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West Metro - Minnetonka, Waconia, Prior Lake Fishing Reports by Great Day on the Water Guide Service


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May be heading to WACONIA this weekend. I have never fished it before, are there any springs or inlets that may cause bad ice that I should watch out for. And any idea on ice thickness. And..... if you are willing maybe a good crappie or walleye spot to check out grin

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7/24/17     Got my son and one of my daughters out with Grandpa Smutka on Waconia this afternoon (I have football practice every morning this week). We targeted panfish alongside a weedy reef. Small j

6/9/15     On Waconia and Minnetonka the past few days. Caught mostly largemouth and panfish, but also a few pike and a couple walleyes. Bass, pike, and eyes are on the inside weed edges and especiall

6/23/18     Guided on Waconia on Saturday. Clients from Iowa looking for walleyes, northerns, and maybe a musky. No musky, but did catch walleyes, northerns, bass, and crappies, including some big one

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david_vang

Smuts,

Thanks for that info but after looking at the map. That looks like an access to the NE part of Lower Prior Lake. I needed an access to the NE part of Upper Prior Lake if possible. Thanks Again.

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picksbigwagon

Mind the parking signs, the cops do patrol that area and the neighborhood will call in any infractions quite quickly too

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DrJuice1980

You're just going to have to go in through the landing on the sw side like just about everybody else. I've made the walk out past the big island many times. Man up. Or drive out like I am going to do this weekend.

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All this discussion about northeast Upper Prior Lake makes me want to go find out what I can catch over there!

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Troy Smutka

David,

Sorry, I didn't realize you wanted to stay on Upper. Only one way on that part of the lake that I know of--the public access you mentioned. Good luck.

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Troy Smutka

reelemin,

I haven't been on Waconia in a little while, but there was twelve inches about ten days ago, so should be in the upper teens by now with the cold snap. The bottom edge of any of the offshore reefs is a good spot to look for walleyes. Look for points or inside turns on the drop from the top to the bottom of the reef. Tipups with fatheads or shiners on a light jig that glows work well, and you can jig with swimming minnows or spoons tipped with a minnow or minnow head. Jigs and spoons that glow and/or rattle are helpful as the best bite is late evening into dark. For crappies, it is time to start fishing deep basin areas adjacent to the reefs. Late in the day and after dark will be the best times, and watch your sonar because the crappies can come through anywhere from a foot off the bottom to twelve feet off the bottom. Suspend a crappie minnow under a float five or six feet up from the bottom on a dead stick, and then jig with your other rod and move your jig up and down to fish that show up on the sonar. Use glow jigs to help in the dark. Many of the good night crappie spots on Waconia will have a lot of wheel houses set up on them by now, so they won't be hard to find. Good luck.

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Troy Smutka

1/11/15 West Metro

Cold Saturday morning, but at least not much wind. Caught maybe three dozen bluegills and 12-15 crappies on Prior. Thirteen inches of ice with a lot of people driving trucks out to wheel houses. Didn't make quite as much ice last week as I was expecting. Bites were mostly subtle. We were using very small Gill Pills and Tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, Eurolarvae, and 1" Gulp! Fish Fry. White, red, and orange seemed to be the best color combos. Needed the 2 pound test vanish at the jig and the spring bobber on the rod to get and detect strikes. Some work, but many gills from 8 to 8.5" and most crappies from 8 to 10" were the result. Warming weather (forecasted) later this week should make it more comfortable for the fishermen and should increase the fish activity a bit as well. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere. full-29555-52191-dscn0691.jpg

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Smuts

Thanks for the good advice and info. I didn't make it out last weekend but I hope to get out there tomorrow.

thanks again.

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Was out on Waconia last night 1/21 with ice being around 20 inches by SW end. People driving all over. Tons of pan fish to entertain the kids.

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Troy Smutka

1/25/15 West Metro

Fished the evening crappie bite on Waconia on Friday. Caught tons of crappies, no small ones and no big ones--all 8-10 inchers. Best bite was from 5 to 6:30 pm with a slower bite, but fish still caught, after that. Twenty inches of ice, 22 feet of water. Small spoons tipped with waxies and small VMC tungsten jigs tipped with red Eurolarvae were the ticket. Caught a couple on a crappie minnow under a float on the deadstick. Hit Prior Saturday afternoon and evening. Caught a bunch of nice bluegills from 2-5 pm, and some nice crappies from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Lots of crappies on the screen after that, but slow with only an occasional bite. Small VMC tungsten jigs and small Custom Jigs and Spins Gill Pills with Eurolarvae and waxies were the best. Eighteen inches of ice and 21 feet of water. Good luck, stay safe, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Heading to waconia tomorrow night. TargetiNg walleyeS. I heard the west side of the lake is where I should go...is that true? And I knw prob the best starting point is on the beginning of a transition....big drop offs to deeper water.

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Troy Smutka

David,

Walleyes are being caught evening and into dark around Center Reef and Pilsbury Reef in the western half of the lake. A couple points and an inside turn on the north side of Anderson's Reef are producing, too. You're right about fishing the bottom edge of sharp drops and the change of bottom content. Best success chance if you can spread lines by jigging one and a tipup with your other line. Good luck. PM me how you do--I am guiding pannies this weekend.

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Troy Smutka

1/31/15 Good end to the month of January. We hammered crappies non-stop from 4:30 to 7:30 Friday night on Waconia. Probably caught 50-60, kept 12 for a meal. Most were between 8 and 9.5 inches, but caught a few between 11 and 12 inches. Caught em on small tungsten jigs with 1" Berkley Gulp! Fish Fry and on a crappie minnow under a float on a deadstick. Tougher bluegill bite on Prior Saturday morning. Caught a few crappies early, and then the bluegills showed up but they were sluggish. Tiny tungsten jigs and Gill Pills tipped with two red Eurolarvae triggered a few, but most only looked. Needed a spring bobber to detect the bites. The ones we did catch were mostly nice ones. Good ice on both lakes (18-20 inches)and almost no snow. Walk carefully--it is getting slick. Stay safe and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Was looking at the DNR survey for Upper and Lower Prior lake and the sample rate for crappies is 16 on Lower Prior and 155 on Upper Prior in 2012. Obviously they are connected, but just wondering which is the better option for ice fishing. I just bought my own gear recently and have always just gone ice fishing with my buddy that likes to go to Lower Prior. I know that Upper has darker more stained water and maybe this is due to a softer mucky bottom. Is there spots on Upper that you need to steer clear of when driving your car?

Thanks

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DrJuice1980

I wouldnt try to get too close to the S/SE/E part of the big island right out from the landing, especially where it opens up to the main lake.

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Troy Smutka

The spot mentioned by drjuice is the only spot of concern I know of on Upper Prior, other than the channel area between Upper and Lower. Haven't heard of any problems on Prior at all this year, so far. Good luck, and stay safe.

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DrJuice1980

You should be fine on the south side, I am sure plenty have driven it already. Just dont hug the shoreline. For some reason every year about half way down that island there always looks like a wet spot about 30yrds from shore. Theres rocks on the eastern tip that come out where it opens up. Just stay further to the right when going out on the lake.

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Troy Smutka

2/7/15

Good late afternoon and evening crappie bite on Waconia on Friday. We caught lots of fish, most from 8-9 inches, with a few smaller and a few 10's. No big slabs this time. Fish took a minnow under a float on the deadstick, and we jigged them up on VMC tungsten jigs with 1" Gulp Fish Fry and also waxworms. Hit Prior for sunnies on Saturday am. Good bite for sunnies and crappies early, then the crappies stopped and the sunnies slowed by mid morning. Good size, though, with over half being keepers if we wanted a meal. #14 VMC tungsten jigs and Gill Pills tipped with red Eurolarvae or orange 1" Gulp Fish Fry were the ticket. Plenty of ice on both lakes, and not much snow to keep you from going where you want to go. Good luck, stay safe, and I will see you out there somewhere. full-29555-52518-dscn0729.jpg

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Troy Smutka

1/16/15 Happy Birthday Presidents Washington and Lincoln!

Great afternoon and evening crappie bite on Waconia on Friday. Caught 70-80 crappies in about three hours. Small VMC Tungsten jig tipped with a 1" Gulp!Fish Fry was the best bait. Orange and Chartreuse or Pink and White were the best colors. Sunfish bite started out good early on Prior on Monday morning, but slowed some by mid-morning. At least most of the fish were nice ones, from 7.5 to almost 9 inches. Tiny Gill Pills with in white or pink with two red Eurolarvae triggered the most fish, but you really had to be paying attention to the spring bobber or watching the camera closely as the bites were very subtle most of the time. 23" of ice on Waconia and 24" on Prior with no snow--what a great winter to be able to move around where ever you want to chase fish. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Really appreciate all the reports, Smuts! Very, very informative for us who aren't able to get out as much or who aren't quite as experienced.

Mind if I ask how deep you were fishing for the crops on Waconia? I was on them like mad a few weeks back, but have since lost track of them.

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Troy Smutka

Drewflu,

We were catching the crappies in 21-22 feet, not far from a shallower reef. Fish were roaming, but we had fish on the screen most of the time. Crappies were anywhere from a foot off the bottom to only 8 feet under the ice.

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Troy Smutka

Hey guys! Just a reminder that the Rapid Marine Group of boat dealerships will be having their annual Open House at their stores on Saturday, March 7. Free food, free parking, no entry fee, great deals on boats, and seminars from fishing pros will keep you busy all day. I will be at the Shakopee location (R & R Marine) and will be part of a 4-Pro Fishing Panel for tactics, tips, and Q&A starting at 9:00 am. Doors open at 8:00 am--stop in and say Hi!

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Troy Smutka

2/28/15 West Metro

Good late afternoon crappie bite on Friday. Caught maybe 60-70 crappies and a couple dozen sunfish between 4 and 7 pm. Bite slowed some after that. Crappies were all from 8 to 9.5" and sunfish were all a little small but three we got that were about 8 inches. #12 VMC Tungsten Jigs with 1" Gulp! Fish Fry were the ticket, and we also caught a few crappies on a minnow under a float on a deadstick. About 25" of ice and not much snow. Good luck, stay safe, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

3/1/15 Waconia and Prior

Good late afternoon and evening crappie and bluegill bite for my family on Saturday. Lots of small bluegills with a few nice ones mixed in, and all the 8 to 10 inch crappies we could handle. Kept the little guy's fish for a fresh meal. Sunday morning bite was slow on Prior. Lots of fish on the flashers, but they were reluctant and subtle biters. Caught maybe 30 sunfish and 3 crappies. Good news was almost every sunfish was 8 to 9 inches, and the crappies were nice ones too. Tungsten jigs with 1" Gulp Fish Fry on Waconia, and Tungsten jigs or Gill Pills with red Eurolarvae on Prior. Hopefully people clean up after themselves as they take their houses off today. Good luck, pick up some trash the next time you are out, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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