Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

January 4, 1999

Ice fishing underway

Although the ice isn't as thick as we would like or expect it to be at this time of year, ice conditions have improved on our area lakes and the ice fishing season is off and jigging.

A week or so of cold weather and little snow, prime ice making conditions, has turned three to four inches of ice on area lakes to as much as 10 inches of ice on smaller lakes like Dog and Ida.

One angler reported that Dog had 10 inches of ice as of Thursday, but noted that ice conditions can still vary and although there may be 10 inches in one spot, there may only be three to five in the next.

As ice fishing and ice conditions go, another week of good cold weather with no snow to insulate the ice should add a few more inches and put the season in full swing on our area lakes.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: The activity has picked up and a few fish are being caught. As of Thursday, Howard Lake carried anywhere from five to eight inches of good ice. Joe's also noted that at least one nice northern pike, a six-plus pounder, had come off Howard so far this season.

Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted reported: Quite a few anglers have been heading out to the lakes and some are catching fish. Local anglers fishing Lake Jennie near Hutchinson have found good action on walleye and northern pike.

Whaletail has been providing good northern pike action. Many anglers have been trying Ida for panfish and a few spear anglers setting up on Winsted Lake noted the water was too cloudy for good spearing at this time.

Both bait shops want to inform anglers that although there have been a few people driving out, the ice is probably not safe for driving at this time.

They felt another good week of cold weather would probably be needed to make the ice thick and safe enough for driving.

Outdoor notes

  • Remember that ice conditions can and do vary. There may be eight to 10 inches of ice in one spot and only three to four or even less in the next.
  • The best time for ice fishing is typically at dawn and at dusk, with glow-in-the-dark jigs the best bet for nabbing walleye and crappie. Last season, a small gold colored, glow-in-the-dark tear drop was the hot jig for me.
  • Beware of lakes in our area that have, or will have, aeration systems in operation this winter. Winsted Lake and Little Waverly Lake are two of them. Watch for the thin ice signs and be very cautious.
  • Take a kid fishing and please get involved in the conservation of outdoors resources in 1999. It's something you will never regret.

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