Ice-out by opener likely

Grand Marais, Minn – Anglers should have no problem getting
their boats in the water on opening day of the 2001 walleye
season.

Even in the far northern regions of the state ice conditions
have quickly deteriorated, thanks to strong weekend winds and
significant rains over the past ten days.

Lakes in the Grand Marais area, which are traditionally some of
the last to open each spring, have really “busted” up in recent
days according to Scott Puch of Buck’s Hardware.

“Some of the smaller lakes along the Gunflint Trail are already
wide open,” Puch said. “The bigger lakes such as Saganaga and
Gunflint still have limited ice, but it should be out in the next
week.”

At Lake of the Woods, open water is quite prevelant as well.
Zippel Bay is completely ice free, as is a good portion of the lake
in the Baudette area.

Other sections of the big lake still has floating ice, but “it’s
going fast” according to sources at the Lake of the Woods Tourism
Bureau.

“We’ll be completely ready to go by opening weekend,” added
Randee Donat of Bayview Lodge.

Bruce Sandbeck, of the Loon’s Nest on Rainy Lake, said ice
conditions are very similiar there as Lake of the Woods.

One of the largest bays on the lake, Black Bay, is completely
ice-free but there’s still ice floating around on the main portion
of Rainy.

“We’ve got limited ice up here,” he said. “I’d only give it
another day or two and it will be gone.”

Lakes such as Mille Lacs, Leech, and Winnibigoshish have little,
if any ice remaining. Just last week, ice covered the majority of
these fisheries, but it’s all about open water now.

“I can’t see any ice at all as I look out on the lake,” said
Terry Thurmer of Terry’s Boat Harbor on the west side of Lake Mille
Lacs. “It went fast, once it started to break up.”

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