OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing and skiing report
Lake of the Woods
Walleyes and saugers are spread out along the south shore in 27 to 34 feet of water, and some fish now are being taken on the mid-lake reefs. Spoons and dead sticks are both producing fish. On the Rainy River, walleye action has been best during the morning and evening hours near the Baudette (Minn.) airport, Baudette Bay, Hattie’s Hole and Clementson Bay in 19 to 21 feet. Most bays are producing pike as well.
At the Northwest Angle, both the weather and the fishing have stabilized, reports Allen Edman of Edman’s Angling Adventures. Day-to-day action is consistent, and size has been good. Slot walleyes in the 20- to 28-inch range are biting, Edman said, and a plain hook and minnow under a bobber set 3 to 4 inches off the bottom is taking the majority of walleyes and saugers; a few jumbo perch also are being caught, Edman said. The majority of fishing is taking place in transition areas between rock and a softer bottom and out on mud flats in the mid-20-foot range. Crappies in Ontario waters have been biting in 25 to 30 feet of water on glow-in-the-dark buckshot rattle jigs tipped with a minnow head or tail.
Perch fishing remains good, and action during the past week has rivaled the early ice bonanza of mid-December, the Perch Patrol Guide Service reports. Limits of perch have been common, and the best action is coming on small jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads, perch eyes or wax worms along break lines near structure in 15 to 30 feet of water. Find a large school, the report said, and it doesn’t seem to matter what lure is used. The fast perch fishing has limited the focus on walleyes, the report said, but fishing has been pretty good in the morning. Pike are hitting smelt fished below tip-ups in shallow water on Lake Irvine.
Action for “greenback” walleyes continues to be good, reports Jason Hamilton of Jason Hamilton Outdoors. Walleyes have moved deeper, and Hamilton said he now is looking for 13 to 16 feet of water under the ice, which is more than 40 inches thick. The good news, Hamilton said, is that the deeper walleyes are hitting more aggressively than was the case the past couple of weeks. Rattle baits are becoming more productive, Hamilton said, although live minnows still are icing fish. There’s about 18 inches of snow on the lake, so access largely is limited to snowmobiles or other tracked vehicles; an auger extension is essential.
Upper Red Lake
Walleye action remains spotty during the day, with increased activity at night in 7 to 14 feet of water. Setlines are working better than spoons, and a few bigger pike are being taken with tip-ups and suckers in less than 10 feet.
Perch action has improved in 32 to 35 feet of water on Lake Bemidji or 28 to 30 feet on Lake Plantagenet. Sucker minnows are triggering pike in 12 to 14 feet on Cass Lake and Bemidji, and you’ll hit a few walleyes during low-light periods on Bemidji in 10 to 25 feet. The 30-foot hole on Medicine Lake and 22 feet on Lake Beltrami have been best for crappies.
There’s been some travel to the Duck Point and Goose Island areas, where a few perch and walleyes are being caught in 10 to 17 feet of water. The 16- to 24-foot shoreline breaks in Walker Bay are giving up walleyes. Look for perch in 9 to 11 feet off Sand Point, but anglers can expect to sort through numbers of small fish.
Look for perch from the Snaghole to Hunter’s Hump in 14 to 17 feet of water during low-light periods or in 30 feet during the day. Horseshoe Bar is giving up perch in 22 to 30 feet, as well. On the west side, 8 to 10 feet or 17 to 22 feet has been best for perch off Sugar Point and Raven’s Bar.
Walleye action is limited to low-light periods in 20 to 22 feet of water on lakes Melissa, Sallie, Big Detroit, Deadshot Bay and the south end of Big Detroit. Crappies and sunfish are relating to the 14- to 18-foot weeds on Floyd Lake, Little Detroit Lake, Sour Lake, Upper Cormorant Lake, Deadshot Bay and Melissa. Northern pike continue to be active in 14 to 20 feet of water on most lakes.
Park Rapids area
Setlines and fatheads are producing a few walleyes during low-light periods on Long Lake in 30 to 32 feet of water. Sucker minnows continue to trigger northern pike on Big Mantrap Lake in 12 to 14 feet, and Straight Lake is giving up bluegills in 14 feet. Look to the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes in 20 feet for crappies.
Cross-country ski trails
- Turtle River State Park, N.D.: Trails were scheduled to be groomedThursday and should be in good shape, despite no new snow in the past week.
- Grand Forks Greenway: No new trail reports are available, but the city of East Grand Forks has started grooming a short ski trail in the campground of the Red River State Recreation Area. Access is near the campground entrance.
- Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Trail is open and in good condition and scheduled for grooming today; total snow depth 20 to 22 inches.
- Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, N.D.: Trails are open and in good condition and scheduled for grooming today; 1 to 2 inches of new snow in the past week; total snow depth 10 to 12 inches.
- Hayes Lake State Park, Minn.: Ski trails were last groomed Jan. 29 and are in fair condition with a 6-inch base. A candlelight ski is set for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 starting at the beach area; local snow depth 10 inches.
- Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Very good conditions with a 9-inch base and seven miles groomed; local snow depth 18 inches.
Downhill skiing report
- Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 36-inch base, machine groomed, 2 inches 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 hours 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 open runs, 3 inches of new snow, making snow constantly as needed; open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.
Snowmobile trails report
- Lake Region Trail (Nelson and Ramsey counties): Trails remain in the process of opening and will not be groomed this weekend; only trails 2 and 3 were listed as open Thursday afternoon; no new snow; total snow depth 6 to 12 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
- Northeast Trail (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): Trails are in the process of opening, and several are scheduled to be groomed by this weekend; 1 inch of new snow with a 5- to 7-inch base and total snow depth of 12 to 14 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
- Red River North Trail (Pembina and Walsh counties): All trails are open with a 6-inch base and will be groomed by this weekend; total snow depth 10 to 12 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
- Red River South Trail (Grand Forks and Walsh counties): All trails are open with 6- to 8-inch base and will be groomed by this weekend; total snow depth 10 to 14 inches. Info: snowmobilend.org or (701) 328-5377.
- Beltrami Island State Forest East: Excellent conditions, with an 8-inch base and 52½ miles groomed; local snow depth 16 inches.
- Hayes Lake State Park, Minn.: Snowmobile trails aren’t groomed but continue to be used by a few locals; local snow depth 10 inches.
- Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Good snowmobiling conditions with a 9-inch base on the two miles of groomed trail within the park; local snow depth 18 inches.