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Name the top ice fishing destinations

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Believe it or not, I am currently thinking about where I can go on a prime ice fishing trip next winter instead of a run to Florida or some other warm climate. I am in SE MN and could see traveling as far north as LOW region or into the DAkotas or Wisconsin. Any suggestions for dream trips?

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The best ice fishing trips I've ever had were with Jonny P on URL.

Having said that, there's lakers on Burntside, perch on Devils Lake, and this may sound weird to some of yous guys, but walleyes and crappies on Sarah in SW MN is tough to beat.

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Over 20 years going up to Lake Of The Woods. Try to go 4-5 times a year. 4 hr drive for me but well worth it. Mid December has been best for me. Also had a great trip early March.

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What about Lakers? I am looking for a single trip for Lakers next winter.

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I second lake of the woods. This is the first year for me up there and I went twice. Fishing Minnesota's sponsor up there is Riverbend Lodge and they are unbelievable. Super nice people and they keep their houses on fish.

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For what you would spend going to florida you could spend a couple of days at each destination, hit redlake, make youre way to LOW for a few days an hit red lake again coming back down maybe bust over to DL in ND. or hit Milacs on the way. Just make sure to eat you fish before the next destination. That would be an awsome trip for the price an time to go to Florida. Boar

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Upper Red for walleyes, pike and crappies. Hook up with thr Petrowskes or Bear Paw if you have never been there.

LOW for walleyes and sauger. Ballards is a great resort.

Gogebic in Michigan for BIG perch (haven't done the trip personally but have friends who have)

Winnie for number of perch and the walleye fishing has been unbelievable

A March run to Mille Lacs for big perch.

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The 22 hour drive from Dallas to LOTW is well worth it for me.....now that gas is so high....it puts quite a dent in the wallet. I too would like to try some BWCA pike action this year!

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THanks for all the comments. I was not optomistic about ice fishing forum comments in mid June but obviously I am not the only one with ice fishing bug. I have fished the hard water off and on for decades but only in the past couple of years have I retooled and gotten a good flasher and other gear and I just love it now. I could see the south to north trot line going from Rochester to Mille Lacs, hitting Red Lake or Winne, depending on what is going, continuing on to LOW.

Then there is the idea of Devil's Lake in ND which has always tempted me and I suppose I could veer off that direction. Michigan I had not thought much about but I will check out Gogebic. I would like to try some of the commercial ice houses e.g. on LOW but would also like to try my own portable stuff on these lakes.

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For the past several years, we've taken a trip up to Winnie in January...we've always figured if the fishing was poor on Winnie, we could just make a run up to Red Lake or even LoW.

We've never had to do that...

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Gunflint trail on a sled with a portable hunting lakers. Hands down for me. LOW is fun but it's too much of a "canned" experience. They drive you out to the house, the holes are drilled, and most days you don't move an inch. You're not relying on yourself rather you're relying on the resort. The GFT is as beautiful as it gets. You can spend half your time riding and half fishing. The trails are second to none in the state. It's a blast. That being said you MUST either own or rent a sled to fish most of these lakes.

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LOTW all the way with a resort or not. If you want comfy and not have to worry about anything meals included go Riverbend. Even if you don't want comfy LOTW is the way to go.

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My vote goes to Walleye fishing in the N.W. Angle area of Lake of the Woods. Beautiful scenery, the best walleye fishing in the world and just a great way to get away from civilization for a trip. There are lots of great resorts willing to make your stay up there an unforgettable one. Good Luck making a decision!

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deer river area. way to many lakes with different varieties of fish species to choose from.

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Lots of lakes and multi speciese, but nobody's dream trip. LOTW has it's days, Red Lake can be a skunk fest sometimes. If I were to have the choice to go fishing I'd hit Tobin Lake in Saskatchewan. That would be my dream trip.

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I will take any safe frozen body of water, preferably big enough for my wheelhouse and then I can explore with the portable from my base camp. Northern MN has most of the appeal for me however I would like to check out some canadian opportunities on some remote lakes.

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Oh, I can see this is going to be hard, but fun.

I do believe I will skip a trip to Florida this winter and spend the travel time and money doing some variation on what I read above.

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Red River of the North near Selkirk MB just after Christmas, and/or again in March on the Lake...Lake Winnipeg. Mmmmm-Boy..Sumo giant Greenbacks. No other place like it in my book. Stu McKay of "Cats on the Red" would be my recommendation to hook up with. The size and quantity of sumo walleyes caught up there is mind boggling!

A round trip may include Devils Lake ND in March as well. Jason Mitchell and his crew are always on fish than. Woodland Resort would be my pick for accommodations.

A nice round ice road trip may also include LOTW, or Red Lake, again at late ice.

Late ice is a subjective term, I guess...it was April darn near May for late ice on some of these locations this season.

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By the two best spots that I like to go are Lake of the Woods and Red lake. If I have a friend that is new to ice fishing and they want to catch walleyes I plan a trip to LOW, I can almost promise them that they will catch walleyes there. Staying at Riverbend is a most, they treat you GREAT nuff said!! And Red lake for the chance of catching a wall hanger pike, crappie, and just the number of walleyes that you can catch. It is only June and I'm getting pumped for the upcoming hard water season.

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Ed,

You fish on the REd River near Selkirk. Ice fishing on the river? I thought I saw the Red as I drove through Winnipeg a year ago and it looks managable size. I have never ice fished on a river before.

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Whoa! wait a minuet, forgot all about the Red. I fished giant cats up at Selkirk, and have been trying like mad to do some early ice up there for giant kolwalskies. If I was doing what you want to do I'd put that in the mix for sure. Boar

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I spent three day on Gunflint lake on the Gunflint trail last Feb. What a beautiful area and lots of wildlife to view. The fishing was great and I will go back. Those lakers are awesome on ice rods.

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All of these fisheries are awesome, but hear me out. There's nothing like stopping at a lake that "only the locals know about" and catching fish. I reccomend you go to an area with a number of lakes and look around.. mingle with the locals and find the hot spots and tactics. For example, I went on a trip to LOTW last march and didn't have the best of luck. We left a day early and stopped in Willmar at a bait shop to ask how their fishing was locally. It didn't take much and we were out catching limits of crappie. I guess what I'm saying is to not limit yourself to the "Big Six" where everyone else is.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Here is my story from about a month ago on LOW.  Two of us fishing in my wheelhouse.  I went outside to grab a beverage and in doing so I walked next door to our buddies, 25 feet away.  I hadn't even fully shut the door when two snowmobiles show up one stopping at each house.  Basically sleds were rolling and they were both stepping off, you'd think they were in the I500 race at a refueling stop.  I opened the door and was asked how fishing was, I said poor very poor.  He asked which house I was fishing in I said the other one.  He told me to go back there and get my license out his partner would be checking me out.  I walked back over and was told "well you already know what you did wrong"  I was like my lines are down, I haven't even been gone 5 minutes.  They would have had to see me walk over since they came from out of nowhere.  He leaves and talks to my buddies and they confirm my story.  He comes back and says "I will give you a warning" and proceeds to write our names down in a little notebook.  Gives us back our licenses and they both take off to our neighbors.   Week later my buddy who was fishing with me gets a ticket in the mail for extra lines.  Stated on the ticket was to call in 7 days for the amount.  He calls and its $135.  You can contest it online or go to court.  Of course we are both thinking this is a total crock.  He emails the CO and he actually emailed back saying to call him.  He called many times with no return call.  Finally a week goes by and he's able to get ahold of him.  He claimed he talked to over 300 people and couldn't remember everything he said.  Ticket was thrown out.  Still how many people got hooked over the weekend?  Pretty shady way to conduct yourself.    Yes technically I was in the wrong, but if your going to write a ticket, write a ticket don't send one a week later.  Or at least ticket the right person.  Didn't seem right to me....
    • A big thank you to your friend for his service and a way to go on the big pike on light line.
    • Did you put the new bit on your old head?
    •   So what about when you have a rattle wheel down and go outside to get a fish on your tip up?   Same thing as a wiz or smoke?  You can’t see it and might be gone for 10 minutes.   I only ask to be argumentative. 
    •  I never disliked my original ion but once I tried the new drill with the centering point I ordered the drill immediately. 
    • Just my 2 cents....   I bought an ion when I built the wheel house to keep the smoke plume out of the living quarters. I have had nothing but good luck with the system. It has always drilled all the holes that I need both inside the house and out hole hoping. You do need to keep the battery warm, but that is Li-Ion for you.   BUT.... my dad has a severe issue with the Dewalt salesman at his shop. He has pretty much every yellow tool that you can own and was wanting to try a drill setup. I thought it was silly to have both a K-drill and ION in our arsenal givien that both of us also have gas augers, so I decided to pick up an IceMaster adapter just to see what the electric drill craze is all about. I pulled my ION bit off and put it on Dad's brushless 20v high-end Dewalt and was very impressed. It really cuts nice with that ION bit, very smooth with no jerking. I have a hard time believing that the K-drill would be any better, but I have not compared the two side by side. For kicks, I decided to try the drill and adapater on my Strikemaster Mora..... YIKES! It wouldn't take you long to burn up ANY brand drill with that Mora.   To compare the two setups... the ION is definitely nicer for reopening old holes or widening holes that have narrowed over night. This is mainly due to the width of the handles versus the amount of torque that it takes to reopen holes. On the other hand, the drill is better at getting new holes perfectly centered on rough ice due to the fact that you can start a hole slowly with the variable speed of the drill vs the "on or off" capability of the ION head.Out on the ice, I think that drill head vs ION head performed the same.... Yes, the drill is a bit lighter, but the ION will do more holes (3 AH ION @ 40v / 5 AH Dewalt @ 20v).   SO.... now what are we going to do? I was able to find someone close to me that was upgrading their legacy ION bit for the new ION-X (primarily for the centering point). I was able to pick up the bit for $45. Now we have both a complete ION  and drill setup, and only have $70 invested into the drill setup since my dad already owned the drill itself.    Sorry for the long post, but I have a feeling that there are going to be many others upgrading their ION bits and selling their old legacy bits, and from what I have tested it really seems to work well on drills, especially for someone that already owns a drill and is on a budget.      
    • First possum I've ever seen in my yard..
    • LOL I just got checked yesterday and asked him this same question. I asked if i had pagers on each line could I keep them down. He said as the law is written a Rod or rattle wheel is considered a line down and you must be able to visually see the line at all times. Different from a tipup where you must be within the vicinity but you don't need a constant visual on them.   So I'm thinking I may just set up my tip-ups inside my shack with beepers when I'm not in there
    • The CO that checked us on LOW this winter told us if you go out to the bathroom or a smoke it is OK, if you go next door to visit it is a ticket...
    •   Member of ADVRider. Rode with lots of guys on there. I just put out a feeler on here once in a while.
  • MWO