As goes the wind, so goes the ice on Lake of the Woods.
This afternoon’s MODIS Today satellite image of Lake of the Woods shows a strip of open water on most of Buffalo Bay in Manitoba and the western third of Muskeg Bay near Warroad, Minn. Pushed by westerly winds, the ice sheet continues to cover most of Big Traverse Bay to the east, with the exception of Four-Mile Bay and adjacent areas on the Ontario side of the lake. Much of the Northwest Angle also has open water, but a large ice sheet that lingers in Little Traverse Bay likely will move if the wind switches.
Either way, it won’t be long before the big lake is open. With Minnesota’s May 9 fishing opener still more than two weeks away, it’s a safe bet the big lake will be ice free coming opening day. That will be a change from the past two years, when most of the Big Traverse remained ice covered for the first several days of fishing season.
Devils Lake is ice free, as well, and with North Dakota’s fishing season open year-round, it shouldn’t be long before walleye reports begin to surface.
It’s time to go trout fishing.
That’s the word from Steve Crandall, manager of Turtle River State Park, who said the park this afternoon received 1,000 Shasta-strain rainbow trout averaging about a half-pound each. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocks rainbow trout in the Turtle River every spring and again toward fall if water levels permit. The fall stocking, when it occurs, generally includes larger rainbows.
Crandall said the river is low, so the fish should be easy to find. Hopefully some rain falls in the next couple of weeks so the park can get an additional 1,000 trout in early May, he added.
Turtle River State Park is located about 20 miles west of Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 2 near Arvilla, N.D.
Spring weather has taken a step backwards the past few days, but that hasn’t halted the progress of open water on the Rainy River along the Minnesota-Ontario border.
Clementson Resort posted this photo earlier this morning showing the boat ramp on the Rainy River at Nelson Park in Birchdale, Minn., has been cleared of ice and now is accessible to larger boats.
Clementson Resort posted a photo on its Facebook page this morning showing the boat ramp at Nelson Park in Birchdale, Minn., has been cleared of ice and is now accessible to big boats. Located about 30 miles east of Baudette, Minn., the Birchdale ramp is typically one of the first to open to large boat traffic.
As for the fishing, I haven’t heard a lot of reports to this point, but word is anglers are averaging about 25 walleyes per boat. No big walleyes yet, but numerous eater-sized fish and walleyes up to about 24 inches have been reported.
Springtime regulations on the Rainy limit anglers to two fish, and all walleyes longer than 19½ inches must be released. The regulation applies to all waters of the Rainy, including Four-Mile Bay of Lake of the Woods.
Clementson Resort and Royal Dutchman Resort near Baudette both are offering daily updates on their Facebook pages. Conditions on the river will change daily as ice-out progresses, but bottom line is one ramp is already open to large boats. Fishing season on the Rainy River and other Minnesota-Ontario border waters is open through April 14. When the river is open to Lake of the Woods remains to be seen and likely will hinge on the return of warmer temperatures.
More information about spring fishing on the Rainy River is available here.