High water delays final spring trout stocking at Turtle River State Park

There’ll be another spring shipment of rainbow trout stocked in the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park, but it won’t be until sometime next week when river levels become more manageable.

Normally, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocks another batch of rainbow trout into the Turtle River right before the Memorial Day weekend, but the recent widespread rains have the river running at “bank full” levels, and the water is very muddy.

Steve Crandall, manager of Turtle River State Park, said the park was scheduled to get its last load of trout for the spring Thursday, but he said delaying seemed a prudent option, given the river conditions.

“I figured most of those fish would just ride out of the park reaches of the river when it’s this high,” Crandall said in an email.

Not surprisingly, Crandall said a busy weekend is on tap at the park, and reservations are filled. Even last weekend, which was Canada’s annual May long weekend, was booked solid, Crandall said, and the Canadian campers all showed up — and stayed — through all the rain. Now that’s dedication.

More trout stocked at Turtle River State Park

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked another batch of rainbow trout into the Turtle River on Monday at Turtle River State Park.

According to Steve Crandall, park manager, Game and Fish stocked 700 rainbows averaging about a half-pound each. A third stocking tentatively is scheduled for sometime shortly before Memorial Day, Crandall said, and that will be it for this spring. A fourth stocking likely will occur about the third weekend in September after the river cools off a bit, Crandall said.

Ice going fast on Lake of the Woods

It won’t be long now.

Lake of the Woods 42815Today’s satellite imagery from the MODIS Today website shows Lake of the Woods is nearly ice-free. There appears to be a rapidly deteriorating patch of ice floating around the center of Big Traverse Bay and some thicker ice along the shoreline between Rocky Point and Long Point, but if the past couple of days are any indication, it won’t linger very long.

With the May 9 walleye opener still more than a week away, it’s all but guaranteed the big pond will be ice-free by opening day. The lake was mostly ice covered for the previous two openers.

How this year’s early spring — and earlier ice-out — affects fishing prospects for the opener remains to be seen, but I’d assume the Rainy River will figure less prominently than it did in 2013 and 2014. The Rainy the past two years was a big fish bonanza, but many of those larger pre-spawn walleyes likely will have trickled back into the lake by opening day.

Only one way to find out, though, and that’s the fun part.

Check out the satellite imagery for yourself here.