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Brainerd Lakes Fishing Report March 21, 2013

Posted on: March 25th, 2013 by Brainerd Lakes Chamber


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

Fishing remains pretty good, despite recent fluctuations in weather and temperature. Anglers with snowmobiles are having a blast. Vehicle travel on the lake has become more difficult, but it is still manageable. The majority of crappies and sunnies have been hanging a bit deeper than usual. It is possible that the abundance of snow on the lakes has cut down on the sun’s ability to penetrate the ice and reach the weeds. As a result, the majority of oxygen remains deeper than usual for mid-March. Smaller area lakes have been consistently producing fish. Check areas with deep basins close to large weed flats for the most fish. Begin in 10-18 feet of water, but stay on the move until you locate fish.

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

The perch and tulibee bite on Lake Mille Lacs has been tough, although a few fish continue to be taken. Time on the ice has been better spent fishing for crappies and sunnies, especially in Isle and Wahkon bays. While this bite is far from “hot,” it’s a better bet on a nice day. Please note that the ice is almost to the end of your auger so if you have an extension, bring it just in case. A shovel is a must.

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The only people that seem to be happy with all this fresh snow are the snowmobilers. Driving on the lake has become a little more difficult, but still manageable. Fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area has been pretty decent considering the odd conditions for this time of year. 


The majority of the crappies and sunfish have been hanging a little bit deeper than normal. I think that all this snow has cut down the sunlight penetration to the weeds. What this means is that the majority of the oxygen is still deeper than normal for mid-March. So keep that in mind when deciding what depth to start at. 


The smaller lakes have been going pretty constantly, with some days being better than others. I like to target areas that have deep basins close to big weed flats. These flats need to be close to spots where I catch panfish in the early open water season. I will generally start between 10-18 feet, and adapt to what the fish tell me. Mobility is key, so the more you move, the more fish you will catch.


Looks like this week will be a little chilly considering the time of year. However, you can’t catch fish if you don’t go fishing! 


Have a great week!

Thanks, Capt. Tim Hanske


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