Outdoor report: Ice fishing remains good on big lakes across the region
Lake of the Woods
Great fishing continues, but walleyes and saugers along the south shore are beginning to slide a bit deeper into 25 to 31 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. There's also a window of walleye opportunity during the morning and evening hours in 13 to 18 feet of water, and a few anglers even have reported catching walleyes at night, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. That's unusual, but not unheard of, in the stained waters on the Minnesota side of the lake.
Ice ranges from 12 to 16 inches thick where resorts are fishing, and resorts have trails marked for ATVs and snowmobiles, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Anglers looking to venture out with larger vehicles should check with the resort they're using for the most recent access updates.
Snowmobile trails on the lake are staked from the south shore up to the Northwest Angle, and this week's snow should improve riding conditions. Riders should stay on marked trails and exercise safety precautions as ice conditions vary.
Up at the Northwest Angle, the ice road is open from Young's Bay to Flag Island, but no farther, as more ice is necessary before vehicle traffic is allowed to Oak Island. Fishing reports are excellent, with good numbers of walleyes being caught, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Good crappie reports are coming from the Ontario side of the lake.
Walleyes have been hitting in 18 to 25 feet of water from dawn until about 10 a.m. and then from 3 p.m. until dark, according to the latest report from Devils Lake Tourism. Perch action has been best on sunny days, and small jigs tipped with spikes or wax worms always are a good bet. Ice averages 10 to 12 inches thick, Devils Lake Tourism reports, and getting around with ATVs or similar light vehicles isn't a problem. This week's snowfall may complicate access, and anglers should check with resorts or bait shops for the latest conditions.
Upper Red Lake
Walleye fishing has been spotty, but reports overall have been decent, with best action in 8 to 10 feet of water, West Wind Resort in Waskish, Minn., reported in its latest update. Anglers are bringing in lots of limits, the report said, and red, gold and glow rattle spoons tipped with a shiner or fathead minnow are reliable producers on Upper Red. As of Thursday, West Wind said its main ice road system now covers 7 miles on two roads. Ice is more than 16 inches thick with no major obstacles. This week's snow could create flooding issues if cracks develop, but time will tell. Regardless, vehicles should keep the speeds down to 15 mph or less, the report said, especially larger trucks towing wheel houses.
Downhill ski update
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: Machine groomed with a 24- to 40-inch base. There was 7 inches of new snow in the past seven days as of Dec. 26, but the snow that's fallen since then will add to that. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Jan. 1 for skiing and snowboarding and from noon to 6 p.m. for tubing. Info: bvskiarea.com.
• Detroit Mountain Recreation Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: Machine groomed with a 24- to 50-inch base. The area had received 1½ inches of new snow in the past week as of Dec. 23, but this week's snowfall should significantly add to that total. Info: detroitmountain.com.
-- Herald staff reports