OUTDOOR REPORT: Snow and cold challenge ice fishing enthusiasts; trail conditions improve
Lake of the Woods
Ice fishing remains pretty good for this time of year, with a "nice mix" of walleyes and saugers, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Most of the fishing now is taking place 12 to 15 miles out in 30 to 32 feet of water, although anglers who are able to get away from traffic have reported finding decent schools of fish closer to shore, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. The ice now is more than 30 inches thick in most areas being fished. Some of the nicer walleyes being caught, of late, have been suspended higher in the water column so electronics are helpful.
Up at the Northwest Angle, anglers continue to catch a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, perch, pike, tullibees and eelpout, with best action in 24 to 30 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. Pink-and-white jigs, along with gold and glow, have been strong colors, and rattle baits have been useful in attracting fish. In Ontario waters, look for crappies in deeper water. The mortality rate is high for crappies released from 25 feet or deeper, so anglers should keep a few fish and move on. The ice road from Young's Bay to Flag and Oak islands is open.
It's been "quite the week," with nearly a foot of snow and wind chill values down to 70 below, but that hasn't kept crews off the ice, reports Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service. With the amount of snow and drifts now on the ice, truck travel isn't advised off plowed roads, Bry said, adding the only way to go is with tracked vehicles.
As for the fishing, clients still caught some fish during the brutal weather, including a few limits of perch, Bry said. Best perch action has been out deeper in mud-bottom areas. Dropper-style rigs tipped with wax worms or minnow heads are a good bet in 32 to 38 feet of water, Bry said. Walleye action has been best in the morning and late afternoon, with anglers having their best luck working Buckshot Rattle Spoons and blade baits in 6 to 20 feet of water, Bry said.
Downhill skiing report
• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: Machine groomed, with a 32- to 60-inch base as of latest update Feb. 5; 4 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 10 inches of snow in the previous seven days; not making snow. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Info: bvskiarea.com.
• Detroit Mountain Recreation Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: Powder conditions, with a 32- to 70-inch base as of Feb. 4; 6 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 10 inches in the previous week; not making snow. Info/hours: detroitmountain.com.
Area trails report
• Grand Forks Greenway: Ski trails were groomed and in great shape Tuesday, but the latest blizzard will require another grooming once weather conditions improve. The additional snow should only help conditions.
• Turtle River State Park: Trail conditions weren't available Thursday, either on the park's website or Facebook page, and trails likely will have to be groomed after the latest blizzard. For more information, contact the park at (701) 795-3180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Northeast N.D. snowmobile trails: Portions of the Red River South, Northeast, Lake Region and North Central trail systems are open and being groomed after recent snowfall. For updates on specific trails or loops, check out the Snowmobile North Dakota website at www.snowmobilend.org/trails.
• Beltrami Forest North: Good snowmobiling conditions, and trail is groomed. Trailheads are located 12 miles south of Warroad, Minn., on County Road 5 and at Bemis Hill, 12 miles south of Warroad on County Road 5 and six miles west on the Thompson Forest Road. Local snow depth 22 to 24 inches.
• Itasca State Park, Minn.: Very good skiing conditions, with an 8- to 10-inch trail base and 13 miles groomed. Very good snowmobiling conditions, with a 4- to 6-inch base and 31 miles groomed. Local snow depth 20 inches.
• La Salle Lake State Recreation Area near Solway, Minn.: Very good to excellent snowmobiling conditions, with a 4- to 6-inch base; local snow depth 20 inches.
• Lake Bemidji State Park: Excellent skiing conditions, with a 5-inch base and 9 miles groomed. Excellent snowmobiling conditions, with a 5-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 20 inches.
• Lake Bronson State Park: Fair skiing conditions, with a 3-inch base and 8-mile trail that isn't groomed. Fair snowmobiling conditions, with a 3-inch base and 3-mile trail that isn't groomed. Local snow depth 15 inches.
• Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods: Very good skiing conditions, with a 7-inch base and a partially groomed trail. Very good snowmobiling conditions, with a 7-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 19 inches.
-- Herald staff reports