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

Los Angeles - LP: P. Maholm 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 12
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 9 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Manship 6
Texas - LP: N. Tepesch 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: J. Francis 2
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 7
Miami - WP: J. Turner 6 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 5
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 6
Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: F. Rodriguez 4
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: Y. Pino 2
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 2
Washington - WP: C. Stammen 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: B. Brown 4
Detroit - LP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Arizona - WP: E. De La Rosa 5
Houston - WP: D. Downs 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: F. Abad 2
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 4 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: M. Morin 2
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 1
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Tulsa 93 FINAL
San Antonio 95
Atlanta 108 FINAL
Minnesota 112
Indiana 57 FINAL
Chicago 60
Phoenix 89 FINAL
Seattle 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