There is still panfish action right now in the Grand Rapids area. The heavy wet snow is making it more difficult to access the lakes. Walking is highly recommended. Warmer temps are allowing people to pack light on the lakes. Sylvan bay (in town access on Mississippi River) is a place where people are driving out on a plowed road catching crappies and bluegills. Tioga Bay on Pokegama there is a couple of plowed roads from last weekend’s Perch tournament. They are catching perch, crappies and sunfish. This is a location that you can easily walk out to as well. Plenty of parking available at the top parking lot that is plowed by the City of Cohasset. A couple of other lakes where they are catching panfish as well are: Bowstring Lake for crappies and perch, and on Lake Winnibigoshish for perch. Both of these lakes still have plowed roads available. Going out of Resorts is your best bet on these lakes.
Caution is to be used when out on Grand Rapids lakes during late season ice. Before you venture out remember some safety tips from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
New ice is usually stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly-formed ice may support one person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially-thawed ice may not.
Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. This is especially true near streams, bridges and culverts. Also, the ice on outside river bends is usually weaker due to the undermining effects of the faster current.
The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process. The extra weight also reduces how much weight the ice sheet can support. Also, ice near shore can be weaker than ice that is farther out.
Booming and cracking ice isn’t necessarily dangerous. It only means that the ice is expanding and contracting as the temperature changes.
Schools of fish or flocks of waterfowl can also adversely affect the relative safety of ice. The movement of fish can bring warm water up from the bottom of the lake. In the past, this has opened holes in the ice causing snowmobiles and cars to break through.
Make sure to tell someone when you are going out ice fishing, where you are going, and when they can expect you will be back.