Uncooperative waters already creating challenges for Minnesota anglers [video]

The annual Zippel Bay Ice Out Pike Tournament was recently pushed back from April 29-30 to May 5-6 because of excess ice at Zippel Bay on Lake of the Woods. (Lake of the Woods Tourism)

Extreme water – both of the hard and open variety – continues to cause problems across Minnesota as anglers wonder what spring fishing might hold.

And not just amateur anglers.

The Cabela’s National Walleye Tour recently announced the the season-opening event, scheduled May 10-11 in the Red Wing area, will instead be held on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis., due to flood conditions in the area.

According to reports, the Mississippi River will crest in Red Wing on May 2 at a flood level of 17 – the Harbor Master in Red Wing confirmed ramps in the area will close starting at level 12. And with more rain expected before the event, the National Weather Service expects the river to still be at level 12 or above about the time the tournament kicks off, according to reports.

On the other end of the spectrum – and state – the annual Zippel Bay Ice Out Pike Tournament was recently pushed back from April 29-30 to May 5-6 because of – not surprisingly – excess ice on Lake of the Woods (pike season doesn’t close on the lake).

The first weekend of May might be a bit ambitious for an open-water tournament on Lake of the Woods, what with all the ice on the lake this winter. But according to a news release, “Zippel Bay is quite secluded from the main lake, making it easier to hide from cold winds, and anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake. The tournament still has spots available and all are welcome.”

As for the fishing opener May 12, anglers at fishing destinations well south of Lake of the Woods also are wondering what might become of their opener.

As shown in the Facebook post below, Leech Lake has a ways to go before it will be open-water ready. Still, in the video below that post via the Minnesota DNR Facebook page, while lakes in every part of Minnesota are experiencing later-than-usual ice-out, anyone going out on the ice is urged to use extreme caution.

According to a news release Monday, April 30, the DNR said that, during the previous week, conservation officers throughout the state reported deteriorating ice conditions and instances of people and equipment falling through the ice.

“Just because you can access a lake doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so,” said Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Ice this time of year is dangerously deceptive and can change markedly in a matter of minutes – and within just a few feet.”

Categories: Fishing, Minnesota Videos, News, Walleye

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