This weeks Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report brought to you by Tom Neustrom, owner of the professional guide service, MN Fishing Connections.
Logically this time of year most anglers are starting to think of open water. There those thoughts, but in the Grand Rapids area there is plenty of ice and anglers are fishing pan fish and stream trout in area lakes. Foot travel and 4-wheelers are recommended from now until ice out except where there is no motorized vehicles allowed.
North of Grand Rapids there are several good trout lakes that have good numbers of rainbow, brown and brook trout and access to them is fairly easy. Most are walk-in lakes and foot travel can be the only way to access them. Traveling light and not hauling lots of gear is a good idea and pulling a small sled usually works beat. A locator like a Humminbird Helix 5, a couple rods with 4# test monofilament, a small box with some Jigging Raps, spoons, jigs and plastics will be all you need. You can’t use live minnows, so a good supple of wax worms, euro larvae and small plastics will fill the bill.
Check the DNR web site to see what species of trout are available in each designated trout lake and if there are any other restrictions in place. Many of the area bait shops will also be good sources of information. Pay close attention to discolored water on these small lakes for there may be springs and they can be a trouble spot to stay clear of. Once you find trout on these lakes it can be fast action and lots of fun.
Pan fish are still pursued this time of the year by lots of anglers and some of the best fishing of the hard water period can happen. Drill several holes in depths of 12-25 feet and use your electronics to find fish. As the fish start to move shallower, remember to be as quiet as possible. Excess noise can spook fish pretty easily. Be very careful, especially this time of year as conditions can change from day to day.