Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing Report Jan 23-24, 2014
Walleyes have been pretty slow again this week, due to the massive cold front (-26 this morning). If you do try to chase some eyes, 20-35 feet has been the most consistent. I have preferred to have shiner minnows, and fatheads for jigging. A glow jig has been a big ticket this week, and every week in my opinion.
Crappies and sunfish have been mainly in the deeper spots of most lakes. I typically have found them suspended 2-15 feet off the bottom. A setline in combination with jigging has been the best, and for me the jig has been getting more bites.
Good luck, and be safe!
Thanks, Capt. Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures
Whitefish – Whitefish Chain of Lakes Region
Ice conditions really improved on area lakes following the recent cold temperatures which caused the slush and snow pack to firm up nicely. In some areas, the heavy snow pack sunk, allowing good ice to form. Still, a few areas remain iffy so use caution. Ice thickness ranges from 8-24 inches. Walleye anglers are taking fish from 24-36 feet of water on sucker minnows, especially early and late in the day. Evening fishing has really improved as the fish are schooling. More crappie action is being reported, and sunnies have been active in 8-12 foot depths. Remember to use caution venturing out on the ice.
Brainerd Lakes Area
As of late last week, anglers reported good driving conditions, with the slush finally starting to solidify and most area lakes covered in 14-22 inches of ice. Walleye action on most area lakes had slowed, which is somewhat typical for this time in the season. The best advice for fishing walleyes this time of year is to move a bit deeper, jigging or using setlines with shiners or fatheads. Another tactic is to switch gears and fish for crappies and sunnies instead. Most panfish have been holding in 16-40 feet of water, so anglers have had the most success when using a minnow/bobber combination and a small jig tipped with waxworms, as well as sonar equipment.
Roads are now plowed to the following areas out on the mud on the northern shore of Lake Mille Lacs: Weimer, Bombeck, and the north and south ends of Resort Flats. Please note that there are still some areas of water under the deep, heavy snow. While fishing has slowed a bit, some large perch, measuring 13-14 inches, were recently taken. Anglers also report lots of smaller perch.
Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs
On Lake Mille Lacs, the unstable weather and abundance of forage has made the bite a bit tougher. While groups of anglers tell of great fishing outings, these anglers are fishing away from the crowds, most are fishing over deep water on the gravel or various mud flats, and most are traveling by snowmobile. Otherwise, the bite has been primarily 1st and 2nd year perch, with an occasional large perch mixed in. Scattered walleyes, northern pike, tullibee and even eelpout are also being taken. Fishing should greatly improve as the weather turns more stable and the prey fish eat more of the abundant forage. Road conditions are good, and if anglers stay on the established roads and in the designated areas all should be fine.