Updates, tips and tricks by Lindy Pro Guide Joe Scegura
Alexandria is noted as one of the best places to catch fish in the state. That said, we are not even two weeks into the open water walleye season and the area is already living up to the hype. Reports of nice walleye and crappie have been common. Even though we’ve had some interesting weather so far, the fish have still been cooperating quite nicely.
With water temps in the mid 50’s most of the walleye are completely done spawning. During stable weather we are catching our walleye as shallow as 9-10 feet during the day and much shallower after dark. After rain and thunderstorms we are finding the fish much deeper, more like 20′-25′. All of our walleye are coming on minnows or minnow imitations. With the stand out bait being a jig and minnow combo.
Crappie are also doing very well, but with the weather it has been more of a cat and mouse game than usual. On hot calm days you can find them in 2-5′ of water and after a storm they will slide out to 10′-15′. A small plastic tube jig or hair jig tipped with a crappie minnow has been working best.
With water temps still in the 50’s, I expect the fish to show a preference to minnows for at least another couple of weeks. So keep it simple; grab some minnows, fish shallow, and fish slow. In a couple weeks baits like leeches and night crawlers will be doing much better. At that time you’ll be able to pick up your speed considerably, but for now minnows will be the preference. If you have any specific questions let me know, otherwise good luck out there!
What a winter it has been, but the end is in sight! There is still 20” of ice on many of the lakes, but the condition of the ice is rather poor. Be extra cautious! The north side accesses are getting tougher to walk on by the day. In fact most of the north accesses I would recommend some tall boots if you plan to get out fishing. The other sides of the lake are in much better condition. I walked on the west side of a lake last night without any issues at all, there was firm ice all the way to shore.
The fish have moved into the shallow areas the past couple weeks. I’ve been finding my fish in 5-8’ of water. Some days the fish are right up under the ice and other days they are about half way down. In most of the lakes you can visually see the fish come through. When the fish are just feet away from you make sure to be quiet.
As for a technique I’m just drilling out shallow areas near the deep water the fish had been holding in most of the winter. These areas are teaming with bugs and oxygen and do a great job at concentrating the fish. All I’ve been using a small #12 horizontal jig. I think finding places to fish this weekend will be no issue at all, but depending on the amount of rain we get will determine how much fishing we are able to do next week.
Good luck and be safe!
My last report was all about the cold and now this one could easily be all about the snow! We are sure getting our moneys worth out of this winter. Snow fall after snow fall has made travel much more difficult recently. We are getting off the roads in some areas but I think it’s safe to say if you are in a truck you will need a plowed road. This has really congregated a lot of anglers around the lakes area.
The majority of the anglers have been fishing sunfish and crappies. The panfish areas seem to get the most attention so naturally that’s where the plowed roads lead. The sunfish bite during the day has been quite good, as has the low light crappie bite. I’m still just using a small #12 horizontal jig and a couple euro larva. This combination has caught most of the fish pictured in my reports. A plain hook and minnow has also done well on the crappie after dark.
Based off of the reports from the guys fishing walleye, the bite hasn’t been all that bad for this time of year. The number of active walleye anglers is much fewer than normal though. To get on a decent walleye bite you will need to get away from the groups and on some unpressured structure. With all of the snow this has been a much more difficult task this year. The guys willing to walk, use a snowmobile or plow their own roads are the ones catching the most walleye right now. If you put in the work there are plenty of walleye out there to catch.
I’ve been getting A LOT of calls, texts and emails about snow conditions, so if I missed anyone I apologize. Keep the questions coming though, that’s why I’m here. I’m always happy to help. The most common question I get is “can we get our wheel house out on the lake?” The answer is yes most definitely! Many of the lakes have plowed roads, especially the larger panfish lakes. If you are inquiring about a certain lake feel free to call a local resort or you can text me and I will tell you what I know. Good luck fishing!
Joe Scegura’s Guide Service (Text: 320-260-9056)
Cold, cold, cold! We are definitely making ice now. Travel isn’t too bad out on the lakes right now. Trucks and wheel houses can get around most everywhere. But getting stuck is a real possibility, so stick to where others have been driving. We did get a few inches of snow during the last storm, but if you carry a shovel you shouldn’t have an issue. Every day that goes by more and more roads will be plowed back open. I was out driving around yesterday and I was able to get around ok. It was actually easier driving off road at times because of the snow that drifted on to the old plowed roads. The nice thing is there isn’t a lot of snow so if you do get stuck it’s generally not a major event. Usually just backing up and picking a different route is enough to get you back on your way.
The Bass and sunfish have been biting very well all day long. A simple #12 jig and euro has been doing the trick for us. I’d also recommend 2-3lb test line. Our waters are very clear and these fish can be smart. The crappies tend to come into the same panfish areas after dark. All you have to do is put down a crappie minnow on a plain hook and wait. Some lakes have a great bite right at dark where others bite all night long. The average sized crappie for most of the lakes are 9”-11” with 12”-14”fish being quite common.
The walleye fishing reports have been much fewer recently. I think most of that has been due to travel being a bit difficult after the snow a few weeks ago. Now that much of the snow has melted and refroze, I expect anglers to get back out after the walleye again. The guys that have been going out have been doing very well. One guy texted me that he has had a limit of walleye in short order his past two times out. Shallow rocks in 15-20’ as well as deeper basin areas 25’-30’ have all been putting out walleye.
Last week we had quite a bit of slush and water coming up on the ice. It was a combination of snow weight and melting snow, so last weekend it was a little wet out there. Now a few days later we find ourselves with normal temperatures for January and the slush and water has nearly all frozen solid. This should make getting around much easier.
Fishing is still very good for walleye and panfish. We set the houses up for crappie this week and it has been very productive. Some areas are producing crappie and sunfish all day where others have a better evening/night bite. Either way a small #12 jig and a euro has been catching plenty of fish during the day. This technique works after dark too but I prefer a plain #8 hook and a crappie minnow under a small bobber for the crappie. The fish are usually suspended a few feet and roaming the deeper 15’ areas near shallow weeds.
As for the walleye, I’m still hearing decent numbers of fish coming from 18’ feet of water. The best times as always are the evenings and mornings during low light. The trick to walleye in my opinion is to get to areas that have not been fished too heavily. The snow has restricted travel so there are plenty of great areas left out there. If you have an ATV or snowmobile you really put the odds in your favor. That said the snow melted significantly last week, so I think you should be able to get to most areas with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Pick out underwater points, inside turns and bottom transitions. For example, if you can find where the rocks stop and the sand starts or where the sand stops and the mud starts… these are great areas to try for walleye.
As always feel free to comment or email if you have any questions. I’ve been trying to get back to everyone within a day or two of receiving their emails. Good luck and enjoy!
The ice fishing remains solid going into the new year! We are catching walleye and crappie at will for the most part. There is 12”-14” of ice on many of the lakes so many anglers have started driving half tons with wheel houses out. As always make sure you check the ice the entire way prior to driving.
We’re catching our walleye in 18’-24’ feet of water. Some days the walleye will hammer the artificial jigging baits and other days it has to be live bait. I usually start with a jigging spoon on one rod and a plain hook tipped with a 3” long minnow on the other rod. If I see a strong preference to one or the other I can make adjustments from there.
The best crappie action has been in shallow basin and bay areas in 15’-20’ feet of water. The crappie have usually been coming through 2-3 feet off bottom. A small #12 jig tipped with a euro larva has been working very well and after dark I like to use a small crappie minnow on one of my lines.
Low light has been the best time for both species. I like to hit the ice a couple hours before dark and fish an hour or so after dark. We do have about 12” of snow on the ice, so it will make travel a bit more tricky. For the most part though you should be able to get around fine. Especially on the more popular lakes where there will be plowed roads. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
It appears we’ve switched weather patterns for November and December. A month ago we were much colder than average and now we are warmer than average. The good news is we have 10 to 13 inches of ice across the Alexandria Area. This goes without saying, but check the ice the entire way on foot prior to driving an ATV or small vehicle. Always use caution on early ice!
There have been a lot of anglers out fishing the past couple weeks. The permanent house villages are popping up all over the place. There has been a good number of crappies, Sunfish and walleye being caught. The best walleye and crappie fishing has been in the low light time periods. A couple hours at sunrise and sunset is your best probability of catching either species.
I’ve been finding my walleye in 18 to 24 feet of water. Set lines with a minnow or a jigging spoon with a minnow have been catching most of my walleye.
The crappie have been in similar depths but suspended off the bottom 2 to 3 feet. As I mentioned above the best crappie fishing has been low light but you can catch them during the day as well. I like to use a number 12 horizontal jig with a wax worm or Euro larvae. After dark the same jig and a crappie minnow under a bobber work very well.
I personally haven’t targeted Sunfish yet but I’ve heard pretty good reports from 15 foot of water. Look for areas with green vegetation. The same number 12 horizontal jig and a Euro larvae will catch your sunfish.
The weather for the upcoming weekend looks extremely nice! If you check the ice on foot the ice is very safe for travel. It’s only when you take the ice thickness for granted that you can get into trouble. Leave a little bit earlier, take your time and you will stay safe and dry! Good luck!
We are just entering December and we already have small lakes with as much as 10” of ice! Of course the larger lakes like Minnewaska, Miltona, Ida and Carlos will have far less ice and possibly still areas of open water. With that said many of the smaller to medium sized lakes have a significant amount of ice already. Over the past week I’ve seen a lot of permanent houses getting pulled out on the ice with ATV’s. I wouldn’t recommend it yet, but there has been some vehicle travel on a number of smaller lakes as well.
The walleye and crappie have been the main target for most anglers. The walleye anglers I’ve talked to are picking up a few nice fish each time out. The crappie fishing has been even better. I’ve heard both good numbers and size being caught around the area. As always the mornings and evenings have been best for both species.
It sure is great to see such good fishing already and we’re just getting started! As always with early ice, be extra cautious out there and stay safe! For a few tips on how to be extra cautious on early ice, check out my last post HERE.
The colder than normal temperatures has the ice forming quite fast this year. We are seeing 3”-6” of ice on many of the small to mid-sized lakes. There have been quite a few anglers out over the past week. They are reporting good crappie action and fair numbers of walleye. I’m comfortable saying, we have officially started our ice fishing season in Alexandria! Be safe and as always on early ice, bring a friend, wear a life jacket and check the ice as you go. Good luck to all! Most importantly, be extra cautious on early ice!
Every fall seems to have its own twist. Just when you think you know what to expect from year to year you get a fall like this. We had our fair share of rain and much cooler temps than we would normally see for the early part of fall. This unseasonably cool weather dropped our water temps in to the 40’s very quickly and in general had a bit of a negative affect on many fisherman. Some of the normal hot bites were nonexistent while other bites changed very little. I found the quicker I excepted these changes the better off I was.
The smallmouth fishing this season was as good as anyone could have hoped for again with 100’s of fish coming to my boat alone. We had plenty of days where there were multiple trophy sized fish caught with many fish exceeding 20″. We caught most of our fish in 2’ – 10’ rock and gravel areas. Some days they wanted top waters but for the most part we caught our fish on sub-surface baits. Minnow profile baits were best, with frog imitations coming in at distant second. The colder the water got the slower we needed to move our baits. The last day I fished smallmouth we needed to basically let the lure sit in front of them and wait for them to bite. That was a big change from earlier in the month were we were ripping the bait through the water to get strikes. It’s just amazing how fast things can change with a change in water temp.
With water temps in the low 40’s now and smallmouth in my rearview mirror, I have my sights set on crappie and walleye. The crappie have definitely been the more willing participant between the two. Catching a limit of nice crappie has been something an angler can accomplish in a pretty short order. With water temps in the low 40’s the crappie have been suspended over deep about 10’-30’ down. Setting your bait inches above them usually yields a hit in seconds. Small jigging raps or a small jig and a minnow have been working best for me. The walleye on the other hand have been much more difficult to pattern this year. I’m holding the drastic water temp change responsible for this. Limits of nice walleye are still being caught at times, but it hasn’t been consistent. There are usually 3-4 lakes that are on fire, but not this year. That’s fishing though and that only means there will be more fish for anglers to chase this winter!
With deer hunting the next two weeks this is a great time to hit the lakes. There will be very few anglers out and there’s no better time to catch a trophy than in November! I can honestly say I’ve caught more walleye over 30” in November than any other time of the year! My recommendation for the coming weeks would be to target crappie during the day and hit a small walleye lake for the evening walleye bite. Good Luck!
What a difference a couple weeks can make! Two weeks ago the heat was nearly unbearable at 7:30 in the morning… now we need heavy jackets, hats and gloves! Along with lower air temperatures come falling water temps. It’s truly amazing how fast animals in nature react to these cooler temps. Almost immediately the skies file with birds headed south, squirrels start stock piling acorns and the fish start moving to their fall feeding areas. In just the past couple weeks I’ve noticed a strong migration of walleye, crappie and bass into their fall feeding areas.
I’ve been fishing smallmouth in shallow rocky areas for the past few weeks. It’s fun to watch how these fish go from healthy normal looking smallmouth to football shaped hawg sized smallmouth. The amount of food they eat in a couple months is staggering! They will eat baits much bigger than most people think, I usually use 6”-8” long baits. It depends on the day, but we are using any bait that looks like a frog or a minnow. Top waters seem to work best when it’s overcast and when the skies are clear I prefer sub surface lures. We are catching well over 60 fish a day and the average size is 17” to 19” with a number of them going 20”-21”!
The walleye are also becoming more aggressive. Of course there will still be walleye in nearly all depths but I’m seeing a good number of fish move into the shallow areas that I’m fishing for smallmouth. Catching a walleye on a top water frog is always a surprise, but it just goes to show you anything can happen. The trolling bite after dark has been pretty strong as well. A #5 or #7 crank bait trolled at around 2mph has been working best. Once we get into mid-October I like to use more stick style baits like a #12 husky jerk. As the water temps drop I will also slow my trolling speed considerably.
The fall crappie bite is shaping up nicely. For the most part I haven’t seen the large schools suspended but they have been more than willing to bite on the 20’ foot shoreline breaks. Normally by October we will start to see massive sized schools of crappie holding over the deepest water in the lake. Most of the time they will suspended at 15’-25’. A small jig and a minnow or a small jigging rap presented at that depth will generally yield some fast action.
Some of the best fishing of the year is going to occur over the next month so don’t put that boat away yet! If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email. email@example.com
Good luck fishing!
Fall is on the horizon and the fishing is still very good. We are catching good numbers of walleye, bass and panfish. Generally, by this time of year the walleye bite will get hit and miss, but it’s about as consistent as it can get right now. We are catching eater sized walleye as well as some very nice sized picture fish. The bass are right on track though and starting to group up for their fall feeding binge. Over the next six weeks I will be chasing trophy smallmouth bass. In that time, we will catch 100’s and 100’s of smallmouth and hopefully many of trophy caliber. Some of the best fishing of the year is nearly upon us.
I’ve been finding most of my walleye in 15’-25’ foot of water (the 30.5” walleye came from 20’) Spinners, Lindy rigs, crank baits, bobbers, and jigs have all been producing fish lately. I’m not going to say they all work all of the time, but it seems every report I hear is of someone using a different presentation. This time of year, when you can find fish both shallow and deep its can be a bit overwhelming. First you have to decide on a lake, then a location and lastly a technique. The good thing is the fish are hungry and are not afraid to track down a fast-moving bait. This makes covering water to find fish much easier. In a month the techniques will be much more limited and most will involve a much slower presentation. For now, get out there with your favorite technique and keep moving. Once you find some fish try different techniques until you find their flavor of the week.
If walleye fishing isn’t your thing or you have anglers with less patience I’d recommend smallmouth bass! We have one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the country right here in Central MN. You can catch these fish anytime of the year, but over the next two months they will go on a feeding binge like no other time of the year. They will gorge themselves until they are football shaped and they will still think they have room to eat your bait. I prefer to fish areas with a hard bottom, so gravel breaks or rock piles fit the bill. Cast your favorite minnow style bait near these areas and work them back to the boat slowly. Top water and subsurface both work well, but some days one will outshine the other, so always try both. Oh, and don’t forget to hang on! These fish arguably fight harder pound for pound than any another fish!
This summer has been one to remember, but I’m just as excited for what is yet to come. If you have any questions about the area as always feel free to email me anytime! firstname.lastname@example.org
We are still catching walleye along with a good number of crappie, sunfish and bass. The walleye bite has best in the evenings, but the day bite has been very good at times too. The rest of the species are usually willing to bite all day long.
Finding the fish is always the key to a successful day. This time of year I like to use my locator as well as troll a small “search type” bait. By search bait I mean something I can cover a lot of water with, for example a small jig and a plastic or crankbait. I will troll these baits at 1-2mph until I either catch a fish that gives away the location to a larger school or I mark the fish on my locator. Then I can go back to that area and fish a slower presentation that usually yields a better number of fish. This technique allows me to fish where the fish are and not where I think they should be.
We are using leeches and #5 crankbaits for the walleye. I’ve been having my best luck with leeches in 18’-24’ foot of water. Where as the crankbaits have been good trolled over deep water during the day and as shallow as 3-6 foot of water at night.
The sunfish and crappie have both been hitting small jigs pulled slowly over the weeds. You can tip these jigs with either a leech or worm for the sunfish and a small minnow for the crappie.
The bass are not in their prime yet but we are catching a decent number of them. Soon we will be in what I call the prime season, where a trophy bass is always a possibility! The hot bite for trophy smallmouth is generally September into mid-October. It’s a favorite time of year for myself as well as many anglers. I start with fast moving baits and as we move into Sept I will throw larger baits and continue to slow them down as the water temps drop.
If you have any questions about fishing the Alexandria area feel free to reach out and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
We are well into the summer patterns at this point and the fish are hungry. Sunfish, crappie, bass and northern have been fairly aggressive. The walleye fishing also remains good, but the best time to catch them has been during the low light time periods. Early morning and evening have produced a lot of big fish over the past few weeks.
With water in the 70’s it’s hard to believe but the sunfish have just wrapped up spawning. There is a tremendous amount of 8”-8.5” blue gills around the area. Catching enough for a meal has not been a difficult task at all. Fishing with a plastic, small leech or worm have all been producing nice sunfish. Look to weeds in 8’-16’ of water.
The crappie have been aggressive as well hitting small crankbaits and tube jigs trolled 1-2mph. Troll right over the tops of weeds in 12’-16’ foot of water. Once you locate them try a slower approach to really put some crappies in the boat.
My best techniques for walleye have been a lindy rig during daylight hours and a small crankbait after dark. Use a lively leech or fresh nightcrawler on a lindy rig pulled at .2-.8mph along the weeds. This technique has put 100’s of walleye in the boat this year already. Concentrate on the outside edge of underwater points and inside turns. These areas are generally where I find the walleye schooled up and active.
As always feel free to email or text me if you have questions. Try to give me a few days to respond and I will do my best to get back to everyone! Good Luck fishing!
The fishing around the Alexandria area remains strong. The bass, northern and panfish seem to bite at will on almost every lake right now. The walleye on the other hand have been a bit more hot and cold. One night the walleye are jumping in the boat and the next you have to work for them. With that said, there has still been many lakes kicking out limits of walleye over the past week.
I’ve been finding bass and northern nearly everywhere on the lakes right now. Deep weed lines in 18′ foot seem to hold as many fish as the outside pencil reeds in 4-6 foot of water. Casting a top water bait or jigging your favorite plastic have all been producing a lot of fish.
As usual the panfish have been extremely hungry. Both sunfish and crappie have been biting well but the sunfish are much easier to find. A small jig under a bobber in 12-16 foot of water has been all that’s needed to catch a pile of tasty sunfish. Crappie have been a bit more difficult to track down, but most of them seem to be suspended over the weed tops in 12′-16′ feet of water. The guys that are fishing them hard are catching great numbers and size. A small 1/32oz jig and a white twister tail has been working quite well.
My main concentration has been walleye. I’ve been primarily using lindy rigs with leeches and nightcrawlers. I’m trolling these lindy rigs very slow at .0mph to .5mph. I’ve been finding most of my walleye on the outside weed edge in 16′-22′ feet of water. This is where they have been the most active. I’m also locating a good number of walleye in deeper water (25′-30′), but they have been much more difficult to catch. Regardless of where you find them I’d recommend moving through them as slow as possible with a lindy rig for the best results.
As always let me know if you have any questions about a certain lake or tactic and I will do my best to answer it. Good luck!
The Alexandria Lakes Area arguably produced the best “Opener Walleye Fishing” in the state this past weekend. There were numerous lakes, big and small, that treated their anglers very well. Limits of 15”-20” walleye were had by many, along with a decent number of fish going 25”-30”. Our group was among the fortunate and we were able to catch enough for an afternoon feast in just a few hours! We also had a tremendous finish to the day, boating around 150 walleye for the day.
With the mild weather we’ve had so far the water is warming fast, water temps are already nearing 60 degrees. These temps are pushing the majority of the walleye to slightly deeper water. We found most of our fish in 12’-18’ of water and they were hungry! A lindy rig and a minnow or a jig and a minnow trolled at .30-.75 mph has produced a lot of fish!
The panfish bite has also been red hot. There were many anglers that skipped walleye all together to target some of the states best panfish lakes. They found a lot of crappie and sunfish in 3’-6’ of water. A small hair jig and a minnow or wax worm is all that was needed to put a bunch of nice fish in the boat. Remember these fish are very vulnerable, so please release the bigger ones to do their job and spawn.
Regardless of your target species I’m confident in saying that you shouldn’t have a problem finding what you’re after in the Alexandria Lakes Area. The bites noted above will continue into early June before things start to transition to early summer techniques. So, grab some minnow and come on up to get in on the action!
This year’s late ice out has to have broken some records. Believe it or not we were on the ice sleeping overnight with a truck and an Ice castle only a couple weeks ago!
Now with the ice gone for the most part, we have just over a week to wait until the MN walleye opener! I will be looking shallow the first couple weeks for my fish. Throwing a jig and a minnow in 6′-10′ of water with rocks and gravel should produce plenty of walleye. Also don’t forget the areas with moving water. These areas attract plenty of bait and the walleye won’t be far behind. A shallow diving crank bait thrown in these areas after dark also works great!
The crappie will also be in shallow water, but in different areas of the lake. The crappie prefer a soft bottom in 1′-5′ of water. This bite should be kicking into high gear here very shortly.
No matter the type of fish you are after there are many places around the area where you can fish right from the road. So, if you don’t have a boat don’t worry. This time of year allows the shore fisherman nearly equal opportunity at some very nice fish. I look forward to another great season with all of you! Good luck to all!
This is going to just be a quick report. In fact I’m on the ice right now. We have close to 30 in of ice everywhere I’ve checked. The ice is very solid and we had the wheel house out last weekend. The accesses are getting a little beat up now but you should be able to get out easily with a snowmobile or four wheeler most everywhere.
We’ve been having our best luck in 8 to 16 foot of water for sunfish and crappies. During the day we are just using Euro larvae and a #12 Lindy toad. After dark we’re using the same presentation tipped with a minnow.
We will have good fishable ice easily throughout the weekend and I will post another update the middle of next week. This is some of the nicest weather and best fishing of the year! If you still have your ice fishing stuff out come on out and enjoy some great fishing. If you don’t have your ice fishing stuff still out, get it out! They’re biting! Good luck.
We are a couple weeks into spring and it appears we are still making ice in the Alexandria area. In fact, as I type this the thermometer reads only 15 degrees! There is still 30” of ice in most areas and the edges that were melting have all refroze. Keep in mind it is spring and there is still snow melting, so there is moving water near inlets and outlets. The sun is also very strong which can melt ice near sandy shorelines and shallow rocks. I’m not trying to talk you out of fishing because the fishing is great and so is 95% of the ice. I’m just reminding you to use your head and respect the ice, especially if you are headed out with a large vehicle and wheel house. I plan on heading out tonight to sleep over a couple nights and I have zero concerns, but make sure you know your lake and check the ice before you drive out just like any other time of the winter.
Up until recently I have seen very little fish movement. We have been catching fish in the deeper midwinter areas for the past couple months. However the shallower areas are starting to finally produce some fish. I think over the next week we will catch fish both shallow and deep. If you can find green weeds shallow there will most certainly be fish keying in on them. My plan for the next couple days is to set up in deeper water for the crappie night bite in about 18’ of water. Then fish as shallow as 5-6’ in the early morning hours for both sunfish and crappie. I think the fish will tell me what they want to do from there quite quickly. The fish have been very aggressive so keeping on the move until you locate them is very important. A small #12 jig and a Euro larva has been all I’ve needed most of the winter.
There are dozens of lakes right now putting out some great panfish in the Alexandria area. That said there are relatively very few anglers out there going after them. The few guys that are hitting the ice are getting rewarded quite well for their efforts. I expect there to be vehicles driving on the ice this week, probably slowing down when the forecast mentions a slight warm up. At that point I’m sure it will be ATV’s and walking for the rest of the season. If you’re looking to get out on the ice one or two or three more times yet you are in luck! Even with the warm up forecasted I expect there to be fishable ice yet for weeks! Feel free to comment if you have questions otherwise come on up and do some fishing!
Right now the fishing is as good as it gets for bluegill(sunfish) and crappie. We have around 30 inches of quality ice on most of the lakes and vehicle travel is quite easy right now. The 10 day forecast shows below freezing temps at night and low 40’s to low 30’s for highs, so the ice is going nowhere fast. I expect we will have fishable ice for weeks yet. Many of you may be more than ready for spring to come but, if life gives you ice, you better just go fishing!
We’re consistently catching eater sized crappie and sunfish in very good numbers. Including a decent number of sunfish 9”-10”+ and crappie 13”-15” that we are letting go. In fact just yesterday we let go a pile of sunfish around 9.5 inches and some crappie as big as 14 inches. It sure is a great day when you can keep a bunch of medium sized fish to eat, get a tan and still let go a good number of very large fish to spawn another day.
The sunfish and crappie are still holding tight to their mid-winter locations. I’m sure some fish are moving shallow but I haven’t had to chase them yet. There is still a very large number of panfish in 15’-20’ foot of water and they have been very willing to bite most of the time. The past couple weeks have been some of the best panfishing I’ve had all season and I expect them to just keep biting until ice out.
The best technique has been a small horizontal Lindy Toad(#12) tipped with Euro larva during the day and at night I like to use a small jig or plain hook tipped with a crappie minnow. Generally I like to be very active and look for fish during the day. The more holes I drill and the more I move, the more fish I normally catch. Whereas at night, I try to locate an area holding a few fish and then set up with bobbers and minnows to simply wait for them to come to me. These two strategies are very different, but they both work very well when used at the correct time of day. Have fun and see you on the ice!
The walleye season has left us once again, but not before we were able to put some final walleye on the ice! As many anglers have a tradition to fish the opening of the walleye season, I also have a tradition to fish the last day of the walleye season. We were able to catch some very nice walleye and finish off the season with a great meal of walleye! As sad as I am to see the walleye season go, it does free me up to concentrate on fishing panfish. Late ice is one of the best times of the year to catch big panfish!
I will be hitting the ice hard over the next month in search of the big sunfish and crappie the Alexandria area is noted for. Currently, the fish are in relatively deep water, but once the snow starts to melt the fish will start to move shallower. I’m finding most panfish 2-3 feet off the bottom in 15-20 feet of water. The edges of deep holes or sand flats with weeds have been holding the majority of the fish.
Over the next few weeks the sunfish and crappie bite will just get better and better. Couple that with some mild weather and it’s tough to find an activity more fun than watching your kids pull fish through the hole! The ice fishing season is far from over, so if you have questions about fishing in the Alexandria area just email me and I’ll do my best to help. See you on the ice!
The fishing remains very good around the area. I really can’t complain about the quality of the bite for any species. Northern, walleye, crappie and sunfish are all going quite well right now. I expect there to be a decent number of anglers headed out this weekend for the last couple days of the walleye/northern season. I know I will be out there!
We had a couple slow weeks of walleye, but we are back to some very respectable numbers. Two to three walleye per guy a night has been very common with some even getting a limit. But if you are staying in a wheel house for the weekend those kind of numbers really stack up. Plain shiners on a plain #4 hook has been best with an 1/8oz jigging spoon coming in second. Depending on the lake the depths have varied greatly. Shallow or deep, the main thing to look for are points and drop offs. These types of structure have been producing some nice walleye at sun up and sun down.
The crappie fishing has been best at low light as well with a decent bite going throughout the night. The fish houses are clearing off of the lakes recently due to the MN state law, but that doesn’t mean the fishing is slowing at all. The deeper basin (15’-25’) crappie spots around the area are almost all producing some good numbers of crappie. A plain #8 hook and a crappie minnow has been doing fairly good lately. Also actively jigging your typical sunfish jig tipped with a Euro larva has been working well. Either one of these techniques will catch you crappie.
Lastly, the sunfish have been biting well most of the day on a #12 Lindy Toad type jig tipped with a Euro larva as stated above. Weedy areas in 15’-20’ foot have been best as of late. These areas are full of sunfish of every size, but it does help to move until you get a keeper or two. The larger fish like to congregate so it’s important to stay on the move until you find what you are after. The northern pike are also very active in these areas and they will become even more so, as we get closer to ice out. Unfortunately the season closes for walleye and northern at midnight 2-25-18. The northern have been hitting minnows on tip-ups, as well as biting your sunfish jigs and at times even the sunfish you are reeling up. They can certainly surprise you at any time.
The ice is still over 30 inches think in most places, so we should be ice fishing for quite some time. With the warmer weather we will have over the next month I can’t think of a more enjoyable time to get the family on some nice panfish. As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
As we work our way into late season ice fishing the bite is right on track with what I’d call typical. The walleye bite is slowing down and the panfish are stealing the show. We have nearly two feet of great ice and almost no snow, so it’s a great year to own an Ice Castle! Fisherman of all types have been able to enjoy the lakes this year.
The walleye are still very catchable but the “good” reports are few and far in-between lately. Even though the average angler is only getting a couple a night, I’ve seen and heard of some very large walleye being caught (28″-30″). Any angler would be happy to call one of those a trophy! Most of the walleye seem to be coming from the outside weed edge in 18′-24′ on a plain hook and a shiner.
The walleye might be slowing down, but the good sunfish and crappie bites are popping out of the woodwork, so to speak. Even lakes that were slow earlier in the year are now doing well. 15′-20’ basin areas have been the hottest bites around. A small #10-#12 ice jig tipped with a Euro or wax worm has been all you need.
Over the past week I’ve heard of quite a few trophy sized sunfish and crappie being caught and released. Of course plenty for the pan as well, but it’s nice to hear the big ones getting let go. If we don’t release the big panfish, we won’t have big panfish… plain and simple. So take enough to eat, but let the big girls go to spawn. No one is stocking panfish, so it’s up to us to conserve. Most of the time any sunfish over 9” or crappie over 12” I catch goes back to spawn and become someone else’s trophy! If we continue this practice I have no doubt our kids and grandkids will as good or better fishing than we have!
I look forward to another great week of fishing, so get the family up here to enjoy the beautiful lakes area!