Ice fishing begins, but be careful out there

  • Updated: December 2, 2008 - 11:30 PM

Jake Dexheimer, 13, of Elk River bagged his first deer ever this season in Wisconsin. “I’m not sure who was more excited, him or me,’’ said his dad, Brett. “He has been coming up to deer camp with us for three years now, and this is his second year carrying a gun. I was in the stand with him on opening morning, and he shot this at 8 a.m.’’ The seven-pointer — it was missing a brow tine — dressed out at 180 pounds.

The recent cold weather has jump-started the ice fishing season, with anglers in many areas of Minnesota creeping out onto lakes, many only partially frozen. Some are finding pretty good action.

But officials again urged caution.

"Ice fishing is underway, and some lakes in the Longville area are reported to have 5 to 8 inches of ice,'' reported Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Duke Broughten. "Anglers are still advised to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the ice.''

Here's a roundup of conditions elsewhere, based on this week's conservation officer report:

Anglers are venturing onto the ice of many lakes near Detroit Lakes, though some lakes have open water. Five or so inches of ice is reported on some of the bays of Lake Vermilion, and some anglers are venturing out on Red Lake. Ice shelters and ATVs have been spotted on lakes near Fosston. Near Moorhead, there's 3 to 6 inches of ice, but some lakes remain open.

At Leech Lake, officer Gary Sommers observed ice anglers on the lake while people were fishing from a boat in open water nearby. Average ice thickness on Virginia-area lakes appears to be around 4-5 inches. Near Grand Rapids, anglers were catching some crappies and bluegills. Near Duluth, 3 to 5 inches of ice was reported on most lakes, but open water also was reported.

Near Aitkin, anglers were walking and driving ATVs on most lakes. And at Hinckley, sunfish and crappies were biting, and smaller lakes had 4-6 inches of ice, but extreme caution was advised. Some anglers have been fishing in bays of Lake Mille Lacs.

Weekly officer report

To see the entire DNR conservation officer weekly report, see


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