Be careful out on the finally iced over lakes
What a difference a week makes. Winter has hit hard and fast and is here to stay. I am still getting used to the cold and it always amazes me how we adapt. In another month this weather will feel comfortable, and in the spring this weather brings out the sweatshirts and light jackets.
The lakes froze quickly and have been making good ice daily for the past week. With below zero temps and single digit daytime highs with light snow cover on the ice, we can make an inch of ice every 24 hours. Now we can all get busy ice fishing.
This is exciting for me because that means "Snobear" time. Most lakes in the area have between six to eight inches of ice. Agencies that recommend safety on ice say this ice thickness is safe for ATV and snowmobile travel. Ice thicknesses of 10-12 inches are recommended for light cars and small pick-ups and 12-15 inches recommended for larger vehicle travel. If the forecast is accurate and we don't get any heavy snow accumulations, we should be safe driving on the ice with vehicles by next weekend. Remember to stay away from current areas and be cautious of shallow bars or heavy weed growth areas, as ice thicknesses can vary greatly in these locations. Check ice heaves or pressure ridges for safe ice thickness before crossing them. Please remember to drive slowly on the ice as the ice flexes and pushes a wake in front of you as you travel. Cars and trucks are not recommended to travel over 20 mph on the ice and 15 mph is safer. I know it is tempting to cruise a little faster especially when you can go almost anyplace on the lake because of the minimal snow cover, but please, for your sake and others, take your time -- your going fishing man!
We should have some good fishing reports and make a few suggestions for success in next weeks "Fishing Lines."
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)