There likely will be more closures to come, thanks to a late spring that has delayed walleye spawning, but the Department of Natural Resources announced today that a portion of Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake in Itasca County will be closed from May 11 to May 17 because of high concentrations of spawning walleyes.
The closure affects an an area near the egg collection operation on Little Cut Foot Sioux and extends from Williams Narrows upstream through the First River Flowage up to Egg Lake.
No fishing will be allowed during this period in the specified area. Signs will be posted at the narrows and other access points within the closed area.
“The closure is necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around the spawning site where the DNR’s egg collection operation is located,” said Chris Kavanaugh, Grand Rapids area fisheries manager. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the area and restrict recreational opportunities, but our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery. We considered the safeguard offered with the protected slot limit, but felt the risk of overharvest was too high.”
Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji, said the agency will decide early this coming week whether to implement any temporary closures in northwest Minnesota. Stay tuned.
Satellite imagery showed Lake of the Woods almost completely locked in ice Monday.
Satellite imagery showed the U.S. side of Lake of the Woods mostly locked in ice early this week, with the exception of Four-Mile Bay near the mouth of the Rainy River and a tiny patch of adjacent water on the other side of Lighthouse Gap, where Four-Mile Bay gives way to the main portion of Lake of the Woods. Heavy cloud cover obstructed the satellite view of the lake Tuesday but the image here offers a good look at the extent of the ice cover on the Minnesota portion of the lake.
Click here to see daily satellite views.
Frank Walsh of Bay Store Camp on Oak Island took this photo today of a large patch of open water between Oak and Flag islands on Lake of the Woods’ Northwest Angle.
Earlier today, though, Frank Walsh of Bay Store Camp on Oak Island near the Minnesota-Ontario border sent a picture he took from his living room window showing a large patch of open water between Oak and Flag islands. There’s a fair bit of current that flows between the two islands, and it’s treacherous even in the depths of winter, but the open water is an encouraging sign during this spring that promises to offer some of the latest ice-outs on record across the region. Walsh said he’s also seen deer falling through the ice, which is a good indicator that conditions are changing rapidly.
Meanwhile, Randy Hiltner, northeast district fisheries supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake, said the big lake remains locked in ice with the exception of some open water under the bridges. The coulees are just starting to run north of Devils Lake, he said, and fishing up there is likely a week or so away. Given the abundance of fish-attracting current that will be flowing through the ditches, anglers can expect strong runs of walleyes and pike this spring. It likely will be worth the wait.
Thanks to the latest snowstorm, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has postponed the four district advisory board meetings scheduled for tonight and tomorrow.
Tonight’s meeting in Esmond, N.D., has been rescheduled for April 23, and tomorrow’s meeting in Fordville, N.D., is rescheduled for April 24. The locations will remain as scheduled: the Fire Hall in Esmond and the American Legion in Fordville. The meeting in Esmond is for District 3, which covers Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties; the Fordville meeting for District 4 covers Grand Forks,Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties.
Farther west, tonight’s meeting in Belfield, N.D., has been rescheduled for April 22. The advisory board meeting scheduled for Tuesday night in Watford City, N.D., hasn’t yet been rescheduled.
Game and Fish holds the meetings every spring and fall in each of the state’s advisory board districts.