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What's the top 5 Ice fishing trip destinations for MN this year?

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Looking at the top 5 places for an ice fishing trip this year.

Here is what I'm thinking.

Lake of the Woods

Upper Red Lake

Mille Lacs



I've been to Upper Red 3 times, and Winni once.

Upper Red as been great, but Winni was a let down. Heard that Leech hasn't been producing like it was in the past, & that Lake of the Woods is a daytime type of bite so sleepers are about worthless on LOTW.

Kind of thinking on going to Mille Lacs this year and getting a supreme Ice cabin from the Fisherman's Wharf Resort. Thought I would check here for thoughts & Ideas.

Don't mind fishing for perch, but when we go we mainly try to target walleye, pike, and crappie. Sauger we be kind of cool if we hit LOTW though. How hard is it to catch a muskie on Mille Lacs???

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Pretty tough to narrow it down to 5, especially on a personal preference level.

I think you always have to include LOW and URL in that list. I think Leech is going to be a great spot this year, I'd put that at #3. For #4 I would have to include any one of the lakes up the Northeast section for some Laker action and then leave #5 for some small out of the way pothole or pond.....Lake X if you will cool

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Just so you are aware, muskie season in MN closes December 1st, 2008. It does not re-open until first week of June in 2009. This means you can not target them as well even if you intend to release the fish.

Moving on. Mille Lacs was really slow for walleye last winter. It was decent for perch though, but you will be picking through a ton of small ones in order to get to the big ones. Out of your top 5 I would rate them as 1 being the first lake I would hit for 2008-2009 ice fishing season and so on:

1. Upper Red

2. Leech

3. Lake of the Woods

4. Winnie

5. Mille Lacs

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I will hopefully spend a ton of time on Upper Red Lake this winter and hopefully make a few day trips up to LOW and head back to URL for the evening.

Maybe I would even be fortunate enough to be able to help out some of the local resort owners with their rentals.

Which reminds me does anybody know the cost for a season pass for Hillman's spectacular ice road? I have been to other access's and won't stray from Hillman's, they always are able to steer me in the right direction to CPR some fish, in addition they went above and beyond when I had my "accident" with MY house last February that sent me to the hospital in Baudette.

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I am a BIG fan of Upper Red! But i thought I would mix it up a little and put my top 5 Twin City area lakes:

5. White Bear

4. Medicine

3. Buffalo

2. Independence

1. Minnetonka

I am soooo excited to get on Tonka this year! I have a few honey holes to get on as soon as early ice permits!!!

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1. Lake X

2. Lake X

3. Lake X

4. Lake X

5. Upper Red Lake

Me also but for #5 Burntside for lakers

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I stay in southern MN:

5. Lura

4. St James

3. Hall

2. Hanska

1. Cedar (by Trimont)

and an honorable mention to Fox by Sherburn

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Well, now that I have a wheel house I will target more than Mille Lacs.

1. Waconia

2. URL

3. Mille Lacs

4. Leech

5. Local Lakes

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While I understand the desire to go "Up Nort" (I do it too), a lot of people underestimate many southern MN and central MN lakes. Madison, Sarah, Shetek, Carlos, Etc, blah, blah, blah. I dare a lot of yous guys to hit some of these lakes at least once this winter, you very well my go away smiling.

Having said that, my top 5 are,






Legal disclaimer- I've never been to NE MN for lakers, but that doesn't mean I don't want to give it a shot.

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low for sure. don't waste your time and money, there is so much to offer on this lake. it realy doesn't matter what spot, depending on what your after. you can fish all day, jump around if need be, scout out new spots. make the sleeper your base camp, your going to catch fish. its a pretty easy lake to find the bite, fish all day in the sleeper or be mobile. I think staying over night on the ice is part of the picture. kick back cook shore lunch on ice, play some cards drink a few repeat.

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1. Devils Lake ND

2. Lake Winnipeg

3. Any lake with Lakers

4. Any Lake in ND/NW Minnesota for Bull Sunnies

5. Upper Red

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I used to live in Plymouth, my favorite was always Indy. Since I now live on Vermilion on the east end, you guessed it #1 would be Vermilion, and smaller lakes in the area for pannies.

Life is good. Be safe.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Anyone know what depth I should be looking for Walleye’s at? I’ve always went just south of the main city in bayport on the wi side. In 32-36fow seems to be a crappie spot. Any suggestions would be great. 
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    • Yes...yes it is.....way cheaper then a 10in Nils at $360.
    •     Sounds like a great time. Our day was ok as well, but different!  First time Ice fishing with my son in about 10 years. Still got to use the sled but hope to hit the trails yet some where this winter.
  • MWO