Lake of the Woods

Ice fishing is underway, and many resorts have fish houses out with others watching ice conditions where they fish, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Subzero temperatures are helping, and some ice roads are open to ATV and snowmobile traffic. As always, anglers should check with resorts or outfitters for the most recent updates on the areas they fish.

Fishing has been excellent, as expected, and most anglers are finding walleyes and saugers in 21 feet to 26 feet of water with a shallow bite happening mornings and evenings in 18 to 20 feet of water. Most anglers are actively jigging one line and running a “dead stick” setup with a bobber or set line on the other. There’s very little snow on the ice, so ice cleats also are a good idea.

Up at the Northwest Angle, some resorts have a few fish houses out and initial walleye reports are excellent, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Ice remains dicey in high-current areas, but the recent cold snap is helping. The majority of ice traffic is snowmobiles so far, and staying on marked trails is essential for those who don’t know the area they are traveling, Lake of the Woods Tourism advises.

Devils Lake

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Ice conditions remain variable, but Woodland Resort on Tuesday, Dec. 10 reported more than 10 inches of ice on the part of Creel Bay in front of the resort. Conditions will continue to improve with this weeks’ cold snap. Anglers have been driving ATVs and larger tracked vehicles on northern lakes such as Alice, Irvine, Mike’s and Dry lakes, but caution remains the buzzword.

There’s been a good walleye bite early in the morning and again before dark in 12 to 20 feet of water near rock piles and flooded trees, Woodland Resort reports. Perch reports will become more abundant as anglers do more exploring, the report said, but early reports indicate anglers are catching a mix of perch and walleyes in 35 to 40 feet of water.

As always, anglers should use caution and avoid current areas.

Ski and trails report

  • Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: Updated reports weren’t available Thursday morning, but the snow that’s fallen in recent days should make for good skiing conditions. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Info: or
  • Northwest Minnesota: Cross-country ski and snowmobile trails remain in poor conditions across most of northwest Minnesota with the exception of Itasca State Park, where the Department of Natural Resources lists ski trails in good condition and snowmobile trails in fair condition; local snow depth 11 inches.

-- Herald staff reports