Winnibigoshish, Bowstring and Pokegama and other Grand Rapids, MN lakes are producing a nice mixture of walleyes, northerns, perch and panfish. As fish get ready for the spawn it seems they put on the feedbag. The result is good fishing action. Well plowed and maintained roads on big lakes such as Winnie and Bowstring provide a great to not only get out to good structure, but provided the opportunity to get off the heavily fished areas via snowmobiles and atv/utvs “chained up.” Mobility is the current key to unlocking the fishing doldrums.
As we enter the fourth quarter of walleye and northern pike seasons, which close this month on February 28, get out to our area lakes for the last chance outing as they are still offering some nice eater walleyes for the fry pan at low light periods in the morning and evenings and you still have the chance at a trophy northern or walleye is always present. Looking for shoreline structure adjacent to deep water is a good starting point from 20-30’ of water and then out to the mid-lake humps, bumps and bars and right on top of the slopes.
Perch fishing has been offering families and friends a good “action” bite and the perch are reaching the transition stage of moving from deep-water soft spots to shallow water structure in the 10-15’ depths. Look for underwater points near deeper water and fishy structure in the shallows that holds pods of minnows and other live forage for perch to feed on. Try fishing with spoon type lures that glow or rattle in the 1/16 – 1/18 oz size tipped with a minnow head and jig aggressively to attract bigger perch. Head to the deep holes for crappies and bluegills and look for them to be suspended in and around these deep holes or the slopes and sharp breaklines that lead to them; for a shallow water approach, look to weed beds in 10-15’ depth.
Try fishing panfish with small “bug type” lures tipped with wax/spike worms or small plastics. Since every lake differs, it’s still best to check in with our local bait shops, sporting goods dealers and resorts current ice conditions and fishing hotspots and tips. It is a perfect time to get outdoors with friends and family in Grand Rapids, and, remember, in Grand Rapids, “we are in Minnesota’s nature.” Good luck and we hope to see you on the ice.