Ice Fishing Begins! Fish Houses available this Weekend!
For all of the ice anglers and resort owners who have praying for cold weather and ice, your prayers have been answered! An expected cold snap has gripped Lake of the Woods and the ice is shaping up nicely. With temps in the single digits and below zero, ice formed across the entire lake and has provided for a more traditional start to the Lake of the Woods ice fishing season.
Ice roads for ATV’s, side by sides and snowmobiles open! As of Wednesday, December 14th, most reports are anywhere from 5-8+” of ice on the main lake with a polar vortex still gripping the region with arctic air. With that being said, a number of resorts who have an ice road have allowed ATV, side by side and snowmobile traffic on their marked trails. It is important to stay on marked trails and roads as ice varies greatly. In many cases, the resort or outfitter has checked ice in the area, chopped and dragged rough ice, flooded areas and basically avoided trouble areas.
Resorts have been working hard on the ice. On the lake side of Pine Island, there was a 7′ wall of ice that needed to be cut and chopped through. For about 3/4 mile out from shore, there is rough ice that resorts and outfitters are smoothing out by dragging, flooding and in some cases, chain saws. A lot of work making sure the ride out to the walleyes is as comfortable as possible.
A number of resorts are either starting to pull out fish houses today or by the weekend and will be ready to fish. As always, everything depends upon ice conditions in the portion of the lake in which outfitters and resorts are fishing. They will make the decision when it is safe to start fishing.
Initial fishing reports… On the south shore, a couple reports from Tuesday are positive. One report of fishing in about 20′ of water. There is rough ice about 3/4 mile out on the lake and where there is rough ice, the water clarity is a big dirty. The fish didn’t seem to mind though as good numbers were caught. Water clarity greatly improves out in about 25′ with about 3′ of clarity. A report from the clearer water was even better with quality fish and good numbers. Ice fishing is looking very positive.
Up at the NW Angle, a trail is staked from Young’s Bay Resort to Flag Island Resort and is open to ATV’s, side by sides and snowmobiles. As of Wednesday, there is 8″ of ice on the staked trail. Some resorts are pulling fish houses out for fishing Friday. With islands, neck down areas, etc, work through a resort as ice varies from area to area. Resorts have been working hard staking trails on the best ice. As always, stay on the resort’s marked trails.
Good numbers of walleyes and saugers await ice anglers. One indication was the good numbers of fish caught during the fall along the south shore, in the Rainy River and up at the NW Angle. This is normally a very good sign. In addition, the DNR just came out with some results from the fall survey. Numbers are very promising. Check out this article from Brad Dokken of the Grand Forks Herald.
If you don’t have reservations for ice fishing Lake of the Woods, now is a good time to make them. With the quick change in weather conducive to ice and the strong population of walleyes and saugers, phones have been ringing for area resorts and outfitters.
Ice fishing is the main attraction in these parts during the winter months. Whether you bring up your own gear and hit the ice or make life easy by using one of our full service resorts who provide a heated fish house all ready to go and make sure they are checking on you throughout the day, this is a great time of year to make some memories. Get out and enjoy winter!