Jump to content
  • GUESTS

    If You  want access  to member only forums on FM, You will need to Sign-in or  Sign-Up now .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member.

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


Recommended Posts

Troy Smutka

icon_rss.gif - Subscribe to this fishing report. smile

Ice conditions still vary greatly from lake to lake. While seven to ten iches of pretty good ice, due to our lack of snow cover, is common, still use caution.

 

Channel areas on Minnetonka, for example, may have much less ice than that. Walking, with or without a portable house like a Clam Fish Trap is a safe bet on Prior and Waconia, and many areas of Minnetonka. ATVs should be cautious, and I would wait to put out wheel houses, especially with another four day stretch of near-record to record temps that is upon us.

 

Panfish are biting on Waconia and Prior. They are working deep water already, 18 to 23 feet, probably due to no snow cover on top of relatively thin ice for this time of year.

 

Try the center of deep bays or coves, or the deep basin areas not too far from bays or shoreline points. We are catching bluegills all day, with peak time being early in the morning, and AFTER DARK.

 

Crappies are getting nocturnal, so try staying out after dark. Small jigs with waxies or micro-sized Gulp! are catching both, and a crappie minow under a float is catching crappies and even some waleyes and pike in these same areas. Good luck, and be safe!

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 272
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Troy Smutka

    178

  • Avid Angler

    7

  • david_vang

    5

  • DrJuice1980

    4

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Posted Images

Troy Smutka

January 15th Prior Lake Ice Fishing Report

About 10.5 to 11 inches of ice on Prior this weekend. Good late afternoon and early evening bite on Saturday. Lots of 8 to 9" bluegills on Fatboys and Gill Pills tipped with live waxies and Bekley Gulp! 1" Fish Fry. Several 9 to 11" crappies taken jigging same combo. Red and white was best color combo. Several crappies also caught on second line with crappie minnow on glow Creep Worm hung under a float. Fish active in 21 to 22 feet of water. Saturday morning was just bluegills. Good bite, but more small ones mixed in with the larger ones. Cold snap coming this week should make some good ice with no snow on top. Stay safe and see you out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report Troy. Understanding that it is never safe, are there ATV's out on the lake now?

Link to post
Share on other sites
fishin4fun85

there were atv's and sleds where I was on prior....we didn't have much luck anywhere we tried....we were right where upper and lower come together....any hint on where were u fishin smuts?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

Hooksetter,

There are ATV's and snowmobiles on the lake. A few wheelhouses out, but mostly portables. Did see a pickup pull a wheel house out to drop it off and then leave on Saturday. The truck might be pushing it, but plenty of ice for the ATV's and sleds.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

Fishin4fun85,

I have been fishing the NE portion of Lower Prior. Deep water near a reef, and deep center of a bay/cove are holding fish. Bite varies with the weather.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been fishing areas lake between Waconia, NYA and Chanhassen. Majority lake there are about 7-8in ice.. You gotta love those lakes in the SW area. Caught alot of decent size 6-10in crappies in chanhassen lakes. Hydes been pretty good, with decent size panfish. Tiger is just a boom or bust. But all fish i caught yesterday are still swimming today. goodluck, b-safe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in that same area of Prior and are having good success as well though of my four neighbors who all have permanent houses in this area we have yet to see a sunfish over 7". Three are retired and fish every day. Crappies slightly larger but for every crappie we have been picking up 20 sunfish. We are set up in 20' to 21' feet of water. Plenty of ATV's on the ice but be careful in the channel areas as there is some very sketchy ice.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My lower back would like to say it is plenty excited about using the ATV for the first time this season. I can't remember a time when I dragged that tub over dirt and rocks more than this year. Thanks for the reports!

Link to post
Share on other sites
muskiemanHunter

wondering about going to either spring lake, (near prior lake) or would lake waconia be a better option for this coming weekend? Want to catch walleye, crappie and possibly northerns on some tips ups? any info would greatly be appreciated!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

ackrite78,

Sorry--I have not been to Parley, and I haven't heard any reports about it this year.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

muskiemanHunter

The evening and night crappie bite has started on Waconia. Set up over the deep water adjacent to several of the shallower reefs on Waconia, such as Pilsbury, Cemetery, or Anderson's. Have one set-line per angler, with a crappie minnow under a float, set four to six feet off the bottom. Then each angler can jig closer to the bottom with a small jig like a Gill Pill, Fat Boy, or Frostee, tipped with a live waxie or a 1" Berkley Gulp! Fish Fry. A small jigging spoon like a Frostee Jig tippped with a minnow head will work, too. Start fishing about an hour before sunset, and be willing to stay out well after dark. Watch your electronics closely. The crappies will usually pass through in groups, and they can be near the bottom, just a few feet below the ice, or anywhere in between. When you see high fish on your electronics, believe it and slowly reel your jigging presentation up above the fish. Jig to attract fish, but crappies usually like the bait still to bite it. Watch your rod tip carefully (a spring bobber can help)because a crappie bite after dark can be very subtle. Make sure you can see the float on your set line as crappies will grab this at the same time you are watching another fish on your electronics. It can get very busy when a pack of crappies swims through. I was up at Mille Lacs this past weekend, but I got a report of 12 to 13 inches of ice on Waconia. Check before you drive a vehicle out. Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

jay83196,

I haven't been out to Minnetonka in a few weeks--have been on Prior, Waconia, and Mille Lacs, so I don't have any recent reports for tipping out there. Main lake reefs are usually the best bet for tipping pike or walleyes on Tonka by this time of year. Shallower early and late in the day, and then off the reef in deep water during the day. One tip for pike--dead bait. Pike get to be scavengers by February, and a frozen smelt or shiner, or even a Berkley Gulp! or Power Bait 4 to 6" minnow laying on the bottom is often more attractive than a struggling sucker. Best bet is to try both live and dead bait on multiple sets, and let the fish tell you what they want. If I have suckers die in the bucket, I will freeze them in a ziploc to use for this dead bait approach. Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites
muskiemanHunter

Thankyou Smuts for the crappie info. Any other info related to walleyes on waconia. Anyone having luck out there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Smuts,

Are the reefs out on Waconia crowded now or not quite yet? Was thinking about fishing off of Anderson's some time soon. Have you been targeting a certain bottom content or sticking to certain depths? Were there any deep weeds still green out there anywhere that you know of? Sorry for the barrage of questions. Thanks for any advice you are willing to share!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

muskiemanHunter,

Walleyes have been sporadic. Some are being caught around the deep edges of the reefs, right at the weedline. That has been early, late, and at night. I have heard of a few accidental fish on tipups set for pike on the weededge outside of Waconia Bay, again late in the day.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

PFUNK,

The reefs just started getting busy this past weekend. I don't know of any deep green weeds out at Waconia. For crappies, I have been fishing in the low 20's over soft bottom near shallower reefs. That deeper water is the warmest water now, and has the most dissolved oxygen. The deep, soft bottoms are where the larvae/insect activity will be for another four to six weeks, so that is where many of the minnows and panfish, especially crappies, will congregate. Good luck--may see you out there this weekend.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I fished around center reef today ... the west side produced only perch. the east side got me into some blue gills and a couple crapies. The east side I was in about 10 FOW and left just after sundown due to the wind. I was planning on moving deeper off the reef but never got to. Should i be looking in anouther part of the lake for crappies? or did I just not stay out long enough?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I fished the west side of Wayzata bay Friday afternoon. Measured 13" of ice over there. Saw a few trucks on the ice. I would imagine that tomorrow will bring more vehicles out there, with the colder night/day.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

chuckwagon,

The deep basin areas off of Cemetery, Pilsbury, and Anderson Reefs are often the best spots for mid-winter crappies on Waconia. Look for water depths in the low to mid 20's, and you will usually have to stay out after dark. Make sure you have a sonar to watch for crappies swimming through suspended. Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

muskiemanHunter,

Fantastic! Headed up to Mille Lacs again this weekend, but then hoping to do some evenings for crappies out on Waconia. Good luck this weekend:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
SouperStar22

Hows the report doin in the Browns Bay was thinkin maybe I could head that way sometime this week

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

chuckwagon,

I haven't ventured out to Waconia lately. Reports are of varying ice conditions. I have heard of 14 inches, but someone who lives on the lake has also reported a small area of open water near the west end just over a week ago! I know some vehicles are driving out there, but I would be very careful.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Troy Smutka

We were our on Prior this weekend. 15 inches of O.K. ice where we fished. About half of the people were driving out, the other half (including us) were walking or riding ATVs. After looking over the ice and hearing and feeling the cracking when trucks drove by, I am glad we walked. Saturday the fishing was slow, Sunday things improved some. The fish were showing up in much better numbers Sunday, but they still had to be coaxed to bite. We used very small Gill Pills and Fatboys with a small, single waxie. Had to hold it still once a fish approached, and give him a lot of time to look it over. Most of the bluegills we caught were very nice ones. A few smallish crappies and a couple small bass filled out the bag. We were fishing over the soft basin in 21 feet of water near a shallow weedy reef. Good luck, and be careful on the ice. Remember that Hennepin County lakes are off limits to cars, trucks, and SUVs, and an ATV went through on Sarah on Saturday. All metro area lakes should be approached with extreme caution when thinking of driving out. Safest bet is to walk--we all can use the exercise:) If you want to drive out, maybe head north. We were on Mille Lacs two of the past three weekends, and the ice is much better. The walleyes are committing suicide--we iced fish from 14 to 29 inches, and a lot of them. Several big perch mixed in as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Was out on Wayzata bay this afternoon. Wow - pull the plug on vehicle traffic, and it becomes incredibly quiet out there. I guess walking is too much work these days. Did not see another fisherman out there all afternoon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
cavalierowner

I was out on Carsons Bay yesterday morning and there was just one other person I could see on the entire bay. But then it was a weekday. I was surprised at how much the fishing had slowed down compared to last Tuesday when I was out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

    • BigTrucka
      By 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?
    • SkunkedAgain
      By SkunkedAgain
      Someone had to kick things off.
       
      I caught some shrimp at the grocery store over the weekend. I'm hoping to see some spawning walleye this weekend. Who knows where they will be in a month when we are all allowed to actually fish for them!
    • Coleman
      By Coleman
      Has anyone been on the water of areas lakes?  Kinda curious what the water temps are hovering around?  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      By LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... The lake is still ice covered with big stretches of open water which is expanding daily.  Anglers fishing the lake are fishing in front of the Lighthouse Gap where the Rainy River enters LOW.  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 during the spring walleye season which lasts through April 14.  The walleye season opens again on May 15th.
      Pike Fishing.  Open water is available in the back bays such as various Four Mile Bay, Bostic Creek, Zippel Bay and backwaters on the Rainy River where pike spawn.  Some nice pike being caught in shallow water areas.  These areas are off of the main lake and perfect for small boats.  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.  
      On the Rainy River...   This past week was nothing short of incredible for walleye fishing on the Rainy River.  Large numbers of big walleyes were caught and released.  Many fish 30 - 33+ inches in the mix.  Exactly why anglers love the Rainy River in the spring.  
      Good reports up and down the river including Four Mile Bay.
      A 3/8 - 1/2 ounce jig is working nicely tipped with a minnow or a plastic.  Bright plastics and frozen shiners working best on jigs.  Some anglers trolling crankbaits with success to cover water.  
      Sturgeon fishing continues to be good with good numbers of sturgeon being caught.  Most anglers targeting holes in the river.  Some sturgeon being caught on rolling sand dunes with fish laying in the depressions. Wherever there is food and a bit of slacker water!
      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 and bait available.
      Up at the NW Angle...  Locals are able to get their boats from the mainland (Angle Inlet) to most areas of the islands.  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.  



    • leech~~
      By leech~~
      Whats your guess? 
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      By LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... Most of the lake is still ice covered with the exception of large areas adjacent to inflowing water such as the Lighthouse Gap (Rainy River) and Morris Point Gap (Bostic Creek) areas.  Open water is expanding daily.  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. 
      Open water is becoming available in many of the back bays around the lake where pike spawn.  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.  
      On the Rainy River...   River fishing started out strong, slowed down with cold weather and the Big Fork and Little Fork Rivers spilling mud into the Rainy River and now is picking up again.  The water is clearing and water temps are on the rise.
      A 3/8 - 1/2 ounce jig is working nicely tipped with a minnow or a plastic.  Bright plastics and frozen shiners working best on jigs.  Walleyes caught in various depths down to 35 feet.  
      Some anglers trolling crankbaits with success to cover water.  Walleye season is catch and release only on Rainy River and Four Mile Bay through April 14th.
      Sturgeon fishing continues to be good with good numbers of sturgeon being caught.  Sturgeon aren't as affected by dirty water as they feed by scent.  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.  Closed 5/16/21 - 6/30/21.
      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 and bait available.
      Up at the NW Angle...  Various areas are starting to open up.  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.  
       


    • Mata Eveleth
      By Mata Eveleth
      Hey just trying to find a report that says like on March 20th, 2021 the water level measured at Crane Lake was.. say 18 feet 6 inches.. measured again on April 5th, 2021 and the depth is now at 17 feet six inches.. something simple. been searching around this web site.. and way to complex.. KISS   Keep it short and simple.. over and out.. same thing any web site you just want a bit of info.. and all this run around crap.. pffff.
    • JBMasterAngler
      By JBMasterAngler
      Made my long awaited return to the Rush yesterday. Never got a WI license last year, so it was good to be back! Beautiful weather! But conditions could not have been worse for trout! Water was lowest I’ve ever seen! And gin clear, without a single cloud in the sky. We were fortunate to catch the 3 we did. Way too many people out for my liking. But our gear worked, and our boots didn’t leak 😁 so it was a great day as far as I’m concerned.
       


    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      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 :)

    • BrianF
      Due to all the the weeds, I’ve heard the name ‘Garbage Bay’ given to the bay just West of Niles Point - which bay actually has a name, Laura Bay - but I’ve not heard of Garbage Point.  Maybe it’s associated with Garbage Bay?  Dunno for sure...
    • Skibo
      Skunked - I've always been Lowrance.  A friend suggested buying one smaller Humminbird to connect to the Minnkota.  I did just that with a 9" and have since upgraded to a 12", and have been very happy with the setup.  I prefer the Lowrance/Navionics for navigation, and the Humminbird with their Side Imaging for fishing.
    • SkunkedAgain
      That's a beautiful part of the lake. Great pictures.   Forgive my ignorance as this is more of a map question. Is "Garbage Point" right next to Niles Point? I've heard the name over the years and believe that it is right around there on the north side.
    • SkunkedAgain
      I don't remember what kind of survey they did in the fall, but whatever it was showed very favorable walleye populations on Vermilion.   I did a quick search, and they were netted not shocked out of the water:  http://timberjay.com/stories/walleye-boom-time,17521
    • DonkeyHodey
      You got it, bro!   The secret spot is not so secret...    Usually the beach is empty in April but it wasn't this past weekend (we planned to try Sun before lunch and there was no room, so we took early lunch, came back and thankfully then the prime beach spot was open!  YES!)   The high water is one thing;  there's at least enough standing room and I could barely fit a folding chair.  (but action was hot--we weren't sitting much at all!) The bigger issue was casting room.  80% of the time I spent fishing and 20% untangling line from the brush/trees.  🤣
    • BrianF
      East end of Waconda Bay.  Our dock points N towards Niles Point, which you can see in the background there.  Been eight years now since we bought; every year better than the last.   
    • gunner55
      Still there today, 2 boats in the water along with at least 2 vehicles. Usually they're done in 2-3 days so I'm not sure if the weather delayed them or if since it didn't happen last season they are taking more.
    • Sorgy
      Nice view, Where on the lake is that?
    • FishinCT
      I assume they also didn’t do the fall electrofishing survey to assess young of the year walleye?
    • Rick G
      Nice job @DonkeyHodey   The old "secret" spot produces again😏  Hard time finding a place to stand with the high water?  
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.