As much as I like ice fishing, I’d be lying if I said I was among the anglers who absolutely can’t wait to get out on frozen water.
The extended fall and the opportunity to fish in a boat as late as mid-November was just fine by me. I’ll wait until ice conditions improve.
On most bigger lakes, at least, we’re in that “tween-time” between open water and ice. A few people have ventured out on portions of Upper Red Lake, but areas along the south shore of the lake that were accessible to walking early this past weekend again were off limits by Sunday after south winds created sizeable cracks that made the going too dangerous.
Wigwam Resort on Lake of the Woods on Sunday posted a couple of satellite images on its Facebook page showing the differences in ice cover between last year and this year.
In the satellite photo from Nov. 27, 2014, Lake of the Woods was completely ice covered. The satellite photo from Sunday, by comparison, shows only a skim of ice, mainly on the western side of Minnesota waters in areas such as Muskeg Bay near Warroad and Buffalo Bay in Manitoba.
The ice looks very thin, though, and likely will move around as wind directions change.
Sunday’s satellite image of Devils Lake was mostly obscured by clouds, but the photo from the previous day shows what appears to be a light covering of ice in most areas. The color of the ice suggests it isn’t very thick.
Saturday afternoon, I saw a couple of anglers on a small lake between Barnesville, Minn., and Moorhead just off Interstate 94. As for me, the only ice I’ve been on so far is the English Coulee, where I joined a friend and his 5-year-old son Sunday for some skating and shinny hockey. The ice was great.
A couple of other items of note:
- Winter barely has started, but for anglers already clamoring for summer, organizers of the Scheels Boundary Battle Catfish Tournament sent out a news release this morning announcing the tournament date is set for June 25-26 on the Red River in Grand Forks. Entry fee is $220 per two-person team, and the prize for the winning team is $2,000 based on a full field of 50 teams. There’ll also be daily prizes of $1,000 for the top team each day and $500 for the big fish each day of the tournament, based on a full field. Registration begins Dec. 7 and will remain open until the 50-team field is filled or until tournament day. For more info, contact tournament director Brad Durick at (701) 539-5808 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at www.boundarybattle.com.
- Christmas bird count season is on the horizon. Every year from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, birding enthusiasts across North America gather to count birds in specific “count circles” as part of the one of the country’s longest-running wildlife censuses. The 44th annual Crookston count is set for 7 a.m. Dec. 19, and participants should meet at 7 a.m. at RBJ’s Restaurant in Crookston for breakfast and to plan routes for the day. Meanwhile, the count at Turtle River State Park near Arvilla, N.D., is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 1. There’ll also be a birding basics course from 10 to 11 a.m. in the park’s chalet. A vehicle entrance pass will be required. For more information on the Crookston count, contact compiler Tom Fiero at email@example.com, (218) 281-5515 (home) or (218) 521-0233 (cell). Call (701) 594-4445 for more information on the Turtle River count.