Spring has begun and some days it even feels like it! Unfortunately, as I type this report I look outside only to see snowflakes falling. As much as everyone wants spring to come it looks like we will have ice for some time yet. Even with the highs in the low 40's, we haven't been melting much ice with lows below freezing at night. The forecast looks to be a bit warmer, so I promise it will melt eventually!
There is still 12"+ of decent ice on many lakes in the area. Of course anywhere there's moving water the ice is melted or in very poor shape. The accesses that are located on the south side of the lakes are in much better shape due to less sunlight (see access picture to the right). You can easily get ATV's and snowmobiles out on the ice in these areas. Even some north accesses are in good shape, but they will be much softer. The ice really varies from lake to lake this time of year, so be cautious. There is very good ice left out there though. I expect there to be fishable ice in our area through the end of the month. Drive just an hour north of Alexandria and you will find people still driving vehicles.
We have been catching a lot of panfish over the past week and they sure are hungry. My best depth for both crappie and sunfish has been 10-20' of water. As we continue to get warmer weather and the ice continues to melt the fish will keep moving shallower. Generally once the ice gets too weak for ATV's the fish will be only a couple feet under the ice in about 5 feet of water. My best lures have been a 1/16oz jigging spoon or #12 jig tipped with a waxy or Euro larva.
I like to drill a lot of holes this time of year and stay on the move until I find fish. I will fish a hole for only seconds before moving because if the fish are there they will generally be quite aggressive. Like I said earlier, we currently have plenty of fishable ice in Alexandria, but you still need to watch where you're going. Now is actually a great time to see where the ice can be weak midwinter as well. Anywhere there is no ice or poor ice now, the ice can be quite questionable there during the coldest winter months too. The more you can get out on the ice and learn what's happening beneath you the safer you will be the rest of the year. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. The fish are here and they are hungry!
March 10, 2017
The ice is still holding up quite well around the Alexandria area. If we keep getting these cold snaps we should have fishable ice for a couple of weeks now. Currently, many of our lakes have very good ice conditions with a quality 12"-15" + of ice. Any place there is running water of course there is open water, but that still leaves 99% of the water frozen and ready for fishing. I have no doubt there will be a truck or two out on the ice this weekend, but I recommend ATV's or walking the remainder of the ice season.
Being we have a wide variety of lakes in our area you will be able to find fish as shallow as a few feet and also still in the deep basins in 30+ feet of water. The nice thing is the fish are fairly aggressive, so finding them is really your only hurdle. I've been catching all of my fish on #12 Lindy toads and a wax worm or euro larva. Color hasn't made any difference for me, but the Lindy Toad is a great jig. You will notice right away that it's unique hook design will allow you to hook many more fish.
I check the ice frequently, so have no worries about driving up here. We have plenty of ice for the upcoming week. In fact we are making more ice as we speak! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them quickly.
March 3, 2017
The ice fishing walleye season has come and gone once again. Being the season is really only 2-3 months long it does seem to fly by for most anglers. I know my family was sad to see it go, but that means we are closer to the spring walleye opener! There's always something to look forward to when you fish in MN. For example now I get to chase big crappie and sunfish until May!
The walleye fishing last weekend was still quite good. Generally walleye fishing in the late season can be a little slow, but for the second year in a row we finished the year strong! We were able to catch a large quantity of eater sized walleye as well as releasing some small and large walleye. Our best baits all year have been plain #4 hooks and minnows set 6"-12" off of the bottom. Jigging spoons with a small fathead have also produced quite well.
My family and I really enjoy spending the weekend's together out in the fish house. Catching fish and playing games is a great way to spend the winter months as a family. We truly can't wait for next December to start it all over again! Until then we will make plenty of memories on the ice yet this year, as well as fishing out of the boat this summer.
There is still a lot of very good ice in the Alexandria area. Any lakes that have large amounts of water running through them are the first to go through. Also on that list of first ice to melt are shallow rocky areas and accesses on the north side of the lakes. These areas draw in the heat from the spring sun and start melting the ice first. Some of the shoreline edges are pulled away a foot or two, but the main sheet of ice on most lakes is around 15-20" thick. Like I always say each lake is different and you need to check conditions for yourself. I personally have notieced the best ice on the bigger lakes, but I have yet to find a lake you can't walk on. To give you an idea of how good the ice is, there are lakes I would have no problem driving on right now. Just to be safe I'd recommend ATV travel or walking. I'll keep checking ice conditions every week, but for now I'm predicting a few more weeks of ice fishing. Good Luck!
As always, email or text me if you have any specific questions. I've been getting quite a few inquiries about certain lakes and recommendations, so feel free to ask away! That's why I'm here!
Joe Scegura JS Guide Service 320-260-9056 firstname.lastname@example.org