The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 4, 2014

Northern lakes may not be ready for opener


At Brindley’s Harbor and Resort located on Leech Lake’s Trapper Bay, Tim Campbell is equally as confident the lake, along with his resort, will be open for business Saturday.

“The wind has been pushing the ice around, it’s starting to pile up along the shoreline,” he said. “Last year, the ice didn’t go out here until three days after the opener. It was horrible.”

Henry Drews, DNR Regional Fisheries Manager in Bemidji, also was confident that most lakes in the region should be ice-free or nearly so by Saturday.

“The most recent satellite imagery of Upper and Lower Red Lake showed the ice-pack was beginning to crack and move around so I would expect that lake to be ice-free by the opener,” he said.

Even if the area lakes aren’t totally ice-free, he said what little bit of ice that might still remain shouldn’t create any difficulty for anglers.

Terry Thurmer of Terry’s Boat Harbor on the east side of Lake Mille Lacs isn’t quite as optimistic.

“I’d sure like to hope it would be, but there’s an awful lot of ice out there yet,” He said. “I’m not so sure.”

Thurmer said last year was the first time in the 25 years he has owned the business that the lake still remained frozen on the fishing opener.

Lakes further north also remain a question mark. Depending on the weather and the way the wind blows, anglers might be able to fish Lake of the Woods Saturday.

Drews said a south wind would drive the remaining ice pack northward, making the edge of the lake accessible to anglers, while a blow from the north would effectively cut anglers off from getting on the water.

“But if that happens, anglers would still be able to fish the river and Four-Mile Bay,” he said.

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