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Outdoor Report: 'Tremendous' ice season on Devils Lake

Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Lake of the Woods

Walleyes and saugers remain reluctant to bite, at times; some houses are doing better than others, and some days are better than others, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in this week's update. Electronics continue to be beneficial in putting more fish on the ice. Look for the fish to become more active as March progresses.

Most resorts along the south shore are set up in 24 feet to 33 feet of water and making a push shallower, the report indicated. Smaller presentations tipped with a shiner or chub head are working well, and pike fishing continues to heat up, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Auger extensions are an absolute must for anglers venturing out on their own because there's more than 4 feet of ice in most areas, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

Fishing is steady up at the Northwest Angle, where anglers are catching a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers and pike and the occasional perch in 18 to 26 feet of water during the day and 16 to 22 feet of water later in the afternoon, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

Devils Lake

The bite has been a bit up and down of late, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service reports. Perch are active one day, and the next they seem finicky and sluggish, Bry said. Overall, though, it's been a tremendous ice season, he said.

Look for the deeper "mud bites" to provide the best perch action at the present time on Devils Lake, Bry said. Focus on areas with 30 feet to 50 feet of water and be prepared to drill a lot of holes and cover water, as there are thousands of acres of this deeper water in the Devils Lake Basin, Bry said.

Best lures have been dropper rigs such as Hali's, tungsten jigs and a split shot with a hook. Minnow heads, wax worms and spikes have produced the best results, he said.

March historically produces some beautiful perch and some furious bites as temperatures rise and days grow longer, Bry said. Anglers should think safety first and remember that ice conditions can change in a hurry this time of year, Bry said. That's especially true during warm snaps, when the ice tends to become more active.

Downhill skiing

• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 20- to 40-inch base, 4 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours as of March 6, not making snow; bvskiarea.com.

• Detroit Mountain Recreation near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: 24- to 64-inch base, no new snow, not making snow; detroitmountain.com.

Trails update

• Grand Forks Greenway: The 6 inches of snow that fell early this week wasn't conducive to the ski trails and was too slushy to groom well. In a Wednesday update, Greenway staff said plans were in the works to try grooming again later this week in hopes of better results.

• Turtle River State Park, N.D.: Trails are open and in fair condition and were scheduled for grooming Wednesday.

• Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Trails are open and in good condition.

• Hayes Lake State Park near Roseau, Minn.: The recent warm snap put an icy crust on all of the snow in the park. Ski and snowmobile conditions are fair with a 4-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.

• Lake Bemidji State Park: Ski and snowmobile trails are excellent with a 10-inch base; local snow depth 16 inches.

• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Neither the ski nor snowmobile trails are groomed; local snow depth 17 inches.

• Old Mill State Park: The park got about 7 inches of snow during the storm earlier this week, and snowmobile conditions are good, with a 6-inch base; local snow depth 17 inches.

• Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods: Ski trails are in good condition, and snowmobile trails are in very good condition, both with a 7-inch base; snow levels have settled some from the warmer weather; local snow depth 15 inches.

-- Herald staff reports

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