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Lake Pepin ice report point no point

  • gunnar
    Participant
    Posts: 28
    #2170230

    Looking to go ice fishing on Pepin this weekend out of Maiden Rock. Anyone been out there? Is the ice thick enough for an atv?

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 368
    #2171907

    Anyone do any catching today ? Was 200 shacks out there seemed like . I caught one was all .

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4153
    #2171919

    Anyone do any catching today ? Was 200 shacks out there seemed like . I caught one was all .

    Caught 6 early this morning, 5 were “keeper” size and one was a dink but threw them all back. We planned to stay a bit longer, but had 2 shacks come sit roughly 10-12 yards from our tip ups after they saw me land a decent one. It’s getting harder and harder to not run into idiots/a$$holes on the ice with each passing year. We picked up an obligatory case of crushed empty beer cans blowing around ~50 yards from shore on our way off too.

    It wasn’t that abnormal to be one of 2 or 3 shacks out there on a morning just ~5 years ago or so. There were easily a couple hundred within sight today while I was out. As soon as it’s thick enough for an ATV now, that spot is shot pretty quickly.

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 368
    #2171931

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>isu22andy wrote:</div>
    Anyone do any catching today ? Was 200 shacks out there seemed like . I caught one was all .

    Caught 6 early this morning, 5 were “keeper” size and one was a dink but threw them all back. We planned to stay a bit longer, but had 2 shacks come sit roughly 10-12 yards from our tip ups after they saw me land a decent one. It’s getting harder and harder to not run into idiots/a$$holes on the ice with each passing year. We picked up an obligatory case of crushed empty beer cans blowing around ~50 yards from shore on our way off too.

    It wasn’t that abnormal to be one of 2 or 3 shacks out there on a morning just ~5 years ago or so. There were easily a couple hundred within sight today while I was out. As soon as it’s thick enough for an ATV now, that spot is shot pretty quickly.

    I was at Frontenac – first time for me . Last time for me too for the season , maybe ever . What a mess. I then went and tried to cleanse my soul away from the crowds and slogged some miles in the backwaters with no perch to show . Got a good exercise in though . Drilled a lot of holes in 2 foot of water , turns out I got a lot to learn about that venture . lol

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    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 368
    #2171933

    Side note – did I see a full size pickup out there today ? I thought I could from Frontenac but couldn’t tell.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4153
    #2171934

    Side note – did I see a full size pickup out there today ? I thought I could from Frontenac but couldn’t tell.

    There’s more ice on the WI side out of Maiden Rock. I saw a picture of one out there a week ago.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3218
    #2171946

    Those backwater perch are worth it if you are down in P5 or lower. This was historically low water year too so there is that. Been doing great on inland lakes so far this winter. I’ll be back around April if work allows?

    jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2172082

    Grew up on Methodist Ice fishing 50 years ago till about 5 years ago – when it meant something to be out there and with friends and family. Social Media destroyed it. Saddens me.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4153
    #2172085

    Grew up on Methodist <strong class=”ido-tag-strong”>Ice fishing 50 years ago till about 5 years ago – when it meant something to be out there and with friends and family. Social Media destroyed it. Saddens me.

    Couldn’t agree more. I fish to get away from people. That area is overrun with people and garbage now.

    jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2172277

    I agree BuckyBadger. Good part Methodist isn’t even classified as a “public launch”. It is owned and controlled by Florence Township – and funds provided by the Frontenac Sportsman’s Club. The Township I believe (unless something has changed in last 10 years) could shut it down if gets out of control. Just like the Frontenac Pond entrance off Goodhue 5 – that is also owned by an individual and could be shut down anytime if gets out of control. In a way I hope they do – to show that peoples behaviors will not be tolerated.
    A little history on the Frontenac Pond. That did not exist in the 1950’s. It was my grandparents hay field and there was a small stream only. Sand deposits on wells creek back it up forming “the Frontenac Pond”.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3218
    #2172307

    Great info Jimmy! To all that fish Methodist, what is so great about it compared to other parts of Pepin? I may ice it once every few years? Never really had an amazing day out there in a decade but catch a wide variety of fish. Can’t remember catching much there out of my boat either maybe some sheep off the point and a few stray eyes casting shallow. Are there that many more fish there than the other 2 launches? Just curious as I don’t have much experience fishing Pepin thru the ice.

    Jimmy Jones
    Participant
    Posts: 288
    #2172342

    I wouldn’t waste my time trying to ice fish Pepin. Back in the late 60’s, early 70’s the fishing was pretty decent off Trailer Point and at second creek south of Lake City. After the reactor was put in operation, something with the dynamics of the lake changed and the ice fishing went to pot in only a couple of years.

    Lots of agencies have addressed to sharp decline in fish production after the reactor went online but I say the proof is in the pudding….why did the winter fishery just seem to end in these two once productive locations? It wasn’t a decline over several years, it was one year great fishing and the next year no fish to be caught and its been that way since.

    At Frontenac, the only year I have seen any sort of decent ice fishing was a year several years ago when that reactor was shut down for the bulk of that winter and there was substantial ice development on the lake there. Icing was an issue at Everts that season too. There were days that a boat, at least one that a person respected, had trouble launching at the public area south of Everts and at Everts too without getting banged up from ice two or three inches thick that formed overnight almost daily. Ironically, the fishing was super that winter at Frontenac.

    Something to think about if you’re going to fish at Frontenac and are considering driving out there…. it is not warmer weather that creates thinner ice there. Its the opposite. When the weather is in deep freeze mode, the reactor is working overtime to produce necessary electric power which equates to MORE warm water being poured into the river. This additional warmer water erodes the ice thickness from the bottom up. You might think you’re on solid ice, but it can be a fleeting thought. Frontenac is the only place on Pepin that one hears of vehicles taking the plunge. Part it the reason is the wingdam that has poor ice development over it and the other is the ice erosion from underneath is basically undetectable. And yes, when I say vehicles, I refer to atv’s too.

    If I were to point anyone in a direction to ice fish, Frontenac would be my last suggestion. Smart people are fishing straight across the river.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3218
    #2172830

    Good info Tom!

    Dan
    Participant
    Southeast MN
    Posts: 2558
    #2172839

    This has been a fun thread to read. Thanks to those who took the time to post such good info and history. I don’t live too terribly far from the river but all of my non-up-north ice fishing the last few years has been the waters in and around Rochester. Little bit of a drive and I’d love to stay more local but just haven’t had a lot sway me to stay around Red Wing and ice fish.

    Jimmy Jones
    Participant
    Posts: 288
    #2172915

    The Winona area has a ton of decent ice fishing opportunities. The Whitman Dam at Minnieska sets fairly decent ice and offers some great fishing. Both are Minnesota accessible and not inside the railroad’s policing noose like much of Wisconsin’s access areas.

    Don’t pass up fishing marinas along the river. Red Wing’s Baypoint marina gives up a lot of fish each winter, including some walleyes and decent pike. Lake City’s two marinas have huge pilings supporting the docks and those can be very dynamic when it comes to icing crappies and nice sunnies plus the sailboat harbor is an area where some very nice walleyes have been caught while jigging the lowly panfish. Wabasha’s Marina has an awful lot of fishing to be had especially the pike runs during the late ice period.

    The Wabasha area along the dike road has long touted the some of the best panfishing along the big river, but angler numbers can be a real put-off. Yes, you can find some solitary water to fish, but ice a couple fish and you soon find out that anglers a half mile away have better eyesight than the eagles. And seem to be far more mobile.

    Below Wabasha Wilcox landing, West Newton [both the new and old landings] and the Finger Lakes along the dike offer up some super panfishing at times.

    The most rewarded anglers are those that have a bit of wanderlust in their blood and are willing to travel a bit and check places that don’t have a huge amount of angler presence. And sometimes getting right back to simple basics has more merit than dragging a pile of stuff with you. I fished with Tyler Holm a number of years back on a nice winter day on the river: no locators or augers, no shelter. We stopped at one spot where maybe 50-60 people were congregated over a wide basin and seemed to be doing fairly poorly. Most everyone had a locator and most everyone was fishing right at the bottom where it appeared all the fish were at. Tyler and I fished in open holes people were not fishing, fishing no deeper than maybe three or four feet under the ice with a simple jig and plastic, wandering from hole to hole and had a field day catching crappies in the 12-13″ range that everyone else never knew were there. We’d just walk up to an un-manned hole and drop down about three feet and jig down to about four feet and repeat the sequence maybe six or eight times then move on to another hole. It was wild.

    The Mississippi River and Lake Pepin are, in a word, imposing. Or maybe challenging. Or maybe even more to the point, undefinable because of the moving water and constant state of change. It shouldn’t mean unconquerable. People need to realize that what was unreal good yesterday, as in maybe 50 years ago yesterday or literally yesterday, maybe or probably won’t be good today. People also need to realize that on any given day the fishing might be best just under the hole in the ice rather than at the bottom where they are watching all the motion on locators. The biggest hindrance for any angler during the ice season, or any season for that matter, is his own lack of imagination…. or wanderlust.

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 2443
    #2172970

    That is a very well written and great post! waytogo

    LabDaddy1
    Participant
    Posts: 812
    #2173447

    Great write up, Tom. Thanks!

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 368
    #2175227

    Looks like the ice was a little sketchy today at Frontenac – hopefully none of theses are your guys rigs ! Picture stolen from Facebook – I wasn’t there .

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    LabDaddy1
    Participant
    Posts: 812
    #2175350

    Dang, that sucks!I definitely wouldn’t be parking my truck on the ice, let alone right next to others, with the thickness/condition of it currently… Yesterday on a south metro lake I measured 16” but half of it was cloudy slush re-freeze layers.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3218
    #2175379

    Bite must be on fire…..

    Probably more snow than ice out there!

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16554
    #2175574

    Ouch!

    Steve Hix
    Participant
    Dysart, Iowa
    Posts: 1087
    #2175958

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>isu22andy wrote:</div>
    Anyone do any catching today ? Was 200 shacks out there seemed like . I caught one was all .

    Caught 6 early this morning, 5 were “keeper” size and one was a dink but threw them all back. We planned to stay a bit longer, but had 2 shacks come sit roughly 10-12 yards from our tip ups after they saw me land a decent one. It’s getting harder and harder to not run into idiots/a$$holes on the ice with each passing year. We picked up an obligatory case of crushed empty beer cans blowing around ~50 yards from shore on our way off too.

    It wasn’t that abnormal to be one of 2 or 3 shacks out there on a morning just ~5 years ago or so. There were easily a couple hundred within sight today while I was out. As soon as it’s thick enough for an ATV now, that spot is shot pretty quickly.

    As ice fishin’ get more popular, areas get more packed. Try to smile and share. A$$holes and litterers have no place on the ice.

    gunnar
    Participant
    Posts: 28
    #2176046

    I agree with you Steve litterers have no place on the ice. I have ice fished out of Maiden Rock for 20 plus years and can remember in years of good ice and a hot bite there were “villages out from Maiden Rock. People follow good ice and a good bite. Lots of lakes with slush problems this year. I personally have more of a problem with the whole midwest coming here in April to fish the spawn.

    Brian Klawitter
    Keymaster
    Minnesota/Wisconsin Mississippi River
    Posts: 58712
    #2176172

    Pepin Ice Update:

    Wayne and his crane are breaking ice to retrieve a 4×4 that broke through last night.

    Seeing him out there working his way down stream should shake a few people up. More so if folks don’t know his rig broke the ice and it hasn’t refroze yet.

    I’m assuming the Sheriff is out there in the air boat, I just hope they mark it some how.

    gunnar
    Participant
    Posts: 28
    #2176212

    Fished the edge of the channel Monday on my atv. 5 inches clear 3 cloudy. A truck parked near by. I stayed 200 yards further away and am on 10 plus 3. Saw the crane he was right in the middle of the channel. Some people have no fear.

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