Earlier this morning it looked like Vermilion froze over last night but now I see open water on the Hibbing Point webcam. The strong winds must have opened the lake back up. Tonight the temps drop to single digits and the wind dies down by 5am so it will freeze over tonight. Expecting 1-2" of snow on Friday with high winds so hopefully the snow will blow off the new ice. Saturday-Thursday looks very cold with no more snow, so the main lake should get a solid freeze. Some are ice fishing in Stuntz Bay already, and some braver than I may walk out from McKinley Park this weekend. I'm going to wait until the end of next week to venture out, although it will be very cold.
On the south end... Ice is forming, but other than some back bays, it isn't ready quite yet. Mother Nature is on track. Some resorts are making the prediction of December 10th for day houses being out, give or take, but at this point, this isn't set in stone and time will tell. There are cold temps in the forecast and things look optimistic.
Many resorts and outfitters have been checking ice conditions. When the time is right, resorts and outfitters will slowly and safely begin marking and grooming trails for ice travel.
Please remember, ice conditions vary greatly in different parts of the lake. One ice road can have good ice that has been checked and marked while down the shoreline there may be ice not suitable for travel yet. Work through resorts and outfitters on the ice and stay on the marked trails for safety.
Anticipation is high as the walleye and sauger fishing this fall was good and fish were staged in good numbers along the south shore.
On the Rainy River... Much of the Rainy River is frozen up. Things are progressing but it certainly needs cold weather and some time.
Ice conditions vary and on the river there is current, so much like the lake, we encourage visitors to work through a resort or outfitter for safety.
Up at the NW Angle... Ice is forming nicely and is right on track for this year's ice fishing season. There has been no ice fishing yet as resorts are simply monitoring ice conditions at this time, waiting until the ice is thicker before marking trails and getting fish houses out.
Fall fishing was excellent with walleyes in good numbers along with some monster pike being caught. All indications point to good fishing when the ice is ready as the fish are there.
Driving through Canada to reach the Angle no longer requires COVID vaccinations or the use of the ArriveCan App (which is optional).
For those looking to access the Angle while avoiding customs, there are few options.
1. When ice conditions allow, the snowmobile trail will be groomed and staked from the south shore up to the Angle.
2. The Lake of the Woods Passenger service provides round trip bombardier service across the lake.
3. Lake Country Air provides air service to both the south end and NW Angle.
I'm still hoping for a sunny warm-up to melt all of the existing snow off of the existing ice, and then an arctic blast. After that, I'm hoping for a giant walleye to hop out of the lake and filet itself before skinny dipping in some batter and then relaxing in a hot pan of oil in my kitchen.
I would highly recommend not doodling around out there at night time either. When those cracks form, the piece breaks off from the main sheet or the land and you are then caught "adrift" with no way back.
The bite is not as good as it normally is from what I have read either. We're so used to hearing that "its on fire" for the early ice bite but that doesn't appear to be the case.