Zippel Bay Resort’s 25th Annual Ice Out Pike Tournament
Apr 21st, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Apr 21st, 2022 at 10:38 AM
The 25th Annual Zippel Bay Resort Ice Out Pike Tournament will take place May 7-8, 2022. The ice is starting to disappear slowly but surely and this year’s tournament is setting up to have a lot of action.
Pike season on Lake of the Woods never ends. As we are border water with Canada, our pike season is continuous or another way of saying it is it goes all year long. This gives anglers a fantastic opportunity in April and early May to take advantage of monster pike who are somewhere along in their spawning ritual. And in Lake of the Woods, there are a lot of big pike!
Pike anglers pull nice pike out of various bays on the lake all spring and Zippel Bay is definitely a go to spot. Sometimes mother nature can throw some cold curve balls in the spring month but that’s what makes this stretch of water so special. Zippel Bay is quite secluded from the main lake, making it easier to hide from cold winds, and anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake. The tournament still has spots available and all are welcome.
Some anglers have had success with dead bait on the bottom or just off of the bottom with a quick strike rig. There will be others in the tournament who prefer trolling shallow diving crankbaits or casting spoons. Whatever your flavor, the pike will be ready.
Zippel Bay has a lot of spots to fish pike but no big water, meaning, most small boats will do just fine in the bay. That opens things up and levels the playing field for those pike tournament anglers with 14 – 16′ boats.
If Zippel Bay Resort is filled up as far as the lodging goes for the pike tournament, but there are many resorts available in the vicinity less than 10 miles away. Click Here for a list of Lake of the Woods Resorts.
MN DNR info from a 2013 fisheries lake survey verifies the presence of a healthy trophy pike fishery. Lake of the Woods is managed for a high-quality northern pike population, with a significant component of “trophy” northern pike over 40 inches long. To monitor the size structure of the northern pike population, it is sampled every 5 years using trap nets at known spawning sites. The northern pike population continues to be one of high quality, with 19% of the adult population at least 35 inches long, and 5% of the adults 40 inches long, or longer.
During the spawning season, pike head to shallow bays, ditches and streams to find the right conditions to lay and fertilize eggs. There are many areas around the lake and on the Rainy River pike spawn, and one of them is Zippel Bay.
Zippel Bay Resort has their annual pike tournament right around the last weekend of April. This year’s tournament will take place May 7-8. Initially, the tournament was scheduled for the weekend before, but with the late spring, ice on the bay and the chance the pike would be more active the following weekend, the tournament was pushed back a weekend.
The tourney is made up of two person teams and is a two day tournament based on weight.
This is a fun pike tournament with locals and visitors alike coming together to target big toothy. Most teams troll and cast crankbaits. Others use dead bait under a bobber in 1 – 8 feet of water. Most years, dozens and sometimes hundreds of pike are weighed in and many more caught in the slot (30-40 inches) that were not weighed in but immediately released.
The northern pike regs on Lake of the Woods are as follows:
Lake Of The Woods and Rainy River to dam at international Falls
Northern Pike Continuous 3, all northern pike from 30-40″ must be immediately released. Only 1 northern pike over 40″
Anglers are already getting their boats ready for this year’s pike tournament. If you want to have a blast, check out the pike tournament at Zippel Bay Resort or just go fish pike on your own. You truly have an opportunity to catch a pike of a lifetime.