It was like riding a bike. I had the opportunity to get on the the ice this week for just a few hours but what a few hours they were. We hit the Border View Lodge fish house at about 1:30pm. Some resorts have had fish houses out a few days while others are just pulling them out now. In this case, houses were just pulled out and this was the one house drilled out to test. Right off the bat, I dropped the transducer of my Vexilar into the good looking waters 22 feet deep with 14″ of ice below to get things rolling. There were fish on my screen right away. Scrambling to hook up a minnow head to my jigging spoon and a live minnow to my dead stick, I started catching fish right away. One sauger for the bucket and the rest throwbacks in the first ten minutes. Joe Henry, walleye, Lake of the Woods
Trying to multitask, I received a call from good friend Steve Pennaz of Lake Commandos. While pulling in a couple of saugers and unbeknownst to Steve, I saw a mark come through about 5′ off the bottom. I reeled up and POW, the fish ate hard. I set the hook on what appeared to be a good fish. My drag was quiet and the fish took line so Steve continued on with our business, unaware of what was happening on my end of the line. It was when ice guide Jon Geurkink who was setting houses and helping me with some filming was down on his hands and knees waiting to help land whatever was ripping line that we saw the big eyeballs of a big Lake of the Woods walleye.
It was at this point I had to give some feedback. “Steve, I have a big walleye on, hold on a sec,” I said with adrenaline influencing my rate and tone of speech. Steve got excited and started laughing when he hear the excitement of the big fish come topside. Within 15 minutes of dropping a line, I had nailed a big 27″ walleye with a girth that would tell me she was 8 lbs, give or take a bit.
For the few hours we fished, we literally couldn’t keep two lines down. You would catch a fish and try taking it off before the other line got bit. Crazy fishing. Fish cleaning table, Lake of the Woods
Reports across the lake have been very positive with many similar reports coming through. Ice conditions where the resorts and outfitters are staking trails and keeping a close watch on ice conditions are good. There are still areas with ice as thin as 5″ hence, we constantly promote working through a resort and staying on the marked trails for safety. Much of the ice reports range from 7-16″.
If you come up and are not working with a resort, it would be good to have an extension on your ice auger as some places have ice plates that stacked up.
It is a magical time up at Lake of the Woods. Most resorts and outfitters have houses out and the fish are biting. The start of a season many look forward to more than open water. It is time to ice fish on The Walleye Capital of the World!