By Bill Hudson

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

BUFFALO, Minn. (WCCO) — With a sled packed with his ice fishing gear and a new snowmobile to pull it, Brian Moe and his buddy decided to try their luck fishing Buffalo Lake.

But he’ll proceed with caution, fully aware of the patches of deep slush that’s plaguing many area lakes.

“All that insulation just created so much slush underneath it. Before the ice had a chance to freeze, underneath the snow there’s quite a bit out there — so you gotta watch where you are going,” Moe said.

The problem is affecting mostly lakes in central Minnesota in areas blanketed by December’s deep snowfall. Before a foot or more of good solid ice formed, the snowfall created a thick blanket of insulation. But the real problem comes with the tremendous weight lying atop the ice sheet.

That weight is placing tremendous downward pressure on the ice, forcing water to come up through cracks and onto the surface.

Tim Smalley, Department of Natural Resources spokesman said, “wherever we see that big snow, that 17 to 20 inches, that’s where the worse conditions are.”

A sudden cold snap over the weekend has now solidified many of the slush patches. And that’s creating a secondary problem for ice anglers and snowmobilers —  a rough and dangerous ride.

Smalley said besides the nuisance of getting snowmobiles and vehicles stuck comes the problem later on. That’s when ice houses now sitting in water and slush become frozen in, making removal later in the season more difficult.

But for day anglers like Moe, it can be a frightening encounter when your snowmobile begins sinking into the sudden patch of slush. He’s discovered the best solution is hanging on and hitting the throttle.

“As long as you’re going 20 to 30 miles per hour you can go across the top , but otherwise it’s pretty nerve wracking I’ll tell you that,” he said.

WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson Reports


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