Fishing Report 4.19.2023

On the south end… Big Traverse Bay, the big basin of Lake of the Woods, is still ice covered.  Some ice anglers with snowmobiles went out ice fishing this past week for big pike and did well.  Safety first this time of year.  Resorts and outfitters are no longer plowing or monitoring ice roads so experience, having others with you and exercising great caution is vital.

The open water mark has reached the Lighthouse Gap area of Big Traverse Bay.  The flow of water from the Rainy River is pushing against the ice pack.  Current, sun, wind and rain are all taking a toll on the lake ice.
Spring is a great time of the year to fish back bays which are perfect for smaller boats.  There is a very large population of big pike in Lake of the Woods and these bays will be full of them very soon, if not already.  Open water is starting to show up in Four Mile Bay, Botic Bay and Zippel Bay.

On the Rainy River…   The Rainy River is completely opened up into Lake of the Woods.  The Little Fork River let loose into the Rainy Monday.  The Big Fork is about to let loose any day.  Thankfully, sturgeon will feed in muddy water conditions until the river has a chance to flush itself out.

The walleye season finished up April 14th.  Fishing was very good for most, until we received the 70 degree weather.  The almost instantaneous hot temps quickly melted the snowpack along the river, pouring muddy water over the ice into the Rainy.  The last couple of days of the season were tough.  Before that, some 100 fish days and big walleyes were caught.
Sturgeon fishing is going very well with many big sturgeon being caught.  Most anglers are targeting deeper holes, the mouth of feeder streams and rivers, flat areas adjacent to a deep hole or Four Mile Bay on the edge of the channel.

The sturgeon harvest season runs from April 24th – May 7th and July 1 – Sept. 30.


68 inch Sturgeon on the Rainy River

The catch and release season runs May 8th – May 15th and Oct. 1 – April 23rd.

If you fish during the harvest season, purchase a sturgeon tag ahead of time for $5.  One sturgeon per calendar year 45 – 50 inches or over 75 inches may be kept per angler during the harvest season.  The sturgeon must be tagged immediately and registered within 48 hours.

Up at the NW Angle… Most ice fishing is finished for the year.  A few locals with knowledge of ice conditions and the right equipment such as a good snowmobile are still getting out catching walleyes and pike.  Reports have been good.  Most of us will have to wait until May 13th, the MN Fishing Opener.

Open water is naturally appearing more and more.  Anywhere there is current will break first with other areas to soon follow.

To travel to the Angle, one can drive 40 miles through Canada and re-enter back into MN at the NW Angle, or, for those looking to access the NW Angle this summer and avoid customs, the Lake of the Woods Passenger (charter boat) Service transports you across the lake to your favorite Angle resort and keeps you in Minnesota.

A complete list of lodging, charter boat and guided fishing at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

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