2023 Ice Out Northern Tournament

Yes, the ice is out on Lake of the Woods and the Northern are biting. Bays are the sight of huge trophy northern as they come in for their spawn.  It’s an exciting time for many anglers.

Zippel Bay was the site for an annual Ice Out Northern Tournament. This tournament was held this past weekend and it was a huge success. Teams came from all over to participate in this great event and this year was no exception as 74 teams of two anglers entered the contest.

The northern pike (Esox lucius) is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution). They are known simply as a pike in Great BritainIreland, and most of Eastern Europe, Canada and the United States. Northern pike – Wikipedia

A popular sport and food fish, Northern Pike are found throughout the upper mid-western states, Canadian provinces, and much of Alaska naturally.   northern

If you catch a Northern Pike, you’ll want to keep in mind that not just the inside of the mouth is toothy, but also the inside of the gills. It’s not really dentition, but it definitely pokey. If you put your fingers under its operculum (gill covering) to break the gill arch/bleed the fish in preparation to eat it, you can get cut if you’re not careful.

Northern Pike are an excellent food fish. They have white, flaky meat. While they’re considered “bony” you can get five nice fillets off a 24+ inch long pike. Sharpen your fillet knife frequently to ensure you get the most meat possible and have nice clean cuts. Northern Pike | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (fws.gov)


winter northern caught on a tip up

Northern pike are most often olive green, shading from yellow to white along the belly. The flank is marked with short, light bar-like spots and a few to many dark spots on the fins. Sometimes, the fins are reddish. Younger pike have yellow stripes along a green body; later, the stripes divide into light spots and the body turns from green to olive green.

Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes and reservoirs, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. They are typical ambush predators; they lie and wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods, and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike.

This year’s Northern Pike tournament was hosted by Zippel Bay Resort. Amazing numbers of fish were caught totalling 686.  They weighed in for a total of 2,084 lbs of fish.  The largest fish was 18 lb 3 oz. caught by Mike Vacura of Roseau.  20 fish over 40 inches weighed in. How’s that for fantastic fishing?!?!?


First Place Winners

1st place was taken by Brad Svir and Jackson Ingram of Theif River Falls with 94lbs 8oz! Heaviest weight in the history of the tournament. 2nd place Mike Vacura and Andy Przekuas from Roseau with 62 lbs 4 oz. 3rd place at 61 lbs 11 oz.  Dale Bore and Ed Castle from Roseau weighed in the  20 fish over 40″ registered over the two days.zipple bay pike winners 3 2023

This quote pretty much sums the time up. “This tournament is a great timezipple bay pike winners 2 2023 I would like to thank Zipple Bay resort for putting this together and running such a smooth running fun tournament great job guys see ya next ice out pike derby !!!!

This coming weekend, May 13th is the official opening of Walleye Season at Lake of the Woods. Get your boats ready and get excited for hitting these great waters. Opening weekend is always full of surprises so get ready for the excitement.

Lake of the Woods is a world class fishery that has great sustainability. Fish in all sizes and abundant numbers thrive in these waters. This makes for great success in both the Rainy River and the Big Lake.

Oh yes….don’t forget it’s also Mother’s Day, smile!!

For more information see our website at www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Lodging can be found on that site as well at www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com/lodging.

Take a look at our FaceBook page for great news and incredible pictures. www.facebook.com/lakeofthewoodsmn.



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