Fish houses are being moved farther out from Baudette on Lake of the Woods, reports Sportsman's Lodge, in an effort to find more walleyes.
Here's the report filed by Sportsman's on Thursday:
"We now have fish houses scattered from 5-7 miles outside of Pine Island all the way up to 20-25 miles away near Garden Island and Bridges. The ride is a bit longer and we can no longer provide hot lunches due to the distance, but we feel having the capability to find the best bite is worth it.
"Some of the best fishing has been found in 24 to 28 feet of water in the southern houses and 23 to 26 feet and 28 to 32 feet in the houses on the reefs. A mix of jigging and dead sticking is suggested. One rod of each is best at this time.
"Vexilars/fish finders are helpful. At times anglers are saying it can be a timid bite, so you want to really get the feel for the nibble and set the hook at just the right time. The good old reliable gold jig and minnow or plain hook with a minnow head has been doing best for tackle.
"Other notable tackle lately has been the Macho Minnow #29 and buck shots with a shine or shimmer to them. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining more and that usually gets the fish more active. We can have our fish houses out on the lake until March 31.''
"Currently there are 3 feet of ice in areas Sportsman's travels and fishes and a few feet or better of snow cover.''
"The trails are in great shape! Nice snow cover and they are being groomed regularly. For more detailed trail conditions go to Lake of the Woods Drifter’s Snowmobile Club or Northwest Angle Edge Riders Club . Lake of the Woods has over 500 miles of groomed trails''
Department of Natural Resources fisheries managers announced Friday an effort to undertake a statewide "fish habitat plan'' intended to improve water quality, and therefore fish populations.
Details were vague, and DNR fisheries habitat research supervisor Peter Jacobson said no budget recommendations had been developed.
In a presentation at the agency's annual roundtable, or stakeholder meetings, in St. Paul, Jacobson said that about 42 percent of state lakes were "high quality,'' and need to be protected.
Many of the rest, he said, require restoration, in part through partnerships whose goal would be to protect entire watersheds.
Jacobson suggested the Clean Water Fund created by passage of the Legacy Amendment, and perhaps also the Outdoor Heritage Fund, would be sources of funding for the proposal.
Objectives of the plan include:
• Establishing landscape scale conservation zones.
• Prioritizing project areas.
• Educating the public
• Tracking results.
Jacobson indicated that DNR Fisheries will add details to the plan including budgets and timetables in the near future.
Always known, now verified: Minnesotans love to fish.
Figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate that only Alaska has a greater percentage of its residents who fish or hunt — 45 percent for Alaska to Minnesota's 34 percent.
The information was included in the latest batch of data released by the service in conjunction with its 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
Minnesotans also spend a lot of money on their outdoor sports.
State residents rank third behind Florida and Michigan anglers in money spent on fishing.
Floridians forked over $4.6 billion for bait, rods and reels and other gear, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, while Michigan anglers barely edged out their Minnesota counterparts, $2.42 billion to $2 billion.
More information from the service's five-year survey will be released in coming weeks.
Time was years — and years — ago that giant northern pike were relatively common in many Minnesota lakes.
Not so any more.
Yes, Upper Red still has some big boys (and girls), as do Rainy, Lake of the Woods and a handful of other state waters.
Including, apparently, Mille Lacs.
Pictured here is Travis Hultgren of Bayport, a pro-staffer with Blue Ribbon Bait in Oakdale, with a 43-inch northern boated June 29.
Estimated at 25 pounds, the fish was released safely.
If you own an iPhone and want to take better and more interesting fish-release photos, now there's a way.
LifeProof makes a waterproof case for these phones that is good down to about 6 feet — plenty to capture photos, say, of a trophy muskie being set free.
Until now, most images of fish being released were taken by a fishing partner from above and behind the angler releasing the fish. Now you can hold your iPhone under water to snap a shot of a fish being prepared for release, or to take a photo of the fish swimming away.
The image of the trout shown here was taken by my son, Trevor, who is a fly fishing guide in western Montana. A student at the University of Montana, he guides for Two Dog Outfitters out of Hamilton, Montana.
Of course it helps if the water is clear and clean, as mountain streams typically are. But similar photos are possible in many Minnesota waters.