Well, from my own experience I’ve noticed our ice conditions have gotten a little “sketchy” with this warmer weather, so PLEASE proceed with caution. Next question would be how’s the fishing? I’ll leave that up to the experts….Here’s what I’ve heard. You can also get more info on the latest Brainerd Outdooors episode that can be found here and here.
LAKE MILLE LACS
East – The southern bays have 10 to 13 inches of ice, while the main lake has thinner ice and some cracks – most people are fishing within one mile of shore. Walleye reports have been best with jigging spoons during the evening hours on the 12- to 18-foot shoreline breaks. Tip ups and sucker minnows are turning pike in the bays over 12 feet, and decent numbers of 9 to 11-inch perch are being caught in the bays during the day as well.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
West – Ice depths are now 7 to 9 inches on most of the lake, but anglers haven’t been traveling far to catch fish. There are ATVs being used on the lake, but if you plan on hitting the flats, bring planks in case of cracks. Walleye fishing has been best on rock points and piles in 16 to 27 feet. The bays also are producing fish in 18 to 24 feet with some perch mixed in.
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
Crappies are hitting on North Long Lake, Round Lake, Cullen Lake, and Nisswa Lake in 8 to 20 feet on glow jigs and minnows. Eurolarvae and small jigs are producing sunfish at North Long and Nisswa in 9 to 15 feet. Lakes such as Gull, North Long, and Cullen are safe bets for northern pike in 8 to 15 feet on tip ups and sucker minnows. Walleyes are hitting spoons or rainbow minnows in 14 to 22 feet at North Long, Round, and Gull. Ice depths vary, especially on the main portion of Gull, but 8 to 12 inches is being found on most areas being fished.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
Look to Rabbit Lake, Nokay Lake, Bay Lake, and Serpent Lake early and late each day with spoons for walleyes in 16 to 22 feet. Crappies and northern pike are hitting at Upper Dean Lake in 14 to 17 feet. You’ll also find crappies on Big Mahnomen Lake during low-light periods in 15 feet or more and the north end of Bay in 16 feet. Anglers are reporting 7 to 9 inches on most lakes.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912
Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows in 15 feet on Lake Washburn and Kego Lake in 18 feet. Lawrence Lake is giving up crappies in 12 to 14 feet during the morning hours on minnows. Look to the north end of Lake Esquagamah for sunfish in 12 to 14 feet and West Fox Lake started giving up walleyes during the evening hours in 10 feet. Anglers are reporting 6 to 10 inches of ice where they’ve been fishing.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Anglers are reporting up to 12 inches of ice on the small lakes, with 6 to 8 inches on the bigger bodies of water. Walleyes are hitting minnows on setlines or jigging baits on Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Baby Lake, and Pine Mountain Lake in 18 to 22 feet. Birch continues to give up bluegills during the morning hours in 14 to 18 feet, as is Pleasant in 14 to 18 feet. Look to Stoney Lake, Child Lake, and Birch for suspended crappies over deep water. Suckers or shiners are producing pike on most lakes in less than 10 feet.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
Anglers are reporting 6 to 12 inches of ice on area lakes. Perch have started hitting in Broadwater Bay on Woman Lake in 6 to 8 feet. Crappies are active during the evening hours at Girl Lake in 12 to 15 feet, Lake Wabedo over 35 feet, and Big Sand Lake in 15 to 18 feet. Bluegills remain active on Mable Lake in 10 feet. The shoreline points on Little Boy are giving up walleyes during low-light periods in 16 to 20 feet – spoons and minnow heads are working best.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Most lakes have 6 inches of ice, with a bit less on the main portions of the big lakes. The bays on Fish Trap Lake are giving up crappies and sunfish and Green Prairie Lake is kicking out sunfish in 8 to 10 feet. Look to Lake Alexander for a few walleyes during the evening hours in 15 to 18 feet.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Ice conditions continue to be good with at least 8 to 10 inches reported out from shore where people have been fishing. Northern pike and perch remain active along the west shore in 8 to 10 feet and expect anglers to start venturing farther out onto the lake soon with the good ice.
The main lake now has areas with 10 to 14 inches of ice. Walker Bay is capped with 8 to 10 inches around the shorelines, but thinner ice the farther out you go, so you need to watch where you travel. Spoons and hole hopping is producing walleyes on the south end rocks in 10 to 14 feet. The Sand Point area is giving up perch and a few walleyes in 6 to 10 feet. Look to Trader’s Bay in 12 to 15 feet for perch and a few walleyes as well.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company (218) 547-2250