Snow, ice….is ice fishing going to start early this year?
It has been a cool and snowy weekend here at Lake of the Woods. Cool temps have made the water temperature plummet and ice to start to form in bays. Saturday, 8-12 inches of snow fell, sure looks like December around here! Not enough ice had formed prior to getting the snow so no problems there. A few anglers are still out in boats and blaze orange is the color of choice for clothes around here this week. Hunters are out and about. Check back often for ice updates! If this keeps up, it could be an early start to the ice fishing season!
Fishing continues to be good. Anchored up, jigging using shiners in the Rainy River and Four Mile Bay/Light House Gap has produced some nice walleyes in 6’-26’ water. The DNR reports that the fish population looks good. We are looking forward to a good ice fishing season. The early season walleye bite usually starts out aggressive. Times to make winter reservations, weekends are starting to fill up!
Fishing continues to be hot! Walleyes are being targeted and caught using a variety of tactics. Gold and pink jigs tipped with a frozen shiner are still producing very well. 27’-30’ has been the best depths the past few days.
Like I said last week, the spinner bite will be picking up and that has held true! 8’-20’ with a hammered gold spinner tipped with a minnow, leech, or crawler produced good numbers of quality walleyes! Drift speed is very important when spinner fishing. The best speed right now is .7-1.2 mph.
The third bite that has been producing is pulling plugs. This is a method that doesn’t usually pick up steam until the dog days of summer but there has been a few boats doing well. If you look to try this tactic look shallow. Troll the breaks from 5’-10’. Since the water is still warming up, the slower you can run your plugs and keep them in the strike zone the better!
Captain Matt and the Neimi Group had an unbelievable day filled with a ton of multi-species action!
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Sportsman’s Lodge is a great place! Lodging, fishing (no experience or equipment required), musical entertainment, indoor pool, hot tub, camping and relaxing await you. Make it just a day or weekend trip! Contact us today for a free quote!
Walleye season is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited! We had an awesome first weekend with boats pulling in a lot of nice fish! Fish are being caught all the way from 14’ to 23’. Do not be afraid to move around and look for fish! Jig tipped with a shiner seemed to be the best way to target them with the hot colors being Lake of the Woods classics, pink and gold. With temps remaining in the high 50s low 60s fishing is looking to stay good this week! Hope to see you out there!
What a tough day for Captain Mike. Trying to take a nice picture but cannot seem to keep people from catching fish in the background!
Captain Wes off to a hot start this year with a cooler of nice fish!
Many of you know Mike Vanstrom, a guide who has been with us in the fall and winter seasons for the past 3 years. When Mike is not at Sportsman’s, Mike can be found in the southwest region of Alaska.
Mike has a love for the outdoors and in the summer season guides outdoor enthusiasts brown bear and moose hunting and king salmon fishing 300 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska on the Nushagak River the world’s largest run of king salmon. You may have recently seen the 9′ bear that is in our lobby Mike guided a customer to bag recently. If you are looking for an Alaska adventure check out Mike’s website.
We have already seen some huge sturgeon and nice pike reeled in this year and this is only the beginning! Sturgeon seasons run through May 15 and pike season is open year round. The spring sturgeon catch and release season runs through April 23 and May 8-15. You can keep one sturgeon per calendar year April 24-May 7, between the size of 45”-50” inclusive or over 75” with a sturgeon tag. Sturgeon tags can be purchased at the lodge for $5 or at any place that sells Minnesota fishing licenses.
Come and get in on the fun
Water temp is 45 degrees today. Some of the best sturgeon fishing is just minutes away from our dock. Sturgeon like to hang out in deep holes of the river bottom. One of the best techniques to hook into one is to set up anchored just in a hole or outside of a hole using a 4/0 or 5/0 hook, 2-10 oz. no roll weight depending on the current for that day and tip it with a gob of minnows. The best places to find pike this time of year is in the bays. Throwing dare devils or jointed rapalas usually do well. Hundreds of bays along the river and lake are open now. Guided trips also available too. The lake continues to open up more every day. As soon as the cloud cover clears we will post a satellite picture on our facebook page, stay tuned.
Check out what others have caught this week!
Get on the fish with a Guided Trip
Whether you are looking for sturgeon, pike or walleye we have trips available this spring. Contact us for more information 800-862-8602.
11th Annual Sturgeon Tournament is May 5 & 6. The tournament is full this year but everyone is welcome to stop in and check out the action from our docks or in the bar. The tournament takes place right out in front of the lodge over a 1 mile stretch. Annually we see over 100 sturgeon caught over the two day tournament. Stop by for great fishing stories, food, drinks and entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings. The tournament runs from 8:30 to 4pm Friday and 8:30 to 3pm Saturday.
Walleye Opener is just around the corner May 13 is walleye opener. Lodging starting at $46 per person and lodging/charter fishing packages starting at only $249 per person. Click here to choose your package. *plus tax and based on double occupancy
Hey everyone, it has been a good week of fishing here on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. The spring season brings lots of changes and successful anglers know that too well. Being ready to change up your location, tackle, bait and approach when the weather, fish patterns, water temp and clarity make a change, is all instrumental in getting more walleyes in your net. Currently the river is clearing up, 1-2 feet clarity today and the water temp has warmed up to 45 degrees. Anchored, using gold jigs tipped with a shiner and Northland Tackle’s gold thumpers have been working well. Depths in the river and lake between 11’-18’ have been good. The lake is open to about a mile and half past Pine Island right now. As the ice melt continues be sure to watch the wind and ice chunks. There is over 40 miles of fishable waters outside our front door right now. Areas from Birchdale all the way out to the lake so even when conditions change, there are miles of good fishing holes to enjoy. Walleye season is open through tomorrow and re opens May 13. The lodge will be closed Easter Sunday but lodging in our cabins and villas are available that day.
Guide Eric’s Best’s dad Doc reeled in this huge strugeon today. Measuring 63 inches.
Awesome Sturgeon Bite
We have seen a lot of nice 40”-70” sturgeon reeled in this year already. It really has been incredible start to the spring sturgeon season. The other cool thing is these dinosaurs seem to bite no matter what the water clarity is like, so always a great option to try in any condition. Deep holes in the river using a 4/0 or 5/0 hook, a good weight 3-10 ounces depending on the day and current and a gob of minnows works well. Spring season continues through May 15. For more information about the seasons and limits click here.
Spring Pike Fishing
Lake of the Woods is home to one of the largest populations of trophy sized pike and March – May is one of the best times to reel them in. Anchoring at the mouth of the river using frozen ciscos has been working well.
Kids love fishing! What a fun day! Guided by Captain Wes
Two hours of non stop action with Captain Wes
No hassles, just good fishing! Guides available for walleye, sturgeon and pike! No boat to worry about, no tackle or bait to buy, no hassles, just great fishing! Give us a call to book your trip 800-862-8602!
Lodging starting at $42 per person per night, guided trips and up to 20% off summer lodging and charter fishing packages. Click here to learn more! *plus tax and based on double occupancy
Most of last week the Rainy River clarity was up to 3’ and the current was mild. Walleye and sauger fishing was on fire! It wasn’t hard to catch 100+ fish in a day. Late last week the tributaries started to thaw, the river dirtied and the current sped up pushing anglers to change up their strategy to find the fish willing to bite. It was a mixed bag of success. Some anglers continued to do well and some didn’t. Some switched over to sturgeon fishing. Yesterday and early this morning the Little Fork and Big Fork opened up, a sure sign of spring. As we look towards this week we should start seeing the river clean up and the lake open up further making available more fishing opportunities and clearer water. As of today the lake is open about a mile and a half past Pine Island. The water temperature is starting to go up again, currently at 38.5 degrees after dipping to 35 degrees a few days ago. All boat landings along the river are open. The weather forecast looks dry and beautiful.
Yesterday, Guide Travis Madrazo and the Carisch group of 2 were out and did awesome. Late afternoon bite was best reeling in over 100 walleyes.
Nate Sailor reeled in a nice 28.5 inch walleye and some nice sturgeon caught by the Thomsen and Oelrich Group. Guided by Wes Harder.
29.5 inch walleye Christensen Group and some nice walleyes including a 29 inch with the Egan group. Guided by Baihly Hontvet
Fishing Seasons Tips for the week
Walleyes & Saugers – River shorelines, 13’-22’, lake 10’-20’jigging brightly colored 1/2 oz. to ¾ oz. jigs tipped with rainbows, shiners or chubs or pitching soft plastics towards shore.
Sturgeon – Anchor near or in deep holes in the River or Four Mile Bay with some current using a 3-5 ounces of weight using a 4/0 or 5/0 hook tipped with a gob of worms and a shiner. Lots of big sturgeons have been getting caught this week. Once you hook in, be ready! Some of these monsters take up to a few hours to reel in. It can be quite an adventure!
Pike – With more bays opening up the soft water pike season should start heating up as well. Cast spoons and jerk baits in shallow bays with structure.
Take a guide – A guided trip is relaxing, less hassle and it is a great way to learn new tactics. Contact us a for availability.
Walleye open through April 14, reopening May 13
Northern Pike open year round
Lake Sturgeon catch and release now through April 23, keep one season April 24-May 7, catch and release May 8-15, closed May 16-June 30, keep one season July 1-Sept 30, catch and release Oct 1-April 23. For more information about seasons, limits and licenses click here.
Frontier and Vidas landings now open to all boats! The Rainy River is open within 5 miles east of Baudette and open water spots within 3 miles of Baudette. Vidas, Frontier, Birchdale and Pelland landings are all open to all boats. Timbermill should open up in a day or so and Wheeler’s Point next. River has opened up 15 miles since Sunday. 16 miles left until it hits our docks! Won’t be long!
The river opened up to 1/2 mile west of Clementson (6 miles east of Baudette) now. Frontier landing has 25 feet of shore ice and Vidas (2 miles east of Clementson) has about 50 feet shore ice.
Birchdale and Pelland landings are wide open.