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Sportland_Bait

Favorite Early Ice Lakes?

7 posts in this topic

I know that it is still hunting season and a few of you die-hards are still getting in on the last few days of open water, but I am starting to think about the winter season. As I am starting to prepare the tackle shop for the upcoming season It got me thinking about hot spots for the early ice period. Does anyone have some favorite lakes they like to start on? I know that I have a few on my list. Plus I have a couple of sleepers I am going to hit up as soon as it is safe. I mostly fish for walleyes in the winter but I have a couple of spots that have been good for crappies too. Here are a few of the lakes I want to try next month if everything goes as planned.

1. Mille Lacs walleyes- I'm sure this is on most anglers lists but it is just too good to pass up. There is nowhere better for numbers and trophy potential. As soon as anglers can access the mud flats is the best time to be there.

2. Gull Lake walleyes- I have to stick with my home lake. Gull is pretty tough to beat for numbers of eater fish early in the season. We spend most of our time each winter on Gull for good reason, it is a pretty consistent performer. Lots of spots to try and most hold fish.

3. Pelican Lake walleyes- There are probably more walleyes caught on Pelican in December and January than the rest of the season. The shoreline breaks are full of hungry fish up to 24 inches. With quite a few access points this lake receives it share of anglers.

4. North Long walleyes- Over the past few years NL has been a local favorite for early season eyes. Fish of all sizes are common over the first few weeks of the season. Plus NL has a tendancy to freeze solid pretty early in the season.

5. Gull Lake Chain crappies & sunfish- If you can access these smaller lakes the panfish action can be phenomenal. The evening crappie bite can be great with fish up to 12 inches common. Small glow jigs tipped with a maggot will do the trick for slabs.

Plus there are some great smaller lakes in the area. I've been checking the DNR stocking/netting reports for sleeper lakes. Sometimes these lakes are the best early in the season. With safe ice about a week earlier than these bigger waters they might be worth exploring.

The lakes I listed are popular hot spots, but they are my favorites early in the year. Is anyone else getting excited yet? If so what are some of your favorite early season lakes?

Jason Erlandson

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In the past, I had a few good early ice spots on Round, but it's been pretty slow for me the last few seasons. Not sure what the deal is.

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Little Secret Lakes are my favorites wink.gif

Gull, Hubert, and of course North Long though aren't too shabby either.

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Round can also be pretty good to start the season. It offers good ice until the other lakes freeze up. With decent walleye spots within walking distance from shore it is a popular early ice hot spot.

Jason Erlandson

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Hey Jason and Dan,

Lets make note the history on all lakes and remember the gentleman that lost his life I think last year on Round lake with his 4 wheeler. Because you guys monitor this board the most a reminder from you guys is always good to read. Thank you guys for keeping the public on top of what current ice conditions look like. Noting the lost of a person and all that have been effected may need to just remind people of early ice conditions. This time of the year ice is for the most part very dangerous because it can very all across the lake with little room for safe measurable of ice.

Please everyone be careful and not get to excited and hit the ice and assuming that the first 100 ft of ice is the same thinkness all across the lake.

mr

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Whitefish!

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Good call meat run, I know that some anglers get excited and caught up in the early ice frenzy. But we all need to slow down sometimes and just use caution. Every year I try to post on nearly a daily basis here and on our site www.sportlandbait.com the latest ice conditions as they change. They change often early in the year so I have a few of our fishing guides on the ice checking things as it goes. Every year is a little different. We'll do our best to keep everyone informed.

Jason Erlandson

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