ALEXANDRIA LAKES AREA
March 31, 2016 Fishing Report
Well it’s hard to believe only a few weeks ago there were ¾ ton pickups and 20 foot fish houses all over the lakes. Then, a week later we were down to ATV travel only. Now there’s no evidence the ice even existed. It was one of the fasted ice outs I can remember.
The ice fishing season around the Alexandria area was a short one, but in my opinion it was a very productive one. We had some outstanding walleye fishing during February, and once that closed the crappie action took the spot light. The first couple weeks of March yielded some of the best crappie action I’ve seen. We were able to catch literally hundreds of crappie that were 12-13 inches, as well as a number of them that measured 14-15 inches!
When targeting big crappie like this you can use much more aggressive techniques as they will hit almost anything. The hardest part is finding them and then staying on them. These larger fish roam quickly in schools, ambushing bait as they go. Being most of the lakes in the area are quite clear, these fish also get spooked easily. This makes them even tougher to catch consistently.
I’ve found the two biggest things that help me catch these fish on a regular basis is using a heavy lure that can get down to the fish quickly like a Tungsten jig or a small spoon. The second this is having a lot of holes drilled in the area. Usually you can only pull 2-3 crappie from a hole before they get spooked out of the area. With a large number of holes predrilled you can follow these fish as they move. We had a number of days where the fish would circle in a 100 yard area and if you continued to follow them throughout the day they would end up back where they started.
Even though our ice season was cut short, I look forward to chasing these big crappie out of a boat over the next month. These fish will be congregating in the shallow black bottom bays as these areas warm the fastest. The past couple years we had ice nearly up to walleye opener, so for me I had very little time to target crappie on open water. This year will be much different in a lot of ways. Not only will we have more time to fish crappie before walleye opener, we should also expect the walleye bite on opener to be much better than previous years. The water will be much warmer on opener which will ensure the walleye are done spawning and ready to start eating!
Let me know if you have any questions regarding the upcoming crappie bite or walleye opener. Based on the short but productive winter we had I expect this summer to be one of our best! Good luck!
Fishing Reports provided by Lindy Pro Guide Joe Scegura.
Fishing Tip #2
When fishing in the winter I see many anglers that let their fish freeze after they catch them. In my opinion this causes a few issues. The first nuisance is obviously you have to wait for the fish to thaw before you can clean them. The second issue is I’ve noticed that my fresh fillets will have a slight “fishy taste” and overall just test less fresh. The last issue is the one that bothers me the most. When fish are frozen and then thawed the fish will secrete a large amount of slime. This slime will coat the entire fish and cover your entire cleaning surface. If you simply place your fish in a pail of water after you catch them you can avoid all of the above issues.
February 26, 2016 Fishing Report
We are fast approaching the end of the walleye ice fishing season, and the deadline to leave houses unattended overnight. Normally during this time of year the walleye bite is hit and miss at best, and most anglers usually move on to crappie or sunfish. This year, on the other hand, we have been experiencing a very strong bite to end the season. I have talked to a number of anglers on a few different lakes that are also noticing this.
I have had my best luck as usual in the low light time periods. For me, the midnight and midday bites have been nearly nonexistent. We have caught almost all of our fish in the prime hour at sunset and sunrise. Our best luck has come from 18-35 feet of water. Keep in mind that with the slow start to the ice fishing season, many of the traditional walleye “hot spots” have had very little pressure, so fishing those areas have been yielding some very good fish recently. Both 1/8” jigging spoons and set lines tipped with minnows have been producing fish. Most of the walleye have been eater size (15”-18”) but we have had a number of big picture fish as well.
The sunfish and crappie have also been cooperating, and by the sounds of it there has been some extremely good sized fish coming in. I’ve seen pictures of 13”-14” crappie and some sunfish pushing 10”. Those are great fish no matter where you live! Most of the panfish have been coming from weed flats in 10-20 feet of water on Euro larva or wax worms.
The ice is still in great condition around the Alexandria area. We have around 24 inches of ice with little to no snow. Last week we had a very warm Friday and Saturday that melted most of our snow, but then that water refroze on Sunday. It looks like we are going to have some very nice temps again this weekend, so get out and enjoy the lakes whether you’re after panfish or walleye!
Always use caution when going out on the lake. With the tempature changing make sure you are thinking safety first.
January 27, 2016 Fishing Report
Current Ice and Travel Conditions
With the cool temps we are making some good ice. Along with that we only have about 6”-8” of snow cover, so travel on the lakes has been quite easy.
SMALL LAKES AND BAYS: Have 18”-24” of ice.
MEDIUM LAKES: Have around 14”-16” of ice
LARGE LAKES: Have about 10-12” everywhere I have checked.
The best bite around the area has been the consistent crappie action. Anglers have been catching large numbers of crappie suspended over deep water. Look to the edge of these deep holes. The schools of crappie seem to follows these breaks like highways, making them much easier to locate than most people think. The crappie have been feeding heavily right at dusk and dawn on small jigs (size #10-#12 jigs) and crappie minnows. During the day these same fish can be caught but instead of a minnow use a small plastic tail, wax worm or Euro larva.
The walleye action has also been good for some but very slow for others. For this time of year that is quite typical. One night will be great and the next nothing. The anglers that are putting in their time have iced some nice sized walleye though. Plenty of eater sized walleye 15”-18”, as well as numerous trophy fish 28”-32”. Concentrate on 15’-25’ of water with jigs and minnows.
Line thickness is a very important part of catching fish, especially during the day. You always want to pick the lightest line possible for the species you are targeting. For sunfish and crappie I’d recommend 2-3 pound test monofilament line and for walleye I’d recommend 6-8 pound test monofilament. Note: You may lose a fish here or there by downsizing your line but the increase in action will be so great you’ll never go back to your heavy line.
January 8, 2016 Fishing Report
New Year’s Ice Update and Fishing Report as of 1/8/16
Here are the current ice conditions for the Alexandria area. I’ll break this ice report into three categories… small, medium and large lakes.
SMALL LAKES AND BAYS
Many of the small lakes around the area have 10”-12”+ of ice. There are plenty of permanent houses on these lakes and we are starting to see some small trucks and cars venture out onto the ice as well.
I’ve found the medium sized lakes to have around 8”-10” of ice on them. There are fewer permanent shacks on these lakes but more are showing up every day. Snowmobiles and ATV’s are still the preferred choice of transportation.
When I say large lakes I also mean deep. These lakes for the most part have safe walkable ice and even safe ATV ice (5-6”). But, keep in mind that the ice over the deeper water in these lakes is still quite thin, possibly 2-4”. Even though there is safe ice on these lakes, be cautious of venturing out across these deep areas even on foot.
As for the fishing the results are pretty typical for this time of year. The sunfish and crappie are biting very well in 10-20 feet of water all day long. My preferred jig is a size 12 Lindy Toad and plastic tail or wax worm. The walleye on the other hand have been hit and miss. Some anglers are reporting great numbers and size, while others are only getting a couple fish an outing. Fishing during the low light time periods has been producing most of the walleye. Concentrate on areas that have a steep drop off or standing weeds in 10-20 feet of water.
December 22, 2015 Fishing Report
We have ice again! After the mild temps last week we are back to winter. This past weekend with lows in the single digits most of the medium to large lakes froze over. There’s only a couple inches of ice on those lakes but many shallow lakes and bays have 4-6” on them.
Anglers that have been getting out on the ice are reporting a decent bite for sunfish, crappie and walleye. I’ve been making good use of the boat until this past weekend, but with most lakes frozen over I’ve officially put the boat away. This was definitely the latest I have ever fished a lake in MN out of a boat.
As I said earlier the ice is quite good on the shallow lakes and bays, so I hit the ice for the first time this past weekend. I checked the ice on a few lakes and some were good and others needed more cold weather before I’d fish them. For me I like to have a consistent 4” of ice or more to feel comfortable. Once I have checked a lake and I know the ice conditions, only then will I take my family or clients out on the ice to fish.
My son is only two years old, but he was very excited to finally get out ice fishing. He was able to land his first walleye of the ice season as well as some nice crappie. His smiles are priceless! I’m pretty sure if you asked him he thinks he can out fish Dad already. Most of the fish that we caught were quite aggressive; in fact we used mostly plastics. For the walleye we used an 1/8oz Frostee jigging spoon tipped with a fathead and for the crappie we used a small #12 Lindy toad tipped with a plastic tail. This fast action was a perfect way to start off the ice fishing season.
If you decide to go ice fishing over the holidays, make sure you target the lakes that are 15’ or less. These shallower lakes froze earlier than the deeper ones and they have the best ice on them. Merry Christmas, stay safe and good luck fishing!
December 4, 2015 Fishing Report
Well I wish I had a report of fishable ice for you, but Mother Nature just won’t make up her mind. Our small to mid-sized lakes have frozen over and blown open a couple times now. The smaller bodies of water that have kept their ice received around 4” of wet snow this week, so that ice is now in very poor condition as well.
The past couple days have had very cool low temps, so we’ve been seeing many of the lakes freezing over again. With the good news also comes the bad, we are supposed to see high winds and temps in the coming days, so the ice we’ve made may get busted up once again.
Despite the delay in our ice fishing season, there are still opportunities to wet a line in the Alexandria area. Most of the larger lakes are still accessible by boat and the reports are pretty decent for crappie, walleye and muskie. So, if you have the desire the fish have been willing and ready.
The other option is to use extreme caution and find some of the smaller lakes that stayed frozen through this up and down weather pattern. I’ve heard reports of 3-4”of ice in areas with an inch or two of slush on top. The people that have been venturing out are reporting some very good catches of both walleye and crappie.
Hopefully winter sets in for good soon so we can get on with our ice fishing season. As for now, let’s just enjoy the nice weather and spend some time outdoors. I know personally I can’t wait to get out in the boat a couple more times. Remember to check back for ice updates. I’ll post again soon as we work our way slowly into the ice fishing season. Stay safe and good luck fishing!
November 5, 2015 Fishing Report
The beautiful mild weather has made this fall one of the nicest I can remember here in Alexandria. With consistent highs in the 50’s and 60’s, I’ve noticed a record number of anglers still out on the water enjoying the fishing. Instead of just a couple adult diehard anglers in a few boats, I’ve been seeing numerous boats with whole families out together. It’s great to see everyone enjoying this gorgeous weather. I even got my two year old son out for a few walleye, which he can’t seem to get enough of.
The fishing overall has been excellent. We’ve been experiencing one of the best smallmouth and crappie bites I have ever seen, for both size and numbers. I think we were close to 1000 smallmouth this year, and I lost count on the number of trophy smallmouth we caught. It was truly amazing. They start biting well in early September and with the mild temps they really didn’t slow down much. We fished shallow rock and steep sand breaks with minnow and frog baits. With the water temps still hovering around 50 degrees, I think you could still do quite well in 6-10 feet of water.
The crappie are also still biting like crazy! I’ve fished 4 different lakes for crappie in the past two weeks and I was able to catch big ones on all of them. The number of crappie in the 11-12” range and bigger right now in Alexandria is staggering. About 7-8 years ago we had the perfect crappie spawning conditions and many lakes just exploded with small crappie. Fast forward to today and our lakes have an incredible number of quality crappie. The best technique is a jig and a minnow fished right above the fish. They love to feed up, so it’s hard to resist a bait dangling just out of reach. I like to drive around until I read a nice school of crappie and then fish them until they move. Then, I start up the motor to find another school and repeat. A low quality graph is all you really need to fish this way.
Now for the downside to this beautiful mild weather, the water seems to just be too warm to get a quality walleye bite going. If history has taught me anything, it’s when we experience a big cold snap in early to mid-October it really gets the walleye eating, and this year that really never happened. Sure, we had excellent days of walleye fishing, but never a consistent fall bite that most anglers are used to. It’s hard to say at this point if we will get a strong walleye bite before ice up or not? One thing is for sure, I’ll be out there trying!
If I do get into the walleye here late season I’ll let you know on either my audio report or a quick written report. I’ll also update you on the ice conditions frequently as we get into the ice fishing season. Good luck!
October 12, 2015 Fishing Report
What's better than catching hundreds and hundreds of huge small mouth bass...? If I think of something I'll let you know! The past few weeks has been as good as it gets for fishing in general. Beautiful weather, endless hard fighting action and the size of the fish has been outstanding. We've already caught numerous trophy sized fish and I hope to catch many more!
In my opinion Sept/Oct is the best time to fish small mouth. These fish school up and hunt in large schools or packs as I like to call them. They almost resemble a pack of wolves in their eating habits, so the term "pack" seems to fit them better. They will herd their prey (minnows and other smaller fish) to the surface or against shore and then attack. It's amazing to see nature at work. These fish will never eat more than they do at this time of year. You can actually see them get rounder and rounder as the days go by.
We've been catching most of our fish in 1'-10' feet of water. The best areas are mostly hard bottom with some type of structure. For example, my favorite areas are shallow rocks with deep water nearby. My preferred baits are anything that resembles it's natural forage, minnows and frogs. Minnows are obviously present year round and are the number one baits to use, but don't forget about frogs. They make a huge push back to the water this time of year, so this makes an imitation frog lure popping along the shoreline very effective! Over the next few weeks the water temp will continue to drop and so will the small mouths' appetite. You still have a couple weeks to get in on the hot bite, but after that you'll have to wait for next year. You can still catch small mouth but they won't be eating as much or as often as they are right now.
Speaking of the water temps dropping... one of the best times to catch walleye is fast approaching! Generally once the small mouth slow down the walleye will start their own feeding binge. I've already heard of numerous reports of good walleye action starting. The walleye bite is still sporadic, but it will only get stronger with each passing day. Especially if we get some cooler temps soon. That always seems to seal the deal and the walleye start feeding heavily. I'd recommend using an 1/8oz - 1/2oz jig and minnow for the walleye. This is by far the most versatile and productive technique to put walleye in your boat this fall.
Like always if you have any questions don't hesitate to email me at,
September 8, 2015 Fishing Report
The fishing this past month was officially the best August walleye fishing I’ve ever had. We consistently had good numbers of quality fish and very few days where the bite was slow. Normally the month of August is a hit and miss month for walleye, so it was nice to put anglers on such a good bite.
The majority of the walleye are still holding on the outside weed edge in 17’-25’. Lindy rigs with leeches or night crawlers have been catching most of the fish. Don’t rule out a jig and minnow though. We have already had success on minnows and it will only get better as we get into October.
The month of September is typically when walleye transition into their fall habits. They begin moving to points or steep breaks near deep water and start to show a preference to minnow type baits. During this time it can be difficult to stay on active walleye, so it works out great that the smallmouth love eating this time of year.
Smallmouth need to fatten up for the winter, so they go on a fall feeding binge that lasts well into October. These hard fighting fish are some of the most aggressive eaters and fall victim to numerous presentations. You can use everything from top water lures to giant live bait depending on the mood of the fish. If you ever wanted to get someone hooked on fishing, this is the type of fishing for them. Every year we boat hundreds of beautiful picture-worthy smallmouth, as well as numerous trophy sized ones.
If you ever have any questions feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll respond as soon as I can. Good luck fishing!
August 5, 2015 Fishing Report
Late Summer Fishing Report and Tactics
The walleye fishing in the Alexandria area continues to be some of the best I've seen in years. Other than the occasional cold front which slows the bite for a day or two, the fishing has been very consistent.
We've been able to catch a decent number of walleye nearly every time we hit the water.
The majority of the fish I've been catching have been in 17-22 feet of water near the outside weed edge. This time of year just about every technique you can think of will work at some point. The trick to consistently catching walleye is in deciding when to use each technique.
For example, I prefer to use fast presentations like spinners and crank baits when I'm looking for fish or the fish are spread out over a particular area. I like to tip the spinners with a leech or night crawler. You can fish these techniques easily in areas with short weeds or scattered weed clumps. I will trolls these baits picking up a walleye here or there all day long.
That is unless I see a concentrated school of fish. This is where I pull out my "slow tactics". I prefer to use Lindy rigs and slip bobber rigs with leeches or night crawlers in these situations. The slower presentations allow me to spend more time sitting directly over the fish instead of going over them fast and then turning around to do it again. If the school of fish I was seeing split apart I will quickly go back to my fast presentations and look for the next big school!
This program will work like clockwork the next few weeks at least.
Then, as the walleye bite dies down I'll switch my efforts over to catching huge smallmouth. In September the smallmouth go on a fall feeding binge that no angler will want to miss. I'll discuss the smallmouth bite more in my next report. Good luck and feel free to email me with questions.
July 13, 2015 Fishing Report
The fishing over the Holiday weekend was excellent! The weather was great and the fish were hungry. The past couple weeks has been some of the best fishing of the year for me. I’ve heard reports of all species being very aggressive. Even on my evening trips it’s common to get numerous species.
The majority of the walleye have moved to the outside weed edges in 18-22’. If you have good electronics I would drive until you read fish. I might drive around at 3-5mph for two hours before I ever drop a line on a new body of water. Or I’ll pull around #5-#7 crank baits while I’m looking for fish on my locator. If I see 4-5 nice marks on my locator I’ll stop and fish that area with Lindy rigs tipped with leeches or night crawlers.
If you don’t have much for electronics I’d concentrate my efforts on the outside weed edge of points and sand bar breaks. If you don’t catch anything after a pass or two keep moving. Pull Lindy rigs at .1-.5mph, spinners at .9-1.2mph, or crank baits at 2-2.5mph. I could go on for hours but each one of these presentations has their time and place based off what my locator tells me.
Right at sunset and sunrise will be your prime fishing times. Good luck and check back soon for more info!
June 22, 2015 Fishing Report
Summer is officially here, and that means we will get more daylight than any other time of the year to enjoy the things we love. The long days also mean warmer water temps and that makes nearly every activity more enjoyable, including fishing of course! With water temps near 70 degrees, many lakes are putting out a good variety of fish right now.
I’ve been catching the majority of my walleye in 10’-16’ fow. Lindy rigs tipped with either leeches or night crawlers have been working best. I’m still moving quite slow at .1-.5mph. The walleye are holding in and near the new weed growth. I will pull Lindy rigs where I can and I use slip bobbers in areas that are too weedy or rocky. These techniques will be my prime focus until we see a drastic summer warm up.
As we head into July and the water temps spike more and more walleye will move deeper. It will be common to fish the outside weed edge in 16’-24’ fow with a faster presentation like a spinner or crank bait. I like to pull these baits at 1-3mph to cover as much water as possible. During the summer months there is an abundance of food, so just because you find walleye doesn’t mean they will be hungry. That’s where moving fast will help you find the hungry fish as well as trigger some reaction bites where the fish just hit your bait out of instinct.
I concentrate my time mostly on walleye so that’s what I generally write about, but I can’t forget to mention all of the great panfish opportunities that are coming up. Over the next month I will catch more big sunfish and big crappie unintentionally while I’m fishing walleye than any other time of the year. There are many times where I just put away the walleye rods and enjoy the day catching crappie over the weeds in 10 fow with a small twister tail jig or put on a small hair jig and fish the pencil reeds for big bluegill. The options are endless and the panfish are flat out hungry, so it’s a great time to bring out the kids!
Check back in a couple weeks right after July 4th and I will have a bunch more awesome pictures to share with you!
Good luck fishing and feel free to drop me a line with any questions.
May 22, 2015 Fishing Report
The walleye opener was slower overall than I expected, but still a success in my opinion. Our group fished hard opening morning and was able to catch a number of quality walleye. Even though the bite was slower than normal we still managed plenty of fish by noon for our annual opening day fish fry. With full bellies we hit the water again Saturday evening and experienced a slightly better bite. There were even a few reports of anglers limiting out on walleye around the area.
It’s been almost two weeks since opener and up until recently we've had some very difficult weather. The high and low pressure systems moving through every other day have made fishing a bit unpredictable. The past few days on the other hand have really improved the bite. The more consistent days in a row we can get the better. The beginning part of this weekend looks to be quite nice so I expect the quality bite to continue.
The walleye are holding in 3-20 fow. They will move in shallow to feed in the low light time periods. Then, during the day you can follow them back out to deeper water. My preferred bait is still minnows and will be until we get into June. All of the fish we have been catching are spitting up numerous minnows, so it’s easy to see what they want. I’ve been using jigs and lindy rigs tipped with minnows.
My highlight for the week was taking my 20 month old son walleye fishing for the first time. The weather was poor, but he was not about to be left at home with Mom so along he went. I figured with the wind and drizzle this was going to be a short trip, but he was not deterred by the weather. Not only was he not deterred, he was very interested in catching “woweye”. He held his rod and was able to reel in a number of small walleye. To say I was impressed with my little man’s drive for fishing would be an understatement. There are few things in this life more memorable to a father than watching his child battle a fish as strong as they are!
It looks like the holiday weekend is forecasting some steadier weather, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for nice weather and tight lines!
May 8, 2015 Fishing Report
Happy fishing opener eve everyone! The weather for Saturday looks as promising as the walleye fishing. The water on many of the shallower lakes has warmed to nearly 60 degrees, so I predict the walleye will be quite aggressive. In years past when the water was this warm on opener the walleye have bit very well on many different lakes. The crappie and sunfish have also been biting well, so there are a lot of options for fishing this weekend.
Even though the water is warm, the walleye will still be shallow and minnow style baits will be the top producers. Saturday morning I will be using a 1/4oz jig tipped with a minnow or a plain Lindy rig with a minnow. Concentrate your efforts on shallow sand, rock or gravel areas in 7-15 fow. This is where the majority of the fish will be caught Saturday.
(Tip: Always choose the windy side of the lake. The water clarity will be lower in these areas and the bait will be more disoriented. Fish are very opportunistic, so that’s why fishing in the wind will put more walleye in your boat!)
If you plan to fish after dark I’d use a crank bait near moving water. Walleye will move into these areas under the cover of darkness to feed on the spawning minnows. A shallow crank bait will imitate these minnows perfectly and will allow you to cover a lot of water. This is a great time to catch a trophy fish. Almost every one of my trophy fish caught in the spring was caught in the middle of the night casting a crank bait. So, if you have the drive to catch a big fish set the alarm clock for midnight and get out there early!
Many out of state anglers ask me, “Why is the MN opener such a big deal to Minnesotans?” My answer is always the same, “Tradition!” It’s a time for family and friends to enjoy the outdoors together, as well as catch some tasty walleye. Bringing in the new walleye season with family is a tradition I’ve enjoyed for over 25 years and I don’t plan to miss one anytime soon! Good luck everyone!
Note: Walleye pictures are from previous years, but check back soon for walleye pictures from 2015!
April 16, 2015 Fishing Report
The ice went out much quicker this year than average. Mild temps coupled with high winds melted ice in days that should have taken weeks. This early start to spring is a nice change from the past couple of years when the ice didn’t decide to leave until May!
This early ice out will allow local anglers to take advantage of the excellent crappie bite that happens every spring. The past couple years the crappies were just starting to bite when walleye fishing opened in early May. The walleye is Minnesota’s most popular fish, so it usually overshadows the crappie bite no matter how good it is. This year anglers will have a few weeks to chase crappie before they have to clutter their minds with visions of trophy walleye.
With the last of the ice getting blown off the lakes this past weekend, the shallow bays are starting to warm nicely. The bays located on the north side of the lakes will warm the quickest. The ideal bay is 1-3 feet deep with a mucky black bottom. The crappie will flock to these areas in search of food. I recommend using a small 1/32oz-1/64oz jig, like Lindy Little Nipper tipped with a crappie minnow. Set the jig about 18-24” under a float and this is all you need to catch some nice crappie in the spring.
There are already reports of a half dozen or more lakes putting out eater sized crappie, so this weekend would be a great time to get the boat wet and do some fishing or just grab a pole and fish from shore. You can hop from lake to lake on sunny afternoon until you find the hot bite. There are few things more enjoyable than relaxing with the family on the lake!
April 1, 2015 Fishing Report
Ah, spring… it’s a favorite season to many people for many different reasons. There are changes happening literally everywhere you look. The snow and the ice are melting, grass is beginning to green, and birds of all types are migrating. In fact, fish migrate just like other animals do. Only instead of traveling hundreds or thousands of miles, fish travel from deep water to shallow water.
So why do fish migrate? Let me start off by saying each species has the same end goal, and that’s to fatten up prior to their spawning season. As the water from the melting snow and ice pours into the lakes it brings with it oxygen. The newly forming green vegetation also releases oxygen into the water, bringing the underwater world alive. There’s no place these spring changes are more apparent than in shallow water. Bait fish move in to eat the bugs and the larger fish move in to feed on the bait fish and so on right up the food chain.
Only a few short weeks ago these shallow 4-8 feet areas were almost void of life, but now with the spring effects taking hold these areas are teaming with life. Depending on the water clarity it’s very common to be able to sight bluegill and crappie just under the ice. Last week when I was out the fish were nearly touching their dorsal fins on the bottom of the ice as they swam around in search of food. I would simply lower #12 Lindy Toad a few inches under the ice and the fish would instantly show up to eat. In my opinion this is one of the best times to get kids hooked on fishing. This time of year offers an angler a rare look into the underwater world below the ice. Watching a big bluegill or crappie swim inches under your feet to eat your offering is something that will stick in your mind for some time!
As of today the ice has pulled away from shore on a number of lakes. You should still be able to get on the ice through the weekend, but your time to experience this shallow water ice bite is limited. We have about twenty four inches of rather soft ice left in the Alexandria area, so I predict anglers will only have a week left of ice fishing. The hot weather and wind is making fast work of the ice. If you do plan to head out make sure you wear a life jacket at this time of year. On the bright side, once the ice is too poor to fish, there will be dozens of other areas ready to fish from shore. That’s one of the great things about the Alexandria area. We have a wide variety of lakes so there is always somewhere to catch fish 365 days a year. These big panfish won’t spawn until the water temps reach into the mid 60’s, so there are numerous opportunities coming up to get in on some excellent fishing of your own!
Keep checking back for updates and I’ll tell you when to hook up the boat and head for Alexandria!
Trophy Bluegills of Alexandria, MN: March 5, 2015
I’m sure many of you are ready for winter to be over, but as we all know it won’t be for some time yet. Like it or not, we potentially have well over a month of good ice fishing left. So, instead of waiting for warm weather, get out and enjoy some of the best ice fishing of the year.
As of last weekend, walleye fishing closed in Minnesota, but there are still plenty of other fish to chase. Especially in the Alexandria area where there are dozens of excellent panfish lakes. Every one of these lakes is unique and has its own characteristics… big, small, deep, shallow, clean or stained water. All of these are pieces to a puzzle that the avid ice angle loves to put together.
Just last week I was fishing a smaller lake and found some trophy sized panfish. We were able to catch numerous bluegill pushing over a pound. Hitting these small lakes requires quite a bit more effort, but the payoff can be huge! This particular day I drilled between 75 and 100 holes before I caught a couple medium sized bluegill. After I located these fish I continued to drill circles around this area until I was able to locate the majority of the fish in the area.
When I’m hopping from hole to hole in search of fish I like to use a tungsten jig. They fall much faster than lead jigs and allow me to cover more water. If I fish a hole for a couple minutes without seeing a nice fish on the locator I reel up and move. My favorite style jig is a horizontal jig like the Lindy Toad. I hook one or two euro larva on the jig and I’m ready to go. (Quick Tip: I recommend anglers to smash or pop their larva. This will help let scent out of the bait and can help trigger bites from those big finicky bluegills.)
Check back soon for more reports!
January 26, 2015 Fishing Report
Anglers all across the Alexandria lakes area are enjoying this beautiful weather. It’s been warm enough to fish outside during the day yet cold enough at night to still make ice. We have 20”-28” of clear solid ice with only a couple inches of snow on top. This has made traveling to and from the fishing areas a breeze this ice season.
The walleye fishing remains decent on many lakes, with the hour at dusk and dawn producing most of the fish for the day. During these “prime bite windows” I like to be set up on some good structure like a weed line, rock edge or underwater point. These areas hold a lot of bait, so as the light decreases walleye will always be lurking near looking for an easy meal.
The sunfish and crappie bite has also been decent, but with each passing week I’m starting to see it get even better. The shallow water bite is especially heating up. I’ve heard numerous reports of aggressive panfish in 10’ or less. This is my favorite way to fish for panfish because it’s a lot like hunting or also known as “ice trolling”. Drilling a lot of holes and staying on the move is the key to getting these big daytime crappie and sunfish. I like to use a Tungsten Lindy Toad tipped with euro larvae. I like to fish each holes for a minute or two and move on.
I hope these tips help you catch a few more fish this weekend. Good luck and check back soon for more updates!
January Fishing Report
It appears winter is back and the balmy weather has finally moved on. It certainly feels like we are living in Minnesota again, and instead of melting ice we are back to making it. At the peak of the warm weather we still had plenty of ice for fishing, but we did lose a few inches during the warm spells. For the most part it didn’t effect fishing much. Anglers were still able to get around on ATV’s and snowmobiles.
The past few days of cold weather are repairing the lost ice quickly and I’m back to seeing 12”-18” of ice on most bodies of water. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but please make sure you check the ice before you decide to drive on it. It sounds like common sense but you just never know how thick the ice is until you check it the entire way. I was out a week ago and found 3 inches of ice in the middle of the lake only a half mile from a group of trucks. If you’re unsure of the ice conditions just walk and check the ice as you go. This is a great way to enjoy the sport of ice fishing and it’s incredibly safe.
The walleye action continues to be fairly steady. I’m hearing decent reports on a number of lakes in 15-20 feet of water. I try to look for structure near deep water. By structure I mean any anything that’s different. For example, walleye will hold to something as simple as a bottom changing from sand to gravel or something as pronounced as a big pile of rocks. Finding these areas can be difficult in the winter, so when I’m ice fishing a new lake I usually fish the structure I can find and that’s depths change. I like to pick out hooks or points off a map with a nice taper to deep water. These areas are ideal for cruising walleye looking for an easy meal.
The sunfish and crappie action remains very strong. The Alexandria area has an abundance of quality panfish lakes. The shallow 15-20 feet flat bay-type areas have been producing best. These areas are producing a large number of both crappie and sunfish. The big sunfish get big for a reason, so make sure to use a small hook and light line. My favorite sunfish setup is 2lb monofilament line and a #12 Lindy toad tipped with a Euro larva or two. When it comes to panfish there’s not much this setup can’t catch.
When fishing suspended crappie after dark you can get away with heavier line and bigger hooks. My favorite low light crappie setup is 4lb monofilament line and a #8 Frostee tipped with a small crappie minnow. This is an ideal setup for suspended crappie after dark.
Good luck fishing and I hope your new year is filled with big fish!
December Fishing Report
Wow it’s hard to believe we were fishing out of a boat only two weeks ago and now we are standing on 6”- 10“ of ice. The last couple weeks of open water were very good for fishing. The water temps had finally gotten to the point where the walleye were biting very well and then the cold weather hit us. It only took about 48 hours and we had ice!
With the extreme cold weather the lakes have been making nearly an inch a night. Of course ice thickness varies from lake to lake but most of the lakes have good fishable ice on them right now. This past weekend there were quite a few anglers fishing both panfish and walleye.
The walleye have been hitting best on jigging spoons tipped with a fathead in 10 to 18 feet of water. Look for areas near deep water that have a rocky bottom and weeds. These areas will have walleye activity in the low light time periods.
Crappie and sunfish have also been quite active. The best areas for me early season are usually flat bottom weedy bays that are 10 to 18 feet deep. The fish will generally congregate near any standing green vegetation. I like to keep on the move until I find a large number of fish. Once I find them, I use a small #12 horizontal jig like Lindy Toad tipped with a small euro larva or wax worm.
This cold weather might not be your first choice for weather, but it’s not too often we get to fish on the ice before Thanksgiving. So let’s all be thankful and enjoy some excellent Minnesota ice fishing!
November Fishing Report
This has been the mildest October I can remember. Normally by this time of the year we have had numerous hard frosts and water temperatures would be in the low 40’s. This year we’ve had some unbelievably warm weather that has kept the water temps in the low 50’s.
Although the warm weather has been enjoyable, it has made the walleye bite extremely unpredictable. Earlier in the month we had some cool days that really got the walleye going. Then the warm weather hit, which significantly slowed down the walleye bite. The walleye we have been able to catch have been caught on a Lindy rig and a minnow or a jig and a minnow in 15’-40’ of water.
There is a positive to the warm weather though; it has prolonged the excellent bite for the smallmouth and crappie. In fact, some of my best smallmouth and crappie action this year has happened in the past couple weeks. We have had numerous days where anglers have literally complained about aching arms! I have to say that kind of complaining is always music to a fishing guide’s ears.
It’s clear the smallmouth bite has been as good as it gets for weeks now, but up until this last weekend nearly all of the walleye I was cleaning had empty bellies. With the signs of increased feeding, anglers will begin to notice a more aggressive walleye bite taking place over the next couple weeks. Some of the best fishing of the all is yet to come so don’t put the boat away yet!
October Fishing Report
The fall fishing has been excellent the past few weeks. We’ve been catching literally hundreds of very large smallmouth. If you’re not familiar with smallmouth, there is no other freshwater fish that fights harder pound for pound. They are also a beautiful fish that are extremely fun to catch.
Smallmouth are most commonly found in shallow rocky areas (2-15 feet of water). The will hit numerous minnow or minnow style presentations. They feel the need to fatten up for winter, so that’s why September is such a great time to fish smallmouth. They will be feeding aggressively like this into mid-October.
Once the smallmouth bite slows I move right over to a hot walleye bite. The walleye bite usually hits its peak by mid to late October. They will feed aggressively on minnow presentations well into November and into the ice fishing season. My preferred technique is either a jig and a minnow or a Lindy rig and a minnow.
In my opinion there’s no better time to get out and enjoy the fall colors and experience some great fishing. If you have any questions about the area don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to help!
September 2014 Report
The past couple weeks we’ve been getting some decent fish, but nothing like we will be catching over the next couple months. This current cold front has slowed fishing for the time being, but will only help fishing in the long run. When the water temperatures drop, all species feel the need to feed heavily. Early last week we had water temps in the low 70’s, but less than a week later we are seeing surface temps in the low 60’s. Once this weather system stabilizes it won’t take long to see the positive effects of this cooler weather.
The fall is my favorite time of year to fish. The lakes are less crowded and the scenery is second to none. Not to mention the excellent fishing! Almost all species will start to prefer larger minnow or minnow style baits. Especially smallmouth, they are my favorite species to fish for in September. These fish fight harder pound for pound than any other freshwater fish. Over the next few weeks these fish will be eating nearly nonstop in 2’-10’ of water. This will be quite apparent because their shape will resemble that of a football.
Walleye, on the other hand, wait a while longer. They will be most aggressive in mid to late October. This is one of the most productive times to fish for walleye, and is one of the best times to catch a true trophy! A jig and a minnow fished on the outside weed edge in 16’-30’ of water will produce the most fish. If you have any questions let m