By John Lauritsen

Originally published April 22, 2022

SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Ice is out on a number of Twin Cities lakes, but that’s not the case the further north you go.

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Some lakes in northern Minnesota still have nearly two feet of ice due to the prolonged cold and a lack of sun.

At Vados Bait and Tackle in Spring Lake Park, the countdown is on to the fishing opener. But ice up north makes them wonder if some anglers will still be ice fishing.

“Makes it really tough for bait because a lot of the bait comes from northern Minnesota. Without ice out up there it makes it tough to trap it,” said Eric Urman, Vados Bait and Tackle.

“You can just feel it that it’s too cold. You’ve got to have that sunshine, and we just haven’t had it,” said angler Frank Yaquinto.

Several lakes around the Twin Cities are, and have been, ice free for a week or so. But on Sugar Lake near Grand Rapids, it’s a much different story.

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“This is, by far, one of the latest that we’ve had,” said Abby Oxborough.

Oxborough is general manager at Sugar Lake Lodge. Last year, ice out was April 6. But as of Friday, they still have more than 20 inches of ice on the lake.

“It’s wild. We’re getting anxious here,” Oxborough said. “It’s a concern for everybody. We have some really good friends who own Bowen Lodge up on Lake Winnibigoshish. They still have 26 inches of ice, and that’s a huge fishing opener lake.”

And it’s not just fishing. Ideally, northern Minnesota resorts would be ready for other outdoor activities by now. Exactly one year ago, they were golfing at Sugar Lake Lodge. But this year the grounds crew hasn’t had much of a chance to do anything.

“It’s just a waiting game and being patient is really hard, because people want to get out and they want to get up here and we want to provide but what can we do at this point? We’d love to get our boats in the water, but here we are,” Oxborough said.

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Lake Vermillion and Lake Bemidji are some of the other lakes that are seeing thick ice, as of now. Fishing guides are skeptical that parts of Lake of the Woods may not be ready for the Minnesota fishing opener on May 14.

John Lauritsen