Survey sheds light on Lake of the Woods ice fishing

Anglers again this past winter spent nearly 2 million hours ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, results from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ winter creel survey show. According to Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Baudette, anglers logged 1.94 million hours of ice time on the big lake last winter, keeping about 257,000 pounds of walleyes and 279,000 pounds of saugers.

As part of the survey, a creel clerk counts fish houses and interviews anglers on the ice to gauge fishing pressure, harvest and angler demographics. The survey began Dec. 16, 2017, and ended March 25, 2018. This past winter’s walleye harvest is on par with the average for the past six years, while the sauger harvest is slightly below the six-year average, Talmage said. The six-year average for saugers was driven by high harvests from 2012 through 2017, when fish from a series of strong year-classes in the mid- to late 2000s were recruited to the fishery, Talmage said.

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