Well, ice season is in full swing and people are officially out and catching fish throughout much of Minnesota. Up here in the Northland the walleye bite has been the main focus for many with panfish and perch still #2 on the list. Here are the reports for Leech Lake and Mille Lacs from this past week.
The main lake rock reefs and bars are producing well during the early AM and more so in the evening and into the night. Try focusing on 12-18 feet of water. Using the combo of a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head and a dead stick with a glow jig or hook next door is a great way to see what is going to work best. Those fish are going to slide up during those peak periods and actively feed. The spoon or swimbaits, such as a jigging rap will call the fish in and sometimes provoke that reaction bite. Other times the walleyes will see the struggling minnow on the set line and take that. If you are hole hopping try deadsticking with a rod near bite or setting out a tip up. During the daylight hours slide out into the mud or deeper sand/gravel in 20-28 ft of water for the best action.
Walker Bay has had some feeding windows mainly in the evening fishing on the humps in 25-30ft of water.
Perch fishing has been best shallow in 5-10 ft of water in areas where you can find green cabbage. Look to the weedier bays such as Steamboat, Portage, and Sucker. Drill alot of holes and be aggressive, don’t be afraid to upsize to keep those smaller perch away.
Panfishing on local lakes in the area has been very good. Look to fishing on the edges of the holes or basins. Our best luck was in 13-17 ft of water fishing for suspended fish. The deeper basin is close by and those fish will slide in and away from those edges. Tungsten jigs with plastics or small jigging spoons were the lures of choice.
Ice is 12-15″ on the Main Lake with Walker Bay being 8-12″.
The walleye bite on Mille Lacs is great right now. Fishing the steep edges of the mud flats in 28-30 feet of water has been the most productive. Jigging spoons, jigging raps, and set lines have all produced fish. At times you can find active fish up on the tops of the flats, especially during low light periods, but the steeper edges, points, and shelves seems to be the best fishing. There also have been good reports coming from the North End sand and shoreline breaks in 15-20 feet of water.
It is a great time of year! Remember to use caution, call ahead of time to get the up to date ice reports, and be sure to stop in at the local bait shops.
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service
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