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Quetico

Where to for icefishing

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Just starting to think about an ice fishing trip this winter. I dont want to head too far into Ontario but I want some place with bigger 'eyes. The possibility of lakers would be a huge plus. Wouldnt be apposed to a multi-species trip. Maybe 2 days of 'eyes and a day of guided lakers.

Any recommendations?

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Hey Quetico,

We offer winter Ice fishing, but its more lakers with walleyes on the side. We are only about 1hr. over the border from I. Falls. If you want some more info let me know.

Here is alittle slide show of some laker fishing from last year.

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I've never fished lakers, never even caught one. I've got my own portable and have no issue using that on Manitou but I'd be looking for people to point us in the right direction, possibly get a guide for the first day.

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We also offer lake trout fishing as the main target species with some other smaller walleye lakes available. Mainly eater size walleyes on the 2 lakes that most guys fish, but there are some big walleyes on another lake close by, its not as easy as the other lakes. I would be able to fish with you a day to get you started and pointed in the right direction. We are 45 miles from the border. If we can assist you, let us know.

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Down Deep is right about the time you want to go. Our better walleye bite is mid Feb and is best in March. Lakers are best in January. The olater months are good, but not as consistant day after day.

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Ok, I do know who is going yet just getting ideas on where. So no snowmobiles or ATV's. I have my F150 for getting around. A few who may come people are college students so we'd have to be back by mid January.

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If the college students cant make the trip, I'd be up for going later to get better chances for bigger eye's. I definitely wouldnt complain about getting some giant Canadian crappies.

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Early January is best for Laker's. If you don't have a snowmobile or ATV your are going to pretty much out of luck trying to access trout waters. Driving on the lakes during early Jan. is usually out of the question. Lake of the Woods (Crappies and Walleyes) in Nestor Falls is sometimes doable for trucks in January, but that depends on how much snow and slush there is. Gordy's plows a road onto Sabaskon Bay, but it is rare that he has it open early. My recommendation would be to work with one the Canadian outfitters or go to Lake of the Woods out of Baudette or Morris Point on the US side. The resorts there are more equipped to get you on the ice no matter what the conditions are.

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You will be alot more limited on where to go without any wheelers or snowmachines. We have a couple rentals but it just depends on how many would be coming up if it would be feasible. Our main place you can drive to and is usually no problem for trucks in early to mid Jan. depending on the year. We have good crappies on the main lake with some trout lakes a short snowmachine ride away. Jan the walleyes are slower and the crappie and lakers are the best during that time. You can get more info from our HSOforum and see if its of any interest. Click the address below to view our winter photo gallery -

Gateway North Outfitters Winter Fishing Photo Gallery

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If you can come up with some sleds there are resorts on Crow Lake that are open in the winter. Crow has some excellent trout fishing and you can access several portage lakes adjacent to Crow. You will also have access to Stevens Bay of Lake of the Woods for some fast crappie fishing. The resort owners will send you to some spots to get you started.

You could also choose the Manitou where Outfitter has a resort. I've never fished the Manitou in the winter, but it has excellent spring open water trout fishing. I haven't been into Pipestone for at least 20 years and the fishing was good.

If no one in your group is a winter lake trout fisherman it would be wise to work something out with a guide for a day to get you going. Laker fishing is not all that difficult, but there is some technique that is necessary to improve your catch. But then again you can catch your share on dead-sticks or tip-ups. Flashers and a bulletproof auger are a must.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that early Jan. can produce some dangerous bone chilling cold snaps of 30 to 40 below. No one should attempt to play tough guy with that kind of cold. Make sure you clarify the resorts cancellation policy should you need to cancel due to a cold snap. I don't stay anywhere that won't refund my deposit if I have to cancel and we can't get the group together for an alternative date later in the season.

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Quetico,

We have a couple of rental 2up long track machines that you could ride 2 on each. They have hitches so you could tow your portable along, that's not a problem.

As mentioned above lakers seem to be the best in Jan. and walleyes late feb. to ice out.

If I was doing a combo trip, I would lean towards Late feb. through late march. This will give you pretty good trout fishing, great walleye fishing and it should be or getting to be some of the best weather.

As down deep mentioned jan. cold be viciously cold at times.

The manitou is kinda nice, because we have a 6 mile snowmobile ride to the camp and the best winter laker fishing is all done within site of the camp. It's not just off the highway and there isn't a bunch of traffic out here. It's a little adventure which everyone seems to like.

We have 3 cabins setup for winter use, if you need more info just click on the HSOforum below.

Here is our winter trout slide show, we will add walleyes to it this winter.

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You'll definitely want some sort of machine to be mobile. Once you fish and catch lake trout, I think it will be hard to go after walleyes.

Sitting on the ice, a slight wind to your back, the sun in your face, and time spent staring at the little round screen of the flasher. You see your jig popping up and down as a little yellow line. The odd yellow line flashes momentarily as a perch or other insignifigant fish swims by. You look up at your surroundings to appreciate the beauty and quiet. Looking back to your flasher you notice a larger orange blip at the bottom. You're fishing 20 feet down in 40 feet of water and hope that the fish sees your lure. The orange blip starts to rise towards your jig and you get 'on point', hoping, praying that the two color blips meet indicated by a solid thump to your line. The blips meet and it seems like everything stands still as one blip holds fast to the other, all the while twitching your jig spewing the oft heard words, "C'mon,.... c'mon... eat it!! And then, you feel the tug, and set the hook... 'FISH ON!!', and now the best part of the story unfolds. The laker runs with your line as you hear the drag scream and you watch the rod bent over, seemingly ready to snap under the pressure. You periodically start to reel it in between short runs. You gain on the quarry until you can sense that it's almost to the hole. Somehow the fish senses this and starts to shakes it's head feverishly, and you hope that it doesn't throw the jig and your hookset holds. You desperately try to guide it's head into that small opening below the ice, all the while trying not to put too much pressure on the rod and line. Finally, you see it's head centered in the hole below, and tug it up at just the right time. You reel in a little more and holding the rod high above your head, you reach into the hole, find the jawbone, and pull up the fish. You hold it high in the air and smile as big as someone who's just kicked the winning field goal in overtime. A fight like none other, pictures and a re-cap of it ensue. One for the pan, and you drop your jig back down into the frigid water in hopes of repeating it all over again.

That is ice fishing for lake trout!!

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Thanks for the help guys. I'll look into a few of the places mentioned and try to find some sleds.

I fully understand the weather issues. The first winter I was on LOTW the warmest it got in 4 days was -12. That was the warmest daytime high we saw the entire trip.

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Tman2 you are so right, once you get the laker addiction, walleyes are like catching rock bass. Lakers get the blood pumping and keep you out there day after day no matter what the weather. I can't wait til Jan 1!

Remember every month up here can have vicious cold temps, usually just a little stretch and then gone.

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What part of the cities are you in? From the convention center in MPLS, it's 4.5 hrs to I. Falls, then another 1hr. up to our parking spot where we depart for our 6 mile ride.

If you have 4 people then you would only need to rent 2 sleds, this way you could save some money.

If you want a guide for 3 days, we could wrap up a rental/guide service into a package deal.

Do you have any dates you are looking at?

E-mail me at campmanitou@hotmail.com and I can give you full details about our area.

FYI, we don't have any room until the weekend of Feb. 27th.

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TMAN = You have described the laker taker experience accurately and eloquently. The only thing I could change is the description of the hit. It's more like a someone tied a concrete block on your line and dropped it.

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