OUTDOORS REPORT: Areas fishing and skiing report
Lake of the Woods
Along the south shore, a two-hole approach has been best with a jigging spoon in one hole and a dead stick in the other. Red glow, orange and gold have been the best colors. Most walleyes and saugers are being caught in 27 to 34 feet of water, with some low-light action reported in 15 to 20 feet, as well. There’s been a good walleye bite on the Rainy River during the morning and evening hours in 19 to 21 feet near the airport, Baudette Bay, Hattie’s Hole and Clementson Bay. At the Northwest Angle, Allen Edman of Edman’s Angling Adventures said fishing of late has varied by day depending on the weather. Fishing generally is good before fronts and slower during the post-front days with high pressure systems. Walleye size continues to be good, Edman said. Both slot fish and eater-size walleyes are dominating the catch, with the occasional sauger mixed in, Edman said, and best action is in 20 to 30 feet of water. A gold jig tipped with a minnow and fished below a bobber has been a go-to, Edman said, while a pink glow jig or spoon with a minnow head is working for jigging presentations. Big crappies also are being reported by anglers fishing portables in Ontario waters.
Perch fishing has been incredible, according to the latest report from the Perch Patrol Guide Service. Best action is in the basin in 36 to 48 feet of water using a Northland Buckshot Rattle spoon tipped with a minnow head, perch eye or wax worms. Drill enough holes, be mobile and willing to work at it, and the odds are good of finding schools of perch almost anywhere on the lake. Walleye fishing has been decent, the report said, and anglers who have targeted pike also are doing well.
The big lake’s “greenback” walleyes have been on the move the past 10 days, with a noticeable migration east and west of the mouth of the Red River and into shallower water, reports fishing guide Jason Hamilton of Jason Hamilton Outdoors. Look for walleyes in 6 to 9 feet of water and use smaller, subtle baits such as eighth-ounce Clam Blade Spoons, Slender Spoons and smaller darter-style baits. Jig aggressively with one line to attract fish but try dead-sticking with a set line or jig very subtly to trigger reluctant fish. More snow and wind have combined to complicate travel on the ice, and snowmobiles or other tracked vehicles are the only safe way to get around, Hamilton said. Auger extensions also are must-have equipment. This year’s unpredictable weather puts added emphasis on winter survival, and Hamilton recommends hitting the ice with full fuel tanks, extra propane, GPS and extra batteries, compass and a cell phone. Keep tabs on the weather and head for shore if conditions begin to deteriorate.
Upper Red Lake
Daytime walleye action has been limited, but the anglers sticking it out from sunset into the night are catching fish on the sand and gravel in 7 to 9 feet of water or on the mud flats in 12 to 14 feet. You’ll find a few good-sized pike mixed with the walleyes.
The 10- to 17-foot sand and grass areas of Walker Bay are giving up walleyes during the evening, and a few also have been hitting on the 15- to 24-foot shoreline breaks in Walker Bay. Perch fishing has been limited to a few fish from Sand Point and Cedar Point in 9 to 13 feet of water.
On the south end, perch are being found from the Snag Hole to Hunter’s Hump in 14 to 16 feet of water or on the 28- to 32-foot breaks. A few walleyes and northern pike can be had in 17 to 20 feet in the same areas. Perch reports off the west side have been best on the edge of River Bar or off Sugar Point in 20 to 22 feet.
Cass Lake area
The only bite worth noting is in Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake, where a few walleyes are hitting during the evenings, and pike are biting during the day in 12 feet of water.
Sunfish are hitting during the day, as are crappies during low-light periods in 12 to 18 feet of water on lakes Sallie, Melissa, Deadshot Bay, Big Detroit and Floyd. Walleye action has been sporadic, with a few reports coming off Big Cormorant Lake, Upper Cormorant Lake, Big Detroit, Sallie and Melissa in 18 to 22 feet.
Park Rapids area
Walleye action has been limited to a few fish off the east arm of Potato Lake in 21 to 24 feet of water, but bluegill reports continue to be decent off the 12-foot weeds of Straight Lake, Fish Hook Lake and the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes. Sucker minnows will trigger northern pike on Fish Hook in 14 feet, and anglers will find suspended crappies over 16 feet on Lake Belle Taine or 30 to 35 feet on the Crow Wing Chain, Island Lake and Eagle Lake.
Downhill skiing report
- Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 36-inch base, groomed, 2 inches of new snow. Skiing and snowboard hours 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; snow tubing hours 4 to 8 p.m. today, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Info: bvskiarea.com.
- Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 12- to 15-inch base, 3 inches of new snow, making snow constantly as needed. Hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.
Cross-country skiing report
- Grand Forks Greenway: The trail from Riverside Dam to 47th Avenue South was groomed Wednesday. High winds have created a tough crust of snow, but the trail is in fair condition. Best skiing will be in wooded areas of Riverside Dam, behind Lincoln Golf Course clubhouse and the Sunbeam Area. Lincoln Drive Park also was groomed Wednesday, and conditions are good.
- Turtle River State Park, N.D.: Good conditions as of most recent report from last week; local snow depth 15 inches.
- Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Good conditions, but no recent report; local snow depth 16 to 18 inches.
- Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, N.D.: Fair conditions but no recent report; local snow depth 6 to 8 inches.
- Hayes Lake State Park near Roseau, Minn.: Fair conditions, with a 6-inch base and six miles groomed; drifting is likely across the trails near the lake because of recent winds; local snow depth 10 inches.
- Lake Bemidji State Park: All ski trails were groomed and tracked Tuesday, and conditions are mostly excellent; 10-inch trail base; local snow depth 19 inches.
- Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Excellent conditions, with a 5-inch base and seven miles groomed; local snow depth 18 inches.
- Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Trails were last groomed Jan. 19 and won’t be groomed before this weekend; poor conditions with a 5-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.
- Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Very good conditions with a 7-inch base and seven miles groomed; local snow depth 17 inches.
Snowmobile trails report
- Red River South Trail (Grand Forks and Walsh counties): Trails are in the process of opening, and riders should call the trail hotline at (701) 328-5377 to see which trails are open; 6- to 8-inch base; 3 inches of new snow; local snow depth 12 to 17 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org.
- Lake Region Trail (Nelson and Ramsey counties): Trails are in the process of opening, and riders should call the trail hotline at (701) 328-5377 to see which trails are open; only trails 2 and 3 were open and groomed as ofThursday afternoon; good condition; local snow depth 12 to 18 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org.
- Northeast Trail (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): Trails are in the process of opening, and riders should call the trail hotline at (701) 328-5377 to see which trails are open; 5- to 7-inch base; 1 to 2 inches of new snow; local snow depth 8 to 10 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org.
- Red River North Trail (Pembina and Walsh counties): All trails are open and will be groomed by this weekend; 6-inch base; 4 to 5 inches of new snow; local snow depth 12 to 14 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org.
- Hayes Lake State Park near Roseau, Minn.: Trails are being used by a few locals but are not groomed; local snow depth 10 inches.
- Lake Bemidji State Park: Excellent conditions with an 8-inch base; three miles groomed; local snow depth 19 inches.
- Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Fair conditions, but trail isn’t groomed; local snow depth 18 inches.
- Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Fair conditions with a 6-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.
- Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Good conditions with a 7-inch base; two miles groomed; local snow depth 17 inches.