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2020 Brainerd, Aitkin, McGregor Area ice fishing reports


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They’ve been Snowmobiling across breezy bay the last 1-2 weeks. (Breezy point resort webcam) Not sure about the main lake yet closer to shore to maybe the first breaks might be fishable. 

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Went out for a couple hours tonight.  Conditions were much better south of Brainerd than last week east of Brainerd.  Tonight’s lake has had more traffic on it but also less snow.  
 

There was a good 8 inches of ice  where there was no slush but 25 feet away in the slush there was the typical 5 I’ve been seeing and hearing about in the area.

 

We got there at the tail end of the bite and put up about a half dozen crappies each.  Better than deep couch sitting on a Friday night.

Edited by Wanderer
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be very careful on the bigger lakes, big sandy has little ice, all the snow has slush on most lakes, and no ice being made. I have heard 3 inches of good ice, with slush, then 3 inches of bad ice over it. with the weather forcast, its looking no better with warm, rain and more heavy snow over it. most have been walking out, even on the smaller lakes that froze up early.

 

and welcome Joels to FM

Edited by knoppers
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Got out today for the mid day bite. Mixed bag, over all found 7.5” good clear ice mostly wheelers and walking on the lake. I took my snowmobile and was trouble free not much for flooding and with my sled I had no issues at all as far as travel. 
 

Wanderer, that first pic with tape measuring ice all the ice looks terrible? Or did you just have the heat cranked up in the house today? ? Ice today for me was all great. 

Edited by AlwaysFishing23
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One other thing I didn’t mention: there is getting to be a a half dozen or so hard side houses out over the usual shanty town area of the lake.  We walked through (twice of course) on different lines and noticed a crack that seemed to run an orbit around shanty town.  There was also slush and standing water in shanty town.

 

It was as if someone could’ve predicted shanty town had the potential of sinking this year. ?

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We got about 3, maybe 4 inches of wet snow mixed with rain yesterday and misty rain a good portion of today.  I plowed my driveway of 2 inches of wet snow last night and just got done plowing slush off it from today.  We’re forecasted to get up to 6 more inches by Tuesday ? with fairly warm temps.  
 

I’ve been happy the general area between St. Cloud and Brainerd hasn’t been messed up too bad but I fear our time is running out. ?

 

This holiday season please remember your local bait shop!  They’re in a tough spot too.  Bad end to the season last year and rough start this season.  For Little Falls, Da Fishin’ Hole Is getting my business the rest of the season for anything I’ll need.  Prices are good - I picked up a 9 Ah battery for $17  on Friday (sale price) and the bait is in great shape!  Places with other revenue lines will be just fine without my minnow money this year.

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sure hope your radar is off!!  cause says it's slowing down here...   hope it is for you too!!  My snow blower worked hard but it did it's job today...  

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN
15 hours ago, Mike89 said:

sure hope your radar is off!!  cause says it's slowing down here...   hope it is for you too!!  My snow blower worked hard but it did it's job today...  

Mike how much snow you get up there? Curious as what I may face comeing up fishing this week?

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1 hour ago, IceHawk said:

Mike how much snow you get up there? Curious as what I may face comeing up fishing this week?

actually not that much, maybe 4 or so inches..  a few inches on big O..  but lots of rain when it stated so there is plenty of water on the ice currently....  use cation..  are you using the dirt landing?  or battle point??

Edited by Mike89
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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

 

18 minutes ago, Mike89 said:

actually not that much, maybe 4 or so inches..  a few inches on big O..  but lots of rain when it stated so there is plenty of water on the ice currently....  use cation..  are you using the dirt landing?  or battle point??

Thanks for info Mike Ill be using the Hill gravel access. Hopefully some of that water soaks in. Around home here its a serious slush fest ☹️

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1 hour ago, IceHawk said:

 

Thanks for info Mike Ill be using the Hill gravel access. Hopefully some of that water soaks in. Around home here its a serious slush fest ☹️

I'll let ya know when I hear more Icehawk....

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52 minutes ago, Mike89 said:

I'll let ya know when I hear more Icehawk....

oh just what you need............another excuse to hit happy hours!!!!!!!!!!!?:crazy::blink::P

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12 minutes ago, smurfy said:

oh just what you need............another excuse to hit happy hours!!!!!!!!!!!?:crazy::blink::P

 

as good as any other!!!!  LOL!!!!

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Any one been out or have any thoughts on what the slush conditions are like in central MN. 5-8” ice now, and Saturday lake I was on snowmobile travel was very good. Now with the past few day’s who knows what all happened. Hoping I’ll still be ok with snowmobile travel? 

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Took the sled for a quick spin tonight to gas er up and hit the lake to check conditions.  Not bad. ?  Didn’t really seem too much worse for the wear of the past few days.  There’s still slush that’ll make some deep wheeler tracks but snow has crusted up some and the sled ride was fantastic.

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Alright fisherman! For all of you thinking this is the end because of all this slush you couldn’t be further from the truth! I was out on 3 separate lakes today and drove by about half dozen. They are all about the same 7-9” good clear ice and 2-5” of slush. But with a sled you float over 80% of the slush because it already is frozen. Travel is really no more difficult now than it was the 3rd weekend in November when it was bare ice. If you have a sled ( short track or long track doesn’t really matter) you can go about anywhere assuming you have safe ice. 

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the report I got on my lake in palisade from nextdoor, 6-8 inches of good ice, a pocket of slush, then 3 inches of frozen slush over it. this was before the snow we got since sunday  which looks like 6 more inches. I would think snowmobile would be fine, just don't stop without clearing through first, and lake travel is bad for anything else.

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Got out for a snowmobile ride yesterday morning before it warmed up. Trails we ok, but we could use about 6” more snow and a grooming. Went and checked out a local lake and made a loop out there and sure enough all the slush was froze solid. Never broke through once. There was a SxS out there to and they had no issues moving around on top of froze slush. We are in pretty good shape now actually! 

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A friend drove by Bass Lake by Cohasset and said it is a total slush hole. A guy had his snowmobile buried about 300yds out and was slogging out on foot knee deep.

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What I found yesterday was a thick crust over most of the lake with pockets of slush and varying ice thickness below.  Walking was easier and I have to believe it would hold a snowmobile just fine.  

 

What got to me was some spots had 4-5 inches of frozen slush over 1-2 inches of water, then 3 inches of good ice.  Most of the bare spots had better ice underneath but water between was still common.

 

Please continue to be cautious.

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2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

What I found yesterday was a thick crust over most of the lake with pockets of slush and varying ice thickness below.  Walking was easier and I have to believe it would hold a snowmobile just fine.  

 

What got to me was some spots had 4-5 inches of frozen slush over 1-2 inches of water, then 3 inches of good ice.  Most of the bare spots had better ice underneath but water between was still common.

 

Please continue to be cautious.


I found a similar situation when I came across a tipup froze in with the flag up the other day. I unburied it and ended up pulling in a 10lb eelpout/ burbot. The layers of ice was odd. Dusting of snow, 4-6” froze slush, no water then what looked like 3-4” good clear ice. I didn’t have a tape as I was out on a sled ride so this was just a approx. A ton of a sled tracks in the area but defiantly cutting it a bit close If my sled weighted more than the 550lbs it weighs.  Then yesterday I found another tip up on a different lake 50 Miles apart again froze in someone forgot it. Remember your tipups before you leave!  If not I guess this means I will just be tipup fishing more! ?

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Went and checked a small lake last night on my way home. They’ve been driving out there for a few days and wanted to see how much ice there was. Found 10” up to just under 12” with 1-2” being froze slush. There was SUVs, jeeps, 1/2 tons, 1/2 tons with wheel houses and a 3/4 ton, and 3/4 ton with wheel house. I would HIGHLY recommend not driving out. We all just need to be patient there’s a lot of area with way less ice. I think for most of us fisherman a little walk won’t hurt. Plus now with little to no snow and slush froze up walking is is a breeze. Used the clam drill plate rig and got 25 holes through 12” ice average and still had a full charge on my battery. Loving that setup with the 6” lazer bit and 5ah dewalt battery’s. 

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  • Rick changed the title to Brainerd, Aitkin, McGregor Area ice fishing reports

Checked a lake Tonight before it got dark a bunch of buddies and I are gonna get together and fish tomorrow and found 13”-13-1/4” good clear ice. There was a van, couple SUVs and 10 or so half tons and one half ton had towed out a 24ft tandem ice castle. Should be pushing 14” of ice this time tommaorw as it made close to 3” already this week. I’d probably drive my half ton out but think I’ll take the snowmobile to gain mobility instead. Not much for snow and zero slush ( all froze up) gonna be a cold one but sunny and not much wind. Should be toasty warm in the insulated otter and new ice armor insulated float suit! 

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      On the south end...  Another really strong week of walleye fishing.  
      One of the main areas to fish is still deep mud.  Basically 28 - 34 feet of water.  Various schools of walleyes move around the basin relating to different kinds of forage.  
      Big walleyes eat a lot of everything but really key in on tullibees (ciscos) who live primarily in the basin.  Other forage can be perch, perch minnows, emerald shiners, blood worms, crayfish, and the list goes on.  
      Various schools holding shallower, over rocks or sand, based on bait options in that area.  Reefs are still holding fish, normally on the sides and base where rock meets the mud.   
      Drifting or trolling spinners with crawlers and trolling crankbaits are still very effective for catching walleyes this week.
      As we approach mid to late September and October, the jig bite will fire back up!
      On the Rainy River...   Walleyes hanging out in some of the deeper holes throughout the river.  Moving up and down the river, hitting numerous spots until you find which areas have walleyes is a good method for success.
      Some anglers trolling crankbaits to cover water.  Oftentimes, walleyes won't show up on electronics if they are laying in a depression in the river bottom.  Only way to know is to fish the area.
      Bass and pike are plentiful on structure, docks and weed edges.  Hitting various "goto" spots up and down the river is a fun and normally productive day.    
      The sturgeon "keep" season continues through Sep. 30.  Catch and release Oct 1 - April 23, 2022.
      Up at the NW Angle...  
      Great fishing continues on both sides of the border.  In U.S. waters, deep mud of Little Traverse Bay continues producing walleyes in 28 - 33 feet.  Gold, white and orange spinners with a crawler is effective.
      Underwater points, sunken islands and neck down areas with a bit of current in 18 - 27 feet holding fish.  These areas are good areas to jig.
      Pike and muskie anglers are still finding good fish on weedy points using jerkbaits and topwater. 
      Travel via vehicle through Canada to the Angle is open.  Boating into Canadian waters is now open.  Contact a NW Angle resort for details.
      Charter boat transport and float planes are still available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air.  
      A complete list of lodging and fishing packages around LOW, the NW Angle, Baudette and the Rainy River at www.fishingminnesota.com/Lodging.  


  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      🤣 neighbors don't bow hunt and they might just get a deer iffin a deer happens to run over them.😉   Thanks!!👍
    • Wanderer
      Is that that little guy at the feeder with the cr*ppy rack?    Your neighbor got the ‘tirdy pointer last weekend with his bow. 😉😝   Good luck Smurfy!
    • smurfy
      To the original intent of the post, I fished about 10 days ago and now done. Time to play with guns. Got the home front and cabin pretty much all set up for winter. Next up go get dat turdy pointer.
    • smurfy
      I hear ya bud, just pulling your chain a bit .😉
    • smurfy
      My in-laws used to live just down from morning star. They weren't on the lake but they supposedly had access to the lake near morning star, some lake easement for residents living on the opposite side of the lake.
    • deanbaron1990
      One last morning on the water this past Saturday before we took the docks and lifts out in the afternoon. Trolled the Morning Star bay for crappies. It was slow with just 2 or 3 crappies, although they were big ones. We could have kept them but chose to release. Also got a couple of northerns. I got skunked but my girlfriend got a good size northern. Biggest fish that any of the four of us caught on Saturday.
    • leech~~
      Well, actually going on family life expectancy.  Not many man on my dad's side made it past their late 60's.  On the other hand my wife's side most lived to late 80's into 90's.  So again, I really don't want to leave me wife in an area she is unfamiliar with or know anyone.  If she should pass away before me for some unknown reason.  Yes, they will find me dead in a cabin in the woods. 
    • ozzie
      Well I had to go north this weekend with the predicted weather and boy did it not disappoint!   What a great weekend of perfect weather!!  Hit up Gull Lake Saturday afternoon equipped with a dozen lite pike minnows and a plan to move until we graphed fish and move if they don't bite.  First stop we searched and found one spot with bait balls and a few fish but nothing was biting so we went searching.  Searched alot of ground over the next hour and half and didn't mark a fish, so we went back to the spot with fish marked and as we pulled up there was one boat right on the spot...catching a fish!!  We trolled around with this boat exchanging information and catching fish for the next 2 hours.  We ended up catching 9 throwing back a 25" and keeping 8 from 13" up to 23" that was gut hooked.  Fished in 20-32' of water using lindy rigs with lite pike minnows.  Some fish we would give a lot of line to and they would have the bait swallowed and other times we would give line and find the hook just barely in the lip!  Missed a lot of hook sets but could not beat what was possibly the last fishing trip of the year for me...GOOD LUCK 
    • ozzie
      I have been gearing up getting ready to walk again after 10 weeks!  I have been lucky enough to get out fishing a few times and can't wait to get out in the deer stand...bad thing is I have a basketball tournament for my 4th grade son on opening weekend of deer season and I am the coach!  Oh well I have used enough patience getting this far, what are another few days!  Otherwise not much for me to do...
    • smurfy
      i think Leech is using his wife as a an excuse not to actually live out in the sticks in fear of meeting up with bigfoot!!!!!!!!!!🤣🤣🤭
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