Winter comes early in Brainerd, Minnesota. Brainerd fishing guides know the best ice fishing always occurs at first ice. This usually occurs in late December or early January. First ice conditions can be marginal on Gull Lake. Newcomers would benefit from hiring a Brainerd fishing guide on their first ice expedition. Gull has a good current flow and is always one of the last lakes to freeze in the Brainerd Lakes.
Gull Lake has claimed its share of trucks from tourists and Brainerd fishing guides over the years. The west side of the lake is the most dangerous. Current areas on Gull Lake's northern, western, and southern shores have accounted for most of these mishaps. The east side of Gull Lake presents one of the safest routes for catching first ice walleyes. Brainerd fishing guides know being portable is one of the keys to success. Packing light is essential when fishing early ice conditions. A portable house, hand auger, and a depth finder is all that is needed. This is not the time to bring the kitchen sink. The walk out to the first break on Polk's Flat is about a 1/4 mile. The best bite occurs right at sundown.
Polk's Flat is an excellent choice for targeting Gull Lake walleyes during first ice conditions. The flat is located on the northeastern side of Gull Lake. There is a public access nearby and Highway 371 provides easy access. Many anglers will park along a frontage road near Hole-in-the-Day Bay and walk out from there.