Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 11-16-18
Few reports are available now that anglers are turning their attention to the upcoming ice fishing season. Die hard anglers able to access open water report an amazing bite, as well as lots of large fish. Jig and minnow combinations remain the best bet for catching a variety of species.
Please remember that water temperatures are very cold so it is extremely important to wear a life jacket out on the water due to the risk of hypothermia. Learn more here. Additional information can be found on the DNR's Ice Safety Guidelines and General Ice Thickness Guidelines web pages.
For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR's Fish Minnesota web page.
Duluth - Lake Superior and inland waters
Area guides are wrapping up the 2018 open water season, and preparing for the upcoming ice fishing season. It is possible that there will be safe, fishable ice on some area lakes by the end of the month. Please remember that no ice is ever 100 percent safe. It is important to check with bait shops, resorts or guides before venturing out. Don't forget a spud bar so you can measure with every poke since ice thickness can vary greatly this time of year. Other items to bring with are a buddy, PFD or float suit, ice picks, rope, dry set of clothes, blanket/towels, head lamp, fully charged cell phone and a "game-plan." Last week, lots of smaller, shallow lakes and ponds had a skim of ice. Once there is at least 4 inches of ice to walk on, you won't have to venture far from shore since 2 feet of water can actually be productive for roaming pike. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com
Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River
Most Lake of the Woods bays and harbors are coated with ice which has put a halt to open water fishing. At last report, there were good numbers of walleye and sauger staged in traditional early ice locations near Pine Island and the entire south shore Lake of the Woods should offer excellent early ice fishing opportunities. Anglers that continue to venture out onto the Rainy River report large numbers of walleye. And up at the Northwest Angle, ice has formed in the back bays, harbors, at Angle Inlet, from Young's Bay to Flag Island and across most of the Flag Island flats. The larger stretches of water and areas with current are still open. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
As of Nov. 13, most area lakes are covered in a skim of ice. Cormorant and Rose lakes, however, remain completely open and will be for a few more days. It is possible that the smallest area lakes that developed a coating of ice first may have walkable ice by the weekend. Anyone considering an ice fishing outing MUST consult with an area bait shop or lodge, wear a life jacket, check conditions continuously with an ice chisel and proceed with extreme caution. There is no need to rush the ice fishing season -- this is one of the earliest ice-overs in a number of years and there will be plenty of time to head out this winter. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com
Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs
According to the Department of Natural Resources, surveys show that the walleye population is increasing, but some year classes remain below normal. Winter anglers on Lake Mille Lacs will enjoy a walleye harvest this winter for the third season in a row. Similar to last season, anglers will be allowed to keep walleye on Mille Lacs starting Saturday, Dec. 1, with no bait restrictions and a limit of one walleye between 21-23 inches, or one fish over 28 inches. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
Fly anglers will want to consider Twin Cities Trout Unlimited’s 2nd Annual Holiday Fly Fishing Camp at Whitewater State Park, Dec. 14-16. Lodging will be at Whitewater’s modern group center which features heated camper cabins and a central lodge for meals, presentations and evening gatherings around the fireplace. All meals are provided from Friday evening through Sunday morning, as well as casting lessons, fly tying and other learning opportunities. Best of all, the camp is right on the banks of the Whitewater River! Space is limited, so register early by contacting Rob Noirjean at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, volunteers are needed Dec. 1 for the last Twin Cities Trout Unlimited buckthorn cut and haul of the year on the Vermillion River. If interested in helping out, learn more at the Twin Cities Trout Unlimited events page.
Stillwater - St. Croix River
Water temperatures on the St. Croix River continue to drop. As of Nov. 15, temperatures were running 36 to 40 degrees. Jigs with fathead minnows were producing the most walleye, but a plastic tail like a "ringworm" was also turning fish. Anglers had the most success in depths of 20 to 30 feet. 651-351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com
Lanesboro/Preston - Southeast Bluff Country trout streams
A number of streams and sections of rivers are closed for the season, however, select streams located in state parks (Beaver Creek Valley, Whitewater and Forestville), as well as within the city limits of Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston and Spring Valley, are open for catch-and-release fishing until Dec. 31. Learn more at the DNR’s Trout Streams web page. Check the Minnesota Stream Flow Report before heading out. Detailed Trout Angling Maps are available through the DNR. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com
Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.
The information in this report is provided courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism.