MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This arctic air is quickly transforming Minnesota’s lakes.

A dark strip along Lake Superior’s north shore was open water just last week, but now there is 25% more ice in just seven days.

The deep freeze has made for ideal conditions for anglers, and businesses that count on cold, hard cash.

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Ronnie and Kathy Anderson left their beachfront Crystal Beach, Texas home for the Minnesota lake-top experience.

“This is a bucket list that I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always wanted to go ice fishing,” Ronnie said.

Ronnie said he felt uneasy when he first drove out on an iced-over lake.

(credit: CBS)

“If it’s my time I am ready to go, I just keep thinking that [laughs]!” Kathy said.

Although no ice is safe, this ice is solid, according to fishing guide Jeff Heinrich, owner of Ice Fishing Warriors.

“It’s been cold, it’s been making a lot of ice,” Jeff said.

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That’s about seven new inches in seven days. For Heinrich, solid ice means solid business. He is completely booked through the season.

“A lot of people coming out during the week, a lot of people coming out and staying a few days and working from the lake, so they bring a laptop and they’re working inside and doing stuff like that, and fishing at the same time,” Jeff said.

It seems all those negative temperatures have had some positives. The Andersons said after catching a cooler full of fish, “We’re having a blast.”

With 26 inches of ice on Lake Minnetonka, Jeff says the ice likely won’t melt until late April.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield