In the southern end… Lake of the Woods ice fishing continues to be strong with fish out through March 31st, walleye and walleye season through April 14th and pike season never closes.
A good week of ice fishing for most. Walleye and walleye are spread out this time of year, so it’s important to catch every fish. Electronics really help to see the fish as they pass, understand where they are in the water column and how they react to your bait and presentation.
If you see fish passing by and not reacting, downsizing will often help. Try a small spoon with the tip of a small head or a piece of fish tail.
Another tip is to use a noisy lipless crankbait. There are many brands on the market, one example is Rippin Rap. They have vibrations and rattles that will attract fish. Some will hit the bait, depending on the mood, others will be more interested in your deadstick.
On your deadhead or fixed line with a live fish, try a small ice jig or solid color hook with a live fish 6″ – 2 feet off the bottom. Experiment to see what the fish want.
As happens every ice season, some anglers who have been fishing more than 20 miles away have started to find fish a little closer to shore. There are pods of walleyes and walleyes in several areas.
Bright colors are popular in these waters due to the stained waters. With the darker color, the fish bite well during the day. Morning and evening may still have a bite window. If you stay on the ice at night, it’s not a night bite, but it does exist. Good chance for an eelpout too.
Huge pike have been active for pike anglers using tip-ups. With the longer days, fish begin to instinctively gravitate towards the next chapter, which is spawning. This means putting on the feed bag and moving into the pre-spawn areas.
In the Rainy River… The golden hours of the morning and evening have been when the parrots have been most active. A traditional jig and a pool on one hole, a dead stick with a smooth hook on the second hole have been the best.
If you’re fishing Four Mile Bay or the Rainy River, remember March 1st, it’s catch and release only. The large lake is still open for the harvesting of lorettes and salts.
Some nice sturgeon appear to the few who are targeting them. As always, be very careful as there is a current in the river. Open water fishing and spring on the river is just around the corner, are you ready?
Up at the NW Angle… A great week of ice fishing in the Angle. Resorts are in many different areas working to house schools of walleyes. Along the way, there is a huge mix of pike, jumbo perch, saugers and tulibees.
Using gold on sunny days and bright colors on cloudy days has been a trend, but not a “set in stone” rule. Reducing the size of the lures and using some rattles on the lures to attract fish has been helpful.
Nice walleyes caught this week with a mixed bag for most. Anglers fishing for crappie on the Ontario side continue to find some nice slabs.
For those looking to access the NW Angle while avoiding customs, snowmobiling across the lake on the marked trails or using the Lake of the Woods passenger (bomber) service keeps you in Minnesota.