OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing, trails, skiing report
The Rainy River as of Thursday morning was open about five miles downstream from the Frontier Landing, which is located along state Highway 11 about 18 miles east of Baudette, Minn., according to Sportsman's Lodge. That means the river soon will be open to within about 10 miles of Baudette. The boat ramp at Birchdale, Minn., 26 miles east of Baudette has been cleared and is open to large boats, while the Frontier Landing still has some shore ice and is limited to smaller boats. The Rainy by the Vidas Landing eight miles east of Baudette still had shore-to-shore ice Thursday morning, but the landing is plowed and will be ready to use as soon as the river opens.
Fishing and water clarity are good, and anglers have reported catching numbers of 23-plus-inch walleyes in recent days. Look for fishing to remain good as long as the clarity holds. Cold weather has delayed the snow melt and runoff, and the river current remains relatively light. The spring walleye season on the Rainy River and other Minnesota-Ontario border waters is open through April 14.
Lake of the Woods
Anglers venturing onto the ice are catching a mix of walleyes and saugers in 26 to 30 feet of water, with many trophy-sized walleyes still being found suspended. Knight and Bridges islands, the reefs west of Long Point, and the mud on the south shore all are likely spots to work. Tip-ups and sucker minnows are producing northern pike in 6 to 12 feet of water along shoreline spawning areas, the bays and areas adjacent to feeder streams. At the Northwest Angle, the edges of current areas are holding a mixed bag of fish in 18 to 30 feet of water, while 12 to 15 feet has been best around Flag and Oak islands.
There's not much to report, and little to no activity was observed last weekend. There's still plenty of ice, and as long as the access points remain usable, there'll be opportunities for ice fishing. Anglers should remember to buy new fishing licenses before venturing out, as the new license year began April 1.
Anglers are getting around a bit better, but there's still a lot of snow, water and slush to deal with on area lakes; driving trucks was not an option early this week. Anglers are catching a few crappies during low-light periods at Campbell Lake in 14 feet of water and Welch Lake in 18 feet, while Lake Puposky is producing bluegills in 12 to 14 feet.
Lake conditions have improved slightly, but deep slush continues to limit where anglers can go, even with snowmobiles. The only reports worth noting are coming off Sand Point, where a few anglers are trying for perch with minimal success.
Fishing reports have been limited by the lack of anglers on the lake. Warm weather last week eliminated some of the snow, but water and slush continue to make travel difficult throughout the lake.
Tullibee action has picked up during the morning hours in the deep holes of Loon Lake, Long Lake, Star Lake, Little Pine Lake and Pelican Lake. Look for crappies and sunfish to be suspended over 10 to 14 feet of water on lakes such as Little Detroit, Height of Land, Tamarack and Rock.
Park Rapids area
Bluegill action remains strong on Straight Lake in 12 to 14 feet of water and the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes in 10 to 12 feet. Look for suspended crappies to hit minnows and glow jigs over 30 feet on Big Mantrap Lake during the evening hours.
N.D. light goose update
The first reports of snow geese sightings in North Dakota happened Monday, as birds are hovering near the South Dakota border. Look for more snow geese to begin moving north as the snow line recedes. North Dakota's spring light goose season continues through May 5.
• Beltrami Island State Forest East near Baudette, Minn.: Grooming is done for the season, but state trails will remain open on public land while weather and snow conditions permit; grant-in-aid snowmobile trails closed Monday when permits with private landowners expired. The snowpack is starting to settle with the warmer weather, and areas with full sun are beginning to show bare ground; 6-inch trail base; local snow depth 18 inches.
• Big Bog State Recreation Area near Waskish, Minn.: Most of the trail is in very good shape, but some open areas and corners are beginning to melt enough to expose vegetation through its base; 5-inch trail base; local snow depth 17 inches.
• North Dakota: State grant-in-aid trails now are closed for the season.
&bull: Itasca State Park, Minn.: Trail conditions are poor -- icy in the morning, slushy in the afternoon and snow conditions are breaking down with the onset of spring. There still is anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of snow in the woods. Snowmobile trails in the park closed Wednesday.