Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing Report Jan. 3, 2014
Whitefish – Whitefish Chain of Lakes Region
Ice conditions vary widely on area lakes but the recent cold temperatures have penetrated the snow pack to help firm up the ice. Please note that some areas remain unstable. Ice thickness ranges from 6-17 inches. Anglers fishing good ice are finding lots of walleye action in 18-30 feet of water. Suckers are turning the most fish, especially during evening hours since this is when fish are schooling. More and more fish houses are going out and the additional anglers should lead to additional fishing information.
Brainerd Lakes Area
While trips out onto the ice have been extremely cold, ice thickness has improved and ice conditions are relatively good on Brainerd area lakes. Still, one recent measurement revealed 15.5 inches of ice on Gull Lake, along with some slushy spots. The walleye bite has slowed a bit and become somewhat sporadic. The best action has been in 20-35 feet of water when using jigging spoons and set-lines. Crappies have been biting in the same locations, but in deeper holes surrounded by vegetation. Those willing to brave the elements should do well after sunset. Sunfish are generally more aggressive during the day, hitting small jigs tipped with minnows or wax worms.
Aitkin -Lake Mille Lacs
On the north side of Lake Mille Lacs, 8 inches of ice was measured roughly a third of a mile out on Dec. 30; as of Jan.2, the ice measured 10 inches. And yet some areas near Bombeck Flat and beyond were flooded due to cracks that had developed due to extreme cold temperatures. And today’s warm up may cause the shoreline to heave due to the extreme temperature change!
Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs
Several Lake Mille Lacs resorts have plowed roads out a mile or more onto the lake. The roads are mostly narrow in width, but in pretty good shape. Please remember that each resort has a slightly different set of rules for using their roads so it is important to check ahead of time to see if they can accommodate your group. Fishing has slowed a bit with the recent cold snap. The best time to fish has been during evening hours and past dark. Use a shiner on a gem-n-eye, demon or other bright glow jig for the most action. During the day, a few anglers are having success when jigging. When jigging during the day, use a jigging rap or a darter. Anglers are seeing large numbers of smaller perch which is good indication that the fishery is healthy; this food base has been lacking over the past few years. While large perch have been taken, most have been small. Northern pike action remains better than expected.
I think the word of the week is BBBRRR!!! I have been on the ice most mornings around 730 am, and it is just cold! Good thing the wind has been light! Ice conditions are relatively good depending on location. I measured 15.5 inches on Gull today, but I know people are still finding slush in some spots.
The walleye bite has slowed down, and has turned a little sporadic. 20-35 feet seems to be the best depth. Try different baits, because they have been selective. Jigging spoons and set-lines are my go-to walleye baits this time of year. I did have some customers over New Years catch some really nice keeper Perch on Gull in 18-21 feet of water.
Crappies have been biting in the same locations, deeper holes surrounded by vegetation. If you are willing and able, staying well after sunset will usually put more crappies in the bucket. The sunfish are generally in the same locations; however they are more aggressive during the day. Small jigs tipped with minnows or wax worms have been the best.
Good luck and be safe!
Thanks, Capt. Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures