What a great week we had! Much of the snow that was once covering the lakes in Otter Tail Lakes Country is no more. Now instead of being concerned about accessing lakes because of too much snow impeding lake accesses, we have to be concerned that the access points are too mushy, slippery, and soggy. Getting onto a lake might be fine in the early morning, but coming off a few hours later might be a challenge. It’s about that time of year to start walking out instead of driving out on the lakes. Even though most of the lakes are sharing some surface-ice breakdown from sunlight and saturation, there is still plenty of good ice for ice fishing. The panfish are biting on most lakes, however, more basin-orientated fishing and late/early productivity are common trend right now. The weed zones haven’t been as productive and a lot of the fish that were using weeds 1-2 weeks ago have since vacated those areas. Don’t let it fool you though, the panfish often return to those areas just before the ice comes off. Right now perch can be found around 15 feet, using fatheads. As usual, pay attention to what you’re using; color and size can matter especially if the sunnies are “off” or sluggish. Sometimes the answer to slow fishing, however, is a spot change or a lake change. Otter Tail Lakes Country is full of lakes and if one seems slow then try a different one. The fish are biting now so don’t settle for “ok” fishing. As for crappies, keep an eye on the upper levels of the water column. Crappies and sunnies can be found anywhere from 15-20 feet, using crappie minnows. The sunfish might be near the bottom, and the crappie might be in the exact same hole—just 10 feet higher up. Often, you can catch both crappie and large sunfish near the bottom of the ice, while the small sunfish remain close to the bottom. Good luck fishing Otter Tail Lakes Country this week!