Here are some updates about lake accesses and travel conditions on Lake Winnie as of January 7, 2021.
After talking with several resort and rental owners, it's evident that access to Lake Winnie will continue to be restricted for a short time. But as rental operators prepare to open plowed roads, options for anglers are beginning to improve.
Almost all of the lake's accesses have been opened, but only provide limited access to the better fishing areas. Snowmobiles, ATVs and light vehicles can move around on the lake, but use caution, there are areas of rough, broken ice that may be difficult to spot under the light blanket of snow.
The accompanying map with numbered descriptions identifies the access points around the lake.
#1 Dixon Lake Resort, Open, most recent update 12-28-2020. Access to the lake provided by a plowed road into the Third River Landing. Anglers now also have access to the lake via plowed roads.
Access from this landing is typically limited to waters within the Third River Flowage and following the north shore toward the “clay banks” near Farley Creek.
Ice ridges frequently crop up from near Stony Point and run across the lake westward toward Mallard Point. The ridges, when they occur, will block travel onto the main lake.
This access is open to the public, but there is a drop box provided for folks who are willing to make a free will donation. I'd suggest $12.00 which is at the low end of rates offered at most other resorts on the lake. >> Dixon Lake Resort 218-659-4612
#2 The Poacher's Landing is a user developed site which allows access to the lake's north side and is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish along Bowen's Flats. This landing is usually suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's. At times, the access is good enough for pickup trucks too. It's rarely suitable for vehicles towing large shelters, but it's worth a drive by to check it out. Don't be disappointed if it won't work for your wheel house, it's not a sure thing.
#3A The Pines Resort and Campground. Open with limited access as of 12-28-2020. The Pines has a "semi-private" plowed road that provides access for Pines Resort guests and their ice shelter rental customers. They do allow public access for pickup trucks towing small trailers, ice shelters and even some larger wheel houses. But the ramp is steep and not suitable for large rigs towing wheel houses exiting the lake.
Anglers towing larger shelters may use the Pines access to get on the lake and use the landing at nearby Tamarack Lodge to exit. The road fee is $20.00 per day.
The Pines road provides access mainly to the northeastern section of the lake, through Tamarack Bay. Typically, this area is best known for good Perch and Pike fishing. But there are occasional spurts of good Walleye action too, especially along the steep Mississippi River Channel breakline. >> Pines Resort & Campground 218-246-8546
#3B Tamarack Lodge Open as of 12-28-2020. Tamarack Lodge works in unison with The Pines Resort to maintain the plowed roads in Tamarack Bay. Whether you enter the lake though Tamarack Lodge or through The Pines Resort, you are essentially accessing the same road system.
Tamarack does however have their own, semi-private landing and the incline of their landing is less steep than the landing at The Pines. For anglers with wheel houses, this may provide a more desirable location for driving on. The road fee is $20.00 per day.
Tamarack Lodge is open during winter and provides lodging for ice anglers. Contact >> Tamarack Lodge 218-246-8515
#4 Highbanks Resort Open. On Wednesday January 6, 2021, Kim Leonhardt wrote; “Our lodge opens tomorrow, Jan 7, 2021 and we now have 14 to 16 inches of ice, covered by 4 to 6 inches of snow. We have an extensive system of roads already plowed, including almost 200 spurs plowed open for parking wheelhouses.
Wheelhouses and truck travel are permitted starting today, Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021. Use your best discretion about weight restrictions with the total weight of your truck and fish house combination. Access fees $15/day or $40 for a 3 day weekend pass. Ring doorbell for assistance. One person per group permitted inside. Covid rules apply. Social distancing/masks expected."
Highbanks provides one of the lake's most convenient drive on locations. For Lodging and shelter rental >> Highbanks Resort 218-246-2560
#5 The Birches Public Landing is accessible for ATVs and snowmobiles as of 12-28-2020, but there is a large crack and rough ice, prohibiting access by pickup trucks. The public landing allows access to the lake's east and north sides along with access to most of the lakes mid-section. It is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish "the humps" and mid lake bars. This landing is almost always suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's. This access is occasionally good enough for pickup trucks too, sometimes even vehicles towing large shelters. It's worth a drive by to check it out, but it's not a sure thing for folks towing larger shelters.
#6 Denny's Resort was unavailable for comment at the time of writing. But I believe that they are open, with limited access to fishing areas as of 12-28-2020. We'll post an update as soon as their status can be confirmed.
Ordinarily, Denny's has a very good network of plowed roads that provide coverage to the south end, most of lakes mid-section, and along the southeast side of the lake.
Their road is open to the public for an access fee. Pickup trucks are $12.00 per day, wheel houses are $15.00 per day or $30.00 for a weekend pass. Denny’s Resort also provides shelter rentals including both day houses and sleeper rentals. >> Denny’s Resort, 218-665-2222
#7 Nodak Resort posted an update on January 7, 2021. "We currently have 11 to 13 inches of ice with 4 to 8 inches of snow on top. Public access customers, we are only allowing ATVs and side by sides out, there's still not enough ice to drive vehicles. Anyone looking to come up, we're open 7 am to 10 am for access or bait."
Word on the street is that their access ramp is open to the public for ATV and Snowmobile travel only. They are, or were, waiting for 14 to 16 inches of ice before opening plowed roads for vehicle traffic.
Typically, Nodak Lodge has a system of plowed roads that provides access mainly to the south and west sides of the lake, along with mid lake bars and humps. When open, their daily road access fees are $12.00 for a single pickup truck, $15.00 for wheel houses and $25.00 for a full weekend pass. Nodak Lodge 218-665-2226
#8 Richard's Townsite Public Landing is accessible for ATVs and snowmobiles as of 12 -28-2020. The Richards Townsite public landing is most commonly used by ice fishermen who want to fish along the southwest shoreline and the lake's southwestern mid-section. This landing is usually only suitable for snowmobiles and ATV's.
At times, the access is good enough for pickup trucks as well. But at the time of this writing, there is a pressure ridge blocking access for larger vehicles and ice conditions on they lake prohibit travel.
#9 Two Resorts, Becker’s and McArdle’s have limited access for ATVs and snowmobiles as of 12-28-2020. McArdles and Becker's cooperate to maintain a system of plowed roads that provide access from the public landing located on the west side of the lake. Accessed via Trappers Drive NW just south of McArdle’s Resort, this is typiclly an excellent landing.
This access is open to the public, and there is a drop box provided for folks who are willing to make a free will donation. I'd suggest $12.00 which is the low end rate at most other resorts on the lake. >> Becker's Resort 218-665-2268 or McArdle's Resort 218-665-2212
As always, field reports from anglers on the ice are welcome. Let us know what you've seen on the lake and help your fellow anglers have a safe, fun ice fishing trip! >> Contact Jeff Sundin