I promise you that winter (and with that, ice fishing) is coming. As I sit here typing this, it is 38° outside and raining in eastern North Dakota. We got a little bit of snow a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t last long with the unseasonably warm weather.
We had a late start to the ice fishing season last year. My first day on the ice last year was December 23, and there were roughly five inches of solid ice on a relatively small lake. That’s about as thin as I’ll go, though a lot of guys say three inches is enough. By contrast, the first day of my season in 2014 was the day before Thanksgiving and there was about one foot of ice.
While traveling to visit family in the Detroit Lakes area for Thanksgiving, I had my eye on the lakes and ponds along Highway 10 in Becker County. Most small ponds were iced over, though probably with a very thin layer of ice. It was still a sight for sore eyes for this eager ice fisherman. Medium to large lakes were still wide open. Some smaller lakes had a little bit of ice around the shoreline or at the most covering shallow bays.
It looks like a cool down is coming toward the end of the week and I’ve got my fingers crossed that temperatures stay below freezing after that point. I’m hoping to do a lot of ice fishing after I’m done taking finals in two weeks. Two weeks from now might still be early, but it might not. I’m no meteorologist. That said, keep an eye out on the various ice fishing forums and Facebook groups for a brave few to be venturing out as soon as there is ice to walk on, which I’m sure is not far off. I’m excited to be back out.
As always, especially in the early stages of the ice fishing season, please be extremely careful out there. Last year, I posted about some basic ice safety tips and it would be a great idea to read over them while we’re waiting for the lakes to make ice. I don’t want your first trip of the season to be your last.