Ice variable but getting thick fast

Garrison, Minn. Depending upon where you trod, the ice of Mille
Lacs is somewhere between 5 and 12 inches, according to local bait
and tackle dealers in the area.

Statewide, much of the same can be found; ice nearing the
thickness recommended for vehicle travel and some that shouldn’t be
crossed with anything bigger than an all-terrain vehicle. Other
areas may even be thinner.

“The old ice, in the (Mille Lacs) bays, is about a foot thick,”
Orrin Tutt, owner of Tutt’s Bait and Tackle in Garrison, said this
week. “The new ice, going out into the main lake, is five to six
inches thick.”

Most likely, it was getting thicker. High temperatures in
northern Minnesota on Tuesday struggled to get above zero.

Ice heaves on Mille Lacs, caused by high winds about a week ago,
caused rough spots, but nothing that inhibited ice anglers, Tutt
added. And where there was old ice the thick stuff resorters were
getting fish houses out.

On the east side of Mille Lacs, Shannon Thompson, of Johnson’s
Portside reported about a foot of ice in the bays.

Along with good ice, perch were hitting during the day and
walleye fishing had been consistent during the morning and evening,
Thompson said.

Earlier this week, conservation officers in the Grand Rapids
area reported anywhere from four to 10 inches of ice on lakes, with
areas of open water on rivers and streams. The CO in Bigfork
reported a man and his son broke through the ice of Turtle Lake
while snowmobiling, but were uninjured.

Some of the state’s bigger lakes had enough ice for snowmobiles
and all-terrain vehicles, but larger vehicle travel was not yet
recommended.

The Leech Lake Guide Coalition reported ice on Leech thick
enough for foot or ATV travel.

Some areas of Lake of the Woods had six to 10 inches of ice,
while Lake Winnibigoshish had some ice thick enough for ATV or
walking, but some where any travel, other than by foot, was not
recommended.

In the Detroit Lakes area, CO Chris Vinton said most lakes had
between six and eight inches of ice, but many spots had less.

Marty Book, a conservation officer in the Cambridge area, said a
pickup broke through the ice of East Rush Lake last weekend. There
was eight to nine inches of ice in that area, he said, and several
vehicles had passed over the same spot the pickup dropped
through.

Winds opened portions of Lake Minnetonka, making travel across
the big Metro lake treacherous. The CO from that area reported two
snowmobiles went through Minnetonka’s ice last week, though ice is
six to nine inches thick in many places.

Tim Smalley, of the DNR’s Boat and Water Safety Section, said
the agency recommends eight to 12 inches of ice for cars or small
trucks.

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