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Eagan and Fish Lake


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I'm going to be moving just up the street from Fish Lake in Eagan in a few months. Just wondering if anyone has any advice or insight on the lake for me (i.e. stay away, or what is in there and sizes). I've looked at the DNR site and other sites promoting the pond, but we all know how accurate those can be, and how up-to-date they are.

Also, any other suggestions for fishing in the Eagan area would be greatly appreciated. I'm not too picky about what for... panfish are always fun, large- or small-mouth, northern, muskie, 'eyes... whatever. After 4 years away from the homeland, and two tours to the sandbox, just seeing that rod bend again will be a joy. Colorado fishing wasn't all it's cracked up to be for me, so I'm hoping the Land o' Ten K can bring it back.

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Lived in Eagan ten years myself. Never had much luck in Fish Lake, though did not fish as much as other lakes. My personal favorite growing up was Schwanz Lake, small lake, but good bass action. I remember pulling two nice bass out of there once as a kid. Looked huge to me, but now, probably was a good 3 pound pair of bass.

Crappies were good all over the city lakes, but not sure how they are now. Carlson Lake was a favorite of mine for those.

Before the die off several years ago, Thomas Lake was also great for bass, we fished off the road on the east Thomas Lake, but I've heard that the lake has not been the same ever since the winterkill, prob 8 years or so?

Holland Lake is great, especially in the early spring/summer for rainbows, esp since DNR stocks them there now. You'll see an occasional big brown trout swimming through. Suppose to be a good bass lake too, and I've caught 1 pounder crappies there too.

But now that Eagan is all grown up with development. I'm not sure what you will find. The best metro fishing will be elsewhere outside of Eagan, as I did spend some time fishing the larger lakes and rivers in the area. Above all, you can't go wrong with the Croix. Good luck.

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It's not the best lake, but if I lived down the street I would definitely hit it up. Especially if you are just looking for a quick fix after work or something.

I have fished there a number of times but haven't had a lot of luck. Admittedly, most of my efforts have been through the ice for those elusive catfish that may or may not still be there. i have caught a few decent northern and I have heard there is decent bass action as well. Like most of the metro, there are plenty of sunnies, but not much for size.

It has a lot of weeds in the summer (like all the Eagan area lakes) which can make fishing from shore difficult although there is pier that gives you access to less weedy water. If you have a canoe, float tube or kayak you're golden. I have been fishing Eagan lakes with a fly rod or light action rod from a $100 float tube for a while now and had some great luck and fun.

I am thinking that the glory days of Eagan lakes that WhiteBassMan and others have talked about are largely over. Holland, unless there is a really guarded secret and an organized spread of disinformation, is good for an occasional hammerhandle northern and a bunch of potato chip sunnies. The trout are few and far between and don't seem to last long after the infrequent stocking of old brood stock fish. Crappie action may be good around the area, but good luck stumbling into fish over 8". 1 lbers?!?!? I would have to see it to believe it. I am fond of Schwanz though for bass, it's small so I hope that people are practicing CPR there so the numbers remain good and some big girls can grow up.

There are a lot of Eagan lakes that are pretty good for bass. Numbers are good and you can stumble into some decent fish if you know where to look and get a little lucky. Like I said above, getting off the shore and into the water is the key.

You will also be about 15 minutes from some excellent shore fishing at the Minnehaha creek / Mississippi confluence in Minneapolis. The sippi through there is catch and release for walleye and bass, but the season is open year round. You can catch some nice fish there. Walleye, bass, crappie, whitebass, cats, carp, weird river fish, whatever, they are all there. Spring is the best time though. It also isn't a secret and can get really busy at times. Just make friends with the regulars and the old timers you are set wink

two tours to the sandbox

glad you're back and welcome to HSO laugh

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Fish lake is difficult to fish due to the high algae blooms in the Summer. I remember in the late 80's and early 90's it was an excellent bass lake. I could see schools of large 2-3lb+ bass swimming. The 4 to 6 lbs were loners and easily spottable on the shores. Today is a whole different story.

To really explore fish you will need a float or canoe and may still be rewarded with an occasional nice bass. Tons of panfish and maybe even a pike once in a blue moon.

If you have time to spare, its a good lake to try. Otherwise its typically nothing more than a fishing spot for the little ones.

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Millions upon millions of small pannies. We took our girls down this spring & they could stand on shore with a small rod, dip a waxie in, & catch all they wanted. Millions!

Otherwise, Fish has seen better days. There was a lot of chatter about it a couple winters back & the lake went from getting light pressure to having 10-15 people, all keeping fish, every weekend day. The pike population, which was decent for such a small lake, took a terrible beating & hasn't come back yet. There are certainly nice bass in there, but I wouldn't count on more than one or two an outing.

Sounds like you're the adventurous type, there are plenty of potholes in the south metro that hold suprisingly large fish, especially sunnies & bass. If you're willing to strap on a small tackle box, wade through some brush, & brace for disappointment more often than glory, I'd highly recommend it. Nothing better than an 18-19" bass from shore in a 2-3 acre pond nobody else ever fishes! Good luck.

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I used to fish it from shore a ton when I was younger around 2000, and there were some big bass in the lake. Caught a 20" just off boat launch one spring. My old neighbor in Eagan used to fish Minnetonka in his Ranger and illegally bring the fish back to Fish Lake, he estimated he stocked about 150 bass over a few years. Some of them could still be around. If you can get on the lake, the weedline around the deep water bowl along Pilot Knob will carry some fish, especially the rocks right along the road. I was actually out there last week but the boat launch was difficult to navigate - although the lake was less weedy than I had feared. If you're that close and put some time in you're going to eventually find some nice fish. River is also a good suggestion but can be crowded, canoe on Fish and you'll have lake to yourself.

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WOW. Thanks so much for the info guys! I really didn't think anyone would respond at all, much less this many and this fast! I'm impressed. And admittedly, extremely anxious to get back! I wasn't really expecting there would be a whole lot in there, but I'm loving the bass and pan fish reports! Sizes aren't a huge issue to me, as I may only keep a handful for some frying. Just the fun of catching something keeps me going. If it's good enough, I may even be able to get the girlfriend hooked on it. Hopefully I'll see you guys out on the water in the area in the next few years.

As a matter of fact, I will have a canoe. Actually bought a River Ridge canoe a few months ago from Bill Planton down in my hometown of Rochester.(http://www.riverridgecustomcanoes.com/main.html)I won't be back from this tour for another month yet, so I haven't been able to see or use it yet, but I'm pretty excited for it! Even got the trolling motor for her, and according to the DNR, trolling motors are allowed on fish - so chances are if you drive by and see a bearded young buck spinning in circles out there, that's me smile

I also love to ice fish, and from what I've read here, it sounds like a decent little hole to drill into. I'm looking for a cheap, reliable gas auger and flip over portable shack too, if you guys know of anyone getting rid of theirs. Craigslist obviously has stuff out there, but I'm hesitant to buy somebody's used junk just based off what they say. My plan is to take my four wheeler down the street in the winter with all my gear on there, hopefully the Eagan PD desn't have a problem with that. Colorado (where I'm stationed at back in the states) doesn't allow vehicles on their ice unless you have a handicapped permit, but I'm assuming the cities are like the Mankato area (where I spent a year pretending to be a college student) in that if it's safe enough, you can bring it out there. Please correct me if I'm wrong, before I get to make an unplanned charitable donation to Eagan's finest.

If any of you other guys are still in the area and want to meet up for some outings, I'd love to learn from you. I'm not exactly the most experienced or successful fisherman out there, but now that I'll have the ability to do it more often, I'd sure love to take advantage of it. Like I said, I've got the canoe too, so if you want to do a river run sometime, let me know and I'll come up with some excuse for the head of the house to let me go for a day or two. It may mean sleeping on the sofa later, but for a day of successful fishing, I'd say it's worth it. Heck, I've slept in far worse places before smile

Thanks again for all the info and replies. I sincerely appreciate it. The HSO network sure seems to bring out the best in the 'MN Nice.' Hope you all are doing well, and the fish keep biting.

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Fish lake has a ton of small to medium sized Northerns in it, atleast when I fished it a few years back. A bunch of fun throwing a small inline spinner with a 6-8" wire leader on. There used to be some nice crappies in there, but I could only catch them really early in the year, right after ice-out and then they'd dissappear (even in the Fall).

People exzagerate on the "nothing but tiny sunfish" There are some bigger bluegills in here. Not huge, but bigger. Maybe 6" or so. I've caught most of my larger sunnies in the small cove behind the boat launch.

And yeah, theres no state law prohibiting vehicles on the ice in MN. Though, I wouldn't drive on Fish lake personally. Altough its one of the deepest lakes in the area (35' or so) the city still aerates it. The ice on the entire lake never seems to get more then 12-14" thick, but espically around the deep part of the lake and the boat launch is where I've seen them throw aerators on. The lake is also not all that big so walking is not that big of a deal.

Crystal, Prior and Marion would be better lakes in the area to take a vehicle on in that area, and most of those will have plowed roads by the locals. Never be the first one on or off a lake with your truck smile

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And yeah, theres no state law prohibiting vehicles on the ice in MN.

Plenty of city laws prevent it though. Minneapolis for one. I know Eagan has restrictions on several (if not all) lakes, you would want to check with the city first. Same goes for outboards and HP limits.

I don't remember seeing an aerator on Fish last winter.

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Well my canoe just has an electronic trolling motor, which the DNR site claims is fine. And I don't think I'd bring the truck on the ice, but I'd like to be able to drive the ATV from the apartment. I highly doubt I'll get away with driving a block or two onto the city street though, so maybe I'll just have to throw everything into the back of the truck and walk across the ice like I've always done. Not that big of a deal, but if that's the case, I could easily go to other lakes in the area too, since Fish won't really have any advantages over the other ones, as the proximity isn't a factor anymore.

Thanks for the reply guys

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You can't drive either the ATV or your truck on the ice. The "no motors" things applies either in the summer or the winter - verified by a DNR guy I saw handing a ticket to someone in a pickup truck two winters ago.

Either a DNR guy lives on the lake, or one of his relatives does. 80% of my DNR encounters in the past five years have been on Fish! Which is truly bizarre given how tiny it is.

Also, the aerator for the past four years has been placed just beyond the pier in the narrowest channel of the lake. When it gets warm, it cuts all the way across, & the deeper portion of the lake is pretty much inaccessible.

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I take it back, I saw the trolling motor thing on Eagan's website. But it does say electric trolling motors only are allowed.

That's a real bummer about not being able to take any vehicle on the ice. However, I'm very thankful you warned me now instead of having the infamous DNR official do that for you. Kind of sounds like he thinks he owns place or something, eh? Guess I better not be doing anything wrong out there.

You're referring to the deep part being inaccessible when it's froze over, correct? It's starting to sound like maybe this isn't the best place to go? I guess during the week, since it's close, I can hit it up after class or work or whatever, but maybe for the weekends when I have more time I should hit up the bigger, more popular lakes? I'll do some more research on those now, too.

Thanks again Maximum. Do you fish it often?

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I don't know if they still do, but Eagan used to put out a fishing book related to all the small lakes in the area. I used to have one, but I have no idea what happened to it. It has some pretty good information in it. I would try contacting the city and see if they can find you one.

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Duffman, I love my potholes!

Diesel, it's nice not to have vehicles on the ice. There are a number of small lakes/big ponds in the south metro that are motorless. It can be a lot of work to get out, but the quiet is worth it. I've given up ice fishing lakes like Marion. It's like a NASCAR rally without the nice rules out there some evenings.

And yup, once the aerator goes on, the deep hole can't be reached (unless you want to skirt someone's property, which I've seen). But usually the ice is 12" before the aerator comes on, so there's plenty of early ice to fish the whole lake. If you're looking at a weekend, or more than an hour or two of fishing, you'd probably be better off looking elsewhere.

I've spent a fair amount of time on Fish. Not so much the past two winters though, as I mentioned, it was pounded hard, & the predators have gotten scarce. If it's 4" sunnies you seek, this is your Nirvana!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Used to fish the lake alot back in the day and it has some good bass and pike in it. Topwaters are fun early and ribbon tail worms are money for bass out there. Try the back cove near the boat access and along the roadside

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Key is "back in the day". smile As noted, the lake has been hammered & the fish population, at least decent sized ones, is way down.

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  • 3 months later...

Hey guys. Just checked out the ice earlier today. Looks like around the boat access point the ice is pretty thick, enough to walk out onto anyway. But then when I walked back to the pier it was all real thin ice. I'm assuming that is where the aerator is. I've never seen one on in the few times I've gone there before the ice - is it beneath the surface or is it like a fountain that shoots the water out and you'll know exactly where it is? Anybody plan on fishing it this winter?

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They usually put that out later in the year after oxygen gets low in lakes like that. It wont be out till Feb. I'm guessing. They use a floating aerator you cant miss it and put it right in the neck between the big and small basin.

I live close to this lake but not really worth fishing for stunted pan fish and pike.

Good Luck

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yah, you can't miss a winter aerator. Usually there is a big arsed circle of thin ice signs or orange cones around the remote possibility of danger zone too.

It will probably look something like this... Give them a wide berth. It's not worth taking a plunge and most lakes that have to be aerated are carppy lakes anyway.

image002.jpg

LakeAerationProgram2-400.jpg

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OK. Sounds good. Thanks a lot... Where do you guys usually go in the area for a few hours of morning fishing?

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Careful out there!

The lake was wide open over the deepest portion one week ago (11/30) when I drove by. I'm not surprised the shallow bay is locked up, but the ice can't be thick out over the hole. I'd give it at least until the weekend before even thinking about it.

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  • 7 years later...

Loved across the street from it for years, on timbershore lane. I've caught monsters, several shore spots if you know where to findem. I just moved to inver grove heights and am looking for someone (or more!) To go back asap and catch some whoppers

 

20170711_210138.jpg

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