Red Lake is perhaps one of the most highly sought after first ice destinations in the upper Midwest. We’re bringing you real-time, up-to-date reports on ice conditions and more, so you can plan your trip out with the right information. See below for the most up to date reports from area resorts.
Tuesday 1/9 Update:
With the colder temperatures and improving ice conditions, the Beltrami County has officially lifted the vehicle ban as of today, January 10th, allowing snowmobiles, ATVs, and SxS’s on the lake again. Below are some notes from the official press release and the latest reports and access information from Upper Red Lake Resorts.
BELTRAMI COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
VEHICLE RESTRICTION ON UPPER RED LAKE TO BE LIFTED
January 9, 2024
Waskish, MN – The order restricting vehicle access on Upper Red Lake imposed on December 30, 2023 will be lifted effective sunrise on Wednesday, January 10, 2024. Colder weather and calmer winds have allowed ice conditions to improve.
Lifting of this restriction does not mean that the ice on Upper Red Lake, or any area lake, is “safe” or has consistent thickness and integrity. Ice can never be considered 100% safe. Whether you walk or operate vehicles on the ice, check the thickness and quality frequently. Follow the advice of area experts and check with local resorts. Recent snowfall has made it difficult to see areas with poor ice.
Sheriff Jason Riggs said, “Imposing restrictions on Upper Red Lake was not an easy decision, it impacted many people and their livelihoods as well as inconvenienced those who wanted to enjoy fishing on the lake. Those inconveniencies proved to be necessary in the interest of public safety due to the number of ice rescues and people becoming stranded. Since imposing the vehicle restriction, my office has not had to respond to one ice rescue on Upper Red Lake. I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation.”
JR’s Corner Access: RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED.
Starting tomorrow morning we are open to Atv or SxS’s, pulling single axle wheel houses or tandems up to 20ft. We have plowed roads to a designated area for all wheel house guests 2 to 3 miles out to 14ft of water. Ice thickness in this area is 13 to 14 inches thick and there is only 2 to 3 inches of snow. Fishing in this area has been great and I can only imagine how many of you have waited to catch the legendary Upper Red Lake night bite.
If you are renting a house through JRs you will be able to drive to your rental house up to 1/2 ton truck or smaller starting tomorrow also. Please stop in to get a map of the roads, thanks and stay safe.
Additional info… We do not offer pulling your house out on lake. If you don’t have a side by side or Atv to do on own, you will need to wait till we allow trucks pulling houses.
Roger’s On Red: We are finally heading in the right direction. Our access is open and we are currently shuttling customers. Our plan is to bring our wheel houses out on Thursday. Skid houses will remain on shore this coming weekend. We will wait until after the weekend to assess when skid houses and private wheelhouses can go out. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
West Wind Resort: With the vehicle ban lifting tomorrow we will continue with business as usual and allow the following:
-ATV’s, Side X Sides and Snowmobiles.
-Single axle wheelhouses pulled with Atv or Side X Side only.
-Tandem axle (ALUMINUM ONLY), pulled with Atv or Side X Side only.
-light cars and trucks (1/2 ton or less) escorted to RESORT RENTAL HOUSES ONLY.
There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.
Please be respectful of these limitations. Our ice is finally getting good and we want to keep it that way. We still have very thin ice past the pressure ridge at 4 miles at the end of the North and South roads. It is imperative that you DO NOT cross the pressure ridge. I’m not sure how we can stress that enough…seriously. Please be safe and keep speeds to a 10 to 15 mph maximum. Also remember NO personal plows allowed.
Let’s get this ice season going and have a great experience for everyone!!
We now have all of our rentals on the ice, so check our website for availability at westwindwaskish.com or call 218-647-8998
Greater MN Rentals: WE ARE OPEN!!! SUNRISE TO SUNSET only!!! The fish have been waiting for all of you!!
Walk out only…rides will be given when available. Camping is still available at $30/night which includes the access. We are currently staked out about 2 miles. We respectfully ask that you don’t go further as there is open water and very thin ice past that point and it needs to heal so we can start getting houses out on the lake. With the vehicle ban lifting tomorrow we will be making a decision on what we are allowing out of our access this evening.
Be smart, very safe and fish on!!
Red Lake Remote: Tomorrow morning at sunrise, the vehicle restrictions will be lifted. We will be allowing side by sides, ATVs and snowmobiles also! We will be allowing single axle wheel houses to be dollied on our road to designated areas with your own equipment! As most of you know, we are restricted on how far we can go out on the lake, so it’s very important that we stay within those boundaries. Be sure to stop in the office and talk to somebody before venturing out. We also will have a road map of where the safe areas are. See you soon.
Thursday 1/4 Update:
While most Upper Red Lake accesses are still open to the public (walking access only) a couple have closed, and the vehicle ban is still in effect. Per the County Sheriff, they are re-evaluating the ice conditions every three days and making a decision on the ban after each three day period. The last meeting was held Wednesday, January 3rd, and it was determined to keep vehicles prohibited due to pressure ridges and large pockets of open water still present on the lake. Here are the latest reports coming out of the resorts.
Roger’s On Red: “Hello everybody, this is Pat from Rogers. Up until last Friday, the sheet of ice has been going north and south. Since Friday (the day of the great rescue out of Rogers’ on RED) the sheet has also been going east and west. I have been playing the wind up until that point, and right now, I don’t want to play that game anymore. Looking at the extended forecast, Tuesday January 9th, the sub-zero weather is coming in. Thank you, Jesus. With that being said, I am closing our access until Friday January 12th. In my opinion that should lock up the sheet of ice. I am assuming that we will be having that ban lifted for motorized vehicles at that time. Our bar, restaurant, on-shore rentals, campsites and $1 day camping is still open. Roger’s customers are the best in the business thank you for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t not be here.”
JR’s Corner Access: “Shoreline houses for the week and weekend are available with free shuttles out to 14ft of water. $150 per night for the house. For anyone wanting to bring up your own house and camp on shore, we will also shuttle you out to the good fishing.”
Upper red lake is still limited to no public Atv, snowmobile or side by sides. The resorts do have the green light to help shuttle all guests to good fishing areas with resort vehicles only. Ice conditions are currently 11 to 12 inches thick in the areas we are traveling and fishing. Call to book your shoreline sleeper today 320 290 3838.
West Wind Resort: Access open to the public, walking only at this time. Bait shop is open and stocked with live bait and tackle.
Beacon Harbor Resort: Access is closed to the public. Anyone with reservations or guided trips through Beacon Harbor resort will still access the lake through the resort access. Operations are running normally.
Greater Minnesota Rentals: ”Good morning from GMR. Our access remains closed. We are the only private access on Upper Red Lake since December 10th not allowing any anglers out of our access. Safety has always been our #1 priority and that will never change. We have a bridge ready when the ice is safe.
We still have camping and rentals available on shore. Please call Captain Dave at 320-226-2884…please be safe!!”
Mort’s On Upper Red: Resort access is open to walking traffic only until the vehicle ban is lifted. Mort’s is reporting that fishing is good, the bar is serving pizza and liquor, and the bait shop is fully stocked with fatheads and shiner minnows.
Saturday 12/30 Update:
Due to another large group of anglers needing assistance off an ice floe from the Beltrami sheriff’s department, Beltrami County has placed a vehicle restriction on Upper Red Lake. NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES are permitted on Upper Red Lake until further notice, penalties will apply if caught. Here is the full press release from the Sheriff:
VEHICLE RESTRICTION ON UPPER RED LAKE
December 30, 2023
Upper Red Lake, Beltrami County, MN – Due to continued incidents of fishermen becoming stranded on and breaking through the ice on Upper Red Lake, effective at sunset on December 30, 2023, Upper Red Lake in the area under the jurisdiction of Beltrami County will have restricted access. Per Minnesota Statute 86B.106, vehicles are barred from traversing Upper Red Lake until the Sheriff rescinds this order. Snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and all motorized vehicles are prohibited from going on the ice. A violation of this order is a misdemeanor under Minnesota Statute. If convicted, fines, penalties and restitution may be sought by Beltrami County.
The Beltrami County Sheriff has been in contact with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner and director of the Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division Colonel Rod Smith regarding this situation. County officials will monitor the ice conditions and when practical and prudent the Sheriff will lift this restriction.
After several days of rain and above freezing temperatures, ice conditions have deteriorated. Area lakes have very inconsistent ice conditions and extreme caution should be employed if you choose to venture on area lakes. Check the ice thickness frequently, do not drive vehicles on the ice and check with area resorts and bait shops regarding ice conditions before going on the ice.
-Sheriff Jason Riggs”
Virtual Angling will provide an update when this restriction is lifted and will continue to update this post in real time.
Thursday 12/28 Update:
PLEASE BE CAREFUL IF YOU VENTURE OUT and FOLLOW ALL RESORT GUIDELINES / STAKED ROADS. A side by side was reported to have gone through a pressure ridge on the south east side of Upper Red this morning 1.5 miles north of Red Lake Ice Cabins (Thursday, Dec 28th). The two passengers were NOT based out of that resort specifically but were rescued by their crews and are safe.
“We do not judge or condemn the actions of people who desire to fish Upper Red Lake on early ice,” Kelliher Fire & Rescue posted on Facebook. “NEVER be afraid to dial 911 if on the ice and are in a dangerous situation.”
Monday 12/18 Update:
Sunday evening (12/17) the Beltrami County Sheriffs were called for a report of multiple anglers stranded after very strong winds shifted a large sheet of ice away from shore on the north side of Upper Red Lake near Red Lake Remote. This is another reminder of how important it is to keep an eye on wind conditions and changes in ice conditions. ALWAYS check with the resort you are fishing out of for the latest ice conditions and get a map of the dangerous areas if you can. ALWAYS FOLLOW RULES THE RESORTS HAVE PUT IN PLACE.
If you are heading up to Upper Red Lake this weekend or next, please go out of a resort and check with them to confirm dangerous areas. Most resorts also have lake maps showing those areas. There are still thin spots that anglers need to avoid. Be safe, and follow the rules the resorts have in place, and have fun!
Please check back for updated reports throughout the week.