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Ice conditions on Mantrap Chain


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Can anyone give me an up-date on the ice conditions on any of the lakes on the Mantrap chain? I would like to head back up for some more fishing but I am questioning the ice conditions after the warm weather and rain.

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Just got back from bigmantrap, lots of permanent houses coming out now. I've seen any where from 10" to 16" of ice. The water on top has all refrozen now, but a few nasty ruts still exist. Hope this the area you were wondering about. Good luck on the ice.

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How do folks get out to the main basin on Mantrap?

I fish Mantrap all the time in the summer, but would like to get out there this winter.

Can you make it out there through all of the channels?

Thanks for the info....

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To get to other access,stay on 104 past turn off for big landing. It'll go between mantrap and badax lake, take first right past Mantrap Lodge. At bottom of very slippery slope you'll see access sign on left. About 300 yards and you are there, it comes on by Coke's Island. Hope this helps ya, good luck.

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Thanks, I forgot all about that access...

That should be the way to go, still a ways to the main basin, but I use a 4 wheeler to get around anyway.

The passage through that short narrow channel to the main basin should be solid, but I will exercise caution - I prefer to fish in the main basin with all of the sunken islands and humps out there - plus they are all marked in my GPS!

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JWB475 Bringing my kids and grandkids to Big Mantrap for the first time in July. I've been looking for a good map of the lake, can't seem to find one. Any suggestions would be appreciated along with any "non confidential" fishing advice you would care to pass on. Thanks

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I mainly fish the lower basin, and the east arm for Muskies, however Mantrap is a good panfish lake as well, but I can’t help you much with that. But if you plan to go after muskies…..

There are a number of sunken islands in the lower basin that are covered with vegetation, and cabbage weeds, which make some great habitat for the muskies - and panfish alike. The map available using the lakefinder feature on the DNR website is somewhat accurate, however a few of the sunken islands are not on it. The spots can be hard to find, but simply motoring across the lower basing you will run across them. I used to just toss out a marker bouy, and then cast over them. Now I have them in my GPS, and I have fished the lake so many times I have a pretty good milk run, and have a good understanding of what the structure looks like.

Otherwise, the rest of Mantrap has excellent fishing – not to mention scenery, lots of people simply troll around the weedlines following the shoreline. And if you have never been to Mantrap before, it is a nice way to get familiar with the lake.

Enjoy yourselves out there, Mantrap is a beautiful lake, with very clear water. I drive from Longville almost every weekend in the Summer to fish it (50 miles one way), going right past (or near) some excellent fisheries to get there...

If you plan to target Muskies, make sure you have the right equipment and gear – Mantrap is a great musky fishery, however every year I find dead fish floating in the lake – likely due to stress from being caught, and improperly released.

Fishing pressure is increasing, and I feel that the release rate is not as high as other Muskie lakes. There are a lot of people out there that know very little about Muskie fishing, and wind up keeping the fish they do catch. If you land a muskie, please keep the fish in the water as long as possible. If you don't have a net or cradle, get one – take a quick photo and get the fish back in the water as soon as possible...

Mantrap is a good Muskie fishery with trophy potential, the fish I catch out there are well fed and very healthy – if we all practice catch and release it will get even better…

Well, I better get some work done, good luck and best fishes,

JOHN

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JWB - When you refer to "the lower basin", are you referring to the biggest bay on the lake (east side)? I've always had some pretty good luck over by Cooks Island, Home Bay, Steamboat bay and the part known as the "river". I know that I have been pretty much ignoring the big bay on the east side. Have I been missing out on the best area?

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Thanks JWB. I'll take your advice on trolling and marking the humps etc. I have pretty good electronics so shouldn't be a problem. I have a 20' dark blue Spectrum IO so if you see me on the weekend give a shout.
Really looking forward to this trip and a new lake. We went to Bowstring for years and then Leach for several more years. Now we go to Vermilion in June and the midsummer trip with the kids we're looking for a new regular lake. Mantrap sounds like we may have found a home. Thanks again and any other advice from you or others will be appreciated.

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Sod Farmer, you are correct, the lower basin I am referring to is the large bay in the SE corner of the Mantrap, the largest body of water in the lake.

It has excellent structure and deep water, thus I feel it holds some of the largest fish in the lake.

However it can be a complete dead sea at times. I don't know if it is any better than any other are of the lake, It is just an area that I have confidence in. I spend little to no time fishing the other areas of Mantrap other than the lower basin and the east arm.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Bobberwatcher
      I don't see ice going out til April. Some more 50 degree temps on the way, but still getting near or below freezing most nights and an extended forecast I saw is showing highs around 30 and even some single digit lows at night for the last couple weeks March. Little if any rain too. 
    • Bobberwatcher
      I don't see ice going out til April. Some more 50 degree temps on the way, but still getting near or below freezing most nights and an extended forecast I saw is showing highs around 30 and even some single digit lows at night for the last couple weeks March. Little if any rain too. 
    • CigarGuy
      Looks like there's plenty of ice still in Spring Bay! Kids snowmobile racing.
    • BWpineisland
      My wife is in total agreement with yours. I love the quiet and remoteness, my wife hates the ice travel!
    • SkunkedAgain
      There aren't a lot of cabins in the bay to begin with, a whole other bonus! For the folks on the south side of the bay, it's an access issue as well. People in general are less likely to go in the winter when you don't have road access, because now you introduce ice conditions, snow depth, darkness, cold, and other factors into the trip. While I have always enjoyed those challenges, it is much different to drive up on a Friday night and pull up to your place versus get there at 10pm, unload machines and gear, and go across the lake at night with gear in tow. I love it. My wife hates it. My daughter is in the middle.   Enjoy it up there.
    • smurfy
      yea that ice looks like its about on its last leg!!!!
    • Rick G
      Being we had a few hours of weather cold enough to make ice I decided to check out one of the small shallow lakes in the St Cloud area.  Ice was in surprisingly good shape this morning, had about 6-7 inches of hard ice again.   Found a pretty decent bite in 8-11 ft of water.  Crappies were riding high in the water colom while sunfish remained close to the bottom for the most part.  Best bait for me was a 3mm motoroil/chrome with a impulse mayfly. By mid afternoon we could definitely tell the ice wasn't as firm as it was in the morning. By the time we left at 4pm I had put all thoughts of returning tomorrow morning out of my mind.  At no point did I feel unsafe, we were prepared for whatever, floatation suits, ropes and ice picks at the ready😏😁.  Today was definitely my last day on the ice for the yr...next stop, spring carp/suckers😁   VID_20240229_150704553.mp4
    • Rick G
      Just trying to make as little noise as possible once holes have been drilled.  
    • CigarGuy
      I take my sxs all the way down Phillips Rd. road to Cains driveway and turn around at the entrance to Laura's and her son's Brian's driveways, Brian bought Davey Crockett's old place.(I think that was his name). You see them fishing on his dock at the beginning of the narrow part of the channel heading in Black Bay. They have the only 2 driveways that are plowed during the winter down Phillips Rd. My neighbor, whom you met, used to plow his boat house road so we access the lake easier in the winter for ice fishing, but he doesn't ice fishing much anymore, so just sleds down that road. I think I know who lets you access the lake, nice of him. I'm surprised more people in Black Bay don't use their places in the winter. I'm heading up in the morning!
    • chucker1101
      I drove on I-35 over Albert Lea Lake on Jan 5. It wasn't even partially frozen, and it's like 6-8 ft average depth or something like that. Those lakes in Sourthern Minnesota didn't even get 2 months of ice this year.
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