Check-out the Smaller Lakes in Brainerd Lakes Area for Walkable Fishing Access

Brainerd, MN—Happy New Year! Ice fishing is back in the Brainerd Lakes Area and fishing has been great. Many lakes have recently iced over but they are NOT fishable yet. However, with proper ice safety checks, you will be able to find several smaller/shallow lakes—under 200 acres—with walkable/fishable ice that is up around eight inches thick. We’ll continue to stress the importance of ice safety; ice is never 100% safe. Make sure you’re checking ice conditions frequently and stay off ice that is less than four inches. Please review the Minnesota DNR resources to help determine ice safety, immersion survival, etc.

On smaller, shallower bodies of water, and in weedy bays or shallow basins, panfish and northern pike remain active. Catch crappies in bays and weedy shorelines under 14-feet of water. 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 in schools, 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, change it up every few minutes. Bluegills have been hitting tungsten jigs tipped with the tail end of a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum or wax worm. We’ve been jigging inside weeds and weed pockets for sunfish.

Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows and spoons tipped with a minnow head. We are jigging high in the water column and set lines are above the weeds in 6-12 feet.

Walleyes are active at low light periods and cruising the shallows during the day. Walleyes are hitting minnows/live bait presentations or spoons tipped with a minnow head jigged near bottom in 18-25 feet 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!