Cold snap brings some relief to Minnesota ice fishers
(ABC 6 News) – Some of us prefer to stay inside when it’s cold. But for many, this year is the best time because they can go ice fishing. This winter has been anything but ordinary but with our cold snap, it’s bringing some relief to those who love to fish.
Melissa Wagner has been ice fishing her whole life. The busy mom only made it out a few times last year. This year, it’s not because of her schedule.
“We had late ice forming this year. So it was pretty warm but all of a sudden it got really cold so right now, we’re at a good time for ice fishing,” said Wagner when I met her at the Lanesboro Bass Pond. At that time, she had just checked the ice depth and it was at 10 inches.
10 inches is ideal. Those at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources say you need at least four inches for it to be safe to go out on foot. But just because it’s thick enough by the shore doesn’t mean that’s the case for the whole lake.
“I’m not so worried about the high 30-degree temperatures. I’m more worried about the rain. I’ve seen some forecasts with rain, and we have temperatures in the high 30s and rain. That could have a big impact on the quality of the ice so people do need to be cautious when the temperatures get above freezing especially if there’s rain,” said Nicole Biagi, the Ice Safety Coordinator with the DNR.
Women Anglers of Minnesota saw the impacts with its Ice Queen Tournament earlier this month. The group helps women throughout the state learn how to fish.
“People weren’t able to get out right away. Or people were having to drive further up north to get their fix of ice fishing. So it’s definitely delayed things but I think this cold snap has definitely caught us back up,” Wagner added.
As we know, the cold doesn’t last forever. If you do find yourself in a pinch, Biagi has some important reminders.
“Have the right safety gear with you so you can pull yourself out. So that’s having flotation to keep yourself from sinking and having ice picks to pull yourself out. You want to turn around in the direction you were coming from. That’s where the ice will be the strongest. It was supporting you before you fell in, it should hopefully support you when you pull yourself back out.”
For those who have ice houses, early March is the deadline to get them off the ice. Depending on the weather, the DNR might have you move them sooner. For more details on ice house removal, you can click here.