Brad Dokken: Winter fishing exercise begins to warmth up throughout the area

However as everybody is aware of, this isn’t a traditional yr – on many various ranges.

However as everybody is aware of, this isn’t a traditional yr – on many various ranges.

Anglers have been venturing out on small lakes for just a few weeks already, and fishing stories are trickling in from components of Devils Lake and elsewhere within the basin. Higher Crimson Lake, in fact, is among the many first massive lakes within the area with protected ice, and anglers have been converging in droves in pursuit of the massive lake’s famend walleyes.

Lake of the Woods is getting shut, and the chilly snap that’s within the forecast ought to get the season began in full swing. A number of anglers have been venturing out already, however resorts usually wait till there’s 9 inches to 12 inches of excellent ice earlier than setting out their rental homes.

It received’t be lengthy now.

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The dearth of snow up to now, whereas disappointing for snowmobilers and cross-country snowboarding fans, is nice information for ice fishing as a result of it supplies the chance for Mom Nature to make protected ice. Snow insulates the ice and hampers freeze-up, which created disastrous situations on many lakes throughout the area final winter.

Lake of the Woods escaped the brunt of final yr’s early snowfall, and the ensuing favorable entry situations drew many anglers who may need fished elsewhere, had ice situations been extra favorable on different our bodies of water.

Consequently, anglers logged a whopping 2.8 million hours of ice fishing stress final winter on Lake of the Woods. Given favorable ice-making situations up to now elsewhere within the area, time will inform whether or not the massive lake attracts related stress this winter, however with the continuing closure of the U.S.-Canadian border, I wouldn’t be shocked if it does.

Anglers who can’t make journeys to Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg – arguably the most popular ice fishing vacation spot within the area lately – may set their sights on Lake of the Woods as an alternative.

We’ll see.


Personally, I haven’t felt a lot urge to get on the ice to this point. Fact be advised, I don’t even have my winter fishing gear organized. Every part is just about the place I left it after a snowmobile journey to Oak Island on Lake of the Woods’ Northwest Angle final February. The pandemic – man, I’m wanting ahead to the day I not have to make use of that phrase – descended a few weeks later, and any semblance of regular life shortly disappeared.

Sadly, we’re not out of the figurative woods but, which may make for a protracted winter.

A few mates and I had a video chat the opposite evening, and the subject turned to winter plans. All of us have erred on the facet of warning in our method to COVID-19, each when it comes to practising social distancing and benefiting from the free group testing that’s accessible.

Whereas not foolproof, the testing a minimum of supplies some piece of thoughts in terms of getting collectively for searching and fishing excursions.

If all goes in response to plan, we hope to make a return journey to Oak Island this winter, both by snowmobile as we’ve completed lately, or through the Northwest Angle Visitor Ice Street that’s being developed as a method to entry the distant a part of Minnesota with out driving by way of Canada, which historically is the one method to attain the Angle by street.

Due to a partnership together with resorts, Lake of the Woods Tourism, native snowmobile golf equipment and others, the street will start at Springsteel Resort north of Warroad, Minn., and proceed about 22 miles on the ice to Stony Level. From there, the street will choose up the “Border Cut Trail” snowmobile route for 8 miles to Lake of the Woods County Street 330, the street to the Angle.

From there, guests will flip proper towards Jim’s Nook, the place they will both go left towards resorts alongside Angle Inlet or proper towards Younger’s Bay and the ice street that’s plowed to Flag and Oak islands.

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There’ll be a payment to entry the brand new winter street, however it’s an revolutionary concept that ought to assist resorts on the Angle and close by Flag and Oak islands entice enterprise that was sorely missing all through the summer time.

The street is predicted to be open in January, offering there’s a minimum of 15 inches of ice to assist autos of all sizes. Right here’s hoping it’s a hit for everybody concerned.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

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