Snow aside, ice forming rapidly across the state

Bemidji, Minn. — The good news is that ice has started to take
shape in most areas of the state. In a few parts of northern
Minnesota, anglers have already chipped their first holes of the
year.

The bad news is that up to a foot of snow fell Monday in many of
those locations where limited ice fishing opportunities existed or
would have by this weekend. Even more discouraging: There was more
snow predicted for mid-week.

Mark Cook of Bluewater Outdoors in Bemidji reported Tuesday morning
that most big lakes remained ice-free. But the small lakes and bays
have been ice-capped for about a week.

Unfortunately, this region received 8 to 10 inches of snow on
Monday. While some anglers had been walking on the small lakes and
fishing last weekend, he’s not sure what the snow did to lake
conditions.

“I had guys fishing last Sunday, but with the snow we had, you
really have to watch it now,” Cook said. “The ice that was there
set up quickly and was in good shape so I hope it handled the
snow.”

Near Blackduck, ice conditions also developed rapidly last weekend.
After Monday’s snow event, there was 10 inches of snow sitting
across the area and water had started seeping through the
ice.

According to Carl Adams of Timberline Sports in Blackduck, the best
option at this point would be if the ice would sink and the lakes
would refreeze. With more snow in the forecast, he’s hoping that
happens or it might be a while before walking out is an
option.

“If we wouldn’t have had that snow we might have been fishing by
this weekend, but now I don’t know,” Adams said. “It looked good,
looked promising for an early start, but we’ll have to wait and see
what the weather does this week.”

Reports from Lake of the Woods on Tuesday indicated that Four Mile
Bay was mostly covered with ice. Much of it froze Monday night,
after the area received 6 to 10 inches of snow.

Where ice did exist in the bay prior to the snow, flooding had
started to occur, which is good, according to Brian Ney of Adrian’s
Resort.

Ney said those flooded areas were close to shore and they’ll freeze
and not limit access to the fishery. While the main lake was mostly
open, he hopes to be fishing on Four Mile Bay by Friday, if not
earlier.

“We need to keep the wind down and additional snow off the ice,”
Ney said. “If the weather allows, we’ll hopefully be walking out
and fishing on Thanksgiving.”

Anglers eager to hit the ice will likely be keeping a close eye on
this week’s weather system. If a major snow event can be avoided,
there should be plenty of spots to fish from Brainerd and points
north by next week.

South of central Minnesota, many small lakes and bays capped with
ice on Sunday or Monday night. The southern half of Minnesota also
avoided measurable snow earlier this week, so whether or not ice
fishing is an option by this weekend will be determined by mid-week
weather conditions.

“We’re close to walking on a few small lakes so I hope we don’t get
the snow I’ve been hearing about,” said Larry Jenson of Minnewaska
Bait and Tackle in Starbuck on Tuesday morning. “But if it piles up
on the ice we already have, we might be sitting in limbo for a few
weeks.”

Categories: Hunting News

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