On the south end… Subzero temps have ice thickening and ice roads progressing. Ice conditions vary based on what ice road. Some ice roads are now allowing trucks and wheelhouses. One ice road was up to 1 ton, another 3/4 ton with no wheelhouse or 1/2 ton pulling a wheelhouse. Check with each resort for outfitter for their weight restrictions on their specific ice road.
If you are driving out on an ice road, stay on the road and don’t venture past the end of the road. There are still areas of ice, cracks, etc., away from the roads not fit for vehicles.
Most ice fishing on the south end of the lake is in 28 – 32 feet of water. Jigging one line and using a live minnow on the second on a plain hook or an ice fishing jig has been effective.
On the jigging line, jigging spoons with rattles tipped with a full minnow or the head or tail section of a minnow is a good choice. Colors such as gold, glow red, glow white, pink, orange and chartreuse, or a combo of these colors, are effective in the stained water.
On the deadstick, a live minnow on a #4 or #6 plain hook or a small ice jig six inches – one foot off of the bottom is great for the deadstick. Jig the deadstick on occasion. If fish are passing it by, change something. Set it 2 feet off of the bottom. Try a different kind of minnow. Hook your minnow differently.
Electronics are helpful to see how the fish are reacting. Many resorts and bait shops rent them by the day if you don’t own your own and want to give them a try.
As is the case on LOW, a mixed bag, but saugers and walleyes are the most common catch. Jumbo perch, pike, crappies, eelpout, tullibees with some sturgeon also in the mix.
On the Rainy River… Most anglers fish the lake during the winter months. There are a couple of resorts that have fish houses out for rent on the Rainy River. Know ice conditions or work through a resort or outfitter for safety.
The best bite is still morning and evening. Using a jig and emerald shiner has been the most consistent presentation walleyes and saugers.
Sturgeon fishing is a unique twist through the ice. Larger holes, heavier tackle and the thrill of catching a fish of that size through the ice is unique. Many walleye anglers on the lake and river will randomly catch sturgeon as well.
Up at the NW Angle… Some nice walleyes caught up at the Angle this week. Walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, eelpout, pike and some big crappies in the mix.
Resorts are spreading out over a variety of good fishing areas. Some resort fish houses are targeting structure whereas others are targeting the deep mud adjacent to structure. Both can be good.
Again, jigging one line and deadsticking the second line is the way to go.
The snowmobile trail from Four Mile Bay and Pine Island near the mouth of the Rainy River up to the NW Angle resorts is staked. Please stay on the trail for safety.
Lodging, fish house rentals, ice fishing, and meal packages at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.
Need spur of the moment lodging, have a big group or want to know if any room for there is room for just one angler? Email a number of resorts at once using the Lodging Availability Finder. https://lakeofthewoodsmn.com/lodging-availability-request/