OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing, skiing report
Lake of the Woods
Walleye and sauger action is good in 23 to 26 feet or 28 to 32 feet of water along the south shore. Ice is 21 to 25 inches thick in the areas that have been measured. Many of the bigger walleyes are coming suspended. On the Rainy River, walleyes are hitting glow jigs in 20 feet during the evening. At the Northwest Angle, perch and pike are mixed with walleyes in 22 to 25 feet. Crappie action is excellent in Ontario waters.
The perch bite has been fun, even during the cold snap, and Devils Lake fishing guide Mark Bry said the lake is producing some of the biggest perch he's ever seen, with many jumbos in the 13- to 14-inch class; walleye fishing has been good, as well, he said. Perch are coming from 20 to 40 feet of water, Bry said, with the best walleye action in 8 to 20 feet. Minnow heads and wax worms fished below dropper rigs or rattle spoons have been the most productive bait and lure combinations.
Upper Red Lake
The cold snap slowed walleye fishing a bit, but anglers have been catching plenty of fish along the shorelines in 8 to 14 feet of water. The evening hours have been best, with good reports during the overnight hours on rattle reels.
Anglers can expect to sort through small fish, but walleyes are hitting on Lake Plantagenet in 12 to 18 feet of water. The Diamond Bar area of Lake Bemidji is giving up walleyes during low-light periods in 18 to 22 feet and perch during the day in 9 to 15 feet. Look for crappies on Buzzle Lake and Walker Brook Lake.
Perch action is strong, and anglers can expect to pick up a few walleyes, as well, along the 8- to 14-foot weed lines on Blackduck Lake and Island Lake. Bluegill reports have been limited, but crappies are being found suspended over 20 to 40 feet of water on Gilstead Lake and Sandy Lake.
The south side of Walker Bay is producing walleyes in 16 to 22 feet of water. The Sand Point area is kicking out walleyes and a few good-sized perch in 14 to 16 feet. Walleyes also can be had during low-light periods off Cedar Point in 18 to 22 feet. Reports from the main lake have been limited by poor travel conditions.
Anglers continue to deal with slush and varying ice depths on much of the lake. Road and lake conditions are better on the west side, and that's where most of the consistent perch reports are coming from. Moving around on the 6- to 9-foot flats has produced numbers of perch with small jigging spoons. Angling and spearing for northern pike also has been good on the west side.
Spoons continue to produce walleyes early and late in the day in 18 to 20 feet of water on Big Detroit Lake, Deadshot Bay, Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie. Look for crappies in 12 feet on Little Detroit Lake or over 18 feet on lakes Melissa, Big Detroit, Floyd and Big Cormorant. You'll find bluegills on these same lakes in 10 to 12 feet.
Park Rapids area
Good-sized northern pike and small walleyes are being caught on the main bar along the west side of Lower Bottle Lake in 8 to 12 feet of water. Work the bar on the east side or near the current on the southeast end of Emma Lake for a couple of walleyes each night. Fish Hook Lake and Long Lake are worth noting for walleyes in 18 to 21 feet, and the Mill Pond area of Straight Lake continues to produce bluegills in 12 feet.
Downhill skiing report
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 36-inch base, groomed, 1 inch of new snow. Skiing and snowboarding hours 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; snow tubing 4 to 8 p.m. today and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: bvskiarea.com.
• Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 12- to 15-inch base on opens runs, 6 inches of snow in the past week; making snow constantly when weather permits. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.
Cross-country skiing report
• Grand Forks Greenway: Too much wind and not enough snow have made it difficult to groom the cross-country ski trails, and grooming from Riverside Dam to 47th Avenue South is on hold until snow conditions improve. Trails are still in place but may be in poor condition. Free skates, cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for use in the Lincoln Drive Park warming house. Most are children's sizes, but a few adult sizes are available.
• Turtle River State Park near Arvilla, N.D.: Trails were scheduled to be groomed Thursday and will be in good shape for the warmer weather that's arriving just in time for the weekend. There's been no new snow in the past week but the trails have a 6- to 10-inch base.
• Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Trails are open and in fair condition, and grooming is scheduled for today; snow depth 10 to 14 inches.
• Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, N.D.: Trails are open and in fair condition and were last groomed Dec. 31; snow depth 4 to 6 inches.
• Hayes Lake State Park south of Roseau, Minn.: Trails are groomed and in fair condition with a 1-inch base; local snow depth 8 inches.
• Lake Bemidji State Park: All ski trails were groomed and tracked this past Saturday and are in very good condition with an 8-inch base; local snow depth 13 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Trails were groomed Tuesday and are in excellent condition with a 4½-inch base; local snow depth 11 inches.
• Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Trails are in good condition with a 4-inch base and scheduled to be groomed today; local snow depth 11 inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Trails are groomed and in good condition with a 7-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.
• Hayes Lake State Park south of Roseau, Minn.: Snowmobile trails haven't been groomed but are in fair condition and being used by a few locals; local snow depth 8 inches.
• Lake Bemidji State Park: Excellent conditions, with an 8-inch base and three miles groomed; local snow depth 13 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Trails aren't groomed but are in fair condition, and people are riding on them; local snow depth 11 inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Trail is groomed and in good condition with a 5-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.
• Northeast Trail (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): The western part of the trail system is open with a 4- to 6-inch base and will be groomed by the weekend; local snow depth 8 to 12 inches.
• Red River North Trail: (Pembina and Walsh counties): All of the trails are open and will be groomed by the weekend. Conditions are good, with a 4- to 5-inch base; local snow depth 8 to 12 inches.
• Red River South Trail (Grand Forks and Walsh counties): Trails remain closed because of lack of snow in some areas.