Walt Hohn echoed similar sentiments.
“Business has been real good, so far,” he said. “Right now, ice conditions are about 3 1/2 weeks ahead of where they were last year at this time.
He said that the last six or seven years have been tough ones for the ice-fishing business but that with good ice so early and with the Christmas break coming up, things are looking up.
“To have good ice by the time Christmas and vacations come around can make the whole season for us,” Hohn said.
The most adventurous anglers already were blazing trails on foot across new ice in late November.
Tom Brunz of Madison Lake got an early start to his ice fishing season on Thanksgiving when he checked out the east end of Lake Frances.
While he found three inches of good ice, he didn’t find any cooperative fish.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Chris How said he found about eight inches of ice a week ago while checking anglers on area lakes. Since then, he has heard reports of a few vehicles out on area lakes.
“But I haven’t personally seen any out there,” he said, adding that most anglers were reaching their fishing spots on foot or on ATVs.
Brunz found as much as 12 inches of good ice on Lake George last week. But once again, fish proved elusive for the seasoned tournament angler.
“I’ve got this theory — it’s just a theory — that it froze so quick and it’s been so cold that the fish haven’t really adapted to the winter conditions yet,” he said., predicting that fishing will soon improve.
How agreed, saying that with notable exceptions, he saw very few noteworthy catches among the anglers he checked.
However, anglers reported a good walleye bite on Loon Lake early on. Likewise, anglers on Lake Henry caught a few walleyes, as well.