Monday Lake of the Woods ice update

Joe Henry of Lake of the Woods Tourism sent out an ice update for the big lake late this morning.

Here’s his report:

Wearing his trademark fox hat, R.C. Carlson of Red Fox Ice Fishing uses a snowmobile to pull a fish house across the ice Saturday in the Northwest Angle area of Lake of the Woods. (Lake of the Woods Tourism photo)

“The ice is forming nicely and water clarity looks good. Current ice report, Four-Mile Bay, 7-9 inches; Bostic Bay, 11 inches; Zippel Bay, 5-8 inches. On the lake, there’s 8 inches of ice in front of Pine Island, 3 to 4 inches off Zippel Bay and 3 inches near Birch Beach.

“There are some cracks and areas that need more time,” Henry said. “Everything depends upon weather. Some resorts may allow ATV travel after Thanksgiving. Water is looking clear. Some local guides have been catching walleyes. Pike spearing going well. Ice fishing season is shaping up nicely. When it’s time, work through resorts and follow marked ice trails.”

Farther north, Henry says there will be ATV and snowmobile traffic after Thanksgiving up at the Northwest Angle, where there’s 7 to 8 inches of ice in Minnesota waters and 3 to 5 inches in current areas.

“Many cracks as common this time of year,” Henry said. “Looking forward to this week of cold weather.”

Some resorts at the Angle will be setting out rental houses Dec. 10, Henry said.

On the Rainy River, Henry says there’s 5 inches of ice in front of Timber Mill Park in Baudette, Minn., in front of Baudette Bay and at the airport. Some walleyes being caught in 14 to 18 of water of water in the evenings by locals who know the ice, Henry said — safety first.

Given Lake of the Woods’ popularity as a winter fishing destination, lodging will be at a premium when ice fishing hits full swing. For more information on lodging availability, click here.

Friday ice update

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.

Satellite image of Devils Lake from today.

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.

Today’s satellite view of Lake of the Woods.

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.


Update on trophy Kittson County buck

Here’s an update on the big buck that was shot northeast of Lancaster, Minn., in Kittson County on Saturday by Joel Deere and Aaron Younggren, longtime friends and members of a nearby hunting camp.

Randy Dufault of East Grand Forks, a certified measurer for Boone and Crockett, scored the buck’s 18-point rack earlier today and said the deer is every bit as impressive in person as it is in photographs.

“Huge body, which should take away from the rack but it doesn’t,” Dufault writes in an email. “Very nice buck.”

According to Dufault, the buck has a green score of 221 7/8 inches gross and  218 1/8 inches net. The main beams measure more than 28  inches, and the rack has an inside spread of nearly 22 inches, Dufault said. The buck scores 188 1/8 inches in the typical category for symmetrical antlers with 25 inches of nontypical points.

Dufault said it’s the biggest rack he’s measured in awhile.

I had a chance to talk with both Deere and Younggren about the buck Monday and hear the story about how they came to shoot the trophy, which Deere first spotted on his trail camera in early 2013 but consistently eluded being seen. You can check out the full story in this Sunday’s section of Northland Outdoors.

To see a photo of the buck in the Herald’s online Trophy Room gallery, click here.