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Jarrid Houston column: Rain, snow, muddy rivers; lake ice becoming unsafe

Jarrid Houston

Not a great fishing report from last week as we were dealing with good old Mother Nature issues. Lots of changes happening around the Northland, both fishing-wise and weather-wise. Recent storms screwed up fishing. With the recent added precipitation, area rivers have escalated to high, fast and dirty waters. Ice angling is, for the most part, finished. For our team, we have thrown in the towel on ice fishing and are in the process of “summer-izing” our equipment. Even though some ice might still be “doable” it’s definitely not worth the danger. Hazardous conditions near soft shorelines and unforeseen or hidden weak ice areas are present on all waters. Instead, it is a good time to make preparations for open water — stringing up reels, organizing tackle and creating a shopping list is on most anglers chores. For the ambitious anglers there are opportunities to fish in other parts of the region. The Rainy River walleye season closes today but sturgeon fishing continues there and road trips to Lake Michigan are an option.

Lake Superior has experienced some good-sized rollers knocking down ice sheets recently. The  Mcquade Safe Harbor is getting very close to losing its ice to be accessible for boats. Rice’s Landing in the harbor is ice-free, but docks have not been installed. Any angling that has been happening on the Gitch has been in the form of shorelanders fishing for Kamloops Trout with (unfortunately) little or no success. I think the majority of us are excited to start smelting and boating/fishing, but all we can do at this point is wait.

The St. Louis River is opening up nicely and the major corridors from the Entries to the Power Dams are open. However, lots of ice still exist in the back bay areas of the estuary. I predict we will have open water fishing on the river in about two weeks. Of course, we need to remind ourselves that we are only allowed to target panfish and rough fish as game fish and sturgeon will be off limits.

Inland lake open water fishing is still a few weeks off  so we need to be patient. Stay safe out there and make sure to tune into our social media channels for up to date reports. Find us on Facebook and Instagram under “Houston's Guide Service.”

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.

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