OUTDOOR REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
Sturgeon action has been strong up and down the Rainy River, Four-Mile Bay and in Lighthouse Gap. All accesses are open for use, and many anglers are reporting as many as 10 sturgeon per day per boat. Anchor upstream from a deep hole with a 5/0 or 6/0 circle hook loaded with a mix of crawlers and frozen shiner minnows and weighted with a 4- or 5-ounce sinker.
The ice is off Creel Bay, Woodland Resort reports. Small boats have been launching in the Mauvais Coulee and other upper basin waters. A satellite photo taken Thursday showed large areas of ice remaining on the main lake, but shorelines are open depending on the wind direction, and the ice is weakening. Pike fishing in the coulees has been great, walleye so-so, the report said. Tough weather also has been holding anglers back. Look for more anglers to venture out as the weather improves.
Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn., is ice-free, and Union Lake near Erskine, Minn., shouldn’t be far behind, Ceason’s Bait and Tackle in Crookston reports. Look for crappies in warm, shallow bays as the weather improves.
Upper Red Lake
There’s still ice out on the lake, but the wind beat it up pretty good this week. The wind is pushing the ice left on the lake, and there is enough open water to keep it moving. If the lake isn’t ice-free by the end of this weekend, it looks like it will be mostly off early next week.
A few people were still ice fishing as recently as last Sunday, but the wind and rain helped deteriorate the ice this week. Several small lakes now only have sheets of floating ice on them, the shorelines on most big lakes have opened, but plenty of ice remained on the main portions of these bigger lakes early this week.
Strong winds earlier this week busted open several small lakes, but most bigger bodies of water were locked tight as of Tuesday morning. It typically takes another week for the bigger lakes to open after the small lakes are ice-free. Optimism remains high that the ice will be gone by the May 10 walleye opener.
The wind and rain this week really chewed up the ice. What’s left is black and rotten and deteriorating fast. The bays such as Kabekona and Steamboat are mostly open, while Walker Bay has pockets of open water and no ice a couple of hundred yards from shore. Given the status of the ice this week, there’s a chance the lake will be ice-free sometime this weekend or early next week.
The ice remaining on the lake early this week was really black and rotten. The wind was pushing the soft ice that remained and there’s a chance it could be completely gone by this weekend.
Cass Lake area
The bays on most lakes are partially or completely open and the channels between the lakes are ice-free. The ice that remains on the main parts of the bigger lakes was moving with the wind this week and even if some ice remains on the May 10 fishing opener, there should be plenty of water to fish.
Small patches of floating ice remained on a few bigger lakes early this week, but it should be gone by the weekend. There will be no issues with ice on the fishing opener this year. Open-water anglers are just starting to hit some of those traditional spring crappie spots with limited success. This will improve quickly as the weather and water warms.
Park Rapids area
Other than a few patches of floating ice and some ice piled up on the shorelines, it is gone. The weather has limited boat traffic, but anglers fishing from shore at Long Lake are catching a few crappies. Trout fishing continues to be good with nightcrawlers on the Straight River and Fish Hook River.