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Brainerd Lakes Fishing Report March 11, 2013

Posted on: March 4th, 2013 by brainerdchamber


As we are patiently waiting for the snow to leave and get into the late-ice hole hopping weather, we are still stuck with 30-plus inches of ice and enough snow to make lake travel tough.

Although some of the fish are starting to get into their spring patterns it looks like winter is going to hang on to the bitter end.

Some people are finding some panfish but most are confined to the few paths on the lakes. As for the Brainerd bite, the 371 bay of North Long Lake; Cullen and Mission lake chains; Sylvan Lake; Blackhoof Lake; and Steamboat Bay on Gull Lake are still the places to be. Small plastics and maxis have been working well. Try some shallow spots during the daylight then some of the deeper holes for the night bite.

Jamie Dietman, S&W Guide Service




This is my favorite time to be on the ice because the fish are active, the sun is warm (I got sunburn a few days ago), and the ice is melting!  Fishing has been pretty darn good around the Brainerd Lakes Area.

If I could tell you the best depth to be fishing at, it would have to be 10-15 feet of water.  However I have been finding fish at different depths in the last week. If the sun is out, they seem to head a little deeper, but if it is cloudy (or evening) then they seem to move shallow. I have been using any type of small jig or spoon, tipped with a minnow head. That helps keep the small ones away.  

Two very important things to bring with you are a Vexilar and sharp augur blades. I am sore from all the holes I have been drilling, but it is worth it. Co-owner of Leisure Outdoor Adventures, Jeff Andersen said it best  “it seems as if there is one or two keepers per hole.” I like to drill 10-20 holes at a time, and fish each one for 5-10 minutes. “Reading” the attitude of the fish really dictates how fast I move on.  This why a Vexilar is very important! 

I’m pretty sure I will be ice fishing everyday for the next week, so I’m excited!  I hope everyone has a great week, and go out and enjoy this awesome weather!!!

Thanks for reading, Capt. Tim Hanske



Pine River

Pine River area lakes continue to give up good numbers of bluegills and crappies. Sunfish are hitting in 8-20 feet of water during daylight hours, with small glow ice flies tipped with wax worms, mousies or wigglers working well when used on ultra-light line. Crappies have been active at daylight and dusk, moving from roughly 20-30 foot depths during the day up onto the shore bars at low light periods and on cloudy days. The panfish and perch bite will continue to improve as spring approaches with late winter anglers finding fish as shallow as the bottom of the ice sheet! A good depth finder really makes angling more fun this time of year as anglers watch fish move up and down in depth during the day. Please be aware that until more snow melts, anglers are advised to stay on the plowed roadways and carry a shovel.


Brainerd Lakes Area

All the permanent fish houses are off the ice, and the lakes look bare! Sunny days and warm temperatures will allow anglers using portables to easily travel around in the near future. Most of the crappies continue to hold in the deeper waters. One recommendation is to switch between minnows, wax worms and plastics often since this seems to turn some lookers into biters. Round, Mission, Cullen and Blackhoof lakes continue to produce nice numbers of panfish.


Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

Anglers have switched gears, and are now pursuing the perch, tullibee, sunfish and crappies on Lake Mille Lacs. Although the perch bite has been tough this season, it should greatly improve as the season progresses and melting begins. At this time, the best action is in 32-plus feet of water off the deep edges of the mud flats. Anglers are starting to see some nice perch, but the fish remain finicky. For crappies and sunnies, work the bay areas using waxies or Euro larvae with light line and a small jig in 10 feet of water or less.

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