December 26, 2019 • ice cream Fishing • places & Destinations • perch • Walleye • Walleye Fishing

You recognize they take their walleye fishing seriously below as girlfriend drive right into Baudette, Minnesota. There sits a large statue of a walleye. A layer of eye covers the optimal of the walleye since it is winter. Behind it, blanketed in ice, is the rainy River which flows into Lake the the Woods wherein ice fishing is legendary. Lake of the Woods is renown for having some that the best ice fishing in the Midwest.

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It is late January and also four of us room sitting in an ice house on Lake the the Woods.

It is a gray work with perhaps the promise of snow. Winds drift the light snow throughout the ice. Various other than the wind there doesn’t seem come be much sound. Together you look external the expanse of ice disappears into the horizon whereby some countless miles later on Lake of the Woods reaches Canada. Lake of the Woods straddles the United claims border v Minnesota come the south and also Canada v Ontario to the north. We are sitting on almost three feet that ice and also fishing in around twenty eight feet that water.

Mike Hallas of Woodbury, Gerry Fuzzey of Eden Prairie and also Damien Aguilar of Minnetonka every calling Minnesota home and I native Hudson, Wisconsin, drove across the frozen soil of Minnesota. Us headed through Baudette proceeding to Arnesen’s Rocky suggest Resort ~ above the southern end of the lake. Us are continuing to be at a cabin at the resort and now, the following morning, space bumping throughout the ice cream on Lake of the Woods in a bombardier which takes us to our ice house.

The bombardier is a truck an installed on a track, not unlike the of a tank, i m sorry hauls fishermen and their tools to your ice houses on the lake. Ice residences are simple, rustic hardwood huts v a propane heater, urgent chairs and also holes in the floor where the ice has actually been drilled out making ice cream holes which us drop our lines through.


Light was starting to push the night away as we got to our ice cream house.

Jackets are held on nails ~ above the next of the ice residence as we each rigged two ice rods come fish with. We start one rig with an ice jig and also the other a simple hook and split shot sinker under a slip bobber. In ~ minutes the very first slip bobber starts to sink under the water. We capture a couple of walleyes and sauger too little to keep, yet it is a start.

As rustic as our ice residence is that is warm and comfortable as we sit in simply shirt sleeves. I have fished Lake the the Woods when temperatures dipped come twenty degrees listed below zero and also colder and have to be perfectly comfortable in a light shirt if fishing in an ice cream house. One of the great things about fishing through a resort choose Arnesen’s is no matter exactly how cold it it s okay you walk indigenous a boil cabin to a heated bombardier come a heated ice house. It is a very comfortable means to ice cream fish.


The fish we space targeting space walleye and its cousin the sauger.

Both fish room fun to catch and great to eat. Annually we choose up a couple of yellow perch. This perch space big, running as much as a foot in length, and also as one more cousin come the walleye also good tasting and a welcome enhancement to the fish bucket. The various other fish we see many often recorded during the winter are eelpout, a fresh water cod, and the tullibee both of which are considered a nuisance fish and are released earlier down the ice hole. Nevertheless of your lowly standing castle both placed up a an excellent fight on irradiate tackle and are funny to catch.

Damien pulls up on his light ice cream rod and also it is bowed over. The rod begins to plunge together he cranks on the rotate reel. “It is a good fish,” he tells us. A tiny excitement go a long method in an ice cream house and we room all city hall him. Ns am on my knees next to the ice cream hole, waiting to check out the fish. I check out it pass underneath the ice cream hole and yell that it looks favor a keeper walleye. A minute later, Damien is top the fish v the ice cream hole and also as the head splashes ~ above the surface of the water, ns reach over and grab it, pulling it the end of the hole and dropping that on the floor.

Damien scoops the up, pulls out the hook and also slaps that up against a ruler on the side of the ice cream house. The is a seventeen-inch walleye and also is the an initial fish to enter the bucket. We space on our method to our finish of the pilgrimage fish fry.

Lake of the Woods has an extremely generous limits.

If anyone in your group records a border of fish, few of those fish have to be eaten that night therefore you deserve to go fishing the next day. Together tasty together walleye and also sauger room this is certainly a pleasant difficulty to have.


An hour later on Mike yells he has a fish and also then yells it is a big fish. The fish take away off and also is pulling line turn off the reel together the traction grudgingly provides out line. Mike stops the fish and turns it, gaining it comes up towards the ice hole once the fish runs turn off again. This seesaw fight goes on because that a few moments although Mike proceeds to acquire back more line than he is losing.

This time Damien is kneeling alongside Mike to aid him soil his fish. The fish fills up the ice cream hole and also Damien bring away the fish. It is huge walleye and also when we measure the we discover it is twenty inches long. ~ a quick photo the is slid earlier into the ice hole and disappears under the ice. Mike has actually the huge fish and also at the finish of ours fishing pilgrimage the following day Mike’s fish is still large fish.

On now we are capturing most of ours fish on hooks and sinkers under a on slide bobber so us pull the end the ice rods through jigs, convert both rods end to slip bobbers.


Although the ice jigs haven’t worked this job there have been days once we captured lots the fish with ice jigs so it is constantly worthwhile starting the day through both baits. Although I have actually a handle box complete of ice cream jigs there are a handful of jigs which seem to always work well and are the essentials to anyone fishing Lake the the Woods.

The old standby sweden Pimple has actually been around for over half a century and also is still a reliable ice jig and also should it is in in any type of Lake of the Woods ice cream fisherman’s handle box.

My various other favorites space the Buckshot Spoon by Northland and also the Jigging Shad Rap and Jigging lab by Rapala.

A quarter-ounce jig is the right size, and also color deserve to make a difference on Lake that the Woods. Gold is constantly my an initial choice complied with by anything through chartreuse. Minnows have to be provided on all the jigs. Part Lake of the Woods ice fishermen just usage the minnow head.

Let the jig drop and also hit bottom, climate lift it 6 or eight inches.

Jig the up and also down for a moment or two before dropping it earlier to the bottom again. Frequently as the bait hit’s the bottom it sends out up a point out of sand or silt. This attracts video game fish as they take that together a sign of active feeding bait.

The on slide bobber is a basic rig.

I usage a size 6 or eight hook through a tiny split shot about six inches native the bottom. The break-up shot should be heavy enough to get and also keep the bait near the bottom. There space any number of slip bobbers which job-related well but the one I like is the number four Stealth to rise by Thill.

The an essential to successfully using a minnow under a on slide bobber is keeping the minnow near the bottom. Walleyes, sauger and also perch feeding on the bottom at Lake that the Woods. I generally rig my slip bobber line through the minnow gift from 2 to six inches from the bottom. That is the most efficient depth.

It is mid afternoon.

The four of united state are recording fish—some go into the fish bucket and those too little are released earlier through the ice hole. My float drifts across the surface ar of the ice cream hole and begins come descend under the water. Getting to for my ice rod I hold it, city hall the bobber gradually drop further down the ice cream hole. Once it reaches about a foot listed below the water i pull up to collection the hook. My ice rod is bend in half as the fish take away off. The fish keeps make the efforts to operation as ns am cranking on the rotate rod and I feel it slowly begin to increase through the water. The fish fills the ice cream hole together I traction it the end of the water, flipping it on the floor that the ice house.

It is a fifteen-inch sauger and also will enter the fish bucket but prior to I have actually the opportunity to traction the hook out ns look end at my other rod.

I don’t view the float. Leaning end I see the float disappearing under the ice hole.

Dropping the first rod I quickly grab the other ice rod, collection the hook and start cranking. This fish didn’t feeling as hefty as the an initial one and also a moment later as that is clearing the ice hole I see it is a smaller sized fish which I quickly released. Back the second fish to be too little to store it is interesting anytime you obtain two fish almost at the exact same time.

Ice fishing has readjusted much since I very first started ice fishing as a son in the 1960s. Ns don’t think there is any sport which has seen such an explosion in modern technology as ice cream fishing has. Some of the technology can it is in intimidating, leaving you with the emotion if girlfriend don’t have all latest and also greatest tools you i will not ~ be successful. In ~ Lake that the Woods the is not the case. Now if you have actually all the devices that is fine but if you don’t you don’t have to worry. You will still be successful. The an enig to recording fish through the ice on Lake of the Woods is maintaining your bait close to the bottom. It is just that simple. A couple of ice rods, a handful of jigs, part hooks, sinkers and also a pair of floats is all you need.

Going through a resort such together Arnesen’s takes lot of the worry out of an ice cream fishing trip. They carry out transportation, generally with the bombardier, to a comfortable ice home where the feet are currently drilled or they will drill holes because that you while girlfriend are getting settled. The bombardier ride is component of the adventure. Lock will examine on girlfriend a pair times throughout the day and also if friend aren’t recording fish castle will offer to relocate you to an additional ice house. Can not ask because that a much better deal.

At the finish of the day once the bombardier returns to take it us ago to the will we have actually eleven fish in the fish bucket. Us have an ext than we need for our fish fry. We also released one more dozen and a fifty percent fish which to be too little and Mike’s large walleye which to be too big to keep.


Later, top top our critical night in ~ Lake of the Woods, it is dark exterior with the wind blowing across the lake—black v an occasional light off in the distance. Fish have been cleaned and also I have a pot the oil bubbling on the stove. A pan has potatoes and onions frying in butter. There is a heap of fish fillets, breaded and ready to it is in cooked. Another pair of plastic bags have an ext fillets to take back home because that two world in our group. The cabin fills v the smell of food preparation fish and in a few minutes we will certainly be sitting down to a enjoy the meal of freshly captured walleyes and sauger.

It has been a an excellent trip and that is why ice cream fishing in ~ Lake of the Woods is for this reason legendary.

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- written by Mike Yurk

IF friend GO: over there are many resorts along Lake that the Woods catering to ice fishermen. A Google search for Lake of the lumber resorts will provide you a variety of options. In Baudette you can gain groceries, gas, fishing tackle, winter clothing and boots and anything else you might need or that you forgot come pack. If you need a fishing license you should arrangement on obtaining it at one of the sport shops or bait shops in Baudette as resorts might or may not have the ability to sell fishing licenses.