Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Anglers making seasonal fishing transition in state

Grand Rapids, Minn. – Anglers continued to fish through the ice
in many areas of northern Minnesota much of the week while enjoying
warmer temperatures and summer-like breezes.

Even though the shorelines are pulling away, solid sheets of ice
remain intact from Hackensack and points north. In a few cases, the
heat actually may allow for another weekend of ice fishing.

With as much as two feet of snow on the ground, the ice wasn’t
even exposed to the sun as of Tuesday morning. As a result, there
should be plenty of lakes to walk on if one wanted to ice fish this
weekend.

Ben Kellin of Ben’s Bait in Grand Rapids wasn’t sure what to
expect once the snow melts away. He talked with several customers
this week who were still ice fishing, but it was slushy due to the
snow melting.

Under the slush, ice depths measured more than two feet and by
most accounts, the ice was still solid throughout Grand Rapids. But
Kellin knows that this could change in a hurry given the weather
this week.

“Right now, you could fish just about anywhere if you don’t mind
slush,” Kellin said Tuesday afternoon. “Even with the warm weather
this week, I think we’ll be able to ice fish this weekend, but that
should be about it.”

Some ice fishing was taking place on the inland lakes around
Duluth, too. According to most reports, the shorelines had started
“getting soft” but once you were on the ice it was in good
shape.

The same was true around Park Rapids where even the shorelines
had yet to prevent any anglers from getting on. If you still have
the ice fishing gear out, this appears to be one area that’s worth
checking this weekend.

“I know we have this weekend left for sure,” said Kevin Lempola,
of Delaney’s Sport Shop in Park Rapids. “This warm weather is
melting the snow, but it hasn’t hurt the ice as much as I
thought.”

Even where conditions remain favorable for some mid-April ice
fishing, most reports indicate that anglers are no longer
interested in ice and most are waiting for open water. In a few
locations they’ve already got it.

In the Fairmont and Waterville areas, most lakes are now
ice-free. Monday’s strong winds took care of whatever ice remained
in these locations.

The stream trout season got off to a good start in southeast
Minnesota last weekend. Mike Mauer of Mauer Bros. Tavern in Elba
said participation was good despite rain on opening day.

Mauer said the creeks are running high and with the ground still
saturated from last year, many of the creeks are dirty. The key to
success has been to find the clear water streams.

Ice was still quite evident in the metro area and throughout the
central part of the state. For the most part, shorelines, channels,
and bays were all that had opened earlier this week.

“The wind is really helping bust the lakes up,” said Larry
Jensen, of Minnewaska Bait and Tackle in Starbuck. “I’m hoping for
some open water fishing this weekend.”

Along the South Dakota border, this Saturday’s walleye opener
should take place. The south end of Big Stone Lake opened Monday
and strong south winds helped push even more of the lake open on
Tuesday.

Jim Rasset, of Bud’s Bait in Ortonville, sounded optimistic
early this week for opener. He said there’s a chance that floating
ice might still exist on the northern half of the lake, but it
should be fine to fish this weekend.

“The winds early this week really helped us out,” Rasset
said.

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