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OUTDOOR REPORT: Area fishing and skiing report

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Lake of the woods

Red glow or gold jigging spoons, as well as setlines with gold and glow jigs, are producing walleyes and saugers in 28 to 34 feet of water along the south shore during the day or slightly shallower mornings and evenings. Bigger walleyes are suspended several feet off the bottom. Work the Rainy River for walleyes during the morning and afternoon hours in 20 to 22 feet.

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Up at the Northwest Angle, action is good in the Little Traverse area near Oak and Little Oak islands, according to Allen Edman of Edman’s Angling Adventures. Walleyes and saugers have been roaming the 18- to 25-foot depths. Bites have been happening very early, at 7 a.m., from 3 p.m. onward and scattered throughout the morning and midday. There is a night bite materializing, as well, Edman said, with walleyes coming in as late as 7 to 10 p.m. Eelpout also are on the increase, he said, showing up both in the daytime and throughout the overnight hours. Northern pike are still biting, and walleyes and crappies remain active in Ontario waters.

Devils lake

“Good some days, just OK others,” is the word from Mark Bry of Bry’s Guide Service. Inconsistent weather likely is a factor in the “up-and-down” fishing pattern, Bry said. Perch have moved deeper, he said, and the majority now are coming from 25 to 45 feet of water, where they’re hitting a variety of rattle spoons and dropper rigs. Best walleye action has been shallower in 7 to 12 feet of water, although anglers also have caught walleyes as deep as 42 feet, Bry said. Snow cover on the lake is getting deeper, he said, but trucks still can get around in most areas, and the ice is now at least 25 inches thick in most places. Look for fishing to improve when the weather becomes more consistent.

Lake winnipeg

Variable weather, with a mix of fronts and winds from every direction, has forced anglers to downsize to crappie-sized lures for the big “greenback” walleyes that roam the south basin of Lake Winnipeg, reports fishing guide Jason Hamilton of Jason Hamilton Outdoors. The larger lures anglers traditionally use just haven’t been working, Hamilton said, and one-eighth-ounce blade spoons with a tail-hooked live minnow are producing the best results. Anglers still should drill an extra hole and occasionally rip a rattle bait, Hamilton said. The technique will attract more walleyes, but for now, they prefer a smaller, more static presentation, he said.

Upper red lake

Walleye action has been best early in the morning, at sunset and during the night. The best option is to jig with a glow spoon and have another setline with a glow jig and shiner minnow in 8 to 14 feet of water along most shorelines. Anglers can still catch walleyes during the day, but the numbers are down.

Bemidji area

Crappies are hitting on Walker Brook Lake and around the island on Big Lake in 12 to 18 feet of water. The Diamond Bar area of Lake Bemidji is giving up perch in 10 to 15 feet and a few walleyes at sunset over 18 to 24 feet. Angling and spearing for northern pike has been steady throughout the area in 8 to 12 feet of water.

Blackduck area

  • Walleyes and perch are mixed together on Island Lake and Blackduck Lake in 10 to 18 feet of water. Bluegill action has improved in 15 to 20 feet on Lake Pimushe and Gull Lake, while Gilstead Lake is kicking out crappies over 25 to 35 feet.

Leech lake

Low-light periods are best for walleyes along the 15- to 20-foot breaks in Walker Bay. The Cedar Point and Sand Point areas also are giving up walleyes during the morning and evening in 10 to 14 feet of water. Travel conditions have improved slightly on the main lake, with reports of anglers now fishing the Stony Point and Pine Point areas.

Lake winnibigoshish

Perch are being caught along the west shoreline in 8 to 10 feet or on the 12- to 15-foot breaks. Stay on the move with small jigging spoons to pick off better numbers of good-sized perch. On the south end, walleyes and perch have bit best on the 16- to 20-foot structure. Angling and spearing for northern pike remains strong in less than 12 feet.

Detroit lakes

Look for sunfish along the 10- to 12-foot weed lines and crappies just off the weeds in 15 to 17 feet of water on Floyd Lake, Big Cormorant Lake, Sour Lake, Severson Lake, Deadshot Bay and Big Detroit Lake. Walleyes have been most active during low-light periods in 18 to 22 feet of water on Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa, Big Cormorant, and Big Detroit. Spearing and angling for northern pike has been consistent on these same lakes in 8 to 12 feet of water.

Park rapids area

Crappies are being found suspended over 25 to 35 feet of water throughout the Crow Wing chain of lakes, Eagle Lake and Island Lake after sunset each day. A few walleyes continue to come off Fish Hook Lake during low-light periods in 16 to 22 feet. Pike action has been best on Fish Hook in 8 to 12 feet or Big Mantrap Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Straight Lake and the Crow Wing Chain are worth noting for sunfish in 12 to 14 feet.

Downhill skiing report

  •  Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 36-inch base, machine groomed, 3 inches of new snow. Skiing and snowboarding hours 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Snow tubing hours 4 to 8 p.m. today and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: bvskiarea.com.
  •  Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 12- to 15-inch base, 3 inches of new snow with more to come. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.

Cross-country ski report

  •  Turtle River State Park, N.D.: All three trails (ECO, Whitetail, Fisher-Timber) were re-groomed last weekend and were in great shape. Grooming is scheduled again today, and there’s been about 8 inches of new snow.
  •  Grand Forks Greenway: Snow cover is good, and trails from Riverside Dam to 47th Avenue South will be groomed this morning. The trails in Lincoln Drive Park already are groomed for the weekend.
  •  Lake Bemidji State Park: Trails were groomed and tracked Saturday, and the groomer will be out to reset tracks by the weekend. Excellent conditions with a 9-inch base; 10 miles groomed; local snow depth 21 inches.
  •  Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Excellent conditions with a 5-inch base; seven miles groomed; local snow depth 18 inches.
  •  Zippel Bay State Park: Very good conditions with a 5-inch base; seven miles groomed; local snow depth 15 inches.

Snowmobile trails report

  •  Lake Region Trail: (Nelson and Ramsey counties): The trail system is in the process of opening, and Trail 3 will be groomed this weekend if weather permits; local snow depth 12 to 18 inches. More info:snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
  •  Northeast Trail: (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): Western part of the trail system is open, and the Sandhills Trail was groomed Thursday; local snow depth 12 to 14 inches. More info:snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
  •  Red River North Trail (Pembina and Walsh counties): All trails are open and will be groomed by this weekend; local snow depth 10 to 12 inches. More info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
  •  Red River South Trail (Grand Forks and Walsh counties): Trails are in the process of opening, and the East Loop and West Loop trails will be groomed by this weekend; local snow depth 12 to 17 inches. More info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
  •  Beltrami Island State Forest East: Excellent conditions with a 6-inch base; 52½ miles groomed; local snow depth 15 inches.
  •  Beltrami Island State Forest North: Trails are groomed and in good condition with a 5-inch base; local snow depth 14 inches.
  •  Lake Bemidji State Park: Trails are groomed and in excellent condition with a 7-inch base; three miles groomed; local snow depth 21 inches.
  •  Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Trails are not groomed but remain in fair condition; local snow depth 18 inches.
  •  Zippel Bay State Park: Good conditions with a 5-inch base; two miles groomed; local snow depth 15 inches.
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Brad Dokken
Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 
(701) 780-1148
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