fishing in Northern Minnesota can quickly replace the monotony of
winter with some wild and intense fun. Whether you want to hang out
with your buddies, or entertain the family, ice fishing is a great
hobby for all ages. During winter, the fishing here is excellent and
the quality of the fillets is incomparable. All you need to get
started is an ice auger, a general understanding of the lake, the
fish you are pursuing, and the proper bait and tackle. Little
Winnie Resort offers a full selection of ice fishing tackle, bait
and equipment - plus the knowledge to always put you on the ice
where the hot bite for walleye, jumbo perch or crappie is.
Whether you want to fish Lake Winnibigoshish, Little Winnie,
Bowstring Lake, Sand Lake, Round Lake or even travel up to Red Lake
or Cass Lake, we have the central location and comfortable lodging
to keep you coming back year after year. Give us a call today
to book your cabin - 1-800-246-8501.
Fishing Basics: Your primary ice fishing equipment should
include: safety equipment, an ice chisel, an ice auger or drill with
sharp blades, an ice scooper for removing ice from the hole, a chair
or bucket to sit on, a trash bag or a bucket for fish and litter,
and, of course your rod, reel and tackle. The ice chisel is
for testing thin ice, chipping holes and widening your fishing hole
once it is cleared. It is also useful to keep the hole free of ice.
The auger will allow you to make additional holes during the course
of the day. You may want to consider some optional equipment
including: an ice house or wind break (check with your resort to see
what is available), portable fish locator, an extra pair of dry
gloves, portable heater, fishing map, food, warm beverage, rod
holder to keep your outfit off of the ice, shovel to remove deep
snow and a sled to transport all of the equipment. Ice fishing is
ideal just after the first solid freeze, but there are
enough fish to go around all winter long. Always keep safety in
mind! Before going out on the lake, determine the safety of the ice,
look for other ice fishermen and use your ice chisel to test the ice
as you move outward from the bank. The best drilling spot is
determined by how long the lake has been frozen, its depth, your
familiarity with the underwater structure, and the time of winter
you are fishing.
Some experienced anglers prefer
deeper lakes for ice fishing. They believe the best fishing lasts
longer and is more consistent from first ice through late March.
Typically, deeper lakes are more productive than shallow ones during
winter. The fish are usually in the 20-foot to 40-foot range and
holding near sunken timber, gravel bars, deep points and the bottom.
The hottest bite in early and late winter is often found at 15 to 20
feet. Shortly after first ice, walleyes, perch and sunfish are
extremely active and can be found on or around weed-lines, deep
points or drop-offs. In late winter, melting snow brings the fish
back into shallower water.
Ice fishing tackle
differs from your spring and summer gear. Ice fishing rods must be
short and solid with large graphite eyes, because ice forms on the
eyes. Many anglers use spin-casting reels that are resistant to ice
formation on the spool and are easier to use when you have cold,
stiff fingers. Jigs and minnows are the standard bait. The key
element to good bait is action and scent; some fishermen like to put
minnows on their jigs. Like humans, the fish are more lethargic in
the winter and will approach the bait cautiously and take it slowly.
most popular species to catch in winter are walleyes and panfish,
such as jumbo perch, bluegills and crappies. Bluegills and sunfish
gather in schools and can be caught during the day. Crappies and
walleyes bite well just before sundown. You can catch northern and
trout any time of day. You can also try to catch muskies and bass,
although they don't seem to bite as actively as other game fish.
Game fish swim in many different lake types in the Northland.
Certain species thrive in rivers, lakes and reservoirs because
special conditions are present for their existence. Rivers are the
most abundant, and produce the widest variety of game fish species.
The large shallow sand bottom lakes and bays are normally best
suited for walleye & perch, while the shallow weedy lakes and bays
are better suited for largemouth bass, panfish and northern pike.
No matter what the season, an angler needs to
look for fish in areas that provide the oxygen, food and water
temperatures necessary for survival. Location is vital when ice
fishing, as fish tend to concentrate in smaller, more specific
water. A portable fish locator makes the mission of finding a prime
location much easier. Never go out on the ice without investigating
the most recent ice conditions. Before fishing on a lake for the
first time, learn as much about it as possible by questioning local
bait shops, fishing guides, resort owners, and other fisherman.
Focus your efforts on a lake that is known to contain a good
population of the species you wish to pursue.
Whether you seek challenge or just relaxation, ice fishing is an
excellent winter sport. It doesn’t take long to get “hooked” on ice
Important - make sure you carry your
Fishing License and Proper Identification along with you.
ICE FISHING MEAL PREPARATION While on or fishing waters with size
restrictions, all fish for which the size restriction applies must have
their heads, tails, fins and skin intact and be measurable except when a
person is preparing and using such fish for a meal.
PACKED FISH LABELING When packing fish, labels identifying the
fish must include the name of the lake where the fish
was caught and the size of each of the fish
that are regulated under a special size limit.