It’s been two weeks since ice houses cleared local lakes, but some are still ice fishing. So that got us wondering: With cold days like Sunday, is the ice still safe to walk on?
A fishing event held Saturday in Wisconsin had a very fitting name. It’s the annual “Freeze Your Butt Off” tournament in Hager City, the first open water tournament of the year.
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In Minnesota, owners of ice houses are finding them stuck in the deep snow and ice – if they can even get to them in the first place. So much snow has piled up on lakes that trucks can’t get through. And once they do, they’re dealing with thick ice and slush that’s tough to tackle.
The deadline for Minnesota’s ice fishers to get their shacks off the state’s lakes is approaching, though many are doing it earlier, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The ice fishing in northeast North Dakota is the best it’s been in two decades, but some anglers can’t make it because trains handling freight and crude from the state’s oil patch are displacing Amtrak passenger service.
In it’s 39th year, the Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby was held Saturday afternoon. Besides fishing, the event featured a vintage snowmobile show and an ice-auger drilling contest. Photojournalist Mike Durenberger has all the sights and sounds from the derby.
For the first time, we’re hearing from a Sartell, Minn. man who fell through thin ice and spent more than 25 minutes underwater. He then spent three and a half weeks in a coma and lost more than 50 pounds.
With more than 10,000 lakes, Minnesota has thousands of lakeside bars and restaurants. This time of year, though, there’s a bar in west-central Minnesota that’s actually on a lake. It’s known as Hillbillies Ice Hole, and it’s on the northern end of Lake Lida, about 300 yards from the public access point.
Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer are braving the frigid weather and getting out to Minnesota’s lovely, ice-covered lakes every Thursday and Friday until the middle of February. On Jan. 17, the duo headed out to the Mille Lacs town of Wahkon, which is about 90 miles north of the Twin Cities. Frank and Chris say Wahkon reminds them a little of Dorset, which they visited last spring, because of its tiny population and growing reputation for food. There are four restaurants all on about a one-block stretch!
The Crow Wing County sheriff has checked the ice on Gull Lake and has given the green light to the Brainerd Jaycees’ 24th annual ice fishing fundraiser that draws more than 10,000 anglers.
Federal wildlife officials and a conservation group will sponsor a free ice fishing day for kids on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge next month.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is sending a harsh reminder that despite our recent frigid and snowy conditions, ice on the state’s lakes is never 100 percent safe. That’s all too real for two men who had to escape from Lake Ida in Douglas County near Alexandria on Wednesday.
The northern Minnesota town of Aitkin celebrates the frigid weather with its annual fish house parade this week. The Aitkin Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 22nd annual “World Famous Fish House Parade,” starting at 1 p.m. Friday.
Many anglers are getting a few final hours of fishing in before fish houses have to be off the ice. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says houses located south of the State must be off the ice by midnight Monday.