On January 2, 2019, while answering a reader question about ice fishing locations on Lake Winnie, I promised an update about lake accesses and travel conditions. The accompanying map, along with numbered descriptions should give anglers a fairly good idea about where they can go and where they can't go this weekend.
After talking with several resort owners around the lake, I'll reiterate yesterday’s comments about off road travel on the big lake.
Snow on Lake Winnie's ice is hard packed and ranges in depth between 12 to 15 inches. There are areas of slush under the snow, particularly in areas where there are lots of anglers. If you’re depending on a pickup truck for travel, stay on plowed roads and/or well travel user developed pathways. If you’re travelling by snowmobile or ATV, steer clear of high traffic locations to help minimize the risk of getting bogged down in slush.
#1 Dixon Lake Resort provides a plowed road into the Third River Landing.
Access from this landing is typically limited to waters within the Third River Flowage and following the north shore toward the “clay banks” near Farley Creek.
Ice ridges frequently crop up from near Stony Point and run across the lake westward toward Mallard Point. The ridges, when they occur, will block travel onto the main lake.
This access is open to the public, but there is a drop box provided for folks who are willing to make a free will donation. I'd suggest $12.00 which is the low end rate at most other resorts on the lake. >> Dixon Lake Resort 218-659-4612
#2 The Poacher's Landing is a user developed site which allows access to the lake's north side and is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish along Bowen's Flats. This landing is always suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's. At times, the access is good enough for pickup trucks too. It's rarely suitable for vehicles towing large shelters, but it's worth a drive by to check it out. Don't be disappointed if it won't work for your wheel house, it's not a sure thing.
#3 The Pines Resort and Campground, has a "semi-private" plowed road that provides access for Pines Resort guests and their ice shelter rental customers. They do allow public access for pickup trucks towing small trailers and ice shelters, but the ramp is not suitable for large rigs towing wheel houses. The road fee is $20.00 per day.
The Pines road provides access mainly to the northeastern section of the lake, through Tamarack Bay. Typically, this area is best known for good Perch and Pike fishing. But there are occasional spurts of good Walleye action too, especially along the steep Mississippi River Channel breakline. >> Pines Resort & Campground 218-246-8546
#4 Highbanks Resort has an excellent network of plowed roads that provide coverage to the entire east side, most of lake’s mid-section, and provides access to the deep water structure on the north and northwest sides of the lake as well.
Their roads are open to the public for an access fee of $15.00 daily or $40.00 for a 3 day pass. This is one of the lake's most convenient drive on locations. For Lodging and shelter rental >> Highbanks Resort 218-246-2560
#5 The Birches Public Landing allows access to the lake's east and north sides along with access to most of the lakes mid-section. It is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish "the humps" and mid lake bars. This landing is always suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's. This access is frequently good enough for pickup trucks too, sometimes even vehicles towing large shelters. It's worth a drive by to check it out, but it's not a sure thing for folks towing larger shelters.
#6 Denny's Resort has a very good network of plowed roads that provide coverage to the south end, most of lakes mid-section, and along the southeast side of the lake. Their road is open to the public for an access fee. Pickup trucks are $12.00 per day, wheel houses are $15.00 per day or $30.00 for a weekend pass.
Denny’s Resort also provides shelter rentals including both day houses and sleeper rentals. >> Denny’s Resort, 218-665-2222
#7 Nodak Resort has a system of plowed roads that provides access mainly to the south and west sides of the lake, along with mid lake bars and humps. As of January 2, 2019, they have about 3 miles of plowed roads and will expand their network as conditions allow.
Their ramp is open to the public and it is currently available for anglers towing large shelters. Daily road access fees are $12.00 for a single pickup truck, $15.00 for wheel houses and $25.00 for a full weekend pass. Nodak Lodge 218-665-2226
#8 The Richards Townsite public landing is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish along the southwest shoreline and the lake's southwestern mid-section. This landing is usually suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's. At times, the access is good enough for pickup trucks as well. But at the time of this writing, there is a pressure ridge blocking access for larger vehicles.
#9 Two Resorts, Becker’s and McArdle’s cooperate to maintain a system of plowed roads that provide access from the public landing located on the west side of the lake. Accessed via Trappers Drive NW just south of McArdle’s Resort, this is an excellent landing for vehicles towing wheel houses.
Ice ridges frequently prevent vehicle passage from shoreline structure out onto the lakes mid-section. But coverage of the western shoreline is typically very good and occasionally, anglers can reach out into the mid lake as well.
This access is open to the public, but there is a drop box provided for folks who are willing to make a free will donation. I'd suggest $12.00 which is the low end rate at most other resorts on the lake. >> Becker's Resort 218-665-2268 or McArdle's Resort 218-665-2212
As always, field reports from anglers on the ice are always welcome. Let us know what you've seen on the lake and help your fellow anglers have a safe, fun ice fishing trip! >> Contact Jeff Sundin
Here's the thing, even during these cold fronts, even in these " Dog Days" of winter, walleyes still have to eat.
Catching fish consistently is just a question of adapting to what a fish really wants and figuring out what you need to do to trigger a strike.
During mid-winter, you sometimes have to get a little bit more subtle and play the game the walleye's way. Find out what he's comfortable with and match your presentation to his mood.
Don't let the dog days of winter keep you off the ice! This week on Fish Ed, host Jon Thelen shows you how to still put tons of walleye on the ice, even when conditions are brutal.