Lake Mille Lacs: It was a slow opener on the big lake, coming just three days after the official ice-out on May 7. The spring night ban has been extended and will be in effect until Dec. 1; anglers may not possess fishing gear on the lake from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. daily. According to Lundeen’s Tackle Castle, anglers should seek warmer waters in the sandy areas on the north end, around Vineland Bay and Big Point. Walleyes still are spawning and won’t be so aggressive, so try to fish slow, small and shallow using medium-sized leeches or minnows.
Alexandria area: Many smaller lakes produced fish during the opener, and anglers were also having some luck in locations with current. According to the Minnesota DNR, walleyes in the area are mostly spawned out. Anglers should slowly fish minnows on jigs or Lindy Rigs at 10 to 15 feet in sandy gravel areas during daylight hours. In the evening, try fishing shallow waters from shore or in moving water.
Lake Minnetonka: With water temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s, crappies are biting well in shallow water near dock posts, wood and other debris. Try a weighted jig tipped with a crappie minnow. The fishing picked up over the weekend, and anglers were able to land some northern pike.
Chisago Lakes area: Anglers are using wax worms, crappie minnows and plastic lures on small jigs to catch crappies in the channel on Chisago Lake in 4 to 12 feet of water. South Lindstrom Lake is producing good-sized crappies at 4 to 10 feet.
North Shore rivers: The DNR reports high water levels up and down the shore, with some of the larger rivers flowing so quickly they were difficult to fish. Water temperatures were in the mid-40s, and fishing pressure was generally low. Anglers reported slow fishing, but some Kamloops and steelhead trout were being landed. With water temperatures slowly warming, there has been some reported smelt activity.
Park Rapids area: Northern pike are finished spawning for the year and should be hungry and active. Before the water temperatures rise in the coming weeks and northerns move deeper, look for them in shallow bays and near river inlets and outlets. Walleyes will be found in the same areas but will not be enticed by fast-moving baits. Use a night crawler with a heavy jig to land them.
Lake Winnibigoshish: Calm, sunny weather helped make the opener a good one. With ice still covering the south end, anglers were having good luck catching walleye around The Gap, where Cutfoot Sioux connects to Winnibigoshish. Many of the walleyes were females and in the protected slot.