Ice makes stubborn exit on northern lakes

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 14, 2014 - 2:04 AM

The long, cold winter refused to release its grip on some northern lakes in time for Saturday’s fishing opener.

Rainy, Vermilion, Lake of the Woods and many lakes along the Gunflint Trail in the northeast were mostly locked in ice Saturday. Other lakes, including Kabetogama, had some open water but still had sheets of ice, which affected boaters and anglers.

“The west end [of Kabetogama] was limited to shoreline fishing due to the ice shift,’’ said Katy Ebel of Ebel’s Voyageur Houseboats. “Some ice was measured at 1 foot, but it was honeycombed.’’

Anglers there caught walleyes in the Ash River narrows and mouth, she reported, including some 20- to 27-inchers in the shallows along the shoreline.

Lake Vermilion, too, had ice Saturday, which hampered access. Pike Bay was open.

“There were tons of folks there,’’ said Jay Schelde of Pike Bay Lodge. “There were some other areas you could fish, but they were afraid the wind would shift and they’d get locked in.’’

It was the second consecutive opener with ice.

“The ice had an impact on businesses, no doubt,’’ said Schelde, president of the Lake Vermilion Resort Association. “There were cancellations.’’

Schelde said angler success was spotty, but some big walleyes were caught.

Local businesses will be hoping for better weather next spring. Lake Vermilion will be the site of the 2015 Governor’s Fishing Opener.

“We’re excited,’’ Schelde said.

Meanwhile, ice-out was reported on eight northern lakes Tuesday, including Seagull on the Gunflint Trail.

License sales increase

Despite a cold spring, Minnesota fishing license sales are up by 78,000, or 30 percent, from last year — which underscores just how bad last spring was. Many more lakes were ice-covered on last year’s opener than this year, causing license sales to fizzle.

The Department of Natural Resources sold 338,000 angling licenses through Monday, up from 260,000 at the same time last year. That’s still down about 11 percent from the 10-year average. Helping boost this year’s numbers was a 33 percent increase in nonresident sales, to 22,000.

Despite last year’s cold start, sales rebounded during the summer. The DNR sold 1.14 million licenses, down just 1.5 percent from the eight-year average.

“Our angler numbers have stayed pretty steady for more than a decade,’’ said C.B. Bylander, DNR outreach coordinator. “We get blips depending on whether it’s an early or late spring.’’

 

Doug Smith • doug.smith@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close