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Mississippi Backwater Fishing Reports - Winona Wabasha Lawrence Lake

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4 hours ago, Evobassfish said:

Thanks for the reply jlvers


Some general stuff I've found about Lawrence Lake...

I've never fished it very often in a given winter; not when I lived thirty miles from there, and not now when I am almost three hours away. There have been a few winters when I did not fish it at all, but I've been fishing Lawrence through the ice since Reagan was in the White House.

In my experience, Lawrence Lake is best at the beginning and end of the ice season. At early ice the main lake is where the action is, but that tails off. The panfish seem to move down the lake towards the marina and the channel opening (deeper water, more oxygen) as winter progresses; the area right around the docks is sometimes very good right before the ice goes out.

The panfish bite has always been hit-or-miss for me on Lawrence; some days I cannot buy a crappie or bluegill through the ice, but other days when they are practically jumping through the hole make up for it.

My trip up there this past week was unusual in that the tip-up action was pretty slow for me, and everyone else who had one out. When the panfish don't cooperate I can usually count on pulling up some bass and Northern through early ice on Lawrence, but there are exceptions to everything.

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Good ice has been about ten days away for a month now in southern Minnesota.  As of today that means I hope to get up there and hit the ice by New Year's Eve, but that looks iffy at best.  

I work at an area baitshop. Here is what I have at the moment. Willow Creek 4"-6" Silver Creek 4"-6" Fosters (patchy) 3"-4" not recommended to fish here yet backwaters are patchy 2

This is too late to do anyone any good, but here is a picture from my trip to Winona the last weekend in February before the ice went out. The bluegill were hitting early in the morning on Bartle

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I fished Willow Creek Reservoir in Rochester last weekend. Caught ten keepers in the afternoon.  Nothing huge, but keepers.  Bite was pretty steady using tungsten jigs with waxworms.  Looking forward to this weekend with the warmer temperatures, and the full moon.  I plan to return to Willow Creek this weekend, but am curious if anyone has had any luck on Lake Zumbro, or near Winona. 

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Ice fishing is done down here in east central Iowa where I am now, and it looks to me like this weekend might be the last with good ice up around Winona or Lacrosse, so I am heading that way this weekend.

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This is too late to do anyone any good, but here is a picture from my trip to Winona the last weekend in February before the ice went out.

The bluegill were hitting early in the morning on Bartlett Lake, and there was a good Northern bite going on tip-ups. A good way to close an ice season that was way too short for my liking.

2-27-2016 Winona Results Morning.JPG

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The upper end of Lawrence Lake by Brownsville has long been a feast-or-famine early ice fishery for me. Earlier this week, Lawrence was a famine. :blush:


I fished the far weedline north of the marina for about three hours, and had no luck at all. Not on tip-ups for Northern and largemouth bass, no luck on panfish. I got out there late in the morning and needed to leave early in the afternoon, which put me there for the worst time of day to fish, but what do you do?

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Jlvers, thanks for the report. Lawrence is a hit or miss and it seems to be getting worse to get on fish there. I havent been down there yet and probably wont until the last couple weeks of last ice. Gonna get set up and head out to winona area to see if anythings biting. 

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Was thinking of heading up Winona-way this coming weekend, but that is a long drive if I don't know what it waiting for me in terms of ice conditions. 


As for Lawrence Lake, if I hit the ice there again this winter it will be at late ice in the marina itself. In my experience going back a couple decades the upper backwater area north of the marina is best at early ice, and goes downhill from there.


I should have noted that the day after I struck out on Lawrence Lake I went up to Lake Onalaska, and spudded my way out to one of the dredge holes. So far as I could tell, only one person had been there before me. I hammered bluegills for several hours, and came away with my limit. In the process I caught a lot of small crappie. That would have made up for the bad outing on Lawrence, except that I can can catch bluegill and crappie down here, and what I really went up to the Lacrosse area for was Northern pike. I've never done well for pike on Lake Onalaska, and that outing last week was no exception.

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