Published December 21, 2012, 06:45 AM

Area fishing and skiing report

Fishing has been very good, and Kyle Blanchfield of Woodland Resort on Creel Bay reports the perch action last weekend in the resort’s rental houses was the best he’s ever seen.

By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald

Devils Lake

Fishing has been very good, and Kyle Blanchfield of Woodland Resort on Creel Bay reports the perch action last weekend in the resort’s rental houses was the best he’s ever seen. Creel Bay had 10 inches of good ice as of Monday, Blanchfield said.

Steve “Zippy” Dahl of the Perch Patrol Guide Service described the perch fishing as “gangbusters.” Best action has been in 42 feet of water, and 20-perch limits have been common. Walleye fishing also has been good in most areas of the lake, Dahl said. Small jigs or jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads and waxworms have worked best for perch, Dahl said, along with a plain hook and bait fished below a bobber. Look for walleyes to be in shallower water and hitting larger jigs and jigging spoons tipped with minnows or minnow heads.

For the time being, Dahl recommends anglers use ATVs and snowmobiles to access the lake; there’s not yet enough ice for larger vehicles, he said.

Lake of the Woods

Walleyes and saugers are hitting in 14 to 18 feet of water early and late in the day and in 20 to 26 feet during midday hours; 40-plus fish per house have been common, although anglers in recent days have reported lots of fish too small to keep when fishing deeper water. Gold or red glow spoons and dead sticks both are producing fish. Four-Mile Bay has 7 to 11 inches of ice, there’s 8 to 13 inches in Zippel Bay and 11 inches on the lake where resorts have houses. However, there are still spots with 5 inches of ice so anglers should check with a resort before venturing out. At the Northwest Angle, there is 12 to 14 inches of ice, but current areas with thinner ice, so again, anglers should use a resort. Walleye action up at the Angle has been very good.

Upper Red Lake

Limits of walleyes continue to be caught on most shorelines in 8 to 12 feet of water. Jigging spoons or plain hooks and minnows both are working during the morning and evening hours with spurts of midday activity as well. The ice is now 12 to 14 inches thick so vehicle travel has started from most access locations.

Bemidji area

The shallow lakes now have as much as 11 inches of ice, while ice thickness varies from 4 to 10 inches on the big, deep lakes. Walleyes are being caught on jigging spoons or setlines in 14 feet of water on Lake Plantagenet or in 8 to 18 feet on Big Turtle Lake. Grace Lake is producing panfish and northern pike on the 8- to 12-foot weed lines, while Lake Bemidji is giving up perch in 23 feet and a few walleyes in 14 to 19 feet.

Blackduck area

The ice is in good shape here with ATVs being utilized on all lakes. Jigging small spoons tipped with minnow heads has produced walleyes and perch on Blackduck Lake in 8 to 20 feet of water and on Island Lake in 10 to 20 feet. Look for suspended crappies over 30 to 40 feet of water during low-light periods on Gilstead Lake and Sandy Lake.

Cass Lake area

Six to 10 inches of ice seems to be the norm on most lakes, although there are spots with less ice and some cracks to deal with in places. Walleye action has improved during low-light periods with setlines and fatheads or jigging spoons on Cass Lake. Look to Allen’s Bay in 18 feet or Wishbone Bar and Windigo Bar in 8 to 12 feet. Spearing for northern pike has picked up in Allen’s Bay, and Wolf Lake is kicking out crappies in 25 feet of water.

Leech Lake

The entire lake now is ice-capped, although Walker Bay only has 4 to 5 inches on the edges and less ice farther out. The smaller bays have 7 to 10 inches of ice, as do many of the points being fished. Perch action has been limited, but walleyes are active during low-light periods off Pine Point and Stony Point in 7 to 10 feet of water or 16 to 18 feet.

Lake Winnibigoshish

The area received rain and then about 6 inches of snow last weekend. The cracks that were an issue last week mostly healed, and much of the lake now has 9 inches of ice. But if the snow continues to pile up, ATV travel could get difficult. Spearing and angling for northern pike has been “so-so” in shallow water, and there hasn’t been much traffic to main-lake structure for walleyes and perch. The best perch reports are coming off the west side in 8 to 10 feet of water near the points and shoreline breaks.

Downhill skiing report

Buena Vista Ski Area near Bemidji: 16- to 24-inch base, groomed, making snow when weather permits, 3 inches of new snow. Terrain park is open and snow tubing is scheduled to begin Saturday. Skiing and snowboarding hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Jan. 1; tubing hours are noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Jan. 1; closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Info: bvskiarea.com.

Frostfire Ski Area near Walhalla, N.D.: 20-inch base, 4 inches of new snow, making snow continually when temperatures allow, all 10 runs open. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily beginning Saturday and continuing through the holidays. Info: frostfireskiarea.com.

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