Northland Lakes Still Iced Over Weeks Before Opener

Updated: 05/01/2013 4:50 PM
Created: 04/22/2013 4:31 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

There's less than three weeks until the Minnesota Fishing Opener, but some Northland lakes still have more than three feet of ice.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources said the May 11 opener will take place as scheduled, regardless of whether lakes open up or not. While conditions aren't promising, many people aren't giving up hope.

"My bet is we will be fine here," John Chalstrom, owner of Chalstrom's Bait, said. "I'm predicting that our ice will be out on our local lakes."

Chalstrom said it's been a little slow at his shop, but he's taking the time to prep for summer fishing.

"Everyone is going a little stir crazy," Chalstrom said. "Winter just doesn't want to end this year."

While Chalstrom seemed confident ice outs will take place before opener in the Northland, others weren't as positive.

"I don't think the ice will be out," Hi-Banks Resort owner Tim Wagner said. "I really don't, not for this year, but it could happen. Miracles do happen."

Wagner's resort is on Fish Lake and he said this late winter could cost him about two weeks of business.

"Usually the second week of April, we're starting to get docks in and the ice is going off," Wagner said. "Some fishermen were out here on Saturday and they had around 38 inches of ice."

Records with the DNR show Island Lake's earliest ice out was on April 1. The latest on record was April 30.

Wisconsin's opener is only about two weeks away on May 4. Officials said there is a chance some anglers will be using ice fishing gear.

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