Brainerd Guide Fishing Reports

Brainerd Fishing Reports

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Life is Good!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Fishing Report: 05-12-21
The official start of the 2021 Minnesota walleye season begins this Saturday, May 15th, at 12:01 AM. Good news, it looks like finding bait is NOT going to be a problem this year. I visited several local bait shops this past weekend and most had a good supply of live bait on hand. Shiners, leeches, suckers; it was all there. S&W bait had the best minnow selection. Sherri has a ton of spot-tail shiners, AKA walleye candy. in the tanks. I am expecting the walleyes to be ultra-shallow this year. Early season walleye locations are fairly predictable. Find the shiner schools and the walleyes are usually close by. Key locations will be windblown areas near large shallow-water flats that gradually drop from 3 to 10 feet over a distance of one hundred+ yards and then drop quickly into basin areas. The best daytime water depths are typically 10-12 feet. Nighttime depths are usually much shallower. The clear water conditions in the area will make overhead presentations nearly impossible this spring. Long-line trolling, casting, and bobber rigs will be the most successful techniques this spring. The northern pike will be in depths slightly deeper than the walleyes. Key locations will be similar but cabbage weeds need to be present. The crappie action continues to be strong in the Brainerd Lakes. Keep posted. We will have more detailed reports in the weeks to come.
JOHN


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Slab Crappie

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Mr. Crappie

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????

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Pile of Crappie


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Bonus Bass

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Nice Eater

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Great Afternoon

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Fun Morning



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Huge Crappie!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Fishing Report: 05-06-21
The crappies continue to invade the shallows as water temperatures rise in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Large backwater bays have become key locations. The best ones have dark muddy bottoms. The largemouth bass are mixed in amongst the crappie, making for some interesting catches while fishing. Nothing pulls harder than a 4-pound bass on a light crappie rod. The best presentations this week include a bobber. The best bait continues to be dependent on water temperature. The warmer the water, the more active the fish. Small minnow-shaped plastics in pearl, rootbeer, and pink colors when threaded onto a light jig have accounted for most of the fish but it is still tough to beat a live crappie minnow when the water temperatures drop. The shiner minnows are just starting to show up in the shallows. Hopefully, the warmer temperatures will continue to push more of them there. Early season walleye location is usually dependant on the shiner minnow spawning run as well as the availability of spot-tail shiners in the local bait shops. Last year's colder temperatures delayed the shiner spawn and created a huge bait shortage on the Minnesota walleye opener.
JOHN


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Life is Good!

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Nice Fish

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Great Morning

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Mess of Fish


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Great Afternoon

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Nice Slab

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Fish Taco Time!

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Getting Bigger



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Hello Slab Crappie!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Fishing Report: 04-30-21
The panfish action is heating up in the Brainerd Lakes Area. This week's sunny skies and 60-degree highs have lured the crappies back into the shallows. Key locations have been backwater, swampy, areas with dark bottoms. Secondary locations are any inside corners of large weed flats with quick access to deeper water. The best water depths have been under 6 feet. The best bait choice depends on the water temperature the fish are located in. The crappies in 50+ degree water will readily take plastics but the ones found in cooler waters seem to prefer a minnow instead. Small jigs suspended below a small casting bobber have been the best technique. Our local lakes are clearer than I have ever seen them. This is due largely to the zebra mussels. I have noticed a distinct advantage to using a fluorocarbon leader in these gin-clear waters. Crappies can be notoriously line-shy when they want to be. The 10-day weather forecast is calling highs in the '60s and '70s for much of next week. This should push even more panfish into the shallows. Get the yard work done or put it off for a week, or two. Now is the time to get back to living and enjoy a little R&R in the great outdoors. Give Michelle a call and she will help get you on the book. See you next week.
JOHN


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Happy, happy

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Docks are in!

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The New Toy

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Mess of Fish


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Nice Fish

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Mr. Kodi

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Great Stock

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Yardwork Done!



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Nice Slab!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Fishing Report: 04-20-21
Old Man Winter just doesn't seem to want to leave the Brainerd Lakes Area. We had several days of 50+ degree weather last weekend, only to see the ugly white stuff return on Monday. The crappies were back in the shallows before the snow. Key spots were backwater areas and, or, the first drop-off just outside of these locations. The crappies we found in the shallow, warmer, water were happy to take plastics. Good lure colors were rootbeer, cotton candy, and pearl. The crappies in the deeper, cooler, water wanted the same jig colors, only tipped with a minnow. The weather forecast is looking good for the next few days. This should only bring even more fish into the shallows. The sunfish should start showing up in the shallows soon. Key locations will be very similar to where the crappies are now. The suckers are just about done running. There are still quite a few carp in the streams. The walleyes are all but done spawning too. Thanks for all the calls. The chart is filling up fast. We only have a limited number of dates from mid-July through August still available. Give Michelle a call and she will help get you on the book. It looks like we are in for another crazy, busy, extremely fun summer. See you next week, or sooner!
JOHN


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Mr. Crappie

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Happy, happy

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Dialed In!

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Bunch of Fish


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I See You!

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Live is Good!

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Winter Returns

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Accidental Crappie



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Really??!!!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Fishing Report: 04-13-21
Welcome to Minnesota. The land of 50-degree weather and sunshine one day and 3 inches of snow the next. The crappies were biting well in the shallows last week before Tuesday's unwanted return of Old Man Winter. Key locations were shallow muddy backwater areas with cattails present. These swampy areas heat up quickly in the spring, have loads of insect life, and attract schools of hungry crappies. These spots cool down quickly when the weather changes. Crappies will move out o these locations when temperatures drop. The good news is they usually don't travel too far. Crappies typically will move to the first available break line or hole and wait there for warmer temperatures to return. There are many new crappie regulations in the Brainerd Lakes this year. Several lakes have lower limits than others. Please check the regs if you are unsure. This is also a good time to practice Selective Harvest when keeping fish for the table. Please consider releasing the larger 11 to 15-inch female fish and keeping the smaller 9 to 10-inch males instead. Nothing beats a spring fish fry. We had fish tacos last night. Selective harvest will help future generations enjoy this Minnesota tradition as well. Think warm thoughts and we will see you next week.
JOHN


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Slab Crappie

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First of Season

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Dialed In!

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Life is Good!


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Nice Crappie

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Mr Cowboy

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Fish Tacos Tonight

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The New Puppy



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Crappie Time!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 04-08-21
Life is good in the Brainerd Lakes. The weather has been nothing short of amazing. Most area lakes are now ice-free with the exception of Gull, Pelican, and the Whitefish Chain. The weatherman is calling for steady rain for the next three days, and it is currently raining outside, so I expect all area lakes will be completely ice-free by this weekend. The smaller ponds are alive with a steady chorus of frogs and birds. It is nice to hear the sounds of life again after all those quiet months of winter. And if all that wasn't good enough, The Walleye Alliance stocked Gull Lake with 5000+ walleye fingerlings this week. Like I said, Life is Good. The shallows are starting to warm up quickly. I am planning to drop the boat into the water this Sunday. The crappie bite should be kicking into high gear quickly. Keep posted. We will be posting a new fishing report soon.
JOHN


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Walleye Stocking

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North Long

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Gull Lake

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Round Lake



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Gull Lake

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 04-02-21
I almost thought next week's weather forecast was an April Fool's joke when I saw it. The weatherman is predicting daytime highs in the high 60's to lower 70's for much of next week. The ice is disappearing quickly in the Brainerd Lakes Area. I think we will start seeing open water on many of the smaller lakes sometime later next week. The loons are back and so are the robins. Spring is definitely ahead of schedule this year. There hasn't been much ice fishing in the area this last week. Fishing pressure drops way off when you have to use waders to get out to the good ice. We had the dogs out for one last chukar hunt before the fishing season begins. Take care. We will see you next week.
JOHN


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West Twin

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North Long

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Nisswa Lake

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Round Lake


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Awesome Honor

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Solid Point

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Great Sytle

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Nice Work



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It's Melting!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 03-23-21
The lake ice is starting to pull away from the shorelines on many of the smaller lakes and ponds in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The ice remaining is getting darker by the day. The 10-day weather forecast is calling for daytime highs in the forties, with some days reaching the low fifties, for much of next week. All we need now is some rain and the remaining lake ice will disappear quickly. I don't wait to "jinks" it but we might have some boats on the water by the first week of April this year if these conditions hold. There have been some scattered panfish reports but most anglers have given up ice fishing for the season. Life to too short to take chances on sketchy ice. We are headed down to Rice Creek this weekend to get the dogs on some Chukars before the open water season begins. Give us a call if you are bored, done with all of your yard work, and want to enjoy some excellent wing-shooting fun. There is just so much to do right now. We are rigging boats, putting lines on reels, and getting everything ready for another fishing season. We better hurry. The ringing phones this last month indicates we are in for another busy season. Take care. We will see you next week.
JOHN



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Slab Crappies

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 03-15-21
Activity on the ice has slowed in Brainerd Lakes Area. The permanent ice houses are gone for the year. The walleye and northern pike seasons are closed until May 15th. The remaining options are fewer. The last remaining ice anglers are either targeting eelpout or panfish. Most of the eelpout action has been occurring in 29 to 36 feet. Key locations are steep break lines that transition quickly from main-lake basin areas to large underwater flats. One ounce "pout candy" jigs tipped with a few minnows have been providing most of the activity. Standard glow and glow-red have been the best color choices. There have been some real monsters caught this last week. Take a few pictures and quickly return these beautiful giants back to the water. Eelpouts are ferocious fighters but not much for table fare. The crappies have been moving shallow. Key times have been mornings and evenings. Locating healthy green cabbage has been one of the keys to success. The crappie action should only get better in the week to come. The ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly in the Brainerd Lakes Area. We might even see open water by the first of April if current conditions hold. Sorry if we didn't return your calls very quickly last week. Michelle and I ventured to Florida for some needed relaxation in the sun. The batteries are now recharged. Bring on the sun!
JOHN


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Big Pout

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Late-Night Fun

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CPR Fun

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Life is Good


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Triple Jacks

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Making Memories!

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Fun Afternoon

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Fish On!



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Family Fun!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 03-01-21
The Minnesota northern pike and walleye seasons are officially over for the year. Local anglers will have to wait until May 15, 2021, the walleye opener, before they can pursue these two fish species again. We saw a fury of northern pike activity this past week. Most of the action was on tip-ups. A healthy 4-5 inch sucker minnow suspended 8 feet below the ice was just the ticket for fun. Key structures were inside corners and outside points located on healthy weed beds. The best water depths were 10 to 14 feet. The walleye action remained slower this past week. Clients saw multiple walleye-lookers on their electronics but there weren't that many walleye-takers. This is a common pattern with late season walleyes. The good news is the crappie action is starting to pick back up and it should only get better in the weeks to come. I love this time of year. The sun has been setting later, and later, each day. You can almost feel Old Man Winter losing his grp on the season. It won't be long before we are back in the fishing boats again. It's time to start getting back to living again. The calls are coming in daily. Give Michelle a call. She will get you on the book.
JOHN


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Big Gator

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Happy Camper

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Late-Night Fun

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Life is Good


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Nice Walleye

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Making Memories!

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Nice Pike

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Fun Afternoon



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Life is Good!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 02-18-21
Last week's brutally cold temperatures sure put a damper on ice fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area. We experienced several nights with lows down to minus 30-35 degrees F only to see daytime highs reach minus 15-20 degrees. These types of conditions were neither fit for man nor beast. The limited walleye action we experienced occurred mostly after dark in 30 to 32 feet of water. Set lines outperformed all other techniques during these conditions.The good news is a warmer weather pattern seems to have returned to the Lakes Area. Hopefully, we will see this pattern continue in the weeks to come. Our 2020/21 ce house season is quickly coming to a close. All overnight ice houses north of highway 200must be off the lakes by March 1st. All Ice houses located south of this line must be removed by March 15th. Thanks everyone for spending time with us this winter. It was truly a season for the record books. We look forward to serving you in the upcoming open water season. Give Michelle a call if you have any questions. She will get you on the book. Thanks again.
JOHN


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Nice Walleye

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Good Eater

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Nice Smallie

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Happy Camper



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Brainerd Gold!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 02-10-21
The walleye fishing was a bit slower this week due to the extremely cold temperatures. Nothing slows a walleye bite down quicker than a cold front. The good news is the weatherman is calling for warmer temperatures to return by the middle of next week. Key water depths for walleye this last week were 30 to 32 feet. Set lines continue to outproduce active jigging techniques. The best bait choice is still an active shiner minnow hooked lightly behind the dorsal fin. The crappie fishing was slower this past week as well. Key locations were just outside the weeds in 15 to 18 feet. Small tear-drop jigs tipped with waxies outproduced crappie minnows on similar jig combinations. The northern pike fishing was fair. It seems these toothy critters were the least affected by the frigid temperatures. I just hope this is the last of the cold weather for the winter. It has been several days since I have had an opportunity to take my dogs for a good run. They would rather lay by the fireplace when it is -20 degrees outside. Some might say they are smarter than me. Take care, stay healthy. and we will see you next week.
JOHN


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Happy Campers

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Nice Walleye

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Great Eater

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Good Pike



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Nice Walleye

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 02-02-21
The walleye fishing improved this week due to a warmer, more stable, weather pattern. The two best depth ranges were 25 to 27 feet and 30 to 32 feet. The fish were active in the shallower depth range at sunrise and sunset. The deeper water depths were better during the middle of the day. The best bites occurred on overcast days. Set lines are still out-producing active jigging techniques. A shiner minnow remains the best bait for catching walleye. The crappie bite remains good on most area lakes. Key water depths were 15 to 18 feet. Small glow-jigs in pink/white or chartreuse/white have been the most effective color combinations. Somedays a small crappie minnow outproduces waxworms. On other days it is the opposite. Try one of each and let the fish decide. The bluegills have been active in 15 feet just outside on the weed edge. Small tear-drop jigs tipped with waxies have been the best bait. A spring bobber and a depth-finder are almost a must at this time. The pike have been active in 15 feet as well. A few tip-ups located along the break line is an effective method of catching some nice pike right now. It is hard to believe January is already over. Stay healthy
JOHN


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Personal Best

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Happy Camper

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Great Smallie

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Life is Good


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Fun Morning

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Making Memories!

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Huge Walleye

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Great Eater



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Big Bull Gill!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 01-24-21
Colder temperatures have improved the ice conditions in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Most of the larger lakes now have 12 to 14 inches of ice. The walleye fishing has been spotty. The best times are early morning and right at sunset. The best depths have been 22 to 28 feet. Set lines tipped with a healthy shiner have been catching most of the fish. The sunfish action remains good in the morning. The best locations have been inside corners and holes located on healthy cabbage beds. A spring-bobber is almost a must-have tool right now. Big bluegills are notoriously light biters this time of year. Small tungsten jigs tipped with a few waxies have been the best option for catching these tasty fish. The crappie bite has remained good on the smaller, less pressured, lakes. Holes in weed beds are still prime locations. The crappies on some popular lakes have switched to a nocturnal bite. These bites have become sporadic and unpredictable. The northern pike action remains strong. Give us a call if you are thinking about getting out on the ice. We will see you next week.
JOHN


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Nice Eater

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Fun Morning

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Happy Camper

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Life is Good


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Big Walleye

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Making Memories!

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I See You..

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Fun Afternoon



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Living Large!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 01-17-21
Warmer temperatures have caused slushy conditions on most of the lakes in the area. The walleye fishing was slower this week. This typically occurs when the vehicle traffic increases on the lakes. Key locations are now mid-lake structures that have not been fished yet this winter. A healthy shiner minnow on a set line has been out producing active jigging techniques. The sunfish action continues to be good in the mornings with another feeding period occurring in the late afternoon. Small tear-drops tipped with euro larva have been the best bait options. The crappie action has been good shallow. The best locations are sandy patches inside of the weeds. These holes might require some time, and a bunch of holes, to find but the rewards are worth the effort when you find them. The tip-up action has been good on many lakes. There have been some really nice northern pike caught over the last few days. The best locations have been the outside edges of major cabbage beds. A 4 to 6-inch sucker minnow has been the best bait option. It was nice to see the restaurants and bars opening up this week. Hopefully, things will continue to improve. Stay healthy and we will see you next week.
JOHN


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Nice Crappies

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North Long

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Round Lake

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Life is Good



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Life is Good!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 01-10-21
The walleye fishing has improved in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Key locations are located on the first break of shoreline structures. Gull, Round, and North Long Lake provided the most action. Key water depths were 14 to 20 feet. Set lines were equally effective as jigging tactics. A 2 to 3-inch shiner minnow has been the best bait option for catching walleyes on set lines. The bite window has been short, usually lasting about an hour. The exact time varies but it usually occurs somewhere from one hour before sunset until one hour after sundown.The crappie action remains strong but the bite has shifted to nocturnal hours. There still are fish being caught at sundown but the best action seems to be occurring later at night. The sunfish action has remained strong this week with the best action occurring between 10 am to 3 pm. Small tear-drops tipped with euro larva or waxworms seems to be the best bait option. The backwater areas are still a bit sketchy. Main lake ice is far more dependable at the moment. Thanks for all the calls. We still have a few weekend openings but they are filling up fast. Stay safe!
JOHN


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Gull Lake

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Round Lake

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Huge Gator!

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Happy, Happy, Happy



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Ice Update

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 01-07-21
Brainerd ice condition update. Warmer temperatures have altered the ice conditions of backwater areas on several lakes. These areas include slews, swamps, and neck-down locations. Several ATV's have fallen through the ice in these areas over the last few days. Thankfully, no one was injured. All incidents occured where current was present. Ice anglers should use caution until colder temperatures return. Main lake ice conditions have been unaffected.
JOHN



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Slab Crappie!

Brainerd, Minnesota
Ice Fishing Report: 01-04-21
Happy New Year's everyone! I hope 2021 will be a better year than the one before. The ice conditions are good on most of the smaller lakes. Most have 9 to 12 inches. We saw a big increase in small vehicle traffic this past week. It never seems to fail. Everyone waits for those first few guinea pigs and then the vehicle traffic explodes. Crappie fishing continues to be good. Key locations are basin areas with silt covered bottoms. Crappie minnows and waxworms have been equally effective. The exact depths depend on the lake. The sunfish action continues to be good. The best locations have been inside good weeds. Remember to bring a few tip-ups along when fishing panfish in these shallow areas. We have seen several nice pike trip the tip-up flag this past week. The walleye action has been fair to good depending on the day. Key locations are in 16 to 20 feet of water. The best times have been in that magic hour which occurs about sundown. Set lines have been equally effective as jigging. We still have some weekend openings for the ice houses but these have been filling up fast. Give us a call and Michelle will be happy to line you up with a house. Stay healthy! We will see you next week
JOHN


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Nice Walleye

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North Long

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Perfect Eater

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Merrifield




Brainerd Guide Service:

Our fishing guides can meet you at your resort, hotel, or pick up at your dock. We are insured, use top quality equipment and fish over 35 lakes in the Brainerd Lakes Area including: Gull Lake, Pelican Lake, Whitefish, North Long, and Mille Lacs. will provide everything needed for a great day of fishing. All you'll need is a valid Minnesota fishing license, some snacks, refreshments, and we'll take care of the rest.


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Let's Go Fishing!

We've been fishing the Brainerd Lakes area for over thirty years. The region has over 100 lakes located within 30 miles. The region offers anglers the opportunity to catch walleye, bass, musky, northern pike, and crappie all summer long. Our Brainerd fishing guides will provide everything necessary; (boat, gas, live bait, fishing rods, fish cleaning, etc.), for a great day of fishing. We offer 4, 6, and 8 hour fishing trips to suite your needs. We can pick you up from your hotel, resort dock, or cabin. Learn more about the services your Brainerd fishing guides will provide by clicking