Area lakes ice-out dates are normal this year

Anglers looking for local information before the Saturday, May 14, fishing opener for walleye, bass, northern pike and trout in lakes can gain local knowledge by looking at regional fishing reports from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The regional fishing reports include details about waters throughout each region and can be found on the DNR website (

Ice-out dates for area lakes look to be in the normal range of mid to late April. This will result in most species completing spawning activity within the normal chronology. That is, fishing locations and techniques should be predictable with better odds on small to medium-sized lakes with darker water where water temperature may be higher. 

Walleye should remain shallow and be found around traditional Spottail Shiner runs. As such, most bait shops in northern Minnesota should be stocked with this popular bait. Traditional walleye lakes in the Detroit Lakes area continue to have strong walleye populations. Some of these lakes include: Sallie, Detroit, Melissa, White Earth and Island.

Northern pike are always active during the first month of the fishing season. Anglers are reminded of the statewide zone regulations for northern pike. In the North Central Zone, the bag limit is 10, all pike from 22 to 26 inches must be released, and no more than two pike over 26 inches long can be kept.

The catch and release angling season for largemouth and smallmouth bass also begins on the May 14 opener, while the harvest season opens May 28.