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dsidle61

Minnesota Lake Reports 2016

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I saw we have 2 posts going, figured id combine into one and see if we can get some people talking!  Dont feel like you have to give up your honeyhole or your go to baits, but it never hurts to let people know whats working and whats not.  As far as I go, had a little success last week but this weekend hosed me!  Tried Beebe in the west metro Saturday, lots of boats out and I hope they did better than me.  I was completely skunked, threw everything I had at them everywhere in the lake and couldnt find them.  Ventured out in the wind today on a small west metro lake and only found 2 northern.   I mainly threw spinnerbaits in the wind today, I think next week im going to slow it down a bit and throw a texas rig or a jig.  Hows everyone else been doing since the opener? 

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I had a similar day last week, and was expecting much better.  I went back and looked at water temps records I kept from the past few years and that might be part of the reason. My best spring success around the metro area for smallmouth anyway has been water temps of 62-72.  Last week I was out, temps were 60-ish at daybreak so maybe that was part of the reason the morning was slow.  By late morning, the sun came out and got a lot warmer.  May have only risen a degree or so but I ended up catching 4-5 around 11-Noon.  I do think the rising temps will help, but then again I'm not crazy about catching fish when they are on their beds and doing "their thing" might be a narrow window here for awhile...

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So now we have three posts going? haha

I went up north in the Hubbard county area and fished Duck Lake all weekend, which is a medium sized clear water natural lake (no invasive species) that has a very massive bass population. The average size is on the smaller side but boy is the fishing good. I had a lot of success on jerkbaits (megabass vision 110 and shadow raps), senkos around docks, crappie colored terminator spinner baits, and a white chatterbait with a 4" kaitech simbait trailer. From Friday to Sunday we boated easily over 60 bass. 

During the mid-day the fish went a little deeper when the sun was out and I was able to hammer them on a Ned rig in like 15ish feet of water. 

The real winner all weekend was chatterbaits. I tossed a blue combo and a white combo and they both got slammed. I tipped the tails of the 4" keitech with JJ's magic. Chatterbaits worked great shallow, deeper, on windy points, on flats... didn't matter where I tossed it. 

As a bonus we lucked into the crappie spawn and took in about 30 fish for eating. They were stacked up around docks all along one side of the lake. They were beautiful fish and pretty big. I was able to annoy them into biting by slow rolling a small x-rap along their beds.

picture: https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/s960x960/13268213_10107653534262920_8795211660277846512_o.jpg 

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First post here!

Went out yesterday on the east side of Lake Minnetonka in the morning hours. It was slow for us, though. Only a single LMB.

Tried a combination of topwater and spinnerbait early with no successes. Moved to the opposite side of the bay, where it was a little more breezy and got a strike or two on a white chatterbait. Slowed down with a bluegill patterned jig on a weedline at around 6-8 feet to catch the only fish. I have a feeling this guy was just cruising, though.

I think I saw a fish on a bed right near the launch, but we already pulled the boat out so we didn't target.

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Wondering if it's just me, but after spending a fair amount of time fishing Tonka the last couple years - I think I'm going to focus elsewhere this year.  Nothing wrong with it, but it seems to have a lot of fish but mostly 2-3 pounders... an occasional 4, but anything above that seems rare.  I'm always on the quest for something 5+ and think chances are better elsewhere...  

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I assume you meant Tonka, not Tonia.  I hear ya.  It gets fished HARD for bass.  There's evening contests and tournaments almost every weekend out there so the fish see a lot of pressure.  Plus the water has really cleared up in recent years so they are deep and they're spooky too.  Then there's the dreaded RRR that will be taking over in June sometime - Recreational Riff Raff.  Sailboats, pontoons, jet skis, skiers/tubers, wake boarders, cruisers, yachts, and everything else that can make noise or a wake.  Might be better off focusing on smaller, less pressured lakes.

The water temps around the metro are between 62 - 66 degrees surface temp, so although it warmed up quite a bit the past week or so with the nice weather, its still pretty chilly for some good bassin'.  Be patient and I'm sure June will be a great month.

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There are so many lakes to pick from in the metro I'm not sure why people willingly choose to hit Minnetonka to bass fish. I get it if you're chasing muskie or you want to cruise and have a recreational day.. but that lakes traffic is way to intense for me. Those boat ramps can be a cluster. 

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I agree, I just got a boat this year that I can actually take out there and I think in going to stick to weekdays only.  I'm only 5 min from wayzata bay so it's doable for me.  I'm also relatively new to MN so northern are still fun for me, I'm in search of a 35+ and/or 10lber this year so I may look to tonka for that.  (My best so far is 32 and 8lbs out of a small west metro lake)

8 hours ago, nguggs said:

First post here!

Went out yesterday on the east side of Lake Minnetonka in the morning hours. It was slow for us, though. Only a single LMB.

Tried a combination of topwater and spinnerbait early with no successes. Moved to the opposite side of the bay, where it was a little more breezy and got a strike or two on a white chatterbait. Slowed down with a bluegill patterned jig on a weedline at around 6-8 feet to catch the only fish. I have a feeling this guy was just cruising, though.

I think I saw a fish on a bed right near the launch, but we already pulled the boat out so we didn't target.

Welcome aboard! Thanks for the post, keep checking back in and let us know how you do. 

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Fished some lakes on Friday and Saturday in the otter tail county area. The previous 3 to 4 days of steady warming weather set the weekend up well. We ended up landing one over 6 and 7 over 5 pounds. The action was slow. Best baits were the jig in shallow water. Next best bait was the Swimjig. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits only caught smaller fish. If I lived in the west metro area, I would fish Auburn lake frequently. The few times we have fished it, we caught Giants. 

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12 hours ago, shimmy said:

Fished some lakes on Friday and Saturday in the otter tail county area. The previous 3 to 4 days of steady warming weather set the weekend up well. We ended up landing one over 6 and 7 over 5 pounds. The action was slow. Best baits were the jig in shallow water. Next best bait was the Swimjig. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits only caught smaller fish. If I lived in the west metro area, I would fish Auburn lake frequently. The few times we have fished it, we caught Giants. 

Auburn is a great lake.  Love it in the summer tossing frogs in the tall grass.  Absolute hogs in there. 

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Tonka has steadily improved for muskie fishing too if you guys are into that at all.  Plus there's not a lot of pressure like some of the bigger muskie lakes have either.  There's tons of structure and deep water to fish but like this thread already indicated, avoid the peak boat traffic time periods.

Good luck finding that gator pike dsidle61.  Most of the pike around here are snakes now.  A sizable one used to be relatively common about a decade ago but many lakes are so over run with the little ones now its a serious problem for the DNR.

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Was on Tonka this past Saturday.  Caught 7 LMB's w largest being 18 inches.  All caught shallow on weighted soft plastics.  Bass were still bedding but some hanging under docks.

First year in a boat as well (Ranger RT178).  I hit Tonka because I can now that I'm in a bass boat.  That is, I tried it once on my kayak and it was a failure due to all of the boats around me....and its such a great fishery.

I am really appreciative of the extensive shoreline of that lake.  Tons of inlets, etc.  I am looking forward to learning it more.  I will also try to target Muskie there in Tonka.  Some big ones in there.

But punch is right...there are so many lakes around us.  Guys we are so lucky.  Metro and MN in general is a fishing HAVEN!  At least for 5 months out of the year!  People ask me where I want to retire and I always give them a quizzical look...MN is it...at least for the fishing months.  Maybe I will get away for the winter who knows...retirement seems years away but also will be here before you know it.

I am also appreciative of the Minnesotan's who are on here willing to share where and what is working on the water. 

Dsidle welcome to the Twin Cities.  I am also a transplant of 21 years.  Hope you will be here to stay.  

Here's to a great season guys!

 

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OE, Punch, gimruis, dsidle, etc ... Those of us in/around the West Metro should consider a lunch, happy hour, etc to compare notes, ideas, etc... I Spent 20+ years going to Canada every year on walleye trips but don't any more.  Family cabin in Hayward, Wi has been sold 5 years now.  

Have spent learning the local Minnesota lakes area the past 3-4 years almost exclusively for bass.  So I'm a bit of a transplant of a different sort you might say... Always lived here but fished elsewhere. 

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4 hours ago, OperationEagle said:

Was on Tonka this past Saturday.  Caught 7 LMB's w largest being 18 inches.  All caught shallow on weighted soft plastics.  Bass were still bedding but some hanging under docks.

First year in a boat as well (Ranger RT178).  I hit Tonka because I can now that I'm in a bass boat.  That is, I tried it once on my kayak and it was a failure due to all of the boats around me....and its such a great fishery.

I am really appreciative of the extensive shoreline of that lake.  Tons of inlets, etc.  I am looking forward to learning it more.  I will also try to target Muskie there in Tonka.  Some big ones in there.

But punch is right...there are so many lakes around us.  Guys we are so lucky.  Metro and MN in general is a fishing HAVEN!  At least for 5 months out of the year!  People ask me where I want to retire and I always give them a quizzical look...MN is it...at least for the fishing months.  Maybe I will get away for the winter who knows...retirement seems years away but also will be here before you know it.

I am also appreciative of the Minnesotan's who are on here willing to share where and what is working on the water. 

Dsidle welcome to the Twin Cities.  I am also a transplant of 21 years.  Hope you will be here to stay.  

Here's to a great season guys!

 

Ooooh I really like those RT178. I'm jealous, really killer under 20k metal bass boats. 

On 5/24/2016 at 10:03 PM, dsidle61 said:

I agree, I just got a boat this year that I can actually take out there and I think in going to stick to weekdays only.  I'm only 5 min from wayzata bay so it's doable for me.  I'm also relatively new to MN so northern are still fun for me, I'm in search of a 35+ and/or 10lber this year so I may look to tonka for that.  (My best so far is 32 and 8lbs out of a small west metro lake)

Welcome aboard! Thanks for the post, keep checking back in and let us know how you do. 

Finding a +35" pike in the metro is pretty rare honestly. In my many years of fishing i've only seen like TWO fish that big in the twin cities area. I was out with my dad in the fall last year and we hooked a 36" tank in the north metro. 

The good news is if you venture to northern MN, monster pike can be found in abundance. 

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If I get a chance to sneak out and fish like 5:30-9:30 am this weekend (before the pleasure boaters are out) What is the nearest lake to the Twin Cities with big pike?  Am willing to drive 1-2 hours in any direction if that helps...

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17 hours ago, FryDog62 said:

If I get a chance to sneak out and fish like 5:30-9:30 am this weekend (before the pleasure boaters are out) What is the nearest lake to the Twin Cities with big pike?  Am willing to drive 1-2 hours in any direction if that helps...

What's your definition of big? haha If you want to chase trophy +40" pike, you'll have to drive way north to Rainy, Lake of the Woods or maybe Leech BUT Lake Pepin down in southwest MN has been known to produce some monster pike. DNR found quite a few very large fish in their 2012 lake survey I believe. 

As far as 1-2 hours around the Metro... just toss a dart at a map. Pretty much every lake in the metro has plenty of fish under 30" and likely has some fish lurking around 30-35+" that show up once and a while. It's like playing a slot machine in the metro.. keep catching pike and you'll luck into a monster once and a while. If you want to specifically target monsters you're going to have to venture a ways. I've pulled some big pike out of some very small metro lakes by pure accident, which is a sign that the lakes are very healthy. I'd just keep fishing your favorite lakes, toss bigger moving baits around weed lines and you'll find a big guy once and a while. 

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Thanks Punch, I agree - I catch more of the bigger pike by accident than anything else.  Probably when I start to target them is when I'll catch a walleye or trophy LMB... or a Carp!  I guess we're very lucky in this part of the country to have such a good multi-species opportunity.  

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Mille Lacs has big pike too.  My old man caught a 39 incher there last spring.  That's 90 minutes one way from the metro to the south end of the lake.  Try one of those big bays on the south end - Cove, Wahkon, or Isle.  Medicine Lake in Plymouth has a decent population of sizable pike too, at least for a metro area lake.  1/4 of all the pike surveyed there last time by the DNR were over 28 inches in length.

On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2016 at 10:05 AM, OperationEagle said:

 

First year in a boat as well (Ranger RT178).  I hit Tonka because I can now that I'm in a bass boat.  That is, I tried it once on my kayak and it was a failure due to all of the boats around me....and its such a great fishery.

 

Hey Eagle nice boat!  I just got a 2015 RT178 too, had it out 4 times so far.  What color did you get?  Mine's white.

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4 hours ago, gimruis said:

Hey Eagle nice boat!  I just got a 2015 RT178 too, had it out 4 times so far.  What color did you get?  Mine's white.

I got the dark charcoal/black.  Mine's a 2015 as well. 60hp Merc.  Just re propped as I already got into some shallow water and prop got chipped up.  I matched the number from the old prop but this new one seems to have noticeably better hole shot and I gained 3 mph on top end.   Mishap gave way to a silver lining!

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14 hours ago, gimruis said:

Mille Lacs has big pike too.  My old man caught a 39 incher there last spring.  That's 90 minutes one way from the metro to the south end of the lake.  Try one of those big bays on the south end - Cove, Wahkon, or Isle.  Medicine Lake in Plymouth has a decent population of sizable pike too, at least for a metro area lake.  1/4 of all the pike surveyed there last time by the DNR were over 28 inches in length.

Hey Eagle nice boat!  I just got a 2015 RT178 too, had it out 4 times so far.  What color did you get?  Mine's white.

The bass have been getting big at Medicine also, seen a 6 pounder pulled out of there. I'm going to hit it a little more this year personally. 

How much did you guys pay for your RT178s out the door? if you don't mind me asking. I'm just curious. 

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I got mine in December 2015 through Cabela's Powersports in Woodbury, MN.  I didn't actually pick it up until April though because obviously there's no reason for me to have it at my house with 2 feet of ice on the lakes.  I already had the electronics for it but I upgraded the trolling motor/batteries, got the max 75 hp motor I could, and added on that talon.  The talon was by far the most expensive add on item.  Got me to about $23,500 after taxes, fees, etc

I would have liked to actually get the RT188 with a 115 motor but it won't fit in my garage.

Medicine has a good bass population but its starting to get some pressure like Tonka now.  There's a number of tournaments and contests out there regularly because the parking lot can handle up to about 60 spots for trailer parking.  Watch out for the RRR in the summer time too.  Its like a small Lake Minnetonka at times...

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That's a lot of boat for 23k! I'm rocking a 16' 2001 Northwood tiller, which is all the wife will allow at the moment. It's perfect for metro lakes though. I've never been given the green light to take out a loan for a boat, so I've always used inexpensive boats I can buy with cash. RT178 is on my wishlist though, maybe I can find one used in a few years. I really like those Lowe Stingers too. 

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On 5/25/2016 at 10:52 AM, FryDog62 said:

OE, Punch, gimruis, dsidle, etc ... Those of us in/around the West Metro should consider a lunch, happy hour, etc to compare notes, ideas, etc... I Spent 20+ years going to Canada every year on walleye trips but don't any more.  Family cabin in Hayward, Wi has been sold 5 years now.  

Have spent learning the local Minnesota lakes area the past 3-4 years almost exclusively for bass.  So I'm a bit of a transplant of a different sort you might say... Always lived here but fished elsewhere. 

Id be down for a meetup, if theres 4-5 of us we could even meet up on a lake somewhere, bring 2-3 boats and partner up. 

4 hours ago, gimruis said:

I got mine in December 2015 through Cabela's Powersports in Woodbury, MN.  I didn't actually pick it up until April though because obviously there's no reason for me to have it at my house with 2 feet of ice on the lakes.  I already had the electronics for it but I upgraded the trolling motor/batteries, got the max 75 hp motor I could, and added on that talon.  The talon was by far the most expensive add on item.  Got me to about $23,500 after taxes, fees, etc

I would have liked to actually get the RT188 with a 115 motor but it won't fit in my garage.

Medicine has a good bass population but its starting to get some pressure like Tonka now.  There's a number of tournaments and contests out there regularly because the parking lot can handle up to about 60 spots for trailer parking.  Watch out for the RRR in the summer time too.  Its like a small Lake Minnetonka at times...

awesome boat man!  I just purchased a Tracker 170, 40hp.  Nothing huge but im never racing anyone around the lake.  And also its all that would fit in the garage!  I see alot of people talking about medicine now, which could be bad for popularity!  Im 2 miles from there and have never been out bc my old boat was to small.  Plus since ive been fishing small lakes for so long the bigger bodies can be intimidating.  But i definitely want to get out and learn it this summer.  Also a good place to stumble upon the 35+ northern. 

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I got out this morning from 6:30am to 9:30am. Waters about 65 degrees. I was able to catch 7 fish, two big ones, very shallow. I saw a ton of bass cruising the inside shallow side of weed lines.  I was getting most of my bites slowly fishing a chug right along the weeds. Caught a couple on a white chatterbait but the big guys wanted the popper. Biggest was 4lbs. I fished the deep side of the weed lines and didn't get a bite. All my action was shallow. Like less than 4 feet of water. 

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