OUTDOOR REPORT: Some resorts allow vehicle traffic on the ice but caution is crucial
Lake of the Woods
Ice fishing is in full swing, and the bite continues to be very good, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Anglers are catching numbers of walleyes and saugers in 17 feet to 25 feet of water. Typical Lake of the Woods colors such as gold, pink, glow and blue are triggering bites.
Resorts have marked trails for snowmobiles, ATVs and similar vehicles, while others are transporting guests with light ice rigs. Adrian's Resort on its Facebook page said Monday that it is allowing small to midsize vehicles onto the ice as long as they're not towing anything, along with ATV and side-by-side vehicles pulling wheel houses up to 17 feet long.
Anglers should stay on marked trails and avoid venturing off. The ice ranges from 9 to 14 inches where resorts are fishing, according to Lake of the Woods Tourism. A big crack that formed 8 miles off Pine Island stretches to Long Point. Snow conditions are marginal.
Farther west, Dale's on Lake of the Woods near Rocky Point said its access remains closed because of a crack running east to west on the north side of Gull Rock, which has resulted in unsafe ice conditions.
Up at the Northwest Angle, the ice road is open from Young's Bay to Flag Island but no farther as of yet, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Other areas still need more time and thicker ice before vehicle traffic is allowed. As always, neck down areas and other places with current are iffy. Resorts are starting their winter season, and reports are very good, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.
Ice conditions on the lake are pretty good for this time of year, but extreme caution still is advised, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service said this week. Some parts of the lake have more than a foot of ice, while other areas have thinner ice, he said.
As for the fishing, Bry said anglers are catching perch and walleyes, with some areas producing some real dandies. The best perch fishing seems to be in 25 feet to 35 feet of water, Bry said, with the best walleye action during the early morning or late afternoon hours in 6 to 15 feet of water. Aggressive lures such as Buckshot Rattle Spoons are a good bet for walleyes during low-light hours.
On Creel Bay, Woodland Resort reports finding 9 inches to 12 inches of ice, with less in the Main Bay past Rocky and Military points.
Upper Red Lake
Walleye fishing has been "good to very good," of late, with numerous limits coming in, West Wind Resort in Waskish, Minn., reported Wednesday on its Facebook page. Walleyes are spread out, so setting up away from the crowds is a good bet, the report said. Rattle spoons tipped with shiners or fathead minnows are working well.
The resort on Wednesday opened its access to half-ton trucks and single-axle fish houses but is requesting drivers to keep the road speeds to less than 10 mph. Excessive speed creates wave action under the ice and deteriorates the roads.
Most lakes have 10 to 12 inches of ice, but anglers should always use caution and know the area where they're driving because ice conditions vary, Dick Beardsley of Dick Beardsley Fishing Guide Service reported this week. Anglers are catching walleyes on Lake Bemidji, he said, but the window of opportunity has been limited to late afternoon and early morning hours. Action is better on cloudy days, and jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads are a good bet in 12 to 22 feet of water, Beardsley said. Lake Plantagenet, Grace Lake and Lake Andrusia also are kicking out a few walleyes and perch, he said, and panfish action has been good on Midge, Wolf, Gull and Pimushe lakes. Look for crappies suspended in the deeper basins and bluegills off the weed edges, where small jigs and plastics or waxworms are working, Beardsley said.
Area ski report
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 12- to 30-inch base, machine groomed, 5 inches of new snow in the past week. Making snow. Tubing park opens this weekend with hours from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; skiing and snowboarding hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: (218) 243-2231 or www.bvskiarea.com.
• Detroit Mountain Ski Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: 18- to 38-inch base, machine groomed, no new snow, making snow. Hours/info: www.detroitmountain.com.
-- Herald staff reports