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Hunt small game this winter

Hunting pheasants, ruffed grouse, squirrels or rabbits offers opportunities to enjoy the Minnesota outdoors as temperatures fall and snow blankets the landscape. Explore more about hunting a variety of species on theDNR learn to hunt page.

pheasant hunter in a field

Pheasants hunting is open through Jan. 2. On Dec. 1, the daily bag limit increases to three roosters, with a possession limit of nine roosters. Tip: Pheasants that found cover in crops now congregate in tall grass or marshes. Be safe around thin ice.Pheasant regulations

grouse hunter on a trail

Grouse hunting is open through Jan. 2. Tip: Wintertime grouse hunters may find success during the golden hour, that last hour before sunset when ruffed grouse move out of their snow roosts to feed.Grouse regulations

squirrel hunter holding a bunch of squirrels and a firearm

Squirrels and rabbits hunting is open through Feb. 28. Tip: Squirrels can be particularly active in the winter because they are in their breeding season. For rabbits, be ready for action around thick cover, such as brush piles, thorn tangles and briars.Small game regulations


On the south end...  Ice is forming across the lake, river and bays.  We are moving in a good direction, but need some more time before ice fishing begins. 

The first spear houses are out on back isolated bays looking for pike.  Some resorts offer spearing packages on Zippel Bay and Bostic Bay.  Work through a resort as ice conditions vary.  One resort reports 5-7 inches on their marked trail but they went around an area with only 1 inch of ice caused by springs.  Safety first.

Our resorts and outfitters are on the ice daily checking thickness, avoiding springs, cracks, shifting ice, unclear and weak ice, etc.  When the time comes they open their ice trails, stay on the trails for safety.

The main basin, Big Traverse Bay, is ice covered in most areas.  As most years, some of the shoreline ice is made up of slush that has blown in and frozen.  When resorts / outfitters start grooming, they will smooth the ice out for good ice travel.  We have a good start!

Many LOW resorts / outfitters are providing ice reports on their Facebook pages this time of year.  These are the experts on the ice and they will let you know when the part of the lake they fish is ready for travel.

On the Rainy River...  The Rainy River is ice covered.  With the current of the river throughout the year, knowing when, where and where not to travel on the ice is a must.

Typically, later in December, a snowmobile trail will be staked from Baudette to Wheeler's Point offering travel on the river, Mother Nature dictating of course.  When it opens, stay on the trail for safety.

Up at the NW Angle...  Angle Inlet and various areas throughout the islands of the NW Angle are ice covered.  A bit of local snowmobile travel in a few areas but no ice fishing as of yet. Things are coming along nicely with little snow.

Travel to and from the Angle via vehicle through the 40 miles of Canada is open.  Must be vaccinated and have a negative PCR COVID Test. Plan ahead with testing or rapid tests are available in Baudette and soon in Warroad.  Once at the Angle, no additional COVID testing is necessary for traveling back south from the Angle through Canada.

Want to avoid crossing the border?  Snowmobilers can take the groomed and staked trail across the lake.  Charter transport via bombardiers on the ice trail or flights over the lake landing on an ice runway are available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air this winter. 

A complete list of lodging and ice fishing packages around LOW, the NW Angle, Baudette and the Rainy River at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging


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