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nate larson

Lake Minnetonka...overwhelmed. Where to start?

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nate larson

I moved to the cities this past August and I am thinking about giving the big pond a try. Most of my fishing in the past has been on smaller lakes and I have to say I am overwhelmed by Lake Minnetonka. I have tried a few lakes in the West Metro and have caught quite a few panfish but I have yet to catch a keeper. I have talked to a few people and that do well on Minnetonka but I have no idea where to start. The lake is huge and has so many bays. I am hoping to find some decent sized crappies and bluegills. I drive a small car so getting around the lake can be tough at times. Are people able to get around out there right now in a car? I am guessing the ice conditions will be deteriorating rapidly with this warm weather and rain. Would anyone be willing to give me some adivce on where to start and a good place to access the lake? Or better yet, let me tag along. I will provide bait, beer, gas money, whatever. My email address is larson_nate at hotmail dot com.

Thanks in advance!

Nate smile

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markkstanley

Travel is easy anywhere on the lake. Just do not drive through channel areas. Tonka is really a series of connected lakes and should be approached that way. West end is very different from east end and all the bays differ from each other. Halsted's is stained water for example while Crystal is like it's name implies. Get a map, pick a bay and start fishing it. Right now pannies are still on the deep weed edges. Look for humps and points find a flat area in about 10ft attached to one of those and start fishing it. Crappies are hanging deeper - suspended over 20 to 30ft depths but close to structure. Look for contained areas - deep water almost if not toally surrounded by shallow water. You'll find crappies there.

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BeaverHunter

Black Lake and Phelps Bay will have fish. You will have to sort through them to find keepers.

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mike11

new to the forums help because i must be blind looked on the map cant find phelps bay so were is it? thanks

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blackdog1101

If you're looking at the DNR map, it's the bay between Island Park and Enchanted Island.

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mike11

thanks for the help blackdog

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buzbunni

Mark gives sage advice...best listen to him.

Treat every bay in Minnetonka as a separate lake, and that will help to lower the intimidation factor.

You'll be tempted to look at other areas (bays) after you have selected your "lake", but don't listen to the siren song. Pick a bay (lake) and stick with it...for now.

In time not only will you learn the peculiarities of that area, but soon you will be branching off to explore the other "lakes" on Minnetonka as well.

Good luck.

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bigdaddyk

I just got off of Tonka when I left there was about 3" of water on the ice and the water was making my holes bigger and bigger so I decided to leave I wanted to get some eye When driving I had water at time coming over the hood and was only going 15 or so try and not drive along the roads that were plowed that is whare the water is deeper drives safe and fish hard

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nate larson

Thanks everyone for your help!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • AlwaysFishing23
      I used my scheels case last weekend 2 days in a row. I did not go easy on it. It got thrown around on the ice, I threw it in the truck and I stood on it while on the ice. My buddy has the otter case and the durability and construction are similar. So far it was a good investment and no worry’s about broken rods.
    • eyeguy 54
      this will be the third winter with my red ones. Still like new. The eye case hardly gets used but the panfish case sees the ice a lot.     
    • rundrave
      can any of you guys with the hard side cases speak to the durability of the plastics on these units in bitter cold weather? do these cases hold up to abuse or do they get fragile and break? 
    • cookie129
      With the ice reports all over the internet , conditions different at every access. I would say its best to check reports on the access you are planning on using.  Most if not all the phone calls about ice conditions and fishing reports can be found on social media . We still have plenty of openings for fish house rentals . I be leave Hillmens also has plenty of rentals this season still open , Including the behemoth double decker that sleeps 10 to 12. There phone number is 218 647 8504    We use Hillmens access during the ice season, I talked to Buddy  Hillmen this morning . He will be allowing  Wheelers/sleds out up to 2 miles. He also said to mention to drive slow and use extreme caution. as there is quite a bit of rough ice. With  another lite snow and breeze the rough broken ice will catch snow and may be harder to see.  Beacon Harbor is also allowing wheelers and sleds I be leave. They did have a fishing report  on there facebook page.   Westwind the premier resort here on upper red lake is well organized and also ready to go.  There were just a handful of portables on the lake yesterday.  I think I saw a couple out of beacon harbor, 2 out of hillmens and 4 or 5 out of westwind.  I did get out again last night deer hunting. I also had a shot. I missed. I'm shooting a recurve with no sites . I've taken a deer with a shotgun. 20 gauge, a rifle 30 30, a compound bow. So I went back to the recurve a few years ago. Man do I have the stories of all the misses over the years. It seems with a bow something always goes wrong. I can say that I think hunting with a bow makes you a much better hunter as you have to plan for shots under 30 yards.  2 years ago I was set up just off a snowmobile trail. If a deer walked by me it would be a 15 to 20 yard shot.  A small buck appeared to my left. He was coming right down the trail. I stood up. Grabbed my bow  as  I watched him  through the corner of my eyes. I only sit about 5 feet off the ground, with no cover to speak of my plan was to let him walk by, I would take the shot just after he passed. As he slowly passed by I took one step to turn as I drew back . The seat tipped down and spooked him. Off he went.  Standing there reviewing what happen I thought?  Man should I have pulled back while he was more in front of me. I thought would he of seen me move. I reenacted  what happen pulling my arrow back , aiming right in front of me again, thinking would he of seen me make that move. I repeated this about 5 times. I then hung up my bow and set down. Not long after I here a ruckus  to my right. I stand up ,look down the trail ,here comes a nice 10 pointer. Full speed.! He is going to run right where I was practicing aiming. I pull back and let her fly. My arrow wacks him right in the rib, he never even flinches or slows down. I watch him run down the trail with my arrow sticking in the side of him as he turns the corner.  I get down ,  right where I hit him there"s deer hair all over,  I get to where he jumped a fallen tree , more hair, I get to where he turned the corner and there' s my arrow bent in half with no broadhead. We never found a drop of blood. Bob harvested the same deer 4 days later. I found a small hole in his hide directly on a rib bone about the size of a pencil eraser.  Now back to last night. All of a sudden I here what I think is a deer running through the woods. I grab my bow, about 3 minutes later here comes a doe walking right where I expect,  She's going with the wind. She is going to walk right where I have shot a  flu flu arrow every night I've set in that spot.  I always pick a spot and fling a arrow before I get down. She had no clue I was there, I pulled back as she stepped out and my glove is right in my sight line. It throws my concentration off, I ended up panicking and flinging my arrow rather then resetting . I'm glad I missed , another lesson is put in the books. Take off glove? Different glove? Hunt when its warmer so I do not need gloves, The list goes on and on. Its the thrill of the hunt.    Well everyone have a happy thanksgiving  cookie  
    • monstermoose78
      This moose does not float as @Cret Jigs can attest too!
    • monstermoose78
      You catch much? How thick was da ice?
    • JBMasterAngler
      Group of people were ice fishing on forest lake this morning. Still a big open spot from the geese and swans.
    • mrpike1973
      Thank You sir!!
    • Rick
      Now is the time to talk with kids about the dangers of ice. Ice thickness varies greatly on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the state. Some water bodies have none, while others have several inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  “Ice, especially early ice with snow cover, is extremely deceptive because you can’t see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow,” said DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block. “Parents need to teach their kids that ice is never 100 percent safe. If your child is near the ice, you should be near your child.” With many children out of school for holiday breaks, they may look toward newly forming ice for entertainment. “In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on ice should be wearing a life jacket or float coat,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.” Ice safety guidelines
      No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk: Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle). Children should never be unsupervised around ice. Caution children to stay off ponds, streams, and other bodies of water. A thin coating of ice on a pond or lake does not mean it is safe. Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change quickly. Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts. Avoid channels and rivers. The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are: 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot. 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle. 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup. 12-15 inches for a medium truck. Double these minimums for white or ice covered with heavy snow. For more information, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety and mndnr.gov/boatingsafety. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • curt quesnell
      Ice coming plenty early this year   https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2346535195421666&id=770784022996799