OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing, skiing report
Lake of the Woods
Walleyes and saugers have started to spread out over deeper water. The best reports during the day are coming from 29 to 33 feet of water, while the morning and evening bite has been better in 15 to 22 feet. On the Rainy River, walleye action is strong in 19 to 21 feet with shiner minnows.
At the Northwest Angle in Minnesota waters, Allen Edman of Edman's Angling Adventures Guide Service said walleyes and saugers are hitting in 20 feet of water. Both active jigging and bobbers are producing, he said, with glow-in-the-dark jigs working well. Fish are hitting throughout the day, and while the pace is slower than early ice, numbers of slot-sized walleyes, saugers and eater-size walleyes are being caught. Northern pike also are showing up, with many fish measuring from 30 to 40 inches. In Ontario waters, lake trout action has been slower, but crappies have been active.
Perch fishing remains very good, though some anglers report having to work harder and move more often to stay on fish, according to the Perch Patrol Guide Service. Perch are hitting Northland Buckshot Rattle Spoons tipped with a minnow head or a perch eye, and the fish have been as deep as 46 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been good, at times, with the best action typically before dark in shallower water. Perch fishing has been best later in the afternoon, as well. Anglers also have encountered a fair number of white bass in deeper water. Ice is now approaching 30 inches thick, and snow conditions are about the same, the Perch Patrol said.
Extensions on the ice auger and tracked vehicles are the order of the new year on Lake Winnipeg, reports fishing guide Jason Hamilton of Jason Hamilton Outdoors. Walleye fishing on the big lake isn't a numbers game, he said, but the quality makes up for it, and "greenback" walleyes in excess of 28 inches (that's a 10-pound fish on Lake Winnipeg) have been relatively common. Hamilton suggests looking for big fish near the mouth of the Red River in 9 to 14 feet of water. Early morning seems to be the best time for eater-size fish, he said, while the bigger walleyes are showing up in the midday period. Anglers also are encountering fewer fish suspended off the bottom, Hamilton said, and most of the walleyes now are relating to the bottom. Dead-stick lines and bobber rigs are beginning to pull their weight as well, Hamilton said.
Upper Red Lake
The day bite for walleyes has been more sporadic, but evening and night action remains consistent on most shorelines in 10 to 14 feet of water. On the south shore, anglers are catching walleyes in 7 to 8 feet at night on rattle reels. Good-sized northern pike are being caught along with the walleyes.
Work behind the island on Big Lake for crappies in 10 to 15 feet of water. Spoons and dead sticks with shiners are producing walleyes on the bars and breaks of Lake Bemidji in 16 to 23 feet. Lake Plantagenet is worth checking for walleyes in 16 to 18 feet.
Bluegill action has improved in 15 to 20 feet of water on Gull Lake and Lake Pimushe. You'll find crappies over 25 to 40 feet on Gilstead Lake and Sandy Lake. A few walleyes are hitting in 10 to 20 feet on Island Lake and Blackduck Lake during the morning hours.
Cass Lake area
Walleye action has been best along the 12-foot weed lines in Allen's Bay on Cass Lake or Lake Andrusia during the evening. Pike Bay is kicking out perch and walleyes in 25 to 30 feet of water, and pike spearing has been strong off Stony Point or in Allen's Bay on Cass.
Slush continues to limit travel on the main lake, and snowmobiles are the best option outside of Walker Bay. In the bay, walleyes are hitting during the evenings on the breaks in 15 to 20 feet or on the humps in 30 to 35 feet. The grass off Sand Point is producing walleyes, pike and perch in 9 to 15 feet. Cedar Point and the south-end breaks in Walker Bay are giving up walleyes in 15 to 18 feet of water.
Travel options are limited on the south end because of slush and varying ice depths, with a mixed bag of perch, pike and a few walleyes coming from 17 to 22 feet of water. On the west end, ice conditions are better with more roads plowed. Perch are hitting in 8 feet or the 12- to 15-foot breaks. Walleye reports are limited, but pike action is good in shallow water.
Spoons or dead sticks and shiners are producing walleyes in 18 to 20 feet of water on lakes Sallie, Melissa, Big Cormorant, Pelican and the south end of Big Detroit. Crappies and sunfish remain active on the 12-foot weeds out to 15 feet on Floyd Lake, Severson Lake, Deadshot Bay, Sour Lake, Little Pelican Lake and Big Detroit. Pike action is consistently good in less than 10 feet on most lakes.
Park Rapids area
Walleyes are hitting spoons or setlines and fatheads on Fish Hook Lake in 18 to 22 feet of water during the evening. Sucker minnows are producing northern pike on Big Mantrap Lake in 14 feet. Look for sunfish in 12 to 14 feet and crappies over 28 to 30 feet on the Crow Wing chain of lakes.
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 Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday; snow tubing hours 4 to 8 p.m. today and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Info: bvskiarea.com.
• Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 12- to 15-inch base on open runs, 3-plus inches of new snow; making snow constantly when needed. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today through Monday. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.
Cross-country skiing report
• Grand Forks Greenway: The cross-country ski trails from Riverside Dam to 47th Avenue South will be groomed today. The Lincoln Drive Park trail is groomed on a more regular basis.
• Turtle River State Park near Arvilla, N.D.: Trails were listed as open and in good condition as of last report Jan. 9; no new reports or grooming plans available.
• Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Open and in fair condition, with grooming scheduled for today; 1 to 2 inches of new snow in the past week; total snow depth 10 to 12 inches.
• Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, N.D.: Open and in good condition with grooming scheduled for today; total snow depth 6 to 8 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Trails are in fair condition with a 5-inch base and will be groomed Saturday for the park's candlelight ski event; local snow depth 18 inches.
• Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Trails were groomed Jan. 10 but are in poor condition with a 5-inch base. Trails will not be groomed for this weekend; local snow depth 14 inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park near Williams, Minn.: Trails are groomed and in fair condition with a 5-inch base; local snow depth 15 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Trail is in fair condition but not groomed; local snow depth 18 inches.
• Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Trail is groomed and in fair condition; local snow depth 14 inches.
• Big Bog State Recreation Area near Waskish, Minn.: Excellent trail conditions with an 8-inch base; groomed; local snow depth 16 inches.
• Lake Region Trail (Nelson and Ramsey counties): Closed from lack of snow.
• Northeast Trail (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): The western part of the trail system is open but no updated report was available Thursday afternoon; 4- to 6-inch base; 3 to 4 inches of new snow; local snow depth 8 to 12 inches.
• Red River North Trail (Pembina and Walsh counties): Trails are open but won't be groomed until early next week because of the storm; 4- to 5-inch base; no new snow; local snow depth 8 to 11 inches.
• Red River South Trail (Grand Forks and Walsh counties): Trail system remains closed from lack of snow.