Look to the harbors and channel areas for a few crappies, though the bite has slowed since last week. A few days of warm weather should get these fish active again. The entire lake is now free of ice, which is encouraging for opening weekend.
Lake of the Woods
The Rainy River and Four Mile Bay area is completely free of ice. There also is open water a mile past Pine Island and throughout much of the Northwest Angle.
Leech Lake Area
There was still a lot of ice on the lake early this week. The bays had started to open and the main-lake ice was starting to bust loose. Given the warm weather this week, there should be plenty of open water to work this weekend.
Minnows and wax-worms are producing a lot of crappies throughout the lake. These fish are located along the shorelines out to about 10 feet of water. You’ll find some sunfish mixed in, but most have been small.
Twin Cities Metro:
Crappies and sunfish have become very active in the shallow bays of lakes such as White Bear, Vadnais and Centerville. The marinas and docks scattered throughout the St. Croix River also provided an improved crappie bite this week. Walleyes and sauger are scattered but active on the St. Croix. A jig and minnow is working best in water eight to 23 feet deep.
Panfish action has been slow to develop. Most anglers started getting out this week and experienced limited success along the shorelines and shallow bays. By this weekend, look for most dark-bottomed bays to be holding sunfish and crappies.
The shallow bays on most small lakes started producing crappies. The afternoon hours have been best once the water warms. Look for small jigs tipped with minnows or wax-worms to work best. The bigger lakes have yet to produce much for panfish.
The ice is out and the crappies have started to hit in the bays and shoreline areas of East Battle Lake, Ten Mile Lake and West Battle Lake. The best sunfish reports are coming off Deer Lake and Mollie Stark Lake in two to six feet of water.
There was some ice floating on the big lakes early this week, but it was going fast. Most small lakes now have opened, but panfish reports have been limited. Look for this to improve by the weekend.
Crappie fishing has picked up this week in the bays, channels and harbor areas of Gull Lake. The smaller lakes also have started producing panfish, most of which are coming from less than five feet of water. Nisswa, Margaret, North Long and Round are all worth noting.
RED WING AREA
The walleye bite on the Mississippi River has been slower this week as most fish are now in the post-spawn period. The most consistent bite has been downriver from the High Bridge to the mouth of Lake Pepin with bright-colored Shad Raps. Crappie action has picked up around the docks at Baypoint Park.
The ice is completely out and a few crappies have been caught close to shore. Accidental walleye catches have been the mainstay for panfish anglers. There are also a lot of suckers in the creeks, which has kept many people busy this week.
The ice is gone from all inland lakes, but the panfish have yet to start biting in the shallows. On Lake Superior, trolling stickbaits near the surface down to 30 feet of water has produced coho salmon and lake trout. Kamloops action has been best in the Lester River and Sucker River with spawn sacs.