The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Outdoors

February 9, 2013

Cross column: Lack of snow a boon for local fish

(Continued)

An important function of the Waterville facility every spring is to collect northern pike eggs, which are fertilized and hatched under controlled conditions, eventually to be stocked in area lakes.

However, low water levels and extreme heat last summer took a toll on northern pike populations in some lakes, including Lake Geneva in Freeborn County, where a good portion of the brood stock used for spring egg-striping operations are obtained, DeBates said.

“We really won’t know the extent of the die-off until we begin our netting operations,” he said.

What’s more, low water conditions could hamper efforts elsewhere to capture northern pike to be used for brood stock.

Some pike are caught in fish traps as they migrate into inlets and ditches to reach seasonal wetlands in which to spawn. However, water levels in many south-central Minnesota lakes are so low that there is little or no flow in or out.

And unless the current dry weather pattern changes dramatically in coming weeks, the adjacent seasonal wetlands that provide natural pike spawning habitat are likely to be bone-dry.

After two years of difficult conditions, ice fishermen are finding the winter of 2012-13 to their liking.

Two years ago, heavy snow made it difficult to get around on lakes.

Last year, during the winter that wasn’t, unusually warm temperatures created uncertain ice conditions that prompted many ice anglers to hand up the ice cleats early or stay home altogether.

This year, the hard water season got an early start with several cold snaps that created better ice conditions. The continued lack of snow has made it easy to get around on area lakes.

As a result, many more area anglers are hitting the ice this winter.

Annual fish house counts on area lakes made earlier this year by DNR Fisheries personnel revealed a dramatic increase from 2012.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Outdoors
  • mfp sports-jc outdoor column-7-27 Singing the praises of the prairie When pioneers first traveled through Minnesota, they marveled at the seemingly endless, inland sea of tall grass prairie that greeted them.It is estimated more than 18 million acres of grasslands stretched from the southeast to the northwest corners

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp sports jcross outdoor column 7-20 Chasing walleyes in South Dakota nice We slowed to a crawl the other day on the dusty Day County township road in northeast South Dakota, a courtesy to the farmer who was baling ditch hay south of Webster.Otherwise, we would have enveloped him as he drove his open tractor in the choking

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing report Outlook on area lakes

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: No wake, no fish ... no problems on the water Patience is always a virtue when fishing.

    July 6, 2014

  • Know Your Lakes: Series maps

    Missed out on the weekly lake preview Wednesday's in the print edition? That's ok, we have you covered here. View the series thus far and download a printable PDF.

    May 24, 2011

  • Cross column: Where does the buck stop in your home?

    Displaying your trophy catch can be debatable

    June 29, 2014

  • Storms came at horrible time for pheasants For pheasants and pheasant hunters, there were no silver linings to be found in the storm clouds that inundated the countryside with heavy rains this week.A foot of rain falling in just a week is never good, but for pheasants, it came at precisely th

    June 22, 2014

  • Early morning is beautifully lonely Benjamin Franklin was on to something when he extolled the benefits of "early to bed, early to rise." While I can't vouch for its effect on health, wealth or wisdom, rolling out of the sack certainly seems to pay dividends for outdoor activities. The

    June 15, 2014

  • mfp sports cross column 6-1 Cross: Take a kid fishing, no license needed A few years ago, while cruising with a co-worker through an area community on a steamy summer day, we passed a vacant lot. There, oblivious to the heat and humidity, a group of kids were playing a game of pick-up baseball, racing down well-worn paths

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cross: Once upon a time, when fishing was simple... Once upon a time, fishing was a pretty simple affair. A rod-and-reel, some bait and tackle, perhaps a rowboat if you were lucky, and you were in business. While the basic premise of angling -- to catch fish -- remains, it sure seems to have grown mor

    May 25, 2014