Lake of the Woods is vacation spot spot for ice fishing.
Simply because it is the lifeless of winter doesn’t imply your out of doors adventures want to finish. The truth is, this time of yr is the prefect time to soak up ice fishing season in a vacation spot spot like Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba. Overlaying almost 1,700 sq. miles, it is one of many largest freshwater lakes on the earth. Within the lifeless of winter, it is house to among the greatest ice fishing on the planet.
And the nice factor is, the native communities across the lake really embrace the angling tradition. Resorts, eating places, and fishing guides go all out to assist anglers discover and catch the massive one. There’s even a collection of marked ice roads and an ice bar that pop up yearly to make for a very distinctive fishing expertise.
That is all the pieces that you must find out about Lake of the Woods ice fishing, from the very best lures to make use of to the species you may goal, and what licenses you may have to fish there.
Fishing licenses and legality of crossing the border.
Keep in mind that this lake falls in a single U.S. state and two Canadian provinces. To legally fish, you will want the right licenses for the realm you might be fishing. Minnesota sells a number of fishing licenses so you may select one that most closely fits your scenario and the way lengthy your journey might be. Their non-resident licenses break down as follows:
- 14-day couple – $54
- 24-hour – $14
- 72-hour – $36
- 7-day – $43
- Household – $68
- Particular person – $51
In case you plan to place up a shelter on the ice and go away it unattended throughout your journey, additionally, you will want a shelter license for both $37 or $21 for a 7-day license. These planning on making an attempt spearing from a darkish home may also have to buy a $17 spearing license along with a daily fishing license. If you’re planning to focus on walleye or trout, additionally, you will want a trout stamp or a walleye stamp.
If you’re planning to fish on the Canadian aspect, Ontario’s license charges break down as follows:
- Open air Card (required) – $8.57
- 3-Yr Sport Fishing license – $245.07
- 3-Yr Conservation fishing license – $155.13
- 1-Yr Sport Fishing – $81.69
- 1-Yr Conservation – $51.71
- 1-Day Sportfishing (no Open air Card required) – $24.36
- 8-Day Sportfishing – $53.38
- 8-Day Conservation – $31.02
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Solely Buffalo Bay spills over into the province of Manitoba, however that is nonetheless a location that provides wonderful ice fishing. Anglers eager to strive there can count on to pay $37.85 for a non-resident conservation license and $62.35 for a daily license.
In case you plan to cross the mid-lake borders to the Canadian aspect, simply bear in mind minimal dimension necessities and possession limits might differ vastly. Conservation officers repeatedly patrol each side of the border in winter and they’ll ticket you for making a mistake simply over the road.
Additionally bear in mind if you wish to cross the border you need to name Canadian Customs to get permission earlier than crossing the road. Have all of your related paperwork readily available like a passport, driver’s license, and so on… such as you would in case you had been making a daily border crossing. Likewise, you may need to verify again in as soon as again within the U.S. The official Lake of the Woods web site has extra details about crossing the border to fish in Canada.
Species to focus on on Lake of the Woods
Now that we have got the authorized stuff out of the best way, let’s discuss concerning the enjoyable stuff. Primarily the numerous completely different species to focus on at this world class fishery. Lake trout are arguably one of the in style targets. The lake repeatedly produces specimens within the 20-pound vary. Lake of the Woods can be house to the Minnesota state report for lake whitefish at 13 kilos, 9 ounces. The lake additionally produced a 19-pound, 10-ounce burbot in 2016, which can be a state report.
Nonetheless, the lake might be greatest identified for its walleye. It proudly proclaims itself the: “walleye capital of the world.” Though it is also very well-known for yellow perch, crappie, and northern pike. It is also a well-known sauger fishery. The lake additionally holds some sturgeon for anybody on the lookout for an actual battle via the ice. This lake has a pleasant combination of panfish you may fry up for dinner and large predators for anglers on the lookout for an actual trophy.
When is the very best time to ice fish Lake of the Woods?
That is going to differ yr to yr, however the season often begins round December 1 and runs via the tip of March. The start of the season is often the very best time to go shallow in and across the bays earlier than most fish begin to transfer off into deeper water within the lifeless of winter. The center a part of December and early a part of January often mark the arrival of fish homes out on the lake. With that comes a have to fish deeper. A few of these shelters could also be miles from the closest shoreline as a result of that is the place the fish are holding. The immense dimension of Lake of the Woods makes finding the fish difficult, however we’ll discuss extra about that later.
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Many seasoned Lake of the Woods anglers agree, if there’s nonetheless secure ice in March, it may be a good time to move out. Largely as a result of many fish are beginning to prep for spring spawning by that time. Which means they will be fattening up and might be actively trying to find meals. Though there’s a danger of ready too late to go as a result of that later ice just isn’t assured. And a lot of the everlasting shanties and sleeper fish homes are moved off the lake by that time for security causes, making it more durable to make the most of information companies. Verify ice circumstances and fishing reviews on-line or by calling some native bait retailers forward of time earlier than you go.
Lures and ways.
Minnows are arguably king for a number of species on Lake of the Woods. Most anglers tip their jigs with dwell ones for walleyes, crappie, and perch. Though there are lots who droop them below tip ups for large northern pike too. Chubs and shiners are among the extra in style types of dwell bait. Simply do not forget that in case you plan to go to the Canadian aspect that minnows and different types of dwell bait can’t be used there. It is one other quick technique to get a ticket if a conservation officer catches you.
For synthetic lures, most anglers keep on with spoons and exhausting physique jig baits with rattles. These are inclined to do nicely for species like lake trout. Though trophy walleyes are additionally landed utilizing jigging spoons by anglers right here yearly. Rapala Rippin’ Raps are particularly in style on Lake of the Woods for walleyes.
No matter species you propose to focus on, be sure you have flasher or fish finder the place you may watch your lure. Underwater cameras are extraordinarily useful too. Particularly once you begin fishing these deeper depths. As we have talked about earlier than, Lake of the Woods is a large physique of water, and you will want all the assistance you may get to find the fish and keep on them. And never having high quality electronics goes to place you at an enormous drawback.
Fish homes and information companies.
If you’re planning only a informal fishing journey, or you don’t want to spend a ton of time on the chilly ice looking for that good spot, the excellent news is Lake of the Woods has a bevy of information companies and heated fish homes which are obtainable as leases each season. Most of those fish homes are run as a aspect gig by the native resorts and have all of the facilities of house, a rest room, kitchen, cozy residing space, and even a TV, and WiFi. Most may also have a fishing cleansing space, serving to make for an all-inclusive ice fishing journey. Some even have beds to permit anglers to fish all day and even all evening if they need. Typically the evening chew could be fairly scorching within the winter months.
The beauty of renting one in all these shelters is the spots are chosen by skilled guides. In addition they often have quick access off the plowed roads. Though many resorts provides you with are trip to and from the ice homes, making getting there a breeze.
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Many resorts will provide the usage of these shelters as a part of their ice fishing packages. The each day fee relies on the kind of shelter. The fancier it’s, the extra you may count on to pay. Day homes rented out for 5 to 12 hours can go from anyplace from $30 to $75. The in a single day shelters are often nearer to $100 an evening at a minimal per particular person.
One of many extra attention-grabbing ice homes is the Igloo Bar, which is operated by Zippel Bay Resort. It is a heated, 1,000-square foot, absolutely operational bar with TVs and ice fishing stations constructed into the ground. Yep, you may knock again some chilly ones with buddies whereas having fun with a freshly made pizza out on the ice!
Lake of the Woods really has an ice fishing tradition in contrast to anything right here in North America. No marvel it’s a vacation spot spot for anglers season after season.
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