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Where to Go Fishing in Minnesota This Week

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Fishing at sunset / Brady Laudon and
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Fishing at sunset / Brady Laudon and

Weekly Fishing Update: Dec. 30, 2022

Despite extremely cold temperatures earlier this week, some anglers continued to head out and catch fish. Much milder temperatures have arrived and anglers are excited for the hot bite to return and to fish outside of shelters once again!

Please remember that ice is never 100% safe and ice conditions can vary greatly from one lake to another, and on the same body of water. It is extremely important to wear a life jacket, bring along an ice pick and rope, and tell someone where you plan to travel. Learn more about ice safety.

Before You Head Out

Please remember that what is left on the ice will end up in our lakes next year. Please do your part to help keep our waters clean by properly disposing your trash and other forms of waste. Learn more at Keep it Clean.

Before dropping a line, be sure to learn and abide by Minnesota's rules, regulations and other helpful information for fishing.

Quick links

Northeast  |  Northwest  |  Central  |  Minneapolis-St. Paul  |  Southern

River fly fishing near Grand Marais

River fly fishing near Grand Marais / Davin Brandt 

Fishing Conditions in Northeast Minnesota

Ely Area Lakes and Rivers

Several days of heavy wind have removed much of the snow on area lakes, exposing the slush and ice to bitter cold temperatures. As a result, ice and travel conditions have improved greatly with 15-plus inches of ice reported on most area lakes. During this period of high winds and cold temperatures, only walleye anglers ventured out, fishing from protective hard-sided shelters placed over the mud in 16-20 feet of water. Anglers caught the most walleye during overnight hours when using a deadstick tipped with a lively minnow.  

Contact the Ely Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Duluth - Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland lakes

The St. Louis River Estuary has some fishable harbor ice but it is extremely important to check ice thickness often when walking out. Anglers are taking a few walleye when using jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads. A deadstick set within 6 feet of the jigging hole is helpful. A bite window is taking shape during early morning and late afternoon hours. Backwater panfishing has been difficult but more stable weather patterns should increase the bite. For the most fish, work 5-10 feet of water over the mud, and trust your electronics. It is important to be as quiet as possible since fish can be spooked easily. The inland lakes, reservoirs and flowages have been good for set-line fishing with northern pike, bass and the occasional walleye being caught. Setting some tip-ups near vegetation covered shorelines in around 5-12 feet of water has been best. For some larger fish, try deeper waters. Both shiners and smaller suckers are turning fish, but don't be afraid to use an oversized chub. Walleye anglers should concentrate on the mid-lake humps. A simple rigging rap tipped with a minnow head is hard to beat. The best depths have been 13-21 feet of water -- the shallower depths early in the morning and later in the afternoon, and the deeper depths in the middle of the day. Just like panfishing on the river, the panfish bite on inland lakes has also been ‘hit-and-miss’ but stable weather patterns are expected to help. Ice thickness ranges from 5-12 inches. While most of the small, shallow lakes are supporting snowmobiles, some of the larger, deeper lakes need more time to build ice. Snowmobiles are the best mode of travel to avoid getting stuck in thick snow and snow drifts. Please note that slush pockets remain on several bodies of water and the weight of the snow may result in flooding when drilling holes.  

Contact Visit Duluth for more information.

Grand Rapids Area Lakes and Rivers

Despite extremely cold temperatures earlier this week, some anglers continued to fish. Panfish were the primary draw since they were easiest to catch near shore. Bluegills and crappies have been hitting small jigs tipped with wax worms or euro larvae in 12-20 feet of water, especially in and around the weed beds where oxygen levels are highest. Light line can be key to catching fish in clear water, and smaller bait is often preferred by both species since they are feeding on very small microorganisms and larvae in the shallows. Light rods are also helpful for light biters.  

Contact Visit Grand Rapids for more information.

Nice catfish caught by a boy fishing the Red River / Brad Durick-Fargo Moorhead CVB

Nice catfish caught by a boy fishing the Red River / Brad Durick-Fargo Moorhead CVB

Fishing Conditions in Northwest Minnesota

Baudette/Warroad - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

While the bitter cold temperatures earlier this week slowed the bite a bit on Lake of the Woods, some nice walleye and sauger were taken. Most fishing took place in 22-29 feet of water. Anglers with portables also took fish from 10-17 feet of water early and late in the day. The key has been to jig one line and deadstick another line. On the jigging line, use a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head or tail. Also consider an aggressive lure such as a lipless crankbait with rattles to attract and catch fish. On the deadstick, use a live minnow on a demon, plain hook or ice jig set a foot off the bottom. While ice conditions are very good overall, ice conditions vary on the main lake. Up at the Northwest Angle, good numbers of walleye along with some large northern pike and jumbo perch are being reported. The Rainy River is frozen and was giving up lots of nice walleye bite before the deep freeze. A jig and a minnow worked well for walleye and sauger. Ice thickness varies on the Rainy River so it is important to work through a resort or outfitter.

Contact Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau for more information. 

Bemidji Area Lakes

Anglers are pulling fish from the shoreline breaks in 12-18 feet of water on Lakes Bemidji and Plantagenet. Jigging spoons and minnow heads or live minnows on a deadstick have been very effective for walleye and perch. Productive times are early and late in the day but the windows are fairly short. The walleye bite on Upper Red Lake remains very good, especially on the east side of the lake. For panfish, check out Gull, Midge and Rabideau lakes. The best crappie action has been during early morning, late afternoon and evening hours. Anglers should note that more than a foot of snow has fallen recently so slush is developing underneath the snow that covers the ice. This could have a big impact on travel on the lakes. Anyone venturing out onto the ice needs to check ice thickness and conditions often. Learn more at Dick Beardsley’s fishing video.       

Contact Visit Bemidji for more information. 

Detroit Lakes Area Lakes

Recent cold temperatures have alleviated much of the slushing issues. The ice is in great shape and ranges from 8-16 inches thick in most areas. Sleds, 4-wheelers and side-by-sides remain the best modes of travel. While few anglers headed out during the frigid temperatures and high winds earlier in the week, those that did caught panfish in the weeds and over the deeper basin areas. Walleye were pulled from the shoreline breaks in 14-22 feet of water. The time to fish is the last couple hours of the day and into the dark after sunset.       

Contact the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce for more information. 

Fishing on Ottertail Lake / Kvidt Creative

Fishing on Ottertail Lake / Kvidt Creative

Fishing Conditions in Central Minnesota

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

Anglers are pulling good-sized walleye from Lake Mille Lacs despite recent cold temperatures. Some areas of slush and water remain near shore where cracks have developed, and ice thickness can vary greatly. Resorts are working hard to plow out the ice roads and accesses, as well as some new roads to fishing hot spots. The local snowmobile club has been out clearing and grooming trails for the weekend.

During the winter months, anglers are allowed to keep one walleye measuring between 21-23 inches or one walleye longer than 28 inches on Lake Mille Lacs.  To learn more, visit the DNR’s Lake Mille Lacs fishing regulations page.      

Contact the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council for more information. 

Anglers enjoy lots of fast bass action in Metro area lakes / MN DNR

Anglers enjoy lots of fast bass action in Metro area lakes / MN DNR

Fishing Conditions in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Twin Cities Trout Unlimited

Plan ahead for upcoming Twin Cities Trout Unlimited events. Practice your casting indoors through open gym casting sessions at the Dayton Downtown YMCA in Minneapolis. Sessions will be offered on Jan. 14, Feb. 11 & March 11. Find out more.

Contact Twin Cities Trout Unlimited for more programs and information.  

Minnesota DNR 

The DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Winter Series will include Ice Fishing for Lake Trout webinar on Jan. 11. Sign up here. And tips are available for anyone who wants to try ice fishing at the DNR’s learn to ice fish page with information about how to search for fishing lakes online with DNR LakeFinder, how to dress, thrifty ways to get fishing equipment, and how to catch fish through the ice.

Contact the Minnesota DNR for more information. 

Sturgeon fishing on the Mississippi River near Red Wing

Sturgeon fishing on the Mississippi River near Red Wing / Korbey Sellen Photography

Fishing Conditions in Southern Minnesota

Preston/Lanesboro - Southeast Minnesota trout streams

Trout fishing is catch-and-release only from Saturday, Jan. 1, through Friday, April 14, at all designated trout streams in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties. There are also catch-and-release fishing opportunities all winter in Beaver Creek Valley, Forestville and Whitewater state parks, as well as in the city limits of Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston, Rushford and Spring Valley.

Southeastern Minnesota trout fishing information is available on the DNR website and fishing maps are available on the Lanesboro area fisheries page.

Contact the City of Preston for more information. 

Ortonville - Big Stone Lake

A great mixed of fish is coming from Big Stone Lake including sunnies, perch, crappies and walleye! There was also a 42.5 inch catch-and-release sturgeon pulled from Big Stone this week! Ice conditions are reported to be great! Measurements taken at the Hwy 68 access showed 15-20 inches of ice and about 2-4 inches of snow in most areas. Travel has been easy.

Contact Big Stone Lake Area Chamber for more information.

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