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West central Minnesota anglers still waiting for ice

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Last year ice anglers enjoyed one of the earliest and best early season fishing that many could recall. This year, many are still wondering when the lakes will ice over. Most area lakes remain ice free, and very little in the wa...

Foot Lake with ice
No ice for old men, or anyone, as temperatures well above average leave weak ice Wednesday on Foot Lake and elsewhere around the state. By this time a year ago the Foot Lake ice was speckled with ice houses and vehicles. The mid-afternoon temp was a pleasant 43 degrees in Willmar. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)

WILLMAR, Minn. - Last year ice anglers enjoyed one of the earliest and best early season fishing that many could recall.

This year, many are still wondering when the lakes will ice over.

Most area lakes remain ice free, and very little in the way of ice fishing is being reported in the area.

There have been reports of some anglers venturing out on Ringo Lake along U.S. Highway 71, and the waters of small lakes such as Tad in Atwater, according to Dave Coahran, fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Spicer.

It’s too early to predict whether we are on track to set any records for a late ice-up, but it is in the cards. Records at the local fisheries office show the latest ice-up date for Green Lake to be Dec. 19, 2001. The DNR’s website lists Dec. 25, 2001, as the latest date for the lake.

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The median ice-up date for Green Lake is Dec. 2, based on records from 1908 to 2014.

Needless to say, other winter activities are also on hold due to the mild weather, especially snow-related pursuits such as snowmobiling or cross country skiing.

Coahran recently met with the local chapter of Darkhouse Spearing Association. They were out on the ice at this time last year, but can only sharpen their spears and wait this year. They’ve heard of fellow spearing enthusiasts finding ice on lakes north of Interstate 94.

There are those taking advantage of the mild weather and getting outdoors in this area. The warm weather has extended the opportunities for pheasant hunters, bow hunters and muzzleloaders, Coahran said.

Related Topics: FISHING
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