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Will Ice Be Off Lakes By Fishing Opener?

Ken Hayes

For the first time that I can remember, we are in actual danger of not having open lakes for fishing opener.  No one can say for sure, but we are definitely cutting it close if they do thaw out.  Local reports in the Northland have ice thickness anywhere from 2-3 feet.  That would be comparable to usually mid February thickness.

Here it is on April 22nd, and recent reports have ice thickness reported at 2-3 feet, with snow cover on top of a couple of feet.

But here’s the thing, when it gets hot, ice melts FAST.  Last year we had several days above 60 degrees and I remember Fish Lake Reservoir went from 2 feet of ice to open water in just over a week.  Normally we don’t pay attention to how fast lakes thaw out.  This year we do, because we all want to be in our boats.

As soon as the first hole breaks through the ice and the water starts flowing in and out, it starts to erode the remaining ice much faster.  A single auger hole that is thawing out can turn into a giant hole in several hours.

This is why I’m not losing hope yet.  I really don’t know if the ice will be out by May 11th for Northern Lakes (Red Lake, Vermilion, Winnebegosh, etc.)  But I am not losing hope!

In Duluth, temps are expected to be 58-65 degrees starting this weekend and going into next week.

In International falls, the temps are expected to be relatively just as warm.

Ice melts fast at those temperatures, so don’t give up hope yet!

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