Lake of the Woods
Coaxing fish into biting has been a challenge, at times, during the coldest days, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Watching the electronics and actively jigging has been essential to attracting and putting walleyes and saugers in the bucket. Most resorts have their houses set up atop deep mud-bottom areas in 30 feet to 33 feet of water, while others are fishing in 24 to 27 feet. A jigging lure that rattles and a minnow on a plain hook fished below a bobber or other "dead stick" presentation have been the most effective techniques, with gold, pink and glow the best color choices. Pike are becoming more active in shallow water as they get ready for spawning.
There's a lot of ice on the big lake this winter, and some anglers have reported using two extensions on their augers to cut through to open water. There's more than 3 feet of ice in most areas, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.
For anglers who fish the west side of the lake, the Springsteel Resort and Warroad Chamber of Commerce Ice Fishing Derby is set for noon to 4 p.m. today on Lake of the Woods near Springsteel north of Warroad, Minn. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at local businesses, online at visitwarroad.com or onsite the day of the derby. More than $30,000 in prizes will be awarded.
Up at the Northwest Angle, look for walleyes and saugers in 20 feet to 24 feet of water.
Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed.
Not much has changed in the past week, and the walleye bite has remained steady, Tanner Cherney of Devils Lake Tourism reported in his latest video update. Best action has come from 8 to 15 feet of water out to about 20 feet, with structure points a good bet early in the morning and again toward evening. Rattle spoons tipped with a minnow head are good bets for walleyes. Perch fishing has been more hit and miss, with sunny days best in 30 feet to 40 feet of water. The key is drilling lots of holes and staying on the fish once you find them, Cherney said.
Walleyes have been in the midwinter doldrums and less active of late, which is typical for February, reports Matt Breuer of Northcountry Guide Service and Promotions in Bemidji. On the upside, February is past the halfway mark, and the fishing always picks up as the season draws to a close. That means anglers can expect good walleye fishing in the Bemidji area over the next 10 days before Feb. 25, the last day of walleye season on Minnesota inland waters. Look to midlake structure and use twilight to your advantage, Breuer advises.
Crappies and bluegills have been very active and biting readily when located, Breuer said, with some of the best recent panfish action on the edges of basins in 28 to 32 feet of water. Bluegill fishing remains good on shallow flats, and Cass Lake and Lake Bemidji are good bets for jumbo perch.
Eelpout are another favorite for many anglers as February wanes, and the fish are ramping up their feeding schedules in preparation for their upcoming spawn, Breuer said. The 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival is set for Feb. 22-25 on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn., so the timing should be great for pout anglers, Breuer predicts. Best of all, fishing season for eelpout is continuous.
Downhill ski report
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 20- to 40-inch base; no new snow in past seven days as of Feb. 12; not making snow. Info: bvskiarea.com.
• Detroit Mountain Ski Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: 20- to 60-inch base; 4½ inches of new snow in the past seven days as of Feb. 8. Info: detroitmountain.com.
Ski and snowmobile trails
• Grand Forks Greenway: The Frozen Feat 5K/10K race is set for today, starting and ending in front of Central High School on North Fourth Street. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with runners gathering at 9:20 a.m. The 10K race gets underway at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K race at 10 a.m. Info: frozenfeat.com.
• Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake: Ski trails are in excellent condition and were slated for grooming Thursday, Feb. 15; 3 inches of snowfall in the past seven days; snow depth 8 to 10 inches.
• Turtle River State Park near Arvilla, N.D.: Ski trails were groomed Wednesday, Feb. 14, and are in good condition; next grooming set for Wednesday, Feb. 21; snow depth 3 inches.
• Northeast North Dakota snowmobile trails: The only snowmobile trail systems listed as open by Snowmobile North Dakota are portions of the Lake Region Trail in Nelson and Ramsey counties and the Northeast Trail in Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties. Open trails on both systems are listed as fair to good. The Red River North and South trail systems remain closed from lack of snow. More info: snowmobilend.org.
• Big Bog State Recreation Area near Waskish, Minn.: Snowmobile trails are in very good shape and recently groomed with a 6-inch base; local snow depth 13 inches.
• Hayes Lake State Park south of Roseau, Minn.: Ski trails are groomed and excellent with a 5-inch base. Snowmobile trails are good with a 5-inch base and 6 miles groomed. Local snow depth 12 inches.
• Lake Bemidji State Park: Ski trails are excellent with a 5-inch base and 9 miles groomed. Snowmobile trails are excellent with a 5-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 10½ inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods: Ski trails are in excellent shape with a 7-inch base. Snowmobile trails are very good with a 7-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 14 inches.
-- Herald staff and wire reports