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OUTDOOR REPORT: Ice fishing, other winter activities winding down for the season

Lake of the Woods

Ice fishing is winding down, and many resorts have pulled their rental houses to shore and called it a wrap on the season, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported Monday in its weekly update. Anglers still ice fishing have had good success in 24 to 31 feet of water during the day and in 15 to 20 feet of water during the morning and evening hours. Pike action continues to improve, the report said, with many fish over 40 inches caught in the past week.

Up at the Northwest Angle, walleyes are coming from 14 to 22 feet of water, with best action during the morning and evening hours. Saugers and jumbo perch occasionally are part of the mix, as well.

Much of the focus now turns to the Rainy River, where a catch-and-release walleye season on the river and Four-Mile Bay is open through April 14. As of Wednesday, Royal Dutchman Resort near Baudette, Minn., said the Rainy River was open shore to shore 14.2 river miles east of Birchdale, Minn., 22.1 river miles east of the Frontier Landing and 38.4 miles east of the Royal Dutchman's location east of Baudette. It won't be long, in other words, before anglers begin dragging small boats across shoreline ice to reach open water at public access points. Typically, crews using heavy equipment then clear remaining ice off the ramps a short time later. Koochiching County cleared the parking lot at the Frontier Landing this week, Royal Dutchman reported.

Devils Lake

Fishing reports are hard to come by, but there's still plenty of ice fishing opportunity to be had. Pike become more active, especially on sunny days, and warmer temperatures make it easier for anglers stay mobile in search of perch and walleyes.

Fish houses as of March 15 no longer could be left on the ice overnight. The next deadline is coming April 1, when new North Dakota angling, trapping and hunting licenses are required. Licenses can be purchased on the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov, at more than 140 vendor locations throughout the state or by calling (800) 406-6409. The 2019-20 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

New this year, hunters and anglers in North Dakota can register as organ, eye and tissue donors. By clicking the link after buying a license, users will be directed to the North Dakota Department of Transportation donor registry. More information on the donor registry is available on the DOT's website at www.dot.nd.gov/divisions/driverslicense/donorregistry.htm or by contacting LifeSource directly at (888) 5-DONATE.

Downhill skiing report

• Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: Machine groomed, with a 32- to 60-inch base; 12 inches of new snow in the past seven days as of March 18; not making snow. Customer Appreciation Days are set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with tubing at noon. Special lift ticket and rental rates, along with music outside by the old fireplace, cookouts, free drawings and more. This most likely will be the last weekend of the season. Info/hours: www.bvskiarea.com.

• Detroit Mountain Recreation Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: Packed powder, with a 32- to 72-inch base; 16 inches of new snow in the past seven days as of last update March 14; not making snow. Info: www.detroitmountain.com.

Area trails report

• Hayes Lake State Park near Roseau, Minn.: Fair skiing conditions, with an 8-inch base; groomed. Good snowmobile conditions, with a 12-inch base and 6 miles groomed. Local snow depth 20 inches.

• Lake Bemidji State Park: Ski trails were groomed Friday, March 15 but are icy with the recent thaw; conditions are fair, with a 6-inch base. Fair snowmobiling conditions, with a 6-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 20 inches.

• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Ski trails are in poor condition and weren't groomed after the deep, wet snow from last week's blizzard; 14-inch base. Very good snowmobiling conditions, with a 10-inch base and 3 miles groomed. Local snow depth 24 inches.

• Red River North Trail System (Pembina and Walsh counties): Good spring conditions, but snowmobilers should watch for bare spots and water in low areas. Groomers will not run this week, and Trail 17 is closed.

• Northeast Trail System (Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties): Some of the trails in the system are open while others are closed. Watch for bare spots in low areas. Groomers will not run this week. Check snowmobilend.org for info regarding specific trails in the system.

• Red River South Trail: Conditions are fair, with bare spots and water in low areas. Trail is closed from Forest River to Voss, N.D.

• Lake Region Trail (Nelson and Ramsey counties): Trails are open, and trails 1 and 2 were groomed this week; other trails in the system are not recently groomed.

-- Herald staff reports