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Mn early ice trip recommendations

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I'm trying to get an early jump on a trip into northern minnesota for icefishing with a couple buddies. We go every year, usually to Mille Lacs. Last year sucked! Not even a bite on the old Dead Sea so we vowed to go further north this year. Any thoughts? I'm thinking about Upper Red Lake, Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnibigosh. We've been using McQuoids and their houses are really nice. Anything comparable? I'm no wuss, but some of those rentals are like crack dens. I keep waiting to step on a hypodermic needle. I want to reserve now so I can get a good weekend in January when fishing is good. I will never step foot on the ice if I have another weekend like last year. Please help me with any suggestions or recommendations.
Thanks, cityfishin

Perhaps your expectations are too high.  Man, quitting fishing isn't going to help.  If I had quit after a couple trips void of success I would have missed out on some of the most spectacular fishing I've ever experienced.  There are many reasons why I fish, and a good bite is not number one on the priority list.  I find one can draw from the bad experiences in that a lesson can be learned and put to productive use on future trips...

Plan your trip with the mindset that hot action is just a bonus.  Also, going farther north is not necessarily going to result in better fishing.  I fish an area about a nine hour drive north of the Canada/USA border and have had many fishless days... It's easy to have poor fishing even on world class water...Next time your out just think "I could be working" or "shopping with my wife"...

Lake winnie gets my vote. I have never heard a bad thing about that lake. Well, its too far away, I`ve heard that, but thats it. Lake of the woods has great fishing too. URL has turned into Dead Sea Two from what I heard on other websites. Thats tobe expected since every fishing show on TV has shown 6 episodes about how craptastic the fishing is. When you see an episode 4 years in a row, you get the idea that maybe this year, they went to the bar and just showed the old ones. I can hear them laughing, "That'll get the sports up to Hudecs resort".
Heres my other suggestion. Hire a guide. Cheap split 3 ways. And, youll be much happier having expensive fishing trips where many fish were caught than going on cheap trips that anger ones soul. 2 years ago I was on the fence, either I was going to fish many many times the next season and catch fish, or just quit ice fishing. I put tons of time, effort and some money into it and never looked back. Have caught lots of fish since then also. So never,never,never give up. Unless thats the smart thing to do. Good Luck.

Good Grief Mr. Seaguar!!! That was such good advice, i feel guilty for not paying for it.

I appreciate the quick response and for trying to talk me off the edge. I'm not so sure that I would quit for good...certainly I'm done fishing on Mille Lacs. When we weren't catching fish (the entire time) I set up a great ice golf course. Everybody brings one club and I supplied the tennis balls. Each hole was a Penthouse Centerfold blown up. I wet down the ice and placed the image on the surface so that it froze into it. Then we used an auger to drill down about 6-8 inches in an appropriate location on the centerfold. There were prizes for the round (jigs, scoop, tip-up, bobber ties, etc...). Needless to say, we played about 15 rounds that weekend. It just would have been nice to at least pull up an eel pout or something. If I'm going to travel a good distance, I'd at least like to feel the bite. I'll check on Winni and Lake of the Woods. Any more feedback on recommendations is helpful.
I've already been starting to customize my portable with a swivel boat seat instead of plastic, so I'm not yet ready to pack it in.


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