Ice Fishing Report: The Fish Under the Ice Are Active

Brainerd, MN—Ice fishing opportunities have arrived in the Brainerd Lakes Area and the fish under the ice are active! I cannot stress enough the importance of ice safety, especially at this time of early-season excitement. I’ve continued the lookout for small, shallow lakes (under 500 acres) with 4+ inches of ‘safer ice’ to walk on and fish—FYI ice is never 100% safe. Make sure you’re checking ice conditions frequently and always stay off ice under 4 inches). Safety first—the MN DNR has many great resources online to help determine ice safety, immersion survival, etc. Learn more here.

On smaller, shallower bodies of water, and in weedy bays or shallow basins, panfish and northern pike are active. Catch crappies in bays and weedy shorelines under 12ft of water. Jig crappies with 1/16oz or 1/32oz jig tipped with a Mister Twister Sassy Stingum, 1/16oz Lindy Frostee spoon or glide-bait style lure, such as a Vexan Crystal Reaper. Aggressive jigging will bring schools in, although it’s a good idea to drill several holes and jig 10-15 minutes in each hole before moving to the next hole (or spot) due to the movement of fish during early ice. 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 2-3ft from the bottom.

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 and spoons tipped with a minnow head.

Walleyes are active at low light periods and cruising the shallows during the day! Walleyes are hitting minnows/livebait presentations, or spoons tipped with a minnow head jigged near bottom in 8-13ft of water. Check out this video from this time last year.

Many lakes in the area have iced over but many large lakes and channels are still open, thin and dangerous, so 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!!