By Ross Hagemeister, miesterguideservice.com
Otter Tail Lakes Country is in full ice fishing swing. There’s no turning back now. While panfishing across the county seems to be picking up steam, other species like walleye are still inconsistent. The best bet for consistent walleye action is shallow, where you can count on at least a few fish a day if you stay with it. The ice on most lakes is in pretty good shape but some folks are still experiencing troubles with heaves, cracks and fractured ice. Keep in mind that even though the ice in most areas is consistent, it is still new. New ice is subject to getting shrinkage and expansion cracks. If you’re traveling on the lakes with ATV’s or trucks and cars—beware of cracks. And just because you went out on the lake on a traveled path, doesn’t mean that it’ll be crack free when you come back in. There is very little snow cover on the lakes around Otter Tail County so I recommend not traveling on the exact route every time you come and go from an access point because ice weakens the more it’s used. Take advantage of our great fishing conditions. This is the time of year when drilling holes is quick and easy—the ice isn’t real thick, and there’s not a lot of snow to stumble through, so keep the auger turning until you’ve found the right spot.
Even though walleye have been trickier to find, they are still in a feeding frame of mind. Be sure and bring an assortment of bait sizes with. Keep a line with a large minnow bait (sucker or shiner), and another with a smaller bait like a whole or partial fathead—then you’ll be covered. Panfish are feeding well and will eat small jigs tipped with minnows, wax worms, and Berkley Power Baits like the chartreuse colored Whipworm, and be sure to try the tiny Northland Forage Minnow—panfish love them.
Good Luck fishing Otter Tail Lakes Country this week—and be safe!
Things to Do