The spring panfish bite is shaping up nicely. Water temps in the shallow bays are in the mid 50's, so there are more fish moving in to these bays every day. I generally notice sunfish moving in first and the crappie to follow. Most areas I've been fishing now have crappie, so now is the time to wet a line.
There are dozens of areas around Alexandria putting out fish from shore right now. I wouldn't say you will go catch an easy limit everywhere, but there are some very nice fish being caught from shore.
If you have a boat I'd recommend looking for shallow bays that are 3-5' deep. Black bottom bays are my favorite and seem to hold the most fish. You can find a lot of these areas on a map or Google maps prior to even hitting the water. For example, look at the satellite picture in this post. The shallow bay on the north side of this lake is a perfect place to look. I like to have a few spots picked out like this before I leave home.
Whether you're fishing from a boat or from shore your technique will be similar. Set a small jig about two feet below a bobber and tip it with a plastic tail or minnow. Then cast quickly around your bay of choice covering as much water as you can. These fish are hungry and when you find them they will let you know! Now is a great time to get the family out fishing because there's generally a lot of action. This technique will work all summer long you just have to adjust your lure depth as the fish move deeper. The fish should be in the shallow bays for at least a few weeks yet, so good luck out there!
March 28, 2017
We are definitely melting some ice now. When I wrote my report last week it was snowing and you could get out on many of the lakes in Alexandria. Now today as I type, there are only a handful of lakes that are remotely safe to fish. I still think anglers will get out on the ice for another few days, but for the most part the Alexandria area is done ice fishing. For those that are still looking to get out on the ice, I'd recommend heading north an hour or so. There is still over 2' of ice just a short drive north of here.
The nice thing about the Alexandria area is we have a wide variety of lakes. We currently have people fishing the last lakes with ice, while others are already fishing from shore catching shallow water crappie and sunfish. The shallow open water areas are still a bit cold, but we have a lot of sun in the forecast so I expect a decent bite to be just around the corner. Look for shallow, black bottom areas with moving water, they will always have the warmest weather. Between now and the walleye opener (May 13th) we will see crappie and sunfish move in and out of these areas feeding aggressively. The bite will go hot and cold with the weather. Generally the best bites happen after 2-3 days of warm calm weather.
Keep in mind, we have many places to fish from shore while we wait for the remaining ice to melt. I would think there will be boats out and about very soon though. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about fishing or current conditions.
March 22, 2017
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 email@example.com