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FishinJeff

Which lake for opener?

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FishinJeff

I am brand new to this forum but am a long time fisherman. However, I have never done any fishing in the St. Cloud area. I will be fishing the St. Cloud area this opener, and am considering several area lakes: Big Birch, Little Birch, Big Fish, Rice, Grand and Pearl. My only research is based on the DNR Lake Surveys (no actual fishing or recommendations). What lake would you recommend? Any lakes I should avoid? Any other suggestions?

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TheJoster

I like the Horseshoe Chain. I think the pros in this forum will tell you that it is too crazy on the chain. I have a cabin on the chain and have done well. Past two openers the water was very cold. Fishing picked up two weeks after the opener. This year the water is warming quicker. The chain is part of the Saulk River. It is a bunch of lakes that fish like a river. The fish don't spook easy. Some of the best fishing is during the day. You don't need any chop to find walleyes daytime feeding in 4 to 6 feet of water. I work the shoreline in the River down from Cedar Island Lake. Don't even think about trolling under the highway 22 bridge. That would make anybody crazy. If you go there you will know just what I mean.

TheJoster

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IceHawk

Firs off welcome to the forum and the area. As far as the lakes you have mentioned I fish them all and they all have there moments when they shine. For a opener lake of all mentioned I would open on Rice. Rice is a popular lake and the crowds will be there but it consistently produces fish on the opener. It is a semi shallow lake fed by a river system so the water temps usally warm faster then the other lakes you mentioned. Don't be intimidated by the people I fish Rice alot and there are many spots on the lake that produce fish early that are untouched by other boaters. The key is always think shallow on Rice alot of the walleyes in this system relate to shallow structure and weeds. Catching fish in 2- 5 ft of water is not un-common. My second option would be Big-Birch but I personally would wait about 2 weeks after opener to hit this one.

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FishinJeff

Joster...thanks for the info. I see there are multiple ramps on the chain. Any ramp better than the others (parking availability)?

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FishinJeff

Thanks for the info IceHawk. Is there room at the public access to beach the boat for a couple hours if guy wanted to stretch his legs/eat lunch? I live about 90 minutes from Rice and want to make a full day of fishing, but my dad will be along, and he likes to get out of the boat once in awhile.

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IceHawk

There is spots on both acesses to beach and take a rest. There is a resort on the lake that you could pull up to if you want two take a break. The resort has food(Baskets etc)

and refreshments (Beer,Pop etc) it should be running around the opener.

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TheJoster

The highway 22 ramp is a nice ramp. You can be sure that it will be busy for the opener. I am a resident and my boat will be on my lift. I'm not a good one to ask.

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Borch

Other options that can be very good on the opener. Lake Koronis which is another 15-20 minutes up the road from Rice. You want to fish this much like Rice. Also don't rule out Little Rock. This backwater lake on the Mississippi River can be very good early in the year. Especially opener. I've done very well on Grand during openers with an early spring. I think this spring might qualify. Again key on cabbage patches and crawlers have at times been the ticket even that early. One nore option is the river section between Cold Spring and Richmond. Check out necked down areas and bends. Some get a lot of pressure and others do not. Live bait rigs, jig and cranks have produced well for me here over the years.

Good Luck!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Troy Smutka
      2/18/18     Got out on an area lake an hour before sunrise Saturday. Got a bunch of crappies until they slowed about 9 am. Most between 9.5 and 11 inches. Sunfish started biting about sunrise and bit all morning. Half of them were 8 to 8.5 inches. Most of the rest were 7 to 7.5 inches. Kept two meals of fish--released the rest. 1/32 ounce VMC Tungsten Tubbies tipped with a single wax worm or two red Eurolarvae fished just above some weeds in thirteen feet of water caught fish after fish. Lots of good ice on area lakes. Even though walleyes and pike close in just over a week and wheel houses can't stay out unattended soon, still a lot of good ice fishing for panfish to come. Will have plenty of ice for a while, so get out and enjoy the peace and quiet and fast crappie and sunfish action that March will bring. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.
    • IceHawk
      Had a chance to rub shoulders and fish with some of the ice team guys today. Great bunch of guys we had some good laughs and of course discussed plenty about fishing. Even shared a few hotspots. The hands on they give the people that sign up for this event is absolutely amazeing! From hands on to tips on everything to do to make your day on the ice way more productive. From what I witnessed it would be well worth the investment to sign up for one of there events , if you are new to fishing or heck even a seasoned angler.  Fished with one guy from Nebraska said he has done 5 of these events and has enjoyed everyone of them.  Fun day for sure 
    • AlwaysFishing23
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    • The Chemist
      Yes that would be the one. A friend of mine sent it to me. The guy who got it is a friend of his nephew. 
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    • monstermoose78
      I would fish them trees
    • HunterFisher11
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    • monstermoose78
      Find them trees if they are in the water. I fished a lake like that and it was fishing the crappies in the trees. I had to use heavier line to horse them out quick.
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