OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
Four-Mile Bay and Rainy River, along with Zippel Bay and Bostick Bay, are wide open, but ice still covers large areas of Lake of the Woods past Morris Point and Lighthouse gaps. According to Sportsman's Lodge, the water temperature near the mouth of the Rainy River has climbed to 45 degrees, and water clarity has improved after last week's runoff from the Little Fork and Big Fork rivers unleashed a barrage of ice and debris. Besides walleyes and pike, anglers this weekend also have the option of fishing sturgeon. The harvest season now is closed, but catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon continues through Wednesday.
Ice still covers most of the lake, but it is looking weaker every day. According to reports from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, anglers are fishing in areas such as Channel A and coulees farther upstream in the basin, where they are catching northern pike and a few walleyes, as well.
Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn., now is ice-free, reports Suzie Kaiser of Ceason's Bait and Tackle in Crookston. The shallow lake warms fast and should be a good bet for Saturday's walleye opener. Union and Sarah near Erskine, Minn., were still ice-covered as of Thursday, she said. The Red Lake River in Crookston is back in its banks and also will be worth testing for walleyes on Saturday, Kaiser said.
Park Rapids area
Most small lakes or those with water flowing through should be ice-free this weekend, while the big lakes such as Fish Hook, Island and Itasca likely won't be. Small lakes will be the best options for walleyes and panfish this weekend, but the shallow panfish bite hadn't yet started early this week.
Ice fishermen were chasing perch and tullibees last weekend so fishing open water doesn't look good for Saturday's walleye opener. Some of the bays and shoreline areas have started to open, but most of the main lake is expected to be ice-covered this weekend.
There still was some ice fishing taking place on the north end of the lake Monday morning, so there will be ice for the fishing opener. The only open-water options for this weekend will take place in the rivers, mouths of rivers and other moving water areas.