Tremendous Ice Fishing Draws Travelers Near and Far to Lake of the Woods
What a great time of the year. Holidays are celebrated, families come and go, food preparation is all done with and yet, now is one of the greatest times to experience Lake of the Woods. Now it’s time for ice fishing!
You see, at this writing we are experiencing negative temperatures. Now the average person might groan and whine a bit, but at Lake of the Woods the most common comment is, “We are making ice!”
People from many states flock to this area to try their hand at fishing through “hard water” or ice fishing. The lake is an incredible village of hundreds if not a couple thousand fish houses. One state represented in my family is Illinois. Yes, Chicago showed up for Christmas and as tradition has it, it’s time to go ice fishing. They hooked up with one of our local fish house proprietors and off they went for a 7:30 a.m. call to fish.
The area just got blanketed with about 10 inches of fresh snow the last two days so roads had to be plowed early in the morning and fish houses needed to have thermostats turned up and fish holes re-opened from an overnight freeze. The guides at Lake of the Woods are a very diligent sort and hats are off to those who get up in the wee hours of the morning to do those duties. Overnight guests in sleeper fish houses had to be plowed out this morning also. What a task! But nothing can stop a fisherman from fishing.
Lake of the Woods is known as the Walleye Capital of the World™. It is a world renowned fishery and according to statistics from the MN DNR at Lake of the Woods, our fishery is more than healthy even though many pounds of fish are harvested each year. Lake of the Woods is the largest fresh water lake next to the Great Lakes in the US. It supports many species of fish and keeps the excitement brimming as anglers drop their lines in.
This group of novice fisher-people approached their fish house guided by the outfitter. Out on the ice they went, through a bay area and then up over land and onto the “big lake”. The road was plowed but the driver was very skilled at that morning light to navigate through turns and twists that have been hewn out on the lake.
This was a day trip so the group was able to have a larger fish house equipped with a gas range and yes, even a bathroom! Yes!! (Ladies take note of that!!) As the group approached the fish houses they were able to see an incredible sunrise, complete with sun dogs around the sun, because, of course, this was the coldest day of the year so far. They also saw ATVs, Snowmobiles, Wheelhouses and all kinds of equipment that makes up the population of the ice village.
The guide supplies ice fishing rods if needed and all the bait the parties will need for the day. He also lets you know what the limits are so they stay legal and assures them that he will be back to check on them from time to time throughout the day. I will interject here that it is very important to be in obedience to that guide as to where to travel on the lake. These ice workers are professionals and know how to travel the lake and where the safest place is to travel the hard water.
The lines are dropped in. Each person is allowed to fish two lines. Usually one is left laying on the ice with a bobber or just with a hook and this is called a dead stick. The technique is to bait your lure with a minnow and let it drop until you feel bottom Then with an up and down motion, you start to “jig” and wait for a tug on the line. “Set the hook” with a great upward motion and pull in whatever was at the end of the line.
The catch was on!! Excitement?!?!? Yes, this group traveled over 800 miles for family, Christmas and now an exciting day on the ice. Everyone caught fish and that night a walleye/sauger meal was enjoyed by all.
Let me invite you to come to Lake of the Woods to have the same great experience this group had. I promise you that you will have stories to tell for years to come. The lake is beautiful when frozen and the city of houses that are out there is amazing. Please applaud the ones who make this sport accessible to all peoples whether experienced or not.
For more information on lodging or ice fishing contact our website at: www.lakeofthewoodmn.com/lodging.