Well there are two questions I’ve been asked over and over the past month. The first is, “How much ice is on the lakes in the Alexandria area?” The other is, “Will the ice be off for Minnesota fishing opener?” Many of the lakes still have over 24″ of ice. I’ve been on a number of lakes recently, and the main lake ice varied from slightly honeycombed to very solid. The lake edges in some places are open, but in many places it’s locked up tight to shore. Most access areas are in poor shape, but it wasn’t too hard to find a place to get on the lake. Most anglers were on foot, but there were four wheelers and snowmobiles out as well. With the cool temps forecasted for later in the week, it may be possible that some lakes will have fishable ice through the weekend.
This past Saturday’s guide trip was a memorable one. We not only had very good ice fishing in Alexandria, we also had temps reaching nearly 80 degrees. It couldn’t have been a nicer day to be on the ice. We tried a number of lakes, catching fish on them all, but the last lake kicked out the most fish. We broke the 100 mark quite easily in a few hours. The fish were in 8-15 feet of water. Our best lure was a Lindy Toad in any color tipped with a wax worm or Euro Larva. It was one of the nicest days I’ve ever spent ice fishing: great weather, great company and great fishing. It doesn’t get any better!
As for the second question, “Will the ice be off for Minnesota fishing opener?” I think it’s safe to say that in the Alexandria area the ice will NOT be completely off all of the lakes. In fact, I think many of the lakes will still have a decent amount of ice floating around. If you’re planning a trip for fishing opener don’t be discouraged though, there will be plenty of places to catch walleye. As anglers we will just need to adapt to the condition and modify our target locations and techniques.
I plan to fish extremely shallow near moving water. Wherever there is moving water there will be a few things I’m looking for. First, the ice will be gone. Second, there will be bait. Lastly, where there is bait there will be fish! I’ll probably be fishing a lipped crank bait with a rattle, like a Lindy Shadling, or I’ll fish a jig and a minnow. Either one of these presentations I believe will produce fish. Most of the spots I’m referring to will be accessible on foot as well as by boat. Being these locations are shallow I’d also recommend fishing in low light periods, so depending on the angler you may need to adjust your fishing hours accordingly.
No matter what happens, this will be a fishing opener like we’ve never had before, so don’t miss it! Mother Nature has thrown us all a curve ball, so let’s see what we can do with it. I’ll post ice reports and pics as often as possible up to opener.