Weather Forecast


Funding for government lapses as short-term spending bill stalls in the Senate

No ice, no ice fishing, no fun

WILLMAR -- By now, Thanksgiving Day has passed, we've all had our fill of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberries ...

This is the time of year anglers get ready for ice fishing. There's only one problem this year. There isn't any ice, nor does it look there will be any in the immediate future.

While anglers can still tip their lures in the water in search of panfish, those who supply the shorter rods, bait and other ice fishing essentials wait, and wait, and wait.

"Normally, things are starting to freeze up by Thanksgiving and they are out there the first part of December," said Brad Foshaug of Brad's 71 Bait and Sport. "I'm assuming places like mine are waiting for it to happen."

The absence of ice isn't the only thing putting a gloom on the outdoors season. With the recession still going, people aren't spending as much on their recreational hobbies and the wet fall that brought deer harvest numbers down from last year also affect the fishing itch.

At Yellow Stripe Sports in Olivia, Russ Lesniak said ice fishing isn't really a topic of conversation, yet.

He said with a lot of corn left to harvest or farmers trying to their fields ready for winter, his customers have their hands full.

"We're a farming community and they're still out in the fields and no one has started talking about ice fishing yet," he said.

Those who have been out fishing have been keeping themselves busy with panfish. Foshaug said the culverts between Willmar and Foot Lakes have been busy for the last two months.

"I think I've sold more tube jigs for crappie in the fall than I did all summer," he noted.

Once the ice comes, success should be found on the shallow lakes, like Ringo, Big Kandi, Long, Solomon and Norway. Once the bigger lakes can sustain traffic, Eagle and Green Lakes will be good spots for walleye.

But until then, there is the wait.

"Right now, I don't think too many people are thinking about ice fishing," Foshaug said.