Cold, Cold Winter Weather is Here and We are Making Ice in Brainerd

Brainerd, MN—With that said, fish can be caught using numerous tactics. Continue ice safety checks due to varying conditions on several lakes; some have very thin, dangerous ice and some are good for ATV or snowmobile travel. Make sure you’re checking ice conditions frequently as you move across bodies of water, stay off ice less than four inches. Please review the Minnesota DNR resources to help determine ice safety, immersion survival, etc.

Catch crappies along weed lines in 12–18 feet of water and suspended over basins; they may drop near bottom with this cold weather. Jig crappies with 1/16-ounce or 1/32-ounce jig tipped with a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum, 1/16-ounce Lindy Frostee spoon (our go-to) or glide-bait style lure, such as a Vexan Crystal Reaper. We’ll switch to a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum or wax worm on a Tungsten jig if they aren’t hitting the spoons. Aggressive jigging will bring schools in, although it’s a good idea to drill several holes and jig at least 10–15 minutes in each hole before moving to the next hole or spot due to the movement of fish. Jig higher in the water column, a good rule of thumb is splitting the depth in half and jigging at that location in the water column as well as jigging within 2–3 feet from the bottom, vary it every few minutes, and don’t be afraid to dead-stick without jigging if the fish are finicky. Bluegills have been hitting tungsten jigs tipped with the tail end of a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum or wax worm.

Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows or shiners, and spoons tipped with a minnow head. We are jigging high in the water column and set lines are above the weeds in 8–16 feet.

Walleyes are active at low light periods and cruising the shallows during the day and overnight! Walleyes are hitting minnows/live bait presentations (such as shiners or fatheads) or spoons tipped with a minnow head, jigged near bottom in 18–25 feet of water.

Find perch in schools inside pockets of expansive weed flats in 8–16 feet. Jigging aggressively with a spoon tipped with a minnow head or tungsten jig and fathead has been producing bites. Hot tip: make frequent bottom contact to stir up stand and debris to entice finicky biters, add a slow lift to seal the deal. See Hawg Hunterz on YouTube.

Once again, practice safety first on all early ice bodies of water! If you’re wondering where and how to fish, tune in to Visit Brainerd for weekly fishing reports by Hawg Hunterz Guide Service LLC. As always, have fun, stay safe and Happy Hawg Hunting!