Heavy Snow Causing Slush on Inland Lakes, Slowing Ice Fishing

Updated: February 21, 2019 10:39 PM

Fish Lake had a good ice fishing season, according to Hi-Banks Resort owner Tim Wagner. But in the past couple of weeks, things have slowed down considerably. Instead of ice augers drilling, you hear the sound of equipment plowing.


"You get too much snow, and it pushes the ice down. With the constant pressure, the water will bleed up through the cracks or old ice-fishing holes, and it just keeps coming up like a gusher. It makes the holes wider and wider, and it can get dangerous," Wagner explained.

He's been posting about the cracks developing in the roads on the lake on Facebook, so people know what's happening. He also notified the Kiwanis folks, who had planned their Last Chance Ice Fishing Contest on Fish Lake for Saturday. It's been cancelled. "I called them and said it's not worth putting people at risk during a family event," he said. 

Russ Francisco, owner of Marine General, said he's heard of ice contests being called off all over the state.

They've been busy because of the ice conditions on Lake Superior. "Remember, three weeks ago, people were still trolling. Now it's frozen, and it's 14 inches in a lot of places. We haven't seen ice like this in a decade." 

The snow isn't a factor there, because it usually gets blown off and doesn't stay on the lake. Still, he urges caution, but knows people are interested in coming up from all over the region. 

Out there on Thursday, we met up with the Williams brothers. John and Mike enjoyed the sunshine and company. "It's good to have ice back here. We haven't had it for a few years, and I'm happy about that," John said.

Mike shared that a fishing get together on Grand Lake for the weekend was cancelled because of the conditions. So he was glad he could spend time with his brother, even if it was a little slow, fishing wise. "It's still fun. All the other lakes are slushy and wet, this is nice and cool."

The DNR said that there is an issue with slush on area lakes which makes travel difficult and potentially dangerous. White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. The ice thickness guidelines should be doubled when traveling on snow-covered ice.

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