Minnesota Fishing Report 2/1/23

Minnesota Fishing Report


  • The panfish and pike are heating up around the metro. Fish in 15-25 feet of water with tungsten jigs and waxworms for panfish. 
  • Crappies have been most active at sunrise and sunset. Wax worms, crappie minnows, and red/pink soft plastics have been best for them.
  • Pike are being caught on tip-ups with medium suckers and shiner minnows. Also try using rattling rapalas and don’t be afraid to jig them aggressively. They often roam in the middle of the water column. Don’t be afraid to set tip-ups higher than you think you need to.       

Metro ice fishing continues to heat up! Vexilars are showing christmas trees all over the place as long as you’re fishing the right areas. Head to deep holes and steep drop offs especially in shallow lakes. The latest cold snap has the fish tightly grouped up and sitting in the deeper basins. Depending on the day and temps, the fish have preferred a dead stick presentation over jigging.

The ice conditions overall have greatly improved from a couple weeks ago. Before there was a lot of deep snow and wet slush on the lakes. After our extended week of cold temps and winds, the slush has frozen up and most of the snow has been compacted or blown away. That being said, ice thickness continues to be variable across many lakes. The warming/freezing cycles, snow and rain have caused poor “cloudy” ice to build on top of the clean ice layers. “Cloudy” ice requires double the thickness to support vehicles. Before going out with vehicles, be sure to check ice thickness and ice quality. The lakes we’ve been on have averaged 12” with about 6-8 of good clean ice and 4-6” of cloudy ice. After this week of super cold temps there should be some decent clean ice growth.  

Early morning and sunset have continued to be the best bite times with a lull happening from around 10-2PM. However, continue to follow the fish deep throughout the day to find active schools. 


  • Catch and Release trout season has opened in MN and WI! 
  • Fish will be most active during the warmest part of the day, typically late morning to early afternoon. When temps get above freezing, snowmelt can rapidly drop water temps and slow down the fishing in the afternoons.
  • During cold snaps, target sections of streams near the headwaters or that have lots of groundwater influx. This will be the warmest water with the most active fish.  

Fishing was good on the trout streams before our latest cold snap. Anglers were routinely catching fish on nymphs and small midge patterns in the runs and pools. Water is very low and clear, so long leaders with 6x tippet performed best. After this cold snap, many streams will have a good amount of shelf ice and the slowest pools may even be lightly frozen over. Our advice is to find the headwaters or wait for things to warm up before heading out for a while.    

Fishing For All and Minnesota Anglers Bragging Board

Upcoming Fishing For All Minnesota Fishing Classes and Events

Casting Sessions at the YMCA

Cost: $40.00/person

Open Dates and times: 2/11, 3/11 with two-1hr slots each day from 1-2PM and 2-3PM 

Just a couple sessions left this winter for our extremely popular indoor casting lessons! We’ve rented out the gym at the downtown Dayton Minneapolis YMCA at Gaviidae. Come cast for one hour with our guides! We can  work on many different casting skills, including accuracy and double hauling. Beginner to advanced casters, welcome! Bring your own fly rod if you have one, otherwise a limited supply of fly rods will be available. Pre-registration is required:

Click here to Book Online!

Phone: 612-293-8058

Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com  

Learn to Ice Fish Programs!

Fishing isn’t just a summer activity! Our Learn to Ice Fish Programs are available with multiple metro-area parks and rec departments through mid-March. This is a wonderful winter family activity!

Here’s a linktree to our ‘22-23 Learn to Ice Fish programs and sign up’s.

This link is to book a private guided ice fishing trip with FFA.

2023 Camps are Open!

Camps are definitely the most fun things we do. Come fish new water, master new skills, eat good food, and join a community of adventurous anglers! Here is a list of our camps coming up in 2023. Book your camp spot here!

Camps Update-

*1 spot left in April Steelhead Camp!

*5 spots left in April Intro to Trout Camp

*4 spots left in May Dry or Die Trout Camp

*4 spots left in June Bass Camp

*5 spots in July Bass Camp

*6 spots in August Bass Camp

*6 spots in Sept Intro to Trout Camp

*5 spots in Oct Intro to Musky Camp

*Lake Michigan Tribs Camp is Full! Email us to get on the waitlist. 

Book your 2023 Day Trips!

The prime season is just four months away, and it will be here before you know it! We are now taking 2023 reservations for trout wade trips, carp wade trips, and bass-pike-musky floats. If you’re curious about winter trout fishing, we can help you out there too. 

Click here to Book Online!!

Phone: 612-293-8058

Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com  

Evan Griggs’ Field Report: Louisiana Redfish 

Little excites me more than fishing new places and new species. FFA hosted its first saltwater destination trip to Hopedale, Louisiana at the beginning of January. Our intrepid crew of anglers braved region-wide blizzards to arrive in New Orleans in the middle of the night. We met our host, Capt. Pat, at an unmarked and unlit boat dock on the side of a two lane highway. Exhausted, we loaded our gear into his boat and we were jetted down the canal to Kantcha Ketchum Fishing Lodge. Capt. Pat is a one man show, owning and operating the lodge for over 30 years. It was named after the weekly fishing column his grandfather penned for a local newspaper. The lodge was entirely destroyed after hurricane Katrina, and was rebuilt even better on top of 23’ stilts to keep it out of any flood waters. (Apparently 19’ wasn’t tall enough before.)    

We finally arrived at camp at 2am after a hellacious day of travel delays and had a 6am wake up call to eat breakfast and meet our guides. Capt. Pat had coffee brewed and breakfast sandwiches ready for us in the morning and we watched the sunrise over the marsh as we waited for our guides to arrive. 

The guides showed up around 7am, we split our group up and bid “Good Luck!” as we were quickly whisked away into the bayou on their super agile flats skiffs. It was on the colder side while we were there, only 40 degrees in the morning and maybe in 50’s or 60’s during the day. We were glad to have brought extra warm layers with us! After about a 40 min boat ride, we arrived at our first spot. Our goal was to work along the edges of the marsh grasses, looking for redfish cruising the shallows or tailing in the mud. All sight fishing baby, the coolest and sometimes most frustrating type of fishing there is! With less than spectacular conditions our guides put our group on fish both days we were on the water. The water temps were cold and the fish were lethargic, but we were all able to get some good shots at fish and land some awesome redfish and blackdrum! 

After two full days, Sean Michaelis, was crowned the 2023 Cajun Classic Champion for boating the most fish. Sean’s parting remarks after receiving the trophy was, “You guys- I didn’t even know what a redfish was before this trip.” May we all strive to have Sean’s go get em’ attitude! Capt. Pat let us draw on and keep the redfish colored orange dutch oven lid as our trophy. 

The best part of the trip was undoubtedly the food! Capt. Pat made some amazing home cooked meals, fried crawfish etouffee, shrimp gumbo, and fried sea trout, sheepshead, and oyster po boys. Cruising the marshes and canals, we’d pass numerous shrimp boats and pods of dolphins. The locals have immense pride in their culture and they showed it with gracious hospitality. (They also got a kick out of our northern accents, and couldn’t fathom why we’d practice catch and release!) 

We look forward to another trip to the marsh soon! I’m working on the details for 2024 Redfish camp as we speak. Give me a shout if you want to join. Come for the food and personalities alone! A huge thanks to Capt. Pat who went above and beyond the call of duty to take care of us.    

Tyler Winter’s Minnesota Rough Report

Tyler Winter, Rough Fish Conservationist and Environmental Scientist



January marks the beginning. The first opener of the year, catch and release stream trout, happens January 1st. Of course, the season for “rough fish” never closes. That robs us of the joy and festivities of an opener. But it also means we never have to stop fishing. I always feign ignorance when people discuss “the opener”. Between the multitude of seasons and the many species without a closed season, focusing on “openers” seems rather quaint. Seasons, real seasons, are dictated by the fish. And the season you want to catch is spawning season. 

January is still the beginning of spawning season. Already as I type, burbot are migrating to spawning grounds. You see, lota lota spawns under the ice in January when water temperatures are around 36F. Burbot are a unique fish. The only freshwater member of the cod family, they are unlike anything else swimming in Minnesota’s waters. Well known from cold Canadian Shield lakes, they can also eke out a living in trout streams and rivers in southeastern Minnesota. Burbot are also noteworthy for being Minnesota’s newest game fish. Long despised for their slimy appearance and reminding everyone how ugly cod are, their surging popularity has saved them from the pejorative “rough” label.

The last time a species was specifically removed from the “rough fish” list was 1979! Yellow perch were the last specific species to be afforded “game fish” status. Yellow perch are also an early spawning fish. Perch start spawning at 42F, although they aren’t as visible as many species we will cover. They spawn in lakes over vegetation, well away from their gravel spawning enemy the walleye.

Walleyes, white suckers and northern pike all spawn around 50F. Someone is already writing to the editor about me advocating for targeting fish during their closed season. Put down the keyboard. Pool 2 of the Mississippi is open year round for catch and release fishing for walleye and pike. Not to mention the various border water regulations.

Shortly after the walleye and pike, Minnesota’s 16 other sucker species get active. Shorthead redhorse start to spawn at 55F. Most sucker species, including bigmouth buffalo spawn between 55F and 60F degrees. River redhorse are probably the last sucker species to spawn in the Midwest, holding off until 68F. Gar and bowfin start to spawn about the time suckers quit. However, male bowfin will guard a nest while fry develop. This makes them especially vulnerable to harvest because they guard their nest for so long.

Notice I didn’t mention dates? Rivers, streams, lakes and swamps all warm at different rates. A dark water slough will warm faster than a shaded rocky river. Although bowfin are the last to spawn on paper, their preferred habitat warms faster.

Real time stream water temps can be found for some streams thanks to the USGS. But water temperatures are difficult to forecast even a few days ahead. You need a reliable thermometer. And not one that is sort of sketch and has a line for every 5F. Pause now and treat yourself to a waterproof digital thermometer for $20. In general, sunshine increases water temps more than warm air. Smaller waters warm faster, but larger waters hold heat better. Seek out small creeks on a sunny March day. And larger rivers after the inevitable May cold snap.  But, nothing can replace firsthand experience. So keep your new thermometer handy. Bookmark the USGS webpage for Minnesota’s real time water temperatures. And follow the “real” seasons as all the different species start to migrate and spawn in your local waters.  

Click here to Book Online

Phone: 612-293-8058

Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com


Guest Articles from the FFA Minnesota Fishing Community

Caleb Corona, Avid fly angler and fly tyer

“Fishing the Forgotten Hatch”


Let’s look at our local trout streams. Picture yourself standing on your favorite stretch of local trout water. What do you want to see? Clouds of sulfur mayflies dropping towards the water? Caddis bouncing on the surface? Clumsy grasshoppers splashing down from the high banks? Sure, when those things are present, you simply can’t beat it! Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing dry flies on those special days when the trout are looking up and you can do no wrong. However, there are many days those hatches just don’t pan out. Then what? Do you call it a day and head to the closest restaurant? Head to the house and watch the Vikings lose their football game in heart-breaking fashion? I just can’t do that, hopefully you can’t either. When situations like these present themselves, I grab my midge box. 

Fishing Midges

I will not try to re-invent the wheel here, fishing midge larvae or pupae is not much different than fishing any other subsurface food source. I tend to have the most success fishing very small midge larvae patterns on very sensitive nymph rigs.

My ideal set up is a 9-10’ 4 or 5 weight rod. I prefer a bit slower rod but that is strictly preference. If you are fishing some smaller waters you can drop down to a shorter rod, maybe a 7’6” 3wt.

Fish eat midges all the time. To handle that, I tend to fish longer leaders (5X) that taper down to a thinner tippet (6X) than my standard nymph rigs. I prefer a leader of about 10-12’ from my fly line to my indicator.

In most midging situations, I believe the fish are a bit spookier and have a bit more time to look at the fly in slower areas of current flow. I think large, brightly colored indicators such as Thingamabobbers can reduce my effectiveness when presenting midges. I tend to stick with tan or lightly colored yarn or wool indicators such as the Dorsey system or New Zealand indicator system.

The larval midges tend to stay near the bottom of the river, so your rig needs to make sure to get down to them. I accomplish this by using midges tied with tungsten beads as well as fishing flies that maintain a slim profile. Pupal midges can be found anywhere from mid-column to the water’s surface as they make their ascent, for this reason pupae can be fished in a variety of ways. Two of my favorites are in a dropper system with a larval midge below it or as the dropper fly below a larger dry fly (maybe an adult midge) as the top fly. 

Image 2. A gorgeous driftless Brown Trout that fell for a small Zebra Midge. 

Some Popular Fly Choices


·        Zebra Midge sz. 18-22 black, brown, purple, olive, red

·        Mercury Midge sz. 18-22

·        Modern Midge sz. 18-22 brown, black, olive, purple

·        Thread Midges sz. 18-22 brown, black, olive, purple

·        El Diablo Midge sz. 18-22


·        Black Beauty sz. 20-24

·        Barr’s Emerger sz. 20-24 olive, black, brown

·        Smokejumper sz. 18-24 olive, black, brown, gray

·        Top Secret Midge


·        RS2 (fished as a dry fly)  sz 18-24 gray, olive, black, brown

·        Sprout Midge sz 20-24 gray, black, olive

·        Parachute Midge sz 20-24 gray, black, brown, black

·        Griffith’s Gnat sz 20-24 

TL = Zebra Midge, TR = Mercury Midge, BL = RS2, BR = Griffith’s Gnat. Images taken from Google Images. 

Want Fishing For All Branded Gear? Hit the link to check out our webstore for shirts, hats, koozies, and much more!


Thank you to all of those in the Fishing For All community! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to make the memories, share the fish stories, or grow the awesome world of fishing for new and veteran folks alike. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: