Fish Lake is usually one of the best spots early in the year. The narrows near High Banks resort is the typical area you will find them in. And as the ice thickens up you can explore further and further out. The biggest thing to note is to stay away from the dam and the bridge, these two spots are never safe ice. If you go into High Banks Tim will give you all the info you need on the lake.
Boulder lake is also a lake to consider but I'm not as familiar with it.
I used to go on annual family fishing trips to Boulder thru my in-laws (different in-laws back then and we would always hit the Northerns hot and heavy. I only ever caught one walleye there, on a Castaic shad 3", and it was only about 10" long. We did well on Northerns around the island just north of Silver Fox Resort and in a little cove on the north side of the lake by the bigger island straight north of the resort.
We also did fairly well on the rockline that goes e/w from the point directly NW across the eastern basin of the lake.
I caught the walleye in the shallower water near the marshy areas at the end of SW Boulder Lake Rd that's WSW from the resort.
I'm sure that most of these areas would be good from the ice as well... I'm guessing that the best places for early ice fishing are the marshy deadfall areas WSW of the resort and the area NW of the resort, which is pretty much inaccessible by boat because of the floating islands and stumps that choke the area.
I'll caution you though... as I understand it Boulder can be sort of treacherous as it's a reservoir and has a significant current thru parts of it.
If you wanted to give it a try I'd say go ahead but call the Silver Fox resort first for tips on location and warning. IIRC they sell bait but at a bit of a premium. It's always easier to get advice if you're paying for something so it may be worth it to overpay for bait at least once or twice.
Silver Fox Resort link for Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=silver+fox+resort,+mn
Silver Fox is the first link in the results... they're on Vermillion Trail north of Duluth...
Im with nofish on this. Fish Lake would be the best place to walk out from. Short walk from HighBanks Resort. You will see people and find a place to fish. Now Boulder Lake is great but way to many places to fish, and a long walk from any landing.Im thinking by next week the narrows on Fish will be ok to walk out on.
Early ice walleye near duluth - - -
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People who fish for food, and sport be damned, are called pot-fishermen. The more expert ones are called crack pot-fishermen. All other fishermen are called crackpot fishermen. This is confusing. ~ Ed Zern, 1947