As the temperatures have gone above zero and the snow pack has firmed, the perch fishing ramped up to a good “action” bite. Still, some sorting has been in order to fill a bucket. Due to the fish being on a minnow bite, and the minnows have been moving, a “run and gun” approach has helped. As the perch move into the deeper water saddles with soft spots in the bottom and feed on larvae and bug hatches they will become more stationary, but for now it is a “chasing” game. Don’t overlook the shallows, however, as some perch schools are still biting there.
Because each lake varies in depth and has varying types of structure which hold fish differently, look for inside turns and contour differences adjacent to deep water from shoreline structure and work mid-lake structure the same, as perch tend to at times drop off into deeper water. Panfish are still being found in and around the weeds in 9-14 FOW but some are starting to head for the deeper holes off sharp drops. Look for them first on the rims of the deep holes. Northern pike and walleyes are still active, with the best movements coming in low light conditions like early morning or evening and on cloudy days ranging from shoreline to mid lake structure depths of 18-26’ of water.
Snow cover on lakes still varies and with the wind blown drifts and hard packed snow it’s best to access through resorts using their plowed roads as they are well plowed and maintained. On big lakes like Winnie and Bowstring and Pokegama this is not only the easiest way to get to your fishing locations, it is the best way to get off. Because of the deeper snow cover and drifts we are also now starting to see more snowmobiles, ATVs and side by sides accessing lakes to get off the beaten path. Trail conditions are in great shape for cross-country skiers and snowmobiles. It is a perfect time to get outdoors with friends and family in the Grand Rapids area as “We are truly in Minnesota’s nature.”
Nik Dimich is a fulltime, year round Grand Rapids, MN and Lake Winnie area fishing guide. To book a trip, please contact him at www.DimichOutdoors.com or “like” Dimich Outdoors on Facebook.