Devils Lake continues to make ice, and it won’t be long before anglers begin venturing out in some areas — if they haven’t already.
I checked out the MODIS Today website, which provides daily satellite images from across the country, this afternoon. There were just enough clouds to slightly obscure the view of Devils Lake, but it’s apparent ice is beginning to form in many areas.
As the satellite photo here shows, the areas with the most ice are a bluish-white color while the parts of the lake with the least ice appear as more of a solid blue. Judging by the satellite imagery, that means Main Bay has the least ice while Pelican Lake in the upper left-hand corner and areas farther east have better ice. Smaller lakes to the north have been frozen for the past week.
Looking to the east, clouds also obscured part of Lake of the Woods, but today’s satellite imagery shows Big Traverse Bay, which comprises the bulk of Minnesota waters, is mostly ice-covered, as is Buffalo Bay in Manitoba and portions of Ontario waters farther east. The ice likely will move and shift a bit with the wind over the next few days until it’s better established, but all signs point to one of the earliest starts to ice fishing in several years.
It’s hard to believe I was out there in a boat less than three weeks ago.
Ice fishing already is in full swing on Upper Red Lake, which is considerably shallower than either Lake of the Woods or Devils Lake and among the first big lakes in the region to freeze. A couple of resorts, West Wind and Rogers’ on Red, are allowing ATV and snowmobile traffic, but anglers who venture out are advised to stay on the staked trails where ice thickness has been confirmed. There’s already a solid 9 inches in places, from what I’ve read.
The cover story in this coming Sunday’s outdoors section features an update on “The Big Three” — Devils Lake, Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake — and fishing outlooks for this winter. You’ll find the story here on Sunday.