OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing and hunting report
Lake of the Woods
Fishing is excellent, and limits are common. According to Lake of the Woods Tourism, mornings and afternoons have offered the best action. Try Morris Point across to Pine Island in 17 to 24 feet of water or 22 to 24 feet straight out from Zippel Bay to Long Point. Farther west, good fishing is being reported in the Twin Rocks area near Rocky Point. Gold, red and pink are the colors to use with jigging spoons and jigs tipped with a minnow or minnow head.
Ice continues to thicken with the subzero weather, and 10 to 13 inches of ice is being reported both on the bays and the main lake. Staked resort trails are available to snowmobiles and ATVs, and resorts are transporting guests to fish houses. Roads aren't yet open to larger vehicles.
In the Northwest Angle area, resorts are reporting 10 to 12 inches of ice in spots around islands and bays. Trails are starting to be marked but anglers and snowmobilers should be aware of current areas and patchy ice. Walleye fishing has been excellent, but anglers should stick to resort trails and play it safe.
Perch fishing has been very good, according to Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service. Bry reports numbers of 12- to 13-inch perch with some longer than 14 inches. Ice conditions are steadily improving, but caution remains the buzzword. Many areas have 8 to 10 inches of ice, Bry said, but other places still have less.
Best perch results have come in 12 to 30 feet of water with a variety of jigging spoons and dropper rigs tipped with a waxworm or minnow head. Anglers who punch a lot of holes and cover water will have the best results.
Upper Red Lake
Walleye fishing remains excellent, but area resorts and guide services say there's not enough ice to allow larger vehicles onto the lake so traffic largely remains limited to snowmobiles and ATVs. Ice depths vary from 9 to 13 inches, and the best walleye action is taking place in 8 to 10 feet of water, where fish are hitting jigs and minnows or jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads.
There's 3 to 8 inches of ice on most lakes, but thickness really varies from spot to spot, and anglers are dealing with a lot of slush. Travel of any kind has been difficult on all lakes. A few spear houses have been setting up on a couple of lakes, but success had been limited. Anglers also are getting on Lake Irving and catching walleyes in 14 to 22 feet of water, while parts of Lake Bemidji are accessible and giving up a few walleyes in 16 to 22 feet.
Chains are needed on ATVs, and snowmobiles are a better mode of transportation on area lakes because of the snow and slush. Fishing reports have been nonexistent because of the cold, but you can get around on the lakes in this area. Once the temperature improves, anglers should be able to resume fishing on the 7 to 10 inches of ice that's formed.
There are some limited fishing options in the Pine Point area, but anglers have only been walking out because of the deep snow and slush underneath it. Tough lake conditions have prevented anglers from getting to any other spots; ice depths vary, and slush is an issue.
Most of the water under the snow has frozen, and ATVs are being used throughout the lake on 8 inches of ice. Pike have been active in the shallows and providing good spearing action. Perch reports also have been favorable on the west side in 6 to 9 feet of water.
Park Rapids area
Anglers are reporting 8 to 12 inches of ice on the small lakes and 6 to 8 inches on bigger bodies of water. Walleyes continue to hit in 14 to 16 feet on Potato Lake and in 18 to 20 feet on Fish Hook Lake. Panfish action has been slow, although Straight Lake is giving up a few bluegills in 12 to 14 feet of water.
Ice depths vary from 10 to 14 inches, and there's very little slush on area lakes. Look to Deadshot Bay for walleyes and crappies in 20 to 22 feet and sunfish in 12 to 14 feet. Little Detroit Lake is producing panfish and northern pike in 12 feet, while Big Detroit Lake is giving up walleyes in 18 feet. Lakes such as Sour, Melissa and Sallie are a good bet for walleyes in 18 to 20 feet of water.
Downhill skiing report
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 36-inch base, packed powder, excellent conditions; 18 inches of new snow. Open for skiing and snowboarding from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, but snow tubing remains closed; call for opening date on snow tubing. Info: bvskiarea.com or (218) 243-2231.
• Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 12- to 15-inch base on open runs, 14 inches of new snow, making snow constantly when weather conditions permit. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.
Cross-country ski report
• Turtle River State Park, N.D.: Timber and Fisher loops were groomed last Friday and are in fair shape. Eco Loop was packed Wednesday. Info: (701) 594-4445.
• Grand Forks Greenway: Trails have been groomed from Riverside Dam to 47th Avenue South and Lincoln Drive Park. A skate ski trail is available in Lincoln Drive Park. Trailheads are available at the Riverside Dam parking lot, the west parking lot in Riverside Park, the Seventh Avenue North access, the lower parking lot north of the Sorlie Bridge downtown, Lincoln golf clubhouse, Elmwood access, Sunbeam access and 47th Avenue South.
• Lake Bemidji State Park: All ski trails have been groomed and tracked, and conditions are very good; 8-inch trail base; 10 miles groomed. Lake Bemidji froze over Nov. 27, but skiers are advised to stay off the lake because of the deep snow and thin ice; local snow depth 17 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Ski trails are groomed, with the exception of the Meander Trail and the trail to the Group Camp. People have been snowmobiling, but the trail has not been groomed. Skiing conditions are good with a 2½-inch base; local snow depth 11 inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Trails now are open and groomed, and conditions are good with a 3-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.
Snowmobile trails report
• Lake Bemidji State Park: Conditions are fair, but trails aren't groomed; local snow depth 17 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Snowmobiling conditions are fair, but the trail hasn't been groomed; local snow depth 11 inches.
• Lake of the Woods: The snowmobile trail from Four-Mile Bay to the resorts on the Northwest Angle was being marked Thursday, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported.