April 30, 2014 - On Little Cutfoot Sioux - The ice is all but gone now and by Tuesday mid aternoon it covered less than 50% of the lake. The last time we looked was at about 2:00 PM, so it could be completely ice free already. Even if the water wasn't completely open by the yesterday evening, it will certainly be gone sometime today.
The MN DNR fisheries staff has begun moving equipment onto the Walleye Egg Harvest site at Little Cutfoot and word is that they will begin setting their trap nets on Thursday. With a little luck, they will begin finding fish in their nets on Friday morning.
ON Lake Winnibigoshish The ice continues to disappear fast. Strong offshore winds at our end of the lake have forced the ice sheet away from from shore. Open water now spans at least a half mile, maybe further out from Bowens Flats.
We can see some ice beginning to stack up on the East side of Tamarack Point and there's a little stacking at Highbanks too. Out in the main lake, we can see ice jams and stacking of slushy soft ice as well.
If the wind switches directions and pushes the ice back this way again, ice out will occur in just a few days. If it stays calm, it will take a bit longer.
There is no doubt though, we will definitely have open water for the beginning of our Walleye season on May 10th, 2014. (Click on images to enlarge)

image of Little Cutfoot Sioux Walleye Egg Harvest Station image of ice out on Little Cutfoot image of ice out on Lake Winnibigoshish image of Lake Winnie from the dam
Walleye Egg Harvest Little Cutfoot Sioux April 29, 2014 Little Cutfoot Sioux at the public ramp April 29, 2014 Bowens Flats facing mid-lake West April 29, 2014 From the dam viewing Tamarack Bay April 27th

Link to Resort Grounds

By the way, we would love to have you join us here at the resort for your 2014 fishing vacation.
So as long as you're in the neighborhood anyway, why not take an extra minute for a quick spin around the website to see the resort?
We're sure that when you get to know us, you'll understand why Bowen Lodge should be your next fishing destination in Northern Minnesota.
"At Bowen Lodge, You Are Part Of Our Family!" click and view >> Bowen Lodge

*New for 2014 - Our Marina will be featuring some new boats. We've added three Lund Furys to our rental fleet. Our guests can ride in even more comfort than before and fishermen will appreciate the great boat control provided by these fully rigged fishing machines. See more at the >> Bowen Lodge Marina .

April 28, 2014 On Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux - Large stretches of shoreline are now ice free. Near the dam at the Mississippi River, water in the Dam Bay is now ice free. In fact, the open water extends beyond the bay, stretching into Tamarack Bay where the water is still covered by a sheet of Grey, pourus looking ice.
Following the road into our resort, you can see a band of open water that spans the shoreline along Bowen's Flats. here too, the ice ice is Grey and soft and the strong Northeast wind is pushing it away from the shoreline. Now that there is some slack along the shore, a wind blowing from the West would begin the spring breakup in a big way.
Moving away from the big lake on a trip over to the bridge at Little Cutfoot reveals that the DNR's Walleye Egg Harvest Operations is going to be delayed at least a few more days. Even though the First River is now open, Little Cutfoot remains ice covered and the DNR will not begin setting their nets in the channel until the ice has gone out.
It's hard to say for sure, but we're planning to hear that the area from Williams Narrows into Little Cutfoot will be closed for the early protion of the fishing season. That is speculation at this point, but it would follow what they have done during previous "late springs".
We do anticipate ice out in plenty of time for the Walleye opener and we'll be out and about, keeping tabs on conditions as they change. Cautiously optimistic is the current watchword, so check back in a day or two for another update.

April 13, 2014 As long as certain areas are avoided, Perch, Panfish and Tulibee fishermen who travel by ATV should be able to travel freely around most of the lake.
Ice conditions are changing very slowly now. Wherever there's water current that inflences the ice, the meltdown continues. But protected, main lake territory remains solid and should be fishable for at least the rest of this week.
As our photos show, ATV access is available along the shoreline at Bowen's Flats. In fact most areas that have been protected from traffic and current are still accesible.
Perch continue to be active on Winnie and knowing that the larger pre-spawn fish typically move toward the shallows in Tamarack Bay, anglers should still have great fishing as the Perch feed their way into full scale pre-spawn mode.
Sunfish and Crappie action on Cutfoot Sioux has been fair, with scattered packs of fish apprearing in both deep and shallow water.
Probably the most consistent pattern has been to work the steep breaks near the shoreling. Most of the fish have now moved away from the mid-lake holes in favor of these steeper shoreline breaks.
Occasionally, Tulibees appear on the sreen too and are very aggressive right now. Small jigs tipped with wax worms will produce a little bit of everything. Just keep an eye on your eclectronics and adjust your dept as you see fish moving in.

April 11, 2014 There is still plenty of ice for Perch, Panfish and Tulibee fishermen who travel by ATV. As our photos show, curent areas and ice located at the access ramps now have open water nearby. But areas protected from traffic and current are still accesible, albeit not for too much longer.
Perch continue to be active, especially on the West side of Winnie and there are more large female fish moving toward the shallows as they feed their way into full scale pre-spawn mode.
Tulibee fishing has been excellent on Lake Winnie too. Deep water areas along the lake's main bar (Bena Bar) have been producing consistent number of fish. Best strategy for Tulibees is to set up near, but not on the steep breaks.
Sunfish & Crappie fishermen will find consistent action on both Cutfoot and Little Cutfoot Sioux. Primary panfish location remains deep, but some of the fish are finding their way toward shallow water too.
Expect the best action during early morning hours, with a secondary feeding run about an hour before sunset. Bluegills have been in the 8 to 12 foot depth range and they are striking small jigs tipped with WaxWorms.
On Little Cutfoot, Crappie and Perch will also be found in the shallower water. On Big Cutfoot though, expect to find Crappies in the 24 to 30 foot range. Their location has shifted way from the mid lake holes and toward steep breaklines located near shore.
Comparing ice conditions to those of 2013, we feel a lot better about the lakes having a relatively routine ice out this season.
According to the MN DNR fisheries office in Grand Rapids, the average date to set the trap nets at the egg harvest station is April 20th. As of April 10th, the open water is pushing it's way toward the pipes where they'll string the nets. A DNR friend told us that he'd be surprised if Little Cutfoot is open by the 20th. But at the rate we're going, it won't be too far behind this season.

 

image of ice conditions on Lake Winnibigoshish
At the dam, open water extends beyond the bulrushes that seperate the Dam Bay from Tamarack Bay. The dark, soft ice on Winnies North side will be easily broken up when the wind reverses and blows in from the West.

image of ice conditions at Bowens Flats on Lake Winnie
Following the road into our resort, you can see a wide band of open water that spans the shoreline along Bowen's Flats.

image of the DNR Walleye Egg Harvest location
Above: Nets remain unset at the DNR Walleye Egg Harvest Station at Little Cutfoot Sioux.
In spite of the First River (below) being ice free, the DNR will wait until after Little Cutfoot is also ice free before stting the nets.
image of open water at Cutfoot Sioux

image of ice conditions at the bowen lodge dock
At our marina, there's little evidence of a full scale meltdown. Most of the snow is gone and the ice is Gray. But it looks like ice fishermen can expect another week of ice fishing.

image of ice conditions on Lake Winnie, Bowens Flats
Conditions on Winnibigoshish vary. But at the moment, the north shore near Bowens Flats is accessible and has both good ice and good travel conditions.

image of ice conditions at Little Cutfoot Sioux
On Little Cutfoot Sioux, anglers were still on the ice as of Thursday (4-10) afternoon.
The open water that you see at the ramp does expose the sandy bottom. In other words, this weekend will be the final opportunity for anglers who want to ice fish on Little Cutfoot.

image of first river at little cutfoot dnr egg harvest station
At the bridge over The First River at Little Cutfoot open water is pushing it's way toward the pipes where they'll string the nets. A DNR friend told us that he'd be surprised if Little Cutfoot is open by the 20th. But at the rate we're going, it won't be too far behind this season.

image of Lake Winnie ice melting
Looking out accross the Dam bay toward Tamarack Point. There's enough open water and dark ice to give us optimism about a nearly routine ice out this season.