Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Matt Johnson

fishing reports
Metro Area Minnesota Fishing Reports by Matt Johnson

303 posts in this topic

icon_rss.gif - Subscribe to this fishing report. smile

Spent some time on a few different Metro Area lakes over the past few days and found a big variance in ice conditions. Some lakes had a solid 4-5" across most of what I could travel to and other lakes had sketchy spots with less than 3" of ice... moral of the story here... BE SAFE IF VENTURING ON THE ICE RIGHT NOW!! No need to risk anything as it's a long ice fishing season.

 

We also saw warmer than usual temps/weather today which definitely softened things out there a bit. A lot of water on top of the ice and those lakes that were just starting to make safe ice are now back in the quastionable stage. We need some colder temps... which could be the case if the forecast is correct for the end of the week...

 

As far as the fishing goes, the bite has been pretty good. A lot of fish are still schooled up and willing to bite a lot of different offerings. Plastics... maggots... you name it, they'll eat it. Big thing I've noticed is that you need to move away from the pod of fish to continuously catch the larger fish. The big fish are not sticking around long but rather on the move constantly. I've been watching them on the camera and they move in and move out pretty quick. The smaller fish will stay put and pester you, but the larger fish are constantly relocating. Fire up the auger and go after them!

 

Even though I said a lot of presentations are working, I'm mostly sticking with plastics to keep up with the run and gun style of fishing. The specific brand doesn't seem to matter a whole lot, at least not near as much as the aggressive hops with slow falls for an action. They want that eratic jump with an enticing fall... triggers them every time!

 

Most fish are found in less than 20 feet of water for me... although I'm seeing anglers out deeper, but my best action is on that deep weed line in that 13-18 foot range. Pike are there too wink

 

Good luck if you get out there and again, I can't stress enough, BE SAFE!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report Matt thanks!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lakes look even worse today. A lot of the ice is water-logged and really softening up. Some spots we didn't even consider walking on. There is still "some" safe ice but a lot of it is questionable. I'm still seeing some anglers venturing out but there are some limitations to where you can go. This rain is not helping the situation.

The good news is that it's going to get colder tomorrow night... supposed to drop into the low teens if the forecast is correct... then only a high in the 20's on Friday and Saturday... let's hope they're right...

And again, I can't stress it enough... BE SAFE OUT THERE if you venture onto the ice right now... not worth the risk...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ice is back on the up-and-up, even after today's warm spell the ice is still is pretty decent condition. Starting to see more and more ATV and snowmobiles moving around but I still stress the word "caution" if heading out on the ice with machines, as there are still some weak spots in certain areas that need to be avoided.

Otherwise, in regards to fishing the bite has really picked up. A lot of fishing willing to actually hold in an area now and you can pick several fish (and decent fish) out of a hole before they move on. You still need to hole-hop and be willing to run and gun but the fish are deifnitely willing to cooperate more. Tackle choices didn't seem to matter a whole lot... just find fish and game on!

Depths ranged anywhere from 6-15 feet with the best action on the outside weed edge in 10-13 feet of water. Snapped off on a few pike but also landed a few as well... so no matter the species you're targeting--big or small--the bite is happening!

It looks like this week's forecast should be comfortable, but still cold enough to continue to make some ice... what more could we ask for!? smile Good luck out there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found some weird bites the last week or so... a lot of fish moving vertically and not so much horizontally. Sit over a pod of fish and watch them come up to the bait but miss the school and don't expect them to commit by making big moves... case in point: sunken trees and humps can be your best friend right now smile

My best pattern right now is to stake claim to an isolated piece of structure that's holding fish, then stay put. Those fish WILL and ARE biting... just run through the motions of presentations options until you find something that works and hold on! I've found this to work on several different bodies of water lately.

As far as presentation goes, I'm a HUGE advocate for artificials, namely plastics, but I have to admit that lately these fish want a piece of meat... and in the form of red and/or white maggots... you can leave the rest of the colors at home. Waxworms have their time too, but I've been doing the best on maggots. Jig choice doesn't seem to matter a whole lot as long as it glows red or glows blue and resides in that size 12 range... I've used five different company's jigs in variety of different models and it doesn't matter a whole lot as long as you have the above variables in place.

Depth ranges start at about 7' and go to 22' for me... but focusing on those 8-15' ranges still seem to be key. Cover/structure is a huge plus too... namely sunken wood... not sure why but the gills are heavily focused on wood this year... much be some kind of hatch and/or prey relating to wood because of the conditions and the sunfish are following suit. Crappies are on the outside weed lines or first break basins.

This warm weather has stopped the ice growth for a lot of area lakes, but it hasn't killed the ice... HOWEVER, still proceed with caution as I'm still finding weak spots on A LOT of different lakes. Go with a buddy and just error on the side of caution... still a lot of fishing ahead of us and no need to risk anything...

Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone! Catch a few fish!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully everyone found a chance to spend some quality time with family and friends... and maybe even get in a little ice fishing... or open water fishing wink

Story seems to be the same for me... fish are keying in on like areas as the last report... although I'm seeing a slightly more structure-orientated focus as of late... meaning the fish are holding tighter to structure and this for the weed line fish too... open-school pods are harder to come by but the fish are still in the same areas. This has forced us to use slightly more aggressive presentations to find the fish, then slow things down and finesse them up once a group is located. #2 Jigging Raps are hot right now for locating fish and then downsizing to Fiskas or something in the size 10 or 12 size has sealed the deal.

I've also seen the soft-bottom basins light-up on some lakes too. The "transition" areas are producing a little earlier than normal if you can get out to them... I've only messed around in these areas a short amount of time but it will be my go-to pattern later this week... I think a gold mind is waiting at our fingertips... so if your body of water allows, check that second break for large panfish (and walleyes). Start simple so you can hook both species then let your flasher or camera determine which one is actually out there...

Cold weather right now... this is good for us in the Metro... about time we actually make more "significant" ice... we need it!

Good luck out there and be safe...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's too bad the cold isn't sticking around.

Highs in the upper 30's and low 40's again this week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinkin of fishin a smaller lake by Independence today. Do u guys think the weather today will effect the ice for today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ice should be safe even with this weather today. The smaller lakes around Independence have been around 6" to 8" of black ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please be careful out there. There are still plenty of thin, and open, areas around the cities, so proceed with caution. (they are clearly marked with signs and fluorescent paint on the ice...NOT!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta admit, this goofy weather has me spooked with the ice. I mostly fish Minnetonka and the ice can vary quite a bit. I usually take a few days off of work this time of year to satisfy my fishing jones, and hop around to several lakes, but this year i'm waiting for thicker ice. I'm hoping Saturday morning to get out for a few hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was out on Carson's Bay this afternoon just to check the ice. There was a guy who just got out and I watched him measure 10" with a tape measure. I'll be out with my portable in the a.m.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of area lakes are ok for foot traffic, even ATV's on some, but like mentioned it's important to still proceed with caution even on foot. Weather has a way of throwing some curveballs at us and it's not worth the risk... I plan on getting back out again tomorrow and I'll report with more ice conditions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tonka Bay area had 7.5 on the tape tonight about 4-500 yards off shore tonight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tired of all the iffy ice I decided to try the river downtown yesterday only to discover the area i was going to was iced over. tryed a little open area and caught 1 large mouth bass and a few sunnys in an hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last couple weeks have surely been interesting... one day it's 20 degrees and things are looking up... then the next day it's 50 degrees and things are getting wet out there! The good news right now though... some cold weather is FINALLY here! Today actually felt good! We need it!

The good new about it being warm out there is that it's darn comfortable hole-hopping out on the ice. Bibs and a hoodie was all that was needed. Made for staying on top of fish a lot easier. Again, we found the cloudy days to produce better, mostly due to the fact that there is no snow cover and relatively thin ice still. Noise plays a factor and so does light penetration... so we did the best on cloudy days and actually noticed things drastically change once the sun popped out (at least on the bites in 10 feet or less).

We've been playing with the walleyes and pike more lately too. Been finding walleyes in water as shallow as 7 feet but mostly in 9-15 feet. One thing I've noticed is the size of rock can dictate the fish present... and cantelope to bowling ball size rocks have been the key for us. Giant rocks and even gravel hasn't produced as well as sticky bottom and medium-sized rocks. Been using 1/16oz spoons packed with maggots for the best results... also dead sticking crappie minnows too. (A little hint: hook the minnow upside down and through the tail, the walleyes love it wink ).

Otherwise the panfish are still eager to bite, but are holding tighter to the bottom for us. Not a big deal other than it's tougher to run around and graph schools of suspending fish on the Vexilar... we're oftentimes forced to fish every hole only to see the bottom move and fish on! Crappies are doing this too. That being said, we've turned to tungsten jigs so we can still fish small but get down there... seems to be working.

With this cold weather I think we'll see some activity. Fish that are holding tight to structure will stay there and not move, but will eat whatever falls in their face. The "flats" fish are going to move to find baitfish more since the hoards of baitfish might be more reluctant to move... activity in cold weather is a good thing smile

I'm looking forward to chasing down a few more walleyes tomorrow and then playing in the weeds to see if the gills are hiding out... hopefully I'll have a good report...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey matt - great reports. Any suggestion on depths for panfish as of late?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been doing the best in about 9-14 feet right now, mostly weed line stuff, but we've got into some good bites out as deep as about 25 feet... others are reporting that they're getting them as deep as 40, but I don't like to fish that deep if I can avoid it. Seems as if the weed bite is the most consistent...

What lake(s) are you fishing? Maybe I can try and point you in the right direction...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we found some more walleyes today and they acted much like they did earlier in the week... coming in at 11 feet of water and those same size rocks were once again critical. We switched gears over to minnow heads intead of maggots on the spoons and it seemed to do the trick. 11 fish between 14-18.5"... must be a strong year-class smile

Northland Tackle 1/16oz Emerald Shiner Rattlin Buck Shot spoons were the ticket... although the two biggest fish came on #3 Jigging Raps in Clown color... didn't tip the Raps with anything but the spoons had on minnow heads like mentioned. We tried to coax a few with setlines but no luck, all of the fish came on the jig rod... and they were eager to bite.

One thing we noticed (when we had the camera down) was that EVERY group of walleyes came through in 2's or 3's... they were never alone and never grouped in larger schools. However, we almost always got two of the fish to hit... so can't complain... regardless, they are not acting like typical walleyes.

Other than walleyes, we did try to target some panfish in the weeds but not much happening. Not sure if we hit the wrong areas or what but it was mostly a dead sea up tight in the jungle... but when we moved back out onto the weed line we found fish. I fully expected some larger fish to be up in the weeds but no-go... there was a light layer of snow covering the ice too today so I thought that would have helped... welcome humble pie blush

One bright side to catching walleyes with 1/16oz spoons is that the weed line crappies like the same presentation. Sure made it nice to hole-hop and not worry about bringing multiple rods... fished a Thorne Bros Quiverstick blank with 2" taken off the tip to tighten things up... worked well on the walleyes and even the crappies... a good all-around 1/16oz rod...

Tomorrow looks to be a little warmer... today was "cold" for what we've been used too, LOL... but it felt good and we're making ice! Good luck this weekend everyone and be safe!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we will be hitting tonka tomorrow, and maybe some of the uptown chain of lakes next week if there is good enough ice. Your most recent post will be helpful. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did you do on Tonka? The weed bite has really been good out there for pannies. Mostly outside weed line stuff. A lot of fish locating in the deeper holes but mostly numbers and not as much size. Once we get some snow on the ice you can except the shallow weed bite to really take off. I'm a firm believer that most people drive right by the best fishing spots out there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put a more detailed post on the fishing reports thread but I set up on a weed line on the edge of s deeper hole and all I could catch were perch! Not a single pan fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What bay were you on? North Arm has been good and those who are getting out to Horseshoe reef/bar are finding the crappies on the outside weed edge. Problem with Tonka right now is getting around since most of the lake is not easily accessible during the winter. Ice is doing well out there but we could use a few more inches before truly entering the comfort zone...

One thing I've noticed on Tonka recently is that you need to move until you find panfish... they will typically not come to you... but once you find them then you're usually on them for a while. Dinky perch all over is a good sign to move to a new spot... I've never done well over large pods of small perch... unless targeting suspended fish in the evenings, as they will appear higher in the water column while the perch mess around at the bottom...

If it were me, I would relocate to a deeper break or hole... they should be going in those spots with the cold spell we're about to get... and then next weekend hit the pockets in the weeds... supposed to be 40 degrees on Sunday...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty sure perch are considered panfish... just sayin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite possibly... but I'm referring to sunfish and crappies when using the term "panfish"... sorry for the confusion...

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now



  • Similar Content

    • monstermoose78
      By monstermoose78
      I know the lakes are open and that means some the first open water fishing spots are producing. Any one out there catching em yet? I will be riggin the ultra light up today so I can stop on my way home from work.  
    • monstermoose78
      By monstermoose78
      I know the lakes are open and that means some the first open water fishing spots are producing. Any one out there catching em yet? I will be riggin the ultra light up today so I can stop on my way home from work.  
    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      3.13.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing Report


      Hello from the NW Angle!

      The snow pack has diminished and snowmobile trails on the the lake are icy. The forecast for this week is great for extending our ice fishing season.

      On the Minnesota side, the number of perch have greatly increased with many 14 inchers being caught. Good sized saugers are being seen as well. The dead stick is still productive, rattlers and spoons used as attracting method in the sand or mud off of the rock structure.

      Canadian fishing has been consistent, limits of crappies are being caught in 30-33ft with fine plastics that wiggle. Walleyes can be had easily near rock structure in 22-26 feet.

      Until next week,

      Sunset Lodge Ice Team


    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      3.6.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing & Ice Report


       
      Hello from the NW Angle!

      Mid-week we are expecting temperatures in the teens and a few inches of snow which should help extend the hard water season!

      On the Minnesota side, fishing has really picked up. The morning bite is strong up until the noon hour and picks back up again around 4pm. With the longer days, the evening bite is a little more consistent. Black and gold as well as pink and white have continued to produce the most fish. We are fishing more rock piles than in February and are having good luck at depths between 22 and 24 ft.

      On the Canadian side, holes between 28 and 30 feet are a solid bet for crappies. Blue and white tungsten with a red mustache worm or wax worm have been very productive. We are seeing a lot more perch in our catch.
       
      Still a couple weeks of great fishing left, come join us!
       
      Until next week,


      Sunset Lodge Ice Team






    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      2.27.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing Report

      Hello from the NW Angle!

      Ice conditions are still favorable with 20-24 inches of solid ice in non-current areas. Snow cover is minimal on snowmobile trails but are still being groomed and in good condition.

      On the Minnesota side, we are seeing walleyes being caught  on shallower rock points between 20-24 feet as well as deeper mud between 28-30 feet. A good number of saugers and perch are also being produced. Black and gold have been performing very well using a variety of baits.

      Canada is still producing but the crappie bite has been hot and cold within the last week. Walleyes are are most active on rock humps with successful colors being, blue and white, pink and gold.

      Until next week!

      Sunset Lodge Ice Team


    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      2.20.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing Report

      Hello from the NW Angle!

      We still have lots of ice up here, however the snow pack is diminishing rapidly, especially with the warm temps and rain in the forecast.

      On the Minnesota side, fishing away from structure seems to be most productive with target depth being from 22-30 feet. Gold continues to be the hot color. The amount of perch we are seeing in our buckets continues to increase.

      Fishermen on the Canadian side are still reaching their crappie limit with ease, fishing holes between 29 and 35 ft. A variety of baits are producing including, wax worms, mustache baits and dead minnows.

      Until next week,

      Sunset Lodge Ice Team


    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      2.20.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing Report

      Hello from the NW Angle!

      We still have lots of ice up here, however the snow pack is diminishing rapidly, especially with the warm temps and rain in the forecast.

      On the Minnesota side, fishing away from structure seems to be most productive with target depth being from 22-30 feet. Gold continues to be the hot color. The amount of perch we are seeing in our buckets continues to increase.

      Fishermen on the Canadian side are still reaching their crappie limit with ease, fishing holes between 29 and 35 ft. A variety of baits are producing including, wax worms, mustache baits and dead minnows.

      Until next week,

      Sunset Lodge Ice Team


    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      2.13.17 Sunset Lodge Fishing Report

      Hello from the NW Angle!

      On the Minnesota side, fishing has really picked up this week! The ice is thick and temps are nice, making for a much more pleasurable hard-water experience. Less turbidity has really allowed for more natural colors to work. Using the dead stick is still producing the most fish with depths under a foot off of the bottom. Lots fish in the slot, as well as, multiple over 28!

      On the Canadian side, walleyes are being caught in transition zones, with gold and pink and whites being the hot colors. The crappie bite is at 30ft plus in the mud with Tungstens topped with plastic. Jigging spoons with a minnow head are also producing fish.

      Until next week,

      Sunset Lodge Ice Team


    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      Another week has come and gone up here at the Angle. The weather sure changed for us up here. The week started with below zero temps and we ended the week in the 30's with some rain mixed in. It still didn't affect the fishing, as houses produced their limits of fish once again including a 31", 11 pound walleye!

      On the Minnesota side, we still have our houses scattered all around in 22-28 feet of water. Gold, pink and green were the best, tipped with a minnow or minnow head. We have had perch and saugers mixed in with all the walleyes, too!

      On the Canadian side, the crappie and walleye bite has been very good! Crappies have been in 28-33 feet of water. Only fish to your limit and then switch to another species’ for the rest of the day. Walleyes have been great in 22-29 feet, using the same colors as the Minnesota side, tipped with a minnow or minnow head.

      This is Forrest Huset with another fishing report.

      We hope to see you all at Sunset Lodge this winter!




    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      Another week has come and gone up here at the Angle. The weather sure changed for us up here. The week started with below zero temps and we ended the week in the 30's with some rain mixed in. It still didn't affect the fishing, as houses produced their limits of fish once again including a 31", 11 pound walleye!

      On the Minnesota side, we still have our houses scattered all around in 22-28 feet of water. Gold, pink and green were the best, tipped with a minnow or minnow head. We have had perch and saugers mixed in with all the walleyes, too!

      On the Canadian side, the crappie and walleye bite has been very good! Crappies have been in 28-33 feet of water. Only fish to your limit and then switch to another species’ for the rest of the day. Walleyes have been great in 22-29 feet, using the same colors as the Minnesota side, tipped with a minnow or minnow head.

      This is Forrest Huset with another fishing report.

      We hope to see you all at Sunset Lodge this winter!




  • Posts

    • leech~~
    • Rick G
      Big Watab lake "St Cloud area" between Cold Spring and St Joseph. Couple smaller bodies of water in the area as well.... Mn DNR lakefinder is helpfull. Couple small steams in this area too.
    • Rick G
      Lol..... u got me.... I know I look odd, but that is the way the good Lord made me..... That and my homley parents...lol
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      I have also heard the rumors that the DNR removed adult fish to plant into other lake years ago. I heard that a few locals had gone as far as to threaten to dynamite the Pike River Dam if that practice did not stop!  I have never heard any proof either way on that report. I assume that fry are planted into lakes that they cannot reproduce in to give fishermen in the area of those lakes the chance to fish for walleyes. Most lakes that the walleyes can reproduce in naturally usually do not require yearly planting to maintain a fishable walleye population. The DNR quit milking walleyes early because they had no demand for fry elsewhere in the state. They very seldom try to fill all of the egg batteries in the hatchery anyway. Cliff  
    • smurfy
      so i'm heading up next wed. will I need to bring my ice fishing stuff!!!!!!!!!!!