First off, both Allen and Scott moved from Grand Forks, ND to Warroad, MN! It was a no-brainer for us to switch teaching jobs and move to the shores of Lake of the Woods. That said, the move did make for a very busy summer and fall, and not much fishing happened once the school year started. We are finally settled into our new positions and homes up here, and hunting is just about wrapped up… just in time for ice fishing!
Currently, Allen is prepping the sleeper house and the bomber for a busy winter, and Scott is readying his sled and portables for his guided snowmobile fishing adventures. The ice is a little slower to arrive this year, with a just couple hundred yards of ice along shore on the main lake and the shallower bay areas like the Angle area are mostly ice covered. The long term forecast is fairly mild, so safe ice is a ways off yet. Ice depths are just a few inches in most spots. The DNR test netting this fall indicated good numbers of fish in most areas of the lake, so we should be looking at some great ice fishing this year once we can get out there!
The fishing continues to be great at the Angle, but the ice and snow conditions have changed a lot over the last week. For those still hitting the ice, expect a strong walleye evening bite closer to shore around the Oak Island area, and a steady daytime bite deeper on the mud. In Canadian waters, the crappies have been hitting well, and showing up in lots of areas. Expect to fill out in an hour or two if you are over a big school of them. Current areas like Buoy #50 are serving up good action on walleye and sauger, and if fishing near open water is not your cup of tea, then look along the edges of reefs and points during the day, and move shallower at dusk.
There is no snow cover left on the ice, and the ice is starting to rot from underneath and on top. The bottom of the ice pack is not entirely solid anymore, and the water and slush are coming up the hole before the last 6″of ice is drilled through. Most areas have honeycomb ice for the first 3″ to 4″ on top, and current areas are showing open water. All this change happened in the last week, even with daytime temps only reaching the low 40’s couple of times, and hard freezes most nights. Judging safe travel on the ice beyond this next weekend is going to be dicey. A lot of areas are unsafe already. We have made the decision to put our ice gear away for the year, and are looking ahead to sturgeon fishing on the Rainy, and an early ice-out!
The weather and the fishing are heating up at the Angle! On the MN side, the evening walleye bite has been strong around the Oak Island area. Move a few feet deeper off the edge of structure for a daytime mix of walleye, sauger and perch. On the Canadian side, the bite is still going strong, and there has been some nice walleye mixed in with the crappies.
We still have some snow cover on the ice, but it has melted down quite a bit. The ice sheet itself is still in pretty good shape, and should be around for a couple more weeks. Snowmobiles and 4-wheelers should be watching for deep water when following or crossing ice roads. The ice is bent downwards in spots, trapping the snowmelt. Use caution when running off-trail as well, we have seen some small open holes in current areas already.
Fishing has continued to be productive at the Angle! The walleyes seem to be moving in toward the Oak Island area, and the evening bite has been pretty strong most nights. Expect a decent day bite for sauger and walleye on the mud just off of structure, with a few jumbo perch mixed in. Canadian crappie fishing has continued to be good, and there have been some decent walleye catches coming in from that side of the lake as well.
Over the last week, the weather has been extremely variable to say the least. In spite of the rapid temperature changes, the fishing has still been good at the Northwest Angle. Over the weekend cold snap, the average walleye size went down a bit, with numbers still good and fish activity moving more toward morning and evening. Using a minnow on a dead stick in one hole and calling fish in with active jigging in the other is working well.
In Ontario waters, the crappies are still active. Drilling lots of holes and moving from hole to hole to find the active fish has been the best tactic.
The Northwest Angle area of Lake of the Woods continues to be the place to be! We had great fishing his weekend, and every other group of anglers we spoke with was all smiles. The MN side has been enjoying a good walleye, sauger, and perch bite. Walleyes are dominating the catch, and expect to land several slot fish during the day. Anglers traveling into Ontario by snowmobile have been getting into the crappies and big walleye. Average ice depth is 20 inches or more in most areas. Snow cover on the lake is in pretty good shape now, but last weekend’s blizzard left behind strips of glare ice and snowdrifts.
Fishing has been great at the Angle! Most areas froze over smoothly, and have 16-20 inches of ice. Ice roads to Oak and Flag Islands are up and running as well. Walleye action has been fast and furious for most anglers, with a strong early AM bite and even some nighttime action. There have been a few nice jumbo perch showing up in the catch, and sauger have been plentiful also. The bite has slowed the last couple of days with the cold front, but look for things to get back on track shortly. On the Ontario side,the crappies have been hitting, and we will be targeting them soon with our guided snowmobile trips!
Lake of the Woods is now fully iced over. A few people are already drilling holes and trying their luck, although ice travel for heavy vehicles is not recommended yet. Currently, Edman’s Angling Adventures is getting equipment and houses ready for the ice season, and looking forward to some great winter fishing!
Allen will be running his sleeper house again this year. It was a big hit last year, and it should be out as soon as there is plenty of ice to tow it with his new bomber.
New for this year is Scott’s guided snowmobile ice fishing trips into the Ontario islands. He plans to chase after crappies, walleye, and perch mainly, with a little pike and whitefish mixed in. He’s also excited to get into areas that are out-of-reach during open water.
Year after year, the Northwest Angle area has some of the most consistent ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, and this season looks to be no exception. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, come up to the Angle and have an ice fishing adventure with us!
Although school is in full swing for the both of us, we are still running a few trips on the weekends. Fishing has been good, with the recent cool-down in the weather helping the bite a great deal. Without that traditional fall weather, we tend to find that the fish are more scattered out, especially species like crappie. The walleye, perch, and crappie are showing up along dropoff and soft bottom areas, and tend to be mixed all together in most cases, with a few bomber smallmouth showing up as well.
Muskie and pike anglers are starting to troll now that the water temps are starting to cool off, but casting prominent rock structure is still producing fish as well.
In Canadian waters, last week’s warming trend has put the trophy walleyes back on the bite on the reefs in the Little Traverse. The area around Massacre I has been a good place to start looking for the big guys. Expect to catch numbers of solid keepers as well. Many of the reefs up north have been serving up numbers of fish, but plan to sort through some little guys to get your keepers. In Minnesota waters, the areas of Lunatic I., Little Oak I., Crowduck I., and Oak I. have been productive.
Muskie fishing has been active with the warmer weather, with the evening continuing to be one of the better times of the day to fish. The big pike have been showing up offshore in areas where walleyes are being caught. Smallmouth bass have been active on the shorelines, although few anglers are targeting them now. Anglers looking for perch have been doing well on jumbos, and the lake trout report has been good, with most fish being caught over 80 feet of water.