Unless you’re an experienced ice angler, you might have a difficult time believing what you’re about to see. In northern Minnesota, and certainly throughout much of Canada, there are times when cold winters combined with little snow results in thick ice — REALLY thick ice.
Gas-powered ice augers are necessary for cutting through this frozen layer to reach the fish below, but as the season extends, you sometimes need to add an extension to the shaft of your gas auger. During some bad/cold winters, you might have to add two extensions to get the job done. Well, the conditions during winter 2017/2018 have been perfect for growing ice, so guides on Lake of the Woods, which is a massive lake on the border of Minnesota and Ontario, are using three extensions to find water.
Check out the video below to see the lengths — literally — avid ice anglers will go to find their favorite gamefish during winter. Our best guess is the ice is nearly 5 feet thick. Yes, this video is from back in February, but conditions on the lake haven’t changed much since.
Important drilling tip: You’ll notice that the guide clears the ice shavings from the hole several times before the auger blades finally reach water. The reason is if you fail to remove these shavings during the process, then the moment you strike water, it races up the hole and turns all the loose shavings into something like quick-drying cement; you’ll never get the auger out of the hole.
P.S. Sportsman’s Lodge is a family owned resort specializing in full-service fishing trips along with many other outdoor activities in northern Minnesota. Visit their website for more information www.sportsmanslodges.com. The winter walleye/sauger season is open up in this region until April 14, 2018. As always, if venturing out on your own on Lake of the Woods, be sure to check local conditions and stay on marked trails and roads. Ice conditions vary on the big lake.
(Be sure to turn up the volume on the Facebook video for best viewing.)