Lake of the Woods

Fishing pressure is heavy, perhaps even heavier than usual, because of the snow and slush conditions that are hampering access to many other northern Minnesota lakes. Overall, fishing is good, and anglers are catching a mix of saugers and walleyes, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. The catch has included some very small fish, lots of eaters and some huge fish, with best action in 28 to 31 feet of water. Electronics are helpful to target suspended walleyes, and lures with rattles or other noise-making capability also can be effective.

Up at the Northwest Angle, Sportsman’s Oak Island Lodge reports fishing has been “up and down” in recent days. Best action is in 22 to 26 feet of water, with walleyes most abundant in rocky areas, while saugers and a few perch are hitting in areas with sand and mud bottoms. Pink, glow and gold have been the most productive lure colors.

On the west side of the lake, Springsteel Resort north of Warroad, Minn., on Wednesday, Jan. 8, said it was limiting road traffic to DNR Reef for the next couple of days because of cracks farther out near the south tip of Buffalo Point. Anglers planning to fish that area should check with the resort for the latest conditions, which should improve with the colder weather in the forecast.

Devils Lake

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Ice conditions are excellent, with 18 inches of ice on Alice, Irving and Dry lakes, Devils Lake Tourism reported last week. The main basin has 15 to 18 inches of ice. Snow conditions are such that anglers have been able to get around with four-wheel-drive vehicles, but as always, anglers should use caution near pressure ridges and areas with current. Look for perch in 30 to 40 feet of water with small gold jigs tipped with waxworms or spikes producing the best results. Walleyes are most active in the 90-minute window early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Look for walleyes in 5 to 7 feet of water in the upper basin lakes and 15 to 20 feet along old main lake shorelines in Devils Lake.

Bemidji area

Heavy snowfall has created a mess on Bemidji-area lakes, and slush under the snow and on top of the ice has created difficult access conditions, Dick Beardsley of Dick Beardsley Fishing Guide Service reported this week. Lake Bemidji is like a “ghost town,” he said because the snow and slush has made access so difficult. The best bet for getting around on area lakes, Beardsley says, is to walk out with snowshoes and portables and be prepared for a workout.

Downhill skiing report

  • Frost Fire Park near Walhalla, N.D.: Frost Fire Park is up and running for skiing and snowboarding; 24- to 36-inch base of manmade snow. Open runs are Appleton Meadow, Chicory, Prairie Smoke, Yarrow, Spiderwort, Harebell beginner magic carpet hill and Lions Tooth Terrain Park. Slope hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Info: (701) 549-3600 or on the Web at http://frostfirepark.org.

  • Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 24- to 48-inch base, 8 inches of new snow in the past seven days, not making snow. Open 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12. Snowjourn cross-country race and tour originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11, has been moved back to Sunday, Jan. 12 because of predicted cold weather. Info: (218) 243-2231 or bvskiarea.com.

  • Detroit Mountain Recreation Area near Detroit Lakes, Minn.: 22- to 48-inch base, making snow. Info/hours: detroitmountain.com, info@detroitmountain.com or (218) 844-SNOW.

Trail conditions

  • Lake of the Woods area: The snowmobile trails from the south shore to Oak Island and the Northwest Angle, south shore to Warroad and Warroad to Oak Island and the Northwest Angle are all marked with black stakes. Grooming is in progress. For more information about the trails and latest on the land trails, check out Lake of the Wood’s Drifters and the Northwest Angle Edge Riders Facebook pages.

  • Itasca State Park, Minn.: Very good skiing conditions, with a 3- to 5-inch base and 13 miles groomed; very good snowmobile conditions, with a 4-inch base and 4 inches groomed. Local snow depth 18 inches.

  • Lake Bemidji State Park: Excellent skiing conditions, with a 5-inch base; excellent snowmobile conditions, with a 5-inch base. Local snow depth 23 inches.

  • Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Fair skiing conditions; good snowmobiling conditions, with a 6-inch base. Local snow depth 9 inches.

  • Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Good snowmobiling conditions, with a 6-inch base. Local snow depth 11 inches.

  • Lake Region Trail (Nelson and Ramsey counties): Groomers have been out packing trails, and the trail from Devils Lake to Lakota, N.D., is open and in fair conditions, Snowmobile North Dakota reports on its website. Other trails will open as snow conditions allow. Other northeast North Dakota are listed as closed. Check snowmobilend.org for the latest updates.

-- Herald staff report