Fishing Lines: Start thinking about removing ice houses
Many anglers removed their permanent fish houses off the lakes before this last major storm. That was probably a wise move as getting to, and removing fish houses now will definitely be more difficult now. If you have not been back out to your fish house, you will want to get to it right away to check on the potential flooding and slushing. Many houses also had significant drifting around them due to the high winds that came with this storm.
Take some extra hands with you to deal with any potential problems. If you are looking to move or remove your house, plan on having extra help and taking more time than usual. Plowing out to houses is even a challenge with the amount of snow, significant drifting, and the high moisture content of the snow.
We are actually at about average snowfall for the year, but the difficulty has been created by the snow getting dropped on us in large amounts at a time.
The good news is that we are above average for the amount of moisture in the snow. It is good news because we had such a dry summer and fall that all the lake levels were extremely low by the time the lakes all froze over. We need the moisture to help bring the creek, river, and lake levels back. I am hoping we make up the moisture now with a wet spring in the form of rainfall, as I am ready to be done with all the snow!
The Lake Ida derby for kids and the "Poles N' Holes" on Little Detroit were both very successful and their timing couldn't have been better as they both just beat the big storm!
It seemed for years that the last day of February or the first day in March brought the end to the walleye and northern pike season for inland waters. This year the inland waters open season for walleye and northern pike closes on Feb. 24 and will re-open May 11.
Border waters have different closing dates. The Canadian border water closing date for walleyes is April 14 (and the northern pike season is continuous). Iowa border water closes for both walleye and northern pike on Feb. 15. The North Dakota boundary water season is continuous for both walleye and northern pike, but the South Dakota border water season closes Feb. 28 for both.
The Wisconsin border water seasons vary depending on the body of water. The Mississippi River season is continuous for both walleye and northern pike, but the St. Croix and St. Louis Rivers close the season March 1.
Shelter removal dates can be tricky for some in our area because the north/ south border separation for removal dates passes right through the middle of Detroit Lakes. The North and south separation line is the highway lines that exist between Moorhead and Duluth, which includes Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Highway 200 and Highway 200 to Highway 2 into Duluth. If you are on lakes south of Highway 10 and 34, you need to have your shelter off by March 4 If you are on one of the lakes north, you will have until March 18 to remove your fish house.
The Border waters between Canada and Minnesota have until March 31.
It is hard to believe we have only a little more than a week left in February and we have to be thinking about these things already!
If you are traveling anywhere in the state to fish it is always worth checking for any special regulations to clarify any questions. All the information you may need is available at the DNR website at: mndnr.gov or call (888) 646-6367.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)