Tom Neustrom, MN Fishing Connections, shares tips on ice fishing in Grand Rapids, Minnesota yet this year.
This year Mother Nature has not given us the ice conditions that we would like to see, but there is still time to come ice fish in Grand Rapids, Minnesota this winter. This recent cold weather pattern is bringing in below zero temperatures that is helping to develop better ice conditions each day. The ice thickness ranges on Grand Rapids area lakes from 7-12 inches. The reason that there is such a variance is the depth and size of the body of water. Snow conditions are around 8 inches, however, bigger lakes seem to have less snow cover because of the wind. The other issue that fishermen and fisherwomen are having is travel on the ice. Right now foot travel and light machines like snowmobiles and four wheelers are preferred. On some of the shallower bodies of water they are starting to travel with small vehicles, and we are seeing more permanents being added to the lakes each week.
The smaller lakes which give out better opportunities for pan fish (crappies, perch and bluegills) have a bit more ice and easier to access, and travel around on. Tom suggests that before heading to Grand Rapids to ice fish to contact local bait shops, like Ben’s Bait in Grand Rapids, Thousand Lakes Sports and River Rat Bait, Cohasset, Fred’s Bait in Deer River to get the information on current ice conditions. They can also give you information on hot baits on for different species of fish.
Small tungsten jigs with two or three waxies or euro-larvae are dynamite presentations for panfish. Watch your electronics for depths fish are at and drop bait just barely above them and you will be amazed if you follow these steps at the amount of fish you will catch.
For northern pike a lot of fishermen like to use tip ups with four to six inch sucker minnows, and usually they should be placed higher in the water column. Northern are notorious water wolves and they swim in many different levels of water on the hunt for forage. When the flag goes up everybody is racing for the hole to see how big of a northern that took the bait. Also, tip up fishing isn’t your preferred way then a jigging spoon with two or three minnow heads can be utilized in the same area and can be as equally as effective.
Right now there are two different areas to be looking for walleyes in the winter. On shallower lakes most often weed lines is the place to look early and late in the day. They can be caught on jigging raps, spoons, or just a set line with a plain hook and shiner minnow. For the deeper lakes that you are looking for walleye you are looking for off shore structure. Sunken islands points, rock piles are both good places especially late in the day. We who chase walleyes in the winter describe this as the bewitching hour.
As always be safe, and remember to tell someone what your destination is when you are planning on returning. Another safety tip this year it is essential that you bring your ice spikes with you and it is not a bad idea to wear a flotation device. Safety is the most important thing especially this year when ice fishing. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Ice Safety Guidelines is good information to review before heading out on the ice for the first time.
In the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area there are lots of Minnesota Fishing Resorts that are open in the winter to cater to ice fishing. These properties are located right on premiere ice fishing lakes. Don’t just come for one day, make a fishing getaway out of it and stay for a couple of days and enjoy yourself. Download the Grand Rapids Visitor Guide today to check out area lodging, attractions, unique shopping and dining.