Ice fishing beginning on Lake of the Woods

The Arctic blast that has descended on the Northland is just what the doctor ordered if you’re a Lake of the Woods ice fishing enthusiast or one of the many resorts or outfitters who cater to those enthusiasts.

Lightweight vehicles from Ballard’s Resort near Baudette, Minn., haul rental houses across Pine Island onto the frozen expanse of Lake of the Woods in this photo from Dec. 11, 2007. The winter fishing again is getting started along the south shore, where resorts are pulling rental houses onto ice that is more than 9 inches thick in most places. “Caution” and “safety” remain the words of the day, though, and anglers should check with resorts or use their accesses when venturing out. (Brad Dokken photo)

Joe Henry, executive director of Lake of the Woods Tourism, sent out a report this morning saying permanent houses are beginning to dot the south shore of the frozen lake, and others are being pulled out.

As for the fishing? “Very good,” Henry says. Water clarity is good, and the ice is 9 inches or thicker in most spots but does very in places.

It’s very important, Henry said, that anyone venturing onto the ice use a resort or resort ice road to access the lake because there are a few spots where the ice is covered with light snow and not as thick.

For now, it’s light vehicle traffic only, Henry said; ATV traffic is allowed in some places, or resorts can provide transportation on and off the ice. Walleyes are hitting in 15 to 22 feet of water.

Up at the Northwest Angle, Frank Walsh of Bay Store Camp on Oak Island says he marked a trail on the south side of Oak on Sunday and found more than 8 inches of ice everywhere except for one small area of 6 inches where he expected to find thinner ice

Walsh said there were three pressure ridges just off the south side of the island, and he plans to start pulling houses onto the lake either today or tomorrow. And with lows in the single digits forecast for the next few days, conditions will continue to improve.

Things also are about to get rolling on the west side of the lake. Izzy’s Ice Fishing of Warroad, Minn., which rents sleeper houses, made the following Twitter post Sunday: “Hungry for walleye?  Fishing this weekend, #get it booked.”

 

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