As of February 12, 2020 we have some updates about lake accesses and travel conditions on Lake Winnie.
After talking with several resort owners, it's evident that access to Lake Winnie will continue to be restricted. But as rental operators regain control of their plowing, options for anglers are improving.
Some of the accesses have been re-opened, but only provide limited access to the better fishing areas. Others remain closed and are unlikely to be re-opened this winter.
The accompanying map with numbered descriptions identifies the access points around the lake.
Some of the county roads leading to public landings are not plowed and remain closed. some of the closures are temporary, but some are closed permanently and will likely not re-open during the early spring ice season.
Snow on Lake Winnie's ice is hard packed and frozen, forming a sandwich like crust over a layer of slush. Anglers traveling by snowmobiles and lightweight track machine may not even notice the slush. But travel by heavier vehicles remains hazardous and should not be attempted.
If you’re depending on a pickup truck for travel, stay on plowed roads, no other travel off of the roads is possible. If you’re travelling by snowmobile, steer clear of high traffic locations to help minimize the risk of getting bogged down in slush.
#1 Dixon Lake Resort, Open As of 2-12-2020 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 at the low end of rates offered 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.
#3A The Pines Resort and Campground. Open with limited access as of February 12, 2020. The Pines 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, ice shelters and even some larger wheel houses. But the ramp is steep and not suitable for large rigs towing wheel houses exiting the lake.
Anglers towing larger shelters may use the Pines access to get on the lake and use the landing at nearby Tamarack Lodge to exit. 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
#3B Tamarack Lodge open as of 2-26-19. Tamarack Lodge works in unison with The Pines Resort to maintain the plowed roads in Tamarack Bay. Whether you enter the lake though Tamarack Lodge or through The Pines Resort, you are essentially accessing the same road system.
Tamarack does however have their own, semi-private landing and the incline of their landing is less steep than the landing at The Pines. For anglers with wheel houses, this may provide a more desirable location for driving on. The road fee is $20.00 per day.
Tamarack Lodge is open during winter and provides lodging for ice anglers. Contact >> Tamarack Lodge 218-246-8515
#4 Highbanks Resort Open with limited access to fishing areas as of 2-12-2020. Highbanks 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 "In-Accessible" as of 2-12-2020. When passable, the 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 was unavailable for comment at the time of writing. But I believe that they are open, with limited access to fishing areas as of 2-12-2020. We'll post an update as soon as their status can be confirmed.
Ordinarily, Denny's 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 Closed as of 2-12-2020. Their ramp is closed to both public and private users and is currently unavailable for anglers. They do not have rental shelters on the ice at this time.
Typically, Nodak Lodge 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. When open, their 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 Richard's Townsite Public Landing "In-Accessible" as of 2-12-2020. 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 only 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 and ice conditions on they lake prohibit travel.
#9 Two Resorts, Becker’s and McArdle’s have open access as of 2-12-2020. McArdles and Becker'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 typiclly an excellent landing.
Craig Brown, McArdles Resort; "Things are getting better out there, but we still have very limited access to the lake. For now, our roads extend only as far as the River Bar. If conditions improve, we'll try to push out to Sugar Bar, but it's unclear when conditions would warrant that move.
Many of our guests have brought snowmobiles and for them, travel on the lake hasn't been too bad. The ones who do get out and away from the crowds are doing very well. There are still areas of thin ice and plenty of slush, so do not attempt off-road travel using vehicles."
This access is open to the public, and 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 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