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2020 Detroit Lakes-Pelican Rapids Fishing Reports - Lake Conditions


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Work is extremely slow and a coworker just bought a few new "Toys" for ice fishing so we figured we would do a mid week trip out to test out his gear. Got set up around 830 finally got heater working around 9.  Fished a deeper basin between shore and an island.  Turned on the graph and the fish were solid underneath us.  He actually thought it was interference on his graph initially.  He took out his MH rod with 10-14 pound braided line on it with a 1/4 oz lead jig and asked what he needed to use for bait...umm you got anything smaller?   I got some 1/8 oz maybe a 1/16 oz jig.  I showed him what I've been using and he asked if I was messing with him.  So I dropped my line down his hole since he had the graph on and proceded to pull up a 10 inch crappie in 1 minute.  He examined my jig and said I don't know if I tied that jig on if it'd go down the hole because my line is soo thick.  Just use mine and I handed him my Power Noodle with a Free Fall on it.  Minute maybe two later he was pulling crappies up.  We proceeded to catch fish almost solid all day but the best bite was between 10-12 and finally around 12:15/12:30 we forced ourselves to take a quick lunch break.  A lot more 6-8 inch gills with a few being over 8 paid us a visit getting thrown back down the hole.  Right before lunch when it was HOT the crappies came through and we had a school of large crappies with a few being over 13 with the biggest being 13.75" that was a hog!

 

Right away my coworker was using the 4 mm with a Ripper Plastic by Panfish pirate and he didn't believe he could catch fish without bait so he was tipping them with a wax worm till he saw I wasn't using any and was it was saving a lot of time.  He was using a Wonder Glow jig and in the morning a Bubble Gum colored Ripper was the key then in the afternoon we switched to a Chartreuse color and it seemed to make a difference.  I was using a pink and white jig with stripes in 4 mm with the same Ripper plastics.  


At the end of the day he decided he was going to try his stuff.  He took his "Smallest" jig he had which was still about a size 6 or 7 mm and tied it onto his braid and dropped it down with a Ripper.  NOTHING.  He ended up having to put wax worms on it and he finally started catching blue gills.  He caught a few of them then switched back to what he was using and instantly pulled up a crappie.  He kinda proved the line and size of jigs made a difference for catching crappies in clear water.

 

We had 13.5 inches of ice and 12 inches of it was clear ice.  I did drive my SUV out after verifying my path was safe and the ice still had almost an inch of "Head space" on top so we weren't sinking the ice.  Felt great not having to pull our gear out by hand!

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I meant to post this earlier but here it is.  I was able to take my 3 boys and the sleeper house out last Friday (12th) on an area lake as they didn't have school.  Was able to get the house set up by

Was out friday just north of town.  Got set up at 1:30 and the guy with the bait didn't show up till almost 3.  Dropped two tip ups down right away then set my portable up.  After getting house set up

My son and I went out yesterday afternoon to hunt for late summer crappies, Took awhile to find them as they were super shallow. Tossing plastics into 5-6' on top of mid lake weeds produced limits of

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Personal records are meant to be broken and last night it was smashed. Fished all over Becker and Ottertail Counties trying to find big panfish with Jesse Thalmann with Thalmann's Guide Service. At dark I had a huge mark come in and inhale my 4 mm Panfish Pirates Wonder Glow with a Bubble Gum Ripper plastic. It put one heck of a workout on my 32" Yogi Rods LLC Power Noodle. If your looking for a fun trip hit up Jesse and book a trip. If interested in plastics use CHILL5 for discount, get some before your buddy does.

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  • 2 weeks later...
dayton_1313

Was out on Saturday. We found between 8-12 inches of good clear ice. The problem is the crusty snow layer on top and the slush in the middle. We walked and man do i wish i owned a tracked machine. Once you get off the main path/road it is sloppy and deep.

Fishing was slow but we were also limited on how much we wanted to move around. Don't think i will be taking the truck out this year unless its on a plowed resort road :)

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN
IceHawk

Yes our groups fishing up in that area has came to a halt for now. . Conditions are brutal  the snow and slush are a real nightmare to say the least. Hopefully this colder weather tightens things up and the snow settles some. Could be some time or if at all before vehicle traffic happens up there. Maybe in a few weeks LIda will have a road plowed. As for now the Panfish gods win the battle but hopefully soon I'm back for redemption. 😀

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I have not been out but I have been hearing reports and getting pictures from lakes and it does not sound good.  A guide around Henning went out after the storm and saw a water spot and when he went to investigate he dropped all the way through.  There was 10 inches of ice prior to the storm and I pulled his fish house off of that lake with the ranger on the Saturday before the storm.  I am hearing a lot of reports of 4-8 inches of slush but in other lakes 10-14 inches of slush.  Roads that were made prior are usually pretty good if you can find them but the moment you get off of them you are now testing out the height capabilities of your muck boots.  

 

My hope is that people stay home and let this slush freeze some so it can freeze solid then we can go drive back out there with atv's and side by sides.  I was seeing on some lakes 3/4 ton pickups and tandem axle fish houses out on them.  When I drilled a hole though I only found 10 inches of ice and when we were fishing a half mile away from them our water level started going up and down 3 inches and it was them leaving the ice causing waves that far away.  I haven't driven anything other than my Rav 4 and the Ranger onto the ice so far this year.  

 

Sorry haven't made posts lately, I got sicker than a dog right before the first of the year and am just now starting to feel better again.  

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

We definitely missed you @Chill62. Glad you're feeling better.  Nice report.  Thanks.

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For anyone wondering what it is like out there on some lakes here are a few pictures I have collected from Facebook over the weekend.  Pickup going through is a guide on Ottertail.  The other two pictures is a public access that had a plowed road then the slush showed up after people using the road.  Out in front of our cabin it looks like a lake but our only hope is that by pushing the snow the slush will freeze up solid and then we can drive on that after this cold spell.  

 

This weekend I'm throwing around the ideas of fishing southern Minnesota just to avoid the snow and slush.  I have reports of fish biting by Morris and a Women's Anglers of Minnesota event is going on in Cokato area so we might head that way and pray things stiffen up around here.

 

Pictures...I didn't take them but for safety of others I think the owners wouldn't mind me sharing for people's safety.

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bbfenatic

We were out in the Ottertail area Saturday in a UTV with tracks and it was tough getting around even in that...many times the slush/water was so deep and bogging us down we knew if we stopped we'd never get going again, which was unfortunate because several of those spots were right where we wanted to drop a line.  It was fairly warm Saturday but if the temps were around Zero or below I don't think it would be possible with the build up of ice underneath and in the tracks it would have froze it solid; so thank goodness we had unusually warm temps. At the end of the day we ended up with a couple of limits of nice crappies but we worked for them and the water/slush took most of the fun out of it.  

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woodspliter

Thanks for the reports guys!  Now I won't feel so bad if I don't get to go this weekend.

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2 hours ago, woodspliter said:

Thanks for the reports guys!  Now I won't feel so bad if I don't get to go this weekend.

 

I'm volunteering south of St. Cloud to get onto safe ice down there.  I just don't want to tear equipment up around here. In my opinion with the weather forecast it's best to wait one weekend, watch the Bison win and the Vikings lose drink your sorrows away then Sunday recover from drinking your sorrows away.  Let everything freeze up solid and hit it hard on the following weekend.  This cold that is forcasted will help us out so much!  I'm just hoping guys don't go out then accesses and lakes get torn up then it freezes and we have giant ruts to fight rest of the year especially snowmobiles driving around.

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Well not much of a fishing reports but was on one local lake Sunday. Last week ton of slush this weekend if it had slush it's a brick. If no snow its sugar sand. darn near got stuck when found virgin snow and sank 18 inches. Fishing was slow but fish were just moving around and it was too cold to hole hop. I'll be out next weekend to plow roads to get hard side out. 

 

Did see a report of 4" ice and 12" slush frozen on star. Stay safe

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Belated report from the weekend following the New Year. Lots of snow, lots of slush. Ice conditions at that time were not great. About 6-8" of good ice and then layers of water and frozen slush made up the top 6" of "ice". Observed open holes that water was circulating up through that weren't refreezing. Fishing was good though. Lots of nice crappies and bluegills were caught in shallow water but fishing in the deep slush and snow was miserable. Also caught my personal best crappie a 15.5" beast on a jigging spoon and minnow head.

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Way to go grey ghost!!!  that is a beast of a crappie what did you end up doing with it?  After getting my 15 1/8" over christmas I'm hoping to get a 16 now lol always gotta have goals.  

 

As for the slush you talked  about I am hearing lots of guys saying all that slush froze up solid in the past week and if it's slushy its new slush pockets.  I'm hoping to get out this weekend and see what I can do to try and get our hard sided house out and if I can set my portable up on another lake or if the wind will be too strong.

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Thanks Chill! I let it go and plan to get a replica mount. 16" crappie has always been my goal too but this was an awesome fish. Yours was a great fish too.

 

Thought it would take an extended cold spell to lock all that slush up. Hopefully your reports are right and the lakes have healed up so you can get your house out where you want it. Keep up the great reports.

 

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I have only been on one lake (BP) and there was a ton of slush prior to the freeze up and none last weekend driving around with the Ranger.  Buddies have been out to other lakes but are reporting the same thing in our area.  Now up by Park Rapids I'm hearing they are still finding slush.  I don't know if the snow up there was fluffier or thicker but it's helping insulate the lakes better up there and the slush is causing some issues still.  I was originally going to do a Facebook Page get together on Saturday on Pelican Lake but with the wind forecast I'm staying off of that lake and might try getting our perm house out onto BP to get out of the wind.  Times I wish our house was road legal so could take it to the lakes I actually fish at night but it is what it is.  I'm just hoping we don't have huge drifts on the north shore after this storm comes in this weekend because that's where we are at lol.  If I can get out I'll be making about 2 miles of total roads and I'll have a better grasp on what the lakes conditions are going to be like.

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IceHawk

Genes Sport shop in Perham or Park Region CO-OP in Pelican Rapids otherwise many other places  along the way depending where you are comeing from. Fletchers Bait in Sauk Centre  is another great bait store I like to stop at on way through heading up. Denny is a great guy always willing to help any way he can and has some top notch bait to boot.   But rarely do I buy spikes I always buy in Bulk from Speedy Worm before early ice order 10,000 spikes and split them and the cost with a few other fishing friends.  I Maintain them in a bait fridge by simply regulateing temps and changing out fresh sawdust every so often last for at least a few months. .This would be another option for you and pretty economical  plus you will receive them in a few days. 

Edited by IceHawk
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Tried big pine today. Plowed out north access. Got onto ice and snow was flowing nicely had speed then started loosing speed and the slush started coming over my plow. Backed up got hung up maybe 150 yards out. Hour half later I finally got myself free. Crossed a 3 inch wide crack and it was shooting up like a geyser. I was wet and cold from hip down. About 14 inches of slush. Got off the ice and called it a day. 

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Well we weren't local last weekend but tried ice fishing in Milwaukee harbor. went with a guide and got on the ice at 630 by 655 I was taking pictures of my fish. At 722 buddy was getting pics with his fish and that's when action stopped. fished Sunday from 630-230 and had 4 bites 2 fish. Monday 1 bite no fish. Was an interesting trip.

 

Going to be fishing locally this weekend then might be scouting a lake by Alexandria the following weekend. 

 

Reports...obviously second hand. Lake travel is getting better but still random slush pockets. Also hearing more roads being plowed. if you haven't caught on hearing not much for action. very light bite and guys doing ok are using small jigs and cameras help knowing you have a bite. 

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You know it was a busy weekend when you get to sleep in Monday morning to go to work.

 

Saturday I guided for Thalmann Guide Service. had 5 clients from SD and 3 from Kentucky. weather was about perfect for hole hoping. drilled a ton of holes to find fish up shallow. In the evening I took off to a different lake to scout the night bite. We had a huge town in our usually vacant spot. We ended up with some nice crappies and biggest was 14 inches. 

 

Sunday took off from access at 600 and instantly was on the fish. Tulibee season has begun!!!! With our groups I think we got 57 tulibee and 1 sucker. 

 

After breakfast/lunch a nap was in order for me!!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Chill62

Well I've been busy and finally home to fish locally!!!

 

Saturday we hit a lake I haven't been on since deer hunting. Second spot we tried we found them! Gills and crappies were in 12 feet of water 2-3 feet below the ice. Ton of fish. Had to increase our size of presentation to deter smaller fish. 

 

Saturday night after a great lunch and most taking a nap we got back out. At the access guy flew buy us as we unloaded and dropped his suv into the ice. Had to get out his passenger side door to ask me to pull him out. Hey I made $5 pulling him out, $4 in quarters lol. Fishing was slow but if they came through the crappies inhaled the lures. I set the ladies up in the house but Katie was on fire, heard minnows were her secret. 

 

Sunday tried lake 3 of weekend. Drilled ton of holes from 5-12 feet and that 7-9 feet we found the huge gills and crappies. Kristen got a 9.75" gill and right as we were tearing down Scott landed 13.5" crappie. Color made huge difference and when I lost my pink plastic and put green on I quit catching them, switched back to pink and boom back to catching. 

 

Sorry if too many pictures. Scott and Kristen took amazing pictures and I stole them lol. The colors are amazing!!!

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Chill62
13 hours ago, Rick said:

Ummmm...WOW @Chill62 💜💛

 

 

Hopefully that's a good Wow lol...my ex used to say WOW too but whole different meaning! lol  These are just a sliver of the photo's we took.  We were trying out a new plastic Kristen was using and had a camera down recording it for action and showing how aggressive the fish were.

 

FYI Kristen's photo got shared by Ice Team's Facebook page.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Definitely a happy excited WOW. 😉

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  • 2 weeks later...
Chill62

Well I got out the last three days and I need a vacation from my outing lol.

Friday we fished am for tulibee and ended up with 19 before switching in the afternoon for crappies. Found a deep hole and the slabs were STACKED UP!!! Hole was 30-36 feet and fish were 18-bottom. Had to drill a ton of holes and stay mobile. Literally you'd have fish in one hole and 5 feet away nothing. Average size was 12 inches with a few 14s. 

Saturday tried for tulibee again and I think we got 10 for 7 of us. Switched to the same crappie hole and first 5 fish up the hole were tulibee lol. After a while we found crappies but just couldn't find them. Switched to 4 or 5 other spots then we finally found them. Thought were perch because bottom 5 feet were solid fish. Crappies were averaging 11 inch. Had to stay mobile and drill a lot of holes. kept enough for a supper. 

Sunday morning my buddy and I went after big tulibee and got a late start (9 am start). We started by targeting spots people hadn't been lately. Instantly we had 3 on the ice. It was weird they were coming out of the mud. After hour half we quit graphing them so took off for new spots. We ended up with 4 fish biggest two were 4 lbs 4 oz and 3 lbs 12 oz. After that we took off for crappies again. We parked the ranger and guess fish wanted to hide under it. Literally had 10 holes drilled with 10 feet of the ranger and we just kept circling the ranger. We did film a YouTube vide and hopefully the wind wasn't too strong for the audio. 

 

Sadly I doubt I will make it back out again. 

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  • 2 months later...
Chill62

Well I have been slacking but we really haven't been getting into them lately. Saturday we got into some right before wind picked up and had to move spots. 

 

Eyes are switching to leeches, find edges of weeds and you'll find them. Lindy with plain bead edge of weeds.  Saturday we were pulled up and 5 min later girlfriend says I got a weed...ya not really. Measured 30 inches on the bump board and was released. 

 

Crappies are aggressive and we had best luck 7-12 feet casting up letting it sink and pull back. White soft plastics were ticket. Tried out new Panfish Pirate Ripper XL and wow huge action! Switched to same size twister tail and color and no luck. 

 

Good luck!

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      By LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... Ice fishing is all finished up on the main lake.  The focus is on back bays for big pike and areas of open water on the lake for walleyes.  The pike season is open year round on LOW and the Rainy River.  3 fish per day, 30-40 inches must be released, one over 40" allowed.  
      Anglers are allowed a limit of walleyes and saugers on the lake, but catch and release only on Four Mile Bay and the Rainy River through April 14.  A limit of walleyes and saugers is a combined limit of 6 fish with up to 4 being walleyes.  Walleyes 19.5-28.0 inches must be released with one allowed over 28 inches.  The walleye season runs through April 14th and starts up again May 15th for the MN Fishing Opener.
      On the Rainy River...   Five boat ramps are open on the Rainy River and there are 42 miles of open water for fishing.  Nelson Park in Birchdale, Frontier, Vidas (near Clementson), Timbermill Park in Baudette and the Wheeler's Point access at the mouth of the river 12 miles north of Baudette are all open.  
      River fishing has started out strong.  Good numbers of walleyes are being caught by some with trophy fish in the mix.  A 3/8 - 1/2 ounce jig is working nicely tipped with a minnow or a plastic.  Walleye season is catch and release only on Rainy River and Four Mile Bay through April 14th.
      Sturgeon fishing continues to be excellent with big numbers of sturgeon being caught.  Sturgeon catch and release season through 4/23/21.  Keep season 4/24/21 - 5/7/21, (45-50", or over 75")  Catch and release 5/8/21 - 5/15/21.
      With lower current, a 3 ounce no-roll sinker combined with a sturgeon rig (18" snell of 60 lb test with a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook) with a glob of crawlers, frozen emerald shiners or both is the ticket.  Local bait shops have rigs available.
      Up at the NW Angle...  Looking ahead to open water, there are various ways to travel to the NW Angle this summer without crossing the border.  If you have the right boat and expertise, boating across is an option.  There is also the Lake of the Woods Passenger Service (charter boat shuttle to Angle).  And finally, Lake Country Air flying service, a float plane service out of Baudette and other locations.  
       


    • eyeguy 54
      By eyeguy 54
      White suckers are on the move in some of the local rivers. Night crawler on a #6 hook and a 1/4 oz slip sinker brought many to shore the last two days. Crazy light biters. 





  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Mike89
      welcome and good luck!!   don't know the area so can't help you but others will help ya if they can!!   
    • BigTrucka
      Hey all, just moved back to MN where I grew up after living in the PNW for a long while. I became addicted to fishing rivers and streams out there and have started to check out the offerings in the NW section of the state as of yesterday’s opener. Wondering if anyone has experience in this area and can give me some pointers or just tell me if I’m wasting my time since that’s what I’m wondering right now since I didn’t find any signs of fish. I’m using a spinning rod with Mepp’s and Panther Martin style spinners and went through a bunch of color combos. I started yesterday morning at the Clearwater River in western Beltrami County essentially on the border with Clearwater County where the state has some land and a pretty lengthy easement. Probably a well known area. Beautiful area to walk through. Found multiple holes, but yeah no fish at all. I waded for a bit and decided to leave. I went south since I live closer to Moorhead and stopped at Felton Creek. I’ve read a DNR study about this creek having a decreasing population of fish, but it’s still considered a trout stream although not “designated”. I understand the channelization of creeks in this region ruined fish habitat over the last 100 years, but still find some DNR material as of the last 5 years that reference Felton Creek as a spot for trout. Walked the stream for a bit before I left and headed to Lawndale Creek south of Barnesville. I waded through the AMA on the Atherton WMA expecting to find some brook trout since the DNR has stocked it as of at least 2017. Nothing through the entire stretch besides frogs and minnows. Are there actually fish in these places? The Clearwater and Lawndale are designated trout streams. The Clearwater is stocked annually and Lawndale is supposed to have wild brook trout. Anyone have any experience in these spots? Should’ve just drove down MN200 & 71 to the obvious spots in Becker/Hubbard?
    • monstermoose78
      Anyone been out hunting yet? I have doing housework 
    • smalljaw
      Oh my!  Those brown fish will be roaming the shallows soon.
    • Muskies
      As of April 15, the Canadian side of rainy lake, from the causeway up to devils cascade, is ice free. I believe that is the earliest ice out. Water is coming up as we had 2 1/2” of rain last week along with 1/2” of snow.
    • imhatz
      Ice off Crane Lake April 8, 2021.  
    • FishinCT
      This can’t be emphasized enough. Daily and possession limits are the same. If you catch a limit on opening day you CANNOT do the same on Sunday and bring 8 fish home. Gotta eat them Saturday night or do C&R Sunday. 
    • monstermoose78
      Great fishes Man
    • eyeguy 54
    • Raven77
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