By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn. March 2, 1998
Ice-out: shortest ice fishing season ever?
The ice on our area lakes has turned soft and slushy and is now dark gray or almost black in color.
Basically, it's melting, and at such a fast rate that it could be all gone in the next week or two.
If the ice does leave our area lakes within the next two weeks, it would be the earliest ice-out date recorded in quite some time. If the rain, wind, and warm weather continue, that will happen.
From 1950 through 1997, the earliest ice-out date ever recorded on Howard Lake was on March 16, 1987.
The latest ice-out date was May 2, 1950.
Other early ice-out dates include:
- March 30, 1968
- March 30, 1973
- March 24, 1981
Typically, the ice leaves our lakes sometime in mid-April.
This season the ice came to our area lakes on Nov. 16, but it didn't really become stable or thick enough for fishing and travel until sometime in early January.
Now it looks like it's going to leave us in early March, which would make the ice fishing season the shortest that I can ever remember.
From an angler's point of view, ice fishing is pretty much done for the year and the sooner the lakes open up the better.
- This winter has been far different than what we are accustomed to, and it will be interesting to see how the mild weather and early melt affect our area lakes, sloughs, fish, and wildlife populations.
- In 1983, our last El Nino year, we got hammered by over 35 inches of snow in March and April.
- The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
- If you own a dog, especially a large one, you may want to take the time to clean up the manure from your yard. Snow tends to cover up all kinds of surprises.