to congregate seems to be most effective. A word of caution. Lake ice conditions are still good on most lakes in the area, but accessing some where moving water is present can be challenging. With the advent of warmer weather,it is only a matter of time when one might have to hang up the ice gear for another season. We have been fortunate here in the north country, as other parts of the state currently have no fishable ice.

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GLENWOOD
- Fish On Bait & Sport www.habitatnow.com
Kyle, 201 S Franklin St, 2 blocks south of stoplights in Glenwood (320-634-3667)

Visit the Habitat Outlet on line at www.HabitatNOW.com for all your habitat needs.  Fish On!

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HACKENSACK
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)

Ice conditions vary by lake but most lakes are between 12" to 22". Leech Lake is seeing 16" to 22" on the main lake with vehicle traffic on most the lake. The bite has slowed due to colder temps but has still been consistent! Most walleyes are being caught in the 18' to 20' range. Dead sticking a shiner has been producing as well as rattling spoons such as the Buckshot or BB Ratttler. Walker bay has been producing off the shoreline breaks as well as the deeper humps.  The pike bite has been strong with most anglers going with a sucker minnow on a tip-up. The panfish bite has been strong with good numbers being reported! Small jigs such as the Bro Bug tipped with a wax worm or maggie seem to be the ticket! Stay warm and be safe!

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KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN
- Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Phil & Ellen Hart, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)

4-16-Well folks we can Celebrate and say Good-bye to hard water. The concensus is Kabetogama ice out occurred either Friday April 14th or overnight into Saturday, April 15th. This ice out is a couple weeks earlier than the norm and water levels are slightly above normal for this time period in April which could be a good combination for opener. If weather stays stable and warm weather persists the walleyes should be done spawning this month, and hopefully leave them hungry come the May opener. What depth is going to work for Opener? If the waters warm slightly that could find the smaller fish out a little deeper than usual. If the water warms in the high 50’s, bait fish will be in spawning, attracting pike and walleye into shallow depths. Let’s all have a Happy, Safe and Great Season on Kabetogama, the Lake with the nation’s Most Fantastic Sunrises and Sunsets, according to National Geographic! Gateway General Customer Appreciation and 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Hart’s is April 21st – Hope you Can Join us for Lunch, Door Prizes and the Opportunity for Us to Say Thank You for the Last 20 Years of Loyalty!! You Have All Been Great To Us – It is Hard to Believe that This is a Job and that 20 Years have Passed Us By!! Thanks for Your Friendship – Arrive at Gateway as a Customer and Leave as Our Friend!! See You Soon!!
Crabby Phil & Ellen Hart

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LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau - www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)

4-17- The spring walleye season closed with a bang as the water cleared up and the fish had the feed bags on with walleyes and saugers of all sizes boated. Now that walleye season is closed until the MN Fishing Opener May 13th, we turn our attention to sturgeon, pike, and sucker fishing. Many big sturgeon boated this past week. Sturgeon fishing has been excellent.  Use a 3-4 ounce no roll sinker, a 1-1.5 foot leader, and a circle hook loaded (called a sturgeon rig) with frozen shiners and crawlers for best results. Anchor boat up stream of a deeper hole and pitch sturgeon rig into the hole. Heavy equipment is preferred.  

Pike becoming active in bays. Ice just left the lake and most bays and water starting to warm up. Nothing heard yet on suckers running but not far off. 

Up at the NW Angle, the ice is gone (in most areas) and it's open water.  Remember, walleyes open May 13th, pike and crappies open all year for LOW MN and sturgeon fishing through May 15th and then again July 1st.  www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com.     

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LEECH LAKE
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) spirit@arvig.net (e-mail) 

3-30-Leech Lake is in the spring mode right now. We still have ice but it's not good ice! Open water is a few weeks away! Once the ice is gone it's time to hit the open water and find some jumbo perch or hit the bays looking for warmer water to find crappies or sunfish. Walleye opener is just around the corner so if you do not have plans already grab your jig box and come enjoy all that Walker/Leech Lake has to offer!

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MILLE LACS
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - www.kuduksguideservice.com
(320-630-1761)
For up to the minute reports, call Chris at 320-630-1761!

Mille Lacs walleye bite has been great on the mud, fish the edges. Reefs also good. Lot of big fish and slot fish. Try jigging spoons. Tullibie starting to bite. Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee, Anne lakes doing great on panfish. Dickies has a special for Vets during the week, ask about it! Roads are good, but check with resort owners or Bill at Lundeen's Bait Store. Dickie's has roads out to 3 mile and east side. Agate Bay has roads, anglers catching perch. Liberty Beach is reopened for food and plowed roads! Osakis north end doing well for panfish and walleye. Listen to Chris and Stan on Outdoors Adventures iHeart radio for fishing reports! Call Chris for a guided ice fishing trip or a report anytime!

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LAKE MINNETONKA
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)

We have open water. Look for crappies in 10-15 feet of water. Try working the channels and bays. Give us a call for reports!

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MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
www.croixsippi.com
(651-208-2811)

The red wing blackbirds are singing their songs right now in the backwaters, sand hill cranes are flocking up, bald eagles are commonly seen, and work barges are sounding their horns... This is the Mississippi River – Pool 4. This April the river does not appear to be on its way to high water, based on the snow pack in the tributaries. Which is good news to many of the rivers anglers. River levels at the start of this month are low and only about 2’ higher than normal. Rains of course bring the level up. Anglers will find the big walleyes a bit deeper than years past because of the low water. Best depth varies weekly… you can count on 10 to 15 feet of water to be a good depth for walleye in April. Saugers are normally deeper and the 15 to 25’ depth is a proven depth to get saugers.

Here are the top five presentations to take walleye and sauger:
1. Jig and minnow vertically presented
2. Drag jigs and plastics into the flow
3. Rig a Dubuque rig into the flow and current seams
4. Cast blade baits to the sand
5. Troll original Rapalas on Wolf River Rigs.

April is trophy walleye time, and the first few weeks are best for huge walleye, there are no guarantees but the chance to get a “fish of the lifetime” is real in April on Pool 4. There are many great bait and tackle shops in the Red Wing area, such as Everts bait shop. Everts is on the water and a couple miles south of the dam. Stop in there to get a handle on daily fishing trends. Pool Four is a great fishery, and on a day with a no rain and warm temperature forecast do not expect to be alone. The good news is from “the head of the lake” to the dam you can catch fish.

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PARK RAPIDS
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
Park Rapids, Minnesota (218-237-5099)

With the weekly averages hovering around 50 degrees the ice conditions on some lakes are very unstable so be careful and constantly check ice thicknesses on any lake this time of year. Both Sunfish and Crappies up around 8'-20' of water slowly moving into the shallows looking for the thick weed growth. Tie on a VMC "Tungsten Tubby" tipped either with a crappie minnow or waxy for best luck at filling the bucket!

https://www.facebook.com/SmokeyHills/

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LAKE TRAVERSE
- Wheaton Service & Bait    www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)

Well, the ice season here on Lake Traverse has come to an end early, the good news is that Lake Traverse opens for walleye on April 22! Wheaton Service and The Fishin Hole Lodge offer Lodging and guiding packages for Walleye, Catfish, or just fish in general! All full day guided packages come with a SHORE LUNCH cooked over an open fire! It doesn't get any better! Lake Traverse has the highest net count on walleye in the state of Mn. The Catfish fishing on Lake Traverse may be World Class, average cats we boated last year were 10 pounds! Check us out at wheatonservice.com or Wheaton Service, or The Fishin Hole Lodge on FB, or give us a call at 320 563-1400 and set up a guided fishing outing today! Take a Kid Fishin!

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WACONIA
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)

We got another surprise batch of SHINERS!  Also, some smaller sucker minnows were delivered as well!

We have a SALE on Extra Large Sucker Minnows, with some Decoys for $1 EACH while supplies last (Regularly priced from $1.75 to $2.50 each).


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WINNIBIGOSHISH
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)

If you want ice, we’ve got it. This will be a good season for ice fishing opportunities on Big Winnie. With good ice conditions anglers are starting to be seen on several areas of the big lake. Northern Pike spearers have been doing well in the Third River Area and the weed beds along the south near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Thickness of ice varies, but most conditions are favorable for ATV and snowmobile travel. Six to eight inches of ice are common and safety should always be a priority. As in years past if you are chasing walleyes the humps and bars will be your best bets especially early and late in the day. Depths of 18-23 feet are prime locations and outside edges should be critical spots to fish. Spoons with a minnow head like the VMC Tumbler and Tinglers are usually my first choices fished close to the bottom and paying close attention to my electronics for a walleye to come sniffing into the bait. Perch fishing will be good on the shallower rocks on the north side and look for the crappie bite to be good on Big and Little Cutfoot. Small VMC Tubby jigs with wax worms or plastics will be good for crappies and bluegills. Keep moving until you find active fish.

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