Backyard Ice Fishing… Metro Area Lakes

By: Matt Johnson

When thinking about the Metro Area, MN, we
oftentimes  assume  that  we’re  dealing  with
small fish  and  pressured  lakes.  While both
assumptions  can  (at times)  be true,  you’re
only cheating yourself by pushing the  Metro
lakes aside. Not only do our Metro lakes hold
quality fish,  but at times  they  will  hold  high
numbers of  these  quality  fish.  The  trick to
uncovering   these  gems  comes  with  some
effort, but with vast  rewards  and  short trips
you will see that fishing  in your  backyard  is
more than worth it.

The most important key to fishing Metro lakes is being adventurous. To put it
simple: don’t fish where the crowds are. We are too quick to join the shanty
town when we should be out searching for our own fish. So many times have I
found quality fish in lakes where others complain about the fishing pressure.
How does this happen? Well, let’s just say it involves a few tanks of auger gas
and sore legs, but when you get a glimpse at the pot of gold you forget about
the pain. The pot of gold in this story means giant panfish and trophy walleye…
and yes, right in your backyard.

I’m a firm believer that just about every Metro lake holds quality fish; you just
have to find them. Stay away from the “classic” spots and use the shanty towns
as a base for where the fish should be. For example: if a large group of houses
stake claim over a deep hole, look to the surrounding area for less pressured
fish. Pay attention to subtle changes in structure and look for areas where
others haven’t been. Some of my best Metro bites are over fresh snow within
only a couple hundred yards of shanty towns. Those pressured fish (and
oftentimes larger fish) will move out and hold on the nearest structure or flat. It’s
very predictable in most Metro lakes.

Lakes such as Lake Minntonka, White Bear Lake, Forest Lake, Prior Lake… all
of these lakes continue to see constant fishing pressure but will kick out quality
fish on a regular basis if you’re willing to work. Other areas that still hold a lot of
quality fish include the Chisago Area chain of lakes as well as the inner-city
lakes like Calhoun and Harriet. These are just a few of the more popular lakes
but any lake out your back window has the potential to make you smile.

From now on we owe it to ourselves to put some of the Metro Area lakes back
on our list. The idea that we have to drive a hundred miles to be on productive
water needs to leave our minds. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but with a
little sweat you will see that driving down the road can be as productive as
driving across the state. Grab a lake map and figure out less pressured spots
that look promising, then sharpen the blades and put it in drive!

Good Fishing,
Matt Johnson

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