The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 9, 2013

Cross column: Lack of snow a boon for local fish


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

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
World Cup Hero Mario Gotze -- HALF-NAKED MUD BATH ... With Hot Model GF Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Denver Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen Resigns Control Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Jack White's Cub Face Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Eli, Giants learning new offense How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Boy With Life-Threatening Tumor Gets Wish To Visit PNC Park, Meet Cutch Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX James Rodriguez Joins Real Madrid Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Morosi: Lee could be a tough sell Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits