Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Jarrid Houston column: That's a wrap for ice fishing, now on to open water walleyes

North Shore coho are going good, but expect traffic at the boat landings.

Jarrid Houston
Jarrid Houston

Goodness, gracious do we have a whole lot of melting going on! Flooding is of course a concern for most of us as we navigate through this fast transition. In a perfect scenario, we would like to see a slow melt that takes several weeks. Unfortunately, this year Mother Nature says “too bad."

The quick run-off will likely affect both our lakes and lands. Ice conditions are going to be very sloppy from now on and, although we still have thick ice on many waters, ice around shorelines is quickly becoming very hazardous. We are throwing in the towel on the ice angling season to hit open water. The good news is all this melt will help raise water levels, refresh lakes and escalate spring spawning rituals.

Send us your big fish photos by email to outdoors@duluthnews.com.
Event included a catfish excursion on the Red River with volunteer guides from the Red River Catfish Club and a morning shooting clay targets at the Dakota Sporting Clays range west of Grand Forks.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 22.
Salmon and trout were biting, but a big east wind blew anglers off Lake Superior midweek.
The in-person contest is June 3, or fish anywhere and submit entries on an app.
The goal on this opening day was to catch enough keeper-size walleyes for an evening fish fry that night at Ballard’s Resort, our base for the weekend.
Lake Superior coho have been biting near port entries and river mouths.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 15.
Big sturgeon like the one Dawson Erickson landed have been all over the internet this spring. Landing the fish would have been nearly impossible without help, Dawson's dad, Kevin Erickson, said.
There is great fishing available everywhere in Minnesota, not just on the big waters of the north country, was the message when Mankato hosted the sport's annual season-opening celebration.

Speaking of spring rituals, we have already started to hit the open waters. Let’s get into it:

With boat landings now ice-free, Lake Superior continues to draw some anglers in search of North Shore fish. Some landings have already been busy on nice days. Most catches have been coho salmon slamming surface running stick baits. Like the weather, every day is very different.

Best depths have been from 40-140 feet of water. Brightly colored baits in the 5- to 9-inch category have been best. I like the exotic Wonder Bread color schemes, but, more importantly, searching out active feeding schools is going to be the biggest challenge.


Also, another little reminder: Make sure you have all your proper gear, updated registration and current fishing licenses. Our stream-angling friends are about to watch a giant increase in water level, current, river color and in some aspects dangerous debris.

The St. Louis River Estuary is still making its way toward open water. The increased big boat traffic has helped in the harbor area, not to mention the current will start to crack up ice farther upstream. We’re still a long way from launching a boat, but getting closer.

Land purchase adds half-mile of shoreline within Brule River State Forest.
Believe what you want about acupuncture, Paul Colson says, but it worked for him in his battle against alpha-gal syndrome. He’s back to eating venison and other red meat without any issues.
Since 1958, the all-volunteer squad has been finding and saving people, winter and summer, from the Boundary Waters to Brookston and beyond.
Retired teacher Larry Weber, of Barnum, is the author of “Butterflies of the North Woods" and “Spiders of the North Woods," among other books. Reach him via Katie Rohman at krohman@duluthnews.com.
Warm and breezy will be the theme for parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota this weekend with scattered T-storms staying west until Monday.
Editor’s note: Some events may have been canceled after the time of publication. Please check with local organizers. Email events to outdoors@duluthnews.com.
Tuesday is World Turtle Day to draw attention to the plight of several species.
Lawmakers adjourn after making “historic” improvements for the environment and outdoor recreation.
The DNR decision to reduce licenses in Zone 20 was based on several factors, including anticipation the Red Lake Nation would increase tags for their tribal hunt in the 1863 Old Crossing Treaty area.
Apostle Islands maintenance costs are 7 times higher than 5 years ago.
The updated master plan will guide management of the Red Lake WMA’s forests and peatlands. It will include management goals, objectives and strategies for the WMA throughout the next 10 years.
Many of the highest-rated national parks are not exactly well-known or highly visited.

In other river systems around our extended regions, thousands of anglers/boats have traveled to find spring walleye opportunities. The Rainy River (season closes April 14,) the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin tributaries of Lake Michigan have been hosting full parking lots. I am looking forward to heading down to Green Bay this week.

Inland lakes in the Northland of course are still ice capped but getting slushy. After a few days we should see the ice rise and make for less slush/standing water, but conditions will deteriorate fast. We will now monitor the ice-out dates but that of course will make their way north these next several weeks.

As mentioned, we are done ice fishing. For those that still want to try last shot ice angling, be very, very careful. Now we’re off to Green Bay.

All the best hook-sets, angling nation.

Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide ( houstonsguideservice.com ) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.
What To Read Next
Get Local