February 2, 2017- The ice house villages have grown to their mid-winter peak near Bayport, MN. Ice thickness varies from 14-18 inches in this part of the river. Full size trucks are traveling on the ice in this area. Always use caution (especially near access points) as road salt dropped from vehicles will soften the ice. The crappie bite has been spotty.
Sturgeon anglers have found consistent action near Bayport throughout January. These thrill seekers target the fish using heavy action ice rods and simple gear. Sturgeon cruise along the bottom and slurp up offerings of night crawlers and minnows. They bite lightly, but provide a terriffic battle for ice anglers throughout the winter.
Jakob Hals inspects a healthy lake sturgeon. The heated shelter minimizes stress on the fish, which is handled carefully and returned to the river quickly.
Blake Bednar demonstrates a special technique to detect light bites using a 38-inch ice rod with 20-pound Power Pro line and an Ice Buster bobber.
See the video:
Northwoods anglers demonstrate the proper handling of sturgeon to prevent injury. Support the fish's weight with one hand under the belly. Keep one hand on the tail to control thrashing. Never lift a sturgeon by the gill plates! Doing so will cause severe injury, often resulting in the death of the fish after release.
December 24, 2016- Ice conditions are improving on the St. Croix River near Bayport, MN and Hudson, WI. Ice thickness varies from 3-5 inches in this part of the river, depending on the amount of current beneath.
This amount of ice will support foot traffic, but not ATVs or snowmobiles.
Sturgeon fishing continues for many ice anglers. The numbers of these large fish have increased in the St. Croix River due to improved water quality, dam removals, restorative stocking efforts and conservative regulations.
The extended catch-and-release season is a positive outcome related to these efforts. The St. Croix River has yielded some enormous fish over the past few years. Some fish weigh over 100 pounds and exceed six feet in length.
Darren Troseth targets sturgeon through the ice on the St. Croix River. These fish provide a thrilling battle. Thanks for sharing the video, Darren!
Popular Boat Launch Sites / Upper St. Croix River
Interactive Maps for the Upper St. Croix River published by the National Park Service