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    On the south end...  Ice fishing has begun!  Many resorts have fish houses out with others watching ice conditions in the area they fish for the right time.  Below zero temps this week will help.  Some ice roads are open to ATV and snowmobile traffic.  Check with your resort / outfitter prior to coming up.  Fishing has started out excellent as expected.  Most finding walleyes and saugers in 21 - 26 feet of water.  A shallow bite happening in 18-20' morning / evening.  The norm of jigging one line and dead sticking the other line working well.  Good numbers of fish being caught with some trophies mixed in as well as pout, perch, tullibees, sturgeon and an occasional pike.  Very little snow on the ice. 

    On the Rainy River...   Most of the river is frozen over with a few random spots still showing open water.  There is no traffic on the river at this time while ice is forming.  Extra caution is always needed with current and this year the current is stronger than most years. 

    Up at the NW Angle...  Some resorts have a few fish houses out and initial fishing reports for walleyes are excellent.  Some areas still need time with high current this year.  Forecast is favorable with sub zero temps this week.  The majority of ice traffic is snowmobiles thus far.  It's a must to stick to resort marked trails or know the area you are traveling.  A complete list of lodging and ice fishing options available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging
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    Time for the late-season rooster roll call
    By Tony Peterson
    The most challenging (and rewarding) time to hunt public land pheasants is from now until the end of the season. While itís not easy, hunters willing to work will find plenty of roosters.

    When it comes to pheasant hunting success, particularly on public land, there are a lot of wild cards to consider. Standing corn is a big one, and this year, the amount of water out there on the landscape is a major issue. While we should be freezing up soon, thatís not always the case for anything with a little flow to it, which means the roosters might be across a waterway from you and, in general, pretty safe.

    Pheasant populations are another wild card, and while we arenít at last yearís numbers, we arenít without a few birds to chase around, either. The numbers are definitely good enough to justify a few days in the field, although I wouldnít count on easy limits.

    I never do, and when they occasionally come my way Iím always surprised. Mostly this time of year, itís a matter of hunting from the moment legal shooting time begins until sunset, and then hoping there is some heft in the game bag for the effort. There usually is if you keep at it and spend your time shadowing a decent dog in good cover.

    That might be the most important piece of the puzzle right now: good dogs in good cover. A great dog hunting the CRP grass where the roosters spent their time in the early season doesnít do you much good, just as a mediocre dog in the thickest stuff on a given property isnít so great either.

    A good dog that works with you in gnarly cover is usually the key to sussing out birds on heavily hunted ground. Itís not the mowed paths and uncut milo fields of high-dollar hunts, but it sure is rewarding for anyone willing to put in the miles. As the season progresses, youíll probably have to put on more miles and wade through thicker stuff, but the upside is the birds are easy to locate and most of your hunting competition will either stay home or hike the easiest routes.

    Use that to your advantage for the remainder of the season.





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