Minneapolis lakes offer the same great fishing in the winter months as they do in the warm seasons. Methods and equipment needed to catch fish differ on frozen lakes, though, as well as the locations to find feeding fish.
All Minneapolis boat launches make great access points to drop gear close to the water's edge. Ice augers, scoops and warm clothes are a necessity to participate in this Minnesota tradition. Your local bait shop can help you find the "hotspots" and share techniques specific to the fish you're after.
To learn more about a lake you plan to fish, and for maps, netting reports and consumption advisories, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR).
Characteristics: light-sensitive; can be caught with live bait; bobbers or jigging also work well
Best Spots: aggressive fish can be found near weed lines on hard bottoms located near deeper water
Best Time: dawn and dusk
Best Method: start with aggressive jigging and work your way down to subtle taps - usually you will find something in between works
Characteristics: tend to be loners
Best Spots: anywhere in the water column; fishing one to four feet just below the ice is a good place to start
Best Method: use "tip-ups" with large minnows
Characteristics: easy to catch and provide a nice sporting fight; hard to find - crappies tend to school together and wander all over the lakes they inhabit
You can't judge the strength of ice just by its:
Strength is based on all the above factors, plus:
We monitor the ice on lakes and when an area is judged unsafe, there will be "Thin Ice" warning signs posted. Do not enter these areas!
Visit MNDNR Ice Safety for guidelines, safety tips and emergency procedures.