Field report: Slush remains a problem for some lake travelers

  • Updated: December 17, 2013 - 8:56 PM
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This truck and fish house went through the ice last week on Lake Ida in Douglas County. No one was hurt.

Subzero temperatures in northern Minnesota have helped ice conditions for anglers and snowmobilers, but slush — caused by insulating snow — remains problematic in some areas.

In the Cass Lake area, 5 to 10 inches of ice was reported on area lakes, but a truck went through thin ice on Lake Winnibigoshish in 30 feet of water. And last week, a truck pulling a fish house fell through ice on Lake Ida in Douglas County. No injuries were reported in either case.

“Area lakes are very slushy with reports of ice thickness varying from just a few inches to about 8 inches,” reported conservation officer Larry Francis of Remer. Slush also is hindering ice travel in the Longville area, where lakes average 5 to 8 inches of ice. Near Grand Marais, conservation officer Darin Fagerman said the snow and slush has made ice thickness unpredictable: He found 11 inches of ice in one spot, then moved 50 yards and measured 5 inches.

In the Brainerd-Pequot Lakes area, officers said ice thickness varied from 4 to 10 inches, but slush caused problems for ATVs and snowmobiles, and some flooded fish houses were reported.

Near La Crescent in southeastern Minnesota, ice conditions vary from 1.5 to 8 inches. Anglers have been catching bluegill, perch and northerns.

Wolf season update

Hunters and trappers have killed 84 wolves so far in the late season, including 31 in the northeast zone, where the harvest quota is 33. The DNR will close that zone Wednesday at the end of shooting hours. The total kill this year, including wolves harvested in the early season, stood at 172 Tuesday. The DNR’s target harvest is 220 wolves. The late season ends Jan. 31, though it will be closed by zones earlier if quotas are approached. So far, 51 wolves have been killed in the northwest zone, where the target quota is 89 wolves. And two wolves have been killed in the east-central zone, where the target is 10 animals.

DOUG SMITH

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